I've always wanted to adopt. For whatever reason, I have no desire to have a biological child. Having a child is not a bad thing, of course, but I feel called to adopt. Ricky and I had very candid discussions about this when we were dating so he knew this was the position of my heart from the very beginning. When we tell people we plan to adopt, we often get a very surprised reaction followed by a lot of questions. While I appreciate the interest and excitement, I long for the day when adoption is the norm because right now, I'd say more often than not, it's seen as a last resort. I want to change that. I want adoption to be seen as "Plan A" when it comes to starting and growing a family, not a last resort.
So why do I want to adopt?
1. IT REFLECTS THE GOSPEL
As a believer in Christ, I have been adopted into the family of God. The Gospel is a story of adoption so I don't know of anything that can physically represent the Gospel more than adopting a child into your own family. As you already know, identity is a big deal to me. I identify myself through my faith and the family I'm now a part of. I have inherited everything in the Kingdom of God. I'm a co-heir with Christ. So how beautiful it is to open your heart to a child and say, "Everything I have is yours. You did nothing to deserve this. You don't owe me anything. There's no way you can repay me. Just receive and be mine."
I was recently talking to a friend about adoption and she said something that has stuck with me. She was telling me that her pastor said he wanted their church to look like heaven so she thought, "I want my family to look like heaven." I love this so much because when you're adopting you have no idea what the child is going to look like or where he or she will come from, but none of that matters. Love sees no color or socioeconomic status. It simply sees individuals for who they are. I can't wait for my family to look like heaven!
2. THERE'S A HUGE NEED
The number of adoptions have declined over the years. The difficult and costly process that's in place is partly to blame, but I also think part of the problem is that people aren't taking the Word of God seriously. A daring statement, maybe, but when I see God's heart for the orphan and the commands to take care of them, I can't help but spring into action. And while I understand that not everyone feels called to adopt, I do think we're all called to care for orphans in a multitude of ways. Being a part of God's family means we get to participate in the works of justice that He puts before us and our world is full of opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Church, let's take hold of these opportunities to love and serve those around us and around the world with our whole hearts.
It's hard to get a clear understanding of the numbers, but according to Christian Alliance for Orphans, "although reflecting only broad projections, the estimated number of orphans globally currently reported by the US Government and UNICEF include:
- 17.8 million children worldwide have lost both parents (“double orphan”).
- 153 million children worldwide have lost either one parent (“single orphan”) or both parents.
One of the greatest weaknesses in these global orphan estimates is that they include only orphans that are currently living in homes. They do not count the estimated 2 to 8+ million children living in institutions. Nor do current estimates include the vast number of children who are living on the streets, exploited for labor, victims of trafficking, or participating in armed groups. Thus, global orphan statistics significantly underestimate the number of orphans worldwide and fail to account for many children that are among the most vulnerable and most in need of a family." 1
Regardless of the accuracy of the statistics, we must all realize that orphan care is a real and huge need all around the world. It's my prayer that more people will rise up to care for and defend the orphans.
I want to leave you with a story from one of our trips to India. We visited an organization where a couple has adopted 37 girls. They have 2 biological children as well, but there's no difference in the way they treat them. The mother of this home was sharing with us that some of the girls were feeling a bit insecure and pointed out the fact that they weren't her biological children. I will never forget her words. She told them, "they might have been born from my womb, but you were born from my heart." I plan to tell my sweet babes this same message some day.