Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Step Up!!!

In the last few days one of my friends has really blessed me and encouraged me without even trying to. You see, she and her husband decided to step out in faith to adopt a severely disabled little boy from a country with little to no adoption program, with no guarentees of ever getting him home. As it turns out, my friend won't be able to adopt the little boy after all (not her choice), but I wanted to share portions of emails she has sent the last few days.

More people need to be like my friend! We need to step up people! We need to see the value in every human life. We need to be brave and adopt kids with severe limb deformities, and HIV, and deforming skin conditions, and severe Cerebral Palsy (and on and on and on). And if our individual families truly aren't called to do that we need to do everything within our power to advocate and support the families that ARE stepping up and bringing these kids home. I hope that my friend's email encourages you the same way it encouraged me.

Portions of my friend's first email about this situation:

Last weekend, we received an email from a very goodfriend of ours. She asked us if we'd consider adopting a baby that was born with [ENTER SPECIAL NEED HERE]? They [THE BIRTH PARENTS] know that a child like this has no future in their country, and in fact, we've read that in many cultures, children born like this are supposed to be killed within the first 24 hours of life. They love him dearly and sought out a Christian American family for this child- to give him the hope and future that God has for all of us.

We wrestled with this all week through prayer. How could we not say yes? To think of the love these parents have for their child, enough to forever surrender him to another set of parents, brings us to tears. How could we, the parents of [X] healthy and already unique children, tell another mother and father, "No, we can't adopt your child. You'll have to do the best you can."

We can't- it isn't in us. We could never deny a child a family. The Bible tells the story of the Good Samaritan in the book of Luke. The passerbys all had excuses as to why they couldn't stop and help the beaten up man- many legitimate excuses even. We too thought of many excuses .... we already have [X] kids, we only make X amount of money, we're currently in the process of moving, we only have X amount of resources, etc. But what it boils down to is that they are just excuses. He doesn't call the qualified, he qualifes the called. We know without a doubt that if Jesus saw this baby by the side of the road waiting for a family, he'd scoop him up, have mercy on him and take care of him -and that's what we intend to do as well.
A portion of my friend's second email:

Proverbs 14:4 says "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean; but much increase is by the strength of the ox." In America, we like to "take it easy", we even tell each other this phrase when we say our goodbyes. But this is contrary to what the Bible says, it says "Take a challenge!". "Many people boast that their stable is clean. They don't make mistakes. There are no "pasture patties" on the floor of their barn. But neither do they have any profit. You see, if a farmer boasts about the cleanliness of the floor of his barn, it's because he doesn't have any livestock. Each one of us from time to time has a tendency to say "I want a clean barn. Therefore, I'm not going to take a chance. I'm not going to accept a challenge. I'm not going to step out lest I mess up." Yet the fear of failure is inevitably the father of failure. When we fear failing, we will inevitably end up doing just that. Oh, our barn floor might be clean as a whistle. But inside we'll be empty." (taken from Jon Courson)

I would hope that nobody goes into adoption with the singular purpose of "saving" a child. But we must also realize that in doing a selfish thing (taking a child out of their native country so that we can have another child) we are also sometimes literally saving that child's life. Certainly we should never make our children feel like charity--like we saved them. But I hope that many of you reading this post will think twice the next time you want to initially write a child off because of X special need or Y circumstances. These children don't just deserve families. They NEED families. They will die without families, or (maybe worse yet) live a life of calamity after calamity until they die alone on the side of a road. We have a responsibility to these children...these often forgotten children whose special needs seem too overwhelming. If your family can't adopt a child with special needs, I challenge you to think about how you can support other families that can, and how you can advocate for the children whom you can't adopt but nevertheless still need a family.

P.S. The picture at the top of the post is of our son Samren at 16 months old and 14 pounds (older and lighter than Bright). He's sitting inside of a preschool drum in his 3/6 month pj's and his NG tube going down his throat and into his stomach so that he could survive his severe failure to thrive. Now he's a healthy (but still tiny) 5 year old with virtually no special needs!