May 2008For some reason I have not been writing about the biggest thing happening in my life right now. Adoption. My wife and I are attending MAPP classes to adopt a child. We are currently half way through the classes and are extremely excited about being parents to a child that has none. We are currently open to a child that is anywhere from 5 years old to 11 years old. So far we haven’t really figured out the best age range for us at this point, we are still praying and processing what we should do specifically.

What I want to talk about today is one of the most common questions that is asked of me when I mention that my wife and I are looking at adopting a child.

“Why would you not want to adopt an infant?”

To help answer this question I will need to provide some background. Some of my readers may not know about my interesting family history so here it is. Within a few months of being born my father left my mother. He just left. And I have never had any contact with him. When I was 4 years old my mom was raising me, she was a single mom and working full time. She met Glenn Bristow and married him the summer before I began kindergarten. Within a year of their marriage Glenn legally adopted me, so that is why my last name is Bristow now instead of Rich. I consider this situation ‘half adoption’, but I remember a time when I did not have a father and then when I did have a father. It is difficult to describe the emotions involved with that, but they are powerful. I understand some of the emotions a child has when they really don’t have parents. I mean, everyone else has parents so it simply means they are always different from everyone else. Partly due to my past I want to be a parent for a child that does not have a parent. I understand their need to simply have a family.

So the answer is simply I want to be a parent to a child that does not have parents. Most of these children are not infants, they are older. Most of these children have been removed from abusive situations and are not allowed to see their parents again. And some of these children have had their parents die. So they are in a situation where unless a stranger comes along and wants for them to be a part of their family they will be in the government run foster care system until they are 18 years old. And as much as the government is helping these kids, foster care is not the answer for anyone. It is only temporary. And the other reason is that I want to be a Dad. I know the typical method of achieving ‘Dad’ status is through the normal biological process, and my wife and I are not at all against having biological children as well. Yet it is difficult for us to know about children in need and not help, when we can. One of the things I wanted to help begin in Kenya was an adoption program for street kids to Kenyan families. So I see this as a natural extension of what some of our plans were in Kenya. And maybe simplest way we can look at this is that we see our desire to be parents, and a childs desire to have parents a match. And when things match you bring them together.

We will end our MAPP classes the Tuesday before Thanksgiving this year and will probably be in about a 6 month window before we will actually have a child placed with us. So we may have a new member of the Bristow family by next May!