Since Jake posted his Thought for the Week from Tuesday, I’ve had a handful of people share that they too were wondering about those questions that Jake’s Dad had asked us. So, I thought it was time to do another Adoption FAQ’s post. Here are some new adoption related questions that Jake or I have been asked lately, along with my answers:
What happens if you adopt these two young boys from Africa and they resent you for removing them from their country?
Because the two boys that we are adopting are older in age, this IS most likely going to happen. For a quick reality check, I always think back to when our pastor and his wife adopted their two sons from Ethiopia. One of the first things that happened during their first meeting was that the eldest of the two (who was around 5 years of age) spit at them and screamed in his own language that he did not want a white mommy and a white daddy. Sometime later once they arrived back in Iowa with the boys, the eldest child woke up in the middle of the night one night having a night terror. He ran into the kitchen in an extreme panic. As his new dad (our pastor) tried to calm him down he screamed in his newly learned English, “I NO LIKE YOU!” And he screamed it over. And over. And over. What I am saying from these examples, is that we don’t just think this is going to happen, we expect it to. I would be surprised if it doesn’t. Not only will we be removing these children from their mother, their only caretaker and constant in their lives, but we are removing them completely from their culture, traditions, country, and language. We must be empathetic and sensitive to this from the beginning. Which, that is the great thing about adoption training books…because from chapter 1 these types of realities are shared. In our training we learned that adopted children go through a period of grieving for their losses (of caretakers, country, family, friends, and familiarity). Just as you or I would grieve the loss of a loved one who has passed away, adoptive children also grieve all that they have lost. And, we all grieve in different ways and in different time tables. This is also why adoption training books devote more than one chapter to bonding and attachment. These sections give purposeful strategies for creating connection with your adoptive children once they are home. This is a serious topic within adoption and should not be overlooked. Eventually I believe that our children will understand the ‘big picture’ of why they were removed from their country, but this will certainly take some time, possibly even years.
What happens if you adopt these two young boys and it ruins what you have right now for your family?
To be brutally honest, this is one of my biggest fears. With adoption there are no guarantees, and this could potentially happen. But, the way I see it, I have two options of what I can do with this fear. My first option would be to let this fear paralyze me to the point where it becomes a cop-out or an excuse to take no action. I could sit peacefully in a bubble of safe Christianity, not live out my faith, and not be obedient to God’s clear call for our family to adopt. It sure would be nice and cozy in my comfort zone. Or option 2: I could choose to give this fear to God, and trust that he has led us to adopt, and he will see us through. If you look back through all my adoption posts, you will see that option 2 is not easy. It’s a constant struggle, a constant learning process, a constant refinement of my character and imperfections. Lots of times this journey has been discouraging, sad, and most definitely the most unpredictable thing I have ever been a part of in my life. But, it’s all part of the process, and it’s all part of choosing option 2. A friend said the other day that choosing adoption is not for the faint of heart. I feel this way too. But, I would rather choose option 2, than sit around with option 1 and wonder what God could have done with my life had I only had enough faith to jump in. I’ve shared the following poem before, but I want to share it again. This poem gets me pumped up, and is always a good kick in the rear whenever I think I should have stuck with option 1:
Common Cold of the Soul
By: Gregg Levoy
To sinful patterns of behavior that never get confronted and changed
Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed
Until weeks become months
And months turn into years,
And one day you're looking back on a life of
Deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had;
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered
Lives you never touched,
And you're sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams,
And you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself-
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling,
You never got out of the boat!
Do you think everyone is supposed to adopt?
No. But, God tells his followers this:
-Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
-There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:11)
-If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13)
The way you live out these verses might look different in your life than in mine. Maybe you donate fees for an orphan in China to have life-saving surgery, maybe you serve at your local homeless shelter, maybe you are a foster care family, maybe you are a mentor for a child who has no role models, maybe at Christmas time you forgo presents for a year and instead use the money to purchase a goat for a family living in a hut in Asia. I don’t know what God is calling you to do. I don’t know what God has put on your heart. I just know what he has put on mine. If you feel that God has been leading you to consider adoption, pray that God would make it clear. I believe He will.
If you are reading this and have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments below. I would be glad to take a stab at answering them in a future post. Also, I previously did one of these FAQ posts with different questions a loooooonnnngggggg time ago! (To read those questions and my answers, click here: http://team-sullivan.blogspot.com/2009/01/our-answers-to-faqs-about-adoption.html )