“First comes love, then comes marriage…”
Do you remember the next line to that old children’s rhyme? Here’s a hint: it had something to do with a “baby carriage”.
From early childhood on, the concept of falling in love, getting married, and then starting a family has been a part of the fabric of our culture. Of course, the parameters of that fabric have changed a bit over the years. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, the so-called “traditional family” (a husband and wife who had only been married to each other and were parents) accounted for just 25 percent of all households in this country. But while those numbers may have shifted, another statistic has definitely not – the number of children living with adoptive parents.
It is estimated that approximately 1 million kids in the U.S. currently live with adoptive parents. In addition, another 500,000 or so are in foster care, with close to one fourth of those children available for adoption.
With so many American kids in need of a family – and a growing number of children overseas in the same situation – the question for many adults today is, “Is adoption for us?”
My wife, Cathy, and I found ourselves asking that same question a little over 25 years ago. During the first few years of our marriage, we were busy with ministry and the adjustment to married life. Starting a family was certainly part of the plan. But in spite of our best efforts, we didn’t seem to be able to conceive.
After much prayer and soul-searching, we agreed that perhaps God was calling us to be adoptive parents. So we began to explore our options. Looking back now, there were certainly many steps to take – finding the right agency, handling the paperwork, considering the cost involved, and answering questions such as, “Would you like to adopt a boy or a girl?” But at the time, all of those details seemed like a blur.
Two days after our daughter was born, her birth mother released her to us. We decided to name her Christy … and once we brought her home, Cathy and I joined the 6 out of 10 Americans who have had a personal experience with adoption.
10 Questions to Consider Before Adopting:
1. Are we ready to be parents?
2. What kind of impact is this child going to have on us individually? On our marriage?
3. How much exactly will the entire adoption process cost – including legal fees, medical expenses, and international travel, if necessary?
4. Does my employer offer any kind of financial assistance?
5. Do we want to adopt an infant? Would we consider an older child who needs placement?
6. Should we consider a season as foster parents first before full adoption?
7. What kind of child-care and other support will we need from our extended family to raise this child? Is that support readily available and affordable?
8. If already parents: what kind of impact will an adopted brother or sister have on our biological children?
9. Are we ready to make a lifetime commitment to this child?
10. If we don’t adopt now, would we ever consider doing so in the future?
Adoption is a beautiful way to build your family. It certainly was for us!