Following a God-agenda
I’ll admit it. Sometimes I sit in the playroom with a baby in my lap and wonder if anyone will ever adopt some of these children. I know what their special needs are. Words that are probably foreign to many are now part of my regular vocabulary… but that doesn’t make them any less scary for the potential mamas and babas. Seeing these words – these diagnoses – on a child’s file can’t do anything but make the kids seem more needy… more hopeless.
But do you know what I’ve been learning? I’ve been learning that it’s not the people who have adoption agendas that bring these sweet babies home. It’s not families who have necessarily decided to adopt from a specific country at a specific time for a specific reason… no, it’s not that at all.
It’s families who have a God-agenda driving them. They’re the ones who bring home kids who might not make it. Kids who may have many surgeries ahead of them. Little girls and boys who may just never learn how to behave.
And that doesn’t mean that it’s any easier for these families. Just because they’re not happily jumping into this ‘pool’ and instead are being bounced off of the diving board by an all-powerful God doesn’t mean that this adoption is going to be easy or safe. Parenting, loving… it’s going to be rather scary, I think.
I’ve seen some of the needs here. I’ve met little girls whom I know will have lots of trouble attaching and behaving, if they ever figure it out. Children who probably won’t grow up normally; little ones that might not make it through the unexpectedly expensive and draining surgery, if they make it up to the surgery at all.
The word palliative is scary. So what happens when that’s the word that the doctor gives after looking at your child’s medical file? Or maybe you see the word “delayed” pop up much too frequently on her file, and you wonder what it really means.
There’s a lot that goes on in an orphan’s life between the special needs listed on their adoption paperwork and their real physical, emotional, and psychological condition. Sometimes gains are made when they get home, sometimes they slowly regress. So often the sweet almond-eyed Asian beauty you bring home is nothing like who you expected him or her to be.
But I think that maybe I’ve figured it out. Maybe I now know why families bring these unexpected blessings and unanticipated struggles into their lives.
Because they don’t have a choice.
Someone put them on a God-roller coaster, and there’s no way to get off until the ride is over. A picture on an advocacy site pulled a heartstring that caused a lump in the throat that led to sleepless nights, and the rest was history! Suddenly that long, long list of heart defects and grim “doctor’s opinions” didn’t matter at all. The established fact that this child might not even live until Travel Approval was a nonissue. Daddies are crying, and Mama Bears go into full-swing paper chase mode.
And there’s nothing that they can do about it.
God’s given them a mission. Scared out of their wits, these families go forward. They’ve never met these children before, yet something inside of them has gone into overdrive, and they know that they have to do whatever physically possible for their children.
There’s a huge risk to being willing. Who knows where God will meet you, plop you into one of His amazingly scary roller coaster rides and off you’ll go. Screaming to get off because it’s scary is 100% normal, from my experience. Deep down, the ride is exhilarating because you know that it’s all-God. He’s not safe (but don’t worry, you won’t fall off of the roller coaster), but He’s good, and He has the whole situation under complete control. Even your frazzled brain and confused heart.
When Hannah traveled to China in 2002 with her parents to adopt her sister Elisabeth, she fell in love with the country and people. In 2004, when her other sister Naomi was adopted, she started dreaming of going back. It took 5 years for that dream to come true. She now serves in a foster home for special needs orphans in China. Hannah spends her days studying, writing for the foster home and on her personal blog, Loving Dangerously, and most importantly, holding babies. Hannah loves the adventure of living overseas with her family. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.