Thursday, March 28, 2013

5 reasons NOT to adopt

As a social worker doing home studies, I've worked with families nationwide thinking about the adoption process. I've heard hundreds of reasons why people choose to grow their family through adoption; the reasons as varied as the prospective adoptive couples. Most are excellent and even honorable. But some raise incredible red flags.


So here's my list of reasons why couples should NOT adopt:

To save a relationship  
Included in this is to save a marriage, provide a friend or playmate for your child, or to cure the "empty nest" syndrome. Adding a child to a struggling marriage will only mask the underlying issues for a season. Adoption is never an answer to familial problems and only exacerbates them.  

To fill voids of past losses
This is a reality in our broken world and many people struggle with issues with children, past miscarriages, infertility or loss of a child, and marital struggles or unwanted singleness. All of these issues need to be addressed and worked through before adoption is considered. Going through stages of grief, processing it with others in your life, and possibly even counseling will be critical to ensure a family or an individual is ready to adopt.

Because you want specific type of child
I realize this is a touchy one. I do have families that I work with who are hoping for a girl (after having several boys or vice versa) or an African American child (often because they have adopted another child of the same race and they want to provide some commonality for them). But overwhelmingly they are open to the baby God has for them. This is key. Openness to God's vision for your family that might look a little differently than you had planned. When we have biological kids, none of us has the opportunity to "custom order" our children.  I think adoption should (for the most part) be the same.

Because you feel guilt or pressure
To keep up with the Jones (or another family who has adopted like the Louxs or the Bohlenders or the Wrights). These are all amazing families and, to be quite honest, some of my heroes who have been forerunners for the adoption movement. But just because adoption is right for one family doesn't mean it's right for yours (or the right timing, the right kind of adoption, etc.).

Because you want a reason to buy a minivan  
Amazingly they let you purchase a minivan regardless of your family size. (Buy one anyway. You will love it.)


The bottom line, don't adopt if the goal is to get your needs met. If you're familiar at all with parenting, you know parenting has very little to do with the parents and everything to do with the children. Adopted children, just like biological children, shouldn't be added to a family to meet a void. They should be added to families with an overflow of love, time, affection, and energy.

You might be wondering why families should adopt...more on that next here.

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