For years, adoption has been weighty in my heart. I had always thought in the back of my mind how much I would love to adopt. And after struggling for two long years with secondary infertility, I began to truly explore what adoption would look like for our family. We joined an adoption community group at our church full of precious couples that had or were praying about adopting. We were deeply blessed to be part of a church at that time in our lives that was PASSIONATE about adoption. It was the norm for families to be completed through adoption and the faces part of different families often did not match, but were deeply, poignantly beautiful. Our pastor launched a series about adoption right at Easter 3 years ago, deeply challenging and exciting our hearts. One of the many things that stood out to me was him teaching the verse, "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. Somehow, smack in the middle of my favorite book of the Bible, a verse sat that I had never unpacked, studied or mediated upon. I heard it and sat slack-jawed and humbled. It resonated with me moment by moment, week by week for years. Actually still does. How had I missed this?
Now, here we sit, two kids post the fertility struggle and most assuredly finished in terms of bearing biological children. However my heart still begs the question, what does He want me to do with this verse? What does it mean for OUR family? Our pastor here has been teaching on adoption the past several weeks and it has revived a passion, and excitement in my heart for the fatherless. I have had many situations hit me in the face lately regarding families neglecting and/or abusing their children in horrific ways. And our foster care is in crisis. These precious children that are suffering at the hands of the ones they are supposed to be able to trust above any other are now sleeping on cots in office conference rooms. My heart just aches and I beg God to show me what He wants us to do. I, like so many other parents, fear bringing wounds that some of these children bear into our home and exposing my children to horror children should not know. Any child. However, if we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, He was NOTHING, if not messy. I read this post on the blog, Foster Hope Project and it has haunted me since...
"I wonder why, in a country of thousands of churches, of millions of homes with a spare bedroom and an extra car seat, why foster kids sleep on an air mattress in a county office. Why people who label themselves as Christians don’t see the face of Christ himself in the laughter and the tears of these children. Who will YOU see? And what will YOU do about it?"
And truly, my apathy is sickening. Why is it my heart is stirred time and time again and I do nothing? Why is it that I can make a thousand lame excuses and sit on the sidelines? I am so, so tired of doing nothing. Here I am, a mostly stay-at-home Mom. I homeschool. I teach a couple of classes. But mostly, I am home with my babies. Can I minister to the masses at this stage in my life? Sure. But would it be in the best interest of my kids? Absolutely not. I believe so very passionately, there is NO WHERE, I mean NO WHERE else I am called to be right now. I know my children are my single greatest ministry. Their discipleship and coming to Christ means more than anything else. Period. But I also ask, how hard would it be to add another to the mix? I don't work full-time. I don't have a million commitments or activities due to my commitment AT home right now. So what is my excuse?
About 3 weeks ago, I was putting Abby Kate to bed and we had already read, prayed and talked a while. Then she said something that caused me to suck in my breath and for my body to instantly be covered in cold chills...
"Momma, do you know I am going to have a sister someday?"
Me: "No baby. We are finished. God gave you two precious brothers who adore you!"
AK: "No Momma. I am going to have a sister you all will adopt! And I will bring her home and show her our trampoline, and our room, and our toys! (now she is crying) She is going to love it SO much Momma!"
Me: (crying too) "Why are you crying?"
AK: "They are happy tears Momma."
And then I was struck in the stomach again. Breathless. Questioning. And now intensely praying. I was told Monday by a sweet student of mine of her grandchildren she took custody of over the weekend. She picked them up after their Momma left them. Their Daddy tried to kill himself and was in the hospital. And she picked them up and they had no diapers, clothes, blankets, burp rags and...formula. The 5 month old had no formula...and when she asked what she had fed him, the Mom said, "Just put some kool-aid in a bottle. He will be fine." And I just wept. So many children suffering. Hungry. Wet. Untouched. Unloved. Neglected.
I am tired of doing nothing...
Come and Get It! by Ree
5 hours ago