Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wanted: Adoptive Parents: Must Want Children

Seems obvious, right?
Sometimes it's not so clear.

When they say it's not wise to go into adoption with a hero mentality, to "save an orphan" I must agree. It is smart to make a distinction between admirable, generous philanthropy and a true desire to parent children.

Daily. Nightly. Weekly. Monthly. Yearly. Until. Always. Forever. Parenting.

When adopted kids join a family, the noble savior mindset is not the exact right approach. It lacks the long term endurance, tenderness and kindness and benevolence, even in the face of ingratitude necessary to actually parent. Let's face it, kids are not widely known for their heartfelt appreciation of the magnitude of the enormous role parents play in their young lives. Not until they are older anyway. Parenting is an unparalleled commitment.

Children will be children. They will behave the way children behave.

They will surely be quite messy, occasionally purely thoughtless. They will undoubtedly require indefinite, sometimes mind boggling repetition and consistency. They might look you square in the eye with contempt on their face and loudly pronounce "yuck" without a hint of shame at the meal you just spent an hour laboring over. Some are able to vomit at will. They may whine. Perhaps a lot. They have bodily functions. They may not always control them well. They will ask you for a snack while you are still cleaning up the lunch they finished only 10 short minutes ago. They need Doctor visits and new shoes because they mysteriously lost their perfectly good old ones and consequences and extra-curricular activities and nurture and education and playtime and prayer and kisses and counsel and compassion and correction and they never leave you without extraordinary preparation and effort and a willing, capable fill-in replacement in your absence. They could pull out 16 new outfits to wear in a single day. They will fight with their siblings. They may "bring out the worst" in the children you already had. There is a chance they will pull down their pants and urinate in the kiddie pool while you are filling with the garden hose. (Oh yes, there is.) Without question, they will interrupt you with little or no regard for how important your task or conversation is. If they are babies they will cry and keep their moms and dads up at night. If they are big kids they may cry and keep their moms and dads up at night. They might cry a lot for no apparent reason whatsoever. Sometimes they are desperately needy. Other times they coldly rebuff you. They might make you cry. Possibly more tears than you knew you had.

They probably won't care about the time or money or tedious, tiresome work you invested in bringing them home. Even if it drained your bank account. Even if your vacation time and cash is gone for the next 2 years. Or 3. Even if you came home and lost your job and health insurance and a flood hit your city and your house is gone and you have to find somewhere else to live and you haven't even had time to properly bond.

Nor should they.

In turn, they will bring indescribable, immeasurable, countless joy as they grow and change and learn and develop right before your very eyes. You will see God's faithful, mighty hand touch their life and touch yours and you will wonder how you ever became the recipient of such uncontainable blessing.

They will teach you more than you could ever teach them. They will make your heart stretch and fill up and feel love deeper than you've experienced.

These lessons, this stretching, that love may not come easily.

If a person has a heart to care for the orphan that is really, really wonderful. As an adoptive parent my advice would be, send a check. Offer respite care for an adoptive parent. Help with a fundraiser. Take a missions trip to an orphanage. Sponsor a child. Sponsor several.

If a person wants to parent children who were biologically born to someone else, adoption is a beautiful, transforming, life altering for all involved parties, option.

I didn't realize the extent of this difference before we adopted.
Fortunately, we are a family that really wanted children.
I'm so humbly grateful for that.

10 comments:

Holly said...

I always feel like another layer of an onion is peeled off when you write like this.
I love it for my own heart and I want to shout it from the mountain tops.
You capture truth so easily.

Katy said...

I think you must have heard me utter some unkind words tonight. You know, about those kids of mine who act like CHILDREN. Their inconsideration, selfishness, disrespectful, thoughtlessness. Oh. Yea. They kind of *are* children. This is what they do.

Thanks for whispering to me tonight ;)

SocialWrkr24/7 said...

"If a person has a heart to care for the orphan that is really, really wonderful. As an adoptive parent my advice would be, send a check. Offer respite care for an adoptive parent. Help with a fundraiser. Take a missions trip to an orphanage. Sponsor a child. Sponsor several.

If a person wants to parent children who were biologically born to someone else, adoption is a beautiful, transforming, life altering for all involved parties, option."

Perfectly said - I think sometimes we forget that there are many ways to "care for the orphan". Thank you for reminding us.

ManyBlessings said...

I stumbled onto your blog from another one. What beautiful words, and oh-so-true!!! Thank-you for putting that into words! :)

Haley Ballast said...

Hope you don't mind me quoting you...

http://ballastadoption.blogspot.com/2010/06/not-enough.html

thanks so much for sharing.

Mamita J said...

Amen.

Anastasia said...

So glad you shared this on your blog, Tisha. I'm thankful for the conversation we shared in your kitchen late one evening in the midst of supper clean up, kids playing loudly, and holding babies. Ahhh, heaven!

The Straight's said...

What an awesome post!! Came over from NHBO, and really enjoyed your blog. Thanks.

Tymm said...

what a spot-on post.

THANK YOU!

The Mahnke Family said...

Great, thought-provoking post. Thank you. We are praying that we are truly ready to parent, and not just "rescue". It is SO different.

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