Questions That Deserve A Response (from Chapter 4 of “The Whole Life Adoption Book” by Jayne E. Schooler)
Adoptive parents are frequently inundated with questions not only from household members but also from extended family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
The two questions that come up most often are “Why adopt?” – especially when the child is seriously ill, retarded, biracial, or advanced in age – and “What makes this child adoptable?”. These questions deserve a response from a spiritual perspective.
To answer the first question – “Why would you accept someone else’s child as your own?” – adoptive parents can look to a higher principle in life.
The principle, at the heart of how and why hundreds of adoptive families guide their lives, can be called “voluntary redemptive suffering.”
Wrapping one’s heartstrings around someone else’s child is a voluntary choice. Each year, hundreds upon hundreds of adoptive parents around this nation voluntarily stand before a judge to make a promise to a stranger’s child: “We will be your family, forever, by our choice to do so.”
Adoption is not only voluntary; it is also redemptive. “Redeem” means to release, to make up for, to restore. An adoptive family’s guiding light is the vision to restore to an abused or neglected child the dignity of life that was ripped from him. It is a dignity that child was born to enjoy.
In addition to being voluntary and redemptive, adoption involves suffering.
To extend your energies around the clock with no guarantee of a night’s rest to care for a sick child – that is suffering.
To be told, “You’re not my real mom/dad,” and to continue to give love in spite of that rejection – that is suffering.
To see a child recoil from affection because of years of abuse, and to know that you would gladly carry that pain for them but can’t – that is suffering.
Why do people adopt? Because they live their lives by a spiritual principle – voluntary redemptive suffering.
To answer the second question – “What makes a child adoptable?” – adoptive parents can gain focus on a higher principle: the value of life itself.
In an age that values life only if it is productive and its presence convenient, there are still adoptive families who see beyond the ugly consequences of severe abuse, beyond the fears of debilitating handicaps, beyond the barriers of age or race. They look beyond all these things and see a child. They see a life that by virtue of its very existence has worth, value, and promise. They see a child in need of adoption.
Yes, families still volunteer to take the risks inherent in restoring dignity to a child. In the process, they willingly suffer disappointment and pain. Yet they still choose to adopt because of their strong belief in the value of life. As they reach out to the abused, neglected, and dejected, these families are piloted by the Giver of life himself.