So I've been meaning to spew my random musings on something that has been on my mind recently, but I keep putting it off. At long last I've decided to just put it all out there. I wonder if this post could bother or offend a few people, but this is just what's on my heart and mind and such and no offense is meant.
Recently, when meeting with our new daughter's future pediatrician, he made a few interesting comments to me. They amounted to the classification of our adoption as "missional" and a bit of insight into the differences he sees between families whose adoptions are missional and are not. By way of definition, missional adoption is when a family decides to adopt in order to improve life for that child. It's often called missional because parents will make statements like "we felt led to" or "we felt called to" when discussing their decision to adopt. Often, missional adoption is also a way of referring to adoption in families that are not suffering from fertility problems. If you have 4 kids already and decide to adopt, chances are someone will label your adoption missional.
When I first heard this classification, I rebelled against it. Sure, we would describe ourselves as feeling called or led to do this. Yep, we already have biological children. I guess, technically, we don't NEED to do this to increase our family. But I had this strong feeling that adopting solely because you want to be Mother Theresa to a child would be an exercise in egomania. If you're going to be bringing a child into your home, reason number one should be that you want a child in your home, right? Otherwise, how are you going to react to years of sacrifice? How would you respond to not getting a spotlight on your greatness, or even a simple thank you?
Then the dr. made a statement that struck me. "If you were not adopting missionally, you would be rejecting this child." Huh? He explained to me that families who are adopting missionally are, in his experience with over 300 adoptive families, far more willing to accept a child with special needs. They are the people who call up the agency and ask for a child who has no future in their homeland. They are the ones who say "willing to discuss" on every medical condition under the sun. They're the ones who would spend $30,000 on "damaged goods." They are families that give everything they have and then some to a child who may never improve, for nothing more than the knowledge that one less child was institutionalized for life. And they don't necessarily do it to feel like a hero. They do it because that kid needs it.
Suddenly, I'm feeling a bit better about this idea of missional adoption, or of being one of those missional people.