In our culture, the adoption process is often glamorized. However, it is often far from glamorous, even after receiving the child. The same was true for Focus on the Family’s Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife Erin.

We knew there was going to be this season that was super difficult.”

Nothing could prepare them for how difficult the first few months were going to be. Annie, raised in China, was heartbroken to lose her nanny and wouldn’t accept Erin as her mother-figure. Greg even had to rent Erin a separate hotel room when they were bringing Annie home because she wouldn’t allow Erin to be in the same room as her.

The struggles continued when the family returned home to the United States and Greg returned to work. Following the advice of a friend, Erin began forgiving Annie in the name of the Lord each time she hurt or rejected her.

“It kept my heart open and prepared for when she was going to be ready and I stood firm believing that she would be ready and she would let me in.”

Finally, on a hot and humid summer day in Arkansas, there was a breakthrough.

Erin and the girls were swimming in the pool and Erin reached out her arms and told Annie to jump to her. Countless times before, Annie had refused to jump into Erin’s arms, but this time was different.

“She looked at the girls and pointed her finger and she said ‘No, mama’ and she jumped into my arms.”

After countless moments of rejection from Annie, Erin was finally in. Greg and Erin’s testimony serves as a reminder to all adoptive parents who are struggling with their children rejecting them to continue to press on. There is hope.

Key Scriptures: Galatians 4:5-7

Featured Songs: Write Your Story by Francesca Battistelli; Hope in Front of Me by Danny Gokey; Through All of It by Colton Dixon

Highlight : When adoptions get bumpy

Adopting Annie: The story of the Smalleys