The Arena Of Adoption Must Become More “We” Than “I”

i Oct 4th 7 Comments by

I and We post

My heart is heavy today with the burdens that so many I hold close are enduring.

With the controversy and the dissension around adoption and whether it should be allowed to continue, it saddens me that individuals and entities can/do take it upon themselves to think they know what is best for millions around the world… children and families.

As an adoptee and adoptive parent, I feel that adoption is a beautiful, god-honoring, complex opportunity for those who have closely listened to the heart of God and are saying “Yes” to his request.

I also feel that for the child who has no other option than to stay in an institutional setting, age out to end up on the street or sold into child trafficking hell is not okay.

Yes, adoption should be the last resort for children.

Yes, it’s always best for children to stay in their birth country and/or with a birth relative when safe and provided for.

But that’s simply not the way this world always works.

There are unmet needs and there are people available to meet those needs in an ethical, godly way.

Why are many so quick to criticize or point a finger when things go wrong in adoption?

Why are many so quick to say “all adoption” rather than “sometimes adoption” or “rarely adoption”?

Why are so many quick to assume things when they have not entered the arena of adoption?

As I’ve watched, and prayed for burdens such as…

  • They’ve done everything ethically only to run into problems because of the adopting country inner government issues or in-country corruption.
  • They entered adoption with the right motivation of prayer and true sense that God wants them to expand their family through adoption, yet they are having to go through unimaginable pain and suffering with their child.
  • They submit to their agencies timelines, requests, information but unexpected circumstances delay, change, or nullify those elements.
  • They see the pain and grieving of their child and so badly want to be sure that they do this adoption parenting “correctly” so they don’t further harm their child that they carry an immense weight to not fail.
  • They have been filled with a beautiful thing called love which creates a painful chasm as they long for and wait to be joined with this precious one(s) so they can love them physically, emotionally, tangibly every day of their life.
  • They sacrifice much to give something to someone else who needs a family.

…I am infuriated and heartbroken over the comments and articles that are quick to lump every adoptive family/situation into a category of heartless, greedy, child snatching, proselytizing, unethical human beings, and because of that adoptive parents are inhumane and adoption should be shut down.

Unethical practices are not acceptable, but we must also see the ramifications of any solution that requires adoption to completely cease.

Our sense of “I” is profoundly influenced by how we belong to a “We.” ~ Dan Siegle

God did not intend for children or his people to be an isolated “I”. God intended his children and people to be a community of “We”.

Abandonment and isolation wrecks any human no matter their age, need, or place in this world.

Whether it’s a child that needs a safe and loving home or a family who is doing everything in their power to adopt in an ethical manner, there is harm in our words and choices to prove our personal point.

These burdens that I get to carry as I pray for my friends in their adoption journeys is one that draws my sense of “We” into an arena of belonging and in fact does profoundly influence my understanding of how “I” get to play a small role in praying and supporting others.

Being in a loving, supportive, encouraging community of “We” has drawn out a stronger understanding and sense of who “I” am in this world.

I hope to see a higher level of sensitivity as we champion the “cause” of adoption, but I also hope others will realize that humans are not “causes” and no matter which side of the fence we sit on, there must always be respect and gentleness for the human lives involved.

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? ~ James 4:11-12

Could we more intently consider how what we are saying is “I”solating rather than “We”lcoming?

Could we more intently consider how our actions convey a “me” and “them”?

Could we more intently consider the fact that everyone thrives in a gentler, kinder world that embraces grace, forgiveness and mercy?

Could we more intently consider_________ because/so_________?

I’m interested in hearing other’s voices. How would you complete the above question?

This life is not about only loving those who love Jesus, but simply loving like Jesus and be great influencers of “WE”!


  1. Zoey
    October 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    We signed up to adopt a child from Korea. But now we are almost to the point of ending the adoption because we are so completely concerned about corruption and that the child might have in some way been taken from his mom. We are also so distressed about the loss of culture and home that he will face upon coming to the US. It was a complete mistake for us to head down this road. We initially thought international adoption was a good option but no longer feel positive about it. We have read so many conflicting reports of what is good and what is bad with international adoption that it is hard to know the truth. I am up at night with worry and stress about doing something wrong by continuing with an international adoption.

    • Tara Bradford
      October 19, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Thank you for being willing to share such a hard journey in this space. I’m sorry that it has been so difficult. When international adoption is done ethically it is a good and beautiful option for children who have none. The sad part is that corruption is a factor in some cases, not all, but some. I commend you for taking a hard look at your decision and doing what’s best for the child. My prayers are with you!

  2. Marijane Nguyen, MT-BC
    October 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

    As an adult adoptee, I have conflicted feelings about inter-country adoption, mainly that often the picture painted to adoptive parents and the general public is a romanticized one. Things are changing and adoptive parents are given more education about the challenges of raising a child who has been institutionalized and is of a different race; however, much more can and should be done for adoptive families post adoption. In my opinion, the focus needs to shift toward educating young women about sex and abstinence or birth control, and support and aid should become a priority for them so that unwed mothers have more options available to them besides relinquishment. This is partly the problem. What can we do to diminish the need for institutionalization of young children, which we all know is less than optimal. How can we reduce the stigma of adoption in other countries where children are adopted by foreign families and encourage families within the country to adopt? These are the areas that I hope to make a difference in.

    • Tara Bradford
      October 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Hi Marijane,
      Thank you so much for leaving your thoughts. I agree with you on those areas that need to change and I appreciate you sharing them here.

  3. Maynard Gregory
    October 9, 2013 at 6:29 am

    We adopted our daughter from Korea 27 years ago on September 9th. On that day, we became a family, instead of just a couple. When we adopted her, we knew little about the issues that would come to pass.
    In those 27 years she has grown and become an incredibly caring and compassionate young woman.
    She is finishing her work for her MSw, and works with young adoptees. Her boyfriend is from Korea, ans she has become a part of his family. She has come to closely understand her birth culture and her adopted culture. These knuckleheads who want to stop foreign adoption simply don’t understand anyone else’s perspective . God bless you and your work.

  4. Don't We Look Alike?
    October 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I feel very sad about all of this, too. Adoption needs to be a last resort, but there are a lot of children in need of that last resort. As long as the needs of the child is kept paramount, that would help people make the right decisions, I think. My husband and I disagreed about baby Veronica because he said that it’s a case of law and the law must be followed. I said that the needs of the child must come first and she has a dad. But then I am equally saddened by how anti-adoption sentiments are becoming such a predominant theme. I asked my daughter Marisha about how she feels about all this since she is an adoptee and I am not. She says that living in an institution is never a better “option” for children and that she thinks that it’s ridiculous to even go down that road (which I am hearing expressed).

  5. Susan Peterson
    October 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you for this Tara……there is so much I could say…we have gone through the isolation of sharing our difficulties only to have people (people we shared with because we thought they would understand and offer us encouragement when we were struggling) judge us or minimize the situation. We have isolated ourselves after this response to protect our hearts from hurt. I have listened to the horror stories that are in the news about adoption, and while I in no way condone what some of these people did, I don’t believe they adopted a child intending to end up in the news for something horrible. Rather, I think they adopted a child wanting to love them, and then found themselves in a position with a child with issues that they weren’t prepared to deal with (and I don’t think any of us can be prepared because you just don’t know what it is like until you are living it) and the difficulties that can bring into a family. I believe that if people around them would have offered them support and understanding maybe we wouldn’t have to read their story in the news…. Thank you for always seeking to encourage…..