Why Adopt [Internationally]?
We’ve been getting this question fairly often (more than I thought we would) – and sometimes, it’s “Why adopt?” while other times it sounds more like “Why adopt internationally when there are children in the United States who need families, too?” A few have been genuine questions, with a few rants mixed in between. To be honest, I like the genuine questions – people sincerely wanting to know – because it gives us a chance to share our hearts and our faith with others. I’m posting it here, too, because I know I have a large amount of readers – and some of you may be wondering exactly the same thing.
So, here we go…
First, I’ll give you some background information:
When Steven and I first married, adoption came up as a topic – but, to be honest, our faith walk looked a whole lot different back then and our main reasoning was simply to have a family. While I believe God used that time to “get our feet wet,” He had different plans… (3 children of our own)
Over the past few years, we’ve wrestled with the idea of adoption. To be very honest, we kept feeling the “tug” but kept handing God excuses… “But God… we just aren’t in a good place.” “But God… we just don’t have the money…” “But God… “ And, as if an answer to our excuses, God would put something directly in our lives that would convict us and seemed like a direct rebuttal to whatever excuse we had at the time. So, of course, we would come up with a new excuse. One by one, He leveled our excuses.
We were definitely not chasing adoption…if anything, we ran from it. (Just being honest) We hate the idea that there are children out there who have virtually nothing, so we tried to appease the conviction we felt deep down with “orphan care” by sponsoring two children in other countries. At the time, I don’t think I saw it, but we wanted to help the orphans…just please don’t ask us to give up anything, God!! (Please do not misunderstand, orphan care is a GREAT thing…we were just being called to do something different, and trying to ignore that call.)
Over the past year, Steven and I have become less and less comfortable with our “just waiting” – me, to the point that I couldn’t bear it. My heart has ached and I’ve felt this indescribable MOURNING for these children of God. If you know me, you know how “out of character” this is for me. I’m not the gal that cries during commercials… I love justice, but I’m not the teary girl, I’d be more of the LET’S STORM IN AND BRING THEM ALL HOME!! (In case anyone was wondering, this is NOT my plan…I’m also pretty smart and know this wouldn’t ever end well on so many levels.)
God’s been speaking to us and convicting our hearts for a long time. We happen to be very stubborn and selfish, wanting what we think we ought to have, apparently. But, it’s come to a point that we just can’t ignore it. And, while God was planting little seeds, he planted one for Africa.
This surprises you? Well, honestly… it surprised us too. And yet, that’s where our heart is. We struggle against the injustice for ALL ORPHANS, U.S. included – but, we’ve been CALLED to Africa. While ALL children need a home, there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia and 60% of children are stunted from malnutrition. One in six children die before their 1st birthday. These children have no foster system. In fact, some of them never even make it to the orphanage because they are so unwanted. Some are left in the bush to be eaten by animals and some are drowned. For these children, adoption is a life or death situation.
So, why are we adopting…and why are we doing so internationally when there are so many children who need homes in the U.S? The short answer to that is BECAUSE WE WERE/ARE CALLED TO.
I can’t really give you the “why” God called us to Africa and not China or Russia or…Kentucky. I just decided to quit running away. Honestly, this doesn’t fit into our original plans – but, honestly…we’re quickly finding that some of the stuff that we thought was important…really isn’t. And, it’s rocking our world.
We DO believe that God’s heart aches for orphans, and that we are ALL called to look out for the orphans AND widows (although, that looks differently for everyone…we don’t believe everyone is called to adopt). We DO believe that God is for adoption and blesses adoption…after all, aren’t each of us adopted into His big family? We also believe that God loves each and every race equally…it is He who created them all!!
Our heart aches for ALL orphans (and injustice, in general) and we aren’t OPPOSED to adoption from other places. Actually, we FULLY support it! The truth is, though, we can’t adopt from everywhere…especially not simultaneously. So, for THIS adoption at THIS time, this is where we’ve been called. We agree that each and every child needs a forever home, regardless of where they live… and we support those of you who have a passion for other areas in your own journey towards advocating for the orphans…wherever they may be.