“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” – Mother Theresa
Next month, our family will complete a journey that started almost exactly two years ago. Actually, I suppose it began seven years ago, when my husband and I were first engaged to be married, dreaming about our future together and wondering where the road ahead would take us.
One of the dreams we shared was adoption; we were both very interested in adopting a child someday. But to me, “someday” meant when I was much, much older and wiser…way down that road ahead.
Flash forward five years: suddenly, there we were with a two-and-a-half year old biological daughter, and we were ready to start thinking about baby number two! We wanted to expand our family, we wanted our daughter to have a sibling, and we knew we had more love to give.
However, in the previous few years, our world had changed, and we now found ourselves surrounded by a community of people that both valued and practiced orphan care – with a passion. In addition, our church family was and is full of adoptive families. Being around them took some of the fear and mystery out of the adoption process, and made it seem, well, pretty normal and definitely do-able.
Fact: It is now estimated there are 163 million orphans around the world. That is 19 times the population of New York City.*Photo by stevendepolo
In some ways, making the decision to adopt came pretty easily. We knew we wanted to have another child, we didn’t necessarily feel that we needed to have another biological child, and we knew that caring for orphans was a part of our calling as followers of Christ. In the Bible, James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…”
But in other ways, it was a difficult choice. For example, we had basically no money to fund an adoption. We had many questions: are we old and wise enough? (ha!) What if our extended families aren’t supportive? What if I don’t love my adopted child as much as I love our biological daughter? What if he/she doesn’t love us?
Fact: In the United States, there are approximately 500,000 children in the foster care system. About 130,000 of them are available to be adopted at any given time.*
We worked through our fears and our doubts, surrounded by and with the help of a fabulous community, and also by taking advantage of many different resources. We eventually decided, for various reasons, to pursue an international adoption in Colombia. In October, we were officially matched with our little girl, Laura*, and we will leave in mid-January to go meet her and bring her home.
Fact: More than 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS.*Photo by stevendepolo
For anyone considering adoption, financial constraints should never be a reason to say no. Really. People told us that, and I found it hard to believe, but it’s true. There are grants, loans, tax credits, and for us, there was lots and lots of creative fundraising.
We also received many donations from people who love us – and quite a few from people who don’t even know us! (Thank you so much!!!) That has been the most amazing thing for us in this whole process – just to watch and see the way that God has provided for our daughter through the funding of her adoption into our family. It has strengthened our faith like nothing else.
“God sets the lonely in families.” – Psalm 68:6
I said that next month we would complete this journey, but the truth is that it’s just beginning. We still don’t know everything that lies ahead; we still don’t have the answers to all of our questions and doubts. We know there will be hard conversations and grief and tears and mourning. But we have no doubt that there will also be joy and laughter and redemption and hope. For this we are so thankful, and we look down the road ahead with great anticipation.
At our church, we learned that if just 7% of Christian families in the world would adopt a child, we could eliminate the orphan crisis worldwide. And that’s just Christian families! Imagine what could happen if every family that wants a child would consider adopting an orphan. Would you consider it?
*Statistics from toomanymillion.org, a website of Together for Adoption
Resources that were helpful for us:
Together for Adoption
The ABBA Fund
Loving Shepherd Ministries
Empowered to Connect
Have you ever considered adoption? What are your thoughts?