Monday, February 16, 2015

Grace given


I'm hijacking my wif'e's blog to write this. Less than 1 month ago she posted a great piece about waiting on God and experiencing "grace given in the circle of grace denied." At the time we were pursuing being licensed in Georgia as foster parents. Although for both of us our heart's desire was to adopt again from China, I didn't feel peace about it. The reasons were many - the wrong time of year to start the process because of my busy tax filing season; the relative newness of our church situation after moving from Indiana at the beginning of 2014; not believing that financially it was the right time to start another adoption; etc., etc.


My wife had been reviewing and praying over the file of a little girl at an orphanage in southern China - as it turns out in the same province (analogous to US State) where our Hudson was born. For FIVE years my wife has been praying to be able to adopt an Asian daughter. We had started down that road before in Thailand, but  after 2 1/2 years of waiting we switched to a China program. We still wanted to adopt a girl, but along the way the infant/toddler girl turned into a 5-yr-old boy. God had other plans for us, and I'm so glad He did. The lessons of trusting Him to provide for the adoption, of seeing in our son's adoption a picture of our own salvation/adoption into God's family, and the awesome privilege of playing a small part in being the hands and feet of Jesus were deep lessons that I could never forget. Or could I? How quickly was I saying no to another adoption because the finances aren't in the bank? How easily did I say it could wait until things were different? How many times did I give one excuse after the other for not stepping out in faith again?

It took a gentle rebuke from my dear wife to get my focus back where it should be. She asked if I would be more willing to adopt again if all of the conditions were perfect for it. Of course, I said. Did I believe that God would ordain everything to come together if He wanted us to pursue an adoption? Didn't He do that once before with Hudson? Yes, I said. So, she asked, why do you think He can't do that again if that's what He wants? Why do you need to try to keep God from doing what He wants done? 

Ouch.

Most guys process things visually, and my wife took advantage of this. She texted me and told me to watch some videos of this little girl that our agency had sent to our email account. I watched a couple videos of an adorable toddler slowly walking beside a concrete wall on a playground, and my heart melted. How could I say no to THAT? In that moment God broke through to me and I let go. It's His journey and I'm just following where He leads me. It's His money that He's given me and I'm just spending it how He tells me. Or, it's His money that He's given other people, and He'll use that money to provide for this adoption at just the right time. It's His plan for an"unplanned" adoption that He has called us to pursue.

So why go through the process again when we already have 3 biological kids and 1 adoptive kid? Why submit to all of the literal and figurative poking and prodding of a homestudy? Why commit to spending thousands of our own dollars and asking others to others to help out when we reach the bottom of our own financial barrel? WHY NOT? To borrow from Edward Kennedy, who borrowed from Robert Kennedy, who borrowed from George Bernard Shaw, "Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?" In this case I think some people look at things that aren't happening and say "Why should I do that?" I look at things that should be happening and say "Why I am NOT doing that?"

I'm thankful that we aren't doing this in a vacuum. I'm thankful that you're reading this. Now that I've given a little background into how we got here again and why we're doing it, let me turn the tables on you. What is holding you back from joining us? Will you help us? Here are ways that you can help.

1) Pray for us. I can speak from experience that parenting is rough. Biological parenting is rough. Adoptive parenting is rough. The adoption process itself is rough. I'd be lying if I said it was all smooth sailing the last time. Sure we had mountain top days, but we also had hard days. We had times where we wanted to give up. We had moments where we're positive that Satan didn't like what we were doing, and he attacked us. We need prayer to stay strong through this process. Not strong in our own strength, but strong in God's strength. We need prayer that we will stay focused. Not focused on meeting a goal through our own means, but trusting God to meet it through His means. Those means involve His own timing and His own provision. I have my reasons why it would be perfect for us to travel to China in November. That's a slow time of year for me and it leads up to an extended holiday time where we could bond with Fallon before things get crazy in January and February. But what if God's timing is for everything to fall in place a year from now, when I'm working days and nights and weekends, and Steph is a single mom for months on end? It's not my journey. I'm just following where He leads me.

2) Encourage us. This sounds totally self-serving, but I do mean it. There will be times when we are discouraged by the wait to hear something back from China. There will be days when we're depressed because at the moment things just don't seem to be working out. There will be moments when I'm stressed out trying to make it all work. It's not my journey. I'm just following where He leads me, but I'm prone to losing sight of the end of the road.

3) Consider giving. Oh sure, you say, you're writing all of this just so you can ask us for money? Well, think about this. When people give birth there are medical costs. There are doctors. and nurses, and hospital staff. There are people that process paperwork to ensure that the child you "brought" to the hospital is the same child you take from the hospital. Many people have insurance to help them cover those costs. Even when insurance won't cover all of the costs up front, most people are able to pay the costs over time. Adoption is similar from a cost perspective. There are medical costs. Once again there are doctors, and nurses, and hospital staff. There are people that process paperwork to ensure that the child that we want to bring into our family is legally and ethically able to be added to our family. But this time there isn't insurance. The adoption process is truly a "pay as you go" process - or more accurately a "pay or you don't go" process. We are fully committed to using as much of our own funds as possible, but realistically we just don't have everything it takes to fund the process entirely from our own pockets. Many people support a person or family or agency that is doing charitable work or mission work domestically or internationally. After all,  that person/family/agency is on the front lines in the battle against spiritual darkness or social injustice or human suffering. Adoption really isn't any different when you think about it. A) We're missionally minded. Instead of going to the mission field we're bringing the mission field to us. B) We're fighting social injustice. A child has been abandoned for reasons we may never know. Just as our God has done for us in being a "father to the fatherless" and "placing the lonely in families" (Ps. 68:5-6), we want to provide a stable family environment to Fallon. C) We want to do what we can to end human suffering. Now I don't have any illusions that we'll be the end of Fallon's suffering. But we can do something to help lessen it. Will you consider helping us? It's not my money. Or your money. It's God's money that He has given you for a short time.

Stay tuned ... 

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