I'm often presented with this very simple question. Why do you want to adopt?
As the desire to adopt has been within me for as long as I can remember, and I've been faced with this question for the 15 years I've vocalized that desire to others, I've had quite some time to perfect my response.
However, the more time I spend trying to think of a profound answer, the more and more I struggle with the right way to describe my "why".
Sometimes, what I really want to say is "Why DON'T you want to adopt?" or "Why do you want to have your own children?"... not because I'm casting judgment upon others, but because whatever it is that motivates others to either have their own children or to remain childless, must be similar to whatever it is that calls me to adopt. It's so engrained in my mind, heart, and soul, that explaining it seems futile. In essence, I want to adopt because it's what I've always wanted to/planned on/dreamed of/hoped to do. I've never been able to imagine my future WITHOUT thinking of adoption. I feel that it's the right thing to do, and I think/hope I'm the right person to do it.
I have never (no not even a little bit) desired to become pregnant, carry a baby, or birth a baby. Yes I agree that pregnancy/childbirth is a miracle and a blessing, and a wonderful, beautiful thing. But that doesn't mean I need to experience it myself in order to appreciate it.
I like to think that God simultaneously placed the desire to adopt on my heart just as he removed the desire to produce offspring. But for those of you who might not share the same religious beliefs, you could probably come up with other explanations. Either way, the WHY doesn't really matter, does it?
No one ever asks mothers of biological children "Why do you want to have a baby?" And that's because we view motherhood and childbirth as a normal, "natural" desire, and of course for evolutionary purposes, it's a good thing that it is! But just as a biological mother would struggle to answer that question, I also struggle to answer the question of why I want to adopt my children. Because to me, that desire just feels normal and natural. It wasn't something that I spent much time debating or thinking about.... it just showed up! (as I remember, around the age of 4)
That does not mean that I don't have very specific reasons to support my reasoning, or that I haven't had certain experiences in my life that have deepened my calling. I will share some of those with you in a later post, but just know that they are only supporting a desire that I believe I was born with.
I honestly believe that we are all sent to this earth for a reason. Sometimes our calling might be vocational (to be a life-changing researcher/scientist/author/teacher/etc). Sometimes the calling is personality-based (to be that friend/neighbor/family member that brightens the lives of everyone around them). Other times the calling is based on a role (motherhood, ministry, missions, etc). I struggled through ages 18-28 trying to figure out my reason for being on this earth. I found a lot of things I was good at, a lot of ways I could help others, and a lot of things that were really fulfilling to me. But I just never had those "ah ha" moments that you hear about when you attend Calvin College... where the universe all seems to connect and you have this sense of purpose and calling come together providing you a clear picture of what it is you were placed on this earth to do: VOCATION.... Until recently. I will share the details of this event in a future post, but for now all you need to know is that I had my moment... I had my big "ah ha" moment 2 months after my 29th Birthday... and I was awakened. I was reminded that I can try and try and try to ignore it, replace it, postpone it, and argue against it... but my reason for being on this earth is to help orphans. To love the unloved. To nurture the un-nurtured. And until I become brave enough to accept that challenge, I was going to continue to feel empty, frustrated, unfulfilled, and lost.
And so here we are.
Am I ready? Will I ever be ready? Is this the right time? Will we be able to afford it? How will we provide childcare? Healthcare? What about the traveling we wanted to do, or the home repairs we wanted complete? Shouldn't we have more money in our savings account? Are we NUTS?!
I believe I have been told by God to push all of those thoughts aside and to TRUST. To trust that if He has placed the calling on my heart, and He has awakened my spirit to His timing, that He will take care of the rest.
There have been a few other times in our married life that I've had a similar experience, and where all of you may have been standing back scratching your heads at my seemingly reckless, irresponsible actions: when James and I got married and had no plans for housing or jobs. When we purchased a new home without having sold our current one. When I accepted my position with AmeriCorps even though the economy was crashing and it was fairly certain that James was about to lose his job due to cutbacks (and he did... just hours later). What I learned through each one of those situations... is that if you believe; if you listen to the calling that you know is being placed on your heart from The Man Upstairs... He WILL provide the way.
And so here we are. Do we have the needed 20-25 thousand dollars saved up that we are going to need to bring this child home to us? No, we do not.
Do we have daycare figured out? Healthcare? Our support system? Travel plans? No, not those things either.
All I know is that now is the time.
Now is the time to stop delaying my calling because I'm not ready. It's time to place our trust in God, and to do whatever it takes to follow this calling.
I don't have a timeline nailed down, and I have no idea how long this process might take us. But I do know it's time to do whatever we can to see this plan come to fruition.
Please join us in your hearts, prayers, and thoughts as we embark upon the journey of a lifetime.