“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from becoming polluted by the world.”
- James 1:27
“Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me.”
- Matthew 18:5
For several months God has been growing us, teaching us, and leading us down a very unexpected path. Now Daniel, Madeline, and I have an announcement to make:
We are adopting a child from Ethiopia.
We have applied for a boy aged 12 months or younger using America World Adoption Agency, and we expect that in approximately eighteen months, we will be traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to bring home our son.
Adopting a child (and especially a child from Ethiopia!) is not something that I ever imagined us doing. For many years I had thought that maybe someday we would be foster parents. But adoption was nowhere in my future plans. You see, I have learned that this is often how God works. We make plans for our life based on what sounds logical to us. We keep God in mind, of course, but we also give a lot of thought to what seems fulfilling to us. That’s when God steps in and says, “No, my child. Your life is not for your own fulfillment. It is a sacrifice to me. Follow me and I will show you how to have abundant life. I know that this wasn’t what you expected, and it doesn’t make sense to you right now. Trust me. Obey me, and you will never be sorry that you did.”
And so here we are. We believe with all our hearts that God is leading us to do this. We know that we will be faced with many difficulties as a multi-racial family; we know that we will encounter many stares and questions; we are unsure where the money will come from to cover the overwhelming cost of an international adoption. But we know for sure that the Lord will go before us in this. He will provide for us at every stage. He will grow us in ways that we can’t even imagine right now. I believe that and want that with all of my heart.
When Madeline was about two months old, I asked Daniel the question: “If the hospital called and said that they had mistakenly sent us home with the wrong child, would you want to trade Madeline in for the child that was actually ours biologically?” We both realized that, without a doubt, the answer would be no. It was then that adoption first entered our minds. I realized that I do not love Madeline because she has my genes. I love her because I spend day and night with her, investing my all in her and constantly praying for her. That is what makes me her mommy.
Suddenly it seemed that everywhere I turned I was learning more about adoption. I encountered articles about adoption. I met people who had adopted. The speaker of my weekly Bible study shared a touching story of a family who adopted. I began to think about adoption more and more.
I searched the Word for every scripture that I could find about adoption, and I encountered passage after passage in the Old Testament describing the special love and protection that God gives to the fatherless. He commanded his people to provide for them through benevolence and tithes, and he promises judgment if they ever mistreat them. He promises to be a Father to the fatherless, and he makes it clear that it is his will to set the lonely in families. (Psalm 68:5-6) He holds close those that are abandoned by their father and mother. (Psalm 27:10)
It has been my prayer for a long time now to have a heart more like HIS. To love who HE loves and to desire what HE desires. God has a special love for the orphan, and he desires that they be set in families. In what better way can we love those that he loves and be hurt by the injustice that hurts him than to adopt a precious child?
As soon as we said “yes” to God by deciding to adopt, we found that so many things in our lives began to make sense. We have long questioned why we have been given such abundance spiritually, materially, and familial-ly, when so many in the world don’t have the food, shelter, or medical care they need just to survive. We have felt restless, knowing that we were certainly made for more than quietly living out our average American lives of abundance, going to work, going to church, and raising our 2.5 kids. How are we making a difference? We have been reading a lot of eye-opening books lately. In one of them, Red Letters, Tom Davis writes about what he believes would happen in the world if the church began to actually live out the words of Christ (written in red in many Bibles). We want to obey Jesus with all our hearts when he says to go to all the world with the gospel and to feed the hungry and clothe the needy.
And so here we go. Please, please pray for us. We have no idea what we are getting ourselves into. Some days I wake up giddy with excitement, and some days I wake up terrified, wondering if we are making a huge mistake. I realize that in this blog entry I have neatly and tidily written an explanation of what we are doing and why. I don’t want to make it seem like it has been an easy, clear cut decision for us when that is not at all the case. Questions, doubts, and fears have threatened to overwhelm me many times. (I may find the courage to post a personal journal entry sharing the deep struggles of my heart in the future….) What I know is that this decision is going to affect every aspect of our lives. I want it to. I want this to be a time of awakening. A turning point. I want to look back someday and say – yeah, I think that’s when our lives really began, when we woke up and started really living the lives we were called to live, living out the words of Jesus.
Again I ask – pray for us. We need courage, we need wisdom, and we need funds. God will give freely to all who ask.