The Adoption Gene

By Donna Sheron

When You Always Wanted to Adopt

There is much talk these days on the subject of genetics and their role in determining human characteristics and behavior. Our genes certainly dictate the color of our hair, our height, and other physical characteristics. The real question in the debate is how much genes affect the way we think and act-our disposition toward certain things.

When it comes to adoption, it does seem that certain people have a predisposition, a yearning, a deeply held desire-from a young age-to adopt. They cannot trace where this desire comes from. They just know it is there. For lack of a better word they have the "adoption gene." Although they cannot trace its true origins, I believe the Bible does:

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" β€” Romans 8:15

When we desire to adopt an orphan into our family for life we are only reflecting the heart of our heavenly Father. Thus, this "adoption gene" originated with our true Father, our heavenly Father, who adopts us into His family through the gift of His one and only Son.

Now, even before I experienced firsthand the love of God adopting me into his family to be his little daughter, I had a deep desire to be involved with adoption.

When I was eleven years old I very much wanted a little sister, only not in the usual way. I wanted my mom and dad to adopt a little orphaned girl from Vietnam. Mom said, "No." (I joke that she never gave me anything I wanted!) Well, a little sister seemed out of the question for me, but that desire to adopt stayed with me for years to come.

As I grew up, the longing to adopt an orphan never left me even though I married a wonderful man and was able to conceive and bear biological children. One day I heard Brian Luwis, America World co-founder and CEO, on the radio talking about how many orphans there are in the world and how in the Bible, James Chapter One, tells us we are to take care of orphans. It states that caring for orphans and widows is pure, undefiled religion. My heart leapt for joy! I knew it was time to adopt. My husband, Dan, and I had never talked about adoption at length; we had several "home grown" children at the time. But I went out to the garage and said, "Dan, I want to adopt a child from another country." He said, "Okay." It was the easiest conception in history! Immediately I sent in the application to America World and a year later we brought home our first adopted child, Danna Li.

If we are made in God's image, then we must have some of the same attributes that He does. I believe that adoption is the most beautiful manifestation of God's unconditional love. Picture yourself an orphan, and a loving father goes to the ends of the earth to bring you home. Just as I had this deep void within my life until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I also had a deep void in my soul that could only be filled by adopting an orphaned child. Perhaps God just wanted to show me more of Himself. Perhaps I have an adoption gene that makes me desire to be an adoptive mom, for the desire could only have come from God Himself.

We are now in the process of another adoption and this time we would like to adopt a little boy. I had heard that adoption is addictive, that you can't adopt just one! Well, for us that is true. It is also contagious. When I tell people that when our precious daughter was handed to us it was greater than the miracle of birth, they too want to experience the same joy that we have. Each birth is unique, each child a miracle from God. When a stranger hands you your baby in front of a room full of people, everyone else fades away. All you see is him or her and all you feel is the presence of God and the miracle of what love truly is.

I don't know if my desire was caused by an adoptive gene or not. But I do know this: the two greatest voids in my life were both completely and joyfully filled through adoption, by God adopting me into His family and by our adopting Danna Li and (hopefully soon) her little brother.