Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Isn't Four Enough??

Last week Norman and I decided to add a third child to our adoption.  This required us getting letters of recommendation from a doctor, a teacher, and our home study social worker.  This was the initial response from our pediatrician…Ms. Garcia—
When do you need this letter by?  I can probably write this letter by this week... I do have a question. Why do you want to adopt more children?  Isn't four already much to handle? I can't seem to go beyond two children.  So four plus additional three seems awful much?!?  Just my curiosity before I write this letter...

And here is an excerpt from my response…..

Dr. Xxxxxx—
You ask a very good question, and yes--four children is enough!!  In fact, when we first adopted our little David, he was enough for us and we would have been thrilled and satisfied with only him.  But the fact that there are millions of orphaned children growing up neglected compels us to do all that we can to give homes to as many children as possible.  It's a sacrifice, and it means having our children grow up with less one-on-one attention from us, less team sports and piano lessons, having to share bedrooms, buying clothes from thrift stores, etc.  But I think it's actually a blessing for them to grow up with "less" and to not always be the center of attention.  Plus, the four children we have now are very loving, nurturing children and will be excellent siblings for the boys who are coming into our home.  As long as we have the peace and love of God in our home then we know he will help us through the difficult transition of bringing these children into our family.  

I really do think his question is an excellent one, and one that probably many people wonder but just don’t want to ask.  “Are you collecting children, the way some people collect tea cups or china dolls?”  “Do you have an obsession with orphans?”  “Do you have a need to try to save the world and just don’t know when to stop?”  Sometimes I even ask myself questions, “Are you just trying to make up for the fact that you never had biological children?”  “Are you trying to impress people with how ‘good’ you are or with how well you can handle seven children?”  “Are you trying to win God’s approval by doing more than you can humanly do?”  “Do you just LOVE children and want to surround yourself with as many as possible because they fulfill some emotional need that you have?”

And who knows….there may be a little truth to each of those statements.  There probably is a bit of ‘self’ involved in our decision to adopt.  I can’t honestly say that our request for these three particular boys is self-sacrificing.  I should be honest and admit that when God first dropped it in my heart to adopt again, he did so with a sense of excitement, not a sense of dread.  We were on a 40 day fast in 2008, praying for God to send justice on behalf of the children being abused, being used in sex trafficking, being aborted.  Then I felt in my spirit, loud and clear, “Adopt older children from foster care.”  And I wasn’t like, “Oh, no God!  Please don’t ask me to do that!!”  On the contrary, I was like, “Wow!  What a great idea!  Of course we should be doing this.  Why not?  We are still in our thirties.  All our children are grown.  We have more to offer.”

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  I have always taken this to mean that if you are delighting yourself in him—meaning, he is your joy, your desire is to please him, you long to commune with him—then HE will PUT  desires in your heart—the RIGHT kind of desires.  Or, it could also mean that as you are delighting yourself in him, your natural desires change so profoundly into things that the Lord wants to give you.  These are so different from the natural desires we have when we AREN’T delighting ourselves in him—things that many preachers actually say we should have—like big homes, nice cars, plenty of money and material possessions.  But this is a ‘gospel’ that I have never heard Jesus preach.  Rather, he told us to be poor in spirit, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to store up our treasures in Heaven and not here on earth, to take care of the poor, etc.

So, while I sometimes question my own motives, I am pretty confident that the desire to adopt more children was placed in our hearts by the Lord or because we try to delight ourselves in Him, and not out of some other self-seeking reason.  And I wish I had answered the doctor differently.  I should have said, “No, Dr. Xxxxx…four children is NOT enough.  Because we still have the desire to adopt more, and we try to delight ourselves in the Lord, so we believe that this desire we have is from Him.  And even though it seems extremely difficult to raise seven adopted children between the ages of 4 and 12, it is the LORD who cares for the orphan.  He chose us as one of the many families through whom he will care for them, and he is not going to leave us helpless or in despair.  The children will be blessed—they will learn to delight their hearts in Him and to live in the culture of the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the culture of this present world.  They will rest in the fact that God has adopted us and that we are joint heirs with Christ and seated together in Heavenly places with Christ Jesus.”

Do I have my moments of, “What am I doing?”  Sure!  And I can try to fool myself by saying, “Well, if only more Christian families would be adopting these children, then I wouldn’t NEED to adopt seven children.”  But the fact is that while we are here on the earth, there is always going to be plenty that needs to be done….people are starving, being abused, far from God, etc.  We, as Jesus’ disciples, are called to give up our lives for the sake of the gospel.  In John 9:4 Jesus says, “

As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”  The New Living Translation words it this way: “All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.”  There is an urgency in our hearts for these children.  We pray for the Church to rise up and be a formidable force on behalf of the “least of these.”  And when we get caught up in our natural fears and wonder how on earth we will possibly do it, we need to remind ourselves that “HE is enough!”

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Room For One More

Well, many of you already know that we are in the process of adopting two boys, ages 9 and 12, from Eastern Europe. When Norman and I were deciding which children to request we were in complete confusion!! We had no idea how parents made this life-changing decision! There were SO MANY children we wanted to commit to and we knew we had to narrow it down to two. Our plan was to adopt one little boy, close in age to our 3-year-old son, and one older boy, close in age to our 10-year-old son. But after watching videos of the children, we fell in love with “Chase” and “Max” and decided on no little ones for the time being. Though we were approved for three…..

While we were looking for children, we had found this little five-year-old boy on our agency’s web site. He has a whole host of problems—situs inversus, meaning all of his abdominal organs are on the opposite side of the body than they are supposed to be. But he has a normal positioned heart, which is considered a serious defect (would have been better if the heart was also reversed). He isn’t a candidate for heart surgery, and doctors can’t predict how long he will live. On top of that he has Goldenhar Syndrome—which affects the heart, ears, mouth, nose, and face—he has no auditory canal, severe cleft palate, half of his face is not as developed as the other side, etc.. The first time I read his profile, I got through about half of his medical report before closing out the page, thinking “This little one has way too much going on. Poor guy!”

We were very happy with our decision to adopt “Max” and “Chase” but we kept thinking about adding a little boy to our adoption as well. I think it was July when something made us review “Tyler’s” medical information for the second time, and this time we did our research, contacted a cardiologist, got more information from his orphanage, etc. We wanted to know, “Will he live a long life?” This is all that mattered to us. We knew that we could deal with all of his surgeries and the fact that he cannot yet speak and that he is developmentally delayed. We just wanted to be assured that he wouldn’t die in his childhood or even young adulthood. But with all of the searching and questions, we were never able to get our answer. No one could predict how long he will live with his condition—maybe short, maybe long.

So we (or actually I) put “Tyler” on the backburner. I didn’t think it was a “good idea” for our children—especially “Max” and “Chase” to get attached to a little brother only to have him die. They have had enough loss in their lives…why knowingly put them through more? I started looking into other little boys available for adoption. I even made a poster of all the children we were considering—from three different countries, between the ages of 2 and 6—all with different types of needs….but none who were likely to die.  Little “Tyler” was on our poster but didn’t have a “star” by his picture (those were reserved for the boys we were particularly leaning towards). And I started detaching myself from him, feeling “peace” about our (my) decision not to request him.

Then, this past Sunday we were invited to share our adoption story with a Brazilian church in the Atlanta area. We sang a couple of songs, played our video, and then talked about adoption. But what was really special about the service was the pastor’s preaching. I don’t remember it well enough to re-preach it to you, but the voice I heard through the pastor said this, “God has an anointing for you. If it is something you can do in your own power and strength, then that is NOT your anointing. His anointing can only be accomplished through HIS strength, and it will be something that is evident for others around you to see. You can hide from it and not walk in his anointing if you choose to. But if you move forward and walk in his anointing, God will do great things through your life!”

Then, the next day, during home schooling, our bible reading was about God telling the Israelites to cross into the Promised Land. But the twelve spies (except for Joshua and Caleb) said the people there were too big and strong for them and they were afraid they’d die if they went. Even though God clearly told them to go! They didn’t trust him to give them the supernatural ability to do what he asked of them. So they wasted their lives, wandering in a desert for 40 years. I found myself reiterating to my kids, “If God wants you to do something but you are too afraid and so you say no, you will end up wasting a lot of your life.”

Now, there isn’t a “smack in the face” clear correlation proving that these two biblical studies mean that Norman and I should adopt “Tyler.” But something spoke to my heart to soften me once again towards him. Norman was never afraid of the possibility that he could die young. “Death has no victory! Praise God if he dies and lives with Jesus in Heaven! At least he had a family and wasn’t rejected on earth because of how he looks or because of his disabilities.” I now can say I really agree with him. And what’s more, if he were to die, I know that MY son is waiting for me…..I will see him again in Heaven one day and will have the privilege of being the one woman who can claim to be his mother!

So, to make a long story short, we are requesting a match with “Tyler”. He’s from the same country as “Max” and “Chase” and we should hear in a few weeks whether or not we are approved to adopt him. Our home study and USCIS approve us for three, but whether or not his country’s government will approve us is another story—we leave it in God’s hands. We are praying for him that God supernaturally heals him. That his blood oxygen level would go from 84 to 100. That his heart chambers will work perfectly, even with the awkward positioning of the organs. NOTHING is too difficult for God and we will speak health and life over his little body every day. Our desire for him and for all of our children is that they grow up to know and serve the Lord. That HE becomes their greatest desire and reward. That they know his love and grasp the awe behind the fact that he ADOPTED us and sits us together in heavenly places with Jesus!!

Now, for any of you reading this who have even slightly considered adopting a waiting child, I would like to share with you some of the little boys I just LOVE so much who we really wanted to pick but for some reason God led us to others instead. Maybe God will allow us to help them find families, even if they couldn’t become our sons.

This little love “Brett” is one of the first boys I fell in love with. If he doesn’t find a mom and dad soon, I won’t be surprised if I go to his country and get him as fast as I can.

This little guy “Kurt” was one of the first we looked into also. His needs are very minor and to be honest, we didn’t pursue him because we figured he’d be very easy to match with a family.

Same with this little boy, “Kristopher” He has HIV, which is extremely manageable. To be honest, we were looking for children with more serious needs than he has. Isn’t he cute?

"Ted" is another one with HIV--a very mild special need.  He seems like such a sweet boy!

 This little love, “Ivan” really pulls at my heart. He is so adorable and has a look of determination in his eyes. He needs a lot of therapy and could really thrive with a family.

This gorgeous boy, “Asa” tugs at my heart as well. If we had a house even remotely wheelchair adaptable, I would love to bring him home. And who knows if maybe he is in our future…… But time is running out and he needs a family quickly!!

These are just a handful of precious children who are available for adoption.  There are so many on the Reece's Rainbow site, and from other agencies as well.   I'm not allowed to share many of them here--I'm not even supposed to share the children we are matched with until after we go for our first visit.  After that we'll have lots of pictures up.  I'll keep everyone posted as to whether we get matched with "Tyler" or not.  In the meantime, please believe with us for God to do something really wonderful through his life.  There is something very special about this boy and we know the Lord loves him so much!!  Blessings :)

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