Question Submitted: I know quite a few couples who are choosing to stop having children naturally, even though they are capable, in order to adopt. Is this a common phenomenon in American Christianity? The rationale seems to be:
1) They don’t want to go through another pregnancy, babyhood, potty training (so they will look to adopt an older child). I find this reason uncomfortably close to why I look to “adopt” older dogs, and not 6-week-old puppies.
2) They think adopting a child who otherwise would not be raised in the faith and may live in poverty or suffering is better than having another baby of their own. My husband calls this Malthusianism Lite.
Please understand my friends are clear that there are no obstacles to having another baby naturally (barrenness, physical danger to mom, etc.). How do I respond to these statements? If it didn’t happen so often, I would ignore it, but I have heard different women speak this way 4-5 times over the last year.
I recently heard a similar sentiment spoken about a character on a popular television show, and the character was lauded for thinking such things. I guess it doesn’t surprise me that the world thinks conception and adoption are mutually exclusive, but when did we in the Church buy into such fallacies?*
Conception is good in marriage. Adoption is good in marriage. Both are ways God gifts marriages with children, and we need not attempt to control either one. In fact, to sacrifice one for the other, to treat one as better or more important or more practical or more beneficial than the other, is problematic, and, for this reason, I would advise these couples to go talk with their pastor about such things in light of their specific vocations.
* I am not speaking about the specific circumstance of when a couple is blessed with a pregnancy during the adoption process and, because agency/government rules dictate such matters, must forgo an adoption at that time. That matter is separate from the question submitted and, therefore, is not addressed in this post.