Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Absolutely and Bologna

My boy's surgery was a complete success which was an odd reason to find myself sobbing all the way home from the hospital, but there I was. He will hear and, more importantly, he will live, neither of which he would do were he left in his home country of Serbia. 

I'm not being dramatic. The ENT confirmed that the cholesteatoma had already eaten away two of the three major bones of his ear and started to damage the third, though it was saved. It was only a matter of time before it entered his brain and caused eventual death. 

I told someone recently how grateful I am that he's here and able to get this surgery. Predictably, she gushed, "God must have a great plan for his life to have brought you all the way to him to save his life!"

Absolutely...and bologna.

Absolutely because I firmly believe that God does indeed love Bogdan and has a plan for his life. I do believe that God sent us to him. But bologna, because there are thousands of other children whose lives are not saved, who remain orphans, and who die alone. 

Does that mean God does not have a plan for their lives? Does He not love them? Does He not care about them? Why doesn't He send someone to save them?

And this is why I found myself sobbing, partly in gratitude for the boy that has captured my heart, and partly in sorrow for the others that are left behind. 

I'll be honest with you. After pouring out my heart to the Lord, I don't think the orphan crisis is God's fault. I fully believe He loves and cares for and has a plan for each and every orphan out there. I think He does send us and we're too busy to listen or we think adoption is for the super spiritual or the called. We think we're not patient enough or wealthy enough or strong enough or just enough. So we do nothing. 

And I wonder, where is faith? None of us is enough. That is kind of the point of the gospel. On our own, we are nothing, we have nothing, and we can do so very little. But in Jesus, we are children of the living God. We have everything we need for life and godliness, and we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

I have to remind myself of this over and over again. I don't have to be enough. Clearly, I am not. I am ridiculously inadequate in every possible way. Thank God, that's okay.

He is enough.

You don't have to be called, either. I don't know where this idea comes from. In our large family, my kids hear me say all the time, "You see a need, you fill it. If you see something that needs doing, and you are able to, do it. If there is a pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs waiting to go to the top, take the stuff with you when you go upstairs. If you are near the sink and a little person asks for a drink, fill his sippy cup. If you find an empty box in the pantry, throw it away." It's not a difficult concept, right? You see a need, you fill it. 

You don't have to be called to adopt. 

I can't find the idea anywhere in Scripture that meeting a need is something that only a select few are called to do. 

Instead I find this: 
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Then these righteous ones will reply, "Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or a naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?" And the King will tell them, "I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" Matthew 25:35-40

There is no question of need. Over one hundred thousand children available for adoption in the United States foster care system alone. Millions of children institutionalized internationally. Sixteen-year-old girls aging out of orphanages and immediately entering prostitution. Children dying of ridiculous things like benign ear tumors, for crying out loud. A Teenage boy standing up in front of a church begging for a family, for someone just to care enough to take him to football practice.

There is no mystery here. Adoption is not for the super spiritual or those that feel called or equipped or whatever. It's for those who see a need and are willing to fill it. It's rife with complexity, but can start with a simple acknowledgment, as it did for me:
There is a child that has no one. I am someone. He can have me.
I have always been a dreamer. I'm a visionary. I am not, however, one who follows through. I have started more projects than I can possibly begin to list for you, but I can count those finished on one hand. I don't know why international adoption is among those finished. I'm guessing the answer is grace. His strength, His endurance, His tenacity, His patience...certainly nothing whatsoever to do with me. It is with utter humility and gratitude that I reminisce. 

So big, giant, crocodile tears run down my face for this boy who was a stranger to me just a year ago, but now is my son. He is worth it. He is worth all the hoops that we jumped through, the paper chasing, the scrimping, the fundraising, the anxiety, the travel, etc. I would do it all again and then some. 

If you have ever considered adoption, I want you to know, to really understand, that your child is worth it, too. Your child, the one that has not yet stolen your heart simply because you have not yet laid eyes on him or her, waits for you, perhaps in a country in which you have never landed. He's worth it, you know. She's worth it. Take a leap.

I know that adoption is not a need every Christian will fill. We are not all going upstairs or near the sink or reaching in the pantry. I get it. Please do not tell me how you are not in a position to adopt or how unhealthy it would be for someone that you know to adopt, etc. 'Cause honestly? I waffle between Absolutely and Bologna on this one, too. Tell Jesus. He's the only One who can change circumstances and mend hearts, k? We are all responsible for the fatherless, though, and if adoption is not your thing, support those that are trying to fund an adoption, take a meal to those who have recently adopted, provide respite care, sponsor an orphan, get involved in a Big Brother/Sister type program, pray for orphans, etc. Most importantly, ask Jesus what He wants you to do and do that!


  1. Good word. I am going to think of that 'fill the need' thin for a while... and share it with my kids too. I appreciate you.

  2. You hit the nail on the head, Tara! God does care about each and every orphan and is calling those to step up but the world just turns a deaf ear and placates themselves with someone else can adopt not me...

  3. This is the best balance I have heard anyone articulate. Thanks.