Issues To Consider If You Are Considering Adoption
Are you considering adopting a child?
If so, ask your asked yourself why do you want to adopt? Do you feel called? Is this something you have felt you could/should do? Are there infertility issues? How will you respond if you/your spouse becomes pregnant during the adoption process? If your why is big enough, you can get through all the struggles the adoption process will bring. It is an amazing way to build a family, but it’s not for everyone.
With a clear understanding of your why, consider by which standard you see the world. When I was beginning my international adoption journey, some well-meaning friends try talking me out it by asking how I could raise a child who was not from me. Through the lens of hindsight, I can see they were judging international adoption by the world's standard, which judges by appearance rather judging justly.
Of course all parents need to be driven by love of their children without conditions (agape). For adoptive parents, a little extra drive is needed because their child is not “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Some people can’t get pass the only tie between an adoptive child and a parent is legal rather than biology. But isn't that what holds a marriage together?
Prospective adoptive parents need the standard of a saint to get through an adoption and raise that child.
The Standard of a Saint
Saint Pope John Paul II defines the standard by which prospective parent should use when considering adoption. In The Gospel of Life, he writes: “True parental love is ready to go beyond the bonds of flesh and blood in order to accept children from other families, offering them whatever is necessary for their well-being and full development.”
In addition to the agape of this standard, adoption in America also requires courage. Members of our society struggle with those who have different skin color and different facial features. For these Americans considering adoption, they might struggle to “go beyond the bonds of flesh”. Though few of us will admit to it, raising a trans-racial child (adoption-speak for when the child is from a different ethnic background from the parents) in America brings challenges that some parents don’t want to or cannot face.
Here are some issues that I have faced as ethnically western-European dad of a Guatemalan daughter. I hope you don’t encounter these but you might, which means you need to be ready.
If you are not ready for these (and there are many more), then trans-racial adoption is not right for you. Please, do not adopt a trans-racial child to help you overcome prejudice. Always, ALWAYS approach each decision in the adoption process first asking what is best for the child.
For me, adoption has been an amazing and life changing experience. My daughter has taught me how to be a better human and the experience has expanded my worldview. She is as much a daughter to me as are her three sister who are my biological daughters.
If it is the path for you, learn as much as you can before getting started, and then be ready to learn so much more.