Saturday, December 1, 2007

"Do You Ever Think Maybe God Doesn't Want You to Adopt?"

We get questions. We get lots of questions about our adoption. Many of them are the same questions I probably would have asked three years ago. I still remember asking a really, really dumb question of a friend who had just adopted her daughter from Korea. I won't tell you what it was, but I remember. I'm embarrassed by it now, so I listen to the questions and try my best to answer and educate at the same time.

Today, I was talking to someone about our adoption and about all we've gone through during our three year journey to Ellie. I don't know they whys of why we've gone through so much. I jokingly tell people that if you want to shut down an adoption program, just put me in the line. Of course, it's a joke. We've tried domestic and then moved to international and China. Then we looked into and were going to change to Taiwan, but while we waited and discussed and talked, the wait times got too long. Then we looked into Vietnam. We were ready to sign a contract with our agency but the loan got stalled. By the time we signed the loan, the agency had put a halt to new applications due to the problems the U.S. and Vietnam are having and the potential the countries will not renew their agreement and adoptions between Vietnam and the U.S. might stop again. So now we have some more choices to consider -- a new country, put our dossier on "hold" for Vietnam and wait it out to see what happens. As Kevin says, "We always have China." :-) We do have China, and we feel that no matter what we will go to China when our "number comes up". However, in the mean time, we research and consider other countries and other options.

So, in knowing this entire story, along with many other details that are too lengthy to include, this person asked, "Have you considered that maybe God doesn't want you all to have another baby?" Hmmmm... how do you answer this? I answered, simply, "Yes, I have considered it, but I don't feel that's what He is saying to me."

And then, I pondered. I searched my heart. I looked for the real answer. I need to know in my heart what the answer is and I need to be able to share that with others. And now, I know.

I am a simple girl from Tennessee. I have never lived anywhere but Tennessee. I don't like change -- in fact, I loathe change. I said forever that I didn't want any children, then I thought, "Well, maybe one." Then that was enough, plenty, even. I have travelled to Canada and Mexico, but that's as close to "international" as it gets for this girl. I'm sheltered, I tell you.

So, explain to me, how this person described above feels the absolute call in her heart to travel to a foreign country (where they don't speak ENGLISH mind you), possibly multiple times, to bring home not one baby, but now TWO (if we do an interim adoption and China) and become a multi-racial family. Have I lost my mind??? No, I have heard the voice of God in my heart for children in very poor countries -- children who will never know the love of a family, the hugs of a mother when they are sick, the attention of a father, the safety of a big brother, children who will never know the LOVE of the one true God and might never have the opportunity to experience the saving grace of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is not a place I could have gotten to on my own -- this is so foreign (literally) to me, that it has to be from God.

Allow me to share some sobering information about this country's children:
  • Children in the country we are considering do not have diapers in the orphanages. Receiving blankets are tied around them for diapers.
  • Children in this country work in the streets as young as seven -- weighing people, shining shoes, begging for food, working as porters, selling newspapers, etc. These children often earn about 18 cents a day.
  • There are thought to be between 600-1500 street children out of a population of 500,000. These are CHILDREN with no families or with families who are so poor their chidlren are the only way they have of earning income.
  • Children in this country work in dangerous coal mines to earn up to $3 per day to support their families
  • Orphanages often have no medicines, none, to treat children when they are sick.
  • One orphanage was noted, prior to recent aid, to have been using the same sheets and towels for 17 years. The manager cried when they received new ones.
  • Daily wages at the orphanages are around $1 per day.

God is love. I John 4:7-8 is a verse Joshua learned in school. I remember memorizing it with him. It says,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

What is adoption but offering love to a child? Let the children come to me. How could God put this in our hearts, three years ago, if He did not have a plan to make this happen?

Most people I know don't have a longing to adopt a child. I think God has given us the pieces of desire that He felt we could handle a little at a time. "Ok, they will be ok with adopting so we'll put it in their heart to adopt from the U.S. Stall that process for a while. Now they've had some time and feel they can overcome the hurdles to adopt from another country so let's move on. Stall China for a few years so we can get them comfortable going to another country." And, on and on it goes, until we feel a comfort level with going where He originally wanted us to go. Remember, I'm a girl who doesn't like change. It takes a while for me to get comfortable with where I really need to be. God knows how I am made and He knows that telling me I'm going to need to go to a third world country (or two) and adopt a child is not something I would have been able to accept three years ago. We've come a long way.

But, we have a long way to go. The reason for the question from this person was the jaw dropping news of how much money we are going to need to complete this adoption. (I will share in another post why agencie indicate adoptions cost so much). While we have paid for our China adoption and with God's help have raised an additional $12,000 for this adoption, we are still very short in funds to complete this adoption. Signing a contract and following God's direction on this one will require a huge leap of faith on our part and a huge belief in God's ability to provide the needed funds prior to our referral and travel. And, like I have told Kevin, "I know God is big enough for this job. I just hope my faith is big enough for this job." Hang on folks, God is about to grow me some more. :-)

This adoption has been the most maturing experience God has ever used in my life. I am not the same, self-centered, materialistic, worldly person I was before I started this. (My geography and world knowledge has certainly increased as well). God has used this to teach me about the extreme poverty in our world, the plight of people in countries who are trying to just exist, the politics of foreign countries, the absolute frustrating idea of superiority the U.S. has toward other countries, and where to find small remote countries on the map. :-) He has allowed me to form friendships with people all over the country that I would have never had the benefit and pleasure of knowing. He has allowed me to become more appreciative of the blessing that is my son. He has softened my heart, reduced my pride, made me more than I was before, broken my heart and loved me beyond measure. He will continue to do more, I know.

So, do I think God doesn't want me to adopt? With all my heart I know that He does. I know it like I know Him. I know it as surely as I know that I am saved and will spend eternity in heaven. I know it with every breath I take. I know this girl, my daughter. I know Ellie. She is in my heart and is my child. She is not a concept; she is not just a dream that can be tossed aside because of the difficulty or seeming impossibility of the situation. She is a child that needs a mother, a father, a brother -- a family. I can't save them all; but I can save one -- or two. It is all He has asked of me. My part is small -- my part, right now, is faith.


April L said...

Maria, You are soo right! You know I have seen a different part of you and especially seen HIM through you. All the battles you and Kevin and even Joshua have faced you are still faithful to HIM. WAY TO GO!! You guys are soo inspiring to me. Thanks for sharing your heart and what God has called you to do. What a faithful servant and your reward HE has in store for you will be so worth it all. Love, April

Mom to 2 Angels said...

I was excited to see another Tennesseean on the Yahoo group. I can't imagine how frustrating your journey must have been at times, but only you know what He is leading you to do.

Heather Field said...

Beautiful post and I couldn't agree more. I truly pray with all that I am that you hold your sweet Ellie in your arms soon. May God bless your faith and your trust in Him!