Lately I've been re-examining my motives for wanting to adopt again. There are so many people out there with so many different reasons for traveling down this path (or choosing NOT to travel down this path). Here are the ones I hear most often:
- I can't have biological children so we decided to adopt.
- We know that God calls us to care for the orphans so we are going to adopt even though we don't "need" (or necessarily want) more children. It's our ministry.
- We can have biological children, but feel like it's our responsibility not to create new life when there are so many children without families in the world.
- We wanted to adopt so that we could help a child--give them everything they could never have in their birth country.
- We had infertility issues but rather than going to extreme measures we decided to make our family through adoption.
The last "reason" is the one that Eric and I adhere to. We most likely could conceive with extraordinary fertility measures, but why? I asked myself, "Do I want to give birth, or do I want to be a parent?" I want to be a parent!
I will admit that deciding to adopt 2 more even though we already had our nice "normal" family made me examine my motives again. I already had kids. Why more? Was it because I wanted more, or because I felt like we could care for more of the Lord's children, or both? I really struggled with this. I feel like the basis for any adoption is selfishness. WE want another child. WE take that child out of their country. WE have the pleasure of parenting that child for the rest of our lives. Of course it is mutually beneficial and the child "wins" as well--but at the base of it all is our desire to parent more children. The fact that our desire to have more children also coincides with the Lord's command that we care for orphans (and widows) is a huge blessing. But I don't think it's right to adopt without also having the desire in your heart to parent more children! It makes me sad when I hear about families who decide to adopt just because they feel it's their Christian duty, even though they don't have an inborn desire to parent more children.
Recently someone posted to a group I am on, announcing that they decided NOT to adopt, because they realized their motives were selfish. Why don't we stop adopting these kids and just support programs that help families stay united in 3rd world countries?? I think that is a great question. I've struggled with it myself over the years. It IS ideal for these children to stay with their biological families, in their country of birth. Absolutely! But what is the reality? The reality is that there aren't enough programs like Tabitha Cambodia (www.tabitha-usa.org) around the world. There isn't enough help there (yet) to meet the need and keep all of these families together. So parents (as much as we hate to think of it in the US) are making the horrific decision to either keep their children alive by relinquishing them for adoption, or watching them die of starvation, lack of medical care, etc. What do we do with the children who are abandoned or relinquished? We all know that orphanages don't provide what a child needs, no matter how well intentioned. Children need families.
So my answer to all of this is to (YES!) support programs that work to keep families together! But let us not turn our backs on the undeveloped fruit (the children!) of Liberia who need the love of God, and the love of a family in order to come to full maturity in the Lord.