Last Sunday was "Orphan Sunday".
And I mostly forgot.
I didn't do anything special at church, I didn't blog about it, I didn't say a word.
And I feel a little guilty and sad about it.
I guess I have to tell you that sometimes lately I find myself avoiding thinking about the orphan crisis altogether.
Is that weird?
Considering the fact that I'm mom to two adopted children, and currently in the process of adopting two more?
Maybe it is. But I think my avoidance (which, if you know anything about Psychology, was one of Freud's Defense Mechanisms) is because I care so very much about these children, and yet it HURTS to care so very much about these children.
Does that make sense?
I know first-hand the joys of adoption. I know some of the sacrifices and some of the difficulties too. Even though overall, our experience has been smooth and easy.
I know adoption is terribly close to God's heart and I desperately wish more would throw conventional wisdom and savings accounts and confidence-in-the-future to the wind and do something crazy.
Like adopt a waiting child.
I want to encourage people that YES, they too can grow their family through adoption. Whether they have biological children or not. Whether they have lots of bedrooms or not. Whether they've previously thought about adopting or not.
If you haven't gotten this impression yet, Kevin and I are super boring people. Pretty middle-of-the-road. Not the sorts to jump on a bandwagon. Not too hot, not too cold. We never imagined we'd adopt. Ever.
But we did. So now there are two less orphans in the world.
A seriously microscopically-small drop in a seriously infinitely-huge bucket.
It's hard knowing that for the two children who joined your family, millions remain orphans.
Sometimes it feels like you're the only one who cares that:
--There are STILL HIV+ children waiting for families in Ethiopia who were already waiting when we traveled there in 2006.
--There are children waiting in China, ready to be adopted...while families prefer to wait YEARS for a healthy baby from that country.
--There are children waiting in Ukraine and Russia at risk of being put into insane asylums.
So, I guess this is why I sometimes "check out."
It's overwhelming and painful.
But at the same time...
This is where miracles happen.
This is where healing happens.
I think the fight for the hearts and souls of children is where it's at.
I think it's a major battlefield.
And God is drawing us into His story of redemption.
He's inviting us to play a role and embrace LIFE.
Because life is precious.
And it follows then that more life is MORE precious.
Jesus came to give us life, and life abundantly.
He wants to give that to the fatherless child, and He wants to give that to you.
And to me.
Somehow adoption is a two-way street in this sense.
Please don't be fooled. The global orphan crisis is complicated. We have to not only be open to adoption, but simultaneously working to help people in sustainable ways so that adoption is not necessary. Children ought to be able to remain with birth parents who love them. Extreme poverty, hunger and disease ought not separate otherwise intact families. In order for adoption to happen, relinquishment must also happen. And there is nothing happy or exciting about relinquishment. It's tragic.
BUT, today, right this moment, it is too late for many children. Their birth parents have long since passed away, or are unable to care for them, and they need a family. Now. Right now.
You could, conceivably, start your adoption process and have your child(ren) home within the year.
I really have no desire to use guilt or emotional manipulation to convince people to adopt. Honestly. Is adoption for everyone? Probably not. I don't think we can actually EVER discern, without question, what other people are supposed to do in this type of scenario.
So then is adoption a "calling"? Well, yes...and no.
The Bible says the church is supposed to care for the widow and the orphan. Adoption is certainly part of that. So we better take it seriously. That's the call. If we're part of the church, we need to figure out how to respond. The Bible also talks a lot about how children are blessings, and a reward, and that we should fill the Earth and multiply and all that stuff. So we also know there is precedence for raising multiple children, and that there are inherent blessings in not automatically limiting our family size, and that we are to see children as good gifts from God.
So don't assume you "escaped" the call to adopt because you're not wealthy, or because you have the wrong personality, or because you never considered adoption, or because you don't "feel called" to do it. Sometimes God "calls" us to things that make little sense to our humanly-finite brains, or to things that don't automatically feel comfortable to us. Maybe God will "call" you, you'll sail through your paperwork, a bunch of grant money will roll in, and your entire adoption will be paid for. OR maybe God will "call" you and you'll have to make major financial sacrifices to do it and your child will struggle greatly with attachment. Both are equally called, even though one person's process may look effortless and the other person might actually question why it is so difficult and wonder if they'd been "called" in the first place. And YES, I know people in real life who fit into each of those categories. And both were "called" to adopt.
I now want to tell you about some AMAZING, wonderful, dear friends of ours in California, Todd and Jill. This is one of those families that I desperately wish I could transport to Denver because they are so precious to us. Lots of fun, so kind, and a total inspiration to me. They have three children, including a son from Ethiopia. I can't wait to see them on our trip out to California in December!
Ethiopia- Adoption Advocates Int'l from Halle Project on Vimeo.
They produced the above video for our adoption agency to use, and I love it.
WATCH IT. Please. So.worth.your.time. Promise. This is the orphanage/transition home Yosef and Biniam are from. It's where our girls are currently. This is the agency we used before and are using again.
AND...one of my new daughters is on the video!!!!
I can't watch it without crying for some reason.
That reason might have something to do with a certain sweet girl.
So while I did nothing for Orphan Sunday, I DO want to share this video with you today. I want to be an advocate for orphans and for adoption and for waiting children. I can't help it. It's a story that needs to be told, and it's an honor to be able to tell it. I pray the Lord will open up more opportunities for me to share my heart about adoption and about these children. I want to encourage families and to spread the word that yes indeed, this is a call worth listening to.
And if little ol' me can be of ANY help to you, please don't hesitate to contact me. I am MORE than happy to point you to some resources or help you process through some of these decisions. I love talking about adoption, and I'd love to "meet" you as we work on behalf of the fatherless. Together.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Posted by Brianna Heldt at 6:07 AM
I missed Orphan Sunday, but I have a wonderful video to show you today