Oh man, I'm gonna make some enemies with this blog post.
Earlier this month, this post on who is called to adoption was picked up by LifeSite News. The comment section was full of people agreeing that we're called to care for the fatherless, but many commented that adoption was near impossible due to the expense, red-tape, and presumed "waiting line" for adoptive families.
This comment really stuck out to me:
This article is kind of strange to me. I thought it was only the pro-aborts who are saying abortions are being done because us selfish pro-lifers won't adopt babies or children the well-know truth is that for every baby available for adoption, whether handicapped or not, there are at least 35 couples on the waiting list. I have been a hard working pro-life worker for almost 30 years. Once my husband asked me if I would adopt this baby whose Mom was not a good care-giver and single. If it would save her life. I said sure, I would. But, we have four of our own children and so many people have none. I couldn't/wouldn't be so selfish when there are so many couples who have no children and are waiting and waiting.
Although my heart longs for this to be true, sadly the reality is it's far from the truth. I'm sure the person who made this comment was well-intentioned and good-hearted. But my experience is this: there are many (although not nearly the statistics quoted above) families willing to adopt perfectly perfect children. By this I mean there are families willing to adopt Caucasian babies will no physical or mental health concerns and no history of any concerns even in the birth parent's extended families. Period.
The "waiting list" and "waiting and waiting" that couples go through when this is their plan for adoption is because the babies they are looking for are so few and far between. A baby with no history of any health concerns with their biological parents or extended family? Almost non-existent.
The truth is there are birth mothers who are refused adoption services because of the color of their child's skin and the reality that her child will be harder to place. Or babies that go straight from the hospital into foster care because the drugs in their system impeded any adoptive parents from taking them home. And babies that adoption professionals like me who have to comb the nation to find a family for because they have a medical diagnosis that no family wants to "take the risk on."
Every adoptive parent will tell you there is a form they fill out as part of the adoption process detailing what kinds of situations they are open to. This document is in the form of a checklist and includes everything: physical and mental health of the baby, birth parents, and extended family, exposure to substances, and race and ethnicity. I firmly believe that families need to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider these options. Most families can't check "yes" on all issues (and shouldn't) and are aware of their strengths and limitations. However, many are surprised what they are open to after being educated by their family physician, talking with friends and family who will offer support, and praying about how to open their hearts as wide as God's.
Ultimately I've found that this comes down to a control issue for parents. And one that we all struggle with. I would love to guarantee that my kiddos will be perfectly healthy and live a life with no pain of any kind. But I was not able to fill out a checklist for my babies when we got pregnant (based on health, color of hair, etc.) And even though we've been blessed with healthy kids, I know this could change in an instant. There are no guarantees in life and I have very little control when it comes to my kids.
And ultimately this isn't the gospel. God's plan for our kids isn't that they live easy, painless lives. His plan is for them to live to love Him and love others. Kids don't need to be "perfect" to do that well. As parents, our job is to steward the children we've been given no matter the hardships and heartaches that might arise.
|Photo of Creed and his siblings by Tina Wilson Photography|
Here's the bottom line: the more boxes on this list checked "no" means a longer wait. The more checked "yes" means many more situations available for an adoptive family to walk into. Many more babies available. Less of the obscure waiting line and more chances to say wholehearted yeses to God and His kingdom work.
There are not nearly enough adoptive families available to step into adoption where it's needed. Babies who are African American or minorities. Babies who have been exposed to substances. Babies who have special needs. Babies who need homes and families and someone to love them.
God's heart for the orphan doesn't stop at healthy Caucasian babies. His heart is for all of them. If our heart is going to match the Heavenly Father's for his children, we'll be willing to say yes to all of them as well. When we say an unhindered "yes" to God, the only thing we'll be waiting on His timing.