Why we are adopting & Why you should pray about it.

I've been putting off this post for far to long for the simple reason that I'm pretty awful at explaining things. Then the obvious light bulb went off in my head and I asked husband to write it. That man... his English major was no joke. So today Josh is filling in on all things adoption. Thank you sweet man for taking the time to explain things when I can't find the right words to get out what I'm thinking. Prime proof he was meant to be mine.
Katie asked me to write about why we’re adopting. I was more than happy to do so. I pray that this isn’t too long and that you’ll actually read all of it. Not because it explains why we want to adopt, but because it explains why all Christians should prayerfully consider adoption.
I’ve had people ask me, “Why would you adopt when you can have kids of your own?” Unfortunately, there’s not a quick or easy answer to that. So here’s my best shot at explaining it.
The Desire 
            My desire to adopt is completely unnatural. Let me expound on that a little. I didn’t become a Christian until after my senior year of high school. I’d rarely gone to church and had never clearly heard the Gospel before that point. In addition, I never thought about having children at all, much less adopting them. About a year after my conversion, I went to Jamaica on a mission trip. In the morning we did construction and in the afternoon we hosted backyard Bible clubs for children (arts, crafts, songs, skits, and Bible stories). Now it should be noted that the vast majority of Jamaica does not look like a Sandals resort. The poverty there is overwhelming, and the dwellings that many of the people called homes would scarcely qualify for doghouses here. We built a house for one family whose previous home was three wide pieces of tin pressed up against a large tree with cardboard and leaves for a roof.
            I fell in love with the children that came for our Bible club every afternoon. And as a result, my heart broke over the conditions that they lived in and the plight of many of their parents. Unemployment was the norm, drug use was rampant, and many of the children were left to fend for themselves as their parents would go off for days or weeks at a time. Of course this issue isn’t limited to Jamaica. I saw it in varying forms in trips to Zimbabwe and Peru. In each of these countries, at each sign of abuse or neglect or apathy, I found myself wanting to take care of these children, to love them and care for them when it appeared no one else did. Adoption isn’t something that I just decided I wanted to do one day because it seemed cool or trendy. It is a desire that God progressively cultivated in my heart over the last 10 years. In a way, God fostered my heart for adoption before I desired to even have a family. A major part of that cultivation was recognizing the need that existed.

The Need 

            I remember preparing for a speech during my sophomore year of college and being amazed by the fact that a child is orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa every 14 seconds. Every 14 seconds. That sounds so ridiculous that it’s honestly incomprehensible. And it would probably mean a lot less to me if I hadn’t been to schools in the bush and spoken to students whose parents were dying from AIDS, if I hadn’t sat across the hut from a woman who spoke of how the disease had decimated her family. It’s not just a number. It’s a reality. Unfortunately, if we don’t see the results of that reality, it often means little to us.
            While mission trips had kept me keenly aware of the need for orphan care overseas, an upper level course on the topic of “Rural Sociology” helped open my eyes to the issues in my own backyard. We studied and saw the results of unemployment, drug abuse, and domestic violence in communities across the nation. I’ll be the first to say that when I’ve thought about adoption, I always considered international adoption. Domestic adoption was an afterthought to me. But there are thousands of children in America growing up without families. There is no question that the need is tremendous. But ultimately, we aren’t adopting because of our desire or because of the need. We are adopting because of God’s calling.

The Call

            When people have asked me why we’re adopting when we can have “our own,” I have to bite my tongue, because any child we adopt will certainly be a child of “our own.” We will show them the same love that we show our biological son, Canaan. We’ll celebrate all of their birthdays with cake and ice cream. We’ll raise them in the same manner and give them the same opportunities, and they’ll even receive the same discipline. By God’s grace, we’ll show them all grace, and, most importantly, always point them to Jesus. Because they won’t be our adopted children and our biological children. They’ll be our children. To borrow a line from Tony Merida, our quest for adoption is motivated by theology, not biology.
            At the end of the day, Christians should not adopt simply because of the desire or the need. We should adopt because of the calling to care for the orphan and the fatherless. We are not social activists, but ambassadors of the Kingdom, a Kingdom in which no citizen is unloved or unwanted. Aside from marriage, there is no greater cultural illustration of the Gospel than adoption. We were the orphan, and we were not only unloved, but unlovable, mired in the wallow and filth of our own sin. But God saved us, rescuing us not only from our sin, but to his glorious grace and  an eternal inheritance in Christ. The apostle Paul talks about this in Romans 8:
            12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:12-17, ESV)
God had “his own” Son. But out of his abundance of goodness, grace, and love, he still chose to adopt us as his children, to give us a life abundant and eternal that we would never know or experience without him. So Katie and I consider adoption an act of obedience to the call that God has placed on our lives: to pour out goodness, grace, and love on those who may not experience it otherwise, to give them a home and a family they would never have in an orphanage, all for their good and for his glory.
            I certainly recognize that not every Christian is called or equipped to adopt children. But we are all called to care for the orphan. Maybe that means you help others financially and prayerfully in their adoption journey. Maybe it means you should participate in foster care, or sponsor a child through an agency like Compassion, or contribute to a Christian adoption agency like Bethany. But maybe, just maybe, he has called you to adopt. I can’t tell you what God has in store for you. But pray that God would reveal it to you. Recognize the need that exists, pray that God would burden you with a desire to respond, and be obedient to the calling he gives you. That’s precisely why we’re adopting. Won’t you join us?
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation. (Psalm 68:4-5, ESV)


Karen said...

That was beautifully said! I just sponsored my 2nd child through Compassion today right before reading it and I could not agree with you more. I will keep your family in my prayers.

Heather Leigh said...

Wow! This is awesome. Adoption has been a desire of my husband and mine ever since we were teenagers. I'm so looking forward to when the timing comes to past.. I know God already has it planned for us. :)

Kristin said...

Ya'll are absolutely wonderful. I love reading this blog. Kate is just precious and thank you so much for the guest post! I also love little C's gummy pictures! He's a doll!

Paige (The Last Doughnut) said...

This is amazing! I am so happy for you guys! I teach 8th grade in an urban school, and I work with children who have been in the foster care system for 10 or more years. All they want is a safe, consistent environment and someone who loves them unconditionally.

Brittany said...

This is so beautifully said. So happy for you guys and proud of your obedience to God's calling on your life.

Libby Boyes said...

I loved reading your passion and desire to adopt. Being adopted myself, it is something I have always wanted to do for another child. Being open and willing to adopt a child is a blessing and something that I hope more people will do. I look forward to following your story!

marion said...

Amen and AMEN! that's why we are choosing to ado pt Kenny and Kevin. It's simply God's will for us to love and disciple others. Hallelujah!!! Here comes grand baby number 5!!!

BethanyGrig said...

New follower, and this is PERFECTLY written, I just keep re-reading it.

Bravo to you both for having such a servants heart.


Emma said...

this is beautiful, sincerely.

Panna Anna said...

I'm so happy that I found a blog that compares fashion/lifestyle thing with christian values.

I'm single 22y old girl who is thinking about adoption in the future. People are asking "why?" and my only answer is "why not?" cause I have no words to describe my feelings.

Thank you for this post.

Carey King said...

Wow I love reading about people with a real desire to adopt.
I live in South Africa and have traveled through Africa, I also spent some time teaching in a school for street kids in India and fell so inlove with those kids.. I was so greatful that as I was feeling that so was my husband- he just phone me one day while I was away and told me he wanted to adopt- he was adopted by his mothers grandparents didn't know the whole other side of his family, but adoption saved him in many ways! I hope all goes well with ur adoption!! Sorry for the essay of a comment

Brittney Lynn Stasi said...