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.


chinese adoption

Hannah Samuels

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.

9 Responses to Following a God-agenda

  • What a fantastic post, I just love this one! Thanks Hannah!

  • Once again, a post by Hannah has left me undone! Such wisdom…and such heart!

  • Laine says:

    BIG TEARS Hannah….you put into beautiful words exactly what it is like to be on a GOD AGENDA. The roller coaster, the daddies crying, the mama bears, the relentless calling when we just cannot say NO…it is ALL GOD. And when we’re following Him, and it’s all about Him and not our comfort, then He is glorified.
    Scary? Yes. Hard? Yes. Worth it? YES!

  • Robin says:

    That is beautiful and very well put. Exactly where we are with Jace!!
    Do you know as we have been at appts with Jace and go through his list of problems people look at us like we are crazy for adopting him and some are even rude enough to say “now why exactly did you do this?”
    Really!!! Why would someone ask that. But my only response to them is God wanted us to and he deserves to be loved!! Very simple I think!!!
    Not saying somedays aren’t stressful and I wonder how I will get through the day but I always do thanks to God!!! And have energy for the next bump in the road!!
    Thanks for this post. All these children deserve to have the love of a family no matter for how long they are with us!!
    I’m honored to be one if those moms!!!!

  • TanyaLea says:

    As always, Hannah’s youthful wisdom and maturity in Christ, leaves me in great admiration for the the wonderful young woman and sister-in-Christ that she is! This was so beautifully written and it’s clear God has led her family to exactly where they were meant to be for ‘such a time as this…’ I’m just so thankful they answered that calling!

    God bless you, Hannah! I’m so honored to have met your wonderful family when we brought Khloe home. Keep writing and keep inspiring and keep speaking the truth… you are a BLESSING to many!! <


  • Jill says:

    I know the sleepless nights and the fear and the list of needs and the labels…and people here who heard it and wondered why we were doing it. As Robin said, too, it’s all God. You can’t say “no” to Him…you can try, but it brings with it many sleepless nights and tears until you submit and trust that He will make you all better for saying “yes.” And despite the difficult days, it IS all worth it. And I know it would be well worth it to get on the roller coaster again.

  • Tamara says:

    I expressed a desire once to adopt a heart baby, and my dad said, “Why would you do that? That child could die.” So could any child, and that does not mean that a child who is risky deserves to know love and a family any less. Even so, I get my dad. He has seen loss and suffered loss, and he doesn’t want to suffer it again and certainly doesn’t want his kids to suffer it.

  • Pat Walchuk says:

    Thank-you Hannah for describing the roller coaster. We have an adopted daughter with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and there are days when I find myself screaming to get off. I needed the reminder that this is God’s agenda, and that He is good.

  • Alison says:

    oh my goodness, I needed that post. Thank you so much for putting into words exactly what I feel God is doing in our hearts and in our family. It is crazy but is all Him and I am humbled, completely overwhelmed and totally in awe to be a part of His incredibly scary, amazing plan for the precious child He is inviting us to call our own… this is definitely HIS plan and not mine. It is not safe, not at all, but I trust that it is good.

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