I mentioned here that I was so excited to be attending the adoptive moms' retreat over the weekend with my dear friend, Amy. We spent about 13 hours driving to and from the retreat...and don't you know that Amy and I figured out the solutions to all the world's problems during that time?!?!
Seriously, we had some amazing conversations during those 3 days (as we have over the past 8 years) and our conversations continued even after we got home, via e-mail. When Amy let loose with a couple of great e-mails on Monday and Tuesday I asked her if she would please let me post them on my blog as a guest post. Yay - she said yes!
Buckle up - here are Amy's deep thoughts:
I just read a post on the blog of a new friend I met at the Created To Care Retreat in Atlanta. My friend Joli and I got to go and spend two nights and three days with 250 other adoptive moms. There’s so much I could say about the retreat. I learned so much. I was encouraged as we wait for our referral. And I was inspired by so many moms who just love Jesus and are so unashamed to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8). Anyway, as I was looking at my new friend Beth’s blog, she had an older post referencing a conference where Tom Davis spoke. Tom Davis is the CEO of Children’s Hope Chest (www.hopechest.org). He’s an orphan advocate, author, and speaker. Tom Davis said something to this effect…Building orphanages is just like trying to remodel hell. The post went on to talk about his thoughts—that the orphanage is NOT where God intended for these children to be. He wants them in families–not large institutions where there are many, many kids and not as many workers who just try and meet their basic needs. If God’s desire is for these children to be in families (Psalm 68:6), then isn’t that where we should start when we are trying to consider how to help the orphan. Shouldn’t adoption be our first consideration? Shouldn’t the first thing we ask ourselves be, “Can we bring one of these children home and give them a family?” Yes, I still think we need to pray. I still think we need to consider supporting children who aren’t available for adoption. I still think we need to give money. And I realize that the church should be doing more in America as well as in so many other countries to make things better so that mamas and daddys don’t have to make the choice to give up their children. We should be doing more to help those who are dying all over the world from preventable diseases so that children aren’t left with no one. The church has failed in so many ways. We have failed in so many ways. BUT, there are still 147 million orphans in our world right now–and if all we do is pray and take mission trips and write checks to improve their living facilites or send them to school, are we as individuals and as the church basically just doing what Tom Davis said–remodeling hell? Because the truth of the matter is, what those 147 million orphans need most are families. Here’s a very troubling statistic:
If just 7% of Christian families adopted one child, there would be no more orphans.
Seriously? Is this just a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees? I think one of the things I hear the most from people when they find out we’re adopting is something to this effect….”That’s so great that God is calling your family to do that.” And it is great, but the question I’m wrestling with lately is this: Isn’t God calling all of us to help the orphan? And, if He is, then how would he have us to help them? I have many friends who were called to help orphans from China and other friends who’ve been called to help orphans right here in the United States. We’ve been called to help two orphans in Ethiopia. The more I wrestle with this, the more I believe that, while God does give us specific callings in how we help orphans, the calling to help them is for ALL of us. He is leading everyone somewhere. And if He tells us to love others as we love ourselves, then doesn’t that mean we should all be seeking to do for the orphan what we would want someone to do for us? If so, if it was me and I was an orphan, I would want someone to adopt me, to bring me home, and to love me. It’s almost too obvious isn’t it?
And the thing is, if there were hundreds of children sleeping on the streets of our hometown tonight, wouldn’t we all be up in arms? Wouldn’t most, if not all, of the churches in this area be getting together and trying to do something? Wouldn’t individual families be stepping up and taking them in? What is it about distance that seems to free us from responsibility?
The distance thing was a reasonable excuse before tv and the internet. But now, with all the information available to us, does anyone have an excuse anymore? Do churches have an excuse anymore? Can we really claim that we just didn’t know about the problem? It’s true that ignorance is bliss, but how many of us are truly ignorant on this issue? Ignorance may be bliss, but feigned ignorance is pretty much just plain old disobedience. Now I know that there are some who truly are not called to adopt, because of age, health reasons, marital status, etc. There are some who are truly serving and caring for orphans in other ways. But I also know that there are so many more who, if they are truly honest, have no excuse. And the reason I know this is because I was one of them. God put adoption on our hearts about eleven years ago, and we’ve wrestled with God and made lots of excuses along the way. Adoption is scary and messy and expensive and requires sacrifice. But Jesus said that whatever we did for the least of these, we did for Him. FOR HIM. Think about that…when we help orphans, it’s not for the orphan or for us, it’s FOR JESUS. And he deserves our best, nothing less. So, what is the best we can do? If we’re truly honest, what is the best we can do? I can’t answer that for you. I can only answer that question for myself and for our family. For us, we decided that we can tuck two more little ones into bed at night. We can make two more PB&J sandwiches. We can snuggle two more kids onto our couch to watch a movie. We can at least do that. What about you?
If you want to read more from my amazing friend Amy, you can find her blog here.