A new book purporting to be about the movement, The Child Catchers, paints a very distorted picture about what it's all about. From NPR to al Jazeera, media gatekeepers (that up till now have almost entirely ignored the growing engagement of Christians in adoption and orphan care) are now eager to highlight the movement through the lens of this book. Some of the critiques and criticisms include very important and complex issues that I feel do require serious thought and ongoing maturation within the movement. But many other aspects of the book represent well-crafted distortions of the motives of Christians in caring for orphans, the reality of the work being done, and more. Please pray that I and others will respond with grace and wisdom, and that God will ultimately bring much good through it all.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
An ironic post.
In our efforts over the years to have "another" child, Carrie and I often wondered about adoption. For me in years past, the whole idea of adoption has been a scary prospect on multiple levels, most of them selfish-- "We don't have the money to adopt. We don't know the kid's background! What if we don't bond? What if they have problems that we won't know about until years down the road? What if . . .?" In the midst of those "What ifs?," we have been open to the possibility were the Lord to really lay it on our hearts.
That is where I struggle so often-- how can I clear my emotions and personal, selfish desires out of the way and let the Holy Spirit's call be clear? Is that really, truly possible? Am I not actually supposed to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16b) so that there is no question as to which road ahead to choose? Does not Romans 12:2 tell me to "let God transform [me] into a new person by changing the way [I] think. Then [I] will learn to know Gods will for [me], which is good and pleasing and perfect."?
Those scriptures and many others are truths I cling to as I struggle with my sinfulness getting in the way of God's call on my life, my decisions, my thoughts, my actions. Probably my biggest encouragement from it all is that the responsibility is placed on God! HE gives us the faith we need to trust Him (Ephesians 2:8). HE gives us the mind of Christ dwell in me. HE will transform me into a new person! He's a smart guy-- He knows I can't (or won't) do it on my own. To accomplish that great work which He has planned for my life, HE has to do it through His own power. (Ephesians 3:20) Can you imagine what our lives would look like if God left it up to us to have the faith we need to trust Him, the thoughts we need to get through a day, on our own to accomplish great works for His glory?
Should we have chosen to adopt instead of going ahead with minor fertility treatments that ended up giving me five more children? There are thousands of kids out there we could have chosen to give a loving home and family, yet that is not what happened. How much weight do you give to the innate desire to have children from your own flesh and bone when there are so many others out there that are fatherless and love-less?
I have written a lot of questions and don't have most of the answers. But I do know and claim the promise of Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." What a promise and comfort!
18 months ago, I was very happy with our family size. I was able to do a lot of what I wanted to do. I had a lot of time for myself. I wanted that to continue. The thought of having another child and re-entering the realm of baby care was not at all appealing to me. What would I have thought had the Lord revealed His family planning blueprint to me?
I know how I responded when we first found out about those five little babies. I was kicking and screaming (mostly figuratively), asking God why, what for, how, and many other questions. What surprised me was how quickly He changed my heart and mind. I went from anger and frustration
as I saw MY life being robbed from me to seeing how myopic I had been and eager for what the Lord has planned for our family.
While in California last July, I had lunch with my cousin, Jedd Medefind. It was less than a month until the babies would come and I was still wrapping my mind around the prospect of going from the father of one to the caretaker and protector of six children. I don't know why I had not thought about it before, but Jedd mentioned how awesome and wonderful it will be in the years to come to be surrounded so much family; so many children and, eventually, their children, and so on. We discussed how our best and greatest memories are of our times together as nuclear or extended families. God has given Carrie and me an incredible gift of family! We will watch with awe and wonder as He works in and through us and our children to accomplish His purposes.
I am not so naive to think that it is all going to be fun and laughter. The last several months (and evenings) have been evidence of that. It has not been fun AT ALL sometimes, but in the midst of it I can say that most of the time the joy of the Lord has been my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). And that is only His doing.
A life of God-given JOY will be filled with laughter, pain, sorrow, easy times, fun times, suffering, all intermingled to create a tapestry that only God can come up with in His infinite wisdom-- something we could never think or imagine.
I find it quite ironic to be a father of six of my own children, yet to be promoting adoption. What surprises me is the fact that, though I never wanted more than three children, now that I have six, I can much more easily conceive of adopting (some years down the road!)
I mentioned my cousin Jedd Medefind. He is the President of the Christian Alliance For Orphans, an organization that seeks to bring the people and resources of the church community around the world together to care for the fatherless. They have made great strides in raising the awareness of the plight of orphans in the world. I know he and all those involved would greatly appreciate your prayers for wisdom and clarity as they seek to bring churches and communities together.
Specifically you could pray for him as he is interviewed by National Public Radio (NPR) tomorrow, Thursday, March 16th. The author of the book referenced below will also be interviewed separately. Then NPR will edit and combine their interviews for airing on the radio. Here is his request:
Just as we are so thankful for all of you out there praying for us in so many ways on so many days, I know Jedd and the Alliance will highly appreciate your prayers as well.
Many thoughts. Little time. All this leads to a post full of rabbit trails and strings of thought. I hope you hear my heart and that maybe some of you are encouraged wherever you are in life.
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