• The True Cost

    Date: 2016.03.08 | Category: Adoption | Tags:

    Everyone talks about the cost of adoption.  It’s too expensive.  You won’t hear me disagree with that.  It is too expensive.   When we adopted Hope 16 years ago, it was $10,000 for lawyer fees, court costs, and our homestudy.  $10,000 worth of fees for us to be a family to a child that was left alone in the hospital.  Was the fee too much?  Probably!  Was Hope worth it?  YES!  Every cent.

    But the reality is there are many more costs involved with adoption.  There’s the cost of time.  The cost of heartache.  The cost of little hearts waiting for a family.  Medical costs.  There is a cost to your family.  You name it there’s a cost.

    So what is the life of a child worth?  I know people hate the word “save” when it comes to a child that is waiting for a family.  I personally don’t have a huge issue with it because I have been saved.  I was saved by my Lord Jesus Christ.  I was literally saved by my husband from a life that was less than.  Dan, through the gospel, taught me that others hurting me didn’t mean that I deserved to be hurt.  Dan taught me grace and forgiveness.  I had been through a lot in my early years and I believed I wasn’t worth loving.  That pain, those awful, horrible feelings are what help me relate to my hurting children.  How much is it worth to show another person their worth?

    Was it worth the hours Dan held me while I cried?  Was it worth the pain he felt until I truly trusted that he loved me?  Everything in life has a price.  EVERYTHING!   I’m thankful Dan found me worth his time.  I’m thankful he believed in me enough to stick with me.  I’m thankful he saw my worth when I couldn’t.

    Last night at Wal-Mart, Dan started talking to a family about why we were buying so many groceries.  He explained we just got back from China.  They asked how many children we had and Dan said “16”.   The woman looked at me and said, “My mom had 16 children and she died at 42.  Just be careful.”    It would be comical if that wasn’t the first time I had heard this.  I heard it when we adopted the first two. “You know you are older. You don’t want to take on too much.”  I heard it after we came home with the four.  “Four kids at a time would be hard on someone half your age!”  I hear it because Lainey doesn’t sleep and I am sometimes really tired.  “Take care of yourself.  You don’t want it to kill you.  You need to be around for your kids.”

    These are caring words.  I understand them.  I believe them.   I do need to take care of myself, but here lies the problem for me.  What if adopting all these kids makes me die at 75 instead of 85?  Wouldn’t 10 years of my life be worth it to improve theirs?  What is an ok cost for bringing a child here and getting the surgery they need that will extend their life?  What cost is ok for keeping them out of an adult institution where it is survival of the fittest?  What cost is ok for letting a child feel love?  What cost is ok for giving someone the unconditional love of family?

    If it costs you a vacation, is that ok?

    If it costs you sleep, is that ok?

    If it costs you friends and family, is that ok?

    If it costs you in your free time, is that ok?

    If it makes you dead tired, is that ok?

    If you are emotionally drained and feel you have nothing left, is that ok?

    How much would be okay to spend for an adoption?  $10,000?  $15,000?  $20,000?   I believe it is about so much more than the money involved.  We all waste money.  We all find money to spend on the things we really want.  We want a new car so we are willing to borrow for six years to pay for it but we can’t borrow for six years to pay for an adoption?  I don’t think that money is the true cost that is stopping people.

    I believe it is much like the cost of truly following God.  I never gave it much thought in my 20’s or 30’s.   I believed in God.  I went to church on Sunday.  I tithed.  I was a fairly good person.  I was kind to people.  I helped when I could.  But if you truly have a relationship with the Lord, there is a great cost in following God and His commands.  There are many stories in the Bible about giving up everything and following Him.  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. –  Matthew 16:24

    How many of us are willing to give up anything?  How many of us would be willing to deny ourselves instant gratification for what we truly want?  How many of us complain when we stand in line too long?  Or complain when the Sunday morning service goes too long?   Or when there is no internet connection?  Would we give up cable and our weekly pizza night to adopt?   Would we feel it was worth the cost to take our children out of sports or dance and make them share a room?   What is okay to give up?

    People who are passionate about things give up much to reach their goals.  Marathon runners do it.  The climbers of Mount Everest do it.  Olympic trainers do it.   They are willing to sacrifice much to reach their goal.  When something has great value to you, it is worth the cost.  So why should adoption be any different?

    The cost of loving Liam isn’t much.  It’s pretty darn easy.  He’s adjusted fantastically.  He likes American food.  He has had no jet lag.  He’s gone to sleep easily and slept through the night from the very first night.  He follows the kids and does what they do.  He’s jumped into doing chores, even though he wasn’t asked to.  He loves his siblings and the games they play.  He is joyful about every new thing he gets to experience.  It has been pretty darn effortless.

    But the cost of loving JJ is much more.  She is hurting.  She strikes out.  She is angry.  She doesn’t trust.  She does not believe she is worth any of this.  You can not tell her she is pretty.  She will shake her head right off her shoulders.  She will not let you comfort her.  My heart hurts because I know she has been hurt. What I have learned through the lessons of God and the patience of my husband is that love can heal.  Trust can be earned.  Fear can be erased.  Forgiveness can be achieved.  Grace is a beautiful thing.

    JJ deserves unconditional love.  JJ deserves a chance to grow up to be all she can be.  Is she worth the medical costs?  Yes.  Is she worth the pain we feel from rejection?  Yes.  She is worth the time and energy that will be expended. She is worth the tears I will shed.  She is worth the sleep I will lose.   I believe the cost in not loving JJ is more than the cost of loving her.  I believe she deserves to be safe.  I believe she deserves to be happy.  I believe that whatever it costs me is worth it.

    My life is not worth more than JJ’s.  My time is not more valuable than hers.  God loves her with the same abandon He loves me.  I may not have understood what is truly important in the first part of my life, but I understand it now, and the cost of pretending it’s not true is just too much!

    “I want to run my life in that manner.  I want the second half to be stronger than the first.”  We we can run faster as the race goes on in our final years, we can sprint, knowing that we can collapse in His arms.”  – Francis Chan