A Somali friend of mine gave Noah the nickname "Lucky". She said she's going to call him that because he's so lucky he got to come to America. I told her I'm the lucky one. While this seems like a cliche response, it's true. I'm certain my heart has changed as much as Noah's future. I thought that once we got to where we are....Noah home, most of the paperwork complete....my heart would be content. I would sigh with relief. Content literally means satisfied with what one is or has, not wanting more. The "problem" is I. Want. More. More financial burden, more grief in the process, more waiting, more adjusting, more ex-orphans, more fatherless no more, more precious sons and daughters. I. Want. Less. Less stuff, less "me" time, less quiet, less sleep, less convenience. And I'm praying hearts all across the nation, including yours, will be changed to feel the same.
I'm often told by Christians, "I think that's so great you all did that. I just don't really feel called to do that." It's sort of like missions. Everyone is so glad someone else is doing it, they can feel good about it being done without actually doing any of the hard part themselves.
When I was in the market in Ethiopia, telling the street boys I don't need any more gum, it was pointed out to me that this would likely have been Noah's unadopted future if he had survived to see his 5th birthday. A hungry street boy selling gum and toothbrushes to make it through another day. Sometime throughout each day when I look at that sweet toothless grin I see myself. There I was, destined for a hopeless future of desperate measures trying to make it through the day, but saved by God's grace I instead became a daughter full of hope. As shaken as I was at the thought of my son living on the street, subject to things I don't even want to type into print, the thought of him and myself being a spiritual orphan is far more painful....far more eternal.
So when a Christian tells me they aren't "called" to care for an orphan, I want to ask if they are glad they were "called" to be adopted. I totally get that there are legitimate reasons in certain times in life that a family cannot adopt right then. Countries have restrictions on parent's age/income, number/sex of children in the home already, etc. But the inconvenience another child will give you is not a reason to not extend the grace that's been given to you to an orphan. There is a little girl that is waiting for a forever family in an orphanage in Ethiopia. She's 6 and has HIV. I want nothing more than to be her mom. But because of our international move that is coming in a year or so we are not able to make that happen. I'm daily burdened for her and praying God will break the hearts of a family even more than he has broken mine and provide for her a forever family. Could it be you? Could you give her a forever family? While most of you skimmed right past that, maybe afraid to consider it, some of you might be contemplating what that would mean for your family to adopt an HIV positive child. Ask yourself what it would mean for you if you were not adopted by God through what Jesus did on the cross? What if He had not taken on the broken, dirty, sick mess that you were and made you a child? Now, instead of thinking of yourself, ask what it means for her and the over 140 million other orphans to not be adopted? What does it look like? I'm not trying to paint an emotional picture to pull at your heartstrings. I just want you to recognize the grace that's been given to you. I believe if we can do that, truly get a tiny grasp on what's been done for us, we can't help but pass it on.
Did you know if 7% of Christians adopted there would be no more orphans to be adopted?? 7%. To be honest (or continue to be) I struggle with getting really angry over this. Angry that we so willingly accept grace and are happy to be pulled out of our own miry pit but are so hesitant to give it to someone else. Angry that the people who worship the God who defends the fatherless only respond "that's so sad" and "what a shame". Angry that the people who are hold the Bible as their authority overlook that it says "pure religion is to look after orphans and widows". When we discussed the possibility of adopting the little girl I mentioned we were told by a couple people, "Some people really struggle with the fact that you can't help everyone. There will always be another orphan." This is so true, and I am one of the people with this problem. But a bigger problem is that we use this to comfort ourselves out of doing anything. We tell ourselves I can't adopt all the orphans so I won't do anything. The real problem is that the church can adopt all the orphans that are able to be adopted, but it is not. It doesn't even take the whole church...just 7% of it. I said before that there are legitimate reasons that families cannot adopt today. But I know that a lot more than 7% of those who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior do not have a real legitimate reason. Will you be apart of the 7%?
I recognize not all orphans can be adopted. So maybe you can't adopt an orphan to be your child but you can help those orphans who will never be adopted be fed, be educated, and hear about the Father that they do have.
I look forward to when we are able to adopt again. Hopefully, the country we move to will allow us to do so. So for those who have asked what kind of problems I've had since bringing Noah home, it's probably not what you might expect. I have no problems with my new son, just with the number of orphans that are left fatherless.