Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What is a Good Reason to Adopt?

In my previous post, which I agree may have been too harsh, I received a comment suggesting that wanting to save a child is not a good reason to adopt.

I commented back that neither is wanting to fill a personal need to have a child isn't either -- especially when it comes to adopting older children from foster care.

And so I ask this question:

What IS a good reason to adopt? What should be our motivation?


Angela :-) said...

For me it's a combination of factors, including (but likely not limited to) wanting more children, thriving on a challenge, wanting to show a child/children that someone does care about them, wanting to give a child/children permanency, and feeling that God is leading us to share what we have with others. For me, the question isn't so much "Why do this?" as "Why not?" However, dh isn't on the same page at this time, so I'm still praying and waiting for guidance.

Angela :-)

Psycho Mom said...

I think we can get into some trouble when the reason is wanting to save a child, it goes back to the old missionary ideaology. My in-laws and their friends, love to call us angels and saints for saving these "poor" kids. That makes me sick.

The truth is, that my husband and I are the ones who benefit the most from our children, and from their "issues". It is through these "issues" that we learn our strengths, and most definitely our weaknesses. It is through our children, and our response to their complexities, that we see Christ.

We adopted because we wanted to have a family, and we wanted to have a family that was designed uniquely to be together. As frustrated as I can get with the bio-families, I think it is beautiful how God has connected us. We wanted to adopt before we were married, knowing that there were children who were in need of parents, and knowing that we would want a family, it seemed natural.

The funny thing, is that we did not "save" our kids. But they did save us from going through life not knowing what life is really about; from not knowing what it is like to struggle with a simple chore; from not knowing what it is like for families who have "issues". I am blessed to parent my children, even when they are putting me over the edge. You don't see Christ as well, when you are far away from the edge. Barb

Deni said...

I think it's a mix. I had a need/desire to be a mom, and wanted to fill that need/desire by saving a life. I think that God places that need/desire in some people's hearts - because if you didn't need/desire to do it - you'd suck at it. And people who do it just to save a life can become martyers. I get just as much out of this as my kids do. I owe them my life for the blessings they've shown me.

Too many in the system to get a paycheck. They obviously haven't got the desire - and their kids aren't getting what they need. My oldest was in 2 previous foster homes before me - both paycheck foster homes IMO. He only started making progress here, once he was getting treated like someone's son (because of our desire to be a parent and our immediate love for him) Out of that love is born a desire to see him succeed and thrive. I ramble.

flacius1551 said...

I'm perhaps not your typical commentator, because I'm in a foster parenting situation that I never envisioned myself being in (a family situation), so on the one hand I do agree that in a pinch you can do things that you never dreamed possible. On the other, though, I think we should be careful about judging the motives of other people. I think it is much more responsible to decide in advance that there are certain things one can't take (for me, personally, it would be a medically fragile child) than to damage a child by realizing too late that you don't have what it takes to parent the child. You and your husband both push the idea that the commitment to a child is permanent. I agree that that's correct--but saying that a prospective adoptive family should be willing to make a permanent commitment in advance to a child with a known problem that the family finds to be too much seems like going a bit to far to me. Yes, adoption is about helping the kid out. But it also has to bring something to the family. Saying that someone is selfish or "not willing to do the hard thing" because they won't adopt children in certain categories is IMO unfair to precisely the people you most want to attract to adoption. I think there are a lot of people out there who are interested in adoption for whatever reason, read about the potential problems, and say "I am not strong enough for that" or "where we are in life right now we can't take on that kind of challenge"--that kind of self-knowledge is, IMO, laudable. In my case, fostering relatives made me curious about adoption from foster care. But (in part because of blog reading) I've concluded that at this season of my life, I can't make the necessary commitment to sorts of child who seem most available. I suspect similar things happen in all kinds of prospective families, and it doesn't help to criticize them for their honestly.

Yondalla said...

I think about it in much the way that I think about other things we might do in our lives -- like become a teacher.

To do it well you have to take satisfaction, joy, something from it. In that sense it is probably meeting a sort of need. In parenting teens I am probably meeting some of my needs, but that is different than expecting an individual child to fill some hole in me. I can't explain exactly how though.

I took the plunge because a boy in my Sunday school class needed us to. I cared about him and I couldn't bear the thought that he would be shipped off to a family he didn't know. I kept doing it because it turned out that I was reasonably good at it.

Somehow, the knowledge of their need and my ability turned into a sense of "must." It is still there. I can do this. There are kids who need me to do this. I can't walk away from that.

But what I do for the kids is not "save" them. I provide a space where they can grow up, but that does not save anyone. I think if I had a rescue mentality I would end up much more frustrated with the results.

Torina said...

Everyone has their own reasons. Mine are complicated and selfish. I want to be a mom. I want to make a difference in a kids life. It almost feels like I have been "called" to do this. I can't even explain that one. But years ago when I was exploring adoption, and I stumbled across Minnesota's Waiting Children website, I just kept on going back over and over again until I had nearly all their names and faces memorized. Though some of the issues scared me, I enjoy being challenged. Once I met my first kid in person (Tara), there was no going back and the fear left. Even though I am challenged every single day, it is worth it. My life has been enriched in so many ways. And Tara's has been, too. Then I got the boys and that cemented it. Even though parenting kids with special needs is a hard job, it is so rewarding if you can appreciate the little things. I have no regrets. Plus, my kids will not end up in a facility like they were all bound for so that is a bonus. And they have a chance at a life that is rich with love, patience, and understanding (most of the time ;). And I have learned to love unconditional and to patience and understanding under the most extreme conditions. It's all good.