Why Do We Adopt?


Shannon Dingle explains the reasons why her family made the decision to adopt children.

Why adopt?

Or, more specifically, why have we chosen to adopt?

Many families come to adoption after a long road of infertility. That wasn't us. We got pregnant quickly and easily with Jocelyn and Robbie, as we cried with and prayed for friends who waited and waited (and some who still wait). I can't say I loved being pregnant, but I didn't face the sorts of complications experienced by several dear friends. I blogged at one point about my health making future pregnancies unwise, but now I've been freakishly healthy - for me, at least - for 18 months, and none of my docs would have any problem with my carrying another child.

In other words, for us, adoption isn't primarily about wanting more kids.

Insurance covers pregnancy and childbirth. Adoption requires a lot more money, including - for us - fundraising. Given our relative ease with Jocelyn and Robbie, we'd try that route first before adoption if we simply wanted more kids. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper.

Some people have assumed that we aim to rescue children from poverty or disease or hunger. That's not it either. If our main concern was about poverty, then more systemic helps would be more effective on a larger population than a single adoption. Same goes for disease and hunger.

We talked about adoption before we got married, but the faces of our children made it more real to us.

As we cuddled and fed and rocked and soothed and loved those two, it broke our hearts to know that others like them didn't have a mommy or daddy to do the same. At best, they were in a loving children's home or foster setting, but both the Bible and modern research agree that a stable family is the ideal place for a child to live and grow.

We don't adopt to add children to our family. We adopt because families need to be added to children who don't have one.

I'll bust out the verses that have been meaningful to us in adoption at the end of this post, but I can sum it up pretty easily: They need a family. We're a family.

Consider a child you love. Try to imagine no one answering her cries, no one snuggling with him when he's sick, no one fighting for the best medical care for her, no one reading him Bible stories and bedtime books, and no one kissing her boo-boos.

It's not a pleasant thing to imagine, is it?

We adopt - and we seek out cases in which other families have said no and adoption chances are looking slim to none - because we would want the same for Jocelyn or Robbie if they were those kids.

Jocelyn matters. Robbie matters. 

So does Zoe. And Patience, Philip, and Patricia.

And millions of other orphans who are waiting, passed over because they are too old or sick or disabled... they matter too.

That is why we adopt.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
Proverbs 3:27

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

...if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
Isaiah 58:10

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 1:17

 “I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want."
Paraphrase of Amos 5:21-24 by Eugene Peterson

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