Monday, October 14, 2013

Call to Adoption

From early on in our dating relationship, John and I have felt a call toward adoption - specifically adoption of older kids from U.S. foster care.  Neither of us is quite sure why we have that desire in our hearts or how it will play out in our lives, but it is there to stay.  Right now we aren't in a position to adopt given our tiny house and even tinier income, but we like to keep it always active in our minds - something that we are constantly praying about and learning more about. I figure I might as well share with the blogworld what we are discovering!  


I recently read two articles that captured my heart in different ways about the topic of adoption.  The first article is this one from America Magazine about the sacramentality of adoption.  Please read the whole thing - it is short and well worth your time!  Although O'Malley focuses on infant adoption, some of his broader claims are applicable to all adoption.  Here are a few quotes from the article that I wish to highlight:
"Adoption clarifies something that is true for all Christian parenthood: to have a child is always to participate in a divine gift. While the child may share your genetic material, he or she is never fully yours, never a “being” that you earned. The love that you bestow upon a child is always precarious. A parent, whether biological or adopting, bestows love upon a child not because of the promise that one day he or she will return such love in equal measure nor because the child will one day fulfill the hopes and dreams that we as parents have. Such precarious love opens us up to the extraordinary suffering we will come to know as we watch our son or daughter discover the bitterness of disappointment. Parenthood encourages the parent to love gratuitously, even in the midst of the stinginess of a world that is afraid of love like this."
 "Adoption is a sign for all Christians that a person’s fundamental identity is as one who has received love: the love of God generously and precariously poured out upon creation, the love of God manifested in Christ, who reveals to us that our humanity was made for total self-gift." 
 "A Catholic approach to adoption will cease treating adoption as the last resort for infertile couples and the abandonment of children by negligent mothers, and begin to imagine adoption as a sacramental icon manifesting to the entire world the surprising and transforming gift of divine love—a love not connected simply to biology, to the realm of expectations and roles, but a love that interrupts those limitations we put on the possibility of love."

The second article I read was this one in the New York Times written by a woman who adopted a 17-year-old when she herself was only 28.  Again, I encourage you to read the whole article (another short one).  In the article she touches on the difficulties with the current foster care system and her challenges and successes with adopting a teenager.  As Beam says, "I learned that with my teenager you just have to hold on through the curves. I didn't learn to be a great mother the way I had planned, but I did learn that no “bad” behavior by her would ever warrant the ultimate rejection. I learned there’s not one child worth discarding".  

I was intrigued by Beam's perspective, so I requested her most recent book, To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care, from the library.  There is so much in that book that I want to share, but that will have to wait for another day.  Until then, please read the articles I have linked to and consider if you too have a call to adoption.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have for a very long time felt the call to foster/adopt older teens. I have yet to do so, due to our home circumstances, mainly finances and our young biological children, but I do still feel pulled in that direction, and know that some day it will happen.

  2. It is wonderful to hear from others who share the same calling!