I’ve always valued uniqueness… places, ideas, clothing, people. But my appreciation for uniqueness isn’t all that unique, is it? Most people appreciate originality. But when it comes to family building, perhaps fewer people can appreciate styles that break the mold. International adoption is our current method of choice. And seeing that in 2012, it only happened around 8,000 times in the US, I like to think we’re breaking the norm. We’re challenging conventional notions about how families are created and defying social expectations as to how families should look. In less than two years (God-willing), we will welcome an Ethiopian baby boy or girl into our home in the same way we welcomed Maddox and in the same way we will welcome our next biological child who will be born out of the same belly Maddox was born out of. (No I’m not pregnant! Just referencing baby #3 who we’re hopeful is far in the future).
So why adoption? It’s a question we’ve been hearing a lot lately. After all, Maddox proved that the baby makers seem to be working properly. Crafting a response quick enough for the casually curious minds who seem somewhat eager to move on to the next subject has not been easy. The long version is much better.
There are probably a handful of answers to that question you’re expecting me to say, and they’re all true. We want to father the fatherless. We do not want to be aloof believers simply living out a Christian version of the American dream. We refuse to ignore the orphan crisis. However, for our family, adoption is less about the nobility of rescuing a child and more about the celebration of God’s miraculous rescue of us – two orphans who could do nothing deserving of entering God’s family. Our desire is that our family become a picture, as imperfect as it will be, of God’s beautiful display of grace toward two broken down sinners.
We don’t actually believe orphan care is a calling, but rather a command. God has so deepened and widened our understanding of the Gospel, leading us to conclude that adoption is at the very center of God’s purpose of the universe. Earthly adoption is a beautiful display of God’s grace.
So why international adoption? We wanted to impact a child who would have never been able to access nutrition, education, or medical care. We wanted to snatch a child out of a culture where they likely would have never been blessed to hear and receive the Gospel. Adoption from the American foster system is desperately needed, and God calls specific families to it (namely, my sister and brother-in-law). But God has led our hearts overseas. Not to mention, we are somewhat enamored with the idea of having a multicultural family. If God’s family is made of many tribes, nations, and tongues, let’s make this comparison picture accurate!
By my survey of the environment around me, adoption as a means of family building isn’t very common. And international adoption, even less so. But shouldn’t more people break the mold?
“Rescue the perishing; don’t hesitate to step in and help. If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,” [i.e. “that’s not for me”] will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know— Someone not impressed with weak excuses.”
~Proverbs 24:12 (The Message)