The best scenario per my ‘life plan’ was that we would have biological children – our own “mini-me’s”. Adoption was a definite second place option in my mind, reserved for those unable to have children and/or those who had an inordinate amount of love for orphans. So, when the doctor flippantly revealed our results and told us the only options were a sperm donor or adoption, I had deep issues with both.
While Jane was relatively quick to come around to the idea of adoption, it definitely took me a much longer time to process that possibility. My parents had fostered dozens of children through my teen years, and to be brutally honest, my love for those in the social service system was not overflowing. I’d had the opportunity to live with a variety of very interesting kids with some serious issues and I clearly had a wall up to the possibility of adopting a foster child, or taking on a child that was the result of an unwanted pregnancy.
Yes, I realise how bad that sounds, but it’s the truth, and I want you to see where I was, so you can see where I have come to. Not so you can give me a virtual pat on the back and say “well done!” But so that anyone who is in our situation and thinks that adoption is an absolute no-go zone might consider otherwise.
I battled with the idea of adoption the first few weeks after the doctor’s meeting. In my head, he was giving us his second and third best options. Finding a sperm donor was second best, and if not that, then adoption. I won’t go into it now, but the sperm donor wasn’t even an option in our eyes, so that left us with just number three. God had chosen us for third place. Or had he?
You see, what God began to unveil to me over those crucial weeks was more of His heart for us. Each and every Christian has been adopted — adopted into God’s family. Our birth parents could not offer what He has to offer, and so He adopted us. He rescued us. He saved us. Adoption is built into the very central core of God and who He is. I love the way that our pastor phrased it,
“As a father of five biological children, I have seen God’s father heart as I have walked through being a father to each of them, just like how God fathers us. I have learned more and more about God’s father heart in each step. BUT, to have the opportunity to adopt a child into your family. That is not just like how God fathers us, that is how God fathers us. What better way to witness God’s love for us, and witness the pride and jealous heart He has for us, than to have adopted a child just as God has adopted us.”
Through countless conversations with both those who have adopted, those who we are close with us, and through prayer, God began to slowly break down my self-built wall, and adoption began to become a possibility in my heart. Was God giving us third place, or perhaps first?
Psalm 82:3 says that we are to “defend the cause of the weak and fatherless”. After hearing story after story of how countless women in our region end up contemplating an abortion after conceiving a child of which they don’t know who the father might be, it struck me. Is third place becoming a father to one of these children? Is third place fulfilling God’s mandate to defend the fatherless? Is third place standing in the gap and saying to a fatherless newborn, “I love you, my child.”?
Now hear me out, I am in no way belittling the God given gift of having biological children — and trust me, it is a gift. What I am saying, is that this is what God has challenged me with over the past few months in the lead up to our decision to adopt. Why does our culture view adoption of children, of pets, of orphans in Africa as an “awww that is SO good of you!”?
Having been given the opportunity to step into the exorbitant blessing of possibly adopting, I have come to realise I am not settling for third place. I am choosing God’s first place plan for our life. Switching my mindset from “I’m infertile, so we’re adopting” to “God’s miraculous plan for us is adoption” took many months, but I’m there. It was a journey of deep conversations, much prayer, and overwhelmingly powerful story after story of God’s heart for adoption.
Adoption wasn’t in my life plan, it wasn’t part of my perfect life situation. But when I am handed our son or daughter, and I get to look at my Jane in the eyes, no doubt with tears streaming down my face – I will definitely be in first place.