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Thinking of Adopting?
Posted by Clare
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As I am writing this blog, my wife Susan is in China. She’s there with our son-in-law and daughter and all four of their children to finalize the adoption of Maggie, a special needs two year old. They met our newest granddaughter a few days ago and she already owns their hearts! (Sadly, I had to cancel going due to some back problems ☹.)


Our new Chinese granddaughter, Maggie, with her father and brother.

“I don’t want to adopt”
The adoption journey in our family began about 30 years ago. One day my wife Susan told me she’d been praying about adopting a child. My knee-jerk reaction was, “I don’t want to adopt!”

We already had three biological children and that was perfect for me. Besides, I was going through chemotherapy at the time for cancer, with a very uncertain future. Adoption made no sense to me. But, there was another reason I resisted. I wasn’t sure I could love “someone else’s child.” I could imagine being kind to someone else’s child, providing them a home, or even giving money to an orphanage, but adopt? What if we never connected? I wasn’t ready.

But, my wife continued to pray and asked me to pray, so of course I was a dead duck! Slowly, God changed my heart and I said “yes.” Six months later my wife flew to Korea to pick up Betsy, a four-month-old angel and I fell in love with her!

Two years later, we adopted Tyler, also from Korea. Both are now 28 and 30, respectively. Then 20 years ago, Veti, a 15-year-old girl from Albania joined our family. She’s now married and they’re waiting for their first child from Columbia. So adoption is in our blood, not because I wanted it to be, but because God changed me.

Is adoption for everyone?
Adoption isn’t for everyone. I’ve spent a lot of time meeting with men, whose wives sent them to me for an attitude adjustment. Some of the men have good reasons for not wanting to adopt or have any more children at all. But most, like me, are just frightened that they too won’t be able love someone else’s child.

So, if you or someone you mentor is wrestling with the “adopt or not adopt” question, here are some thoughts:

• Pray – As you go before God ask him what he wants. Honestly examine why you don’t want to adopt, is it really that you don’t feel it’s the right thing for your family? Or could it be that the financial sacrifice seems too much or you’re afraid your parents wouldn’t be happy, or some other external factor? Or do you have the same reservation I did?

• Meet with another family who’s adopted – The best way to learn about adoption is meeting with other families who’ve wrestled through all the issues you’re thinking about already. I know what you’re thinking; “No way! Once I meet them I’ll feel guilty and get talked into something I really don’t want to do.” It’s possible that could happen. It’s also possible you’d experience something God wants for you.

• Examine Scriptures – God seems to have a heart for the fatherless. If he does, shouldn’t you?

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18

“Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.” Deuteronomy 24:17

“Because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them.” Job 29:12

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” Psalms 10:14

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” Psalms 82:3

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

• Remember, all Christians are adopted

“He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:5

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15

• Work with a good, Christian adoption agency – We worked with Bethany Christian Services. They’re one of the largest Christian adoption agencies in the world. They have offices in many cities in the U.S. But, there are others.

A good Christian agency won’t try to talk you into adoption. They exist to help you think and pray through all aspects of adoption. They’ll also provide support for you after your adoption if you need it. It was wonderful for us to attend Bethany sponsored, International Picnics, with other adoptive families. What a blessing.

• Be prepared for surprises – Adopting older children can have its own special challenges. Get all the counsel you can from other parents who’ve adopted older children. If there’s a counselor in your area who specializes in adoption, by all means, meet with them and consider carefully the journey before you.

Adopting internationally has it’s own issues. Medical records may be incomplete or inaccurate. The bureaucracy is often frustrating and the travel expenses can balloon the total cost of adoption considerably. None of these potential problems should discourage you from adopting, if you believe that’s what God is calling you to do. However, it’s far better if you are prepared spiritually and psychologically for the journey before you.

Adoption isn’t for everyone, but don’t just dismiss the idea out of hand. There is more than you to consider.

Do you have some adoption tips of your own? We’d love to have you share them with us.

Following Jesus in Real Life


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Comments (4)
  1. Bruce Hakim said...

    Thank you for sharing how you’ve experienced God and love as your family has grown through adoption, Clare! Because I work at Bethany, I get to hear lots of family’s stories. One absolutely consistent theme I hear is how people go into the process with pure hearts to give and to love in a sacrificial way. And then low and behold -surprise, surprise- they receive way more in blessings than they ever expected or anticipated! Personally, I can liken that to choosing to follow Christ. Sometimes, we’re thinking I’m “giving up” this and that to follow Jesus, but then we realize we’re receiving such an amazing abundance of grace and peace, that what we’ve received far far outweighs what we’ve given up!

    • Clare said...

      Bruce thanks for that reminder of the blessings of adoption. However, I do warn parents who are thinking of adopting an older child, those blessings may be more in the future than the present. My experience is that the older a child is when they’re adopted, the more issues adoptive parents are likely to face, especially in the teenage years. They’ll need to have a long view of life, special patience and grace.

  2. Jim McNaughton said...

    Great posts. Clare, you are wise to warn of older adoptions being possibly more difficult. If a child has been traumatized or you suspect possible trauma, learn all you can. Nancy Thomas, Heather Forbes, Stacy Manning, Ron Nydam can provide valuable insight.

    Adoptive Family Support Network is an independent post-adoption agency and is dedicated to helping all adoptive families. AFSN has Adoptive Parent Consultants if someone is wishing to talk with an experienced adoptive parent.

    My wife and I wouldn’t have changed our decision to adopt for any reason. But, the journey would have been better for all of us if we had been told what we needed to know at the beginning instead of spending years to discover diagnoses and find the resources I have mentioned.

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