Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Having Children or Not Having Children -- Which is Selfish?

  I know this may seem like an unusual post to some of you, but I have been hearing and reading things where people criticize and/or complain about having children and that having children is "selfish".  So, I have decided to post my two cents on the issue, and since homeschooling is all about children, I don't think it's too far off the mark for my blog.
  I will start by telling you about my family.  My husband and I were unable to conceive and could not afford fertility treatments and such, so we decided to let it up to God.  Then one day on my way to work, as I was listening to our local Christian radio station, they were talking to some people from two of the local adoption agencies.  They talked about how it was now possible to "foster-to-adopt".  That night I spoke to my husband about it.  We prayed about it and then called the one agency.  We went to an orientation where the foster-to-adopt option was explained, as well as what was required of us to be approved for the opportunity to foster-to-adopt.  We thought it over and prayed about it and decided it was what we should do.
  Long story short, we have three wonderful boys, all of which came to us through the foster-to-adopt program.  Now, I will tell you that our original plan was to foster-to-adopt one boy and one girl.  We figured since we were going this route, we had the ability to choose.  Our first was a boy.  About nine months before his adoption was final, we had another little boy join us, but, unfortunately, it did not work out for us to adopt him and he went to live with his biological father right after the adoption of our first son was final.  A month later, we received a call for another boy.  Our first reaction was "No".  We weren't ready to jump in again after just having to say good-bye to a precious little boy.  Well, apparently God had a plan, because the agency asked us to at least look over his paperwork, and, of course, there was a photo included.  Another long story short, he ended up becoming our second child.  Then we thought we were finished.  Two children were enough and we wanted to live a normal life without the intrusion of caseworkers in and out of our house  so frequently.
  Five years passed, and then we decided we would try for a girl one more time.  Well, God really does have a sense of humor and His plans are not always our plans.  We ended up with one more boy.  After his adoption, we did remain with the agency for one more year, still hoping to add a little girl to our family.  Then, I had some health issues come up and we decided that our family is complete and it just wasn't part of God's plan for us to have a little girl, and I was finally at peace with this decision.  We did do a couple of short-term respite cares during that final year with the agency, all boys :)
  Our boys were not infants when they became a part of our family.  So the time we have with them is even shorter than people with infants are blessed with, and so our time with them is even more precious.
  Now let's talk about the selfish part.  Parents who truly love and want their children spend time with their children and value their children.  They give up things they, themselves desire, to provide for their children.  That doesn't mean giving the child(ren) everything they want materially speaking, but also giving them opportunities -- learning a musical instrument, playing a sport, going on missions trips, family vacations.  These parents also talk with with their children and really get to know their children.  They encourage their children in their talents, hopes and dreams.  They attend the basketball and soccer games and the music recitals, etc.  So, these parents are giving up time that they could be spending doing what they most desire, to spend with their children instead.  They are also sacrificing material things that they may want to provide for the needs or maybe a desire of their child(ren).  These parents put their children above themselves like the Bible verse:  "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."  Philippians 2:3-4.
  Now what about the people who don't really want children or who see their children as a burden and a nuisance?  They resent their children because their children keep them from fulfilling all of their desires or because they need a few minutes of their time.  Or, maybe they work long hours and don't have time for their children because they want to live their lives in the manner they have always dreamed of -- big house, fancy car, expensive vacations, etc.  They focus more on what they themselves want.  They are the ones who say, "We'll start our family when we have our own home, or when we have X amount of dollars in the bank", etc.  or they choose not to have children at all because they don't want to have to miss out on what they themselves want to buy or to do or travel to the places they want to go.
  So, which ones are truly selfish?

  The ones who have children and consider their children a blessing and a gift of God will still have time to have some of the things they want or to do the things they want to do or to go places they want to go, when their precious children are grown and have their own families.  But, even if they don't fulfill all of their personal desires, they are not concerned about that.  They simply wish to leave a legacy of love behind.  They want their children to feel valued and to know that they were loved, even after their parents have had to leave this world.

  It breaks my heart and makes me feel ill the way our world has decided that children are a burden and have very little value, that they are disposable.  I weep and God weeps.  I pray that more people will realize that, yes, having children requires work and sacrifice, but there is no better job with better value to be found anywhere.  Raising a child and having the love of your child is the greatest reward we can have on this earth, aside from knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ, our Lord, and He teaches the value of children when the disciples want to chase the children away, and Jesus says, "Let the little children come to me."  Matthew 19:14a

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