by Cameron Lee, adopted from South Korea to the USA, therapist and founder of Therapy Redeemed.
Are we shaming one another into adopting children? Let’s consider the impact of that kind of messaging.
First, please visit @patrickintheworld for an organized dialogue on humanity – and how Francis’ words fall short in recognizing our intrinsic experience of it. You don’t need to adopt a child to fulfill your humanity. And not everyone who adopts a child is selfless.
Second, can you imagine adopting a child because you felt guilty or selfish for not adopting one? Please see my previous Office Hour With Your Therapist episode, “Is Your Marriage Ready for Adoption?”
Third, a pet is very different than a child. I’d strongly caution comparing them as if they can be switched out like car parts. Explore the hashtag #notathing and examine the fruits of such a commodifying narrative. Adoptees, from infancy to any age, need a kind of thoughtful and informed care that exists beyond the way we describe cats and dogs.
Fourth, as this messaging comes from a spiritual authority who struggles to meaningfully address the importance of post-adoption services, I urge us to continue supporting families in the church who have already adopted.
Despite differences in worldview, adoptees (and their families) need to know they’re not alone and they need help in navigating all the complexities that come with relinquishment, transfer(s) of custody, and beyond.
I’m in no way saying we should discount families outside of the church. But I worry there are adopters in spiritual communities who’ve entered this journey because of mis-informed motives (no judgment from me, I know you don’t need more of that!), and have found themselves in desperate need of resources and hope.
Lastly, it should go without saying, let’s continue to interrogate the conditions that minimize or tokenize efforts toward family preservation. I’d love to see more Christ-fueled initiatives to keep children with their parent(s) and kin.
Yes, the conversation flows beyond the scope of this single post. Please feel free to browse my account for more faith-related thoughts on #adoption – as well as the myriad of #adoptee voices on and off social media who have been speaking on these issues of reform and restoration.