When I first became passionate about Christians caring for the fatherless, I just didn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to adopt. I was FURIOUS with Pat Robertson when he said people needed to “count the cost” before adopting. I thought, “Great, he just gave people an out and scared them off from adopting!”
Today I am going to do something I will probably not ever do again and I’m going to agree with Pat Robertson. Oh, my fingers burn just typing that! Let me do some splainin’.
Let’s go back to that first sentence. It was a little arrogant, I’ll admit. I would have conversations where people would say their reasons for not adopting –
“We just don’t have the money”
“I can barely handle the kids I have”
“I just couldn’t love an adopted child as my own”
And so on. Inside I would be thinking, oh, come on, you could do this!
Now as an adoptive parent of exactly three months, let me tell you this:
God doesn’t need you to do Him any favors. If you don’t want to adopt for any reason, DON’T.
If you aren’t ready for the reality of adoption (which is that it’s messy and borne of tragedy), don’t do it. I wanted to adopt. I want to adopt again. I have been blessed beyond measure by my second born son. But with all my passion for adoption and love for my child, this is still hard. It isn’t like, oh, I wanted to bring a child home and I did and he loves me every second of every day and nevermind the traumatic past he has, he’s just so happy to have a home!
Guiding a little heart toward healing is hard. Parenting through grief and trauma is sometimes exhausting. It takes patience that I have to constantly ask God to give me. I cannot fathom having gone into this not 100% devoted to helping our child heal, no matter what the cost.
Because guess what?
I’m selfish. And so are you, unless you’re Jesus. Being a part of helping a child heal takes selflessness that I just don’t naturally have.
So I guess I would say this:
God doesn’t need your favors or mine.
Now, let me backpedal. God calls the church to care for orphans and widows, so I’m not saying not to care. I’m talking specifically about adoption. As my good friend Pat Robertson said, people should consider the cost, out of fairness to their adopted child and entire family, and be sure that is something they are prepared for.
If you want to do something about the orphan crisis, really examine how you can be a part of the solution. Consider giving money to a reputable organization that helps orphaned children or sponsoring a child or becoming a mentor or CASA worker. Adopt if you’re kept up at night with that fire in your heart to bring a child into your home and see them through the hardest of days. Otherwise, don’t. Really, it’s ok. I hereby give you permission to just not want to do it.(I know, you’re breathing a real sigh of relief there.)
If you are one of those people up at night with that burning inside and you just know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what God wants you to do, then DO IT. And don’t worry about money or how many rooms are in your house. That all falls in place. Instead, get on your knees right now and pray for God to give you the grace to be the parent that child needs. Know that He is going to stretch you farther than you ever imagined.
Lara is a Jesus-loving, book-reading, coffee-drinking, kid-chasing farmer’s wife of 5 years. She and her beloved farmer, Jon, have three kids: Cade, Ambrose, and Ellie. They brought her most recent additional home from Uganda in October 2011.