Friday, May 8, 2009

Forbid Them Not

I was going to title this blog post "Our Fleece is Out", but my heart has experienced a renewed sense of purpose since my time with my Bible this morning and I decided that "Forbid Them Not" was more appropriate.

Funny how the mind works. I would hope that I am not that "double minded" person that James 1:8 talks about, but I certainly have a tendency to let little nagging doubts hide in the closets of my mind. I am very "practical" about it, however. Isn't it prudent to allow God a way out? Maybe He was just testing me to see if I was willing to serve? I mean, I really, really want to, but does He want to use me?

We've done all we could to prepare ourselves for Washington's waiting children. The homestudy/ foster care licensing visit is over. Besides going in for my appointment to retry on my fingerprints today, there is nothing more we can do but wait for awhile. We have acted in faith. We have relied on God for His guidance. We have had many evidences of His hand in the process. Now, why would I be wondering if this is for real?

Last night we all gathered in the livingroom before bedtime as we always do. The kids were all busy chattering about how the homestudy visit went and wondering how long it would take for us to get children, etc... I told them it could take a long time and then added that it might actually never happen...that we were willing, but that God just might have other ideas. Basically, I told them that we had put our fleece out and the next step was to wait and see if God wanted to use us.

Kind of sad, really.

I didn't think that it was so sad then. I was being practical. Having faith and being practical is not synonymous, though. My dad preached a sermon on that topic just a couple months ago. (It just takes me a long time to learn!)

I found myself in Matthew 18 and 19 this morning. I had turned there for another reason, but found myself reading these verses:

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me...Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones. It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. And Jesus said, Suffer the little children and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Okay, Lord, bring it on! We are ready.(Or at least, as long as You are with us, we are ready!)

I think this journey has a lot to do with refining my character... I am seeing a lot of things about myself that I don't like and so I am thankful for the promise:

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Voluntary Redemptive Suffering

I have been reading all sorts of books lately... many of them on adoption. I found this book called The Whole Life Adoption Book at the library by Jayne E. Schooler. I didn't realize it was written by a christian until I got to the section I am about to share. I read it and reread it and then read it out loud to my husband. We were both impressed and reread it again. We decided this was a couple of pages worth keeping to go over again and again and so I have typed it all out for future reference. voluntary redemptive suffering.

Adoptive parents are frequently inundated with questions not only from household members but also from extended family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.

The two questions that come up most often are “Why adopt?” –Especially when the child is seriously ill, retarded, biracial, or advanced in age – and “What makes this child adoptable?” These questions deserve a response from a spiritual perspective.

To answer the first question – “Why would you accept someone else’s child as your own?” – Adoptive parents can look to a higher principle in life.

The principle, at the heart of how and why hundreds of adoptive families guide their lives, can be called voluntary redemptive suffering.

Wrapping one’s heartstrings around someone else’s child is a voluntary choice. Each year, hundreds upon hundreds of adoptive parents around this nation voluntarily stand before a judge to make a promise to a stranger’s child: “We will be your family forever, by our choice to do so.”

Adoption is not only voluntary; it is also redemptive. “Redeem” means to release, to make up for, to restore. An adoptive family’s guiding light is the vision to restore to an abused or neglected child the dignity of life that was ripped from him. It is a dignity that child was born to enjoy.

In addition to being voluntary and redemptive, adoption involves suffering.

To extend your energies around the clock with no guarantee of a night’s rest to care for a seriously ill child – that is suffering.

To be told, “You are not my real mom/dad.” And to continue to give live in spite of that rejection – that is suffering.

To see a child recoil from affection because of years of abuse, and to know that you would gladly carry the pain for them but can’t – that is suffering.

Why do people adopt? Because they live their lives by a spiritual principle – voluntary redemptive suffering.

What makes a child adoptable? – Adoptive parents can again focus on a higher principle: the value of life itself.

In an age that values life only if it is productive and its presence convenient, there are still adoptive families who see beyond the ugly consequences of severe abuse, beyond the fears of debilitating handicaps, beyond the barriers of age or race. They look beyond all these things and see a child. They see a life that by virtue of its very existence has worth, value, and promise. They see a child in need of adoption.

Yes, families still volunteer to take the risks inherent in restoring the dignity to a child. In the process, they willingly suffer disappointment and pain. Yet they still choose to adopt because of their strong belief in the value of life. As they reach out to the abused, neglected, and dejected, these families are piloted by the Giver of life Himself.

Jayne E. Schooler, Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family - the Whole Life Adoption Book, (Colorado Springs, CO, Pinon Press, 1993), page 72.