I have needed to write this post for a long time. Numerous times I have started blog posts, but always get stuck. I know it is because God has a message for me to write. Even today- I came to write about something else, but it was as if something took over and I was watching myself type those first sentences without really knowing I was. I have struggled with how to write this as I pray it comes across the right way.
Can you hear me on this one point? Please, please, whatever you read here- it is never ever meant to make you feel guilty for not adopting. Please don't compare yourself to our life or anyone else's for that matter. I am responsible to act obediently to what God calls me to do. And so are you. However, that may look similar or very different. One is not better than the other.
If you are a Christ follower, you and I are responsible to care for the least of these. You and I will be held accountable for what we do and do not do for them. And what you read here may cause you to feel tension. Tension is good- it causes us to seek God's face as we work it out in our lives. I have found that tension usually means that God is calling me to act in someway. But tension is not guilt and not comparison. It is finding God's will for you and your family. Okay, with that said, here's my story. (oh and this has been brewing since the moment this occurred- so this is directed at no one in particular- just God's words through me, I pray)
It was day 2 of being in Africa and we were anxious to see the boys again - and see them in the daylight!! They were even more beautiful as we could see their bright eyes and smiles. I did a quick look over- the mom thing to do I guess- making sure there weren't any open sores that needed attention. As I did, I noticed some scars and my heart ached as I wondered who was there to hug them, kiss them and get them a band aid when they got hurt? And quickly I knew that the physical pain was nothing compared to the absence of belonging.
We brought the boys a frisbee and Kadre's eyes just lit up. He was all over that! In an instant, Kadre and Chad started playing frisbee, and Attah and I sat and watched them. We quickly learned (as we had heard) that Kadre has great hand eye coordination and is talented in many sports. Moments into their playing Kadre showed some fancy throwing and I did the sideline mom cheering thing. Because for Pete's sake- they have missed this all their lives and if he could even pick up that frisbee- I was going to cheer him on! But, what arrested my heart was the moment he caught it after a pretty tricky throw and he looked over at me. (okay, now I've got myself crying and need to go grab a kleenex- hang on).
Oh friend, he looked over at me and it was a thousand words in one expression... "Did you see it? Did you see the good job I did? Do you think it was good?... Do you think I am good? Do you think I am good enough? Do you really want me?" There was so much in his face that I could hardly handle it. I was choking back tears and praying for composure. It was as if I was looking at a 4 year old little boy seeking the love of a mommy and a place to belong. I smiled back through my tears and then clapped and cheered probably a little to loudly- but that's what moms do in one way or another. (Now I will say that our boys were treated well and loved by the ladies at the orphanage. But everyone, everyone wants and needs to know that they are special and valued and wanted--and that is what families were designed to do.)
Then later as I watched him, I would catch him watching us and looking at Chad with adoration in his eyes. I have to say, I did not expect this. And--- this was not the response of our other son as he took time to warm up. I also know that life will get tough and what we saw will be deep inside, but will not always be expressed in this way. Or may not ever again. But that's not why I wrote this.
After that moment, I looked around and saw so many older children and my heart broke. And God whispered, "Do you see them? They're beautiful; aren't they? They do have a place to belong- in my heart. But many of them need a physical place. They need a family that chooses to love them and teach them how much greater my love is for them. As you have experienced. Remember this moment, because you will be a voice for them as I call you to be." So here I am today, finally acting in obedience. I know, I'm a bit uh,
Someone out there needs to read this because God is calling you to adopt. Someone is being nudged to consider adopting an older child (they consider this 6 and up) or special needs child but you are afraid. Someone is being prompted to get more involved in orphan care in a hands on way- there are so so many ways.
But I can also tell you that we were afraid to take that step- and at times I am still terrified! Babies are my thing. Girls are my thing- we have 3 and only 1 boy. I grew up with sisters. Do you know what age I am most uncomfortable with? 9-14 The ages of our boys are 8 1/2 and 11! So, I don't say this to you lightly. I don't know all the issues that our boys are coming with. I don't know how to parent them. Goodness, I don't even know how to parent my own children! ha! I don't know how this will affect our family or our other children. I don't know what risks we are putting our family at. And if I dwell on all the don't knows and what ifs, it will paralyze me. Because that is what the enemy wants to do. Paralyze us with fear, so that we won't act. And it works, doesn't it?
But, dear friend, our God knows. And He IS big enough.
What I do know is that there is a great need. I know that we have room. (not just physical space). I know that we have love to give. I know that whatever I do, it should not be in my own strength anyway. I know that God gave the greatest sacrifice for me--for us, for the orphan. And yet, He knew the pain I would cause Him. He knows the pain I will cause Him over and over again. And He still chose to love. Still chose to sacrifice--with His LIFE. And He's calling us to do the same.
Sacrifice is just that. It is not fitting it in to our schedules with a little inconvenience or a bit of missed sleep. It is not fitting it into our budgets. There is no "fitting it in" at all. Sacrifice is being all in. It is laying it down. It is giving things up. It is never comfortable- if it is...it. is. not. sacrifice. It hurts- at times excruciatingly. But it brings peace and freedom just as the cross did. It is obedience and obedience to the One who gave it all is always worth it.
What is that step of obedience for you?
Oh friend, if you are still with me- thank you on behalf of the orphan and goodness sake you get an award for sticking it out- I know this was long! I pray God has touched one heart through this post. Know that I am always up for a mocha or a phone call and would love to hear your story. Thanks for listening to mine.
Be watching for other posts- some fun stuff! I promise they won't all be this long! :)