Monday, September 9, 2013

Why Are You Adopting?

We'll work, we'll play, we'll pray... until you come home, son. 
So, why are you adopting?

Simple question, a little tricky to answer... at least quickly. 

Early in our marriage, hubby and I had batted around the idea of adopting. But we had little framework as to how that would work or if it was truly for us. I felt like the whole role of motherhood was so foreign to me that I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea of being a mother to an adopted child. That of course changed once I became a mother to our first (biological) son, Ezra. We were living in China at the time and the local parents and grandparents would ask us, “why are American children so smart?” I'm not sure if it was a compliment or if they were genuinely asking. I'm guessing the latter because of the pregnant pause after my shy smile to shrug it off. They expected a "Western secret" as we wonder what insider tricks celebrities have to great figures. 

The question got me thinking though. What do I do that could possibly help my son speak better, jump higher or be more observant. I didn't think of any tricks or tips. The only thing I found any good boiling down to is engaging. I developed a firm belief that what a child truly needs to thrive is love and attention, not merely making sure they're breathing by the end of the day, but engaging with them. I figured that that's what offers them opportunities to grow. 

I then realized what abundance my son had—of things both material and not—and thought he had enough love and toys to share! Simultaneously though, when thinking about less-fortunate children, I couldn't imagine a child having anything less.

About two years ago we started noticing the families around us that were either doing foster care or had adopted Chinese children. The idea of bringing such restoration to a little life seemed winsome, but it wasn't until I was presented with a need that I could help fill that I started to consider it seriously. A family who was providing foster care for a little boy found out that his adoptive family was from Spain. They hoped I could help them communicate. I was also reading Adopted for Life at the time. Coincidently it was a free download that month on Christian Audio. 

I knew God was putting these things before me. I knew he was putting adoption on my heart. I asked friends to pray for this decision. Ryan and I talked about it on several occasions through those months of nudges and burdens--conversations where I'd basically argue with myself in his presence. He was always on board.

Hearing myself say something during one of those "talks" silenced my self-battle: “We can't not adopt!” I exclaimed. He calmly nodded. But I stood there in shock. I realized that I had already made my decision. There was not much left to say after that. It was now time to figure out how we were going to go about this scary, new adventure.

And here we are one year later.
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Other quicker answers to the "why" question include...
Because it just feels like our family's DNA.
Because we can't wrap our minds around kids waiting for someone to love them.
Because we've been adopted through Christ.
Because all great stories include reconciliation, transformation, and rescue.
Because we've gained a love for the Chinese.
Because God's giving us a child this way.
Because our son wants a little brother.
Because we're able.
Because we want to.