You wouldn't believe the lack of delicacy that occurs when a young, childless couple announces their desire to adopt. "What, you can't have kids?" or "You don't want to have any of your 'own' kids?" or my fave, "So, are you just swingin' and missin'?" have been frequently asked questions as Andrew and I have pursued adoption.
First of all, it makes me sad that so many people, even unconsciously, think of adoption as a last choice option. But secondly, knowing families that have struggled with the very personal and heartbreaking journey of infertility, I want to burst into tears and sobbingly concoct a story about my barren womb just to teach them a lesson in decorum. So far, I have refrained.
Now I know what you're thinking, "So are you just swingin' and missin'?" Haha. I guess it's human nature to be curious about intimate details of other people's lives, and thus I have (very politely I might say) informed people that we have no idea and consider our decision to adopt just the beginning of our family, one that may have both birth and adoptive children in it!
The short answer to the question about our decision to adopt is, "Because God told us to." The longer answer is even still unfolding in our hearts and minds as we continue on this journey, now welcoming a little one into our home. Before beginning the adoption process we would have considered ourselves knowledgeable about adoption and might have subconsciously patted ourselves on the back that we had already talked about adopting someday in the future. Go us. But, as God has led us into this He has humbled us and taught us and opened our eyes to how much He has a heart for adoption, so much so, that He made each of us part of His sacred family via adoption. When you think about it that way, adoption is a perfectly normal expression of God's kingdom...one that doesn't come with pats on the back, but with reverent humility.
I do not think that choosing to adopt because you cannot have biological children is a bad thing. I know many families who have adopted for this reason who have developed a passion for caring for orphans and have been a godly demonstration of God's love as they grew their family. I have also seen a few families in which this is not the case, and that is sad.
How God brings a family to the decision to adopt will be unique in each situation, but God has been teaching Andrew and I that the result in everything we do, including adoption, should be more glory to God not us. There is nothing special about us, just the God we serve. I want to encourage anyone who may have thought about adoption, or maybe those of you who haven't even considered it, that God could use you to impact this world through adoption. There are 163 million orphans in the world, 150,000 of them right here in the U.S. If you consider yourself pro-life, consider being part of the solution by making one of these children your own.
There are many support groups and resources out there for adoptive families. I have found a few to be particularly helpful. I recently read a book by Helen Lee called, The Missional Mom, and while it addresses so much more than adoption, it does a great job of talking about adoption as an intentional choice to bring glory to God in our lives through missional living. Helen Lee also has a website and blog that has links to more resources here. Another great book is Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches by Russel Moore. Focus on the Family also has wonderful resources to find out more about adoption. If you are considering foster care, or adoption through the foster care system I would suggest you search for a Christian support group in your city. We received our training and continue to get support from One Heart Family Ministries here in St. Louis. It makes all the difference to walk this journey with others looking to serve the Lord with their lives and their families.
My prayer for you (and me) is that, "...whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
And while there have been and are many challenges yet ahead for us in this journey, Andrew and I have found that following the Lord's direction in our life has given us much to be thankful for...one crazy little two year old in particular.