If you cannot bring yourself to read a single word or link below, here is our fifteen second National Adoption month message:
- If you feel called to adopt, be strong, be courageous. Teach us all about perseverance. Be informed. Do your research. Be ready to work your buns off. Get ready to grow.
- If you don't feel called to adoption: Find a family that is currently in the process or has already adopted and ask them this question, "How can we support you?" Then, respond with love and grace and the desired support.
- Consider that adoption is just one of many ways that you can help alleviate the problem of parentless or institutionalized children.
|Troy visiting our Haitian family - Hope/Phoebe's first mom and sister|
We don't write very frequently about adoption. It's not because we don't have any thoughts or feelings about it. When it comes to adoption our thoughts, experiences, feelings, opinions, etc, are all incredibly complex. Sometimes they even seem incongruent or opposing. To be brutally honest, in some areas we're still deciding how we feel about the larger issues that are at play. We're in turmoil over the abuses we've seen in the international adoption system.
(TED piece on orphanages here.)
We're that guy - the one that won't be excited when you tell us you're coming to Haiti or __________ (insert any country name) to "start an orphanage!!!" I write that knowing full well it invites a lot of people to feel defensive and angry. It is okay, I can take it. Be defensive and angry for a bit - but when you're done with that try listening to the multifarious problems of building new orphanages in materially poor countries. They are not immediately evident. They are complex. Let us be ever aware of the consequences of our choices. Let us not create more orphans, please.
The month of November is important because the conversations about "orphans" and adoption are all important ones. We can learn from one another. We are just another voice in the cacophony of voices. There are lots of resources available. The vast number of resources might be overwhelming. The best way to start - is to start ... all that to say, we've rounded up some links for those considering adoption.
Links to first mom thoughts:
- From a teen mom, about teen moms.
- A favorite adoption reunion story of ours: This Reunion of first mother and adult child.
- Respecting other cultures, resisting the desire to swoop in and save: Renald's return story.
- How does it feel to be a "birth mother" here.
Transracial Adoption links/thoughts:
- Some of our thoughts here.
- Race matters, post by a social worker here.
- Amie Sexton's powerful post on (not)being color blind here.
Adoption is not easy. I hate that it such a giant pain in the butt and there is plenty I'd like to change about the process and the system, but in the end I have come to believe it shouldn't be easy. If we cannot muster the patience to get through the heartache and unpredictability of the actual legal process we probably won't very easily cope with the life-altering heartache that often comes with helping a child heal from such a big loss. Think of the adoption process as preparation for the real work. If you want to adopt be ready to grow, be ready to rumble.
- A post about ethics here.
- A post about waiting here.
- Ten years post-adoption happiness post here.
- A brave and honest post about disruption.
- A letter to an adopted daughter, from a Dad.
The "after-care" piece is so important, especially for families that are adopting kids that are coming from traumatic backgrounds and that have experienced more loss than we can easily imagine. Families that willingly enter into "special needs" adoptions need our support times ten. Let's be supportive! They are brave and need to be backed with love and prayers and babysitters.
a few ideas:
- Give to an adoption fund for families that choose to adopt - adoption is financially challenging.
- Give a teen mom a place to stay for a time or rides to and from school/work/doctor appointments; tangibly support her efforts to parent her child.
- Pray for adoptive families! The first couple of years + more can cause strain on marriages and relationships. Be the person that loves and cheers and helps.
- Pray for young/new mothers (love and support - avoid judgment and condemnation)
- Ask adoptive families how you can help?
- Support work that seeks to keep children with their first moms and tries to keep families together - reduce the huge need for adoption by going to the core issue (Heartline! - and a thousand others)