One of the most terrifying things about adoption is handling everyone else’s expectations. They come on so heavy from the start.
“You should adopt. Why haven’t you adopted, yet? Is it the money? Is it that you only want a child from your own womb, because there are so many orphaned children out there who need a home.”
“How can you have been married for so long and not have adopted a child, yet? If you just started the process, you’d have a child in just a couple of years.”
“You don’t need to have the money up front. God will provide it if you, in good faith, go ahead and start the process. He helps those who help themselves.”
“It’s selfish whenever people adopt from overseas. Don’t they know there are children right here in America who need our help?”
“If you start the adoption process, you’ll get pregnant in, like, a year. I know a ton of people who’ve had that happen.”
All of the questions and projections and insinuations that surround the issue of adoption in our society are not unlike those which surround infertility. Our world – and, in some cases, even the Church – really does believe a barren woman can and should be able to control such things, but a barren woman knows the truth that there is not a single thing she can do to give herself the gift of a child through conception or adoption. Oh, how she knows it! Believe me, if she could control such things, she would have a child, already.
I think it’s worth reflecting a bit on what kinds of answers we’re expecting the barren to give in response to the questions listed above. Most certainly, their answers would be personal (too personal for general conversation in my humble opinion), and the barren most likely won’t engage us with a list of self-justifications for why they’ve not yet been given a child through adoption. The reasons are often too painful: the rejections from birth mothers and agencies, the ethical dilemmas, the meager pocketbook, the pre-existing medical conditions already in the family, the income level which can’t support the medical needs of a special-needs child, an unsupportive extended family, racism in grandparents and church bodies, an unsure spouse, and so much more.
I recently talked with a woman who was denied the opportunity to adopt because the agency rules of her generation required that both she and her husband have college degrees. It didn’t matter that they had plenty of home and heart and income to support the needs of a child.
We just have no idea why God in His wisdom has not given the gift of children through adoption to some barren couples, and we would be wise to respect His giving.
Remember, children are a gift from the LORD – even adopted children – and “His will is just and holy.”