Adoption is Not Second Best!
The adopted child is as important, as special, as unique, as wonderful as a biological child. I love my adopted children just as much as my biological children. In fact, most of the time I completely forget they are adopted....and that's as it should be. The adopted child should never identify himself solely as adopted. Just as with any child, they should view themselves first through the eyes of Christ and His everlasting, unconditional love for them; and then, by their own unique qualities, talents and gifts.
Adoption Should Not Be a Last Resort
Adoption should never be the option you turn to as a last resort. There are just too many factors to consider when making the decision to adopt, and a decision that should not be taken lightly. Some questions you may want to ask yourself is:
1. How will my immediate and extended family react to a child that I adopt? Will they consider the child one of their own? Or will they view the child as an outsider because they are not blood relatives?
2. How will my spouse and I view a child that we adopt? What are our reasons for adopting? Do we see an adopted child as our only hope for a family? Can we raise an adopted child as our own, and not consider them second best to a biological child?
3. Are we ready to accept the emotional baggage that comes with an adopted child, even one adopted in infancy?
4. Are we able financially, emotionally and physically to handle any issues that may arise? Just as with a biological child, adoption cannot guarantee a child is healthy, or will remain healthy. Genetics play a role in everyone's health, and often, despite medical disclosure in adoption, it is not completely feasible to think that all hereditary conditions can, or will, be disclosed. The birth parents may not even know the health history of parents, siblings and grandparents. Can you accept that and unconditionally love a child that has physical or mental health issues?
5. How will you handle the subject of adoption when the child gets older and begins to ask questions? There are many, many reasons why you would want to be open and honest about the child being adopted, which I may touch on another day.
6. How will we view the birth parents of our adopted child? Adopted children eventually ask about their birth parents, and, even if the child came from the worst of circumstances, being too negative when telling the child about his biological family can negatively impact the child. Additionally, if you harbor feelings of jealousy or anger toward the birth family, this, too, can potentially be picked up by the child, and negatively impact him.
These are also some of the very same questions that should be asked of oneself before conceiving a biological child.
Adopting is Not Easy
Adoption is called a paper pregnancy for a reason--it's lengthy, it can be complicated, and it's an emotional roller coaster. Whether the decision is made to adopt privately, internationally, or from foster care, there is no such thing as a smooth, easy, quick road to adoption.
Potential adoptive parents have to complete mounds of paperwork, attend classes, submit to thorough home inspections and background checks, humbly ask friends and bosses to write character reference letters, and prove financial readiness and stability. After all that, the most agonizing part of the process begins, the waiting, lots of it.
Adoption IS Worth It
Without a doubt, adopting is one of the very best and most rewarding things I have ever done. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for each of my kids. People have claimed that I "rescued" my adopted children, but, truth is, they rescued me. I have learned so much from them and it changed my life: resiliency, compassion, redemption, unconditional love, the list is endless. Each of my children, adopted or biological, is a blessing and a gift.
Adoption is God's Plan of Redemption
Finally, and most importantly, a proper view of adoption should be taken from God's Word, which says that we all, as believers, are adopted into the family of God as part of His perfect plan of redemption from sin. So, if adoption is God's very own design, then it could never be second best.
"...before Christ came...We were slaves to Jewish laws and rituals, for we thought they could save us. But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own sons. And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father. Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned." ~Galatians 4:3b-7 NLT