Why Adopt?

Adoption is not the ultimate act a human can engage in. Adopting a child does not make a person better than someone who does not adopt. Adoptive families should never consider themselves “insiders” while families who have not adopted are “outsiders.” Adoption is a loving choice that does not making not adopting a less loving choice. Adoption is a loving choice where a family decides to expand.

A single person may decide to adopt and expand his/her family to make a family of two. A married couple might decide to adopt and make their family three. A family of four might decide to adopt and make a family of seven. Adoption is simply a loving choice to expand your family to make room for a child who needs to be included. The other choice is to have an orphan remain an orphan.

To say that an orphan has no chance to grow to be a well adjusted, productive, and loving person is absurd. Plenty of orphans have grown to be great people. Plenty of orphans have gone on to become pioneers and make significant contributions to mankind. And most orphans long to be a member of a family. Below is not an exhaustive list of reasons to adopt – but it is a list of the most influential reasons Judith and I chose to become adoptive parents.

So why adopt?

Because God has a special place in His heart for the orphan

I don’t know what you think about the Bible. Some think the whole thing is a sham. Some think it is a great book with many great principles on living, but not an accurate book in regards to science and history. Others think it is a book that God actually wrote. There are many other views, but my purpose is not to try and convince you of my view of the Bible or religion, rather to let you know our conviction of adoption.

If I understand the Bible correctly, then God seems to have a special place in his heart for people that are disadvantaged. When people are oppressed, God wants the oppressors to stop or face justice. The ancient Hebrew people were just getting going as a nation. At their beginning God gives them instructions to not mistreat an alien (foreigner living among them – not little green man from outer space). Earlier they were aliens and were mistreated when living in another country.

The next instructions were to not take advantage of an orphan or widow. Then He warns them, “If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.” (Exodus 22:22) It seems God is saying do no harm to the orphan and widow because I am listening out for them. Thousands of years later God gave instructions to the newly formed Christian Church. He said, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

At the beginning of the Jewish and Christian religions God said to take care of the disadvantaged. He said to take care of the orphan and widow because His heart is with them. The bible is filled with evidence of God’s desire for them to be taken care of.  

Because we all long to be loved by our parents

How many times have we seen enormous, skilled, awesome professional athletes talk about the love of their mothers? While certainly not a guarantee, it makes sense to me that people have a better chance of becoming well adjusted adults when they have experienced the unconditional love of mom and/or dad.

In many cases adoption brings an opportunity to share with the children that their birth parents sacrificially loved them.  They loved them so much they were willing to place them into the arms of adoptive parents who longed to love them unconditionally.

Adoption brings the potential for an orphan to experience the satisfaction of being loved by parents.

Because the greatest influence on our life is our parents

I am convinced the most influential force on our life is our parents. So much of who we are and who we will become is a result of the influence (good and bad) of our parents. Parents have the opportunity to give guidance in life to impressionable minds.

Parents have the greatest opportunity to help kids achieve more in school. Parents have the greatest opportunity to help young men and women develop a solid work ethic. Parents have the greatest opportunity to help their children respect others, the environment, and the differences in cultures.

Adoption brings the opportunity to have maximum influence on people.

Because all children need to belong and have an identity

All people are created with a need to belong.  Whether its a club, or a team, or a group, or whatever, we all need to belong.  The family is the best place to belong and gain an identity.  Often we refer to our relationship with others when sharing who we are: “I am Judith’s husband. I am Gene’s brother. I am Smyth’s dad.”  There is a healthy identity created in that because we know we belong with those people.

When I introduce Smyth I say, “This is my son, Smyth.”  That’s a part of his identity.  I don’t say, “This is my adopted son, Smyth.” His identity is not adoption.  His identity is in being a son and belonging in this family.  Adoption is just how he got the belonging.  My kids call me “dad.”  They don’t call me, “adoptive dad.”  If someone asks if they are adopted, (and they often do) then I gladly share.  In our family adoption is important because sonship is essential.

Adoption brings the opportunity to belong and have a healthy identity.

Because some children need to overcome many setbacks

Some children have suffered abuse or neglect. Some children have developmental delays. Some children have parents who have been victims of AIDS or other causes for death. Some children have disabilities. Some children need to have a healthy model lived out in front of them so they can learn to interact with a family.

Adoption brings the opportunity for them to have committed parents that will help them overcome these and other setbacks.

Because adoptive families are usually forever changed for the better

Some people share our experience and trial of infertility. They are unable to devote themselves to the great adventure of rearing children. Some families have biological children and they would expand their family’s joy with another child. Children change us. The answer to change is not which children change us? The answer is that they change us. How they came into our family is irrelevant. We are typically better people because children force us to change our priorities, values, and focus.

Adoption brings the opportunity for a great change.

Because adoption brings hope

Many people lack hope. Many children are frightened, confused, abandoned, and weary. The longing inside of them is for something better. Most of us do not know how to inspire. It is not usually with words that we find the greatest comfort, joy, and hope. It is with the simple action of being there.

The vast majority of difficult times in my life have been eased by the presence of those who loved me. It doesn’t matter that they don’t have any answers to my questions. What matters is that they walk through life with me. The vast majority of great times in my life have been shared with those who pushed me to reach.

All of us long for companionship. We do not know what the future holds. But when someone intentionally chooses to walk alongside of us through the good, the bad, and the ugly, we find the strength to hope in what could be. All parents have the opportunity to inspire hope in their children. They inspire hope of who they might become and what they might accomplish.

Adoption brings hope.