When I first pondered the topic of adoption‘s impact, I thought, What have I gotten myself into tackling this subject? It’s daunting, and I can’t possibly approach it and do it justice! I just stared at the words typed on my page. Where do I start? But what scared me more is I wondered, Can it? Can adoption honestly alter the course of the world?

There’s an old clichéd story about a man walking along a beach picking up stranded starfish one by one and throwing them back into the sea. A little boy approaches him and says, “There’s too many of them. Don’t you know you won’t make a difference?” The man replies simply, as he tosses one carefully back into the waters, “It makes a difference to that one.”

I’ve heard variations of this story countless times over the years but never has it been more fitting than to place it in the context of adoption. I firmly believe in what’s called The Butterfly Effect. Essentially it means that every little thing that happens, everything we do and say and put out there in the world, affects someone or something else which, in turn, influences something, and so on. When it comes to adoption, adopting one child or ten isn’t going to change a war overseas, for example, but that child will grow up and will change someone else’s life. If you put in love, time, and nurturing, hopefully your children will make positive changes, whether it’s individually, in church, by volunteering, in their community, or even on a global scale.

Giving a child a loving home really can and will influence others. It creates a cycle of caring which spins out and touches other lives. Love is never minor. If you change one life, you change so many more. I don’t think adoption is a singular act. It happens in harmony with a greater purpose of love, and that is what changes the world.