Friday, May 20, 2011

Adoption Questions and Nothing Else

It almost feels like today is Sunday and Tonggu Momma posted Sunday Linkage (which is on hiatus while she focuses on going to China).  There were just so many new thought-provoking adoption posts today, and I cannot process them all.

How can you not cry for the family who God moved heaven and earth to match them with their child only to have the child die before she could be brought home?  Yet today, only a few weeks later, in the midst of their own pain, you see them rejoice over a child who a year ago was also seriously ill and today reached his 4th birthday happy and healthy in the arms of his family?

Or what about the teen girl who is settling into her forever family with the two brothers brought home a year after her--all with deep wounds but finding healing in their forever family and in Christ?  Slowly, but finding purpose.

Then there are the children in Uganda highlighted at one blog--not babies, but children.  Children who have no families but do have loving care facilities in their birth country.  Children who want families and pray for families but might not find families because people like me don't want to adopt out of birth order; maybe can't even get approval to adopt out of birth order.

Or the post a few days ago about abuse in the foster care system.  Abuse that is not perpetuated on every child or occurs in every family, but that even one child suffers is more than enough to make one feel ill.

And I think, God, who? how? what am I to do?  Is there a child that our family can love, invest ourselves in, and, well, help? 

But than I look away from the computer and come back to a whole new set of posts.  This set reminds me that we did not choose to adopt because we wanted to rescue a child; we felt led down a certain path and we took it.  It has not led to a child and may never.  But neither has God changed our direction to switch to foster care adoption or older child adoption or special needs adoption.  He has told us to wait and renew so we do.  But waiting in the NSN line certainly feels embarrassing at times.

Yes.  We would like to adopt a girl.  Yes, we would like her to be younger than Sunflower.  This apparently, according to one post I read, makes us delusional people who cannot see that our desire to adopt is the cause of all abandonments of babies.  That if I do not see it I am defensive, unwilling to treat adult adoptees with respect, and unfit to be an adoptive parent because I will expect the child to be grateful and not listen to her.  Maybe I am reading more into the post than was intended, but it is what I hear, and I don't know what to do about it.

Do we just not adopt?

What about the post last week about how horrible it would be to adopt a child into a family with bio-siblings because they would always feel less.

Before I go any further, I would like to say I understand these are complicated issues.  That people have been very hurt by the adoption industry.  That there are some unethical practices that need to be stopped.  That I believe family preservation should come first in solving the "orphan crisis."  That I think International Adoption is at best 3rd optimal choice for children who need families and possibly should be the 4th or 5th option.  That if we adopt someday, either from China or the US, and do not strive to end social injustice in this world, we are in the wrong.  (That all should be striving to end social injustice, but that is a different post, and I suck at it).

I also know there is no way to please everyone.  People want me to adopt older, switch to SN, do foster care, or not adopt at all.  Some see nothing wrong with waiting for a NSN baby girl in China while others think we are adopting so we can "be the exemplary, trendy, progressive multi-cultural, multi-ethnic family" we've always dreamed of being.  I have no intention of pleasing everyone; I want to please God.

The problem I am having is who to even discuss these questions with as I try to see what is right.  Those against adoption say don't do it.  Those for adoption (not all but some) say why let that angry adoptee bother you?  The contented ones aren't as vocal.  Those adopting special needs (many whom I admire and respect a great deal) aren't necessarily pondering the issues I am pondering because they have the added confidence that they are definitely helping a child if only medically though always more.  Some Christians say, well, this way they'll hear the gospel--like God cannot penetrate China with His message.

Will my dropping out of the NSN program in China stop baby abondment in China?  Well, no.  But what if I drop out and spend all of my time trying to convince the other 30,000 people in line to drop out.  Will that change China's system?  No.  Can I change China's one child policy, its government, its illegal family planning actions such as taking an illegal child from its family or late term abortions?  No.  Then what do I do?  Is it so wrong to want to bring one of those lost babies into my home, to want that child to love?

If I adopt while I already have 3 children, how do I help lack of shared genetics not cause her pain?  Do I search for her birth family so she can have shared genetics? or is that taking the choice away from her and the search itself away from her?

Some adoptive parents in the world, according to the adult adoptees, listen and work for change and understand all the complications and the adoption isn't all "rainbows and unicorns."  But these parents all "got it" after they had already adopted.  Is there someone who "got it" before they adopted and still chose to adopt (specifically NSN)?  I know of at least one, but she is very busy right now.  What questions did they face?  How did they reconcile it all?  Does it all just boil down to God told me to do it, so I did?  How do non-religious people answer the questions? 

Many days I have my own set of answers.  Many days I rest in assurance that each day I just need to follow God and He will set my path right.  Many days I just live my life one day at a time and don't have time to ponder all the mysteries of adoption.  But some days like today, I wonder if anyone else has questions and what their answers are. 


Mary Beth said...

As I struggled with what needs we were open to, what age, what gender, etc. I realized that the only way I was looking at our adoption was how we were going to "help" a child (even though we also strongly desired more children; we also wanted to "help" as we added to our family). Suddenly it became very clear to me that I had totally left out how God would use our child to change us. It was a profound moment for me. I suddenly felt free. I gave it all to God and let him find the perfect child for our family, and He did. He will for you too. :-)

a Tonggu Momma said...

For us it was an act of obedience, even though we didn't understand. The peace, despite the lack of understanding, told us to stay the course. And God is showing us through the circumstances of our travel group that He has a plan. Which makes me feel even greater peace than I thought possible.