Saturday, January 8, 2011

Why we adopted...

In the past week I have had 2 people I didn’t know ask me what made us decide to adopt. Because we already had 4 biological children which is considered a large family now a days- I understood their curiosity.


So what led us to adopt?

The truth is- it was simply God. But we all know that when the Lord is involved it is never simple. So let me share our story...

Todd and I were just new Christians when we sat in church one Sunday- Missions Sunday to be exact. Being a newer Christian I really didn’t know a lot about missions- and it intrigued me. I was completely engrossed in every word. During one of their short video clips they told of a missionary couple in China- and vaguely mentioned the couple was taking care of an abandoned little girl in their home... then on they went telling of their missions work. End of story.

Or rather, the beginning of our story.

I don’t know what it was, or why it was- but God spoke to my heart that very minute. It wasn't one of those neon sign kind of moments like one would expect- but rather a soft, gentle nudge. On the way home from church that day (as our 4 little ones sat in the back seat of the van) I asked Todd how he felt about us adopting one day. He responded with a "Well, we can look into it."

And our journey began. Seems simple again right? Not at all.

In the worlds view I am sure it didn’t make sense for a family with four biological children and not a lot of money to be adopting a child. "Why did we need another they asked? You can’t save the world after all. What if this hurt our ‘own’ children? What if this child, you know, causes problems?" It was through these questions and comments we would begin to search and grow and learn the truth about who God is and what He cares about. Adopting had nothing to do with our needs, our abilities or our safety- and everything to do with our God.


A God, who along this journey, would change us in more ways than we could ever imagine.

The bible tells us we are to live like Jesus. Live a life that directs others to him- through our example of how we love. God grew our hearts for the least of these- in reflection of His. He asked us to abandon our dreams, walk away from our self-serving plans and live for His purpose- serving others and in essence serving Him- completely. What I found is that God is an all or nothing kind of guy. Adoption is giving a child all you have and all you are. It’s the perfect picture of God’s love for us.

For many people today it takes the presence of 'alive Christians' to lead them to Jesus. We live in a world of hurt, darkness, hate and greed. Christians need to be that ‘alive’ example. We cannot simply show up to church on Sunday, raise our hands in praise, wear crosses around our necks and claim to know him. We have to give him our all- with nothing held back- or its a half way, self-benefiting faith. For us to fully understand that- God allowed us to experience His heart- through an orphan. The day they placed that brown- eyed baby girl into my arms something inside of me broke. And through that brokenness- God was able to work.



Many believe that following Jesus with our heads and our hearts alone are enough. But true faith will be evident in changed behavior. All too often though we cling to our comfort and ease- even at the cost of our walk with God. It is so easy for us to become consumed with our personal success in life. We believe it’s all about wise choices, making good moves, and approval of those around us. We measure our greatness in terms of worldly success. But in God’s eyes our greatness is measured in how we express our concern for others- especially in those who cannot pay us back- the helpless, the needy and the poor.

I was reading in my bible the other morning and I once again came across one of my favorite verses. "If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it." Luke 17:33.


Just take a look at the study notes from that verse:

“Those clinging to this life are those seeking to escape physical persecution. Those who live for themselves display these common attitudes: (1) Materialism- I want it and work hard to get it. All that I see is real. Unseen things are merely ideas and dreams. (2) Individualism- I work hard for me and you work hard for you. I may make it; you may not. That’s your problem, not mine. (3) Skepticism- anything I am not convinced about cannot be important. Everything important I know I can figure out. Those who have these attitudes may protect themselves, but they will lose the spiritual dimension to their lives. Keep your commitment to Christ at full strength. Then you’ll be ready when he returns. "


Through our adoption journey- I lost who I was. I lost the goals I had set for MY life. I left behind MY dreams and MY personal plans and I took on His. I believe God used our adoption experience to accomplish this.

Our purpose in life had been self serving- but God opened our eyes through an orphan. Suddenly climbing the corporate ladder, building a larger house, name brand clothing, savings accounts, striving for the newest, the biggest, the best- as we had been doing- seemed ridiculous, repulsive, and wrong. Especially now that we knew what was at stake- the life of one of God’s children.



So to answer the question as to why we adopted... it truly is- God. Perhaps this was not the answer you expect- I know it wasn’t what I was. But what I have learned is that there is a big difference between knowing there is a God- and personally knowing God. I thought we were going to adopt to rescue a child… but in the end, it was our lives that were rescued- from living our life without purpose in Him.

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34 comments:

Amanda said...

It's so wonderful the way God seperates us and let's us see why we don't want to be mixed in with the worlds ways. The road is narrow and hard, but if I had to walk on nails just to get to heaven and see the face of my Lord, I would. I think building my courage to start has been the hardest for me.

Treasures Evermore said...

I really don't know what to say other than...thank you! This was an incredible post and I agreed 100%.

I know that feeling when God speaks in a still small voice. Most don't understand why we adopt the older children...but God has called us to this wonderful, difficult, beautiful journey...and we are humbled and are in awe that he choice us to parent these children.

It's funny because our first bio child that was born, is special needs...she has a rare syndrome and is autistic. People always wondered why we never questioned God as to why He chose to give us a special needs child...but we see now that the years we have been working and parenting her, have been skills we have needed to adopt older children. So many of them come with special needs similar to an autistic or "SN" child, that we can now say we truly have experience. And not because we know everything, but God has given us 25 years to prepare ourselves and our hearts to welcome older children into our home and love them and accept them for who they are.

So again, thank you for sharing this...it needs to be said and you said it so beautifully.

Blessings.

Sophie said...

Thank you for sharing your story Amy.

When our daughter came into our world everything changed, it was difficult to go back to life as usual. All I could think about was the ones left behind. I'm so excited to be on our 2nd adoption journey and that God used our daughter to open our eyes and our hearts.

Suzette said...

God-He is the only way to explain our desire to adopt also. It was truly His plan and not our own and He has done a work in our hearts as well. Almost everyday I look at our girls and think, "we could have missed this," and thank Him that He allowed us to be their parents. Many of our friends and family do not understand, but we know God has a plan far beyond our understanding.
Your story is a blessing!

Terry said...

Very powerful post! I especially liked the way you ended it. God rescues us from "living our life without purpose in Him."

Kayce said...

Incredible post! I am reading Red Letters by Tom David....his entire book is about being Jesus to the poor and the needy. It. Is. Amazing! Thank you!

sasha parker said...

Thanks for sharing this! I love how the Lord works!

darci said...

oh Amy, thank you so very much for this. I needed to read this SO badly right now-thank you. love darci

trustandobey said...

So well said. Adoption is only 50% for the orphaned child, and 50% for the wayward child of His...redirecting our feet and priorities away from the world's value system and toward His throne and what is eternal!!! In the midst of rescuing, we are rescued!!!
Lisa

Dardi said...

Love, love, love this post. I may just have to link to it b/c it says it so perfectly. I recently posted about people referring to us as "special" b/c we adopted these children (as if we've done a good deed)...You are right, we've been rescued!

Love you, friend ~ Dardi

Mandy said...

Yes! Yes! I agree.. completely!!

We have 3 bio children and 2 foster sons.. and hopefully soon to adopt one 9yr old girl and people think we've totally gone bonkers. A select few see what we're doing and thank God for us following HIM, and amazingly, it seems to be contagious b/c now they are looking into how to do it themselves. It doesn't make sense... but it works! :)

Kim said...

Another incredible post!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
Kim

Scrappy quilter said...

What an incredible post. Loved reading it.

We Are Family said...

I can identify with this on every level!

TOTAL SURRENDER......

Kristin said...

You know, you're spot on. We've been asked why with 2 children, a boy and a girl, the "perfect family", why would you make it harder on yourself? The answer is because God. We're going to a foster care meeting tomorrow and will start training hopefully in another week. And it's not going to be easy, but it's about time that following Christ was not easy. Jesus said it would be difficult to follow Him, and to be honest, so far, it really hasn't been that difficult, and that scares me. I'm ready for the struggles; I think sometimes that's how we can be thankful in following Him, when we come through struggles.

Kendra said...

Amy, do you mind if I quote your last line on my blog? :0) We are leaving in just ten days to bring our beautiful girl home. I have to say that out of all the questions and I comments I get most, it's THIS that people understand least. I see the blank look on their faces when I say that WE will be the blessed in this process. I, too, thought we were rescuing a child when we first began this process. And I wonder, is it only those of us who have been touched by His hand in such a way that understand this statement? Because I surely didn't "get it" before I was an adopting mama. I believed that those who take on something soo couragious must be angels....they were truly giving a child the most amazing gift....something they would not have otherwise. It isn't something I even consider now. And those people truly mean no harm, usually, and so I have grace. But I think it may be understood better by quoting your statement. Or would it? It's worth a try. God is worth it.

Jami said...

amen sista!

Future Mama said...

I loved reading this, thank you so much for sharing!! Put into words so perfectly...

Much love,
Future Mama
http://expectingablessing.blogspot.com/

Chris said...

yeah, we got the same questions.
And when people ask..."why an older child?" I almost don't know what to say...cause it is hard to explain. And yes the blank looks are very familiar.

Alison said...

Amy, I love this!! That is always my same exact answer when people ask us why we are adopting...simply, "God"!!! He called us on this journey, and I can't even imagine if we had missed out on this. So thankful He has called us to our Caroline!!

Stacia L. said...

The second to last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this. Confirmation to my spirit!

Debbie Doughty said...

Beautiful. Every word. Especially loved these: "I thought we were going to adopt to rescue a child… but in the end, it was our lives that were rescued- from living our life without purpose in Him."

Brian and Megan said...

Would it be ok if I post this on facebook to Wyoming Adoption and Fostercare Alliance page? I would love to share it. We have adopted 1x and have 3 bio kids, adoption has been an incredible miracle. I do have to share that I am still in process as far as totally dying to my agenda in order to see His furthered. Thanks for sharing.

Susan said...

This explains my heart for our adoption as well. I too have lost my care about name brands, etc. However, I need advice on how to keep myself there. Maybe when we travel for court in March and actually visit Ethiopia it will be easier, but I am so selfish. I try so hard and I am easily sucked back in. Any suggestions to help?

the_blissful_mommy said...

Oh Amy, as always THANK you, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I needn't explain to you how paperchasing and waiting on foreign offices to approve what we KNOW God has led us to do are erve-wracking, added to the doubting of family members here at home who ask: "What if this hurt our ‘own’ children? What if this child, you know, causes problems?" They also add: "You KNOW what happened with So-and-So"...it is so discouraging. Even just trying to explain to others WHY our family with 3 adorable bio boys would RISK rocking the proverbial boat by bringing home an institutionalized, special needs child from China seems far-fetched with my own ears sometimes. I have learned this: when I take God out of the equation, they are RIGHT, it DOESN'T make sense. At ALL. We follow Jesus. His path for us leads straight through Guangzhou. Simple. THANk you for always reminding me Who I Serve. xoxoxo
Esty

Karin said...

So totally agree with you! We found our purpose when we exchanged our dreams for His--and His were SO MUCH BETTER.

Stacy said...

Really great word Amy! This is why I love reading your blog...Wisdom :)
Our pastor just spoke about this exact thing yesterday, not in particular orphans, but being... in his words... "barbarians" in our Christian walk. It was really good. Coincidence that you wrote about the exact thing? I think not! God is calling His people to REALLY step up.

Courtney said...

So true, Amy! We get so many questions like, "Why are you adopting before you have your 'own' children?" Though it makes no sense to the world, it makes sense to God and us and I guess that's all that matters! Thanks for the encouragement!

Paula said...

Oh Amy, you are right on the mark. Thanks for putting into words, so beautifully too, what I know in my heart as well. I love the last comment...that through adoption, WE have been saved and HIS purpose is apparent.

erik w/a "k" said...

Amy,

This is an amazing post! I love it. We get asked all the time and my response falls in line to similar things you said here. It is God! That's it. I didn't want to adopt until God broke open my heart and shook it up like a glow stick!

his, mine and ours said...

LOVED reading this! Thanks for sharing!

Jenn said...

I love finding blogs like yours that encourage me so in my own journey! So happy that the Lord pointed me in your direction!

Blessings,
Jenn

Mom to 6--four bio, one adopted from China, and one fostering to adopt.

Audrey said...

I love your blog! I am really encouraged by this post. We also have 4 bio children and are in the adoption process. So often people do not understand why we would want to adopt. We want to be His hands and feet. Period.

Jen said...

Thank you for sharing how God led you too adopt. People have asked us too...why adopt. Your family seems perfect just the way it is. You have bio kids already...a boy and a girl. So thankful our plans are not His plans and His thoughts are so much greater than our own. Love what you said that true faith is not just believing in our hearts or heads...but taking action for the sake of the Kingdom! Such faith you have. A beautiful image of His goodness! ~ Jen