Prodigal Magazine

The One Question Everyone is Afraid to Ask

Photo Credit: Jeremy Statton
Written By: Jeremy Statton

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 do 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.

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?

Could you say no to him?

Great Question

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.

Our Why

Or to her? Me neither.
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 our 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.

Question #6.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?

About The Author

Jeremy Statton is an Orthopedic surgeon and a writer. When not ridding the world of pain, he encourages others to Live Better Stories at jeremystatton.com. You can download a free copy of his eBook Grace Is. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyStatton.

  • http://twitter.com/haguejason Jason Hague

    Awesome, Jeremy. It’s sad that this concept seems so foreign to so many people. But I love these answers, and I love your example.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Thanks Jason. It took me a while to discover this place myself, but now that I have, I wouldn’t ever want to go back.

  • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

    Such an awesome story you are living Jeremy. I’m honored to play a small role in it as your friend.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Thanks, Jim. I’m glad to know you.

  • http://twitter.com/poeticjason Jason Cormier

    Awesome. just.freaking.awesome

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I think it’s awesome that I get to be a part of it.

  • Marcia Bosma

    I love this post. We are preparing to welcome a refugee teen from Central America into our home soon. There are so many ‘what ifs’ – but to us, the only question that really matters is whether we are following hard after Jesus. Sometimes we don’t want to obey what He asks us to do, but if He calls us, He will also equip us! You are living this out; trusting in God to give you what you need. And obeying, even when it doesn’t make sense to others. Blessings to your family on this journey!

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    Yes! I love it!

    A few years ago, my wife and I were blessed to adopt four kids and we cannot wait for God to bless us with more!

    Here was a post I shared our our two year celebration of adoption: http://bentheredothat.com/2011/11/10/celebrating-adoption/

    Press on, Jeremy!  Press. On.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennyboltprice Jenny Bolt Price

    thank you Jeremy.  one day, i hope to write the post.  “He Actually Told All of Us to Adopt”  it’s not a suggestion really.  each family, that lives for Jesus, should be adopting.  even if it’s having an extra single person over for Christmas, “adopting” a neighbor, loving an addict- when their family cannot do so right now. 
    and of course, the call to orphans, the ones that are lost without  hope, that is real too.  thank you Jeremy.  i say it again.  thank you.  iwokeupyesterday.com

  • http://www.eloranicole.com/ elora nicole ramirez

    my husband & i are in the process of adopting domestically and it’s our first child. we’ve never “tried” for biological children, we just know this is our Plan A. loved this article. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525357929 Robin Jester

    I am adopted. Thank you for writing this. Though I do wish you had said a little more about the redemptive work of adoption and the picture of God’s adoption of us as His children and the realities of the kind of Grace and the depth of Grace that is shown so clearly through the adoption process which I as an adoptee have come to know and understand in a way that a non-adopted child will have to learn through me. You as an adoptive father will learn what it means to love a child not your own who you have MADE your own, as if s/he was your own from the beginning. It will be a picture of God you have not seen before and it will change your entire being from the inside out. God gives good gifts so that we know Him fully. God bless you all. :)

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  • sherry stevens

    I loved this article and your heart on this. Although we have never officially adopted, we have always had an extra child or two in our house. We have been married for 36 years and have never had our house to ourselves. it has been open to abused children, friends of our children that need to get away from abusive parents, adults and friends of ours that were in transition whether it be divorce, jobs failures, or illness. Our friends have all thought we were crazy at times. i remember the very first person we took in. It was a teen pregnant girl whose mother had kicked her out. my husband and I were praying about whether we should take her in and the Lord spoke to us so clearly…”why are you asking me? I have already told you in my word what to do.” From that moment on we have been blessed by the people we have had in our lives. yes, it has been hard at times, but God has given us grace and even the money to get by. We never had any compensation, foster money, food stamps or anything. We felt for us that we were to give to them and not receive…It appears that in just a few months we may have our house to ourselves, and I have to say, I am looking forward to it, but would never change a thing.