• How Do You Know if You Should You Adopt?

    Date: 2016.03.07 | Category: Adoption | Tags:

    Edited – This blog post is not directed towards anyone.  It is not meant in a negative way.  I merely wanted to explain that I don’t know.  I don’t know how you decide.  I wish I could tell you.  I wish I could look at someone and say, “Adoption would be a great fit for you or I think God has other plans for your family.”I want to share with you how I have made my decisions.  Every one of the excuses at the end of the blog I have said.  I had to work through whether or not those excuses truly stood up or not and I shared how I make those decisions.


    I’ve been asked this question over and over again – “How do I know if I should adopt?”

    I was thinking back to our decisions to adopt JJ and Liam.   I drug my feet on adopting JJ.  I said, “I was too busy. I’ve done my part. I’m tired.  I’m worn thin.”   I thought JJ was beautiful and would make a wonderful daughter but her needs weren’t simple.  We are talking possible kidney transplant or dialysis.  Her kidneys are very sick.  You aren’t a 25 pound 8 year old because you are healthy.  Could I add that to my plate and do it well?  Would it hurt my other children?  Would it take away from them?  How could it be possible that we were the right parents for her?

    Then one night Elyse said to Dan and I, “If JJ dies and we don’t try, I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive myself.  I know she is my sister.”  Her words didn’t instantly make me say “yes” but they did make me think long and hard about it.  It means I looked at every possible scenario and wondered if I could handle it.   If I am honest, I knew the moment I looked at her picture, that she was my daughter and I was letting fear stop me from proceeding.  I came to realize that doing nothing was just as bad as standing in my living room looking at one of my children, and deciding I was too busy to care for their medical needs and letting them die.  I pictured myself at the end of my life and God showing me JJ’s picture and Him asking me “Why didn’t you do something?”  At that moment, I knew I had to do something.

    The decision to adopt Liam was instant peace.  I have never felt such overwhelming peace.  Yes, this is my son.  Yes, everything will work out.  It makes no sense but I know it is true.  How can you explain that to someone?  For me, it’s God.   If you don’t believe in God it becomes me being some overemotional, crazy person.  There’s been no magical formula that happens so we know we should adopt.  Every one of our adoption journeys has been different.   Sometimes it brings me to my knees and I can’t imagine not proceeding.  Sometimes it’s just been an overwhelming peace.  Sometimes instant tears.  Sometimes it is someone else in the house who has been moved by a child and after much prayer you realize it is right.

    This is why it is hard.  This is why I can’t answer for you.  The truth is I can’t tell you if you should adopt.  I can’t tell you whether it is right or wrong for your family.  I can’t tell you how to convince your spouse.  I can’t tell you it won’t be too hard.  I can’t tell you it won’t change your life.  I can’t tell you that your bio children will do fine with it.  I can’t tell you that your friends and family will be supportive.

    What I can tell you for sure your journey will have moments of difficulty.  Even when the child adjusts amazingly well there will be things that come up.  Because it’s life.  Life is messy.  Adoption comes from a place of pain and loss.  There is hurt involved.  There are emotions that will overwhelm.  You can’t avoid it.  It may be easy and it may be hard, but I believe it is worth it.  The hardest parts of my life are what have made me rely on God more and have grown my relationship with Him.  The hard times have led to the most joy, maybe because I can appreciate it more.

    What I can tell you as an absolute is if you are a Christian, God did NOT call you to be comfortable. God didn’t call you to sit back and let others do everything.  God asks you… NO! He commands you to be His hands and feet.  Your call may not be adoption but you are being called and if you feel comfortable and never stretched, I would say you truly need to look at your life and see what it is saying.

    People should know what you stand for.  People should know what you care about.  People should be able to look at your life and see what you are passionate about.  Otherwise you are just coasting.  You are just existing.  There’s been a lot of talk in the press about this lately.  People claiming to be Christian but their words and actions don’t line up with what the Bible teaches.  What if the camera was turned on you?  Would your words and actions line up?

    Are you living a life of fear and selfishness?  Are you living a life of self-centeredness?  Are you concerned about anyone else?  Do you give as little as you can or do you do all that you can in every way that you can with your time, your words, and your money?

    I’m going to share one of the most thought provoking statements Elyse has ever uttered.  She is 10 and has been home a year.  She is a very bright girl.  “Mama, I think so many children are not adopted because too many people are afraid to say “yes”.”

    She had me pegged.  I was fearful.  Fearful that this adoption would be the one that tipped the cart.  Fearful that even more people would talk about how crazy we were.  Fearful that I just couldn’t handle it.  Fearful to put my heart on the line again.

    Are you fearful?  Are you afraid?  I say this is a good thing.  Read everything you can.  Prepare yourself in every way you can.   Surround yourself with supportive people, because there are always doubts about what you can handle, whether you can afford it, whether you will have the resources, what it will do to your family.  No one goes into adoption thinking they have it all figured out.    Everyone has moments of doubt or worry or at least they should.  You can know God is calling and step out in faith and still have fear.  We are only human.

    Having a family and belonging is a beautiful thing.  It’s something we all want – to be loved for who we are.  We want to belong, to have roots, to have a safe place to fall, and somewhere to call home.  Sometimes when you adopt it works like it did with Liam.  It makes no sense that a 5 year old would understand what family means, but he seems to.  He ran to us and hasn’t looked back.  His foster mom prepared him well.  She seemed more like a teacher who was training him and getting him ready for his life.  It felt like a graduation when he left as she said, “Go and be happy!”

    JJ & Liam

    Liam’s adoption day was wonderful but it’s not always that simple.  Sometimes you show up and the child is raging.  Sometimes when you show up the child is so shut down you aren’t sure you can ever reach them.  That is where we are with JJ.  She’s been hurt. She’s seen friend after friend be adopted and she wasn’t chosen. She has obviously been told that she has very little worth.  She hides in public.  She won’t look in a mirror.  Her little head hangs low and she won’t talk.  Does that mean that this adoption was wrong?  NO!  Should I be upset and have my feelings hurt because she isn’t instantly throwing herself at me and saying she loves me?  Not at all.  Why?


    I believe with all my heart that if a child was in your front yard you would do everything you could to make sure that child was safe.  You wouldn’t be wondering what is in it for you.  You wouldn’t be mad they didn’t instantly love you because you were helping them.  You would just help.  It’s easy to ignore a hurting child when they are just a faceless number.  It is much harder once you see their face and it is darn near impossible once you hold them in your arms.

    I can’t tell you when is the right time to adopt.  I can’t tell you if you are honestly being called.  I can’t tell you it will be easy.  I can’t tell you that you won’t have to make some changes in your life.

    But what I can tell you is that if God is calling, He will make a way.  I can tell you that money shouldn’t stop you because God provides in miraculous ways.  I’ve seen it happen too many times to say it isn’t true.  I can tell you that once you give up your comfortable life you will be changed and blessed in ways you couldn’t even imagine.   I can tell you that the hard is worth it.  That every child is worth it.  That sleepless nights and rages while they come to believe this is real, the testing limits as they learn, and tears spilled over the unfairness of it all, is worth it.  I can tell you that watching someone blossom with love and caring is a miraculous thing.

    I’ve thought long and hard about what I want you to consider about adoption.  If you truly feel you are being called to adopt, but fear or some other excuse is holding you back.  I want you to consider this.  Truly picture it.  This is what I do when I consider my actions.  Our minds are too often centered on worldly things and ideals but this is not our true or final home.   Picture yourself on the day of your death, as you stand before God, and He asks you why you didn’t proceed when He laid the thought of adoption on your heart.  Look Him in the face and utter your excuse, whatever it may be…

    We don’t have the room in our house.

    We don’t have the money.

    I don’t want to hurt our family.

    I am afraid.

    I am too old.

    I’ve already lost friends and family over adopting.

    Our life is comfortable and I don’t want to mess it up.

    I’ve already done enough.

    I am tired.

    If you have been thinking about adoption for a long time and can stand before God and utter your excuse, whatever it may be, and have peace with it, then fine BUT if your excuse doesn’t ring true, then maybe you already have your answer.