Thursday, August 23, 2012

Should everyone adopt?

I have yet to come up with a good response to this conversation I continually have with people:
"You probably think 'X-Y-Z' about me since I haven't adopted, 
you probably think we have it really easy 'only' having (____ ) number of kids,
you are such a 'good Christian', I could never be as
 (choose one:) blissful/calm/supermom
a mother as you, etc, etc, etc......."

My answer ranges from dismissive
depending on the number of times I have crushed one of my kids' hearts that day
and how many emails,voicemails, and appointments I have missed (around 30 on average.)

Sometimes I can't even find an answer. 

Sometimes I think: "Well, that's because you should adopt, too."
Adoptive parents pretty much believe everyone should adopt. 
We lie and say that's not true but yeah,  I'm judgemental to a fault and yeah, I naturally think this most of the time. (Just keeping it real, folks. It's ain't pretty.)
When I'm being really honest though, I recall the wise words of a woman I ADORE
(and quote often) who says:
"The need is great (for adoptive families) but the need alone is not enough to warrant an adoption. 
You. Must. Be. Called. To. Adopt. Or. It. Won't. Work."
(She is Susan Hillis and she is remarkable.)

I know fully well that not everyone should adopt. More people ought to, no doubt about it and I could soapbox about it ad infinitum but I do NOT start meeting with a friend thinking:
"Why haven't YOU adopted? Hmmmm? Defend yourself to me immediately."
Most of the time I'm thinking: "I want coffee" or "She looks skinny, I need to lose weight" 
or "Please don't let my phone go off for like, 30 minutes so I can focus on this conversation."

What I think I can't stand most about this conversation is how it automatically puts me in the position of alleviating this pressure for someone else's family. How God builds families is not in any way my business anymore than someone else's reproductive health is my business, for crying out loud. 
Mostly I don't like that it creates an invisible barrier between me 
and people I could potentially be doing life with.
Someone else's calling should not look identical to mine. 
That would be very Single White Female

Not healthy.

Alot of the time I have really lame-o answers to this "What do you think about me not adopting" conversation with people.
I say dumb things like: "Oh - you ARE serving orphans this bag for me"
which makes me sound superior.
Or "Oh - if all my friends had 4 or more kids I'd never have a chance to get Starbucks with anyone"
which sounds conceited.
Or "Oh - I've got my own hands full and that's really what I'm focused on"
which sounds very Mean Girls.

"On Tuesdays we wear pink."

The truth is all parents want what's "BEST" for our families.
The hard part of this truth is waiting for the Lord to reveal WHAT "BEST" LOOKS LIKE
in each family.
What's hard is pursuing His "BEST" for our families at all costs.
What's hard is clinging faithfully to His strength to obey.
What's hard is letting Him define it.
What's hard is holding fast when people doubt your choices and criticize your stances.
What's hard is refusing to compare with people who believe "BEST" is something else for them.
What's hard is finding the balance between giving our kids all the "BEST"
and living missionally.

We all need to define what's "BEST" for our families.

It's what we all must wrestle through with The Lord and His Word as Believers.

Does "BEST" for our family look like vacationing on the French Riviera annually?
Does "BEST" look like giving our child an iPod Touch for his birthday?
Does "BEST" look like giving all our kids' toys away but 3 each?
Does "BEST" mean homeschooling?
Does it mean public schooling?
Does it mean church attendance?
Does it mean hunkering down and cocooning?
Does it mean adopting?
Does it mean adopting a gajillion times?
Does it mean waiting?
Does it mean dying to that dream to submit to your husband who says 'no'?

I can guarantee for each of those scenarios there is a family who can answer: "YES, it is BEST."

"...aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and work with your own hands."

Otherwise I think God is up there thinking: 
"What's your damage, Heather?"

In the meantime, if anyone can illuminate me with your much-more-gracious-than-my-own response to
this confounding conversation...comment away.  


  1. Oh, Esty, you make me laugh out loud. I love it. I wish I could experience Esty-ness in the flesh and not just via the internet/text world. Someday...someday. ;-)

    We are in that "cocooning" category right now, btw. Any time we've tried attending social functions to meet people through our new church we've been barraged by questions about adoption. Stresses the crap out of me. So now we are staying home. I mean, who needs friends anyways? lol.

  2. As an adoptive mom I can safely say every time I hear someone whisper the word "adopted" or "black" like they are bad, shameful words, or someone who isn't willing to unpack their white privilege, who says the "R" word, or thinks that it's not fair that black people get to say the "n" word. Or parents so fearful of a child that has another family because it might take away from their parenting experience to acknowledge their child's roots and thus instill a sense of shame and guilt into their child if they wish to know of their first family... any of those folks, I am totally OK with not adopting.

    1. Scooping, I say: here-here! Also add to that list people who want to imitate other families.

  3. Esty, this is so thought-provoking (and a bit convicting). I don't have an answer for "the" conversation, having never adopted. :) But the Lord has definitely been working with me over the last year or so . . . expanding my thoughts on what is best for our family and beginning to free me from the yoke of comparison and trying to fit into what I think everyone else's mold is for me. ;) I love that we are all on a very big journey and that what is "best" for us in one season of our lives, may not be what is best for us in the next one!