We were in Houston this weekend celebrating a couple family birthdays. Over dinner, Luke's older sister made mention of a topic that has come up periodically in our own marriage throughout the past few years. Adoption. It's something that I really seem to struggle with, out of fear and hesitation and desire, all wrapped up together. My emotions start wrestling inside. I want to reach out to those hurting, to those in need. I want to let go of my insecurities as a person and as a Christian. I want to let God be bigger than me.
We are called to "visit orphans and widows in their affliction...." (James 1:27). But does this extend beyond donation of time/money/etc? Does this extend to giving them a permanent place in our personal homes? Perhaps it should mean that, if it doesn't. But why is this so hard for me to accept?
And also: "Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor...." (Zech. 7:9)
We are all lost without the saving grace of Jesus. We are all orphans, in a sense. But God has offered redemption and grace and a home with him. Jesus reached out to the poor, the homeless, the lonely, the outcasts. We too should be like Him. Instead, we cling to our nice houses and our nice cars and the security of our alarm systems and fences and locks. Our ipods with headphones so we don't have to communicate with the odd man on the subway. We have 2.4 kids and a dog and live in Suburbia. Is there anything inherently wrong with this? No. I don't think so. But we limit ourselves to this. (And when I say "we", I'm speaking to myself more than anyone else - these are my own personal struggles). We tithe, we send donations when a crisis hits, we go on mission trips. But is this enough? Probably not. We can do all of this from a distance, without getting our hands too dirty. We pray. Prayer is good. See this.
There are a lot of things I struggle with. I struggle with being more open about my faith - I'm quiet and private about it much of the time. I try to live my life in a way that shows Christ's love, but I don't know that people know how important my faith is to me. I'm not bold in it. I struggle with what other people think of me - I am easily swayed by others' opinions. Let me explain this further in regards to the current topic...I have always been open to (the idea of) adoption. I have long considered foster care. I believe these are good things that show some mercy to those hurting. I believe that there are so many children out there who are in need of a little hope, a little kindness, a permanent place to belong, and someone to guide them to God, who is bigger than all of the trouble they have seen, who can give them a home far better than I can. Luke and I have always looked toward the possibility of adoption one day. But now, I struggle. I struggle deeply with this. It started after having my daughter. My first child. My heart learned to love in a way that I never thought possible. But it also learned to worry in a way that I never thought possible. My heart has become selfish - I want to protect her from the hard things in life. I want to shelter her from pain and suffering. I want to have more children, but I want to be pregnant. I I I I I I I....can you hear how bad that sounds? I know that she is God's child, and that I have been blessed to care for and nurture her, as a gift, for however much time He grants, and that she is in His hands. So why worry, right? Because a mother worries. Mothers are on their knees, literally and figuratively, for their children. Relating back to adoption - I'm drifting here, it's late at night, I should be sleeping...I worry for Avery's safety and emotional well-being in bringing a child in who has suffered. (Selfish me.) I let the worst-case scenario stories get to me. I let those who are opposed to adoption (maybe not fully, but still VERY hesitant about it) sway me away from considering it. The naysayers are many. Those living it are few. They are brave. I am wimpy.
But then, I read stories from those who are living it: here and here. I am inspired.
And still - I struggle.
I come up with excuses - we don't have the space, the money, the time. I want to birth more babies. That last one, the babies, actually not an excuse. This is a true heartfelt desire. Is it selfish to create new life when there are lives out there, hurting and alone, that would benefit from a real home with a real family? How can it be wrong to desire new life, a life that is a gift from God, given to us as parents? That was a hard question to think about tonight on the way home. Can't we do both - adopt and have more babies?
I've purposefully left out much of the conversation that occurs between my husband and I in regards to this matter. It's not fair to speak for him or to put on here what I assume he is thinking. I resist out of fear. My husband urges out of....? I don't know. I know his heart is big. And for now that's all that matters.