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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Why We're Adopting

Those of you close to us may know that we're in the process of adopting an infant girl from China right now. We expect to be notified of a child selected by the CCAA within a couple of months, Lord willing.

One of the most common questions we receive is why we chose to adopt, especially since we have not had any difficulty conceiving (short history lesson: our first child was conceived 2 months after our wedding). Behind this inquiry, I think, is an unfortunate assumption: that adoption is only for people who are infertile. Worse yet, I think this tragically, albeit unintentionally in most cases, tends also to assign a lower “value” to those children who are awaiting adoption (after all, “why go to the trouble of getting ‘someone else's kid’ when you can have “your own”?). But think long and hard, please: orphaned children are only victims of either ill will or unfortunate circumstance. Or compare adoption to another noble activity: is fighting fires only for people whose houses have already burned down?

The heart of our desire to adopt a child is rooted in our deep love for God and desire to do those things which please him. I'd personally also deepened in my appreciation in recent years of the fatherhood of God over us: we are his adopted children, and he confers on us privileges of immense love and grace. Combine those “theological considerations” with an exposure to several other families who've lovingly adopted orphans from near and abroad, as well as a deep and abiding desire to be part of a substantive alternative to abortion in the world... and the Lord brought us to a rapid yet clear consensus in October 2004 that we wanted to adopt a child with no further delay. Lois' own remembrances of poverty in China -- and various negative facets of family life associated with being a girl in a family where she was neither first-born nor a boy -- directed us to an obvious location from which to adopt: China.

We realize that adding a little infant girl to our family at this young stage of our family life will be hard. For Lois, being a mom of two young boys has already been a great test of her endurance and faith. Same holds for me, in being a husband and father. Nevertheless, we considered these challenges, and our response was, “Yes, it will be hard, probably unimaginably hard. But we must look with eyes of faith and trust in God to give strength to do what pleases Him.” All the reasons we could think of not to adopt were self-centered (“Oh! how hard it will be on us!”). Finally, we knew that nothing we could provide -- even if less than “ideal” -- would be worse than leaving an adoptable orphan without a home and godly parents.

Lastly, one other question that's been asked by a number of close relatives: “Are you going to be able to love her as much as if she were your own?” My only response at this point is, nothing's certain. And yet, I know that when I think of when both of our boys were born, it was not any consideration of blood relation which filled my heart with love and joy. Only the thought that this was a precious soul God had given us, if only for a season. I truly believe God will give us the heart to love whatever children he brings into our family, through whatever means he brings them.

That's all for now. There's more that could be said, but it's hard to simply do so in a random blog entry. Comments? Thoughts? Your prayers are much appreciated as we approach the day when God adds another member to our family.

For more thoughts on this subject, I'd encourage you to read John Piper's sermon reflecting on being adopted by God and adopting children.