Friday, September 20, 2013

The Wrong Question

When couples announce that they are adopting, the same few questions get asked in response almost every single time. And even if you don’t out right verbalize your questions, believe me, your face says it all…

Are you infertile?

Isn’t adoption expensive?

Can’t you explore medical options to get pregnant?

Why not just get a surrogate?

I will admit that these questions bother me. What is the hang up on adoption? Why does society always assume that adoption is the ‘next best thing'? Or that you should only adopt if a couple can’t have biological children? (I’m planning to write a blog about that soon)

Since the time we really began to think that adoption would be something we would pursue, I have been perusing blogs of Christian families that have grown their families through adoption. I recently read an answer that really put the idea of why we should adopt in perspective. This particular blog posed the idea that maybe we are asking the wrong question.

Instead of asking, “Why adopt?” Maybe we should be asking, “Why not adopt?”

As Christ-followers, we have an interesting perspective on adoption. You see, we were adopted ourselves into a family that is not our own: God’s family.

The concept and idea of adoption and caring for orphans is all over scriptures.

It starts with our adoption into God's family in verses such as Romans 8:14-16

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

…and Galations 4:4-6

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

…and John 14:18

            18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

…and Ephesians 1:4-6 (a personal favorite)

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

And then comes the idea of caring for orphans and welcoming children in verses such as Mark 9:37

37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

…and James 1:27

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

So what does the Bible teach us about adoption?

Adoption is God’s love language.

God adopted us. And He calls his followers to do the same for others.

The verses in Scripture that highlight adoption will never be the same for me - ever again.

I feel as though God has given me a deeper understanding for what he did for believers and the extent of his love and calling for the Christian’s life. And more than anything it makes me want to seek the Lord all the more.

This blog describes it well:

Over and over again, the Bible discusses the special place in God's heart for the fatherless. The most obvious example is Moses, adopted by Pharoah's daughter. Another notable example is Jesus himself, who was born without an earthly father and adopted by Joseph. And of course, if you are a Christ follower, you have been adopted by God into His family, eternally. What an amazing opportunity to let God's love overflow to a child in need of a family, and a home. Not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to care for orphans (James 1:27), and we feel that this is a way that our family can do just that.

We can't care for all 147 million orphans, but we are praying and hoping to make a difference in the life of one child. To share Jesus with them. Show them unconditional love and what family means. To show them how we have been adopted by our Heavenly Father, the creator and sustainer of the universe. To put them to bed, to take them to school, wipe their boogies and sing them to sleep.

Let me repeat this one more time, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

What a thought:

With every sleepless night...

With every poopy diaper...

With every runny nose...

With every tear...

With every bottle...

With every lullaby...

With every hug and kiss...

With every single thing we do to meet the needs of our baby…

We are welcoming Jesus and answering the call on our lives.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Joy in the...paperwork?

Today we received a package in the mail. This wasn't exactly the type of package that we generally enjoy receiving, but seeing it in my mailbox today made my heart jump a little. This package was loaded full of paperwork...Lots and lots of paperwork.

Why on earth would my heart leap at the sight of it in my mailbox? Because it's one step closer to  our baby. Each signature, each short answers, each water temperature sign-off sheet (yes, that's included in this packet) gets me one step closer to meeting the next member of the Stichter family.

So I'll push through those cramps in my hand and prepare myself to take another step in the direction of my child.

I have a feeling I know what I'm going to be doing tonight...or I suppose for the next couple of nights.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Open Doors

Tonight I wrote my first letter to my sweet baby. At the moment I am crying and so giddy. Someday my child will read that letter and know that, already, I love this child more than words can possibly even express. Nothing will ever change that - no matter how long I wait until he/she is finally placed in my anxious arms.

This week I have been blown away by a range of emotions... So many moments that were more difficult than words can even begin to express. And yet just as many moments where I fell on my knees thanking the Lord for his perfect timing.

You see, adoption is a slow process. It doesn't move quickly and rightfully so, I suppose. But the Lord is blowing open doors and moving us forward quicker than we ever thought possible.

I will continue to chuckle to myself when I think about all the calls that I made to home study agencies this week to get the normal information. The conversation would typically go as follows:

"Hi! My husband and I are beginning the process of a domestic infant adoption and we are looking for an agency to help us complete our home study. Could you tell me a little bit more about your program?" They would tell me fees, process, etc. To which I would respond, "Great! And how long does the process usually take from start to finish" " usually takes about 4-6 months to complete ma'am." "And how long does it take if we are a really motivated couple?" "{chuckle on the other end of the line} If you're really motivated you can probably be done in 12 weeks."

If you couldn't tell...I'm motivated. I don't want to dilly dally around when it means being one step closer to being matched with our baby!

But I was still expecting to have to wait a good amount of time before we really got to do anything to get moving. Boy was I wrong! Yesterday (Wednesday) I called the agency that we want to use to complete our home study. I told her we were ready to begin. She told me that we had great timing because as a part of the home study, the adoptive family has to attend training classes that they do once a quarter. If we were really ready to begin the training classes start this upcoming Monday! That's only 5 days away! This was music to my ears!

One foot in front of other...I am well aware that this is going to be a long journey full of a lot of waiting. And I'm not really a patient person (Yep, God and I are already talking about that). But as long as we're moving in the direction and taking steps.

Even just a little step like signing up for training classes next week (YAY) is a good step forward for me. Jarrod and I were both thrilled!

Yet on that same day we received word that we had been approved for a grant that would cover all the initial expenses of the adoption -- application fees and our home study. Oh my gosh! God is SO good! Finances are a huge part of this journey and already God has provided for us. I'm blown away!! We still have a lot of money before we can get matched to our baby so this is small step but it's an amazing step! (That being said, if you are reading this and would like to consider helping us financially, we would SO appreciate it! You can make a donation by clicking on the 'Donate' button on the blog sidebar or click on the fundraisers tab to learn about events we might be having or other little ways you can make a difference -- believe me, even $5 makes the biggest difference).

I am learning that if, as Christ-followers, we confidently move in the direction that God has led us to, He will open doors. He will provide. He will give peace. He will conquer!

I realize that I am rambling but it has been a crazy week. So many ups and so many downs. Yet one thing is constant - our God is good. I'll say it again and again because he has given me so much peace. He is in control. He will bring our baby home. :)