So why are there still children living in institutions around the world?
Because we are afraid.
Fear is the biggest force that drives families away from the abandoned.
Today I want to address a very real fear that keeps families from adopting – the fear of the future.
I remember sitting on the floor next to Chance, with our backs against the wall. It was an overcast March day and the window let in gloomy midday light above our heads. We were whispering because we couldn’t imagine the repercussions of accidentally waking our exhausted son. We had just spent the last two hours fighting him to take a nap.
Chance turned, looked at me, and with fear in his eyes, he said, “I’m not sure we can do this.”
At that time, our oldest – our first child – our Nasko, had been home for less than forty-eight hours.
Chance was feeling the weight of adopting and parenting a child with severe special needs. He was being overtaken by the hopelessness of undoing years of abuse and neglect.
Two weeks later, it was my turn. Through tears, I told Chance, “I’m not sure we can do this.”
Over the next three-and-half years, that phrase has been whispered back and forth between the two of us. In fact, just this week, I cried those same words and those same tears before we fell asleep.
Many families refuse to adopt because the future of these children is so unknown. Will he live independently? Will the trauma and pain ever be undone? How damaged is he? Will she attach to us, or will she turn away and hate us after all we have done?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I know what God has commanded us to do: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” I know that we are to seek justice for these oppressed children and to parent them as if we were raising Jesus himself.
When I was giving birth to our son Louis, I opted not to receive any pain medications or drugs. As I was laboring in the most intense pain I have ever felt, I cried out in defeat saying, “I’m not sure I can do this.”
My doula was armed with this response, “But you ARE doing it.”
The same is true as we raise our boys.
We ARE doing it.
It is highly unlikely that Nasko will ever live independently.
When we began looking at files of special needs children to be adopted, that was our priority. We only wanted to adopt a child who could one day live on his own. That was the goal. It was what we sought for our future.
Through this process and through many tears, we have realized the independent living of children is not the goal. Adopting a child who will live a “successful life” is not the goal of our future.
Being the hands and feet of God as we rescue the poor who cry to him – that is our future.
Helping the oppressed who have no one to defend them – that is our future.
Feeling enough pity for the weak and needy that we rescue them – that is our future.
Redeeming children from oppression and violence, because their lives are precious to our God – that is our future. (Psalm 72:12-14)
I understand why some families won’t adopt; the future of these precious children is so uncertain.
But thankfully, I know the One who holds my future. And I choose to trust him as I follow his commands.