Monday, October 28, 2013

Should Every Christian Couple Consider Adoption?

[This was an email I sent to a friend, slightly edited from the original, in answer to her question "Do you think the question for Christian couples is not 'Should we adopt' but rather 'Should we not adopt?'" Note that the conversational tone of the writing is precisely because it was originally an email.]

Your question is a hard one and one that I have thought about some.  To be clear, since God has given us a desire to adopt, I would say that its hard to give an unbiased opinion to this question.  When God gives you a passion for something, its easy to wonder why everyone else doesn't share the same passion... but that is because we are the body of Christ with unique giftings and callings.  I think that adoption is great and I wish more Christian couples would consider it.  Adoption is on the rise in the past few years in Christian circles, but I can't help but to think about the 200,000 kids in the US alone who are still without a permanent home and ready to be adopted today if a couple would step up.

To start out, one question every Christian couple definitely should ask is, how does God want us to be relationally involved in caring for orphans?  Giving money to organizations that support orphans is good, but the wording of James 1:27 ("visit orphans and widows") has me convinced that God wants us to be in the lives of widows and orphans. In fact, it was a result of meditating on the word "visit" and praying about what it meant for us that lead Alex and I to pursue adoption so early on in our marriage.    

I think a good second question to ask after that is to ask does God want us to adopt as part of our relational care of orphans?  There are lots of programs and organizations that care for orphans.  But no volunteer work or ministry, nothing will ever come close to type of whole life blessing a family can give to an orphan through welcoming him or her into their home.

In light of this, I wish that more people would realize how easy it is to adopt.  I really think that we are in a unique time in history where many factors have come together to make this easier than at other times.  There are so many myths about adoption and I think people shy away because they think its hard.  And on one hand, admittedly, it IS hard (the emotional side). But logistically, its easy (though you have to be patient because it takes a while... but growing a baby in your womb also takes a while!).  Because of airplanes, its easy to fly to another country that is a half a world away and get connected with a child in need, and bring him/her back to your house.  Because of the abundance of orphans in the US, the government has made it easy to adopt by paying all of the expenses for an adoption through the foster care system.  There are 3 different types of adoption available to couples in the US (international, domestic private, and foster care) and numerous adoption agencies that can connect you to any one of these types, and advise you and help you in the process.  There are also a myriad of books and resources about adoption, from every topic ranging from the biblical basis for adoption, to how to attach to an adopted child to how to care for child with a different ethnic hair type than your own.

This is also an unprecedented time in the history of the church because couples also have control of their  fertility through various birth control methods (but not the pill).  Now, I hesitate to say this because I think birth control is over used in many Christian families and that many couples are limiting their family size for ungodly, worldly reasons (like the desire for money, comfort, ease of life).  But at the same time, I see birth control as making it possible for couples to plan when to have children, allowing the space in their lives to allow for adoption (whether before, after or in between bio kids).  

To be clear, I don't want to sound like its more important or more godly to adopt than to have bio kids, because bio kids are a blessing even if you have 20 of them (though some people will try to tell you that you are overpopulating the world and glare at you and tell you that you can "stop already now"... and I know this because it happened to me when we only had four kids).  But the difference is now, couples can pray and ask God if he wants them to limit bio kids for the sake of adoption, where in the past that wasn't even an option.  And I don't see why he wouldn't want some Christians to do this, in light of the fact that there are millions of orphans worldwide.  I hope that he changes the hearts of many Christian couples who are thinking about following the typical American "two and done" route with kids to expand their willingness to sacrifice and lay down their lives to increase their family to four, five, six, seven, for the sake of giving every orphan a home.  For us personally, we don't see bio kids and adopted kids as mutually exclusive, and hope to have lots of both, by God's grace and with the measure of strength he grants us to do so!

So maybe the right questions for Christian couples are "How does God want us to relationally care for orphans?" and "Is adoption part of that?" and thirdly, "Because of the unique ways that God is making it easier at this point in history to adopt, is there any reason why we should not pursue adoption?"  Any couple asking these types of questions is on the right track.

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