So, you think every Christian should adopt just because you adopted?!
Um, no. No, I do not. I have never said that, and I never will say that, because I do not believe that every Christian should adopt, or is qualified to adopt. Should every Christian pray and consider whether or not adoption is how God wants them to obey the mandate to care for orphans? Maybe. Should every Christian be involved in orphan care? Adamantly Yes.
When a family is praying through and considering adoption as a ministry, they must, must, must count the cost. The family must realize exactly what they are saying yes to, and exactly how much Satan hates adoption and will try to destroy the very thing we are desperate to give our children - family.
Yes, I am unapologetically a huge adoption and orphan advocate, BUT here are five reasons why a family should choose not to adopt:
- If you are looking to adopt a child to fill your expectations and your needs and your dreams, then it would be better to bring home a puppy, rather than a human being. We do not adopt to fill a need or a void in our own heart. We do not seek out a child that meets our criteria or list of specifications - there is no such thing. That is way too much unrealistic pressure to place on a child - especially a child who comes from a hard place (i.e. any child who is eligible for adoption has come from some kind of hard place and is experiencing loss to varying degrees). There is no way that all of our expectations could ever be met, and the disappointment will be felt by the child. A child is not a commodity, and to adopt a child in order to meet our needs turns that child into such. To treat a child in this way is dangerous, sad, and wrong. This hurts the child and the family and the adoption community. The ramifications on this child's life can be devastating. Adoption is simply not about you.
- If you are not into parenting then don't adopt. Adoption is much less about the arduous process of bringing a child into your family, then it is about the long-haul of parenting that child to adult-hood. If a couple is not ready to make the long-term commitment to parent a child, then adoption ministry is simply not the ministry to pursue. Parenting is hard, grueling, and humbling. Parenting takes dieing to self daily. If you are not prepared or willing to parent a child then adoption is simply not for you. By adopting a child you are committing your life to that child, as a believer, you are pledging to raise that child while you follow Jesus. You are choosing to parent a child who is hurting and broken and yes, that is risky. You are vowing to shape and mold a new generation for the kingdom of God. This is a marathon, one that takes perseverance, prayer, steadfastness, and longevity.
- If your marriage is not rock-solid then do not adopt. When a couple decides to adopt they are automatically placing a target on their marriage and family. I strongly believe that the moment a family chooses adoption they will be under spiritual attack. (And that is saying a lot from this Baptist-raised girl.) I have seen it though. Satan HATES adoption. Adoption is such a portrait of redemption, and Satan wants to destroy redemption. He hates that orphans are becoming sons and daughters, and if he can get a foothold and destroy what you are trying to build up, he absolutely, unequivocally will. If a husband and wife are not unified, and if their marriage is not anchored in the gospel and Jesus, then adoption should not be an option. This does not mean that it will never be an option in the future, but for now, your marriage needs to be your primary focus. Find a marriage counselor and invest yourself in a different way in orphan care and orphan prevention for the time-being. Don't bring a child into your messy marriage -make sure your marriage is healthy and vibrant, lest the stress of an adoption has the ability to crumble and destroy your marriage and your family.
- If you are feeling guilt then don't adopt. While the Bible is filled with God's mandate to care for the orphan, and adoption is a wonderful solution for a part of the orphan crises, guilt should never be what motivates us. Yes, the need is great, tragic, and sad, but guilt shouldn't motivate us - LOVE should always be our motivation. Love for Jesus and His gospel. Love for redemption. Out of the overflow of our hearts should we ever seek to adopt. Guilt will fizzle and fade. Real, unconditional love is a choice, a commitment to that child. It is not ever an emotional response as a result of guilt. Yes, the need is great, but in order for an adoption to work you cannot be motivated by guilt because of the need, we must be motivated by love for the need.
- If you do not love or desire another child, then don't adopt. Sounds simple and silly, but it truly is something to consider. Adoption brings a child into your home. If you are not ready or do not want a child then don't adopt. If you are not willing to love and care for and raise a child, then a different orphan care ministry would be best for you. If you really do not want to adopt, than you simply should not.
Yes, adoption is remarkable and beautiful and glorious. It is life-changing. I am passionate about adoption. I will always be passionate about it. Adoption is at the heart of the gospel. Placing orphans inside of thriving families and eradicating their orphan status is exhilarating, and one of the most amazingly beautiful AND hard journeys I have ever been on. However, the blessing of adoption is truly not for every family. Because with the beautiful comes wreckage, heartache, brokenness, ugliness, and hurt. It is a life time commitment. A commitment that cannot be jumped into lightly - a family must step in with eyes wide open and a surety that this is the ministry that God is calling them to. If adoption is not the ministry God is calling you into, that is okay. There are so many other ways to care for the orphan, and God is just as pleased and glorified in those ways.
Yes, yes, yes, we need Christians to stand up and adopt and foster and bring children into our homes. We need to reflect the gospel in this way. However, not every Christian is willing, ready, or able to take on the immense brokenness that comes with adoption. Not every Christian should adopt.