It’s November 30th . . . I’m not sure how that happened, but here we are staring down the last month of both the year and the decade.
November is National Adoption Month and the month, four years ago, we passed court making our daughter “officially” ours. December is the month we picked her up and brought her home. So it only seems fitting that I use the platform I have to talk a bit about adoption. But I’ve also been sitting with it and really pondering what I want to share because adoption is so near and dear to me that I want to do it effectively.
“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 NIV
I firmly believe in family preservation whenever possible. I wish we lived in a world where adoptions weren’t necessary. Where children weren’t abused, abandoned, or starved. Where families had the resources to care for their children. Yes, I firmly believe in family preservation, but the reality is it’s not always possible or safe. Because of that, I am also a fierce advocate for adoption. I believe in it wholeheartedly. But adoption does not come without brokenness. Before a child is ever placed for adoption something, somewhere in their young life has been broken.
I often hear our daughter was meant for us. I firmly believe that God brought her to us. I firmly believe His hand was very much involved in matching us. But I do not believe that she was created just for us. There are millions of children without homes and families in this world. And the truth is, I don’t believe God created this one precious life . . . caused her to be born so severely prematurely and in such dire conditions that there was no way her biological mother could care for or provide for her . . . forced her to spend almost three years living in an orphanage where she suffered neglect and starvation . . . just so she could be my daughter. Nor do I believe she is lucky to have us. All of these children are so deserving of families. They are all worthy.
What I do believe is that we serve a God who redeems . . . a God who delivers . . . a God who takes what the enemy means for harm and turns it into good. That’s not to say it is easy. Nothing about adoption is easy. Even those who adopt infants will often tell you that there are repercussions they never imagined just from the trauma of being separated from their biological mother. Take an almost three year old out of an institution, where they’ve never experienced normal life on any level, where they have no clue what “family” is, where they learn to go from adult to adult never fully or completely attached to anyone . . . bounce a child back and forth between foster homes and an unstable and abusive home where they never know what tomorrow might bring . . . the heartbreak that comes from that is hard at best and life destroying at worst.
And yet, as I said above, I am a fierce advocate for adoption because I so believe in it. And I believe in it because I’ve lived it. I believe in it because I’ve seen these children face to face. I’ve seen their suffering and the vacancy in their eyes. I’ve walked the halls of a silent orphanage. I’ve seen children starving, and I’ve seen children dying. I don’t believe I can “fix” my child. I don’t believe I need to, but I do believe God can heal her physically, mentally, and emotionally. I believe it’s a lifelong process. It’s a beautiful and sometimes, tragic process. It’s a road we walk daily. A journey I’m honored to be on as I see God transform my daughter, not in a single snap of His fingers, but in moment after moment, day after day of learning to trust and learning to live life in our family.
I never want to present our situation as any more or less than it is. There are those whose journeys have been much more tragic and heartbreaking than our own. There are those whose children seem to come out of horrible situations relatively unscathed given what they’ve lived. I don’t share everything. Not even close because I want to make sure that I protect my precious girl as much as possible. I want to fight for adoptions and family preservation and orphan care, and I want to share our daughter’s story. But I want to be sure I do it without setting my child up as the poster child for any of it. It’s a fine line to walk, and one I’m still learning.
I, also, never want to present myself as some sort of perfect savior. I’m far from it. I often say that I’m an ordinary person called to do extra-ordinary things by an extraordinary God. What I do want is for people to be aware. To be aware that it’s not perfect or easy, but our kids are so worthy. Not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to do something. Maybe, you can support adoptive parents through financial gifts, meals when they’re first home, a listening ear when they’re struggling. Maybe you can foster. Maybe you can provide respite. Maybe you can give to organizations that help these children. Maybe you can adopt.
I’m going to wrap up this, unintentionally, long post by giving you three places, that I trust and believe in deeply, to which you can give financially if you feel so inclined. Next Tuesday is giving Tuesday, and I’m going to ask that you find some way to give back. It doesn’t have to be here. It doesn’t have to be with money. Just find some way to help these children around the world.
All God’s Children International – our adoption agency that also works to prevent families from being torn apart, provides for orphans, prepares those aging out for life outside the institution, places children in homes, and works to change policy in countries throughout the world.
Lost Sparrows – works to stop the flow of children into institutions. To help families care for their children as well as training caregivers to properly care for the kiddos that do come into care.
Trulight 127 Ministries – Trulight is a local ministry that works with foster children in our area. In addition to giving financially, which I know is always welcome, if you live in the Central Texas area there are always opportunities to serve and give in other ways as well.
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