May 6, 2011

Wise Words about Adoption

Dr. Russell Moore recently had a great interview with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lapine of FamilyLife about adoption.  Some of the quotes were really helpful things for us as adoptive parents to think about.  A few of my faves:
Dr. Moore: I had to be weaned from the idea that there are biological children and then there are adopted children and that having an adopted child was somehow “plan B” and second best.

Bob: But wait, there are biological children and there are adopted children, aren’t there?

Dr. Moore: But that doesn’t define the identity of those children any more than the fact that we have been adopted into the family of God. God doesn’t speak of us as you are the adopted children. He speaks of us as “you are my children, you are my sons and daughters.” The adoption tells us how we got here.  So sometimes people will ask us which ones are the adopted ones. That’s not the way we view them. One of our kids, Jonah, who we had biologically, was three weeks early, premature. But he isn’t our premature son. He was born prematurely and we are happy to say that to people but that doesn’t define his identity for the rest of his life.
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Dennis: One of the things that surprised me was the number of parents who would really count the cost of adopting and would be unwilling to take a step toward adoption because they couldn’t know what the health issues were in advance. In your case, it was not just the hepatitis issue. You actually were given a grocery list of diseases and yet you and Maria stepped toward it.

Dr. Moore: Maria and I had agreed whoever God shows us, whoever God gives us, that is going to be our children and we are going to receive them whatever is involved there. There were all kinds of issues, fetal alcohol and everything else. We said these are our children and we are going to receive these children. One of the things I tell people is you are not going to have a child who is risk free. Whether you birth the child or adopt the child there is no such thing. None of us is risk free. If you are able to say I’m not going to adopt a child who might get sick or who might have something wrong, then you shouldn’t be married or parents anyway because your child can always get cancer or anything.

I think that is why the Lord put us through a time of infertility first so that we were able to receive children as a gift and not to receive children as a commodity that we have. As He says with Israel and with Jesus in the temptations, the Lord made us hunger so that we could know what it would mean to be fed. So we recognize these children are a gift and we are going to receive them as a gift. There are going to be struggles that are going happen with children who have difficulties but we are special needs children in the kingdom of God.
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Dr. Moore: The number one challenge we faced very early on was making sure that as soon as the children came into our household they were really our children, which meant discipline as well as affection. So we were hugging the children and telling the children "We love you." We also were disciplining the children. And so we would establish parameters and rules in the household. My dad didn’t want that to happen. My dad was saying, "Oh they have been through so much. They were in an orphanage. Just let them do what they want to. If they want to take the coasters and bang the table in the living room, just let them do it." I had to say, "No, Dad. They are our kids now and we want to show them that they are a part of this family and that means that we have rules at our household and we have an order. They are a welcome part of our household, but they are not the new owners of the household."

Dennis: So you are saying you treat them the same as your biological children.

Dr. Moore: Exactly the same. Exactly the same.
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Bob: I have a friend who, he and his wife adopted a couple of children who were 8 or 9 years old when they were adopted from Russia, and as they went through their teen years and as they went into their college years they started making choices that were very painful to mom and dad. They were moving away from the foundation that mom and dad had tried to pour into their lives. Have you imagined that that could be the case with your boys?

Dr. Moore: That could be the case with any of my boys, whether they were adopted or biologically birthed. I know there are many parents who know the pain of a prodigal. What I would encourage any parent to do is not to then turn around and to label, "Well, that’s our adopted child," to kind of distance...

Sometimes you have parents who are embarrassed by the prodigality of their children, and so they want to try to find "Well these are the reasons why I’m not to blame for that," rather than imaging the Father who loves, who prays and who says "I’m your dad no matter what, and I’m going to be here at the end of the day when you get out of that hog pen and come home."

Some of the other quotes were excellent, really really excellent, but too lengthy to put here.  You can check out the transcript or audio of the three part series hereWell worth your time!

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