Why We Don't Adopt Highways

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At first, adopting a highway seems like a reasonable, even noble idea. A local business pays a fee to help keep a local highway clean. In return, the business will have its name displayed on a sign on this highway, to advertise itself as having a conscience for keeping highways clean. But in the world of adoption, paying money to have a highway cleaned up has nothing to do with creating a family. Supporting a worthwhile cause through monetary donations is called sponsorship, while adoption is about loving a child forever as your very own.

Families are created, either by birth or by adoption. Creating a family is a unique experience, as each family member is unique. The decision to begin a family, is a decision to create, to expand our lives in a way that will change our lives forever. Huge responsibility comes with this decision of creation and often much planning and analyzing takes place before, during and after this decision. When the new family member arrives, either through birth or adoption, the family is overjoyed. All the family members are excited, full of hope and love for the new little person who has joined them. Birth and adoption are the way we grow families. It is doubtful that if a person adopted a highway into their family, that there would be the same concepts of love and joy. Clean highways can be created but not by birth or adopting them.

We are surrounded by situations that need our support and our money. When we choose to donate our money or time to a cause we are becoming sponsors or supporters of that cause. Sponsorship is a genuine ideal. A cause that we can provide assistance to, either through monetary donations or by donating our time, is an opportunity to provide help. Providing this type of help or support can make us feel good about ourselves, knowing we have helped those that are less fortunate. When we sponsor a highway, we are making a monetary commitment to help keep that highway clean. We know it is a good thing to do yet it does not involve the life-changing decision process needed if we were actually adopting that highway.

When we give birth to or adopt a child, it is a one-time act that effects us forever. For the rest of our lives, we are a permanent family. A bond is formed when a family is created, for better or worse, that bond will exist eternally. It is a widely held belief that people who have been raised in a family unit have a deep sense of identity and purpose throughout their lives. The personal strength one feels about himself can usually be attributed to the unbreakable bond he shares with his family. Sponsorship of a highway, a zoo animal or even a library book usually does not involve a life-long commitment. It is a temporary act based on a monetary donation. A permanent bond is not formed which a person can gain a sense of identity from, like it is when we create a family through birth or adoption.

When a child joins a family through adoption, it is an extraordinary event equal only to when a child joins a family through birth. There is no difference. When the word "adoption" or "adopting" is used in place of the more appropriate word "sponsor", it devalues this extraordinary event and does a great disservice to our children and the families that adopted them. Our children and in fact, people everywhere, need to know that adoption is not about clean highways but about creating families that are permanent. Adoption is not about temporary, monetary sponsorship but about a lifelong commitment of loving our children and family.

Credits: Chris Peters

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