November is National Adoption Month, and it’s coming up soon!
So I’ll be posting a few of the adoption-related posts — like this one — that have been bouncing around my head. If you have questions, this would be a great time to email them to me (although you can do that anytime!) and I’ll do my best to answer them, either in a post or in a direct email response.
I’m often asked for advice related to adoption; it’s the most common topic of emails I get from blog readers. The questions vary in specifics, but the most helpful advice I could give is not about choosing an agency, deciding on whether you will adopt domestically or internationally, deciding on the number of children to adopt, or what age you would like to adopt.
The most valuable advice I can give is this:
Seriously consider why you want to adopt.
This means being brutally honest with yourself, God, and your spouse. Then, and only then, can you make those other decisions.
Another very important hint: if you’re going to get brutally honest with your spouse and expect them to do the same, you absolutely have to give each other freedom to do so without condemnation!
Ken and I didn’t adopt in order to make life easier or more convenient. In our case, we didn’t adopt so that we’d have a cuddly baby to hold — though there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! (We love babies!) We adopted because we knew our family was not complete, and because we felt called by God to do so. We did it to obey James 1:27, and we did it to give a child lots of love, a better life, and to steer her down the path God has for her life. And we just wanted to, for reasons we can’t really clearly explain; I guess it boils down to feeling called to do so. We have been blessed in ways we couldn’t have imagined, but this road has also had challenges we hadn’t planned on.
If you think about it, though, everything I said in the above paragraph (with the exception of the orphans part of James 1:27) applies to parenting biological children, too! Parenting is not easy or convenient, and all parents are called to love and disciple their children; we just got a little later start with one of ours.
When we enter into something as big and life-changing as adoption — or parenting of any sort — with unrealistic expectations, we are setting ourselves up for heartbreak. (It’s the same with marriage!) But with open hearts, much prayer, and reasonable expectations, everyone involved will be off to a good start!
Parenting requires an eternal perspective; we must look down the road and remember that although our children may not do or say all that we want them to do right now, if we are doing our God-given job of discipling them, then they will eventually do and say all that He wants them to do (even if that doesn’t look exactly like what we have in mind!).
My biggest reason for adopting? For parenting? For the “inconvenience” of children? The hope that one day I can say this…
“I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)