March 28, 2012

Why We Want to Adopt - Part 2

 And now, for the rest of the story...

Fast forward several years - Jon and I are married. One of the things I loved about his family from the very beginning is that they accept everyone. And everyone is welcome in their home. At any time. For however long you need. Their door is literally always open. Jon's parents live in a small town, come from larger families, and know pretty much everyone in the area, making a steady stream of company almost inevitable. That included me, as a newcomer to the family, and I felt at home with them from day 1.

My family also had a similar open-door policy, but living way out in the country wasn't quite as conducive to frequent visitors. So after we got married, I really wanted to create a household where people were welcome. It's worked pretty well so far. We've been able to provide a "home away from home" for several college students, and our current resident, Madie. We've also been blessed to have all three of my brothers attend SDSU and have them frequently "pop in" right around meal times. We love it when people stop in for no reason, and I've even been able to 'lighten-up' enough that I don't mind at all when my house is complete disaster.

Although we hadn't officially discussed adoption after we got married, it was definitely in the back of my mind. At that point, Jon had never given it a thought. Eleven months into our first year, we had our first child. And of course, that changes things in a HUGE way. Suddenly the world isn't all about you anymore, or about you at all. A few months later, we were sitting together at church; I was holding our sleeping son. One of our friends had recently returned from a mission trip and gave a brief summary of how they'd served and what they'd learned. She mentioned several service projects that filled up the first several days. But the day before they came home they did something different. The words are almost burned into my memory. She said "we spent the whole day at the orphanage, and all we did was hold and hug the children, because there are so many children and so few staff, that most of them never get touched."

I think my heart broke a little bit that day. Here I was holding my sleeping child, all bundled up in fancy new clothes and blankets hand-made with love by people who cared about my son. And on the other side of the world, there was a baby just like mine, who didn't even have access to one of the most basic needs: human touch. The thought just pierced me.

In my many years as a Christian, there are few occasions when I've heard God speak to me loud and clear. But that day was one. He said, "Someday, I want you to hold one of those children." And I know he was preparing me in advance for that moment, because I felt no hesitation at all and in my mind answered back, "yes Lord, I can do that."

We didn't have much time to think about adoption the next couple years, because our own children came so quickly and unexpectedly that we barely had our time to catch our breath in between. But somewhere in there, we had brief conversations about it and Jon became very open to the idea. After our third child, we became serious about pursuing adoption and began researching. I mentioned (in THIS post) that I'd always felt God leading us toward China. It was often in ways that I couldn't be sure whether it was God or coincidence. But looking back on all the coincidences as a whole, I can see God's hand. Often, when I was aching about how to choose a country, I'd spend a few minutes praying about it, then open up a magazine and see an article about Chinese adoption. Once, immediately after praying about it, I stood up to see a small Asian girl walking by my house and looking at me as I stood by the window. After many, many similar instances, the pattern seemed obvious.

James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

I spent some time studying that verse to see if there was any meaning that I was missing, or more clear description of what it meant to "look after" orphans. But it means exactly as it says...look after them, care for them, reach out to them, love them.

I love the Message version (26-27): Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

Yes Lord, I can do that.


  1. Love this! I appreciate hearing how God has laid things on your heart, spoke to you and how acting on what he says, is not only blessing you but others by sharing your story! After reading this post and the verse from Graced based parenting - Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 'Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling' Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4. God is really working on my heart on being open to opening our doors to others and helping me get over everything needing to be clean. I am not sure where being open is going to lead us but i am sure God has great things in store!

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Stacie. Those are great verses. We should chat about this sometime....several years ago I was dealing with the same thing. "Everything being clean" becomes harder and harder with each additional child :) I've come a long way, but still have a long way to go!