I have been putting off writing about this topic because I feel like in order to do it well I will need more time than I can seem to find. But I don't think that chunk of uninterrupted time is ever going to come, so instead of writing and editing for hours on end I will force myself to just share a few brief thoughts.
I have been poking around adoption blogs and adoptee blogs for awhile now. By no means do I consider myself an expert, but I am learning a lot (and realizing how much more I need to learn). In this process, one of the most important things I am coming to understand more fully is this:
Wanting to care for orphans is not a good reason to adopt.
Believe me, I am a strong advocate for adoption and I have a deep and passionate concern for orphaned children. I just don't necessarily believe that adoption should be promoted as the only reasonable response to the tragedy of orphaned children.
As another blogger put it:
If a person has a heart to care for the orphan that is really, really wonderful. As an adoptive parent my advice would be, send a check. Offer respite care for an adoptive parent. Help with a fundraiser. Take a missions trip to an orphanage. Sponsor a child. Sponsor several.
If a person wants to parent children who were biologically born to someone else, adoption is a beautiful, transforming, life altering for all involved parties, option.
At its core, adoption is not about caring for orphans; it is about parenting a child. True, that child was at one point in time classified as an orphan, and true you are providing care, so in that literal sense, adoption is a type of orphan-care. But if your primary aim in adoption is anything other than being a parent -- even something noble, like rescuing an orphan or caring for the needy -- I wonder if it might be best to consider some other form of aid.
I can hear the protests: "But there's such a huge need! These kids need families! Everyone should consider helping to meet this need by opening their home to an orphan!" Well, yes and no. Yes, there's a huge need. Yes, these kids need families. And yes, I wish more people would carefully consider adoption as an option in their family planning.
But if you consider the prospect of parenting a child who was not biologically born to you and find that you are not called, equipped, and excited to do just that, then NO, you should not adopt. It doesn't mean you don't love orphans. It doesn't make you a "bad Christian" (as if there were such a thing). It's just not your particular God-given calling. By the same token, choosing to adopt doesn't give adoptive parents the right to look down our noses at anyone. As one adoptee blogger put it: Adopting a child doesn’t make you a saint. It doesn’t make you a hero. It makes you a parent.
To summarize, wanting to care for orphans is great, biblical, praise-worthy, etc... but as an adoptive parent it is simply not enough.