About a year ago, I shared on my long-since forgotten personal blog about Joe and I considering adding to our family through adoption. We didn't know how that would play out, but we were open to it. At that point, it had seemed like Ethiopia would be where we would adopt from. It was the least expensive of the international options, and most of the domestic agencies had restrictions on current family size. Needless to say, the events that followed (namely, job losses) put it on the back burner for obvious reasons. And then came our trip to Ethiopia and Uganda.
I won't lie. As Joe will tell you, I pretty much went to Ethiopia expecting to meet child that I would fall head over heels in love with and just *have* to figure out a way to bring home. But that's not what happened. In fact, it was quite the opposite. In Uganda, and yes, even in the dump in Ethiopia I saw LOTS of orphans. But never once, not even for a second, did I think that I NEEDED to bring them back here with me to save them. Here's why:
When I saw the orphans, when I lived where they lived and played where they played, I saw Jesus there with them. They didn't need to come home with me to have a better life. They already had him, there. I had come to share his love with them, but they blessed me by showing me his joy. While I fervently, DEEPLY believe in my core that we are commanded to care for the least of these and help them in their struggles, I couldn't get past the thought that they had more Jesus in their lives than I did. And that Jesus needed many of them to stay there to teach others of his love and to build up a nation of STRONG believers, because THAT is what will ultimately change Africa.
Now, before I go any further I need to say that I 100% support international adoption from all countries. I will even go so far to say that I haven't ruled it out for our family in the future. I am merely saying that I believe the key to solving the orphan crisis is one thing and one thing only...
The most important thing for an orphan to have is Christ. Because Christ alone fulfills ALL needs. No human, however well-meaning could ever do that for a child. We are amazingly fortunate to be able to act as his hands and feet to visit, care for, sponsor, and yes, adopt these children in order to show them his love. But if HE isn't the focus and reason for doing them, it is all pointless. And when I saw the love of Pastor Isaac for all 120 children in his care, the love of Christ literally spilling out of him, I realized that no comfort of the United States could compare with that. But I also know that for those 120 well loved and cared for orphans, there are millions more who will never know of Christ's love unless they are adopted.
So that is what brought us to where we are today.
We are in the process of adopting from our state's foster system.
Today, according to www.adoptuskids.org, there are just under 4,000 children in the foster care system in OKLAHOMA waiting to be adopted. Nationwide, that number is more like 120,000+. As we prayed about what we were called to do, we began to see concern after concern we had about adopting this way answered. It began to be obvious that the ONLY things standing in the way of moving forward with adopting from foster care were personal desires rooted in selfishness. Things we needed to "get over" anyway. So we sent in our application. And the rest is history... in the making.
We ask that you would please cover our family in prayer. We want to stay in God's will and move at his pace. We have been told that if the process moves at the normal speed we will be able to start looking at profiles in late March or early April. We know that there are no "perfect" children (even our biological ones!! -shocking, I know!) but we also want to be mindful of the issues we expose our family to. We ARE currently praying about a specific group of children, but in full awareness that GOD's will be done- not ours. If you would, please pray that God will raise up the right family for them, be it us, or someone else, so they can be reunited again soon.
I can't wait to share the experience with all of you. Your prayers and support over the last year have been such a testimony of Christ's work in the world around us. We feel so incredibly blessed to be called his.
Until next time,