Over the past few days and weeks I have heard over and over from people something like, "I think that it is wonderful what you and your family are doing. I would love to adopt but I could never do what you have done." They then continue to share with me how they do not have enough patience, money or whatever the excuse is and each time I bite my tongue because I am never sure what I might say in reaction to these words that have been spoken to me- I have decided to just smile and pull myself together until I could sit and write this blog.So here is my response with tear filled eyes......
First of all, I am not all that wonderful, I am just a mom and wife trying to lean into and live out what God has called me to. I, like all of those who have spoken these words to me, could have a long list of excuses to not be all that He has called me to be. Believe me in many areas of my life I give those excuses to Him- whether it is the fear of the unknown, the sacrifice that will be what I consider more than I want to sacrifice, or the stubbornness in my heart. I moment by moment have to make choices to completely follow Him and what He is calling me to. If there is any good in me or in my actions they are not of me they are of Him.
I am a very ordinary person who grew up living a very ordinary life. Earlier in life I had my life all mapped out. David would be a pastor and we would have a few (very few) children- I would be at home and raise my children to be what He created them to be (as long as it didn't become uncomfortable) and we would always be secure, comfortable and have every need and most of our wants covered. This ordinary life came to a halt about six years ago as I stood in an orphanage in the middle of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As I stood there I literally felt my heart break as I held a small HIV positive baby and glanced around the room where toddlers and children of all ages were playing around me. I left that small room changed in a way that I never could have imagined.
My heart ached for days, weeks, months and years as I gave God excuse after excuse. God, you have blessed us with four children- remember the average family in America has only 2 kids. God, you know that David is a pastor and we have very limited money- Children are expensive. God, I am not sure I could love an adopted child as much as I love my biological ones- You know I carried them for 9 months and have lived with them for years. God, our biological children will have to give up so much- You know there is only so much of me and I may not have enough love to go around. God, what if an adopted kids ruins our family life- You know orphaned kids have many relational issues because of what they have experienced. The list went on and on and honestly I would never even share some of the very dark, scary excuses that I gave because I can't bring myself to even type them.
That day standing in that small, dark room God was urging me to stand up for the least of these. He rocked my world and I was not ready or willing for my secure, planned out, perfect world to be rocked. I was not ready for messy, scary, faith filled dependence on Him. I wanted to cling to my world so that I could be like everyone else while pretending to follow Him. I have never enjoyed being in the spotlight and I would much rather blend in than be different and so for far to long I played the game of being what I saw around me in my Christian world.
A few years later David had a night that completely changed his life and our world. He found himself in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia sleeping on the street with a group of street kids. In the same city that God had tried to grab my attention He was changing the heart of my husband. I am so thankful that when God changes David's heart he allows the change to turn into action. When David returned from that trip he shared with me that it was time for us to step up and be Jesus. It was time for us to open our hearts, home and our family to the least of these.
I agreed and we set out to add to our family by adopting a young boy around our youngest daughters age. I am so thankful that God didn't let me know in those first few days that this precious boy would have a twin sister or a best friend. Only God knew that then- He knew that in my humanity I would never have been able to handle the journey that He was placing me on. It makes me sad to think that I had such little faith that if He would have shared His entire plan I probably would have said no.
So for all of you who have spoken words to me of "I wish I could but......" I urge you to put down your excuses. Just a few short years ago I was there with a long list of excuses much like yours. You have heard me say before that I do not think that adoption is for everyone, yet I do know that millions of children are alone in our world today. I know that this is not how God wants it to be and we His church are called to be His hands and feet. We are failing when it comes to orphan care- It is time for the church to be the church. Is it comfortable? No, but being comfortable isn't really all that comfortable if you open your eyes to the needs around you. Is it easy? No, but the blessings and joy that God gives are beyond what you could imagine on this side of stepping in.