5 Ways Adoption Messes Up Your Kids...and Why That's a Good Thing!

"We'd like to adopt, but we just don't want to hurt our biological kids."

"We think adoption is great, but maybe when our kids are out of the house."

"We know adoption is Biblical, but we're just not sure how our kids will react."

.

If we had a dime for every time we've heard these, we'd be able to fund our own adoption. But, if we had a dime for every time we personally have worried about how adoption will affect our children, we'd probably be able to finance a hundred adoptions. So, if these serious concerns have flittered across your brain and put the brakes on diving whole-heartedly into the wonderful, mysterious, difficult world of adoption, we are right there with you.

.

When I see my two precious children finally playing nicely together (51% of the time, at least!), I get anxious thinking about adding a third to the mix. How will they react? Will having another child tear their adorable best buddy relationship apart? Will one become attached to the new sibling while the other might not? What if this next child messes up all the hard work of bonding and attachment we've worked on for months? Ugh, yep, we're right in the boat with you.

.

But, the funny part is that I have to actually remind myself that this is deja vu. I was worrying about this same exact thing last year: Would my daughter attach to her new brother? How would he treat her? What if he hurts her? What if we can't give her the attention she needs? Wouldn't it just be better for her to have a biological sibling? 

What are we doing to our child?! Are we crazy, irresponsible parents to bring a completely foreign child into our house?!

.

And I can't help but smile now. I can't help but laugh to think that we "messed up" our daughter by adding our son to the family through adoption. They are more alike, from their dislike of bread to their love of dogs, than they are different. They play, and yes, fight, just like any "normal" siblings do. Thank God, by His grace, He carried us through our first adoption and now our daughter is completely "messed up"...and oh, are we thankful for that!

.

.

5 Ways Adoption (and Foster Care!) Messes Up Your Kids...and Why That’s a Good Thing!

.

1. Adoption shows your children the brokenness of this world...and how we can make a meaningful difference.

Our daughter loves princess stories, probably just like every other little girl. And she always loves the last line, "...and they all lived happily ever after." As a parent, I want to protect my daughter and let her live in a "happily ever after" world, where all is good and beautiful.

.

Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. Or the world our children live in. Since the fall, our world is full of sin, suffering, and brokenness. In a perfect world, every parent would be able to take care of their child and abandonment would not happen. But due to poverty, lack of medical care, family situations, and a million other heartbreaking reasons, that's not possible. So, whether we like it or not, the only world we can present to our children is one of pain and suffering.

.

The crucial question we must ask ourselves as parents is, "How do we teach our children to make a meaningful difference in this broken world?"

.

Adoption does that. It shows our children how we can be God's hands and feet to a child in desperate need for something only a family can give them: unconditional love and support. Adoption does not "fix" a child's brokenness, as there are truly no "happily ever afters" for a child who has been traumatically abandoned. There will always be scars, questions, and unknowns. But, amidst the brokenness, there is hope and healing. We can show our children how to bring God's enduring hope and healing to a precious child.

.

Yes, the world is broken. But, yes, we can show our children how to shine God's love and light amid the brokenness. And why, as a parent, would I not want my kids to learn this hard, but invaluable lesson?

.

.

2. Adoption shows your children that life is bigger than their little bubble.

When I was six, my parents did the unimaginable thing of taking my sisters and I to Russia, just a few years after the Iron Curtain came down. I vividly remember coming back to America and telling my friends, "People don't speak English in Russia." They wouldn't believe me. Now our kids have Dora the Explorer, online Mandarin classes, and a million other ways for them to be exposed to the bigger world.

.

But what many of these resources don't show them in how they, in affluent America, have so much. How many children around the world don't have what they have: drawers overflowing with clothes, shelves full of toys, closet jam-packed with unwanted stuff, and ready access to clean water, food, and (if you live in our house!) snacks, snacks, snacks.

.

When we adopted our son, we were able to go to his orphanage with our daughter, who had the privilege of seeing where her brother grew up. She saw that he had no personal stuffed animals, toys, or clothes. She saw that he ate whatever food he was served and didn't have the option of saying, "I don't like this. I want something else." No, she is not perfectly grateful for all her toys now and eats all her food without a complaint. But she does have a better perspective of what she has and is appreciative of what she is given, even if she needs a gentle reminder or two. What parent doesn't want their child to learn gratitude? 

.

.

3. Adoption shows your children to value people over possessions.

A few weeks ago, we told our daughter we needed to sell our family's camper to help pay for the first agency payment. We knew she'd be upset, since her four-year old heart dreams of doing nothing but camping every day of her little life. (Mostly because she equates camping with s'mores!) "Why?!" she sobbed. "We need the money to bring your new brother or sister home," we said and braced for more tears. "Oh, ok," was her response and she went on with life. So much for all that parental stressing about breaking her tiny heart!

.

Although we've had lots of parenting fails over the years, this was a true victory and made my heart burst. She gets it! No, there is nothing inherently wrong with a camper. And yes, we would love to have a camper again some day to make wonderful family memories. But in the end, what's more important: sharing the Gospel with a child through bringing him/her into our forever home or enjoying some passing pleasures? I want my precious daughter be messed up and chose people over possessions every day of her life.

.

.

4. Adoption shows your children that your family is not about just your family.

Every parent's desire is to give their children the very best life. To provide opportunities for them to soar. To say "yes" to every possibility that might make them bloom in life. These are all wonderful desires and innately good things for our children. But sometimes, in our great intentions, we build a world around them that revolves around one thing: themselves. They think Mom, Dad, and the rest of the world bows to serve them. We can easily start making decisions for our family based on what makes us happy and comfortable.

.

And the very opposite of what God commands us to do with our lives.

.

Romans 12:1 says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." (ESV) Now, a living sacrifice doesn't sound too comfy and happy if you asked me. Of course, that doesn't mean that as parents we can't ever make our children's lives happy and comfortable. But I don't want those to be the filter by which we make all decisions in life.

.

Is adoption sometimes not fun? Yes! Will you have to make difficult decisions about how to save money, spend your family's time, and split your resources with your children? Absolutely! But will adoption teach your children that life is not all about themselves, that we need to "look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others"? (Philippians 2:4 ESV) Definitely! And what parent doesn't want their child to learn to be others-focused?! 

.

.

5. Adoption shows your children the Gospel.

Sometimes it's hard to explain the Bible to your kids. They ask crazy questions that you may or may not be able to answer. During Easter, our daughter was highly troubled that we don't know the name of the thief on the cross that accepted Jesus. She wants to know if she gets a pink room in her mansion in glory. And of course, she can't imagine how heaven can be heavenly without her precious pup.

.

David Platt said, "It is important realize that we adopt not because we are rescuers. No. We adopt because we are rescued." We are not saviors on white horses, coming in to deliver shackled children. And we do not want our children to proudly think that we are the key to everyone's problem. No, we're just a simple tool in our Master's hand.

.

Adoption is a tangible way to show our children how we have been delivered from sin and death, so that we now in turn can sharing life-giving truths with others. There might be a lot of tricky Biblical truths to explain to your kids, but allowing the Gospel to be played out in their everyday lives through bringing a new brother or sister home is simple. And every parent likes simple!

.

.

.

So, is it scary and crazy and intimidating to bring a new child into your family? Obviously. Is it our job as parents to protect our children? Undeniably. But do we have to sometimes take a giant leap of faith and follow God's call for our family in order to bring Him ultimate glory and show our children how to bravely obey Him? Absolutely!

.

We do not adopt for ourselves. So we can pat ourselves on the shoulder or check the “I’m saving the world” box. We don’t adopt for our kids, to try to force lessons upon them about changing the world. No, we adopt because God commands us to take care of the orphans and widows (James 1:27). We adopt because He tell us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). But there are some fantastic blessings your family can experience if you chose to walk this road of obedience together.

.

Adoption is hard. Adoption is scary. It'll mess your kids up. And you'll be so thankful they are messed up for the sake of the Gospel. Because, isn’t that ultimate goal of parenting anyways?

 

 

 

1 comment

  • THAT’S MY TEACHER!! 😱😁
    I will for SURE buy some! ☺️

    Shay Sacco

Leave a comment