Monday, July 26, 2010

Adoption- A Husband's Point of View

Dear Brother in Christ,

I wanted to share some thoughts with you about adoption from a dad’s perspective. If you’re like me you have an amazing wife who is a true “blogger”. I have come to understand this term as not only a woman who shares the joys and sorrows of her family on her own blog, but one who spends plenty of time reading about other families too. My wife, Dawn has shared with me that she feels connected and encouraged by reading other women’s (And some men’s) blogs about their families. Through her (And some of my own reading of blogs) I have been uplifted, encouraged, and challenged. The most significant thing I’ve got out of the blogs we read is that we are not alone. There are many families out there who are experiencing the same struggles and joys we are with adoption. I want to encourage you and remind you, Dad, that you are not alone either.

It’s hard though to figure out this whole adoption journey as a man because it seems to be the women in our lives that are the ones who are leading us in it. Or are they? It seems to be female dominated, but I’ve come to understand that just like life in the church, it’s the women who “talk” it out and have a unique way of “sharing” with each other. Men don’t “share” in the same way women do, so where do we go? Who do we talk to? How do we process our thoughts about adoption? That’s what has prompted me to write this. No one has “put me up to it”. It wasn’t even Dawn’s idea (Although I have to give her credit for most of them). I know that there are many dads or future dads out there that must be as terrified as me about adoption, who feel as inadequate as me, who feel like this is just a little bit on the overwhelming side of life. How come our wives seem so easily moved by the pictures of orphaned children and are ready to adopt “right now”? They see the “cute faces” of kids on the computer screen they want to bring into the family and surely cannot be thinking about how on earth their husband is supposed to provide for them. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard Dawn say, “Jason honey, look at this baby, isn’t he adorable”. How is it that they make it sound so simple? Why are they not worried about the implications and ramifications of adoption? They make it sound like a “dream come true”. So romantic. So simple.

God made us men to have the common sense, right? We are called to “put on the brakes” when our wives get so carried away. We are the voice of reason. We’ve got to be sensible about all this and not make rash and crazy decisions in a heartbeat that will affect our lives forever. I believe that the way God made us and intended us to be are definitely these things, but I think in our culture today, to a greater extent, Christian men and fathers have been fed, and bought into a false idea of what a “Real Godly Man” is supposed to be. What does a real Godly man and Spiritual leader look like? Well, when you get past the perception we’ve been given in our “female dominated” churches (Sorry ladies, but it’s true) for years of “gentle Jesus meek and mild”, in addition to the false images of Jesus making him out to be like a “bearded lady” with way too much make-up, you will see an example in Christ of a real man who stood up for truth, stood up for those who were weak, touched the “unclean” leper, spoke out against injustice, got angry at hypocrites, and made a difference in the lives of people. That’s our example of what a real man of God is like. He’s the hero we strive to be like. I believe with my whole heart that God wants His men, men just like you and me, to live a life of passion, strength, adventure, risk-taking, courage and boldness, all for His kingdom and all for His glory.

When Godly men rise up, what does it look like in reality right now? We see marriages that last, we see children with active, loving and protecting fathers, we see companies carrying out business with honesty and integrity, we see families worshiping together, fathers leading devotions at the family dining table, and husbands and wives praying together. You might say, “That’s awesome and I agree, but I just don’t know if I can adopt a child that isn’t my biological child, and I just don’t feel I’ve got what it takes to do this.” I’m not going to pretend I know what it feels like to have a biological child, as Dawn and I don’t have any, but I will tell you what I do know. God has given me a love for my eight adopted children that is so real and passionate, and I know I would lay down my life for any one of them. I think back to just a few months ago when our youngest baby, Joanna, was born. Just like I’ve heard from biological dads out there, when Dawn put Joanna into my arms I was just overcome with unconditional love for her. I couldn’t explain it, I just knew it and it was real.

So what about the “implications” part of adoption? I am not going to lie to you - adoption has its fair share of trials. Our youngest son, Jonathan, was eighteen months old when we met him in Ethiopia. Before we traveled to see him, my wife and I had fallen in love with him through pictures, but when we went to see him for the first time he wasn’t too thrilled to get to know us, so it wasn’t easy at all. I remembered though that God had called me to love him, and real love is an action, not a feeling, and so with baby steps he warmed to us, and in a very short time he loved on us like he’d been born into our family. Six of our kids came to us through the foster care system, and that too was very challenging, but I’ve got news for you - whether you adopt or have children by birth, they are bound to give you trials, behavioral issues and plaster the walls with crayons, or maybe even a permanent marker!

There are some specific issues that can arise because a child is adopted, and you have to get educated, but in my opinion there is also way too much out there that we get “bogged down” with regarding certain issues, and we can easily forget that we serve a God who restores, redeems and heals. It will take hard work, but often we overlook the miraculous and supernatural healing that God can do.

Sometimes the trials of adoption come from the outside. Many families we know through “blog land” have relatives who have shunned them or said some really hurtful things to them. Some have had members of their community or even their church make their prejudices loud and clear (And they’re the ones willing to say it to your face). It can be really tough, but isn’t life tough at the best of times? Is being a Christian in the first place easy? Is being different because that’s what Christ calls us to be easy to do? If we want the easy life, then we should just stay home and do nothing, but Jesus calls us onto the narrow path, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14). Adoption, and parenting in general, is tough, but so worth it.

How should we know if adopting is what we’re supposed to do? It’s not easy to take a leap of faith and step out into the unknown world of adoption, but remember I said before that God calls Christian men to be risk-takers with courage and boldness all for His kingdom and for His glory? Adoption is where it’s happening guys. For real. Nothing else in this world seems so crazy, wild and adventurous than to bring a child that’s “not yours” into your family, whether it’s child number one or child number eight! It’s an awesome adventure filled with a lot of blessings and many rewards. The Bible says that “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord”, and “Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5). If we believe God’s Word, then we know that having children is a life of blessing and purpose.

We’re also called as men of honor to protect women and children. We’ve all heard and seen the scripture reference in James haven’t we. You know, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27). Maybe we’ve read it so many times it just rolls over us like “water off a duck’s back”, but however hard we try and pretend it’s not there or doesn’t apply to us, we simply cannot deny that God has talked to all of us men deep in our hearts that this is the right thing to do, and that He’s calling “me”, yes “me” to action for the orphan.

So, I’m guessing that if your wife has already mentioned adoption to you then God has already been working in your life to prepare the way for a child to come into your family through adoption, whether you think it’s sensible or not, or whether you feel equipped or not for this task. Take this as the biggest compliment God can ever give a man - it means He trusts you to love a child that is close to His heart! God sees you as a hero - and you’ll be a hero to your wife and your kids. Real every day heroes is what this world needs. Will you be one of them?

Your Brother in Christ,


Me and my eight blessings


  1. Hi Jason, although your post is to a 'brother' in Christ, I've snuck a read :D And I appreciate what you've had to say. I do see that many women with hearts for adoption are the ones who initually bring the issue to their husbands. This is wonderful. When my husband returns from work, I'll show him your post. He has a heart for adoption too. Thank you.

  2. Great post! Thank you!! My husband has always had a heart for adoption and he initiated our first adoption;) He will enjoy your post. Please continue to speak from the heart of a man to the hearts of men.

  3. love this so much! thank you for taking the time to write and share this! looking forward to sharing it with my husband.

  4. Hi, Love the post. I am blessed with a husband that has a heart for children and adoption and I am soo thankful.

  5. Awesome post!!! I am so thankful for a husband that has a heart for children, the fatherless, and adoption. Love that you took the time to speak out.

  6. Loved this post...and love the new blog look!!

  7. Thank you my brother. I have 4 adopted children. 3 from Korea, 1 US domestic & are in process of adopting again from Ethiopia. I was very encouraged by your post. I couldn't agree more with you. May we both be sharpened today.