Monday, July 9, 2012

should you adopt?

when we started the adoption process in 2009, we knew absolutely nothing about parenting adopted children.

what we did know was that God was calling us on this journey, so we committed ourselves to learning everything we could about adoption. we read books, we talked to other adoptive parents, and we attended a seminar on attachment. we became pretty fluent in talking about brain development and attachment and all the other things that come with adoption.

however, being proficient in all the right things doesn't really sustain you when you delve into the hard part of parenting adopted children. don't get me wrong -- i'm extremely glad we did our research. the literature on adoption is out there for a reason, and i honestly cringe when i hear that adoptive families bypass resources that will help them help their child heal. but there are days when my kids don't react to my intentional parenting the way the books say they will, and there are other days where i know exactly why my kids are behaving a certain way and exactly what i should do to help them, and yet i don't do it because it would be inconvenient for me (and also, sometimes it just feels good to lose your cathartic, yet so sinful).

the truth is, EVERY adopted child has special needs no matter how old they are or how well they seem to be doing or how healthy their paperwork says they are. and so, for me, the thing that gets me through the day is remembering that God called us to this and is helping us uphold our commitment to our children's healing -- even when it's really hard.

and this is precisely why i hate that adoption has become a fad, even among christians.

there is, without a doubt, a revival sweeping through the church where the hearts of God's people are being called to care for orphans. many families i know sponsor children through world vision or compassion international. i've watched my church gather around adoptive families by supporting them in fundraising and also in setting up an adoption fund. there are a number of organizations that now exist to serve orphans through mission trips or to empower women through job skills training so that poverty doesn't force them to abandon or relinquish their children.

as people hear more and more about God's heart for the orphan, i think many of them are genuinely concerned and want to do something. this is why so many of my conversations about adoption with others almost always begin with, "oh, your children are adopted!? we would really like to adopt one day too." unfortunately, when something explodes in popularity (even when it's a good kind of popularity), some people tend to jump on the bandwagon without having a clue what they are doing.

like i said, we knew nothing about parenting adopted children when we began. and if that's you, but you feel so strongly that God is calling you to this journey and you are ready to commit to whatever your child will need to heal, then you need to go for it. not a day goes by that we don't think about all the other children who are just as bright, just as funny, just as bursting with personality, and just as in need of a mom and dad as kalkidan and rebuma.

but if you just want to adopt because it seems like a nice thing to do or because all your friends are doing it or because it'd be convenient for whatever circumstances you find yourself in (ie, you have 2 sons but really want a daughter or you really want kids but have never been into pregnancy), then you should remember that fads come and go, but a child who comes into your family -- even if they are difficult to deal with or bring lots of baggage -- is forever. i can't say enough that it would suck not to have something greater than myself or my "wants" to fall back on when we're having a hard day in our house because of trauma-related behavior.

i still dream of the day when all christians will at least consider whether God is nudging them to adopt, even while believing that not all people will or should adopt. even on the hard days, i'm so glad God called us to this and 100% believe these 2 goobers are totally worth it.


  1. Even though ours isn't a formal adoption scenario, getting our kids into counseling was one of the best things we've ever done.

  2. Very Well said. Very similar thoughts have been in my head lately too. It's so much bigger and harder than one might imagine. Yet can be so glorifying and sanctifying. That's why I often say..."we're doing really well (in comparison of the adoption world), but that is still really hard(in comparison of the non-adoption world)". Thanks for sharing your thoughts. - Amanda McAlpine from MN