This is a season that begins with the story of a couple that wanted a family. Mary and Joseph had some high-profile intervention, of course. But when modern couples who want children find themselves frustrated, their first reaction these days is often to get to a fertility clinic.
Many couples pay tens of thousands of dollars for rounds of medical wizardry instead of adopting children who are already among us, crying for our love and support. I think some of the people who choose assisted fertility may be missing out on a miracle.
I know that the impulse to bear children is deep. My wife and I tried, in the time honored way, for many years, and then with the assistance and injections of fertility experts. But at some point, the costs began to match those of an adoption and prompted us to ask, “Why are we doing this? There are already so many millions of children out there.”
Adoption is as old as Abraham-and-Sarah-style begetting. To sit at a Seder dinner holding daughters in your lap (our two girls were left along roadsides in China) and hear the story of a baby boy who was floated into the bulrushes along the Nile, reminds you that the instinct to care for castaway children is ancient and inborn. When disease, slaughter or smiting felled or scattered families, friends and even enemies took in and loved the children left behind.