When God Told Us to Adopt
Fellow Her.meneutics writer Jennifer Grant recently published a memoir, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (Thomas Nelson), that traces her and her family's decision to adopt her youngest daughter, Mia, from Guatemala. Mia became a sister to Jennifer's biological children, Theo, Ian, and Isabel, when she was 16 months old. I had a chance to interview Jennifer recently about the story of the Grant family, as well as the ethical and theological challenges and gifts surrounding international adoption.
How did you and your husband decide you wanted to adopt?
In Love You More, I write that "the idea of adopting a child lingered in me like a song you cannot get out of your head. I felt like someone was missing. After the miscarriage, I could not shake the feeling that my kids were meant to have another sibling. As the fourth and youngest child in my own family, I sometimes felt like I was waiting for our fourth to come home and complete our family picture."
And then I had an experience—a mystical one that I describe in the book. It felt like God had sent me a certified letter announcing that we would adopt.
What were the greatest challenges in adopting Mia?
Once we had accepted her referral and had a name and a picture, it was miserable to have to wait to bring her home. It was an emotionally draining time, one in which I learned, at least a little bit, to let go of control, live with uncertainty, and trust God in new ways.
your book, you anticipate a question many people ask: Why adopt internationally rather than domestically?
When my husband and I began the adoption process, I felt certain that God would nudge us toward the country, the agency, and the program that would lead us directly to our child, wherever she was. I believe if God had wanted us to adopt domestically, as several friends have done, we would have felt the pull to do so. But the daughter God matched us with happens to have been born in another country.
What is the current state of international adoption?
The international adoption system is a broken one. It's too expensive. Children have been stolen. Birthparents have been misled. These actions are pure evil, but they are not the norm. The truth is, millions of orphans and vulnerable children need families.
The recent story of one adoptive mother who chose to return her son to Russia is kick-in-the-gut sad. Regarding this story, I wondered: Did that mother have a close, supportive community with whom she could be honest? Did she know other parents who had adopted older, formerly institutionalized children? What were her resources?
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