I love seeing adoption-related stories in the media. Recently there have been quite a few. That’s a good thing. Anything to create an awareness of the plight of orphans in the world is a blessing, and when any national news media grabs a story, it’s HUGE.
Many stories have been passed on to me to read in the last few weeks. In particular, one story about a family unfairly detained in an African nation while adopting their four precious children. My heart has truly ached for them. Many of us have prayed for this family—trusting that TRUTH would be revealed. It has been awesome seeing the body of Christ coming together to support them. That’s the way it should be.
Of course, with public expose and all the advantages of it, comes a different kind emotion. I know I should not do it, but I can’t help myself. My blood boils each and every time I scroll to the bottom of articles like these or similar blog posts, and read the comments. Oh, the comments! While the internet sure has been used for so much good in the world, it has also given mean, opinionated, judgmental people a platform to sit behind a computer and have their say—most times in not-so-very-kind words, and anonymously, of course.
It’s always the same in this instance.
“America has orphans too. Why not adopt one of them?”
“Forget Africa’s children! Adopt an American teen.”
“Why pay all that money to go overseas when there are orphans right here?”
Sadly, they just don’t say it in quite such graceful words though.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many times Anthony and I have been asked similar questions.
“So, you’re adopting from overseas…again? Why don’t you adopt from right here in America?”
For the most part I do understand why people ask (especially when it comes from a heart that truly wants to understand, instead of someone just judging). There are thousands of orphans in this country who need to be adopted! I sat at the Summit orphan conference this year and was so encouraged to hear about the many orphan initiatives which have started in America to DO something about the orphans in foster care. I listened to many people share their stories. In my state alone, an amazing initiative among churches was started a few years ago to clear out the foster care system. They have literally reduced the number of orphans in my state from thousands to a few hundred. Much is being done.
And that’s great. But in my opinion, the argument about where to adopt from comes down to more than merely about what is being done, or is not being done—and the fact that there are orphans in America who need to be adopted.
For me, it’s simple, really.
It all comes down to following the Lord Jesus Christ with reckless abandon and DOING something about what He puts on OUR hearts!
It comes down to simple obedience!
I have many, many friends who have never set foot in a foreign land to adopt a child. But they have opened their homes and adopted several children out of foster care. Other friends have never adopted a child but have fostered many. I also have friends who have only adopted internationally. And then I have friends who have done neither. But oh my goodness, do they give, pray, support, and come alongside others to enable them to fulfill the call to bring children home!
Obedience looks so different to each one of us.
Honestly? Anthony and I have never felt called to adopt domestically. That does not mean we don’t have a heart for the children here. Of course we do! We are burdened for all orphans. But just as Jesus, when surrounded by a multitude of disabled people at the pool at Bethesda (John 5), signaled out the ONE who was on His heart, so must we. The Bible tells us that there were “many” disabled people at the pool that day–all so desperately needing to be healed. Jesus never got overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem. No, He knew in His heart the ONE His Father would have Him rescue. We too absolutely have to be obedient to love the ONE God places in front of us…no matter where in the world they are.
I do understand that most of the commenters on these posts and articles are not Christian and absolutely do not understand the heart of our Father in these things. But as I have seen countless times over the years, many Christians make the exact same comments and assumptions. They cannot fathom how we keep going overseas to bring our children home when, as they say, there are children here.
What happened to a Kingdom mentality? What happened to all God’s children and people being equally deserving of the basic rights of human beings…one being a family? Why the dividing line that says those who adopt internationally are doing the wrong thing because people believe that our hearts should first and foremost be here at home?
And why in the world does WHERE we adopt from overshadow the fact that precious children are being rescued? That’s what’s important!
The Bible commands us to “go into ALL the world and make disciples of ALL.” Adoption IS setting the captives free. It’s rescuing children out of captivity (neglect, starvation, abuse) and bringing them into His glorious light. Adoption is totally about bringing precious souls into the kingdom of God! It’s salvation, people! For those of us who follow Christ, our God is not defined nor restricted by boundaries and borders. So why should we?
To think that adoption should be confined to just where we live is, quite honestly, ludicrous. It’s a ridiculous mentality—hardly one that reflects the true heart of our Father in heaven. Just as many people are called to go out into the nations to serve as missionaries, ambassadors, or something else, some are called to stay right here and make a difference in their own communities. It’s all about hearing the voice of the Lord and going where He sends us. How awful it would be if every Christian stayed right here and never had a heart for our brothers and sisters across the ocean!
That is just not the Christianity I believe in! Children are children…no matter where they live. They ALL need to be rescued. They ALL need to know the love of parents. And they ALL need to hear the Good News. To say that the “right thing to do” is to all be adopting children out of one nation (this one!) is so completely contrary to the Bible.
In my opinion, the most important thing is that we are all following the voice of the Lord and being obedient to do what He is calling us to do—no matter where in the world that takes us! We’re called the “body of Christ.” When every member of a body is actively doing what he or she is called to do, it’s a beautiful thing and boy, can it make a profound difference! If those who had a heart for international adoption actually did it, and the families who were burdened for the orphans in America actually stepped out and brought them home,…Wow! We would be changing the world big time.
Sadly though, when some members of the “body” sit back, point fingers, criticize, and judge those who ARE doing something to follow God with everything they have, that’s destructive. It does nothing to advance the glorious kingdom of God on the earth.
Once again, I am reminded of the words of Jesus.
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”
“Follow me!” John 21:15-8
YOU follow Him!
YOU feed His sheep!
No matter where they are.
No matter how challenging the journey will become to get to them.
YOU take care of His precious, precious sheep.
Forget what anyone else says about it! YOU be obedient!
It’s freeing. Really.