Friday, May 06, 2005

Adoption vs. How Many Children Should a "Christian" Family Have?

Marla has opened the can of worms, and folks are jumping in on all sides (you can read the condensed version of my rant on the subject there as well.

There is a larger than necessary segment of Christians (Protestant and Catholic) who tend to believe that all birth control is "sin." They believe that Christians should go on having children until they aren't capable anymore. The idea is to have a "quiverful" (read the comments at the above post).

Now, Jill and I have two boys, both by means of adoption. Yes, we are planning to adopt another. Yes, we have turned down opportunities to adopt, not due to the child, but due to our own situation (he was adopted by another family in our church and is in the nursery at church with our son, his biological sibling!). Coming from the adoption side of things, my reaction in reading about the "quiverful" theology is anger. Not at the use (some would say abuse) of Scripture, but at the hypocrisy.

The first comment at Marla's site agrees with Marla that stewardship is important and then goes on to state that having lots of children is a blessing. I'll agree with both of those statements. That does not negate the thought, however, that having NO children is also a blessing. It does not negate the thought that having only one child is a blessing. It does not negate that being single and childless is a blessing. I could go on and on here, so I'll stop this line of thinking.

I would also argue, however, that if you are going to say that having many children is a blessing and that stewardship is important, then adopting African-American and/or handicapped children is the best way to be both a good steward and to be blessed. These are the children who are the hardest to place, they are the least expensive to adopt, and the cost of the adoption is often reimbursed over several years by the federal government in the form of the adoption tax credit (we have gotten more money returned to us via tax refunds than we paid in to the system since Nathan was adopted three years ago). In other words, the adoptions often turn out to be free (or extremely low cost). Add in the fact that my wife didn't miss work for pregnancy leave (which would have cost us income) and that her health wasn't at risk as a result of a pregnancy, and there are a couple more benefits.

So, if you really believe in having a "quiverful," and you think you should be a good steward, then I've just given you the solution. Of course, I don't really expect many people to change their minds on this issue. I can hear it now, "Adoption is a calling!" Yeah, and having 2 children instead of 10 isn't? C'mon, be consistent!