Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Heart Beats Are Talking....

You know what has been on my heart lately creating quite a stir? Adoption. Okay, okay I know... this surprises no one.

There are some things about the worlds view of adoption that have got me all fired up lately. More importantly, these things exist in the CHRISTIAN view of adoption. Oh maybe not in an "in your face" kind of way. They tend to exist in an "in the back of your mind" kind of way. They exist because we have never taken them out, and then stomped them to ashes under our feet.

Let's start by tackling family planning and the grace of God. It is at times like this that I wish I was more eloquent in translating my thoughs to the written word. So I pray that I can do justice to what needs to be said. Psalm 127:1 says
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

I was 25 years old when my 5th biological child was born. Each of my children were beautiful. They were funny, well behaved, and as a whole family we were an eye catcher. Oh my heart (and admittedly my ego as well) would swell as the compliments came flowing in on just what a wonderfully beautiful family I had.

Not once had I ever prayed over whether we should add another/any children to our family. I prayed for a healthy child. But I had adopted the stance that whatever happened, happened. I was a believer and obviously each pregnancy was a gift from God. Afterall, He alone creates/gives life right?

Praise God He is so merciful. Praise God He is so gracious. Praise God He is so giving, He LOVES to give. HE IS LORD. He lavishes love and mercy on us even when we aren't asking for it. He gives grace and creates beauty, the beauty of family all around us, even when we don't ask Him for it.

All 5 of my biological children were a specific blessing, an unparallelled creation/expression of and for God's glory. And in spite of that, I never allowed Him to be a part of it at all. I didn't NEED His help, I just thanked Him for the blessing after the fact.

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain... Ummm, can you say uh-oh? All that beauty, all that happiness, all that love... Was it all in vain? What was I actually doing? What had I ever done? Beauty, happiness, laughter, love... they were all there, and yet there was no room for God's glory.

BUT I believe He knew my heart, my families heart. He knew what would be and He set the stage for His glory to shine. He blessed us, for our faith to come. All the while, child after child, blessing after blessing He continued to fullfill His desire to create a "new thing".

Isaiah43:19 (ESV) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

Eph. 4: 22-24 (ESV)To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (emphasis mine)

Created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness? Created after the likeness of God? I WANT myself and my family to be created by, for, and to resemble GOD. THAT can ONLY happen IF GOD IS ALLOWED/asked to come in and by His hands specifically do a "NEW THING" in your "house". ! [It is never too late by the way! Obviously this does not only apply to increasing your family size. But for the purpose of this post, that is my focus.]

My husband and I currently have 10 children. Our oldest 5 biological children, and our youngest 5 who were adopted. Words can not describe how beautiful I think my family is. It is a family specifically created by God, and sometimes all I can do is look on in awe as His glory is revealed over and over in the intimate care He has taken with building it for HIS GLORY. I do not want to ever again "labor in vain". May God build my house with His own two hands! All earthly creations pale in comparison to His. HIS take my breath away each morning! My prayer is that all of you get breathless in the face of God's creation of your family!

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Eph. 1:5 / NLT)

God decided to adopt us! It is what HE WANTED and it gave Him GREAT PLEASURE! WOW. Seriously, do you feel that WOW? He specifically wanted YOU! He specifically wanted ME! He not only wanted it, but His heart was on fire for us! He did it because He couldn't help himself! He loves us and takes great pleasure in claiming us as HIS!

I believe everybody wants to matter. Everybody wants to be somebodies JOY! If you are a believer, if you have confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9), and if you have admitted that you have sins that need forgiven (Romans 6:23)... You are a SON OF GOD! You are HIS JOY!

"Son of God" you say? Russell Moore talks about being "adopted as Sons" in His book "Adopted For Life". Not to sidetrack, but if you haven't read it, I insist that it is a MUST READ! Now, as for adoption as sons, what about us girls? This is so cool! In the time period of which this verse was written, oldest sons inherited the fortune. They were the favored, the most important. He is adopting us equally. As oldest Sons. We are inheriting the fortune. We are the favored! Each one of us! Now tell me that is not a beautiful thing!

God gave us the "perfect model" of what adoption is? FULLY INCLUSIVE OF ALL THE BENEFITS OF BIOLOGICAL FAMILY! ALL family is created by the hands of GOD. Adoption is no exception. In the family of God, it does not matter how a family is formed, what matters is that GOD formed it with the intimate, overwhelming pleasure in His heart!

So to the second stirring of my heart, adoption isn't and should never be considered a second best option! It isn't something you do just because you can't have a biological child! Sometimes God uses infertility as a way to direct you down the path He desires for you to go, or He uses it to grow your faith and start the stretching process.

I have not dealt with the heartbreak of wanting to start my family, only to find out that infertility was coming into play. I have friends and family who have, and the sadness and emotions that accompany that realization is tremendous. I am not criticizing the continued desire for pregnancy and giving birth. I am just stating that adopting isn't an "only if we can't have our own children" kind of option. In fact, I would say if that is how you feel do not adopt! But infertility can be a catalyst for tearing down barriers. It can kick start an amazing journey.

When we adopted the first time we received many comments to the point of "Why couldn't we just be happy with the children we had?" "Shouldn't you let people who can't have "kids of their own" adopt?" "Why do you need more than 5 kids?" and so on and so on.

To share some of God's intense desire to do a new thing in our family, after child number 5 I could no longer have biological children. That is such a huge praise for me now. I might never have stepped into the challenging journey of adoption if the "easier option" of giving birth had been available. So yes, PRAISE GOD that that door was closed!

After that first adoption, I grew so much in my faith! It all started to "click". No longer was I seeking to just grow our good little family and celebrate the joy of an adorable little baby once again. Instead I prayed to be the hands and feet of Jesus. How I cringe when I think back to when child rearing, bearing and adoption was all about me and creating what I wanted! I want to live out of God's will, I want to be a mom to God's glory, I want to be breathless! I told God He had my YES, and just to point me in the right direction!

I have never regretted it! He is so much greater! His imagination so much grander! His love so much more intense! His idea of family so much broader, so much more specific, so much more perfect!! The boundaries of this world weild no power over HIS declaration and creation of family! How could I ever say NO to that!??? How can you?

Pray that God takes your breath away as HE reveals His plan for growing your family! Pray that He is the one to build your house!

Lastly, I want to touch on international and transracial adoption. Oh my goodness, you may well be amazed at the number of people who have intense opinions on these things. Opinions usually not based on fact, but just spur of the moment reactions. Along with the opinion of if these things are in any way acceptable, there are also the comments that come across as abrasive, tacky, and down right rude.

It amazes me that anyone who is not legally a part of the process would think to play God to such a degree as to state that this child or that child should not be joining a family. As if God is bound in anyway by things like distance, race, culture, money, time, or numbers?

Today I read Acts 17: 26-28a. Let me write a disclaimer that I am definitely NOT a theologian. But I do admit when I read this verse I wanted to pump my fist like Arsenio Hall and go "wah, wah, wah!" (hope I'm not showing my age there :)).

26 From one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live.27 He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt around for him. Yet God is actually not far from any one of us;28a as someone has said,

In him we live and move and exist. (from the Good News Translation)

He created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would livE?? Did you catch that? HE CREATED, HE SPREAD THEM THROUGHOUT THE EARTH, HE FIXED BEFORE HAND THE EXACT TIMES AND HE DECIDED THE BOUNDARIES OF WHERE THEY WOULD LIVE!

This child in Romania would come to live in the United States, this child in Ghana would come to live in the United States, this child in Bulgaria would come to live in Sweden, this child in Ukraine would come to live in France. He knows when, who, where, and how each child joins their family.

He has a specific reason for what He does. He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt around for him If God knows it and has ordained it, you can bet He has an incredible reason for doing so! Do you really want to stand before Him one day and question it? Is any explanation even needed?

And if He ordains it and sets it into motion, ..God is actually not far from any one of us... In him we live and move and exist. HE IS THERE, in the midst of it all!

What a beautiful verse. I am a woman, and maybe that is why I am a sucker for romance and tender love. I admit, I LOVE witnessing the details of Gods heart as He places a child through adoption into a forever family! I love seeing a couple welcome a child through birth. It is all amazing, and makes my heart overflow with JOY.

Adoption really is so much bigger than you and I! Family is so much bigger than the boundaries that the world would place around it!

So once again, my prayer for you as you walk away from this post is that you would allow God to make you breathless as you watch HIS plans and heart unfold in the context of HIS plans for your family!