In adoption, our needs or the world’s (or both)?

The first time, honestly, was all about us.

When answering the questions about age and special needs for our first adoption, we did what many, many adoptive parents do: We requested a healthy infant.

Not being informed, we thought it was the most we could handle. Believing stereotypes, we were afriad we’d be taking on problems too big, too dangerous any other way. Not really knowing the need, we focused on what we needed.

This time is different.


After our failed adoption in Rwanda, we’re in the process of reassessing. We took a little break to breathe and rest, but honestly, I thought there would be a way forward by now. None has emerged. Is it because the timing isn’t right? Does God still need to work on some holdout area of my heart before he shows us our child? Do I need to learn (again) about patience?

Yes, maybe, to all of it. Or maybe there’s another reason. Or maybe there’s no reason at all and we should just jump into the thing that feels most right and see where the current carries us.

I’m tired of being in limbo. But then, that’s about me again.


My sense of urgency (besides my old friend, impatience) also comes from the fact that adoption programs are slowing or shutting down all over the place. We completed our adoption of Benjamin at this one unique spot in Uganda’s adoption story, and everything has changed now. Countries are being pressured to adopt the Hague convention with absolutely no infrastructure to support the regulations, effectively stopping adoptions. Meanwhile, there are still children out there in orphanages, children who need a mom and dad. Maybe not so much babies, but many, many children.

I thought we would go in the direction of domestic adoption when our limbo time was over, but that’s feeling less certain. I have the impression that the field there is getting crowded, too, with adoptive families requesting healthy infants and being more open to differences in race than in the past. Do we want to line up and wait for some supply chain to meet our demand, a baby for our family? Or do we want to be a family for a child who needs one now?

But that question is too simple for the mystery of adoption and how a child becomes part of a family.


There are babies who need families, too, and we have to consider our family’s needs for any child we adopt, of course. I’m just finding it more difficult this time around, when our question isn’t so much What do we want? as How can our unique family meet the needs of a child?

It’s a harder question with a more complex answer. I’m hoping one day it will result in our family gaining a child and a child gaining a family, but right now, I can’t imagine exactly what it will look like.


How do you decide which boxes to check on the adoption paperwork?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


2 comments on “In adoption, our needs or the world’s (or both)?

  1. Kate says:

    That was a hard one for us as far as special needs go. We swung back and forth between trusting our knowledge of our limitations to the guilt that comes with saying no to a child in need. We prayed and prayed, but still never felt a firm leading. Finally, we just went with what we felt we could handle and asked God to change our hearts and minds as we moved forward, if necessary. I admit that part of my openness to various special needs had more to do with my impatience than anything else. In the end, after reviewing a few files and turning them down, we found our daughter, who had the same special need as our other two sons – cleft lip/palate. At that point it seemed so obvious to us that the reason we turned down the other files was because we sincerely wanted to adopt another child with CL/P. but it took us going through the process to realize that.

  2. Ami says:

    I love this post. It IS hard. When the social worker was here for the home study asking about race and gender and 100 other questions my husband pipes up with, “We aren’t shopping for a child.”

    We aren’t. And yet it’s such a different process than birthing a child. There are boxes to be checked or not checked with this. And it’s hard.

    Praying that God will direct your path. ๐Ÿ™‚