When others find our that we are adopting, there are a number of "standard" questions that we are asked.
- What country are you adopting from?
- When will you be able to get your children?
- How long is the process?
- How much does it cost?
- Who is your agency?
But there is one question that I am asked more than any other.
This popular question isn’t asked immediately. It requires a process of 5 questions before the inquirer builds up enough courage to get to the real one.
Question #1. How many kids to you have?
In case you don't know, four. Infertility is not an issue. It seems that if I wink at Amanda, she gets pregnant. Enough said.
Question #2. How many kids are you adopting?
After I say two, their eyes grow very large and they pause. I can see their brains working away on the math. They are doing the addition over and over again. 4+2=6. No, that can’t be right. Nobody does that. Let’s try again. 4+2=6!
The problem seems so simple, but the solution, the number 6, seems impossible. Perhaps crazy.
Question #3. The third question is respectful. What are their special needs? What physical problems do they have?
But the answers only complicate the arthimetic. 4+2+special needs= incredibly crazy. Maybe even stupid.
Questions 1-3 never provide the clarity they seek.
Question #4. Are these two kids siblings?
A legitimate question on the surface, but it is only an attempt to try to understand in a hope to avoid the last question. If the 2 kids are brother and sister, then that helps the math make sense.
But the answer is no. They aren't siblings. At least not yet.
Let's update the formula. 4+2+special needs+they aren't already brother and sister = certifiably insane.
Question #5. So then the final question comes. The one they have wanted to ask from the beginning, but were too afraid to. A question driven out of the inability to comprehend what they are hearing.
Why would you do this? Why do you want to have 6 kids? Why would you have a family of 8 on purpose? Why would you take on so much? Why would you adopt 2 at the same time, especially if they are not related? Why do you want to have a family so big that you have to drive one of those big mega-vans?
The answer may seem strange. We want none of those things.
We don't want our lives to be incredibly difficult. We never set out to have a family of 8. We never wanted kids with special needs. We don't want to deal with surgery. We don't want to manage wheelchairs and walkers and physical therapy. We don't want to deal with attachment issues. We don't want to add development delay to our list of problems.
We definitely do not want one of those huge, ugly, white vans.
We are doing this because we are compelled to. There are two orphans in this world who need a mom and dad.
We are doing this because we can.
Yes, there are many other things we can do that would be much easier on us. We could spend more time and money on ourselves. We can do short term mission trips with the intent of easing our conscience and longing for something greater. We could keep going to church on Sunday mornings convinced that when Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow him, he meant sitting in a pew at church.
But life is not about arriving at death safely. Life is about giving it all. It is about saying thanks to our God who gave us all by giving everything we can for the good of his kingdom.
We will find room for our soon-to-be children in our lives. We will find room for them in our homes. We will try our best to cram them all in our much smaller and easier to drive minivan.
We have already found room for them in our hearts.
We choose this for ourselves because we choose to love, and we are going to let God fill in the rest.
There is one more question to this list. I wish more people would keep going and not stop at #5. I wish they would ask it of themselves.
If we don’t do this, then who will?
Jeremy Staton runs Living Better Stories at http://www.jeremystatton.com/