When my husband and I entered the adoption arena, we sat in an office answering questions, just sticking our toes in the water, so to speak. We had no idea the ride we were about to take. As I answered questions about my past and salty tears slid down my cheeks, I could not take my eyes off the bulletin board on the wall. It was covered with photos of children who had been adopted. So many faces. So many new beginnings. Families in red matching Christmas sweaters smiling awkwardly at the camera. Toothless cheesy grins. Vacation photos with everyone freckled and pinked by the sun. What glorious word pictures. Then….Jerry and I were handed a stack of articles to read (as homework) about adoption. Adoptions gone wrong. Children sent back. Aggressive behaviors. Reactive Attachment Disorder. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It was just. Just. Too. Much. Negative. So, I vowed, from that time on to be a spokeswoman for the positives about adoption. Yes, all of the above do exist in the adoption world. Yes, it is hard work. Yes, there is a semi truck or two full of ‘doing it afraid’. In spite of all of the above, the positives do outweigh the negatives. So, what is so positive about adoption?
Adoption gives a child life. When a birth mother chooses adoption over abortion, she chooses life. And that’s a good choice. Children adopted from orphanages also have life chosen for them. Often the conditions of the orphanage, or the medical treatments available (or not) can cause an early mortality rate. Thus adoption gives a child a chance at life.
12 Even the darkness hides nothing from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.(A)
13 For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.-Psalm 139:12-14
Adoption gives a child a family. Or in the case of my adopted children, it gives a sibling group a family and the ability to keep part of their family intact. Foster care is wonderful and often it leads to family. But, adoption ensures a family. An institution or group home is no place for a child to grow up, being wards of the state until they age out of they system. Everyone needs a family, no matter what age they are. Family is who you bond with, celebrate birthdays and holidays with, go on vacations with. Family is who you come home to.
God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.- Psalm 68:6
Many foster children age out of the system without a hope or an idea for a future. The same is true with children in orphanages. Adoption gives them that hope. It gives them choices in education. It gives them security and with that the child can find their gifts, their talents and try them out. Have you ever had a hope? A dream? Did you see it come to pass? Some children have the dream of having their own clothes or owning some sports equipment. Some have dreams of eating three meals a day. With those three meals a day in their bellies, they can dream about other things, art, reading literature and maybe becoming a scientist.
When my children first came ‘home’, I cried many times while I was preparing dinner. The thought that these kids now had enough food on a regular basis overwhelmed me. They had a future to think about when their needs were met. Were they going to build with Legos or watch a video. Were they going to read a book or make up a puppet show?. They had choices. Good ones. Not hungry bellies.
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.- Jeremiah 29:11