Reading several other things go to me to thinking about this topic. Faith has written great blogs about the right reasons to adopt a child, and how to determine if you’re ready.
Making the decision whether or not to adopt is difficult on its own. Deciding whether or not to adopt a special needs or older child is doubly difficult. In some ways it may be easier, because you know the issues you will be facing ahead of time (provided you get proper disclosure that is).
Here are some horrible reasons that parents have considered adoption.
To save a marriage – Sorry, the child does not need to be put in the middle of an already bad marriage. You have no guarantee that a child will bring you closer. In fact, there is a risk that a special needs child will drive you further apart.
As a companion – Get a pet.
A cure for depression – I can not tell you how many parents have started depression medication after adoption an older child. Not only are you dealing with your own mental health, but your child’s as well.
To have an heir, or to carry on the family name, as a successor in the family business or to help on the farm – What if you have a child who doesn’t want to adopted, much less take on your name? Forcing your child to work in your family business or on your farm is not only unethical, but you are forcing a child into something they may not want. I am speaking as someone whose family owns a very large business. I don’t work there for a reason, but the great majority of my family does (part of the reason I don’t work there). Your child should not feel obligated to fulfill your wishes. A child is an individual with their own hopes and dreams.
To “save” a child – Not all children want to be “saved”. Many children dream of being reunited with their birth parents, regardless of the hell they have lived through with them. What you see as an act of charity or generosity, your child may deeply resent. Not all children want a family either. Some children are very happy bouncing from home to home because they don’t have to emotionally connect with anyone.
Because your friends or family members have kids – If you don’t want to have children, don’t cave to pressure from other people. It is perfectly OK to not want children, and you’re doing the child a favor if you realize this. In addition, there is a great likelihood that you will lose these same friends if your child does something to one of their children. Sammy has no friends because of all the things that he has done to his “friends.”
To have a companion for an only child – You have no guarantee that these children will mesh. How would you feel if this child did something to your birth child? Will you react more fiercely? Will you feel more protective of your birth child? Invite your only child to have friends over. It will be a much better fit.
To make a political statement – If this is the case, bring awareness to foster care and adoption. Be an advocate for our kids. Donate to worthy causes. Fight for better legislation. There are much better ways to deal with politics than to take in a special needs child.
To replace a child you have lost – There is nothing in the world that will replace a child you have lost. Whether the child has passed away, was lost during a custody dispute, or any other reason, each child is an individual. Even though we knew we would adopt again, social services required us to wait at least six months after we lost Kory and Mackenzie before we even considered it again. Even now that we have Hannah, I still miss and love Kory and Mackenzie. She does not replace them. I love her for who she is, and she will never replace the memories I have of my other kids.
The one and only reason adopt a child is that you love children. Adopting for any of these other reasons will leave both you and your child empty.