"We already had a large family when we felt God's call to adopt. We adopted one child after another, several children in the space of a few years. Now I could spin this story in a way that makes it look sacrificial and super-spiritual. But in reality, it was just plain reckless." (paraphrase of an adoptive father speaking at Empowered to Connect)
One thing that struck me at Empowered to Connect was the honesty and humility of the speakers. No one tried to whip us into a frenzy to run out and save all the world's orphans. It seemed deliberately low key.
What was emphasized was the cost of adoption. Not the monetary cost. The day I spent at Empowered to Connect, that was hardly mentioned. The cost I'm talking about is the cost of investment parenting. The kind of parenting that takes a lot of time and possibly a lot of re-learning on the part of the adoptive parents.
It was even suggested that, if possible, we bring home one child at a time. I don't think anyone was saying that's a hard and fast rule. Especially when fostering, there are sibling groups that need to stay together. So please don't think I'm criticizing you if you are in the process of adopting two or more kids at once. But prospective adoptive parents need to be aware of how much emotional energy it will take to parent a child from the hard places.
It sounds spiritual to say, "there's always room at my table for one more," especially with the staggering number of children needing homes. But in reality, when we adopt more children than we can actually parent, we run the risk of creating a home that is more like a small orphanage than a family.
I admit I still sit up late at night scrolling through photos of waiting children, both here in U.S. foster care and overseas in orphanages. I find myself wondering if we'll ever adopt one more.
The Empowered to Connect Conference actually encouraged me to take the time to invest deeply in the four children God has given me today. Maybe when these kids are grown we will foster or adopt teenagers. Many of the waiting kids in my state are teens.
But for today, I think our parenting plate is full.
What about you? I know many of you have large families. When do you say, "No," to adopting one more?