Monday, September 2, 2013

Thoughts on adoption: oh, the admixture of self

I've been thinking about adoption lately, about every angle of it. I've read a few books that have been helpful, several about the logistics of adoption (what's a home study, how much does everything cost) and one about deeper issues, I guess you could say. (discernment of adoption, tips for raising an adopted child, etc.) And there are a lot of thoughts percolating up. Here's one.

One of the books I've read is by Dr. Ray Guarendi: "Adoption: Choosing it, living it, loving it." I thought it was really good, although not all of the sections applied to us. One thing he helped me to see is that adopting an older child (older than an infant) is doable. Because one thing that really scares me about adoption is that the child could have pretty severe "issues" that we couldn't deal with...and I have the impression that that's more possible when you adopt an older child.

Anyway, Dr. Ray had a lot of good advice, both personal and professional, that has encouraged me to rethink the question of adopting a toddler or older child. (More on that later, maybe.) But I realized something (thank you, Holy Spirit). Here goes a big slice of humble reason I want to adopt an infant is that I want the attention of being the mother of an infant! I've seen a lot of it in the people around me: the new mother gets meals taken to her, is the center of attention after mass, gets "oohs" and "aahs" and "what a tiny baby!" and is just celebrated all around. (As it should be! It's no easy feat to have a newborn in the house!)

"Ahem," says God. "Do you want to have a baby...just to get the extra attention?" Well, sheesh...when you put it that way!

"Admixture of self" indeed! Man, this whole IF experience is so darn purifying! God is progressively stripping away my selfish motives and re-orienting me toward Him. Toward what really matters. And something makes me think that what matters most is not showing off a brand new baby to the world...

Anyway, just some thoughts. More are percolating...



  1. Good to hear you liked that book--I just ordered a copy to send to my sister. I'd like to read it at some point.

    And yes... there are so many reasons to want to adopt an infant, and that is probably one of them for me too :-/

  2. Oh yes, I have had similar conversations w/ God about wanting children adopted or biological. I realized that I wanted to be part of the "mommy" club too and get the attention that they do. Yes this journey has a way of purifying us!

  3. I'm glad you liked that book, I found to super helpful and encouraging. It also helped me think outside my little narrow view of adoption, and calm some fears. I think it is a natural desire to be a mom of a little baby. While I know I need to surrender that desire and be purified, I don't think that necessarily means we aren't called to infant adoption. Lots to pray about and discern, for sure!

    1. I'm in the same boat! I would still love to adopt an infant (although Dr. Guarendi makes a pretty convincing case that adopting older could mean adopting more children, which is also desirable). You're right - there's so much to discern! I'm just finding it interesting how much God is teaching me about myself through this whole IF process!

  4. I found that book helpful as well! His story is so inspiring and gives me hope that although the adoption road may be hard, it will still be worth it!

    And thanks for that slice of humble pie. Something for me to pray and think about now too.

  5. I had the same desire to parent an itty bitty baby. And get the attention. I pray God will grant you the desire of your hearts.

  6. This is so true! New mothers and pregnant women are so pampered. People hold doors and admire you and say you're flowing and sure, even if you don't feel it, and maybe its different when you're pregnant with your 6th and people make rude comments but for the first or second people pay you attention and its nice! I don't think there is anything wrong with acknowledging that. My midwife (who wasn't Catholic) was saying as a mother of two older children, was feeling the need/desire/want to get pregnant again before she finally realized that they didn't necessarily want another child (this sounds horrible, but bare with me) but she wanted to be PAMPERED. So even she admitted it. Obviously, you really want an actual baby, but I think there is a lot there that sucks about dealing with infertility: you're rarely the recipient of random acts of kindness in our society.