My intention of writing this post isn’t to evoke fear or scare you out of adoption. There are many reasons that families journey through adoption. Unfortunately, there are some unhelpful factors that may motivate a family’s desire to pursue adoption. If you find yourself identifying with one of these reasons, I encourage you to reach out to a pastor, counselor or adoption professional and talk through these issues.
1. You are looking for the perfect child. The perfect child doesn’t exist, just like the perfect parent doesn’t exist. Attempting to grow your family with the mindset of gaining a perfect kid, whether it be through adoption or biologically, can be extremely detrimental to the wellbeing of a child. Although issues and needs may not be apparent initially in your child, they will come. And when they do, if you are functioning with this mentality you may not be equipped to tend to the needs of your little one. Also, I can’t even begin to express the long-term effects this mindset could have on the mental health of your child. Dr. Moore puts it well: “If you want your “dream baby,” do not adopt or foster a child: buy a cat and make-believe…Such a mindset hurts the child, and countless other children and families. Adoption is about taking on risk as cross-bearing love.”
2. You are looking to be a hero or a savior. By definition, the savior complex is an individual who feels the need to help others to fill a void in their life. People who struggle with a savior complex are typically searching to find love and acceptance through their self-perceived good deeds. But, children don’t need to be saved or rescued by you. They need unconditional and unwavering love. Adopting a child into a home that upholds this outlook could produce feelings of debt in a child; thinking in some way they owe you something. Adoptive parents didn’t “save” their children. We are just parents who desperately love our kids. But, ultimately keep in mind, they already have a Savior, who loves them more than you possibly could. A Hero who died on the cross over 2,000 years ago-for them, for you, for us.
3. You are looking to fill a void. Whether it’s dissatisfaction in marriage, loneliness, struggling to get over a loss-children were not created to fill a void inside your heart. They need you. They need your love, support, and encouragement. Although many people come to adoption through miscarriage or infertility, it can be dangerous to do so if you haven’t grieved or given your heart time to heal. The grieving process is different for everyone. I’m not implying that you shouldn’t begin the adoption process if you aren’t “over” the loss, as the grieving process is a long journey. However, adoption professionals would discourage you from beginning the adoption process with the intention of using a child to fill a void in your heart. God didn’t create marriage or children to be the ultimate healers or completers of our heart. Only God can satisfy that void in your heart. Walking through the adoption process and life with this mentality will lead to disappointment and unrealistic expectations on your marriage and child.
4. You think it’s the cool, trendy thing to do. I will never forget the day a stranger approached me at the store, looked down at my children and said, “Your kids are adopted, right? I guess you’re kind of like Angelina Jolie.” I’m so grateful my kids weren’t old enough to understand the ignorance of this statement. You should not adopt because you think it’s trendy or all of your friends are doing it. Perhaps you see pictures of Sandra Bullock or Katherine Heigl with their children and think to yourself it would be a “cool” thing to do. I don’t think Katherine or Sandra would agree with that sentiment. There are many complexities to adoption-complexities that can’t be seen or understood through a mere photo on the cover of a magazine.
5. You think it will be easy. Adoption isn’t for the faint of heart. Adoption isn’t easy. There are complexities in adoption. There are losses in adoption. There are risks in adoption. It’s important for you to understand this before walking into the adoption process. “Easy” wouldn’t be a word I would use to describe it. And at the same time, it’s of greater importance that you understand that it’s God who equips you with strength and grace to walk through the complexities, losses and risks in adoption. Our heavenly Father is the ultimately Healer, Comforter and Redeemer of all things. He will guide you through the adoption process and for the rest of your family’s journey here on this earth.
***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and the services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out Christian Adoption Consultants for more information!***