This post was from August 17 on my blog www.eternallypink.blogspot.com
Years ago I found out about this family who adopted a child who is disabled. I watched them bring him to events, park his wheelchair, and then carry on as normal. He looked younger than their other two children and I wondered why they adopted him. I mean, I had always wanted to adopt (and as you know we are) but not a child in a wheelchair. What could that boy possibly offer to that family, right? By adopting him they just added more work to their lives...and just when their other children looked old enough to get easier to take care of. Hmmm. I was puzzled.
Fast forward to June 21, 2010. I find myself in an orphanage on the other side of the world full of special needs children. At first I was scared. Really scared. Daniel and I had just made the decision after being on the non-special needs list of China for almost three years to switch to the special needs program, or waiting child program as some say. So here I was on a mission trip surrounded by children that met that criteria. Yikes! Did we really make the right decision? I mean, some of the children were completely handicapped and others' medical condition China would not even allow them to be adopted. That night I went back to my hotel room and found myself in a fog. I wanted to go home to safety, to my three healthy children, to my nice home and tell Daniel we should change our mind.
Now looking back to write this, I remember very clearly what was running through my head. But now it's hard for me to even comprehend my thought process because it changed so drastically in those next two days. As I spent time with the children and got to know them I no longer saw their "special needs." Well, I should say I saw their needs, but they didn't make me feel uncomfortable anymore. It was familiar and I felt at home. I can remember playing with a little boy with cerebral palsy. He is one of the children that I really bonded with. He's 12 years old. Once he turns 14 he can no longer be adopted according to Chinese law. I imagined me bringing him home. I imagined him going places with my kids, playing games with cousins, swimming! I imagined him GOING OUTSIDE, something I'm not sure he has ever done. Going to school! To learn! What I didn't imagine is if it would be difficult, exhausting, or expensive. Because while I was there none of that mattered. What if I he could ask me to adopt him? What would I say? Well, sweet little boy, I would adopt you and take you out of this institution forever to live with my fun, happy, loving family in America but I think you would mess up our plans. You have so many needs, and you are 12! We want a little baby that can't remember anything troublesome. And you can't speak English. Plus, we can't afford your medical care. We have to think about not ruining our children's lives by bringing in an orphan with so many needs. Sorry.
That is sad. Really sad. And while I was there I didn't think like that, returning home, back to "reality" (or is it?) I find myself pondering things that are close to the sadness above. I remember one night in China sending Daniel a text that read, "If we didn't think about all the what ifs in life it would be so easy to make decisions." Being at that orphanage, knowing what we have her in America, it's a NO BRAINER. Get a kid, ANY kid, and bring them into tour family! Why is adoption such a difficult decision anyway?
Could it be fear? Fear that they will hate us and never bond. Fear that we will go bankrupt paying their medical bills. Fear that we won't ever love them like one that comes from us. Fear that they will be a burden to raise and may never be able to function on their own. Fear that it will warp our biological children and not be fair to them. Fear that it will be way too much work.
So then how do we make our decisions in life? Based on fear? Or based on what we know we should do. Based on what God would want us to do. Based on our heart. Based on what God did for us!
I think in our minds it may be "easier" to love a child with special needs if they look like us. If they are our biological children. Because we love of biological children no matter what they act like, look like, or talk like. They are ours. I wonder how hard it is to love a child who is not your biological child and has special needs.... That week while I was there God was doing something strong in me. I felt all alone...with Him. I think that being at that orphanage with those children was the closest physically I've ever felt to God. I could feel that He was speaking things to me that I wasn't so sure I was ready for. I felt like He was looking for a response from me. I felt like He was stretching me.
I have read several blogs where well meaning women make statements about adoption that make others feel mad and guilty if they aren't adopting a child. I am not going to say everyone should adopt. I only know that I used to not consider adoption. And now, I'm amazed at the thought of us not adopting. It makes me sad and scared to think we would've missed out on so much! But my aim is to share with you my journey so that you might consider adopting, or giving money to someone's adoption, or sending donations to orphanages, or visiting orphans!
All I can say is that since Daniel and I opened our hearts WIDE OPEN to God and let go of what we had in mind, what we had planned, what we thought was "normal" then big changes started happening! And we like them. It's fun to serve God and know that His ways are perfect. And whatever His plan is for us, we are ready. I just want to be an empty vessel, a clump of clay He can do whatever He wants. I don't want ME to get in the way of HIM in ME!
Back to that family I mentioned first. How could they do such a thing as adopt that boy knowing well ahead of time the work and sacrifice that was involved??? Now I get it. Now I realize that it's not all about me and us! It's about that boy. It's about getting out of ourselves and changing someone's life. Whether it's an orphan in China or the person on the street of Tulsa. It's about doing something led by the Spirit of God without letting your flesh dictate.
Pastor Sharon said something that really hit home to me a few months ago. She was preaching on giving and serving others. She said one of the reasons why we don't get more involved with others is because we are afraid of assuming responsibility. It's easy to send a check to Haiti but it's harder to go there. It's easy to give the homeless man a couple of dollars but it's harder to sit down and talk to him for five minutes and see if he needs help.
I'm asking God to be my Lord of all my decisions. Every move I make. I just don't want to miss out on His plan for my life. Even if the road is harder.