The Gospel of International Adoption

Last night, I received an anonymous email that said this:

“i bet you think there are no AMERICAN kids that need adoption look here in your back door -do not help china out AMERICANS need it more” [sic]

As a result of this email, I’d like to share a little story. (Some of you have already read this part in another post. I apologize for that, but I need to link back to this later, so I'll repost...)

Over the past few weeks, Bobby and I have been reading a true book about two boys who began life in a silent orphanage overseas. In our wealthy nation, we know nothing of orphanages like this one.

It was silent because the babies had lost hope. Filthy, crowded, and incredibly poor. No child received enough food. However, the babies learned that no one would come if they cried, so they would sit holding the bars of their cribs, trying to rock themselves for comfort. The only sound in this foreign orphanage was the sound of babies moving themselves silently back and forth, back and forth.

The adoptive parents found their two children there, sitting in noiseless filth. They heard their children cry for the first time on the last night before the adoption was finalized. On that night, they had to leave them in those cribs. And the children shook with weeping because it was the first time they understood being held... being loved... and they never wanted that to end.

Upon adoption, the boys were taken outside. They saw sunlight and felt wind for the first time in their entire lives.

When these kids finally saw the sun and wind, they were terrified. They simply couldn't understand the outside world, nor could they understand the motion of the car that took them away from that horrible place to the home where people loved them. The kids were so scared, they cried and reached back for the orphanage, because it felt safer than sun and wind.

The author compares this experience (these were his children) to how we reach back for the things of earth instead of embracing the new life Jesus offers to us. So often we want to reach backwards into what we know, into our squalid comforts, instead of following God where He takes us. We prefer our culture of ignorance to the light of truth.

My love for America is deep and old. I come from a long line of conservative patriots, and our family works hard to help maintain the foundational principles of this land. I consider compassion one of those principles.

Over the past two hundred and thirty-three years, America has embraced my ancestors when they were impoverished and weak. The Statue of Liberty welcomed them, the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.

English, Scottish, Polish, Scandinavian, and Irish - most of my people and yours were not native to this land. Their skin looked different than those who lived here before them. But still, God used America to provide a haven for these travelers. And through a stumbling, mixed up process full of horrible human errors, many of us live blessed lives now because of God’s mercy to funny-looking, foreign, sinful, strangers.

So should America still provide a refuge for the impoverished and weak traveler? Or were our ancestors the only ones who deserved this gift?

Well, I’m certainly no advocate for a dangerous, uncontrolled immigration system that rapes the resources and principles of our land. That should be stopped. Also the rampant national virus of reverse-discrimination rots American unity. But what about adopting in those who will grow to understand and defend the Constitutional principles of America? What about an intentional, loving embrace that acknowledges the equal values of lives... lives that can grow to benefit the community as well as take from it? And what about tender nourishment for those who are simply too weak to live without a family?

At the end of our family’s journey, we might adopt from within America. I believe that inter-American adoption is a beautiful thing, and we are open to it. But this choice would not be superior to an international adoption. There is no "superior," in these situations.

The calling of God upon each family is unique. And, there are also many complicated reasons why parents may chose one route or another. It doesn’t take much research into adoption to realize that this issue has many different angles. It is arrogant and foolish to make quick assumptions.

There is one issue that is clear, however. The enemy of our souls desires to see hopeless children (who are made in God’s image) wasting away in America AND overseas. he works to make children hungry, sick, and broken. And he yearns to see children born and die in an environment where the name of Jesus is never even spoken.

Our enemy also works to oppress hopeless children through the speech and thoughts of our citizens. Ugly words not only demonstrate little understanding of the true history or principles of America -- they demonstrate little understanding of the principles of Christ.

The Bible is very clear that every single Christian was “adopted” into the kingdom of Christ. We were all strangers and aliens, but God made us His children. Jesus came to our foreign land to bring us out of a dirty, sick, and ugly existence. He did this at great cost. We were His enemies, and yet, God embraced us.

If we are unwilling to extend this same sort of love and compassion toward others who are adopted, perhaps we do not really know Christ at all. Sobering thought.

I can respect a deep love for America. I can also understand the concern that American children need our help. However, the person who wrote this email somehow reminds me very much of the foreign children who were taken from that orphanage. Somewhere, this sad writer has encountered the wind of Love’s story, and it is frightening to her. So, she cries out in protest... longing for the world she has known before. She doesn’t want the world around her to change, so she rocks herself into a numb sort of comfort, calling for the rhythms of a dark room without windows. I feel more pity than anger for her.

I am quieted more by the reminder that God loves this woman. Though she is a foreigner to God’s kingdom... though she is hostile to God’s children.. though she is ignorant, crass, and blind... though she would despise the waiting daughter I adore because of these things... Jesus loves this woman enough to embrace her. To offer her new life. To offer her a clean mind. To offer her a home. His love is this great.

So this is my prayer...

May the God who moves past hostility, and selfishness, and fear... the God who loves foreign strangers, broken and needy ... teach this woman (and all of us) about the wonderful, deep love of adoption. I know of few more beautiful analogies for the gospel.

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About This Blog

Welcome to our family’s adoption journey. As you read, you will see us stumble and take wrong paths. You will see our hopes surge and fall. You will see the gaps in our humanity, and how our God realigns us to His purposes over and again. We think the messiness of this process is important. Sometimes walking with God isn’t a neat, linear package that can be summarized in bullet points. More often, life ebbs and flows around our plans, while God works His sovereign wonders from it all. We are learning so much through this journey. And we are super excited about our new son. If you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you along for the ride.

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