Friday, August 27, 2010

He Takes Away

After my last post, I was feeling a bit silly for complaining about some pretty petty obstacles being tossed our direction.  I knew those minor challenges were part of a bigger plan to derail our obedience, though, so I wanted to call a spade a spade.  This week, I feel less petty about calling foul.  

Generally speaking, ours is not a family of planners.  I used to be one myself, but my control gene was silenced over years of marriage and then stomped to death once I became a mom.  It doesn't happen to everyone; that's just my story.  

The events of the past week have reminded me how much I still cling to my plans.  We're still experiencing trials here, as we were last week.  But this week, it's been turned up a notch.  

You see, very shortly after we began our adoption process, we found out that I was pregnant.  With a very long awaited, very wanted, very prayed for baby.  Having lost our baby just four months earlier with a first-trimester miscarriage, my excitement was tempered.  There was no excited announcement to everyone including the lady checking us out at Wal-Mart.  This fallen world had stolen some of my joy in this happy turn of events.  

I was blessed beyond my wildest imagination, and no one knew.  Not only that, but finding out that I was pregnant just after paying our adoption application fee left me feeling conflicted, and feeling guilty for feeling conflicted.  It added a whole new layer of fear also.  Fear of what people would think of our family.  Fear that we would not find the financial support we need to adopt, because people would assume that we didn't need the money or shouldn't be adopting anyway if we were having another child on our own.  Fear that the prevailing world view about children as a luxury as opposed to a blessing would affect how our family was perceived and whether we would raise the support we need.  

This is my confession.  My fear betrayed some idols I was worshiping:  a healthy pregnancy, the health of my children, the blessing of more children, avoiding heartache, and what people think.  I've read that Satan dances when God's people fear things other than God.  I practically threw him a party.  

This past Sunday night, after we sent off the last of our small group, one of my idols failed me.  This was not a healthy pregnancy.  And this week, we have lost our fifth child.  Since the wound is still open, the reality that two fifths of my children are awaiting me in heaven has yet to sink in.  I expect I'll write more on that another time.  

So how is this relevant to our adoption?  Well, in several ways.  But today, I've been thinking about the mother whose child will be mine, assuming she is alive to make the gut wrenching, selfless decision to give up her baby.  She too will lose her child for reasons outside of her control.  Her heart will break.  And she will wonder what she has missed out on.  

We've been praying for months for our new daughter and sister.  But we must pray for her family as well.  That they would receive comfort in knowing that their child is going to a place where she will be loved and cared for, and where she might know the hope that we know.  I realize I will be reunited with my lost children, and that I will have the rest of eternity to know them.  I know that this separation is painful but temporary and that they are safe.  

But that mother's separation may not be temporary.  I must pray that both my adopted child and her biological family would come to know my Lord and Savior, that they will hear and believe the Truth.  I must plead that the pain of separation they know in this world will likewise be temporary, and that we will have an eternity to marvel at the amazing plan that unfolded in our lives to bring us back together.  


Friday, August 20, 2010

We Were Warned

In all my research on adoption, I did not overlook the warnings about spiritual warfare. I read that our A/C would DIE, that our finances would be stretched in ways previously not thought possible, that our patience with one another would wane, that my kids would act up causing me to wonder whether I have it in me to parent another day, much less another child. Check, check, check and check. All in the last 48 hours.

Camping out in my own house the last two nights, windows open allowing in the sounds of the night along with its heat and humidity, minus the hum of our A/C, has given me time to think and pray.  We knew to expect trials on our long path to adoption.  We knew that our enemy who hates adoption also destroys, lies, and takes no prisoners.  We have no doubt that we are under attack.  But in Curt's words, "bring it on."  I'm not that bold, but I do know that our Champion can handle it and will claim victory for us.  He is faithful, and He is powerful.

I know that God has always provided for us more than we need.  He has always healed any rift in our marriage.  His grace to me as a mother increases daily, so that what I could not handle yesterday, He empowers me to manage today.  Though He did not have to, He has proven Himself faithful and trustworthy to our family over and over again.

I also know that we are not adopting because we want one more child or because we don't want to take a chance on having another boy.  We are adopting, because we ourselves are adopted by our Heavenly Father.  He has called us as His children to care for orphans and has called our particular family to adopt a child with no family to be a permanent part of ours.  We adopt, because He has given us joy in obedience.

If you've read Russell Moore's Adopted for Life, then these words will be familiar:
The protection of children isn’t charity.  It isn’t part of a political program fitting somewhere between tax cuts and gun rights or between carbon emission caps and a national service corps.   It’s spiritual warfare. (65)

So we cling to our Father's promises, and we pray for protection and perseverance.  Our obedience is required.  Our joy and our good are promised.  Our comfort is not guaranteed, but our refinement and His glory are certain.  And this is why in the midst of discouragement, it is well with my soul.


Friday, August 13, 2010

How We Got Here

When we read a new story, background is helpful.  So realize it might help to share a little back story on how we arrived at the decision to adopt a child into our family.

I do not remember a time when I did not want to be a wife and mother.  In addition to the desire to be a wife and mom, the Lord also put on my heart as a child to adopt.  Witnessing children begging in the streets of Nairobi, Kenya during my time there between high school and college cemented into my mind the reality of the suffering of the fatherless, and my heart broke for Africa in a way only the Lord could make it.  

In our pre-marriage days, I recall our talks about adoption as something that is good and that we'll talk about later.  In our married pre-children days, I recall researching adoption and realizing that we either hadn't been married long enough or didn't have the money.  

Law school and kids kept me too busy for several years to consider adoption much.  After our third child was born in 2008, I dove a little deeper into the research.  Within months of losing our fourth child earlier this year, the Lord had heavily burdened my heart that our family should begin the adoption process.  But my discerning husband was not convinced.  

The encouragement I found from other families through their blogs played a large role in convincing us that we could adopt.  I prepared my arguments for Curt by sharing link after link and video after video.  The more information he had, the more clearly he saw how we could heed God's call to care for orphans through adoption.  

I prayed relentlessly not only for the children that God would bring to our home but for God to lay on Curt's heart what He had placed on mine.  I rejoiced in thinking of the day when Curt would go from being invited on board to captaining the ship.  And then it happened.  One day several months ago, not long before we witnessed the official move of our local church fellowship into orphan care, Curt said, "let's do it."  And we haven't looked back.

Now, Curt was no stranger to orphan care.  When we met, he worked in a children's home primarily for children in the foster care system.  And since the loss of his brother just 8 moths ago, I have witnessed him become a father figure to our nephew, caring for him physically and spiritually.  My husband knows what it is to be fatherless.  And I am grateful that even through painful circumstances, our Father was preparing both of us for this decision.  

If you are burdened to care for orphans (and if you are a Believer, you are burdened), then I want to encourage you to prayerfully seek how our Father would have you obey that call.  And I want to encourage you to act.  Not every family is called to adopt, but we are all called to care for orphans.  You may have time to spend supporting a family in your church who is or has adopted by volunteering to babysit.  You may have money to support an orphan care ministry or a family struggling to raise the funds to ransom their child.  You most certainly can pray.  

If you are called, know that our Father will provide a way for you to obey.  And if you've listened to our pastor for any amount of time, you know that God's Plan A for obeying His commands is through His people.  We are grateful and humbled (if somewhat uncomfortable) to come before His people for help in heeding this call on our family.  But as I keep saying, there's nothing I would not do for one of my children.  And my discomfort in exposing our family's personal decision and asking for support is not worthy to be compared with the blessing of ransoming our baby girl or encouraging others to care for the least of these, much less the glory yet to be revealed in us.  

Our long-term goal is not to afford an adoption.  Our dream is far grander and far more daunting:  to raise our children for His glory, that we might see them in heaven and that they might be effective witnesses until then, to confidently send them out into the world with hearts full of the Word and heavy for the nations.  

Thank YOU for being part of our story.