God’s Love: Adoptive Father

This is a picture of a friend who adopted a beautiful girl from India.

This is a friend who adopted a beautiful girl from India.

Greg and I are in the middle of the process of deciding how we will adopt a child, God willing that we should. There are so many possibilities, it is mind boggling. Should we choose an embryo, a life on hold, and give it a chance to really live? How about a newborn baby, one we could love and influence for God from the very beginning?  A two year old who has been suffering from the lack of stability and maybe even a lack of care? What about a child from a third world country, a child who may never have many opportunities for health care or to become the person God made him/her to be if left in the orphanage? Or a child from a communist country who might never know about God’s love if not adopted? We are praying for guidance and meeting with as many people as we can.

I’ve already talked about God as a father AND as a daddy (actually, my husband wrote about that, but you know what I mean), which are both pretty similar, but God also presents Himself as an adoptive father. God loves us as an adoptive father loves his adopted child. You might ask, how different can that be? Aren’t you taking this a little too far? I don’t think I am.

Even though most adoptive parents I’ve talked to tell me they love their adopted children the same as they love their biological children, there is a difference. The relationship is slightly different because the adopted child is, as I’m finding, often deliberately and many times painstakingly chosen. Some adoptive parents even call their adopted children “chosen children”. It’s not that I didn’t choose to have my other three, but so far, I can tell you that choosing a child to adopt has been a much more arduous process.

A girl I knew in high school had been adopted from India. She took great joy in a statement her parents told her as she was raised by them: “You may not have been born to us, but we chose you.” What’s the difference? It made all the difference to that girl. It implies a love that seeks out the beloved. It’s a deliberate, purposeful love.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:5,6: “He [God] predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” This verse shows it so clearly. It was the kind intention of His will that we become His children. He intended it, willed it, predestined it. We weren’t a surprise to Him, as might happen to an earthly father. He desired us and sought us out.

Thankfully, God’s decisions about choosing us are not as hard to come by as it has been for me and my husband as we seek out which child to adopt. God chose us before the foundation of the earth. The verses immediately preceding the ones I just quoted in Ephesians say, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:3,4).

If you have accepted Jesus, you can rest today in the knowledge that God chose you to love, even though He knew all you would and wouldn’t be. You are His beloved chosen child, and He is your forever family.

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This is my friend’s brother-in-law, who adopted from this beautiful girl from China.

Adoption Journey: Information Meeting

We haven’t gotten much further in our adoption journey from the last time I wrote, although we’ve been praying a lot about it, asking for God’s leading. We’ve also talked to a lot of different people about adoption, and I’ve been researching on the Internet. From all of that, we have decided that if we do not adopt through foster care, we will use Bethany Christian Services for our adoption agency. We haven’t heard a thing against them and only glowing testimonials.

We went to Bethany Christian Service’s informational meeting last Thursday, and although I now have a few more questions than I did before, in general it was helpful. Thankfully, a sweet friend of ours watched our kids so we could not only go to the meeting but also go to Salsarita’s afterwards to talk about it.

After hearing what they had to say, we are leaning toward infant domestic adoption. They also offer older children domestic adoption in which DCS has no part, so we are also interested in that, but only if the child is younger than three, the age of our youngest. We think this would be the best choice for our family, but we’re still praying about it. We did fill out a free preliminary application for international adoption just to find out which countries would be available to us, but at this point there’s a slim chance we’ll go that route.

We will receive word from Bethany in a few days about our international choices, and I hope to talk to some people soon about their experiences with fostering to adopt. If we rule those out, we will be plunking down $500 to fill out the domestic adoption application in the near future. As the whole process is pretty expensive, we will be looking into fundraisers at that point!

I have told our kids about our intentions, keeping it low key, but asking them to pray for God’s leading. Both of them prayed for an infant girl the other night, but I’m not sure if that was God’s leading or just the fact that they saw my friend’s cute baby girl that day and wanted one of those. It’s interesting to watch our kids’ thoughts on adoption. Mr. C wants to adopt mostly because he’s worried about a child who has no family. He said, “The child might be crying in an orphanage right now!” Mr. C was born with a good amount of God-given empathy. Little E, instead, is more interested in adoption from the standpoint of how it could help her. She usually wants us to adopt a five year old girl so she can have a female playmate around at all times. JP, of course, doesn’t have a clue what he’s in for and how his status as cherished youngest child will be endangered in the future.

We’re so thankful for God’s guidance and our family and friends’ support, especially those who have gone before us and have been willing to share their thoughts with us. We would appreciate any prayers anyone is willing to give for us through this process!

The Beginning of Our Adoption Journey

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Greg and I have begun the journey to adoption, a journey that I had been hoping to embark on for many years, since before I can remember!

When I was young, many of my favorite books centered around orphans: almost all the books by L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables), one book I read numerous times about a girl who lost her mother to cancer, and even the original 101 Dalmatians, a story about orphaned puppies. In high school I repeatedly sang the songs from the musical Annie, especially the song full of longing, “Maybe.” I fell in love with the novel Les Miserables and sang the songs from the opera inspired by it, especially loving the songs by Cosette–an orphaned child and Fantine–her dying mother longing for her child. I loved the book and opera Phantom of the Opera, a story about a lonely orphaned young woman bewitched by an even lonelier twisted orphaned young man. I believe God stirred the heart of this bookworm from that young age, using the tools He knew would reach me.

As I grew older, I was moved by the fact that God adopted me into His family, as it says in Ephesians 1:3-6: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” I love taking part in God’s nature, imitating Him in who He is. I do this when I create something as a decoration for a birthday party, when I teach preschoolers, and when I mother my children. I feel such joy mimicking my Father in these small ways, and as I do, I find that I understand who He is and how He relates to me a little bit more. As I thought about how He adopted me, I wanted to do the same.

I’ve also visited several orphanages and read stories about foster children. I think a lot about children who are not part of a loving family, children who long to be deeply loved and belong, children who need to learn about God’s love–children I want my own children to see and understand. I know my family is not overly rich–Greg is a professor at a community college, and I’m a stay-at-home mom, but compared to many in the world, we have much, enough to share with a child. More importantly, we have God’s love to share.

However, it seemed for many years that God was not going to allow me to do so, even though it seemed like such a good and needed act–after all, there are an estimated 153 million orphans in the world. I prayed countless times over many years that He would change my heart towards adoption if it weren’t right for my family, but the desire did not fade. Two years ago, I wrote some of the very same words I’m writing now, but from a different perspective. At that time, I was in the process of surrendering my desire to adopt. I sold or gave away my baby gear and clothes as an act of surrender to God over this issue. I didn’t want to hold it too tightly.

One Wednesday night at the grocery store, I met an old acquaintance who happily told me he was about to adopt two girls. Normally, I’ve been excited for people who are in the process of adopting or who have already adopted, and this time was no exception, but when I climbed back in my car, the longing I had for adoption welled up in me like it hadn’t in a long time. I cried out to God, asking Him what He was doing and why He hadn’t taken my desire away yet if He wasn’t going to allow me to do it. I told Him once again how much I wanted it.

The following Sunday, a woman was talking in my community group at church about infertility and how she had to surrender her desires for a child to God and really wrestle it out with Him. I thought, Ok, God. I thought I’d surrendered this desire to You, but I’ll do it again. I’ll go home and wrestle it out with You. I never did get that chance to really wrestle it out with Him. That night, God let me know in a way I understood very well that He was finally allowing us to adopt. It was finally time!

We don’t know yet how we’re going to do it–we considered embryo adoption at first (as there are more than an estimated 600,000 frozen embryos in the U.S. alone, around 60,000 of which could be adopted), but as we believe that God would take to Heaven any of those lives that are ended prematurely (I hate the term used, “discarded”), we decided it was better to adopt a child already born who would be subjected to more suffering if not adopted. We don’t know if we’ll adopt a newborn, older baby, or toddler, but we do know we want to adopt a child younger than our youngest (who is almost 3 years old). We also still don’t know if we’ll adopt domestically through the foster system or privately, or even if we’ll adopt internationally, but we are researching, praying, and waiting for God to guide us.

And I’m praising God over and over for the green light He gave me!