Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adoption - A New Paradigm

I stumbled across this post by Dorean Beattie yesterday from The Cheerful Giver.  She granted permission for me to re-post it here.  It looks like this blog is worth checking back in with often.

I witnessed a conversation on Facebook the other day about adoption that got a little uncomfortable. It started when someone posted a link to a family that was fundraising to pay for the adoption of their next child. Most women were saying, “Thanks for letting me know! I’ll go check it out!” One woman, however, asked a very honest question: “Why should I pay for someone else’s child?” Most people were shocked, because they get it. Women tried to lovingly explain to “Confused” why it was appropriate to ask for help in adopting, but she was having none of it. To her, it was an issue of parents not planning well. With good planning, time, and patience, anyone would be able to pay for adoption, and that was that.

As I observed the conversation, I saw the real issue was one of paradigm. Confused still viewed adoption in the old paradigm. This is the school of thought that says adoption is what you do when you are unable to conceive. It says, “Our family isn’t complete because we have no children. We’ll adopt 2.5 kids, get the dog and the picket fence, and then we’ll have it all.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with this line of thinking; it makes sense for couples who can’t conceive to adopt the child another has conceived but can’t raise. However, there is a new paradigm of adoption that brings with it a different motivation to adopt.

This new adoption paradigm (some are calling it an adoption revolution) doesn’t view adoption as primarily a way to fill a couple’s desire for children. Rather, it is a means to provide for and protect the estimated 137 million orphans in the world. Some of these orphans have lost both parents (or the only parent they’ve ever known) to disease, war, or some other tragedy. Some of them have living parents, but are orphans in the sense that the parents have turned them over to orphanages or agencies because they can no longer meet the needs of the child. In this country, most are “orphans” because their parents lost custody due to inability to care for them, or the parents relinquished their rights to the child at birth. No matter how they come to be known as orphans, they are children in need of someone to step up to the plate and say, “I will parent this child.”

This new paradigm has brought with it a new breed of adoptive parents. They are not people out to fulfill their needs, desires, or dreams. They are people who are out to fulfill the call of James 1:27, which says that pure religion (meaning your faith is unselfish, and your life is offered as service to God) is to take care of orphans and widows. The families I personally know that are part of this adoption movement have willingly laid down the “American dream” of having a big house with lots of extra room, fancy cars, and fancy vacations in order to bring some of these children into their homes. Their lives are busy, their houses are full, and their children are blossoming beyond belief! They have traded comfort and ease for smiling faces and full hearts.

To Confused, I would say, you are under no pressure to pay for someone else’s child. But if you stop to think about it, wouldn’t you like to help pay for Jesus’ child? For his children? Wouldn’t you like to join the behind-the-scenes army that, while not necessarily equipped to bring orphans into their own homes, have been equipped to help bring them into a permanent home, with a permanent family, where they will be raised with love and dignity, in the knowledge of the Lord? Because in reality, that’s the bottom line of what the adoption movement is all about.

For Confused, and anyone else that is now curious about what it looks like to be part of this “secret” army, I’ll write more on that in a couple days. For now, let the truth sink in that adoption isn’t always what it used to be. It’s about the children, not the parents. It’s about little beauties like this, that without parents willing to put aside their own comfort for her sake, would have begun her life in foster care, where it is unknown when or even if she would have found a permanent home. Selah…

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