Adoption rocked my world. In more than the t-shirt wearing kind of way. It changed everything about the way I live on a daily basis – and more importantly, it changed the way I see the world around me.
A little background
I first thought about adoption after I read Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Men.’ I was taken with the story of Jo, and her boys living at Plumfield. I dreamed of the day I could open an estate and take in little ones in need of love.
As I grew older, my mom told me about her experiences in foster care. My resolve strengthened – one day, I would adopt. One day, I would provide security and safety for children in need of stability.
After college, I was interned at a ministry in inner-city St. Louis. As part of our training, the interns were assigned the project of interviewing each other. I will never forget the day I sat across from the man who is now my husband, pouring out the dreams of my heart. He laughed heartily as he said it sounded like I needed a large ranch and lots of hired help to fulfill the call of God on my life!
Little did he know God’s way of fulfilling that heart desire was through our unity in marriage, and a firm foundational belief that children are a blessing from God!
Maybe you, too, grew up with a longing to foster or adopt. Perhaps, just recently, you’ve felt God leading you to consider how you can open your heart and home to a child in need. Or maybe, you’ve never felt called to orphan care. Whatever the case, I pray you’ll read on!
A step of faith
Often, we wait until circumstances are just right to take a step of faith. In our attempt to count the cost and be well prepared, we delay taking action. As a type-A, plan-loving woman, I get that. I have been known to say “I love scheduled spontaneity!” However, a step of faith always requires two things: believing in something we cannot see, and an action that aligns with that belief.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1
Hebrews 11 goes on to tell us about heroes in the faith. Those who lived lives full of steps of faith. Noah built an ark in the desert. Abram became Abraham, the friend of God, as he followed God out of the land of his fathers and into the unknown. When most women her age would be in a nursing home, Sarah was nursing Isaac, the child of promise born to her and Abraham. The stories go on – heroes and heroines of faith, all of whom put their faith into action.
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus, also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” – James 2:14-17
James goes on to detail how the acts of faith are what saved the heroes of faith! Similarly, when we allow our faith to compel us into action, we are living in the likeness of Jesus. Jesus, who knew the beginning from the end, and knowing the cross was before Him, constantly moved with compassion for others!
A decision to move forward
When we applied for our first adoption, we had three children aged three and under. The baby was only six months. I was the first person to ever ask our social worker if a nursing baby could attend all day training! Our home was not a large farm house on a sprawling ranch, rather it was a modest 1,100 square foot ranch on a third of an acre. Our bank account was nothing to envy, and my husband was working long, hard hours to provide for our family.
No one would have questioned our motives if we had waited. No one would have wondered if we had heard clearly from God or asked if we wanted to reconsider if we had decided this was not a ‘good’ time. But, what we really would have been doing is saying it wasn’t a convenient time for us.
Moving forward was going to require mountains of paperwork, intrusive home visits, and probing questions. It was going to require training, renovating our home to add a bedroom, and laying down any hopes of keeping up with the Joneses. Nothing about the timing appeared perfect from the outside looking in, but everything about the timing was in accordance to His perfect plan for our family and for our son.
You see, God has this unique way of equipping the called. Typically, He doesn’t hand us everything we need, give us insight into how everything is going to happen, and then ask us to do something we feel totally secure doing. That scenario leaves a lot of room for pride, and very little need for utter dependence on Him.
That step of faith changed the direction of our lives. We now have six children, aged eight and under, two of whom we have adopted from foster care. We still live in our modest ranch, and we still don’t have hired help! (And unless God says so, we aren’t ‘done’ with kids – biological or adopted!) We are doing our best to raise our children in the love and admonition of the Lord – teaching them about love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and justice. We are petitioning for a change in the foster care system, advocating for children in need of families, and working with others to meet the practical needs of children and families.
Friend, whatever season of life you’re in, I’d like to invite you to ask God what step of faith He is asking you to take. And then, I’d like to encourage you to take it. Believing He is who He says He is, and He’ll do what He says He’ll do. Knowing that you are His beloved and that He will never leave or forsake you. Today, commit to putting your faith into action!
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