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If you haven’t had a chance to read through the comments on last week’s post on adoption, I commend them to you. If you are one of the people who contributed to that conversation, thank you. You’ve helped me to clarify some of my own thinking on the issue, and you’ve prompted further reflection.
So where am I now? I should explain first that for the past few months, every time I have thought about having another child, I wondered if I should feel guilty. I haven’t actually felt guilty, but I’ve wondered if I should. I wondered if it was irresponsible to have biological children given the number of orphans in the world. I wondered if we were simply doing our part to contribute to overpopulation and global warming. And so I wondered if this desire to have children, biological children, was merely that: biological. I wondered whether it was a vestige of our evolutionary past, to be overcome by prayer, by the Spirit.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not.
There shouldn’t be orphans in the world. It’s a simple statement, and yet one I hadn’t realized before we began this conversation. The truth of the matter is, parents shouldn’t abandon their children. Parents shouldn’t die. If and when they do, there should be family members who can incorporate the children into their family.
Of course, the reality is that there are orphans. There are abandoned children. The need is there, although it shouldn’t be.
So recently, I have come to believe that this desire for biological children is a God-given one. “Be fruitful and multiply,” God commanded in Genesis. Or consider that, as one friend pointed out to me today, all the barren women in the Bible pray for and receive a biological child as an answer to their prayers. Biological children are a gift from the Lord. The desire for them is a good one, a God-given one.
So when I feel torn between the desire for another biological child and the reality of orphans in the world, it is a holy tension. Children are a gift. Take care of the orphans. I’m not sure how this will all work out in our lives. For now, we’ll do our best to show Penny and William God’s love and grace. For now, we’ll support our new friends Eric and Holly Nelson (Special Hope Network) as they start an organization to provide for orphans with special needs in Africa.
Bearing children. Adopting. Either way, I will, I hope, be participating in God’s work in this world.