Rules, rules, rules. So many rules in this world. Some good, some bad. Some God-given, some man-made. They’re everywhere, including in the adoption world.
I’m sure you’ve heard many of them. Don’t adopt out of birth order: it might confuse the children already in your home. Don’t adopt older kids especially: it’s too easy for them to overpower your younger kids. And don’t ever, EVER, bring a child in your home who has had any kind of sexual abuse if you have other children: because gaaaaaah!!
I truly understand the rules from the world’s view. They all make total sense. From a biblical view, though, I can’t make heads or tails of it.
We’re called to father (or mother) the fatherless (or motherless). And just like other parts of Scripture where we’re called to love our enemies or become all things for ALL people or take the word to the nations, there aren’t “buts” after those commands. So it doesn’t say “father the fatherless, but not if they’re older than your kids or a little too broken.”
This is a tough topic. I know it. I especially know it because we had to deal with all the questions in our last adoption. And we ultimately decided to break all the “rules.”
It scared the crap out of me. And that fear is still there in my heart daily.
But it scares me because I’m a faithless child. I think my children’s future somehow has something to do with me. I wait for God to curse me when I do something like this, listening to whispers that I somehow tested him. And it will all be my fault because I acted as a fool!
But then I remember there are no “buts.” And I know this was the door opened for us, the one God designed before the foundation of the world. And contrary to God cursing us, not opening the door would have meant many blessings we would have missed.
I look at my child, at the haunted looks she still has in her eyes, and sometimes, if I look closely enough, I see a spark of life break through. I see her do something kind for a sibling or run to help with something. I see the love she and all her siblings have for each other, how the family feels incomplete if one isn’t there.
I see her grow in her understanding of who Jesus is. A little girl scared of monsters in the beginning, telling us God isn’t big enough to make them go away, seeing more each day that God already defeated the biggest monster there will ever be. And even while she’s still rejecting that Jesus in her heart, I know she’s seeing him in bigger and more real ways than she ever was before.
And I think about what her life might have been. Don’t mis-hear. WE are failing all the freaking time. She’s not blessed because she now has rock star parents. She’s blessed because she’s where God intends her to be. Maybe she would have been in a better home if we hadn’t said yes. But maybe she wouldn’t be. Maybe she’d still be in the system and no one would want her. I’ll never know the maybes. I only know I was supposed to say “yes.”
And I don’t know how to say “no” to one child’s soul for the sake of some possible future physical “safety” issue of my other children. I don’t know how to confidently make a future prediction that my children will turn out in any way no matter the decisions we make here. There are the Josh Duggars who were “raised right and safely,” and there are those who experienced unbelievable tragedies who have beautiful stories of redemption. Sometimes we dress up pragmatism and call it wisdom when it’s really just fear and faithlessness.
Have things changed for us? Absolutely. I have a much more keen eye. I have fewer freedoms. We have the “yell and tell” conversation more often than most families. We have “safeties” in place. We have some rules set up in our home that most families wouldn’t probably have.
And we’re also growing to understand we just can’t control every single thing. That’s still the hardest lesson for me, and I hope to say yes over and over to keep learning it. A life I control less suddenly makes God way bigger in my eyes. I get to watch him be sovereign over my family. I get to see him as a good God who loves and protects all my children way better than I can. I get to see there are things more important than physical safety. I get a bigger faith.
It’s important to say that there’s no intent here to say every single person should say yes to every single child coming into their home. We’re not there yet either! My challenge for you (and me!) is to simply have a bigger faith, to get out of your comfort zone, and to trust God’s design.
Here are all the posts in our adoption series:
- Getting Real About Adoption
- Loving the Unlovable
- Sin in the Adopted Child
- Support for the Adoptive Parent
- Broken-Hearted Parents
- Some Clarifying Thoughts on Our Adoption
- Examining Adoption Resources (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 1)
- Normal and Healthy? (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 2)
- A Matter of Foundations (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 3)
- The Sins of Neurology (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 4)
- Idol Swapping (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 5)
- Setting the Course (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 6)
- Another Way Forward (reviewing The Connected Child, Pt 7)
- The Therapy Our Children Need
- Who Are You Calling Normal?
- Optional Adoption
- How to Adopt for Almost Free (And No Fundraising!)
- What About “Those” Kids?
- Trying to Make Them Lovable