Placing a child with a family through adoption is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make in your life.  Sometimes other people are not supportive, and even friends and family members may not understand your decision.  Yet you have made a courageous decision out of love to give your baby everything you are not prepared to do at this time.

The decision you are making is full of love and hope for your child’s future.  It brings some joy but also grief.  With your selfless love, there will be the pain of loss.  One part of your adoption counseling is to prepare you for the grief you will experience.  You may grieve very much like a parent who lost a child in some other circumstance.

Why Have A Dedication Service?

A dedication service can be a very meaningful experience for you and your family.  It is good to talk about the service and plan it before your baby’s birth.

The purpose of the dedication service is to help achieve positive closure on your adoption plan with a ceremony in which your child is dedicated and committed to the Lord’s care.  It is intended to be a time with family and close friends to share your sacrificial decision.  It is a time to share your joy and work through your grief.

It helps if you and your family know God as a compassionate God who accepts your sorrow and who is a source of help and strength.  God released His Son into the world, much like you are doing for your child now.  He understands better than anyone how you are feeling.

Your Christian faith can become a resource in the mourning which will follow the placement.  Instead of putting all your trust in the adoptive family, the Dedication Service allows the focus to be on trusting God for your child’s future and to place a blessing on you and your family.  Always remember He created this child and loves him/her as much as you do.

It is important for you and your family to understand that Jesus believed in adoption, and he himself was adopted.  Adoption is a Biblical practice.  Jesus also knows that we will have grief, and He promises that He will be our comfort.  Jesus told His followers, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Who Should Attend?

If possible, the people to whom you are closest should be part of the ceremony.  This may include your family, friends, a pastor, a counselor, or a caregiver.  If a pastor is going to conduct this service, you should plan with him in advance.  It is good for him to have some of the information you are reading here.

Some birthmothers will elect to have an adoption ceremony without the adoptive parents, whereas others will wish for them to be a part of the ceremony.  Having everybody together is a great way to go before the Lord and request a blessing over all parties.  Who participates and how is a topic of conversation that you will want to have with those involved.

The Format of the Dedication Service

The dedication service may be held in the hospital chapel, at the adoption agency, in a home, your local church, a garden, or wherever you feel is most suitable.  The service usually consists of three parts:

  • Prayer – a prayer that best fits the feelings of the moment offered by your pastor or another Christian caregiver.  It should address the needs of you and your family, and the adoptive family if they are attending as well.
  • Message – a short meditation given by your pastor reflecting God’s love and care for you, your child, and your family.
  • Special Interest – anything special or creative your family might want to include.  You and your family may choose to express your feelings by reading a letter or poem, singing a song, or having some special music.
  • Baby Placement – If you include the adoptive couple or family, having a moment together where you place your baby in their hands can be rather meaningful.  This will be emotional, but it also helps provide peace as you see the love the adoptive family has for you and your baby.

Following the Dedication Service

The dedication service will help you and your family find comfort and will bring meaning to your adoption decision.  It is also, the beginning of closure.  After the service, you, as well as your family, begin the process of physical separation.  This is a tender time.

You may find that you need support and love in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  Turn to your family, friends, pastor, counselor, social worker, or whoever supported you through the adoption planning to help you through this part of the process as well.

The dedication service will be a cherished memory and will keep your focus on God’s ability to care for your child.  Take pictures, you may even want to create an album to remember this special occasion.

Adapted from “Adoption Dedication Service,” Loving & Caring