1. You are a fixer.
There is a cause on every corner. Needs scream on the internet, the newspaper, the news. So many needs. Fixers like to fix things. I know. I am a fixer. I see a problem- I want to fix it. I see a pile of junk-I want to pick it up. I see a photo of a child who needs a home-I want to adopt him. Fixers have a unique spiritual gift- Mercy. Or you could all so call it empathy. We don’t just see the problem, we feel it.
When Jerry and started the adoption process, I received a packet in the mail with a video of orphans all over the world. I wept as I watched. I decided to adopt every child on it. Not very realistic, huh?
Over a year later,while living in an orphanage in Poland for a month, I tried to convince Jerry that we should adopt all fifty-nine residents. Once again, Jerry talked me down from the fixer ledge. We went home with four.
“How we approach something matters. If the activity we’re considering is in line with God’s word but our approach to that activity isn’t, we will overdraw ourselves and bankrupt this part of our lives. A good approach to something requires enough resources to handle the demands of that activity.”- Lysa Terkeurst, The Best Yes
When adopting, each of us must consider our physical, spiritual and emotional limitations. God will not give us more than we can bear, but we fixers are good at piling our plates too full. I wouldn’t have had the finances, energy, room and emotional energy to parent fifty-nine children well or even poorly.
2. Everyone else is adopting.
It seems as if there is an adoption craze nowadays. It’s catching and that is a good thing….if you are supposed to adopt. You know. Deep down in your heart. You know. If it is for you and it’s not time yet, it is okay to wait. If everyone in you circle of friends is adopting and you don’t feel called to, please don’t. It will be better for you and the child or children if you step back and let someone else parent them. You have a calling. You have a purpose. It doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing. It must be what God has called you to do. WE need you to fulfill your purpose in the body of Christ.All of us (your sisters and brothers through Christ) are counting on you to fulfill your purpose so we can fulfill ours. Not everyone can be the same body part or the body cannot function.
“In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t”.- Romans 12:4-6, The Message
3. It’s Biblical.
I preach adoption, openly. I know. But, please, don’t ever take my advice as your gospel directive unless it is just watering a seed you already have in your heart. Adoption is not for the faint of heart. It is for those who have a heart for adoption.
” External [a]religious worship [[b]religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.”- James 1:27
James 1:27 states that we are to care for widows and orphans. There are many ways to do this. If you don’t feel called to adopt, don’t take this verse as a command to adopt. If adoption is not your God sized dream, then find some way to support widows and orphans in another way.
4. You feel sorry for orphans.
Feeling sorry for a child because you see a photo or read an article is not a great reason to adopt. (The child in the photo is happily adopted, so don’t ask.). The problem with this feeling? it goes away. Quickly. The child that you feel sorry for for a moment will be your responsibility for the rest of your life. He will vomit on you. Wake you up in the middle of the night. Eat all your food. You will be responsible for his education. One moment of ‘feeling sorry’ turns into the hardest job you have ever done. EVER. It is not feeling sorry for a child that leads to adoption. It is a heart for adoption. Or a God-sized dream (thanks for the term, Holley Gerth)
5. Your pastor said to.
I have issues with Pastors ordering the congregation to do something. Maybe I just have issues with authority. But, anytime a Pastor starts telling me where to live, what to buy, to adopt or not to adopt, I’m out the door. I’m not building any golden calves in the wilderness and I have respect for the Word of God. But, I have a personal relationship with God. He leads me. I hear his voice. I read His word. Each of us are held accountable for our decisions. We must read the Word, seek His guidance and He will direct our paths. Pastor’s job is to shepherd the flock.
I’ve heard of stories where churches cleaned out orphanages, adopting until their homes were full to the brim. Later some of the families imploded. They weren’t prepared for the issues that follow adoption. They had followed an edict. Their families paid the price.
6. You have money.
Money is not the root of all evil. The love of money is. Money is a wonderful resource. Just keep in mind that money cannot parent children. Don’t be pressured into adopting just because you have abundant resources. Because you have the resource of capital, you may not have the time. Adopting takes time.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying you should be poor or middle class to adopt (though most of us are).One of the main concerns people have about adopting is monetary. We take out loans. We sell baked goods and hand made doll clothes all to get on a plane and adopt a child. We buy second hand furniture and watch for sales on bedding to prepare. Does money make it easier? Sure. Is money the answer? No. God paves the road to adoption.
If you have money and don’t feel called to adopt, then don’t give in to the pressure. If you want to do something, there are plenty of organizations you can give to to help orphans find a home or help adoptive families travel.
7. Your spouse wants to.
The great division. You don’t want to adopt. Your spouse does. Don’t. At least, don’t now. There is nothing wrong with a bit of waiting. God softens and hardens hearts. Ask Him to do what He wills with yours. WARNING- Don’t go into adoption unequally yoked. The partner in disagreement will always feel the weight of the yoke more. Worse. The children will feel the tension. They have a super sniffer when it comes to sniffing out discord. They can smell it a mile a way. It will make for a battle ground of a home for everyone.
Don’t adopt unless you are in agreement.
If infertility has left a hole in your soul (and it does), let the healer do His work. Don’t run out and adopt a child when you have a gaping wound in your heart. That child has a gaping wound too. Who is the healer? He is.He is Jehovah-Rapha. Your healer. He knows the depth of your pain. He sees you. He loves you.
“If you do not take the distinction between good and bad very seriously, then it is easy to say that anything you find in the world is a part of God. But, of course, if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then you cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will. Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, “If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realise that is also is God.’ The Christian replies, ‘Don’t talk damned nonsense.’ “- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
And I add if you are confronted with infertility. We live in an imperfect world under the curse. Thankfully, God can work all things out for good on your behalf Adoption will not heal your brokenness. He will. Don’t adopt to fill the hole. Adopt to build a family.
9. It sounds good on paper
Some of us are planners. We posty-note schedule our lives to death. And I mean that. I am all about organization and schedules- they are great tools for the lives we have-now in the moment. What’s for dinner, today? What tasks do I have to do today? Those sorts of schedules are good. Trying to plan your whole life-not so good.
“Yes, things happen this side of heaven that we just can’t understand. We may want a different outcome. Yet at some point we must decide if we will be ruler of our lives or if we will let God take his rightful place. We are not made for control, and as long as we strive after it, we’ll be disappointed and exhausted.”- Holley Gerth, You’re Going to Be Okay
Most of the good things that have happened in my life didn’t look good on paper. Or I should say, the things that the Lord has used for good, if I had gotten to read the headlines, I would have skipped the article.
If we would have adopted exactly when I thought it looked good on paper. All my ducks in a row would have left one child in the orphanage ineligible for adoption. Pray. Let God direct your time-table. Good on human paper doesn’t equal good in God’s timing.
10. You are a good person.
If you adopt a child or children with attachment issues or any of the capital letter syndromes, expect them to test your ‘goodness’. You may find it doesn’t go very deep. If all these years of parenting, I would have relied on my goodness, I think I used my thimble of it up after the first court date before the adoption was final. Adoption doesn’t need good people. It needs mommas and papas who have a heart for adoption. It needs parents who want to grow their family trees with roots deep into the soil of the Word. The Word that has the power to change souls (mind, will, emotions). The soul needs washing daily. It needs parents who are plugged into the only one who gives strength to the weary. He gives us might to those who have none. He sets the solitary in families. There are no gold stars in adoption. The reward of adoption is family.
If you are reading this and you have already adopted or you have foster children in your home and your think you have arrived where you are by one of these ‘wrong reasons’, Don’t despair. God is the redeemer. He can redeem your situation. He can bring healing. If you are still grappling with issues from your past while parenting a child with a past, ask Him to heal you both. Pray for wisdom. He gives it to all those who ask, liberally and without reproach as long as you accept it. There is no such thing as a perfect adoption. Don’t let doubt eat you up on the hard days. You are doing a good work and He is ever working on your behalf.