This Thanksgiving I am so very THANKFUL for my broken heart. Broken, The moment I heard their adoption stories, Broken. The moment I saw the waiting child list. Broken. The first moment I saw those big beautiful eyes. Broken.
Our pastor recently asked us to share a brief testimony about how we were led to and through adoption, and what we've learned through the process.
So, brief huh? hmmmm...My friends, there is so very much to say. With all sincerity, I believe the Lord continues to teach me new things everyday through our adoption. It is too close to our spiritual stories of life as a child of God, adopted by our Heavenly Father, Abba, Daddy, to not see and understand how much He loves us. To not have our eyes opened to an abundance of spiritual lessons. I think I could write a book. Perhaps. One Day. But for now... briefly....
"Four and a half years ago the Lord began leading us to adopt our two youngest sons from Ethiopia, in Africa. At the time we had three boys ages 7, 9, and 12, and we thought that our family was complete. But, we had been asking the Lord to break our hearts for the things that break His. Scripture tells us that “God has compassion for the fatherless”. His heart breaks for them.
God had already been preparing our hearts when we walked into our regular church service one Sunday morning and our pastor began speaking about God’s compassion for His neglected children and our call to reach out and care for the orphan. We know that God’s heart breaks for both: those who are without the Heavenly Father as well as those who are without an earthly father, and He was showing us that morning… that just as He reaches out to us offering us hope, inviting us to become His children, we also were to reach out to the orphans of this world, offering them hope and inviting them to become our children.
Several adoptive families from our church body were invited that morning to share some of their own experiences, as well as general information about adoption and orphans worldwide, and we were shocked by some of the statistics. There are today, estimated over 163 million orphans in the world. 163 million orphans is slightly more than the population of Russia, the seventh largest nation on the planet, and more than half the population of the United States. God’s heart is breaking. And He is calling us to reach out to them. In Isaiah 1:17 He asks us to “defend the cause of the fatherless.” And in James 1:27 He tells us to “look after orphans in their distress.” He calls this “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless.” He doesn’t say that it is easy or that it won’t come without trial. In fact, we’ve learned that the opposite is true. But we’re reminded that it wasn’t easy for Christ to willingly climb the mountain to Calvary either. It was a difficult calling with an enormous blessing.
We learned throughout our adoption process, that God never asks us to walk up a mountain alone. We learned that we are too weak for that. In our own weakness, we felt insufficient for the task. We were not “superparents” and raising 3 boys was already stretching us. How could we possibly be good parents to 5 boys? How could we possibly afford it? Where would the finances come from for the adoption itself, as well as the continued expense of raising a large family? How could we handle the medical struggles and special needs that we were likely to face with an adoption from a third world country? We faced obstacles that were greater than us. But nothing is too hard for our God. “He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Eph 3:20) He was already at work in the areas of our doubts and fears. When He spoke to our hearts that Sunday morning and asked us to adopt, He also spoke to the hearts of many others, and He asked some of them to care for the orphans in other ways. He asked some of them to offer their gift of generosity to the orphans. Many shared toys and games, clothing and other necessities with both our newly adopted boys, as well as the children that our boys left behind at the orphanage in Ethiopia. Others shared financial gifts that helped with our adoption expenses. God also asked some of them to share their gift of encouragement through words and cards when we were struggling. And MANY were asked to uphold our family in prayer. Repeatedly throughout the ups and downs of our adoption process there were prayer warriors on their knees, and we watched mountains move. He also asked some to share their gift of hospitality and many provided meals for our large family when we returned from a long, tiring trip to Ethiopia to bring our boys home. Our needs were met, and they continue to be met. And we continue to learn.
We are learning...
that meeting our needs is not dependent upon our own capabilities, but upon God’s capabilities; we are able to provide for the needs of our children, because HE is a Father who provides for HIS children.
We are learning that we are insufficient for the task of raising 5 boys, and we will never be “superparents”. But, His grace is sufficient! And He pours it out in abundance. The more grace we need, the more grace He gives.
We are learning that there is nothing about us that would make us specially qualified to adopt, or to raise 5 children, or to handle the special needs that arise when parenting adopted children.
But, we are also learning... that the only “special need” a child really has is the need for a family to love them.
And we are learning that the only qualification God asks of any of us, is a willingness to respond to God when He calls us to step out in faith."
Are you willing? To walk in His grace?
Are you willing? To walk in His grace?