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.