Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buck the Adoption Trend.

I just read a great post from Penny that referred to this article by Russell Moore. Both are great reads. Seriously, go check them both out.

I for one believe that more people could and should be foster parents and should adopt as led. So many people tell mie that they're amazed at what we do as foster parents, that they couldn't do it. I disagree. I believe most people could do it. We are not saints. We are regular, imperfect folks who have made the decision to be vulnerable to provide a temporary or permanent home to children who need one. We've opened our hearts and daily lives to be used, to be parents to kids who weren't placed in my womb through the traditional procreational activity of marriage but entered our home through a successful phone call and knock on the door. Even still, it takes a great deal of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional strength in our relationship with Christ and our marriage to make this parenting happen, just as it does with "regular" parenting. And I'm fortunate to speak to both having 1 biological son, 8 foster kiddos - 1 pending adoption. But we're not amazing, just obedient.

And though this isn't the point of the article, it is the key point of my post today - obedience. We didn't seek out adoption to have this cute little baby in our homes. We also didn't seek out foster care purely out of a benevolent, obedient spirit. Truth-be-told, I strongly believe that if God spoke to us about foster care and adoption outside of fertility we'd be right along side all the folks who think we're "saints" - we wouldn't have been obedient we'd have filled our (smaller) home with biological kiddos - somewhere between 3 & 5 - and would have rejected the idea of being foster parents, if for no other reason than "we couldn't do that". So, we were dealt infertility, our choice to procreate was not granted/taken away, and we were led to the point of being foster parents hoping to adopt. It was only at that point that our hearts became (somewhat) obedient to be foster/adopt parents. Ultimately, our goal has always been to be great parents to the kids God gives us, a goal simultaneously selfish and obedient. Therefore, I'm not queen-super-cool-caring-benevolant-Christian trying to preach to you but instead would try to persuade you to consider how you can contribute to caring for the orphaned.

Obedience. Have you heard about the trendiness movement in Christian circles to be foster parents or adopt? I've heard about it on the periphery but haven't experienced it myself. I think both Penny & Russell Moore's perspectives are good, but I'd add another reason to not adopt.

You might not be called to.

Oh what an out. It's easy for folks to ignore the pulling of the Holy Spirit by saying something like that. The truth is though, that you (or someone you know) may very well not be called to foster or adopt. It is a decision that needs to be made with great prayer and petitioning, not because of the impact it would have to your life, but because you need to know if this is really what God wants you to do. From my perspective, fostering when you aren't called to is just as "sinful" as not fostering when you are called to. Another example I use is that of a doctor. A certain doctor left his practice to go be a missionary in a far-off land. Surely with the skills he had acquired and blessings he'd been given he should give up his riches in his hometown, his "easy" life with an established practice, and sacrifice out there where people have nothing. He did this intending to be pious and earn crowns in heaven. Unfortunately, the practice he'd established had him interacting with folks on a daily basis that God had ordained. It gave him a platform in his hometown, his state, his nation, that enabled him to speak about the things of God with people who respected his opinion as a doctor and who would never have spoken to a pastor. It gave him an income that allowed him to finance things that others couldn't - when the youth needed scholarships for their camps he could write that check. But because he wanted to appear to live more holy serving in the mission field in some far-off land he forsook the mission-field he was created to serve-his own backyard.

Do you get it? Sometimes we get caught up in the trends and move with the crowd (sometimes known as our church) and we fail to pay attention to the calling each of us has, individually.

So, should you adopt? Should you foster? I don't have the answer for you. I stick by these basic ideas:
  1. I believe more people could and should foster/adopt but they choose not to because of the work it would entail and the fear of how it would impact their lives (or, the lives of their family members). In other words, it will be hard.
  2. All Christians are called to care for the orphans and widows.
  3. Not all Christians are called to adopt or be foster parents.
  4. Christians should follow the will of God as he has set out for each of his children.
Therefore, if you are a believer you need to diligently seek the Lord on how he wants you to care for orphans and widows. You need to honestly search the Word and pray about becoming foster parents or adopting. You need to come to a conclusion not based on wanting to have a squishy baby or based on wanting more rewards in heaven but based on what God's will is for your life. And finally, if you are 100% sure that God doesn't want you to be an adoptive or foster parent, you need not be. That being said, if you're in that boat, you need to find some other way to care for the orphans. That could be donations to charities, that could be time serving repairing group homes, that could be bringing a meal or volunteering to babysit for your friend who is a foster/adopt parent (wink wink, but seriously though!).

You are called to care for orphans and widows. And there are plenty of them that need cared for. You may not be called to get licensed, but you are called to do something.

I'm here to help if you need ideas :)


Living with Three Boys of Our Own said...

Well said. Well, well said!

Dana Beam said...

Great post!

It's so true that there are SO many ways to get involved even if you don't feel called to be a foster parent or take in a widow. Helping to make care packages/first day packages for foster parents and donating things that the newest kids in someones home might need would be a huge help to people. Or on the other hand just taking a widow out to a meal or writing them a note can be the most rewarding thing you can do. I've been meeting with two widows for the last few years and can say that it is greatly rewarding and can involved very little time commitment! And if you have kids, chances are they will LOVE for you to bring them along for visits too :)

Penelope said...

Thanks for the shout-out! So many foster kids just need guidance.

Dana-from chaos to Grace said...

We are new foster parents (8-23-11) to a sibling group of 3, and like you, God called us to do this. It's so wonderful to find other parents who are doing this out of OBEDIENCE!