A guided prayer for adoptive and foster families at Christmas

Dear Father,

For those in our midst who have adopted or are fostering children who’ve experienced trauma, we pray especially over them at Christmas, knowing the excitement and changes in routine bring additional challenges. Thank you for making them a family. You have brought them together to care for one another because they are precious in Your sight. As Christmas approaches, we humbly ask for Your special work in the lives of each person and family: 

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  • We trust Your unchanging nature (Hebrews 13:8) and beg You to bring a sense of peace and constancy to the child for whom changes in routine—at home, at school, at church—cause anxiety. (1 John 4:18)

  • For the school parties and social gatherings, we ask that teachers and friends would be accommodating of parents’ special requests to help their children to succeed in the excitement and chaos of the season. (Romans 15:7)

  • For the parents, who may not get time with their other loved ones in order to support their child, we ask for You to restore them in other ways, filling their hearts with Your Spirit and reinvigorating them for their noble task. (Psalm 63:1

  • For those who feel alone and misunderstood in their parenting challenges, we depend on You to be near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18) Dry their tears, please, and comfort them with the knowledge that You understand their griefand pain. 

  • For the friends and relatives who will surround these families for Christmas celebrations, we ask You to supply compassion and respect for their loved ones who may parent in ways that are different in order to meet the needs of their adoptive/foster child. Give their relatives the posture of Aaron and Hur, who raised Moses’s arms when he was too tired to hold them up any longer. (Exodus 17:12)

  • For those children who experienced food insecurity, we pray they would trust that now there will always be enough for them and not be overcome by the vast buffets and special meals, tempted to hoard food or eat to the point of illness. (Luke 11:3)

  • We ask you to guard against bitterness and resentment in the hearts of siblings whose celebrations may be cut short, altered, or eliminated altogether to deal with behavioral challenges stemming from the effects of trauma. (Ephesians 4:31)

  • We pray for a peace that passes understanding; a single, silent, holy moment in which they might truly be able to pause in worship of You. (Psalm 46:10)

  • For the child that feels undeserving of the gifts they receive, we ask for You to confer upon them a true sense of their value. (Psalm 139:14) Help them to resist the temptation to “act out” in response. Help parents choose gifts—and when they’re given—to ease the perceived incongruity and foster success.

  • Help us all to hold space for the child, the family, and their struggles, leaving room for them in the “inns” of our hearts and churches. In so doing, we have the privilege of receiving Jesus. (Matthew 25:40)

May our church services truly be a place of sanctuary for these—and all—families this December, as we gather to honor You, Lord. We rejoice in Your birth, the incarnation, and that You are with us today and every day. 

Amen.

Kirsten Holmberg is a writer and speaker based in the Pacific Northwest. Her TEDx talk, “Your adopted child experienced trauma, now what?” chronicles the impact of trauma and Reactive Attachment Disorder on her family. She is the author of Advent with the Word: Approaching Christmas Through the Inspired Language of GodKirsten speaks regularly at church and community events, encouraging others to step closer to Jesus and better know His love for them through His Word. Find her online at www.kirstenholmberg.com.