Question Submitted: I have been thinking of contacting you for a while and I just decided to go ahead and ask. I really hope that I am not prying, and if I am feel free to just ignore me!
I am a huge advocate for adoption, have been for a really long time. I have been researching adoption options for about five years now and my husband and I are currently in the process ourselves.
Oftentimes I will tell people that there are very few legitimate reasons that preclude a person from adopting at all. I don’t ever say this to place judgement on those who choose not to adopt. Of course it is not a calling for everyone!
But I do say it to encourage those who are interested in adopting but feel that there are roadblocks they could not overcome. There are just so many options, usually there is at least one out there that fits for a family. And I really have come across very few cases where this is not so.
A few of my friends have spoken to me privately about this, with concerns that my advocating comes on too strong, particularly for couples who want to adopt but feel they can’t. A few have mentioned you specifically, and how you and your husband have tried but God has closed that door.
I know this is a very personal thing, but I can’t help thinking that perhaps knowing your story might give me a perspective that I’m missing.
No, you are not prying at all. However, because my personal story involves (yes, I use the present tense) many different individuals who have not given me their permission to share their own involvement in my story, I choose to keep my story private for the protection of all involved.
Let me suffice to say that I am a huge advocate for adoption, as well. (I am blessed to be an aunt to three adopted nieces and one adopted nephew.) I am also an advocate for supporting and equipping parents (married, single, crisis, or otherwise) to whom God has already given the gift of children through conception. They’re both worthy causes.
If it helps, I think you answered your own concerns in the following three statements:
1. “I have been researching adoption options for about five years now and my husband and I are currently in the process ourselves.” – One could ask why, in those five years of research, you have not already adopted a child, but that’s the point, isn’t it? You can’t possibly control such things. You are trying to adopt, and there it is. There, also, are most barren couples in regards to adoption. They are simply elbow-deep in research, paperwork, foster care training, court appointments, and visits with social workers, hoping and praying that God will give them the gift of a child through adoption according to His will. I would venture to guess this scenario fits most couples with whom you are concerned.
2. “Of course it is not a calling for everyone!” Exactly, and we must respect the fact God does and doesn’t call people to the vocation of adoptive parenting, even if that makes us uncomfortable. Remember, adoption is not a law. From an advocacy standpoint, I think it wise to be a little less concerned with those whom God hasn’t called to be adoptive parents and, instead, focus attention and support on those whom He has.
3. “And I really have come across very few cases where this is not so.” Yet, these cases exist, so we trust in the Lord all the more for these couples instead of burdening them with ungodly guilt. Again, adoption is not a law, and it most certainly is not the only way to serve orphans. I think adoption advocates (me included) sometimes forget that adopted children need more than just parents. Let’s rejoice in all of the vocations – social workers, lawyers, pastors, counselors, foster parents, policemen, judges, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, therapists, doctors, nurses, travel guides, bloggers, fundraisers, you name it – who faithfully serve these children even though they never get to adopt them.
There is one other group of people in this situation which deserves our attention and respect: those couples who, for whatever reason, simply decide they don’t want to adopt children. As contrary as their decision may seem to our own sentiments, it’s okay for them to decide not to adopt. Many of us can’t help but rise up and start quoting James 1:27 to them – “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world [ESV].” – but, again, it is wise to remember that adoptive parenting is not the only vocation through which God serves these children (just as adoptive parenting is not the only vocation through which God serves widows).
And, as a friendly salutation, I’d like to correct one statement in the original submission above in regards to my own story. Rather than writing “God has closed that door” for my husband and me in regards to adoption, I think it is a truer confession to write “God has not yet given us the gift of children through adoption.”
Yep, that pretty much sums it up. My husband and I still have hope of being parents (adoptive or otherwise), but we don’t hold God to a promise He hasn’t given us in His Word. We are trusting that His will for us today is good, even if it is childless. It would help and encourage me greatly if those around me trusted in His good will for us, too.