After much discussion on various boards about this post, I chose to change the title (as it was very distracting) and add these words….
For those that claim some parents do not want to parent, I see that as a failure somewhere a long the line. It’s not acceptable to me that people think it’s ok to bear children and choose not to parent. Even though they may beyond help by that point, it’s a cycle and paradigm that needs to be changed.
I’m realzing how distracting titles are. I did not intend to make it sound like I though adoption was a negative thing or that adoption only represents a failure. I think it also represents redemption, loss, joy, grief, love, and a myriad of other things. As for adoption being a failure… the point I was trying to make is that if an adoption occurs, something… usually multiple things… went wrong. Adoption is not a bad thing… it is a great thing; It is an excellent picture of the gospel. However, the gospel is all about a failure (the fall) being turned right by God. Adoption was not God’s intent for children. Infertility was not God’s intent for couples. However, because sin entered the world, the world is not perfect. And just as God adopting us represents a “righting” of a failure (not God’s failure, but ours), so does a parent adopting a child represent a failure somewhere.
I just want people to realize how reactive it is. I happen to be a very happy, satisfied, adult, interracial adoptee. For almost my entire life, I saw no problem with my story and didn’t understand why there were others in my situation who resented their adoptive parents and the institution of adoption.
Since entering the world of adoption/foster/orphan care ministry and becoming the adoptive parent of a toddler, I see how painful adoption can (although not always) be and see that not everyone had the happy-go-lucky experience I had. I believe some (not all) of those grief and resentment-laced stories could have been prevented better support had been available on multiple levels during multiple stages.
That being said, you guys are right. Sometimes adoption is inevitable and can be a beautiful thing. Insert gospel story. I just wish the whole society was better and providing parenting support all across the board.
*******ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS*******
When we completed our adoption training for Ty, the social worker told us that adoption, even in all its joyousness, represents a loss for all sides. Birthparents lose a child, a child loses a family, and the adopting family sets aside (at least for a season) being able to expand their family through biological means.
I came to the recent realization that adoption also represents failure. It’s a failure of a parent to parent successfully. It’s the failure of the community and church to successfully support said parent. In the foster care system, it’s the failure of the state and parent to work toward reunification. And the list goes on.
Before you get all ruffled and red-faced thinking I’m anti-adoption, let me state that there are certainly some instances that warrant adoption (i.e., death) and there are certainly millions of waiting children that need families because failure has already occurred. Let’s also remember that I am an adoptee and adoptive parent.
But I don’t think that adoption is preferred. It’s too reactive. As an engineer who worked in preventative maintenance, I’d much rather look to the proactive. How can we prevent the need for adoptions–eliminating all that loss and grief?
One way is to continue to remind people that sex creates babies. I know, shocking. God knew what He was doing when He commanded us to only have sex with the person to whom we are married.
P.S. I know that unplanned pregnancies still happen to married couples but stay with me.
Another way is to better educate parents to be parents. Successful parenting doesn’t come by nature but by nurture. It’s taught. We’re also up against that whole sinful nature thing. Parenting styles are cyclic across generations, and there are a lot of bad cycles of parents out there. But cycles are reversible…especially when grace is involved.
I really believe it takes a village to raise a child and we need to do a better job at creating villages around parents. When parents start failing, it’s even more important that the village steps in before the state needs to.
Doesn’t it seem silly that there are not many places for parents to go and be proactive and say, “I need help. Can you help me raise my children while I get it?” Instead, they have to be caught in abuse or neglect before the state will provide care for their children and offer to get them help.
That’s why we’re excited about a program that started in Chicago that let’s parents seek help voluntarily before they’re beyond it. It’s called Safe Families. It’s spreading across the country like wildfire. Again, shocking. It’s like tagless clothes, what took us so long to come up with that idea?
We believe Safe Families could drastically reduce the need for state foster care–or even eliminate it. But it can only continue to be successful if people (namely those from the Church) step up and create the necessary villages. You should head over to Safe Families’ website now and find out how to get involved or to see if it’s already happening in your area. Then tell as many people as will listen…and even those who won’t. Maybe they’ll get it by osmosis.