Although each individual or family pursues adoption for unique and particular purposes, for those thinking about adoption, here are some great reasons to get you started exploring your own motives and intentions.
- To start or grow a family
It could be your home is already filled with building bricks and dollhouses, and you want to expand your family. Maybe you’ve already spent countless hours cleaning up oat cereal and fishy crackers from the crevices of your car, but now your nest is far too empty and quiet for your liking. Perhaps you are waiting to hear late night giggles and requests for one more book. One of the most obvious choices behind pursuing adoption is to start or grow your family.
For my husband and me, our home had been anything but quiet—nieces and nephews and then their friends filled our home with energy and laughter. They paved the way for our desire to start a family; we knew that we one day wanted to be mama and daddy. And we knew adoption would be our choice.
- To continue an adoption legacy your own parents started
When my husband and I were still in the relatively early stages of dating, he asked me a simple question that I did not realize at the time would change the course of my life forever. “Would you ever consider growing a family through adoption?” His request was born out of love for his parents who had adopted him as a young child, and his desire was to continue that adoption heritage in his (our) own family. Knowing how much my husband loves his parents and how much he is loved by them and his family, I was more than open to the idea.
A few years into our marriage, my husband and I started our paperwork and home study, and a month after approval, we were matched through church with a beautiful, sweet young woman looking to create an adoption plan during her pregnancy.
After our newborn daughter made us a family of three, one of our first trips was to visit my husband’s parents to introduce them to their new granddaughter. I could see my mother-in-law at the window as we pulled into the driveway, and I watched as she, riddled with arthritis, ran down the stairs, pushing past everyone to get to our car. One of the most profound moments of my life was that day when I placed our daughter in the arms of her grandmother.
Four years later, almost to the day, our son was placed with us; and our family now of four made the same trip, only this time ending at the nursing home to visit my mother-in-law, frail and weak in body but strong and fierce in heart, to have her meet our son. Words often fail her now, but on that day, her smile did not as she cradled our son’s pudgy toddler cheeks and kissed his warm head. Moments later, he wiggled off my lap to sprint to his grandpa’s arms.
Their legacy lives on.
- To provide a child with a loving home
Domestically, it is estimated that there are 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States. Roughly 100,000 of those children are eligible for adoption. Globally, over a dozen countries allow international adoptions for waiting children. And although many children are unable to reunite with their birth families, many first mothers and fathers choose to create an adoption plan for their child for a wide variety of reasons.
Hopeful adoptive parents provide a home in which a child can grow and learn. This should be an environment that respects the child’s first family and heritage while offering opportunities to flourish and thrive in a home filled with empathy and understanding and truth spoken and lived with love.
Adoption is spoken loudly and proudly in our home. My husband and I didn’t “save” our children, nor are we “special people to do such a thing.” We are parents. And as such, we say, “But first, clean your room,” far too many times. We sometimes can’t remember if we already ate chicken nuggets this week. And I’m pretty sure our lame attempts at a proper bedtime routine would make sleep therapists cringe and reach for the melatonin. But we love our children in a way that shows respect to who they are, acknowledges the trauma they have experienced in their young lives, and raises them in an environment that encourages authenticity and honesty.
There are scores of reasons to adopt a child, and it is up to you to root out your own personal motivation for doing so. And even if the reason simply is, “Because I want to,” your life will forever be radically transformed.
Jennifer Kraft is a 20+ year veteran teacher turned stay-at-home mom and co-founder with her husband of Chosen One Ministries, an online adoption resource and adoption story collection. She and her husband chose adoption as the avenue to grow their family to honor her husband’s roots in adoption. Jennifer is passionate about children’s books that celebrate diversity, going on adventures with her two kids, vacuuming Cheerios of the carpet, and spending her life savings on graduate degrees in education. She currently lives in New Jersey.