Though I have not yet begun the adoption process, my adoption journey began some time ago with matters of the heart and my preconceived notions. Like many, I misunderstood who were the children being adopted, and who it was that adopted those children. I had no idea there were (and are) 147 million orphans around the world today. I assumed that all orphans were in nice little orphanages with sweet little grandmother-volunteers soothing them when they cried, and rocking them to sleep. I had no idea that if an orphaned child is lucky enough to be in an orphanage, he didn’t bother crying because no one was there to answer his cry.
Secondly, I misunderstood who adopted children. I assumed that only those who could not conceive a child on their own would consider adopting, after spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments. And indeed, I do believe adoption is a beautiful solution for couples who long for children, but are unable to have them on their own. I am against the notion, however, that an orphaned child is the answer to a problem they had. What kind of understanding do we have of children and adoption if we view helpless children, whose parents died or abandoned them, who have no money, no things, and probably a load of physical and mental issues, as if they are the answer to a problem that WE have? It breaks my heart that so many close their homes to children because they do not have a “problem” that needs to be fixed.
Another misunderstanding I have seen, on the part of those who are able to have kids, is an unwillingness to have a large family. Because you know that if you have more than two you are outnumbered. (Yes I have heard that more than once, which really makes me question the parenting ability of those who utter such silly statements.) I am not opposed to any family that is made up of one or two children–I am opposed to those who have two or three children and believe that everyone in the world should also. The anti-large family notion is such a poor reflection of God. People assume that if they do not buy their 2.5 kids all brand new cars at sixteen, pay for their college, all the while taking them on two vacations a year, they will be depriving them. Having or adopting more children will require sacrifice. Coming from a large family, I never considered it a sacrifice to miss out on Disney Land each year when I realized that what I got instead was my little brother.
My first misunderstanding regarding adoption, like many, started with the fact that I did not understand that I was an orphan, adopted into a family. It is so easy for people to say that they are adopted as God’s children. But I think many say those earth-shattering words with no understanding of what they mean, because in their physical life they had a mom and dad. I began to read verses in the Bible that said that I was adopted as God’s child, a co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8: 12-17). When I began to contemplate what that means I began to understand that, before Christ, I was an orphan in this world. I was lost in sin. I had no family. But God–those beautiful words–but God paid a ransom for me that was greater than any price I could have imagined. He paid for me with the blood of his son. Now I have a family! I am found! I am loved! I am adopted!
An understanding of my spiritual adoption has begun to change how I view physical adoption. No longer do I view these helpless children as an answer to a problem that I may have. Now, I long to be the answer to a problem that they have. I sit here with a small baby in my stomach, a child I have not yet held, but one with whom I am emphatically in love. The love I have for this child does not close my heart and home to orphans, but breaks my heart for children who need a mama to love them as I have been loved, and as I love my child.
It is my desperate prayer that people would begin to cultivate in their own lives an understanding of adoption that flows from a theology of God. God did not adopt us to fix a problem he had. He never said he had enough kids and therefore closed his family. He abundantly loved, and abundantly sacrificed, so that he could be the answer to a problem we all had: a need for a family.