Monday, November 5, 2012

The "Why's"

I imagine that every adoptive family is hit with the question of "why?" at some point or another. If that family already has children and chooses international adoption, well, the "Why?" quickly turns into "WHY ON EARTH?!" This is an understandable reaction, so I will attempt to break down the one big "WHY?" Into smaller "why's" in order to shed some light on our thought process.

 Why would you adopt when you already have kids?

 While adoption is a beautiful way to become first-time parents, the reality is that there are far more children who need families than there are child-less couples who want to adopt them. When a child is over four and/or has special needs, the odds of a child being chosen by first-time parents, drops significantly. After four children, we have learned that the true bond between parent and child is cemented in the home through daily care and interaction. There really are three options for kids who are waiting in orphanages. Number one is to wait until they are chosen by a child-less couple. Number two is to be adopted by families who have other children. Number three is to remain exactly where they are without the love of a family. Those really are the options. For us, adoption is not about feeling we don't have enough. It is about realizing we are truly blessed beyond measure and desiring to do what we believe our Father in Heaven would want us to do to aid HIS children. We don't think it is what EVERYONE should do, but we feel it is what WE need to do.

 Why not wait until your kids are older?

 Very good question. In fact, that was sort of "the plan." We figured we would wait until later to adopt when we were hopefully a two income family and maybe even living in a bigger house with acreage. It was a good plan. It was a righteous plan. But something just kept tugging at my heart. It was actually my husband who said one day that we could look into adoption. This really surprised me. Not that I hadn't thought about it many times before, but that HE would bring it up. As I thought about it, I was reminded of all the years I have served in the nursery and Primary programs at church. I once asked why they saw fit to always ask the women with young kids at home to do those jobs? The answer made quite an impact on me and my attitude. It was simply, "Because women who no longer have little kids tend to forget just how to come down to their level and teach them." As I thought on our adoption, that answer was brought to my remembrance and I realized that it would not take long after my kids got older for me to "move on" mentally and forget the details of raising little ones.
 In addition, siblings are some of the best friends and gifts a child can ever have. I could raise an adopted child when my others kids were grown, but he/she would miss out on the experiences that only siblings bring. And my biological children would miss out on the opportunity to learn about service, sacrifice, and true Christ-like love that they are experiencing now.

 Why don't you just adopt here in the United States from Foster Care?

 The short answer to this is, "Because the Lord sent us elsewhere." But the answer is a bit deeper. I have friends who have fostered and some who have been able to grow their families through foster to adopt. I admire these people very much. We considered this program as well. I am quite sure I could not abide by the ridiculous levels of "privacy" that are rigged into the system to protect the birth families. I would not fare well with raising children and having them taken away at any time...possibly returned to the deplorable conditions from which they were removed.
Fostering and adoption are really two different things. I heard it phrased once, "do foster care to foster and adoption to adopt." If a family intends to ADOPT a child, then they need to be pursuing ADOPTION, not foster care as the ideal end-game of foster care is to place the child back with the birth family or a biological relative. There are many amazing families who love foster care and have adopted from the system, but it is not for everyone, just as international adoption is not for everyone. 

Why aren't you concerned with all the needy kids here in the U.S.? 

 I am concerned with them. I have a goal to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate one day for children "in the system" here. But as for the idea that kids here are somehow more deserving of a loving home and family than those overseas? I can only say that I am certainly grateful that my Savior, Jesus Christ didn't feel that way. Otherwise perhaps He would only have sacrificed himself for the people from Nazareth. Think about that. As an American and and Army veteran, I am fiercely patriotic. But as a Christian, I know that God is no respecter of persons and I should not be either. I'll go where He tells me to go.

 Why are you fundraising? 

 It seems a lot of people have this idea that needing to raise funds to adopt means a family cannot afford to have more children. These people likely don't know how much adoption actually costs. Depending on the country, adopting one child can run from about $12,000 to over $60,000. Not many families have that kind of cash sitting around. In the adoption community, the fees required to save a child are often referred to as "raising a ransom." And that is exactly how it feels. The hurdles can seem insurmountable.
There are people who feel, "If you can't afford it, then maybe you shouldn't adopt." To those people I say, "If you cannot buy your house or your car outright, perhaps you should not have one." The fact is, most families who step out in faith to adopt an orphan CAN afford to raise them. It's just getting them through all the red tape and home that presents a barrier. For instance, one requirement for an international adoption is fingerprinting of every adult in the home. This costs $50/person or so. But then there is the form that must be sent in with said fingerprints. That form that goes to USCIS costs $800. FOR ONE FORM. And that is just what goes into the U.S. side of things. There are generally agency fees which run around $24,000 and then in-country fees for drivers, lodging, food, airfare, medical evals, court fees, embassy and passport paperwork, and I am sure I am forgetting a bunch. So yeah, if only those "who could afford it" adopted these kids, it's doubtful that ANY of them would know the love of a family.

 Why are you always posting stuff about orphans on Facebook? 

 The only answer I can give here is that once your eyes are opened to a need, it's hard to be quiet about it. You want to shout it from the rooftops. You want others to care even though they'd rather look away. And that is what happened to me. I couldn't look away anymore. I may not be able to get anyone else to take up the cause of advocacy, but I cannot be silent. If something I post gets a waiting child just a little more exposure so his/her family can find them, it's worthwhile. If it makes just one person look at their life and re-evaluate "needs" then it is worthwhile. If one person contributes to an adoption fund for one child, it is worthwhile. Surely these children are some of "the least of these" spoken of by Jesus Christ. How can I turn my back on them?

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