It’s not easy with people thinking you’re the World’s Greatest Pastor…because they’re expected to know the answer to every question.
More often than you would imagine, I have the same phone conversation with another pastor, ministry leader or influencer about adoption. They reach out to me because they have a specific question, but as things unfold the questions grow even broader.
They’re great preachers, fantastic writers, amazing counselors, and outstanding men and women of God, but they don’t have a clue about adoption. Like so many areas, with adoption people are quick to say “Let’s ask our pastor…”, but the pastor often doesn’t know much.
I don’t fault them. Most ministry leaders have to be part CEO, part inspirer, part legal expert…the list goes on and on. They can’t know everything about everything. It’s my job to give them the information they need to know about adoption.
If you find yourself in a leadership position and needing to know more, here are a few key things to understand.
A quick, easy and cheap adoption is as common as sasquatch.
I’m not saying it never happens, but it’s rare. When you call me trying to find a way around a system, it tells me you don’t understand that the system is actually for peoples’ protection. I don’t want to work with an expectant mother who later feels pressured or an adoptive couple that feels duped.
Those quick deals where Uncle Larry’s house cleaner’s daughter wants to find a couple to adopt and can everyone just post it on facebook? They almost never work. The couples in your church would do better to go through a reputable agency, and so would the expectant mothers.
The expectant mother and biological father are in the drivers seat.
They will have a hard time believing this, because many times they have been taken advantage of or at least feel like they have, but the adoption process puts most of the decisions about openness, who receives their baby, etc directly in the biological parents’ hands – and it should. They are stewarding a life.
That seventeen year old in your congregation who needs to make some hard decisions will not be treated like a victim. She will be treated with dignity and allowed to change her mind.
The baby’s biological father has the same rights as the expectant mother.
This is hard for people to understand, perhaps because an expectant mother can abort a child on her own – but she can’t make an adoption plan without the consent, implied or expressed, of the biological father. He needs to sign consent or have his rights terminated through another legal means, but he cannot simply be ignored.
A good agency will know how to proceed with this but understand that you can’t steamroll a biological dad. It’s not legal and it’s not ethical. Everyone should have the right to father if they’re able.
For adoptive parents, the length of wait is often in their power to change.
One of the concerns your families will have in saying yes to adoption is how long the process takes. They’ve heard of people who waited for years and years – and sometimes, it can take that long, btu often those long waits are exaserbated by other circumstances, such as the adoptive parents’ unwillingness to travel or consider a child of another race.
If they’re open to different situations, their adoption will go much faster. Also, remind them that old fashioned way takes a minimum of nine months – and sometimes longer.
Adoption can be daunting, but thousands navigate it successfully every year. There is a system for it, and if you know where to plug in, it works for everywhere.
I’d like to be a resource for you. If you’re a leader who wants to know more about how it works so you can answer them with authority, shoot me an email. I’d be happy to talk with you or even come and do a seminar for your church. When more people understand adoption, everyone wins. It’s a matter of LIFE>