Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Will it ever be enough?

While in Ethiopia last March I remember walking through orphanage after orphanage looking into the eyes of so many precious little ones. Little ones who were begging to be held, begging to be loved, begging for some sign that they mattered.

Since then, I have felt like I have this heavy weight on my shoulders, this constant question of what now? While I am encouraged when I click around adoption blog land and see family after family saying YES to adoption... I still cannot shake the feeling of will it ever be enough?

147 million orphans takes 147 million people saying YES to adoption... proving to child after child that yes- their precious lives DO matter.

Some days I feel literally exhausted trying to prove, or rather convince people that adoption really is important. While yes, of course I realize it is not the answer to all problems- it does make a difference in the life of at least one child. And that one child truly does matter to God.

Yet other days the orphan crisis is so overwhelming I don't even know why I bother trying. I feel like I want to run away and hide- forget I know that problem even exists. Only the endless faces of those children continue to haunt me no matter where I go.

And other times I just have to laugh. Laugh at the ridiculous amount of time people waste arguing over if everyone is called to adopt or not.

Which, by the way, is exactly what Satan wants.

Satan wants for us to waste precious time arguing over who should and who shouldn't be doing what.

He wants us wasting time and energy trying to prove our 'calling' or our 'cause' is more noble than the rest.

He wants us to waste time trying to come up with any excuse we can to convince ourselves that we are 'in the right'.

Because, all that wasted time is time we spent doing nothing... which means more time an orphan was left vulnerable and alone.

I will never claim to have all the answers. I have no idea how God is personally talking to each and every person. All I can say is- you read the bible, you talk to God and see what He has to say to you. Nobody needs to prove or make their point to anyone else. What God asks you to do is between you and Him period. I think that part of what God desires is for us to say yes and obeying Him- even when everyone else is around you is doing something different. He longs to know you are focusing solely on His directions- and not the rest of the worlds.

"Obey my laws and do what I command. I am the Lord your God". Lev. 18:4

But one thing I do know is that if Christians were living the kind of radical life that God has called them all to live- if Christians were stepping up to the plate saying YES LORD- instead of arguing over who should answer 'the call' -then there would be no more orphans, no more child sex trafficking, no more people starving and no more people dying without hope.

You know, I don't know what it's going to take to make people stop and care. I don't know what it's going to take to make 147 million people wake up and see the need. I don't know what it's going to take to make them care about the orphan as much as they care about themselves.
I don't know what it's going to take- but God does.

So while I often wonder if my adopting five children even made a dent in the orphan population, I cling to the belief that the Lord can take even a small effort and make it into something bigger.

I am reminded when I look into the eyes of my children that God will use their lives to bring Him glory. Through the adoption of a child- the ripple effect goes into play. Not only will that child's life change- but their children's and their children's children- and the lives that come into contact with theirs. God's goodness never stops amazing me.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:11-13

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natali said...

i love Romans 12:11-13.
and Amy, you are an inspiration. don't ever feel that you haven't done anything. you've done what you yourself can do. GOD loves that. Every one of your sons and daughters that you have adopted now have a family, and a family that loves the Lord! those five count BIG TIME.
keep on being you!

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."
Helen Keller

Dardi said...

Well said (as always). I just started a book that someone picked up for us at a Christian convention. I will let you know if it's a good one, but it has to do with the church family's role in adoption & our Christian responsibility.

It is easy to get caught in being overwhelmed by the crisis, but that is just what Satan wants is for us to feel like it's not enough, so why bother? But then I look into the eyes of my 2 adopted children, & it does matter, it has made a difference. Then I look at the hearts of my older kiddos, & again, it does matter, & it has made a difference.

None of us will ever be the same. Thank God.

Unknown said...


Only God can change the hearts of his people. Unfortunately many "Christians" aren't willing to let their hearts be changed.

I know there's so much more I could do to advance the Kingdom, love people the way I should, and live a Godly life...praying that I would allow my heart, mind, eyes, and ears to be opened to what breaks His heart.

Love you!

the Philpots said...

Since we started the adoption process, three friends of ours have also -- between us and them, that's 7 orphans that have families now!! And there are many other couples that we know that are thinking about it or even planning on it. And you know Josh and I aren't done adopting! :)

We may only see a small portion of what God is at work doing, and of course we can never completely eliminate the devastating effects of sin in this lifetime. But let's keep on doing what we can, for the GLORY OF GOD!

We love the Blocks!

Unknown said...

Keep saying sister! I know exactly what you mean. The hole in my heart will never be able to be replaced by anything other than Jesus himself but we are never to lack in zeal and later in Romans it tells us to "overflow with hope." Thank you for using your voice! Keep it up.

Laura Hoffman said...


I am a reader of your blog and wanted to just let you know I am here. First of all, your family is beautiful.

But I know exactly how you feel, wondering what now and what can I do and will it ever be enough.

My husband and I lost our first son in Ethiopia due to malnutrition after only 76 days of life. Since then, we have adopted our beautiful daughter, Meron, but God has pressed on us the call for work to be done.

We have started an organization called "Brighton Their World" (our son's name was Brighton) and we work to raise money and donations of baby formula for orphans all over the world.

We started only with Ethiopia and now have shipped many cans all over the world to starving orphans that we pray will be comforted in some way.

If you are interested, we are looking for families to do formula drives within their churches, communities and families so that we can continue to feed these hungry children.

Our family feels we are all called to care for the least of these and this is our way of doing it.

We'd love to have you join us in the fight!

Let me know if you are interested and I can give you information on how to organize a formula drive.

You can follow us on Facebook here:

God bless all that you are and your family are doing.

Laura Hoffman

Engendo said...

Beautiful post - im going to link to it from my blog :) Rock On Girl!

Mama in Uganda said...

Amen! Thanks for being bold enough to speak the truth in love. This is truly the Fathers heart.

We have been told, "you can't adopt them all." While this is true, we can try our best :-)

We have seen the Lord transforms little souls under our roof--and it doesn't get any better than that.

Love from the North,

Elaine said...

Hi Amy,

I have been reading about you and your family for awhile now. I'm sorry the burden on your heart with the knowledge of the vast amounts of helpless orphans can be so heavy some days and so discouraging. Maybe you can get some renewed energy in the realization that you HAVE done much much more than adopt five orphans (which is still many for one family). Because of you, your story and all the encouragement and eye-opening information you share, (both biblically and otherwise), you have been a MAJOR contributor to us adopting from foster care,(waiting for a match presently -in California). Days when I feel down and have no one in my circle that understands any of what we want to do, I come to Building the Blocks :) I read your message Amy, and I literally feel like I have a friend like me. I even feel closer to God and more ready to face this journey head on again. Yes, it does have a ripple affect. I have 5 yr old son and 3 yr old daughter who already say they want to adopt one day. My step-daughter called me yesterday to tell me that she had to give a ceremonial speech in college and she gave an adoption ceremonial speech and spoke about our process of adopting :) Our extended family has NEVER been exposed to adoption and we are sharing so much that no one has ever talked about or known anything about (oh the pressure). So, from you, to me, and so on. Of course, I am only ONE person out of all the people you impact. You are making a huge dent. Keep on fighting this fight for all those precious little ones needing to matter to someone. God bless you and your family. Thank you so much for lifting us up so more people can answer the call.


Mama in Uganda said...

Amen! Thanks for being bold enough to speak the truth in love. This is truly the Fathers heart.

We have been told, "you can't adopt them all." While this is true, we can try our best :-)

We have seen the Lord transforms little souls under our roof--and it doesn't get any better than that.

Love from the North,

Jennie Allen said...

Thank you for your zeal! IT is spreading!!

CHEPAC said...

just what i've been feeling can it ever be enough?? and yet to NOT do something because it doesn't fix the world is not the answer either. thanks for the post! darci :)

lesli said...

Amy, thanks for this post! It is so true and well said. Satan loves for Christians to be confused and bicker about meaningless stuff. You are an encouragement to me and have definitely made a big dent in the orphan community! Blessings~

Taylor said...

Some people, yes even Christians, simply refuse to see that these nameless orphans- these nameless faces are lives. They are futures and precious souls that God created for a time such as time. They don't understand that even though they don't know their names, that Christ know every single one of them & calls them by name.

Adoption is a gift- but not from the adopted parent to the adopted child, in my opinion. As an adult who grew up in a Christian home, knowing she was adopted, it was a tangible A to B diagram of living out the love of Christ. By someone saying, "I love you. I've loved you since before you were born. It didn't matter how you came into our family. You ARE a member of our family and no one can take you away."

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way! Some days you just want to shout it from the rooftop, others you think, "What's the use, why bother even trying." I wish that eveyone saw it the way we saw it. I would like to commend all the families that have said yes, because I feel like all the attention
is always on how much farther we have to go. Thank you for your many posts on adoption, and not giving up!
Mattie Patterson

Reading Widely said...

I don't know if everyone should adopt. I DO know, though, that every Christian is called (and commanded to) take care of orphans. If someone isn't sure they should adopt (or adopt again as is my question right now) then while they're figuring that out they should be giving and praying and volunteering - we are all supposed to be actively involved in solving the orphan crisis.

I am often consumed with wondering if what we've done is "enough". I also have to wrap my mind around the fact that no matter what I do, I personally won't even make a dent in the orphan problem. I know a family who has adopted 26 children. That is huge - but in the face of 143 Million it's nothing! But, we've all heard the analogy of how if you throw a pebble in the water it creates ripples that extend much further.

I have to believe that if I do the things God calls me to that He'll allow that to ripple into the lives of those around me and then into the lives of those around them. If each of us does the things that God calls us to do - whether it's adopting 1 child or 10, whether it's going on a mission trip or permanently to the missiong trip, whether it's mentoring foster kids or creating your own non-profit to help them - that those things will make ripples and that one day all of those orphans will have a hope and a future.

Kristi J said...

Amen..awesome post...I sooo feel the same...I also think it is Satan when people get hung up on "wording" and argue on blogs about whether you can say, "orphan", or "save a child", or "rescue" etc....I just click off and don't comment because they're losing the point..that there are 147 million orphans..there is no time for arguing over is just what the enemy would want..great post, kj

Andrea Hill said...

If anyone can reach out to people, you can. I thank you for your amazing writing skills to convict people or even take your words and spread it as many places as they can. Because of you and some other ladies out there trust me you are reaching out to them and bit by bit they are getting adopting even though it could be so much faster if people just weren't so worldly, selfish, and try to make excuses.

Sophie said...

Amen. I don't know of one person in our community who has adopted a child and we've been here for 20 years, sad. It's a shame that people are not willing to sacrifice their time for another human being, I can't even remember what our life was like before our daughter and I can't wait to bring home another precious child. Unfortunately people spend more time trying to fill their social calendar and sign their kids up for more activities.
Don't get discouraged Amy the Lord is using you in a mighty way, keep fighting for His kingdom.

Jocelyn said...

incredible post. thank you, amy. i am reminded of mother teresa's message "we feel like what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but that ocean would be less without that drop"... and the thing with a drop is that it does create a ripple effect.
it can be exhausting, it can be heartbreaking, it can seem like what you are doing is so little compared to the problem... now that i have 4 precious children i think, ok... how could i do 5, or 6... there are so many out there needing security, love, hope, safety... am i really making a difference? yes... in the 7 kids' lives that i have been blessed to have been in- even for a short time- for them... a difference was made. for your incredible kids... for those 5, an amazing difference has been made. and from seeing how your love and actions and obedience has all ready affected your amazing kids, i know that it will be passed on for years and years in them- how cool!

autumnesf said...

The thing is...its very hard for people to take Christians seriously when we pass over the over 100,000 legal orphans in our own country to go save an orphan overseas. God would have us take care of our own - and we are not. The foster care system is full to bursting with children that have been turned into 100% legal orphans with no chance of a legal fight over rights. Where is the line of Christians to adopt them? It's LOW cost even.


Our own children aren't good enough some how. They aren't as worthy as a child in another country. Yet, its supposed to be about giving a child a home and a family of their own - which our foster children (that are legal orphans) DO NOT HAVE.

Obviously I've been asking myself these hard questions - and they don't shed a good light on those of us that adopt from overseas.

Rachel Goode said...

i reposted this on my blog. it was too good! thank you for writing it!

Jenn said...

I totally agree with you... with sadness. Our family is home study and USCIS approved to bring two orphans home from Ethiopia. However, due to an unexpected pregnancy (blessing from God) we are not allowed to adopt right now. So frustrating!!!! Why should we have to deny biological blessings in order to open our homes to adopt blessings?

Sodonis Family Update said...

I love reading your blog! You are making a difference. Also, your joy is contagious.:) Thanks for your heart to do what you do & share it with us all by blogging. My husband and I are beginning the process of adopting from Ethiopia. We really like your photo of the orphans in this post. Did you take it yourself? Would it be ok to use this pic in a blog we create? Please let us know at
Be blessed, Melissa

Laurel said...

Just had to comment on your "ripple effect" ... that even by loving these 5 adopted children, the Lord can change so many more lives.

When I was a teen, I dreamed of "going to the nations" to work for the Lord. However, the Lord called me to stay home and raise up my children to love and serve Him.

Four of my young adult children have already worked for the Lord in ... Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Haiti, The Gambia, Senegal, India, Bangladesh, Germany, Czech Republic, and Jordan. These 4 young adults have already touched more lives in the past few years than I could have possibly touched.

I can't wait to see what the Lord has planned for the next 8 children.

Yes ... the ripple effect. Do what we are called to do, and watch out as the Lord multiplies our work. It's a beautiful thing!


Dawn said...

Amen! Thank-you. Linking you on my blog...