Quite the insensitive question when you think about it!
Let’s tackle that question (that we hear all the time) in two parts and I’m going to answer them in reverse order.
Part two: “when you can have your own”
I know how many people struggle with infertility or second time around infertility. We struggled to get pregnant with our last son; hence the 3 year gap or there would only be a year between our daughter and son. I can only imagine never being able to feel a child grow inside you and the sense of loss that carries.
We were able to have children. We had three. But just because I could possibly get pregnant again that doesn’t mean I wanted to or should. I have always known I would adopt. When I met my husband, one of the things that endeared me to him was that he said he always wanted to adopt siblings from a third world country. What guy grows up thinking that? A keeper that’s for sure!
So to answer the first part of the question, “Why on earth would we chose to adopt?” There are many reasons!
The first reason is, I do not love pregnancy! I should. I had no issues, I had two hour labours with no drugs or epidurals. I really can’t complain. I just knew that there are so many children who don’t have parents. Ever since I was five, I would watch those TV shows of the saddest faces of dying children from World Vision or other organizations trying to bring light to the devastation of the world. I knew since then that I wanted to help children and that I could love them from first sight. I used to live in an affluent town and as we drove down the lakeside and see all the mansions I would say to my mom “those families must have lots of children”. When she told me that no, most of them just had one or two I was in shock. I always thought from then on that if I ever got a big house I would fill it with people in need. Children, orphans, widows, homeless, anyone who needed a bed. And that is what we have done. We have brought in single mothers with their children. We have welcomed husbands who have been kicked out for a time. Our couches have been slept on by many people needing a night of warmth and hospitality. Our kids have changed rooms more times than they can count to share a room with a child who needs a safe place to stay. We have adopted (not on paper) many family members who know that we are home. We are family. We chose them and love them and we are there for them.
The second reason we adopt is permanency. When we foster a child, we accept the possibility that the child’s parents may lose their parental rights and the child may end up staying in foster care if there is no family able to take them. Every case is different and we have fostered over 50 kids and have only adopted two from foster care. One girl we adopted we had with us for four years and the other was her sister who we had since the day she was born. The girls were part of our family. Our youngest child didn’t know that his sisters weren’t his biological sisters and it would have been very difficult to tear our family apart if we had said no to adoption. When we take a child, we accept that they may end up moving back home, on to a family member. If that isn’t a possibility and they are happy with us, then we would not want them to suffer more upset and have to move elsewhere. We want to give them a permanent home. We did not even make a huge deal about the adoption as some do because both girls didn’t realize that they weren’t already part of the family. They knew long before the papers were signed exactly who their Mom and Dad and siblings were. To tear them away would have been cruel to them and to us.
Thirdly, those girls needed a family; all kids need a family. Some may think they don’t but everyone is created to be in relationships. We all need love and we all need to know where our safe place is. We all want to have somewhere to go for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Kids especially. There are thousands of kids in our province who are desperately hoping for a family this Christmas. There are teens who have aged out of foster care and now have no one to call family. This is tragic. There are thousands more families who could love and be an amazing support to a child. I actually believe that most families have the capability to welcome someone into their family on some level. What stops people is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the myths, fear of difficulty and fear of rejection. I say more people need to get past fear and welcome someone into their family. If adopting a child isn’t possible, what about a grandparent? There are programs out there that match lonely seniors (also often with no family) to a family who can share some love. Adoption changes lives. It changes the life of a lonely person and it changes the life of a family. It’s a win-win!
The fourth and most important to us is that adoption is the example set out in the Bible. If you follow the Bible then you will know that many of the most amazing people were adopted. Many of the famous people in the Bible were adopted such as Moses, Esther and Jesus. Jesus was adopted. If God expected someone to take care of His son, then why on earth wouldn’t He expect us to take care of all the other children? John Piper, a theologian, says it best; the Gospel is not a picture of adoption, adoption is a picture of the Gospel.