Adoption & Foster Care

Why do you need me? A reflection on adoption

May 8, 2024 • 4 min

Months after arriving at her new home, our adopted teenage daughter posed a question that stumped me. She asked me, “Why do you need me? I need you. I need a mom and a dad, but you already have three children of your own. You did not need another one. So, why did you adopt me?”

I am sure that this is a question on the minds of most foster or adoptive children. In fact, she would tell us much later that she thought we adopted her so that she could be Cinderella to clean our house and be a housekeeper. At least that is what her friends at the orphanage would tell her and would almost make her decide not to be adopted.

That question stumped me because I did not know how to answer and avoid saying the wrong thing. I stared at her like a deer in headlights. I walked away from that feeling like I failed to impart wisdom as a father. It would stay in my heart for some time, and I would share it with others, hoping for someone to impart wisdom to me.

Wanted, not needed

Months later she came to me and asked me the same question. But this time I was prepared to answer her even though I worried my answer would hurt her feelings. “Why do you need me?” This time I did not have that “deer in headlights look” when I answered her. “You are right. Mom and I did not need you. But we wanted you. We knew you wanted to have a mom and dad and be part of a family. We wanted to be your mom and dad. God called us to adopt you into our family so that you would know that he loves you. We love you because he first loved us.

Well, I wish I could tell you it was like a scene out of a movie where there is inspirational music causing tears of joy. There was not. Rarely are moments in life like that. But it answered her question and planted a seed in her mind that would take root and help her understand that we are able to love one another because God loved us first. Throughout her life of going from foster home to foster home, and eventually into the orphanage, she acquired more trauma than any child should have to endure. She had never experienced what it meant to be truly loved and cared for.

Paul reminds us in Acts 17:25, “Neither is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives everyone life and breath and all things” (CSB). God, the Creator, did not create us because he needed us. He created us out of love for the purpose of sharing that love. We did not adopt our daughter because we needed to be loved by her or we felt like our family was not complete. We adopted her because we loved her, wanted her to share that love, and be a part of a family.

God called us to adopt as his earthly ambassadors to emulate his love for her by being her parents. The gospel is shared in one of two ways, either verbally or incarnate. We can share the gospel by telling everyone what Jesus has done for us, but we can also share the gospel by living it through our lives so that others can see what Jesus has done for us. James 1:22 tells us to be “doers of the word and not hearers only” (ESV).

Loved by our heavenly Father

Our daughter is experiencing what it means to be truly loved by us and her heavenly Father. I wish I could say that she fully embraced and accepted the gospel. It is a work in progress because of years of neglect and abuse, questioning why God would allow terrible things to happen to her. Or why did her biological parents not love her enough to care for her?

Foster and adoptive parents have an important, hard, and satisfying ministry opportunity to share the fullness of the gospel with orphaned children who may question why God has allowed this to happen to them. These children are left to find answers from the world that would tell them that people do not really love them. Or, that they are only adopted because people need someone to do house chores. Perhaps they foster because they get paid by the state. Stepping into foster care or adoption is messy, but God has called you to a purpose that glorifies God.

Consider a few extra resources:

About the Author:

Doug Kowieski

Dr. Doug Kowieski serves as the Director of The Cove at Fruit Cove Baptist Church, overseeing the counseling and support group ministries that provide spiritual, emotional, and mental health resources. He is married to his wife Melissa of 30 years, and they have four children through birth and adoption. They live in northeast Florida and enjoy relaxing at the beach, visiting theme parks, playing games, and watching movies. Dr. Doug has a distinguished career working in law enforcement as a K-9 handler, Youth Resource Officer, chaplain, and served in the US military.

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