• Why?

    Date: 2015.11.15 | Category: Adoption | Tags:

    Those were the words I heard from the clerk at Casey’s yesterday.  It was ironic considering I had been pondering all day what I should say in church tomorrow.  I had asked Pastor John if I could have a moment to talk about “why” we adopted.  The irony wasn’t lost on me as I left the store and walked back to the bus.  The conversation went something like this:

    Clerk – “Is that your bus?  Are you going on vacation?”

    Me – “Nope!  That is our family car.”

    Clerk – “Why?”

    Me – “Because we have 14 children.  Three who are in wheelchairs.”

    Clerk – “Why would you have 14 children?  Are they all yours?”

    Me – “Because I love children.  Because these children need a home.  Because I have always wanted a big family.  Yes, they are ALL mine, but we’ve adopted 9 of them.”

    Gracie (said with such happiness) – “And we are adopting again!!!!!”

    Clerk – “Why would you do that?”

    Me – “Because we have been so blessed by our previous adoptions.”

    Clerk – “I still don’t get it.”

    Pastor had mentioned before that everyone loves the kids and they are happy we adopted them but they don’t understand why we adopted so many.  I started to think about all the “whys” I have heard over the years.

    Why adopt special needs children?

    Why China?

    Why adopt so many?

    I have to admit those questions are confusing to me.  Our children were living in an institution.  They have medical needs that weren’t being met.  For six of my children, they would have died as children had no one stepped up.  No one should die alone.  Every child needs a family.  No one should grow up without someone who loves them and guides them and makes them feel safe.

    The clerk got me to thinking about how many people still don’t get it.  How many people read our blog and see our Facebook pages and still don’t get it.  I will admit it is hard for me because I wonder how can they know these things and still ask why?  How can they look at our children’s sweet faces and wonder why?   Then I began to think maybe our church and others don’t know what it is like to be an orphan.  Maybe they don’t understand our children’s backgrounds.  Maybe they don’t understand just how few children get adopted.

    So in honor of National Adoption month, I will speak in church today and I will answer any questions they ask and I will answer any questions you ask too (just comment below).  I pray that God gives me the words to open hearts so they can understand.  I pray that they would support others who adopt.  That they would encourage others to adopt.  That they would do what they can to help families stay together.  I pray that they truly take to heart James 1:27.

    In this world we like to pretend others will step up.  We say the problem is over there or it’s not our problem.  We can not close our eyes and ears to the injustice of the world.  We can not pretend that these children will be ok.  We are responsible to be the hands and feet of Christ.  We must step up.  We must do what we can.

    Did Dan and I start out with that in mind?  Nope.  Dan read a book that talked about all the children in the world starving and those in need of a family.  This book talks about it in terms of our generations holocaust or slavery issue.  The book asks “What will you be able to tell your children about what you did for this crisis?”  Dan decided we should adopt.  I, however, was unsure.

    I was unsure because I was looking at it through earthly glasses.  All I could see was what everyone else would say about me being too old.  But then God brought these words to me through another book, Choosing to See.  The words that rocked me to the core were this “Is it better for an orphan to have an older mother or no mother at all?”.

    We set out to adopt one child, Maisey.  We were lead to Benjamin and taken on a journey of faith.  Would we choose a son who might not live until we got there?  Could we open up our hearts to this pain and uncertainty again?

    We went to China with no intention of ever going back.  We toured.  We saw what we could see because this was it and then we stepped foot in an orphanage.  Where we were surrounded by little children grabbing at our hands and saying “mama” and “baba”.  We saw all these sweet faces who would probably never know the love of family.  We saw all the special needs children just waiting for someone to love them and our hearts were broken into a million pieces.  How could we not do something more?

    I knew when we landed in Des Moines that we would go back.  I had no clue about the journey God was about to take us on.  Is it normal to add 8 children to your family in 3 years?  Probably not.  Is it wise when you are older to take in these children?  I like to think it is if you have a plan in place.

    Dan and I have talked many times about how we will always follow where God leads.  We will always listen to him. We have chosen obedience over anything else.  I will admit to dragging my feet on this last one.  I argued many days and nights with God, but the girls were right.  Jessica is our daughter.  She is their sister.  It would be no different then me packing up Gracie and leaving her half way across the world to fend for herself.   Our daughter is there.  We must go get her.

    Maybe people will never understand that,  but I will continue to try.  I will continue to try and open eyes to what adoption means.  I will continue to share our lives in hopes that others will be encouraged.

    Hebrews 10:24   “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” 

    I will continue to share our lives because I want people to see our love of God.  I want them to see what faith in action means.  We don’t have it all together.  We rely fully on God’s strength.  We step out in faith because we know that is what He calls us to do.

    If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  James 2:16-17

    I would like them to understand because then their hearts will be open to children in need, but the truth is I don’t absolutely need them to understand.  In the end it’s between God and our family.

    Our family has chosen obedience.  We have chosen to take God’s responsibilities to heart.

    “Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do.” (Ephesians 5:15 Phillips)

    And we have been forever blessed for that obedience.  Dan often looks at me and says with such reverence, “How did we get so blessed?  Just look at the joy and love on those sweet faces.  Why do we get to parent such beautiful souls?”

    Now that is a why that I just can’t answer.  I will never understand why we have been so blessed but I will never take that fact for granted.