Dear Christian who wishes to “save” an orphan, did you not realize it would be difficult? Did you not realize it would be painful? Why did you expect your child to be grateful? Is any child truly appreciative of what we give them of ourselves, of our time, of our resources, of so much? How often did you really thank your parents before you were an adult? If then?
You may be called by God, but when is God’s calling easy? Doesn’t God refine us with fire? Isn’t He the potter that molds and kneads and fires the clay? Children are wonderful at revealing our weaknesses, the areas where we need growth. Our weaknesses that we can hide from the world and even ourselves, children will reveal and test and exacerbate. Now that is a gift of God!
Was it easy for Jesus? Was he understood and accepted? Didn’t the very people he came to show God’s love, the people he came to save, reject him, ridicule him, torture him…? It is hard. Those who need love the most are often the most difficult to love.
(And now I get really edgy) why would you assume that adoption would fit easily into your life and your family? How dare you tell God who you will love. Yes, in many ways, adopting a baby would be easier on you, but is God’s call ever easy? Does God have big plans for you or not? The fact is that there is not a need for families to adopt healthy infants. (I won’t even start on demanding health when we all have diagnoses, take medications, etc.) The children waiting, hurting, lonely, desperate for a family are older, have needs that only a family can meet, may have siblings, and they are hurt. They have emotional wounds. They need you. They need love. And parenting will not be easy. It never is, but the call to love the orphan is going to overwhelm you, break you, and eventually grow you.
It is not easy, but anything worth having has a cost. It will cost you time, energy, money, patience, everything you are. And it will transform you.
What is the right reason to adopt? The wrong reason? Is there a reason that is better than others?
My view on parenting has always been putting the needs of the child first, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. I knew that I would be good at being attuned to a child’s needs with my history working in mental health centers and as a nanny before that. Hearing about the needs of orphans worldwide, my thought was that some child(ren) need(s) me; these children need a family, and I can be that. I felt responsible to do what I can not to leave a child alone without love, hope, or a future. Donations to orphan care foundations just did not seem enough. I had enough to be able to do more for one or two (and now I’m trying to do even more).
I never thought that adoption was saving the world. It may drastically improve the future for that single child; yet, with that gain, more losses (culture, language, friends, etc.) are added to what the child has already lost. At the very least this includes the opportunity to be raised by his or her birth family and to truly know his or her roots. I have always shunned the idea that I am a hero or doing any more than that which I felt I was responsible to do. I pay my bills, I mow my lawn, I adopted. Clearly, I found much more joy in adopting than in paying my bills. I enjoy mowing my lawn most of the time, but I celebrated adopting.
Recently I heard someone say that the only reason to have a child (by birth or by adoption) is because you want to and it will make you happy. At first, after seeing too many parents who try to live through their children or do not respect their children as individual personalities, parenting for myself felt kind of icky. Being a parent means it is not about me most of the time. I love that Mooshinindy lets her daughter where whatever she thinks best expresses her that day. When my child has a nightmare, it doesnt matter how tired I am, I must help soothe her. We definitely have boundaries, but children’s emotional needs come first most of the time.
As I thought about it (and typed through this blog), I have to admit that adopting and parenting do make me happy. I find joy in giving to my child, meeting emotional needs, and helping her discover the world. I still can’t say that I did it only for me, but it was for me as well. It also makes me happy to continue to volunteer to share some of my stories at my adoption agency. I hope that I can figure out a way to give more to the children who will not be adopted by raising funds through this blog.
Do you think there is a right reason or a wrong reason to adopt? What do you think is the best reason? What was your reason?
photo by FreeDigitalPhotos.net because I’m still trying to figure out how I want to do photos yet still protect the innocent
The outlook is bleak. Orphans that are not adopted lack education, life skills, proper nutrition, medical care, resources, etc. Depending on the country, children will age out of an orphanage between 14 and 16 years old. Were you able to provide for yourself at 14? Most of these kids end up involved with drugs, alcoholism, prostitution, and other forms of crime. Some commit suicide, but many end up dead before reaching the age of majority. As I said, the outlook is bleak.
To make matters worse (yes, it can get worse), after the age of three he or she is considered an “older orphan” and less likely to be adopted. The older the child is the less appealing he or she is to those considering adoption. How many people do you think would welcome a seven year old into their family? an 11 year old? a 13 year old? Recently, I read an adoptive mother refer to the child who arrived home at 18 months of age as an older orphan. I was shocked.
I get that people want to experience all the stages of parenting, especially when they feel like they are already missing out on the pregnancy/birth experience. I get that people think that older orphans are somehow damaged. While the horror stories are larger than life, not all older orphans are anything but grieving and craving the love of a family. I even think that it is wonderful for those kids who are adopted as young as possible for all the extra parenting that they will receive. I don’t hold anything against those who want to adopt infants, just because it was not my path.
But I cannot forget all those other children, the children whose outlook is bleak. As a single mama who does not have unlimited resources, I can only adopt so many. I make regular donations to orphan care organizations. I do what I can, but I want to do more. There are still more kids
that need me that need someone. I’m not naive enough to think that we can solve the orphan problem, but I want to do more.
So I have been thinking about monetizing this blog to help fund education for a child (or several???) who has been left behind. I’m new to this blogging world, so I wanted to get YOUR opinion. What are the best, least offensive (read: not selling out) ways to monetize a blog?
What else should I know so I can effectively raise funds to make a difference at least to one or two more kids?