^^Meet our crazy train^^
November is National Adoption Month.
In preparation for an entire month focused on orphan awareness and care, I have been praying, collecting my thoughts, and pondering how to open up a discussion on what has become a heated and contentious issue in the Christian community. Namely, adoption. I am, obviously, a huge advocate for orphans being embraced and nurtured in forever families. But, there is more to the story.
I am an adoption advocate, yes! More than that, however, I am an advocate for justice. I do not believe, nor have I ever, that our family was God’s “Plan A” for three of our children. While they were certainly our Plan A, it would be arrogant, assuming, and unjust for me to assume God wanted their birth families to suffer greatly and endure loss upon loss…including death…for us to become their family. Rather, the God to whom I belong calls for humility, mercy, and justice.
Adoption is a starting point, but my prayer is that it is never an ending point.
With adoption and orphan care getting so much attention in Christian communities, I am fearful that the conversation has gotten a bit off track. Christians are indeed called to care for the orphan and widow. Christians are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and look out for those who have no one to look out for them. Yes! Yet, when things start to become sensationalized and herd mentality develops, I always become a little leery.
There is not a drive through fix to the orphan crisis in the world. There is not a drive through fix for poverty and the host of other ailments and casualties that poverty gives birth to. The problem is complex, as is the solution. Adoption is just one part. A necessary part, in my opinion, but my hope is that we all remember that there is way more to the story that matching Child A with Family A. In order for that match to be necessitated, much brokenness preceded.
If we forget that brokenness is a precedent to adoption, we will probably have a difficult time dealing with the VERY hard work that God requires of us on the flip side of “the wait.” Simply welcoming a child into a home does not equal immediate healing. Rather, it is on this healing journey, where we enter into and shoulder our child’s brokenness, that God welcomes us to explore his love more fully and participate not only in a child’s redemption, but in our own redemption as well.
It is hard, friends. Very, VERY hard. Harder than I ever imagined. Like, our marriage and home nearly imploded hard. Better than that, though, is the joy. The peace. The affirmation from God that we are not alone. The realization that our family is playing a small part in working for justice by raising awareness to the underlying causes. The reassurance that regardless of how difficult any current situation may be, we wouldn’t change a thing, this side of the process. I feel an amazing confidence when I look over my shoulder and see the God-sized changes and growth that have occurred in our lives, our home, and our relationships. Even when we yearn for the simplicity of “what could have been,” we know that there is no amount of money, no easy living, no position or title in the world that could change those three “yeses” that continue to shape God’s purpose in each of our lives.
So, if you are considering adoption, if God has placed adoption on your heart, I invite you to explore that calling. It it indeed a calling. And as with all callings, one must rely on God to supply every need. It is a life-changing, earth-shattering, eye-opening, tear and joy-filled experience. You won’t regret it.
Please remember, however, that adoption does not equate to justice. What pursuing justice looks like may differ in each family. Is your child an AIDS orphan? Has your child been trafficked? Has your child experienced abuse or neglect due to poverty? Was your child been born of an addict? The particular adoption situation that God calls you to may very well be a glaring clue that points to the justice issue God also desires you to champion.
With that being said, the need for adoptive families is immense. Here are some facts and ideas to consider:
- In the US alone, there are over 100,000 children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted. That is 100,000 Davion Only’s. While all may not have the courage or ability to articulate the desire of their heart, you can be assured that all children desire to be loved, to be claimed, to realize their worth and dignity as human beings. Are you that family?
- Over 90% of unborn babies with down syndrome are aborted. Do you have a call to champion the life of an unborn special child?
- Adopting an infant is not always easier than adopting an older child. Older children, who have previoulsy established a healthy bond to a primary caregiver, can often articulate their feelings and needs better than an infant or toddler. Personally, our two older child adoptions have been much easier than was the adoption of our eighteen month old daughter, who obviosly suffered severe trauma, yet was unable to express what happened.
- The home study process is not as invasive as one might think. There was no white glove inspection or walking from room to room ensuring each and every outlet cover was properly installed. We have actually become great friends with our social worker as see her as an advocate for our family.
- Having an open adoption, if possible, actually fosters healing and forward progress. While open adoptions are championed in the domestic realm, they are often prohibitive in international adoptions. We have been blessed to remain in contact with Big Sister’s birth family and have witnessed her grow and prosper, knowing that the door to her first family will always remain open. Are there boundaries? Absolutely! Will I ever take away her ability to communicate with her birth relatives? Absolutely not. I only wish this were an option for all of our children.
Finally and most importantly, adopting a child gives us a small glimpse of the love God, our adoptive Father, has for each of us. This is, in my opinion, the hands-down best gift we all receive when choosing to say “yes” to adoption. Through learning to love and give selflessly, and welcoming and embracing God’s children into our most intimate relationships…our family…God really does step in a perform miracles. We have witnessed miracle after miracle, as God has been so involved with the intimate details of our lives, that without a doubt we can see His hand at work, growing and building each of us into the people He designed us to be. From the ESOL teachers to the soccer coaches to the neighbors to the friends to our Christian brothers and sisters, God has lined up exactly what we needed at exactly the right time. Let me assure you, my Type A, control freak nature doesn’t hold a candle to the works God has done. BUT, in order for God to get to work, we had to first say, “yes!”
Are you being called to adopt? To say “yes” to growing your family and your faith through adoption?
What are you biggest questions and concerns? What will it take for you to say “yes” to this life-giving, live-changing experience?