Saturday, November 7, 2009

Adoption, Orphans, and Trusting God

Did you know that approximately 33% of Americans have seriously considered adopting, but only 2% actually follow through? I have found this to carry some truth even within my own personal friendships. Ever since we started the process of adopting our daughter, I have had a number of friends from different walks of life tell me that they have either considered adopting in the past, or are considering adopting in the future. However, the number of people we know (outside of those we met through our adoption process) who have actually, or are actually in the process of adopting, is quite small. I can count them on one hand. Many people I know who considered adopting in the past, but decided against it, can give a long list of reasons as to why they made that decision (not enough money, not enough space, not enough time, etc). In some cases, it is obvious that the Lord led them to make the decision they did. After all, we are not all called to adopt a child. In other cases, it is more obvious that the decision was ultimately made out of fear or a disbelief in God's ability to provide (not just referring to financial provision, but in some cases even emotional provision).

I can tell you from experience, there are so many reasons to have fear in the adoption process.
There are so many reasons NOT to do it. But if you are considering adoption, the questions must be:
1. Is God calling you to this?
2. And if so, do you truly believe he will provide everything that you need? ("Everything" might include: finances, time, space, love, courage, wisdom, faith, endurance, patience, perseverance... and the list could go on and on)

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:25-26

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

The adoption process can be big & scary, and seemingly insurmountable at times (ie - how will we raise all that money? - typically the most common question), but God is BIGGER. He can make a way for you, the same way He did for us. We are not rich people. We did not adopt out of "charity" to "save" a child. We did not adopt to be like Hollywood movie stars. We adopted because we wanted to grow our family, and felt the Lord calling us to open our hearts and our lives to a child already in need of a family. Why reproduce ourselves again, when there are so many children around the world just waiting for mommies and daddies to love them? :)

We began to feel very deeply God's burden for orphaned and vulnerable children. The Old Testament contains more than 40 scriptures that show God's concern and compassion for orphans. God's people then and God's people now must care for this disenfranchised and neglected segment of society. Adoption is the most loving and permanent way to care for these little ones. Psalm 68:5-6a says about God, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families..." (Christian Advocates for Adoption).

Not every person is called to adopt a child. However, I do believe the Bible is very clear that every Christian is called to care for orphans in some way or another. This may be through adoption, foster care, sponsoring a child, volunteering at a children's home, providing baby-sitting for adoptive parents or foster parents, praying daily for a specific child living in an orphanage or in the foster system, giving financially to families who are adopting or agencies that help orphaned children. Honestly, there are so many ways to help care for the orphan. The question isn't IF we are called, it's WHAT are we going to do since we are ALL called?

“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 being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

Tomorrow, November 8th, is "Orphan Sunday" sponsored by the Christian Alliance for Orphans. All around the world, churches will be taking part in this event at the local level by creating awareness in their congregations in regards to the plight of the orphan. Please pray for this day - pray that many Christians would feel the call to take a stand and "defend the cause of the fatherless." (Isaiah 1:17). If you are interested in learning about ways to get involved in praying for or caring for orphans - please take a look at this website. Lots of great information and great ideas! I personally love the "40 Days of Prayer for Orphans" listed under "Prayer Guides."

Time and time again throughout our adoption journey, we would find ourselves at an impass. There were times that we broke down and cried. There were times that we asked God why He would have us start a process, that we would never have the money to complete. There were times we questioned our decision, or even had to face loved ones who questioned our decision. There were times that we wondered if we could love an adopted child as much as a biological child. There were times that we wondered if were really willing to take a risk and trust God completely. There were times we wondered if we had enough faith. Did we just imagine that God called us to do this?

In every situation, and every circumstance, God reminded us that He was there. He reminded us that He loves each and every one of His children and has a plan for all of them. He provided ways when there were no ways. No joke people, let me speak to finances for a moment... If finances are holding you back, I would encourage you to step out in faith and prepare yourself to be amazed at the ways God will provide. For us, it was in ways and through people that we least expected. Honestly, I believe at the same time God calls YOU to adopt, He is calling another person in your life to help fund your adoption. I truly do. In our case, God brought some "financial angels" who would honestly tell you what a blessing it was for them to play such a significant role in bringing home our daughter. One such angel stepped out in faith to help us in an incredible way. She said, "This money is not mine, it's Gods. It belongs to Him. I am just taking care of it for Him." A short time after she gave to us, an IRS mistake in her taxes gave back to her the exact same amount she had given to help fund our adoption. It's no wonder God wants her to be a caretaker of that money :) Praise God! I tell you that one story, but honestly, there were MANY stories just like that throughout our entire process. Time after time, God proved Himself faithful. Time after time, He made a way where there was no way.

My prayer is that those who are in the "considering" phase, might continue to pursue the Lord fervently in prayer to see where He may continue to lead them in this journey. It brings my heart great joy to know that our adoption story has encouraged others in their own paths toward adoption, and I pray that as our journey continues on, we might continue to impact others in the same manner. Even if you are not called to adopt, I encourage you to ask the Lord to burden your heart for orphaned children, in the same way that His heart is burdened. Ask Him what role you can play in caring for orphans. While it's true there are 143 million orphaned children in the world, do not fall into the trap of believing that you can't make a difference. Have you ever heard the Starfish Story? Just think about the ONE, and know that God will take what you have to offer and multiply it in ways you could never have imagined.

"This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. ...Take your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. ...Go out and face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you." 2 Chronicles 20:15,17

7 comments:

  1. Thank you. You encompassed my feelings of our own adoption journey into words. It is an amazing journey and one that I am happy to be on regardless of the difficulties.

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  2. Great post Bethany.... Such wisdom and great insight. Loved it.

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  3. Yeah Bethany! What a great post! I agree and couldn't have said it better myself (literally). So thanks for doing it for me!

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  4. Hi, I am a friend of Julie Mitchells and found your blog through hers. I really loved your views and words about adoption! We adopted our daughter through foster care and are currently getting certified to adopt again through the county we live in now. We have had such a positive experience and have seen God work in amazing ways to build our family. I wanted to wish you many blessings as you enjoy your God-made family. Jamie

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  5. I am book marking this post. It will used on the hard, asking for patience and acceptance of His will days. Praise the Lord for it. We are just beginning our journey to adopt from Ethiopia.

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