The Amish place great importance on the family unit. They believe that children are a blessing from God, and not surprisingly, tend to have large families.
Understandably, news of infertility would be a big blow in their community. What would an Amish couple do in such a scenario? Are they allowed to adopt?
The answer to this question is tied to their deep-seated beliefs about the role of the family in their culture. Join us as we examine the Amish beliefs about child-rearing and family life, in this guide to Amish adoption and fostering norms.
What this article covers:
- Do the Amish Adopt Children?
- Can the Amish Foster Children?
- What are the Amish's Views on Child-Rearing?
- Amish Family Life
Do the Amish Adopt Children?
Yes, the Amish may adopt, and they do so when the need arises. Family life is such a large part of Amish culture, that infertility issues are devastating to an Amish couple.
The Amish tend to get married young and start a family very soon after marriage. This has always been the Amish way, and they tend to have large families, too. Far larger than the modern norm for American society at large.
Should an Amish couple finds themselves unable to have children of their own, they are free to adopt. There’s no rule against this. Creating families is seen as a religious duty and is encouraged. They may even adopt non-Amish children from outside the community.
Can the Amish Foster Children?
When Amish children are orphaned, they needn’t worry that they’ll be left without a family. The Amish are happy to foster children that are in need; even ones who come from outside the Amish community.
As with non-Amish people, fostering a child inevitably leads to a more permanent arrangement, such as adoption. However, it can also be a temporary situation, where children are not orphaned, but in need of care for a time. This may be due to the hospitalization of their sole surviving parent, for example.
What are the Amish's Views on Child-Rearing?
The Amish have three main areas of focus. God, the family, and the community. In that order.
So where does that place children? Very high near the top of the list! Marriage and children, and family life in general, are viewed as an institution ordained by God.
As a highly religious group, this means that the Amish hold families in great esteem. That doesn’t mean they’re indulgent parents. Amish parents are loving yet firm.
Why do the Amish have such Large Families?
Most people think that the Amish have large families because they don’t believe in contraception, and are victims of circumstance. This isn’t an accurate depiction of their high regard for children. There are three main reasons why the Amish have such large families. Let’s take a closer look at these, now.
The Amish are devout Christians. The Bible provides the Amish with a moral compass with which to navigate the storms of life. It also espouses certain values that the Amish seek to emulate.
Childbearing and childrearing are common themes in the Bible. Children are, at different times, described as the reward for Godly living, a source of spiritual wealth, and even a model of God’s kingdom.
Women who were unable to have children were singled out in the Bible, for this very reason. They’re always depicted as praying for the gift of motherhood and being ‘blessed’ when able to conceive. The Amish take this to heart and wish to be fruitful and multiply as the scriptures say to do.
The Amish live much the same lives they did when their forebears first arrived in North America. And few of their cultural norms have changed since then. They got married young and had large families then, and they continue to do so now.
Every baptism, every marriage, and every birth is seen as a cause for celebration. Do the Amish celebrate birthdays? Yes, they do, but with much less fanfare than non-Amish do.
They celebrate milestones together, with Amish games and great feasts, and they mourn the loss of any community member as if their own loved one has passed.
In a community-oriented lifestyle, large families are encouraged. The more children, the more people will grow up to continue the Amish way of life. A culture that has remained virtually unchanged for centuries has large families to thank for its survival.
There can be no doubt that practical reasons exist, too, especially in farming communities. The more sons an Amish farmer has, the more help he’ll have with the farm.
The same can be said of Amish women. The role they play in their culture is that of the nurturer. Amish daughters will grow up to help their mothers care for the family. Should the mother pass away, the daughters in the family would take over the responsibility of cooking for their father and brothers.
This may seem a bit old-fashioned to outsiders, and truly, it is. The Amish way of life is very patriarchal. The men are laborers, protectors, and providers. The women are the carers. This is based on biblical principles that have stood the test of time.
Amish fathers also appreciate children going hunting with them. Do Amish hunt? Oh yes, they do. Not all of them are in favor of hunting, but many do enjoy it. It’s not limited to men, either. Women and girls are allowed to go hunting with their husbands and fathers.
Amish Family Life
Although religion plays a major role in the community, and church attendance is a must, it only takes place every second Sunday. The in-between Sundays are set aside for family togetherness, community life, and Amish leisure activities.
Just like the Amish have hobbies and interests just like everyone else, and they like to participate in them as a family. So, what do Amish do on Sundays like these? What do they enjoy doing together as a family?
Do Amish people listen to music? They don’t play musical instruments and don’t use radios. However, they do sometimes listen to live music at outdoor concerts. Are Amish people allowed to dance? No, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love to sing. Singing hymns is a popular family pastime.
Amish Baskets - Weaving Together Amish Communities
It’s a fact that any Amish community is a tight-knit one. They do everything in honor of their community and to preserve their culture. And that extends to how they earn an income.
Any Amish town will have groups of men working the fields together, or crafting fine wooden furniture together. Amish women have their economic pursuits too, such as quilt-making and basket weaving. They create beautiful wicker baskets through age-old skills, with their own hands.
You can own one of these gorgeous and eco-friendly products to gift to friends or grace your own home. From rattan bread baskets for the kitchen to vintage wicker hampers for the laundry room, you can enjoy a taste of Amish family life, too.
And don’t forget some cute Easter baskets for your children or grandchildren. We know how much you treasure your moments with them. Give them handmade gifts that last. They will become family heirlooms that last as long as the Amish culture has. Well, pretty close, anyway.
For many individuals, it’s an innate trait to want to have a family life. In the Amish community, the drive to create a family is felt even more strongly.
Fostering and adoption allow couples who can’t have children to experience the joys of family life. So in a community where the family is revered and held in importance second only to God, no child will ever be without a loving home.
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