Why I want to adopt – Part 3

“The heart has its reasons that reason knows not of.” -Blaise Pascal

There comes a point in any major decision when, after weighing all the reasons you’ve considered, you take the leap into action. With all the reasons behind you, though, the small spark that ignites the action, at least from what I’ve seen, usually comes down to a micro reason somewhere deep inside who you are, a reason maybe no one else can understand but that burns within you so intensely that you’re compelled to act.

In that moment then, the external reasons – the reasons you might try to explain to others or the reasons everyone else can see – fade into justifications. And the real reason, the real motivation, tips the balance.

It’s like if someone asks you why you got married, you might be able to rattle off some sort of list that seems plausible, maybe even really good, but deep down you know that none of that, none of that created the tipping point in why you married. There’s a reason hidden in the decision that you can’t explain, and that reason is, in the end, why you decided.

Having tried to sort through some of the external reasons why I want to adopt in the previous two posts, I’m now turning to this internal aspect of the decision. While I knew it would be difficult to accurately describe my social and parental reasons for wanting to adopt, I’m conceding complete defeat in this last area, before I even begin.

When you get to the end of this, you won’t fully understand these personal reasons, guaranteed. The best I can do is try to hint at them by sharing what I can put into words.

Personal reasons for wanting to adopt

I’m learning to live on purpose. By that, I mean both living purposely, conscious of my choices, and living full of purpose, aligned with what I believe I’m supposed to do.

Doing this means adopting (no pun intended) two general principles:

  1. If there’s an option that lets me be fully aware of the process involved, I’m learning to try to take that option over others.
  2. If there’s an option that lets me more fully live what I say I believe, I’m learning to try to take that option over others.

It sounds simple enough, but it’s actually pretty difficult for me. For one, it’s not always easy to decipher which option allows the most awareness throughout the process. For two, it’s not always easy to keep my purpose, my agenda, in mind and even harder to keep everything I do aligned with it all the time.

Without getting into all the details of how this plays out, I’ll just take a second to elaborate a little on how adoption fits in.

First off, living purposely. Of all the ways to have children, of all the scenarios I can imagine, adoption seems to be the one that’s most on purpose. Want to purposely have children? Adopt. You’re involved in selecting gender, race, age, even personality, as well as when it happens. I want to get involved in that process, of taking on that responsibility. And I like the idea of seeing where those decisions lead in the future.

Secondly, living full of purpose. Because of the conscious choices involved in the process, adoption stretches those who adopt to examine what they think they believe and then make practical decisions based on what they actually believe. Like you can say you’re not a racist, but then you get to make real decisions based on that premise when you consider which children to adopt.

So that’s the first personal reason, a reason I don’t necessarily expect others to “get,” because I think it requires first accepting a bunch of other premises that aren’t necessarily popular. But for what it’s worth, there it is. I want to adopt because it’s purposeful and full of purpose.

The second personal reason why I want to adopt is because adoption scares and inspires me. Let me unpack that.

Why would I want to do something that scares me? I’ve written a little about this before, but briefly the main reason is because it helps me learn and helps me do things that are important. It’s not always the case, but often the most important thing to do is the hardest or scariest. Adoption, at least right now in my life, is right up there with crazy scary things to do. I know I’ll learn so much from it.

The question of why I would do something that inspires me doesn’t take so much creativity to answer. I want to do things that inspire me because those are the things I’m able to tackle with the most enthusiasm and fascination.

I keep meaning to write my post about crying, but I keep putting it off. Soon, though. The short of it is that I’m an emotional, melting train wreck when it comes to adoption. Someone once said that if you’re trying to figure out what to do with life, sit down and make a list. Keep listing anything that comes to mind until you get to something that makes you cry. That item that makes you cry is what you should do.

I don’t completely agree with that, but whenever my nerves get struck, I definitely take note. Adoption strikes them all. When I browse the pictures of children needing homes or hear the stories of children given families, I fall apart. I know adoption inspires me.

Both of these then, doing scary things and doing inspiring things, come together to remind friends, those who interact with me, to pursue their own projects that scare and inspire them. And again that circles back to me living on purpose.

Lastly, I can point to gratitude as a big motivator, gratitude for who and what I have, gratitude for the inspiring lives before me and around me, gratitude all over.

  • One of my favorite biographies is George Muller’s, a man who purposely started an orphanage back in the day without any money or resources, and succeeding in providing care for tons of orphans.
  • On the last day of my best Economics class in college, my professor invited his students to call him if they ever wanted to join one of his game nights at his house, ever needed a recommendation from a professor, ever wanted a church to attend, or ever needed more information about adoption, since he and his wife had adopted two children themselves.
  • On the plane trip to Korea, I sat next to a mother who was traveling to Korea with her sister to adopt a second child.
  • Once in Korea, I started attending a church led by an American pastor, a pastor I later discovered had spent the first half of his 30 years here working with orphans.
  • Browsing videos and presentations online one day, I discovered this girl who gave up her college money to start an orphan project on her own in India.
  • Toward the end of November, I met a girl who also wants to adopt, like me, also is moving forward with it even though she’s still single.
  • At a retreat I attended, one of my friends shared her story about being raised apart from her parents, moving from one system to the next, and how important the people in her life had been for her.

I’m leaving some out – these are just a few highlights. Each of them in small ways or big ways contributed to why I want to adopt. Their stories, their experiences, their lives influenced me and encouraged me to pursue adoption.

I’m grateful for them. I want to be like them.

When I was growing up, I remember my mom always saying, “Momma looooooooves her babies!” Down through the line, she repeated the same thing, again and again. Starting with me, the first-born, and continuing to my brother and my next brother and then my sister and then my baby brother: “Momma looooooooves her babies.”

She loves her children so much that I remember her once saying that she wanted to adopt more. So I want to adopt for her, out of gratitude.

Of c9urse, when she said all this, I totally took it for granted. I still do most of the time. I’m realizing, though, that as much as my mom loves her children, there are kids out there feeling the exact opposite, kids out there whom no one loves. Gratitude, then, for all I’ve been given drives me to give in response.

A practical way to do that is to adopt.

I want to live on purpose, responding with thankfulness, doing things that scare and inspire me, doing things that challenge me, doing things that remind my friends to encourage others, the way others before me did for me.

So there they are, the reasons, all laid out in what might seem like three distinct categories spanning these past three posts. Truth is, they still don’t get at the whole picture. My hope, though, is that in sharing what I’ve written in this series, you might be able to get a glimpse into my motivation and as a result develop your own distinct, personal reasons for following along.

Perhaps I could even summarize the series like this: adoption is good, so rather than asking why, I ask, why not?

Beyond that, I don’t know what else to say. I just know what to do.