I had a problem. It was mostly due to my own immaturity, but more-so the fact that I just didn’t understand what I was getting into, or why we were doing this in the first place. We were on our way to a youth leader’s training event when the phone call came in that our baby was being born. Kristin was excited and nervous, I was just terrified! We arrived where the training was being held and immediately drove to the hospital in Indianapolis. A hour later our first daughter entered the world. I was the first to hold her and feed her. Kristin changed her first diaper.
While I spent the next week, or so, in shock, that slowly changed. As people began to congratulate us and tell us how amazing we were for adopting this “poor little girl,” I began to feel awesome. In fact, a few times I puffed out my chest, tilted my head, and glowed over the amazing way we swooped down, in the nick of time, to save this little girl. But she didn’t come from a desperate and dark situation. In fact, her birth mother took all of her pre-natal vitamins, ate healthy, and stayed away from drugs and alcohol. While people assumed this wasn’t the case, it actually was.
My perspective was off. Way off, in fact. I had this rescuer mentality. I saw us as superheroes, or vigilantes fighting for a cause. But that wasn’t why we were adopting and that certainly wasn’t what adoption was all about. It took me some time, but eventually I learned why you do choose adoption.
The Reasons Why You Don’t.
We live in a world that knows all about adoption (for the most part), but really doesn’t understand it. In fact, in our new book, The Adoptive Parent Toolbox, we actually dedicate an entire section to the reality that adoption is well-known but widely misunderstood.
I’ve been caught up in this before, and I’ve met several pre-adoptive families who have as well. It requires a change in perspective. If you’re anything like I was, you need someone to frankly explain the correct perspective :-). With that said, here are 4 reasons why you should never choose adoption:
- To rescue. Have you ever had this thought- “This child needs me. They’re in an awful situation and they need me to pull them out of it.” Or perhaps, “We’re adopting from an impoverished country to give a child a better life, a second chance. If it weren’t for us, they would be lost in a very dark situation.” If so, let me stop you. Your mindset is wrong. Adoption isn’t about a rescue mission. It’s not about swooping into a third world country or a drug and violence-infested neighborhood in your city and pulling a child out. While you will most certainly give your child a better life, and you might be bringing them out of a difficult situation, you choose adoption because you want to make a difference in the world, not because you want to be a superhero.
- To be awesome. Speaking of superheroes, there’s no place for this in adoption either. I’ve met too many people who have the superhero complex. They pat themselves on the back for adopting a child from a “dark situation,” as if they’re Superman or Wonder Woman, swooping in to save the day. You’re awesome because you have a heart wider than the Grand Canyon. And you’re awesome for adopting. Know that, believe that, but don’t relish in that, or pat yourself on the back. Be humble. Be grateful that God is using you and your family the way He is. It’s by His strength, and only His, that you’re able to do this in the first place!
- To keep up. Believe it or not, we’ve encountered several people over the past decade who adopted because their friends adopted. Or, they were surrounded by lots of people who were raising kids, biological and through adoption, and they felt left out. So, they rushed to their local agency, filled out all the paperwork, received their approval, and they were off to the races. Later on, however, they realized how difficult this journey could be, and that not everyone is equipped to be an adoptive parent. We can’t stress this enough- Never adopt to keep up with anyone!
- To fill a void. The hardest thing in the world to go through is deep loss. The death of a child, the loss of a pregnancy, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a foster-care placement, or the inability to become pregnant. These are all extremely difficult experiences to walk through. We’ve had an adoption fall through, a child we were going to adopt pass away, and a miscarriage. It’s hard, hard stuff to walk through. All you’re left with is a void in your heart. Choosing to adopt to fill this void is not a healthy reason to adopt. It won’t fill the emptiness nor the loss.
The Reason Why You Do.
You choose adoption because you want to change the world. You do it because you have a heart filled with love, and you love children. You adopt because you want to change children’s lives and make a difference in a rather dark and desperate world. You also choose adoption because you want to change the future. We believe that adoption is future-shaping and world-changing in every way.
You’re not a rescuer, you’re not a superhero, you’re a person with a big heart and a truck load of compassion. Make this your focus as you journey down the amazing, challenging, and worthwhile road of adoption!
What are some other reasons why you adopt? Share them with us and start the conversation!
Have you checked out our brand new eBook and Video Series, The Adoptive Parent Toolbox, yet? If not, you need to hurry. The opportunity to get the most comprehensive and real-life resource on everything from starting out the journey, to continuing it, to just inquiring about it, ends tomorrow night! Click here for full access now.