“Did we really leave our ten children with our formerly Amish friends and their eight children back in Pennsylvania, and are we really in a Japanese-run hospital in Sofia, Bulgaria with our nine-year-old daughter who looks like a skeletal eighteen-month-old?” ~Susanna, to Joe, November 15, 2011
Others may ask you.
“What are you thinking? Are you guys crazy?”
You may ask yourself.
“What are we thinking? Have we gone crazy?”
Yep, if you’re considering special-needs adoption, the “crazy” question is to be expected. But if you’re going to be ready for it, you first need to know the answers to some other questions.
Where are you getting your perspective?
By what assumptions are you living?
When it all comes down to a point of decision, what trumps what?
In your mind, your decisions, your life, whose perspective has the last word? Our culture’s? Or God’s?
If you’re not sure of the answer to the last question, here’s one little test you can give yourself.
We challenge you to take an honest look at yourself over the next few weeks. Listen to what you say when you give your opinions and make your decisions.
Do you find yourself saying, “I know it seems like…but God says…”
Or, “Well…I know the Bible says…but I think/know/feel…”
What trumps what?
Our culture is all about choosing for yourself. It can look like such common sense when they show us how to put walls up around our lives and stay in control of what’s inside those walls.
But it’s not God’s highest goal for His people’s lives to keep them manageable. It is His goal for us to show His greatness through us. As long as we rebelliously insist on keeping our lives manageable anyway, we’ll only get to see the unremarkableness of what we can manage in life, and miss getting to see the AWESOME GLORY of God.
If Joe and I had been convinced by the opinions of the surrounding culture, and made our decisions based on what looked most manageable to us at the time, we would have stopped at three children. According to the best advice of our culture, we were foolish to remain open to receiving Laura, Jane, John Michael, Peter, James, and Stephen.
Simply adding newborn twins…
…to our family of six children, the oldest newly thirteen and the youngest fourteen months? Seen from the majority perspective–yep, totally crazy!
Some people get to come into the world with a best friend. What a privilege it was to witness this.
If we’d been mapping out our lives the way our culture says was sensible, we for sure wouldn’t have Verity, would we?
If we’d said, “Ha! No way! That’s crazy!” to God, we sure as shootin’ wouldn’t have Katie!
If we’d followed our culture’s common-sense plan, there’s no chance–no chance!–we would have gone to Bulgaria to bring home a child with severe special needs…
…when we already had ten children and our youngest child had special needs of her own and was only eighteen months old, would we?
Well, would we?
The culture we live in would say this was nonsensical, reckless craziness.
And if we had let them define “crazy” and “common sense” for us instead of going by God’s definitions, this child would still be lying like a reeking, dried-up, abandoned baby bird in her orphanage bed. We wouldn’t be watching Him bring her to life or use her story to propel countless other children into families.
If you’re considering special-needs adoption, be ready! Ready to graciously answer the “crazy” questions with the truth as often as needed. The questions may come from strangers, fellow employees, extended family members, or your own thoughts.
The truth is that because of who God is, following what He tells us to do is the most sensible choice possible.
But if you find yourself habitually saying, “No way! That’s crazy!” to God’s idea of what is good and true and beautiful, are you more truthfully His follower, or a follower of our culture? Whose side are you on? Which side will you work for, even fight for, if necessary?
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.”
This Straight Talk series of blog posts is specifically for those who qualify–or hope to qualify–to adopt children with special needs. No, we still don’t believe that God gives this task to everyone!
But we do believe that if everyone said “Yes,” to God when He called them, there wouldn’t be any children waiting on Reece’s Rainbow. There are no unadoptable children, just unwilling parents. Please make absolutely sure that if someone closes the door, it is God and not you.
If you don’t qualify, but you know a family who’s seriously considering special-needs adoption, please do all in your power to help them and encourage them to listen to God’s voice, as many of you have so marvelously done for us and other families. They will need it, as we did.
And we know, dear friends, you won’t ask them if they’re crazy. <grin>
Because we don’t know anyone who wants to take the side of those who say, “They’re nothing more than a burden, they’re not worth sacrificing for, they are somebody else’s problem, I have my own interests to think about.” Those, that is, who institutionalized the children in the first place.