Thank you so much for all the encouragement since my last post. We really are much more confident this week. I just want to share the hard, bad times through this too so that someone else going through it can know it’s not all warm fuzzy feelings to go through this. I hope I don’t seem like I’m whining – I just want to be really transparent. In my blog searches, there weren’t many that talked about any opposition they faced or questions they wondered. I just think that makes it hard and a little unrealistic. So, I just want to bear it all!
I referenced in the last post that we had one afternoon where we really were at the point of thinking maybe we were wrong about adoption. But, we agreed to pray through it some more and God gave us an overwhelming YES YES YES! I really want to share some of the scripture that God has used to encourage us this week because He has been amazing! It’s really unfathomable to me how GOOD God has been through this. I KNOW he’s good, but wow! He is GOOD! We were challenged by a friend to match up the questions and doubts WITH SCRIPTURE. And let me say first and foremost, while hearing the questions were hard and hurt some, they were SO GOOD for us! I’m very thankful for them now because I know we’ve thought and prayed through this even more than we would have originally! But, I’m listing the scripture here, but keep in mind the questions and doubts we had (or that others were throwing at us) were these:
- You have three perfectly wonderful children, why add to that? Aren’t you busy enough? Where are you going to put this new child?
- How is an all white family going to raise a black child in a mostly white community? Is that fair to the child you are adopting?
- Won’t you be taking away from your biological kids? You’re going to have to do a lot of adjusting for this child who is so different from the rest of your family. How will that affect them?
- Money. $25,000? Where’s that going to come from?
- How do we know the child will be healthy? There are a few horror stories floating around where a child was said to be healthy, and then they weren’t.
So, we take these questions and our heavy (yet still joyful and expectant of the Lord) hearts to staff retreat where we had not shared much of anything with anyone, much less the speakers! Ok, so on night one Pete Wilson talked about keeping a heart for ministry. In it he talked about that God has a VISION for our lives. If we look at our lives from our perspectives and our American Christianity, our lives will be less than what God has in store for us. Moses didn’t obey and therefore he lost out on getting to bring the Israelites to the promised land. God still accomplished his goal, but Moses missed out on part of God’s vision for his life. (Oh, I do NOT want God to accomplish his will through someone else because we are not obedient! I DO want God’s vision for our lives – not mine!) Once we have that vision, we have to DECIDE that we want that vision more than anything Christ has to offer! Then we ensure that we are in the word and abiding in Christ in order to get that vision to take place. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is [for me, not for anyone else!] - his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (The PATTERN of this world – our area of the country especially – is not for a white family to adopt a black child. It is not in American culture to step out of our comfort zones and think about someone other than ourselves. It is not easy. But, we are called to not CONFORM to the patterns of the world but to let God renew our minds so we can determine what HIS will is for our lives! Good word!)
The next speaker was Chris Adams from our church who did a quick little diddy that was just for me I think! She spoke about Joshua. Joshua was the one who was able to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land (wow, connection to the previous story!), and they came to the Jordan River that the Lord told them to cross. God didn’t tell them how they were to accomplish this or offer any assurances. They got to this huge river that seemed impassable, and God had told them to take a few steps into the water and stop. They did, and the river parted for them to walk through. She talked about how sometimes God shows us how He will accomplish something big, but sometimes we are faced with obeying God with huge obstacles in front of us. Sometimes during those times God tells us nothing but to go ahead and stick our feet in. Jump without knowing. A leap of faith. Wow – that was huge too! God’s not going to show us in advance all the answers to our questions, but we have to obey anyway! (Read Joshua chapters 1-4 if you like – a great story!) Afterwards they built a memorial to the Lord with the twelve stones to remind them of what God had done. Likewise, we have to remember the ways God delivers so that we too can look upon those times when God’s plan doesn’t seem clear.
More speakers were the Mims who spoke on building family. They said that one thing they had learned long ago is to NEVER allow anyone else to dictate what our family and marriage should be – that is between us and God. That was a good word too. God reminded me of Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” Not specifically focusing on leaving the father and mother but the fact that when Jason and I married, WE are one flesh and WE are responsible to the Lord for our relationship and our family – and to nobody else! We will be held accountable for how we obeyed and listened to the Lord, not anyone else!
In my quiet time I’ve read verses such as Gal 5:1 “We are called to be free!”, and over and over the verse I recently memorized has come up and I’ve spent a lot of time praying through it, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9
Then to top it off, a friend called this week and said God had told her twice that week to call me with this verse. She kind of brushed it off at first, but she said God was persistent. Gal 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Another reminder that we only have the Lord to please, and it can’t matter what anyone thinks.
God has been clear to say the least. These are things I know in my head. I would give someone the same answers if I was counseling them. But, for God to remind me of it in a different situation of my life is so precious. I have so much to keep learning from him. What a blessing to have a relationship with Christ! The beauty of it amazes me to no end!
So, pros and cons… answers to questions. My list looks like this:
Pros of adopting:
- Having God’s vision for my life, not someone else’s or my own selfish American idea of Christianity
- Obeying God (my list could really stop here, but it doesn’t!)
- Our family being changed by the life a child we haven’t met yet – I can’t imagine life without Katie Beth, Everett or Nolan, and I know once this little girl gets here I won’t be able to imagine it without her either. I already can’t!
- Our little girl having a life filled with hope and one where she hopefully will come to know Christ! God could accomplish this through someone else, but we do not want to lose the joy of getting to introduce Christ and God’s love to her! I want to get in on God’s vision! God has her set aside for us, and I want what God wants! So, I want my baby girl! And I may not have birthed her, but oh, she WILL be mine.
- I do not believe that our children will lose out on anything in having a little sister. My boys need to learn how to treat a little girl (their sister is bigger so it’s all out muscles on her now!). But, this will be their SISTER. And how open minded will they be regarding racism? They will not grow up with preconceived ideas about race or stereotypes! They will grow up with a world vision that is focused on GOD’S vision!
- We can’t do anything BUT obey. Proverbs 24:12 says, “Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act.”
Cons to adopting:
- We’re busy with three kids already - oh yes we are! But, I couldn’t imagine having enough room, time, or love for Everett in my life when I just had Katie Beth, but God gave us that. I couldn’t imagine enough room, time, or love for Nolan in my life when I already had two children, but God gave us that too. And He will give it for this little girl.
- How are we going to raise a black child in a white family and mostly white community? I don’t know. We have a lot to learn. There are groups of multi-racial families, we know of other friends adopting from Ethiopia as well, we will do our best to incorporate some aspects of their culture into our family. But God will just have to lead and give us wisdom in this. I know that color is a PATTERN of this world, it is not how God views the world. Racism is a PATTERN, it is NOT from God. And we won’t make decisions based upon it.
- You got 25 Gs sitting around? Nope. No money here! We don’t know this one either, but I’m very excited to see how God will provide this as well – more on this soon! Just like in the story of Joshua, we are putting our feet in the water, and we’ll see how God provides. It’s a little scary, but I’m ready!
- What if the baby isn’t healthy? I don’t know. I do know there are lots more good results out there than bad, but we hear about the bad ones more often. But, I DO know this: Psalms 139:13-16 tells me all I need to know about our daughter’s body. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Her body is not a secret to God, nor is who He has chosen for us. HIS WORKS ARE WONDERFUL. So, whatever child God blesses us with, she will be wonderful!
Sorry for the length of this, but I just wanted to share and get it down. Thanks for reading if you made it all the way down!!