As any fan of the hit show The Office knows that the character Michael Scott is not someone you want to become. He makes terrible choices and makes the show the comedic hit that it was. But that immature behavior does not make for a good father. In one episode Micheal comes into the office excited to become a father because he watched an episode of Oprah talking about adoption. The show writers make an awkward moment hilarious as the secretary Pam has to explain that there is a huge cost and wait time to adopt. Micheal is surprised by this and ultimately doesn’t go forward with this because he only wanted to adopt on a whim.
While this is a TV show designed for laughs and hilarity, it does show that there are people who are not aware of what it actually takes to become parents through adoption. It is not something people can do on a whim or because they got excited by a celebrity adoption story.
Adoption is not an easy process and I do not think that it should be easier. That statement may seem strange coming from a woman who is a mother through international adoption, but it is true. Adoption should not be easier because I believe it should take time, money, and a great deal of consideration and government oversight to adopt a precious child. People who say that it should be easier are ignorant of the fact that the process has to be complicated in order to protect the children. Also, not every family is equipped to adopt and the long waits and extensive background checks can weed out those who may be pursuing adoption for the wrong reasons.
You may argue that there is no wrong reason to adopt as there are so many children in the world in need of a home. While it is true that there are so many children in need of a home, that does not mean every home is safe or a good match for these children. I would argue that people should only adopt to give children a family. It shouldn’t be to fill some emotional void. Of course, a child is a blessing and the parents will be blessed through this adoption, but that should not be the only reason prospective parents adopt.
I do agree that some of the processes within an adoption could be simpler, but it should never be easy. The process should weed out those who are not willing or prepared to help children navigate their trauma. It should also identify families that may be pursuing adoption for the wrong reasons. The classes and home studies and background checks can serve in identifying those who are adopting for the wrong reasons.
If the process was easier, many people could adopt that are not qualified or equipped to care for children coming from hard places. Even a child adopted at birth will have to deal with the trauma of losing their biological family. The adoptive family needs to be able to care for their child’s emotional needs throughout their childhood and their lives. Not everyone off the street could adopt a child and give them all they need to heal and grow and be a part of a family.
When people ask why we adopted when it is so expensive and so difficult when there are easier ways, my husband and I will often laugh and give each other conspiratorial glances. Some people will never understand and that is ok. Adoption is not for everyone, but it is so clearly our path. We just tell people that for us, there just was no other way. We did not come to adoption after infertility or IVF. We can have biological children. We are not super wealthy, we just believe it was our calling and we answered the call. Of course, adoption has been the hardest thing we have ever done while also being one of the biggest blessings of our life. But isn’t that true of childbirth as well? ‘
We adopted our daughter from India when she was 2 and we are working on our second adoption from the Philippines at the time I am writing this. Our first adoption took twice as long as expected, cost most than twice what we thought it would, and we spent seven weeks instead of three in India working to bring our baby home. We battled illness, loss of income, street crime, multiple court dates, and more. We were pushed to our mental emotional and spiritual limits, but it was all worth everything. We would have paid more, spent more time, and given our very safety and selves to bring our daughter home. It was hard and it was worth it.
Our second adoption has been fairly easy in comparison. I think God gives us challenges he knows we can face by his grace. That being said, the paperwork is long boring, confusing, and expensive. The process is extensive and invasive. A pastor, psychologist, medical doctors, financial advisor, and social worker all have to check off on our emotional, spiritual, mental, financial, and physical health. A social worker visits our home and checks in all the rooms and closets to make sure we followed all the agency and government guidelines. It is overwhelming and it is necessary. I want no mistakes made when it comes to bringing a child into a home. Then, after all that information is gathered, you stand before a judge who looks at everything and decides if you should be the legal parents of the child in your arms.
Do I want more children to be adopted? Yes! Should the process to adopt those children be made easier so more kids get adopted? This is hard to answer! Two things can be true at the same time; more children need to be adopted, but also the process should not be made easier to accomplish the first truth. This is a hard reality of adoption.
All this being said, my husband and I work tirelessly to help families adopt. We make it simpler in a way because we came before and did some of the hard work already so we can help families avoid the mistakes we made. That doesn’t mean it is easy, it just means that you have tracks to walk in of all the families that came before you who worked and sacrificed and suffered to pave that road.