What is Adoption?

I love people, but there are days I struggle to love being a mother. I struggle with the day in and day out variety of sacrificing, teaching, and caring for little people. I’m not a kid person. Sadly I’m not naturally patient or gentle enough to be considered a natural mother.

Sometimes it surprises people when I make that confession, which just goes to show you the power Jesus has to transform an ugly, black heart! That’s worth celebrating for sure. But I still don’t naturally love being a mom.

So I find it odd that I have a strong desire to adopt. What’s up with that?

In October last year I met Chedo.

Serbia 2012 (354)

Chedo had five healthy years at home with his family. Then tragedy struck. He contracted meningitis. You can read his story here. I fell in love with Chedo, sweet little boy living in a mental institution because his family couldn’t afford or manage his care. He looks nine, he’s sixteen. Due to malnutrition and lack of stimulation he has failed to thrive.

I wanted to adopt Chedo. I prayed and cried about it. What would make a mama like me want to adopt another child? A child with profound needs.

The only answer I have for that is the gospel.

I love the gospel and at it’s heart it is adoption. A Father’s heart responding to the trauma of his creation. That story, that reality, is starting to seep into the fibers of my soul. I want to participate.

On this last visit to Serbia though I learned that Chedo isn’t available for adoption, most of the boys and girls in the mental institution I visited aren’t.

I’m coming to learn that when God puts something on our hearts it doesn’t always look like we think it should.

I love adoption. Few things in life reflect our Father’s heart like adoption. 

But I don’t think adoption is the only solution to the problems of an abandoned world. Actually I question if it’s even the best option in a lot of cases.

Certainly there are many times a child is without a family and needs a new home. We the church should be standing with arms open, ready to respond.

Very often though children are made orphans due to social degradation. When a society isn’t a healthy place for families, when poverty makes the vulnerable even more vulnerable, when an ideology like communism rips at the heart of generous love, adopting the orphans that society has created is a last resort.

God is teaching me that adoption sometimes means going to vulnerable people and adopting their cause as our own before they become physical orphans.

Supporting families like Chedo’s so that he can have the care he needs and stay in his own home is a long term solution. Chedo has essentially become an orphan, but he’s an orphan that has parents. I would adopt Chedo and bring him home in a heartbeat. His health and well being with personal care would most likely improve a great deal. But Chedo still has a family. So instead of working to bring Chedo to my home I’m asking God to help me find a way to support children like Chedo in their own country, with their own family.

To you moms and dads who have walked the hard road of adoption I stand up and applaud you! You wear Jesus well. One day I pray that I join your ranks if God sees fit.

But lets remember the orphan crisis is more complex and deep than just children without parents. When large groups of children are orphaned, due to aids, poverty, or ideology an entire community is traumatized.

As co-healers and redeemers with Jesus lets ask ourselves how we can respond to the deep human issues present in a society that lead to the orphaning of their children.

There is an entire world waiting to be adopted and sometimes it looks different than we have imagined. What is adoption? Are you sure you know the answer.

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