All Fall Down

For a while now, my dreams have been of paperwork and notaries. Every night. This was one of many reasons why I was so grateful to turn over the paperwork and start the wait.

I’ve been having a new dream: A tiny bright light in the distance, beaming with an intensity that pulses like a heartbeat. It’s beautiful.

But there are thoughts you have in the darkness that no one prepares you for.

Right now, adoption is literally under attack. There is much concern about trafficking and adoption abuse. When you begin the adoption journey, these facts hit you in the face and chase you in the night.

What if my child could have remained with their parents for a few dollars a month? What if there is a mother crying in the night for the child she just gave up due to poverty?

It’s enough to make you quit. Or take the entire adoption loan and donate it to a mother, or a family, or a village.

Dr. Jane Aronson responded to the recent adoption concerns in the Huffington Post yesterday: “Why did we create such a marvelous bureaucracy to improve international adoption practices and not pour some of that money into the welfare of mothers in these countries?”

The reality is that if we feed the mothers, we feed the children. If we educate the mothers, we save the children. If we give parents access to antiretroviral medications for HIV/AIDS, lives are saved and families remain intact.

I have noticed that parents of internationally adopted children naturally fall into a common stream of charities or causes. You would think it would be “Adopt! We did it! It’s great!” It is; but it’s not. The causes are AIDS, poverty, and clean water. It is a natural progression to care for these things when you care for a child affected by AIDS, poverty, and famine. Promoting these issues are promoting orphan care.

There is a major dilemna that we all must face as Christians at some point. As Americans, we are ALL wealthy in comparison to the rest of this world. As Americans, we are known to the rest of this world as a “Christian nation.”

Americans give to the hungry at a low percentage of their GNP (gross national product) in comparison to other nations. What are we, as individual wealthy Christian Americans, telling the poverty-stricken world around us about Jesus Christ? What are we telling the world about the Gospels?

We are NOT the widow giving up her two coins.
We are the rich, making a big show of our tiny gifts.

Our adoption is not fixing any large problem. It is just an act of obedience. You may not feel called to adopt, but I will tell you that you can still do something to impact the orphan crisis in a huge way…you can sponsor a child. You can be an active voice for the hungry and the poor, putting action behind your voice. You can be aware that “if you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than seventy five percent of the people in the world.”

We can raise our children to understand that our wealth is determined by what we give to Jesus, not what we keep for ourselves. We can give until it hurts; the essense of “sacrificial giving.” It’s a lesson that I think I will have to spend the rest of my life learning, as I struggle to un-learn the American Dream and realign myself with the words of Jesus Christ.

When I get caught up in the ethics of adoption, I remember the waiting children in the videos. Waiting in cribs that are lined up like kennels. Waiting in beds lined with chicken wire, crying for their loss of everything, waiting for us to figure out what to do with them, while we argue over pie charts about how to do it.

Paul and I have been called to carry one of these children, maybe more than one, as our own. I don’t know why. I don’t have to. It’s just The Plan. What happens after that point will be our mission and responsibility for the rest of our lives; to care for and promote that child’s country, to bring to the attention of other Christians the poverty and disease that is swallowing children and people whole. I am grateful for this burden.


Missy Roepnack

Missy and Paul Roepnack live in Cary, NC, with their two daughters Lilly and Daisy.  After two children, six years of marriage, and a lifetime of lukewarm to room-temperature faith, they met Jesus. They quickly realized that there were two more little people missing from their family, and found them in Ethiopia. Join in on the “fun” as they seek the sanity and strength that will be needed to outrun four children under four years old at The Oasis.

6 Responses to All Fall Down

  • Missy says:

    Thank you for reading my post!
    If you feel moved today to reach out and do something to promote the future of Ethiopia, please choose your sponsor child today at:
    My husband and I will be visiting these gorgeous children at the Kechene School in Addis. We will meet not only our sponsor children, but YOURS as well, as all of the children that I match through my blog also attend Kechene. We feel honored to be the ones to visit these children and tell them about their sponsor families in person. I will be posting tons of pics and video of all the matched children when I return. This project is our passion, and we would love for you to join us in this journey to show these children that we know their name, that they are not forgotten, and that Jesus loves them. Be the miracle!!!

  • Jennifer P says:

    Forever changed. You are right on. It is hard to look at anything the same after seeing the need up close and personal. How often I lamented that my two sons exposed to drugs prenatally were on the small side. Now I compare them to my son who lived in an orphanage with a medical condition and my two little boys look rugged compared to the one who struggled for 8 years in another country.

    How DO we un-learn the American dream? Joining you on that journey. Wonderful thoughts.

    • Missy says:

      Thank you, Jennifer!

      I pray that your family will share the joy that we have encountered by letting go of the “dream” and grasping onto His purposes. It is amazing to see Him shift your entire worldview of what the words like “success”, “stability”, “peace”, “wisdom”, and “security” mean in order to align them with His definitions. He loves us so much, and that great Big Book is his Love Letter to us each individually with exact instructions on how to live a fulfilled and purposeful life. Praise God for your boys, and your own family journey.


  • haley says:

    holy moly! i was just talking to my dearest friend- alison ungaro- yesterday about, well… YOU! she kept telling me- you gotta read missy’s blog- you guys have so much in common (we have a son from ethiopia, one on the way from china, and a passion for orphan care in general) :-) then i am reading this post at WAGI and thinking how i’d like to post a linkto it on our blog b/c your thoughts were so in line with what is on my mind lately, but haven’t had the time to write. then i scroll down to read the bio and low-and-behold there is the girl alison was telling me about yesterday!! small world… i will certainly be checking out your blog (she was going to send me the link anyway) and following your journey to your children. thanks for your thoughtful and insightful post! do you mind if i post a link on our blog?
    please let us know if there is any way that we can pray for or encourage you guys on your journey!!
    haley long

  • Oh, your words are exactly what lives in my heart–but is so hard to convey. Adopting a child FOREVER changes all the people who interface with that child on this side of adoption–and because they are changed, their hearts begin to change things for those on the other side of the adoption. I am amazed how many people I have seen who have been changed by my children–they become fundraisers, sponsors, political change advocates, and yes, adopters–because as you state so well, even tho we WANT to change the world so that there are no orphans, there ARE orphans right now and THEY WAIT! Thank you for such an excellent post!

  • I have those same thoughts as we move ever closer to adopting our son from Lesotho. What if ARVs and job opportunities and enough food could have saved his parents’ lives? What of the children who will grow up in the orphanage with no forever family? What of the grandparents struggling to raise their grandchildren? How could we as a body of believers reduce the number of orphans in the world – not through adoption, but through loving their first family enough to prevent them from becoming orphans in the first place? We are excited to visit our sponsored children through World Vision when we go to Lesotho.

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