Did you know that 33% of Americans consider adoption but less than 2% actually adopt? What a crazy statistic, that there are that many people here who get to the point of considering adoption but so few people follow through. There are many barriers to adoption including fear, a “stigma” associated with adoption, your age, the increased frequency of abortions, and the biggest deterrent for most people…Cost. So I want to answer the question, “Why Adopt?” because I believe it is something that we should at least consider. The barriers that I mentioned above can be huge and can make adoption seemingly impossible for some people, but when it becomes clear that adoption is supposed to be a part of your life it is absolutely worth the difficulties.
When asking whether or not adoption is right for you, the first thing that is important to understand is that it is difficult. Have you ever noticed when people send out birth/adoption announcements, post pictures on social media, or talk about how awesome the birth/adoption process was that they are always these beautiful photos where it looks like nothing but joy and satisfaction on the faces of the people involved? That is not the true picture of adoption. It is absolutely joyful and there is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your child for the first time. The problem with that picture is that it is the culmination of sleepless nights worrying about if everything is going to fall through, trying to figure out how to pay the huge price of adoption on an already shoestring budget, and questioning everything about how ready you are to become a parent. The picture is absolutely true because the first time I saw Sophie none of the hard stuff mattered anymore, but it took months to get there. On top of that, the difficulty only increases when you bring your child home for the first time because of the sleepless nights, the continued worry, and the uneasiness that still haunts you about whether you are good enough to be a Mom/Dad. You might be ready to adopt if you are prepared to go through a lot of challenges but in the end receive the greatest gift in the world.
You may not be ready to adopt if your idea of adoption is that you are saving a child from an otherwise awful life. That is not fair to you or the child because there will be this unrealistic view of how grateful that child should be to enter your family when the reality is that your child is just your child and you are his/her parents. They are in your family just as much as your wife or biological children, and while we should teach them to be grateful for the things they have, we should not teach them they are lucky just to be a part of our family. We should teach them that they are loved unconditionally and that we will never leave them. One of the things we hear from others is something to the extent of, “Sophie is so lucky to be a part of your family.” The truth is, she is. Just like we are lucky to be a part of her family, but there is this idea that Sophie is extra lucky/blessed because of what could have happened. We did not save Sophie from anything, Sophie is our daughter and she was always supposed to be, and anything less than that view would not be right for us or her.
Here are some other things that may keep you from looking into adoption:
- Cost. This somehow works out. Jess and I make less than half of what we used to make when we started the adoption process (we were both working jobs at the time prior to forming All Things New) and yet GOD continues to make a way for us. We don’t always know how, but it always happens!
- Fear. What if my child doesn’t love me or I him? What if I do not know how to raise a child from a different background, country, or culture? What if I choose the wrong agency (which we did at first), lose all of my money (which we did), or enter the wrong program? What if I am not a good Mom or a good Dad?
- I’m too old to adopt. No you’re not (well maybe you are). In the foster care system or in international adoptions, older children are waiting to be adopted. When a child turns a certain age (depending on the country) they can no longer be legally adopted. At the same time, older kids have a much more difficult time finding adoptive parents than younger children. If you feel like you are too old to adopt, if your other children have already left home, or if you feel like you cannot be there for a child like you would like you are just wrong. There are teenagers just waiting to be loved by a parent and if it is not you, it will probably be nobody.
Let me just tell you the truth about adoption…If you have ever considered it or if you want to add to your family in this way, you just have to do it. You can just continue to sit around and talk about it, run the numbers over and over again, tell everyone how interested you are in adoption, and just stall and procrastinate or you can take a step of faith and start the process. It is not easy, but it is worth it! Have you ever heard someone start talking about wanting to lose weight, exercise more, or start a diet? I have, on numerous occasions, told a friend or family member something like this, “Man, I really need to lose a few pounds.” Now, that is a pretty normal statement to make. The problem, however, is that more often than not, I am eating a huge hamburger or drinking a milkshake as those words leave my mouth. I am not going to lose weight just by saying I need to, and you are never going to know if adoption is possible for you until you start the process!
So, why adopt…
We adopt because we are loved.
We adopt because we love others.
We adopt because we will do whatever we can to show that love.
We adopt because love is sacrifice.
We adopt because we were adopted!
We were adopted because of love.
We were adopted through love’s sacrifice.
We were adopted as joint heirs with our Savior Jesus Christ.
We were adopted by GOD!
I guess the real question is, “Why not adopt?” because the gift of adoption is greater than any trial, any cost, and any hardship that it can cause. Did you know that there are about 150 million children worldwide who either do not have parents or whose parents cannot/will not take care of them and that only about 250,000 of them will ever be adopted? Did you know that over 20,000 children age out of the foster care system in America each year and because of that will never be adopted into a family? Did you know that there are over 300,000 churches in America whose members could help to put a huge dent in the number of orphans worldwide? The question is not “Why Adopt,” the question is…
Also, stay tuned to a new adoption related announcement soon!