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Wrong Reasons To Adopt?

This morning I retweeted an article from Heart4Adoption Ministries that one of twitter friends had tweeted, but now I am thinking better of it. The article was titled Wrong Reasons to Adopt a Child and listed out seven reasons. 1. The Celebrities Are Doing It seems like a joke (and possibly a way to up SEO by name dropping), but perhaps there are people who approach adoption for that reason; I don't know any though. We even talk about less than positive reasons for people to adopt in the Adoption Preparation Education courses I teach available through MLJ Adoptions, Inc. When I tweeted the article, I added one that we often discuss in class. 
 
If you approach adoption hoping to save a child, you could be sorely disappointed when the child refuses to be "saved", develops his or her own unique personality, has behavior problems (as a result of trauma), or is not thankful. How many kids do you know that are thankful? Most of us don't truly appreciate all our parents have done until we are at least in our twenties. Thankfulness becomes an entirely different ball of wax with adoption. There is so much loss wrapped up in adoption that it is unfair to ask a child (or an adult that was adopted as a child) to be thankful. 
 
Some of the things on the list from Heart4Adoption Ministries are pretty clear cut. Adding a child to your family to "save your marriage" is never a wise decision. Recently I read another article (also brought to my attention via twitter) entitled Don't Adopt, along the same lines; although I have some major problems with the author based on a popular book he authored, I basically agreed with that specific article. Not all people are meant to adopt. He was writing to the church and explaining that "caring for the widows and the orphans" in James 1:27 does not always mean adoption. There are orphans around the world for whom adoption is not an option for a variety of reasons. There are prospective parents for whom adoption is not an option for a variety of reasons as well.
 
I don't think it is necessarily about the wrong reasons to adopt, but the attitude with which you approach adoption. Feeling called to adopt probably also means that you are called to prepare yourself and called to the advanced parenting that is required in adoption. Wanting your family to grow and wanting to love another child probably means that you will want to know what it takes to love this child in the ways that speak the loudest to him or her. Wanting to make a small difference in the overwhelming orphan crisis and feeling capable of making room in your family for a child probably means that you want to love on this child, understand his or her origins, and make room for how that will continue to impact your entire family. 
 
Adoption is about growing families. For the children, adoption is about finding families. Adoption is not the end of the journey; parenting lasts for years to come. (Because adoption becomes important to the child more and more, with death of parents as a common trigger, I encourage parents to plan for parenting even after their death by leaving a specific letter for the children they adopted.) When you adopt or decide to parent, it takes a commitment to a young life and individual personality and a willingness to take on every challenge and heartache of parenting. Parenting is tough; it's the most difficult and most important job you will likely every have. Adoption often adds many layers that make parenting even more difficult. Adoptive parenting requires more of the parent. Adoption may not result in stretch marks on your body, but it will stretch you and forever change you. 
 
It may not be about the reasons that brought you to adoption (or parenting), but what you choose to do with it. Choosing to adopt or choosing to be a parent is never the end. So even if you want to be just like Angelina Jolie, hopefully you will continue to follow her example to ensure that adoption is open topic in your family. Parenting will change you. Adoptive parenting should change you and stretch you even more. 


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