Why not?

by Aaron Swavely © 2012

Every soul is born with the God-given need to belong and be loved by someone. (Inspired by Rev. Al Detwiler)

On more than one occasion my wife and I have been asked, “why adopt?” The answer we give is, “why not?” In adopting our two girls from China, God made it abundantly clear that was what we needed to do, so we did it.

Since I am a father, I feel I should
take my cues from my heavenly Father and do my part to help every child I can to have a family. After all, where would I be if God had not chosen to adopt me into his family?

My wife and I never really planned to adopt, it just kind of happened. Several years into our marriage, we heard a radio show about adoption and discussed it as something we would consider, but our kids were very young. We put the discussion on the shelf and just kept on living.

Then in 2000, we experienced a life-changing event when we had to say goodbye to our 7-year-old daughter who passed away. We were devastated. After counseling and time to process our loss, we began to revisit the idea of adoption. We had room in our home and hearts for another child. Although we still had our son who was 10 at the time, it just seemed like the right thing to do, a simple matter of moving forward.

Adoption allowed me the opportunity to think about something else besides myself and how much pain I was going through. So, after a lengthy process, we completed our first adoption in 2003 and brought home a 10-month-old little girl from China. Just recently, through a miracle of faith and obedience to God, despite our lack of finances, we completed our second adoption of another Chinese daughter who is 8.

Consider for a moment, the many examples of famous people who have been adopted: Moses, Dave Thomas, Nancy Reagan, George Washington Carver, Steve Jobs, Crazy Horse, Sarah McLachlan, Gerald Ford, Faith Hill, Scott Hamilton, Melissa Gilbert, John Lennon and Michael Oher. Just imagine if their adoptive parents had said no. It’s what’s inside a person that matters the most. When given the opportunity, the people on this list flourished and made worthy accomplishments. They made a difference because someone believed in them enough to give them a chance, and then they made the most of it.

Over the years, I have also been inspired and encouraged to adopt by my neighbor Kass Detwiler. She is an 82-year-old widow, who along with her husband, Al, adopted nine kids during the 1960s and ’70s when it wasn’t very popular to do so. Kass has been a mentor to my wife and me. On more than one occasion, she has reminded us that God will not lead you somewhere and then leave you to fend for yourself. He will walk with you till the end of the journey and come through for you in ways you never imagined possible.

In becoming an adoptive father, God has given me a unique privilege to love the little children like Jesus did. Who hasn’t sung, Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. So, if Jesus loves the little children and we know from the Scriptures he does, then so should I, whether they are born to me or not.

There is a secret I’ve discovered in life that when it comes to love if you don’t share it, it simply goes to waste. Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated radio show host and an adoptive parent himself, once said, love is infinitely more important than blood and I would rather pass on my values than my genes. Love should never be wasted, nor should the opportunity to mold and shape a soul for the better. The funny thing about love is you don’t have to save it up, but rather, your love grows the more you share it.

To be perfectly honest, adoption is hard work, a challenge to say the least.  Although, when we have biological children, we can never anticipate the challenges we will face with them either. However, I am reminded every morning I am doing the right thing. As I check on my daughters while they are peacefully sleeping like little angels, the pervading thought is always “it was worth it.”
It makes perfect sense to me that if every soul is born with the God given need to belong and be loved by someone, then why not let that someone be me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aaron Swavely and his wife, Amy, of twenty three years, have four children and currently live in southeastern Pennsylvania. He has authored several articles for the Upper Room devotional series and has also contributed to the books Simple Little Words and Slaying the Giants in Your Life. You can find his latest renderings at his blog entitled “Perhaps” at swavelsperhaps.blogspot.com.

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