Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The beginning of a story?

I believe we may be started on a journey, though I have no idea how lengthy the journey will be.  Truthfully, I believe we probably started on this journey years ago.  I don't know if God will indeed bring the burden of adoption that is on our hearts to fruition, but I know he is at work and preparing us for something.  The assumption would be that this would end up with us adopting a child in our home, though I will admit we don't have clear direction yet.

We were sitting in a Moody's Founders week in February 2003 and Dennis Rainey was speaking.  I can't quote him exactly, but he talked about how the church has failed in regards to adoption.  He said something like, "we say we are pro life, we encourage women to keep their babies and give them up for adoption, but are we taking them into our homes?  Are we providing for the orphans?"

I have always thought adoption was cool, but thought about it most from the vantage point of those who were unable to have their own children.  I am profoundly pro life.  My heart breaks at the amount of children we have killed due to abortion.  I knew as he was talking I wanted my home to be open, to welcome children who needed parents; I wanted to hold my arms open wide and love the children others were discarding, but who I know are infinitely precious in God's sight.

Thankfully, Marc was also impacted by the message.  At that time we hadn't started our own family.  We ordered some information on adoption and started to accumulate information about the requirements.  For many countries we were still to young and we certainly didn't have the needed funds.  We really felt at that time that we were to have biological children we did.

About a year later I was listening to Christian radio.  There was a debate about whether or not homosexuals should be able to adopt.  It was an informative and interesting debate, but what I walked away from had nothing to do with the issues of homosexuals adopting.  I was very struck by the naysayers who were adamant that this should not occur, yet themselves had never adopted.  They argued about what a family should be; and yet the church itself fails so miserably.  Look at our own divorce rate?  We scream and yell that children should not be placed with homosexual parents and yet we aren't taking children into our families. We yell about what the bible says, but we are ourselves failing miserable to back up our words with lifestyles that reflect God's way.  Sure, we may be married and sleeping with someone of the opposite sex  (which, I do, for the record, believe that is God's plan), but we act like the pharisees Jesus condemned.  We care more about rules and regulations that having our hearts and lives right before God.   We'd rather fight about issues of sexuality than be confronted with the fact that homosexuals are actually living out Jesus' command to care for the orphan better than much of the church.

Since that time, I think I often freak out adoptive parents.  I am sure it is a bit unnerving to have someone gaze at your child with tears in her eyes!  I just can't explain it.  For both Marc and I, our hearts just melt at the sight of these precious little ones.  My eyes tear up as I see them interact with their families and I long to be a part of that. 

I have to admit, I have questioned myself.  Do I just want a cool multiracial family picture?  I'll be honest- I do  LOVE that.  I hate the race segregation in our culture and I long to buck the system and mix it up.  I long to say to the world- I SEE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MY BEAUTIFUL WHITE CHILD AND MY BEAUTIFUL DARK CHILD.  Still it is more than that...I think this is what Jesus wants us to do.  There are children DYING around the world- emotionally even if they survive physically.  Millions of orphans are sold into the sex trade every year...every day.  How must God WEEP that these children he took great care in creating are not being loved and cared for!  How must he weep?

At our church in Chicago, there was a class on adoption a few years ago.  A mom from the church had adopted from China and her heart was burdened to see others do the same.  I learned so much!  I didn't even know a friend of ours, who ended up later being our Pediatrician, had a passion for adoption and is an expert at examining adoption photos and videos sent by foreign countries to prospective parents and preparing those parents for the issues their coming child might have.  I learned about failed adoptions.  I learned about struggles from people who had been adopted.  I saw the beauty of the situation and realized there could also be a lot of pain and yet my heart only beat stronger.  At that church a couple more families adopted, and I was excited that if we went this route, our child WOULD see other multi ethnic families and not feel as if they were "odd".

THEN we moved to Sheboygan 18 months ago.  We chose our church quickly.  We researched before we came, prayed about it, and chose it after one visit.  We didn't want to church hop and though we visited one other church,  felt like God led us to Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church

We have a group of three other couples we call "covenant" friends.  We get together regularly (those of us living in the US anyway;) and we pray and worship...and have fun, of course;)  They are beautiful friends and it just seems God has purpose for our friendship.  One interesting twist in the last couple years is God leading couples towards adoption or fostering.  One couple is waiting on placement, one couple is fostering, one is soon leaving to work with orphans in Bangladesh for couple weeks, and we are starting to pray about God's timing re. adoption.  Coincidence?  absolutely not.  I believe he has purpose in individually leading our hearts but in similar directions.

I was part of starting a mom's group almost a year ago here in Sheboygan.  Out of about 15 moms, two are right now in the process of adoption.  Coincidence?  absolutely not.

Ava's christian school has quite a few adopted kids, but more moving is the large bulletin board they have dedicated to encouraging families to foster and adopt.  Coincidence?  absolutely not.  I believe God led us to a school where our child will feel value and supported!

There are all kind of "little coincidences" and today when I saw another I knew I needed to start writing them down.  I was watching the Veggies Tale story of Saint Nicholas (fabulous for kids, by the way!) and I wanted to check their details as my memory on the story was foggy.  I couldn't locate my book on holidays so I went online.  I first searched for Saint Nicholas and read quite a bit.  Then I realized Thanksgiving is next month and figured I'd browse and start planning.  I went to Noel Piper's site because she has written a great book on celebrating the holidays.  I typed "thanksgiving" in the search box and many stories of her adopted daughter popped up.  I didn't realize she and John had adopted, but I ended up spending 20 minutes reading their adoptive story. I cried, of course. Is it a coincidence that I happened upon it which searching for holiday ideas?  absolutely not.

I believe God is at work.  We are getting together with friends on Friday to talk with them about their adoption journey.  We don't know if the time is now, but we are praying and asking God.  I'll admit I am SCARED!  I find my three kids a handful!  I get tired and sometimes I just want a week or two off to be selfish and carefree;)  Adding another child to the mix is scary.  I'd have to lose more of me.  But I also believe that losing more of me is exactly what God calls me to.  I believe he wants to make me into something more beautiful and self sacrifice is a part of that.  I keep learning to hold life loosely.  I am learning to give up control, to let things go, to enjoy each day and not worry about tomorrow.  Heading into an unknown area is scary.  I was scared having our first child too....and the second...and the third.  It's tempting to keep things "the same" because I "know" this.  But I don't believe life is about being safe and keeping things the same.  I believe I am called to love and serve others and I believe it starts IN MY HOME.

It is scary to write this because, as I said, I don't know when or if God will open the door for us to adopt.  I am sure people will now look at us more closely and wonder on timing.  Here is the thing- we haven't started anything.  Please don't watch us too closely;)  I write because I believe God is weaving a story and I want it recorded...and I believe in being authentic.  The picture is not clear for us...but I believe God has a paint brush in his hand and I am so excited to see what he creates of our lives!

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