I am passionate about adoption.
I have five beautiful brown babies who look absolutely nothing like me on the outside but are a part of me nonetheless. Adoption is miraculous. It is a beautiful picture of God's heart.
I want you to see what I have seen, to try to help you feel what I have felt. But before I do, I want to say something that irks many people in the adoptive community. It used to irk me.
Adoption is not for everyone.
Not every Christian is called to adopt.
Not every orphaned child should be adopted.
My heart hurt as I typed the words above, because it is truly my heart's desire that every child be given the opportunity to grow up in the joyful surrounding of a loving family. I would love nothing more than to know that every orphanage in the world has closed it's doors due to lack of need. And I would be thrilled to see every single person I know come face-to-face with a child who is suddenly their own in every way that matters.
But that is not reality. I hate that, but I know it is true.
Not every orphan can be adopted. Most countries do not allow international adoption. Children are relinquished to orphanages and that is where they will grow up because domestic adoption in third-world countries is extremely rare either due to poverty or cultural stigma.. Those not "lucky" enough to walk through the doors of a well-run orphanage will grow up on the streets and likely be one of the many statistics that could keep us awake at night. Enslaved, trafficked, abused, starved, murdered...
But beyond that, I realize that some kids just don't handle being adopted well. Some kids thrive in a loving orphanage environment, or at least somehow manage to survive in their home country, and grow up to beat the odds. Some kids come to know Jesus more intimately than I ever will because He met them in their lowest and most painful moments. Some kids have been through so much hurt and trauma that another huge event, such as being taken from their culture and language and immersed in a new one, is too much and they break. They refuse to attach. They suffer and those who try to love and help them heal suffer.
Some kids will grow up in a single parent home, though we may believe that is not God's first choice for them, and some of them will overcome the adversity that brings. Some will hurt and suffer, and others will bring purpose to the young women who, before the unplanned pregnancy interrupted her life, had none. God will use them and their circumstances, their broken state, to bring about His purposes and His long-term vision for this world.
Of course, there are countless other scenarios...some that I cannot bear to put in print. But I have to stress that I believe in the sovereignty of God even when life is cruel and appears senseless. I do believe that what Satan meant for evil, God means for good even if I never live to see that good. (Genesis 50:20) I believe that there are possibly millions of families that He has called to adopt who ignore that calling. I believe that too many Christians, and therefore too many children, have missed out on the opportunity that God has given them because they are afraid. I believe this grieves the heart of God, because He so greatly wants to bless us through our obedience.
I do not pretend to understand all the ways He is working, but I do want to share how He has worked in my life...what He has revealed to me through the adoptions that have enabled me to be a mother and shaped me as a daughter of the King.
I have five incredible and God-filled adoption stories to tell. God has orchestrated the details of every one, and Satan has tried to ruin them. God loves adoption. It was His idea in the first place. Satan hates everything about adoption and fights it hard. I have told many people that adoption is one of the toughest spiritual battles you will ever fight, and I mean it. The spiritual warfare surrounding adoption is utterly exhausting.
I believe it is an honor to be called to adopt. It changes everything for everyone involved. It opens our eyes to the Father's love in ways that we may have never seen otherwise. It is hard and beautiful and complicated and redemptive all wrapped up and topped with grace.
Adoption can be extremely difficult, especially when bringing home an older child. It should never be entered into lightly, or with eyes blinded to the hard reality of what can lie ahead. Do your research. Don't read the books and think "that could never happen to us." Read them with your eyes wide open. Realize that you are not equipped to bring healing to the heart of a hurt child without the power of the Holy Spirit. As I mentioned above, some children just will not attach and families can be irreversibly traumatized by what they thought would be a beautiful act of compassion. Adoption must never be entered into unless God has called you, because you will need to know that you know that you know this was His plan...His will...when things are hard.
When your child rejects your love, you must draw upon His calling. When your child is screaming and can't tell you why, you must draw upon His calling. When your child wants to go back, wants what they had before even though what they had might have meant certain death, you must draw upon His calling. When you are on your knees in desperation because you are convinced that you have blown it, that you are unable to help this child because you just don't have any strength or patience left, you must draw upon His calling.
But remember the beautiful side of this journey as well! When your little one looks into your eyes, whispering "Mom, I love to cuddle with you," you will be thankful, so thankful, to be given the privilege of watching a broken heart heal and of running this long race called motherhood. When your child giggles uncontrollably with their siblings, easily trading smiles and hugs, you will swell with pride at this family He built and this calling He put upon your life to mimic His heart here on earth...His heart of adoption.
Yes, I have learned not to "push" adoption. I have learned that God does the nudging, and I am more than happy to be available to answer questions and talk honestly about the adoption process and what life looks like after the celebrations have passed and the day-to-day sets in. If you are feeling the call of God to adopt, or even if you are not exactly sure what you are feeling, please feel free to contact me. In the meantime, I invite you to read this and realize the fullness of what it means to be adopted into the family of God.
May God bless you as you pursue Him. May He give us all the strength to live lives that are truly set apart for Him in every way. May we model the life of Jesus and draw others to the Throne of Grace by our relentless love for the things of God!