I’ve wrestled with many of the reasons people shy away from adopting…
- “I’m not sure if I want to take on someone else’s problems.”
- “But what if they end up with issues?”
- “How could I ever love a child that’s not mine?”
For men who are adopting or considering adoption with their wife, I understand. I was there. I wrestled with these issues and more when I prayed and processed through what it would mean for me to be an adoptive father. I distinctly remember a family member who shared that they didn’t want to consider adopting because they didn’t want to take on someone else’s problems. That thought stuck with me in a bad way.
But as followers of Jesus Christ, as people who are called to reach out to the poor, the marginalized, the people without Christ, I am understanding on a fundamental level that following Christ into the world means being willing to stand up and protect orphans and widows and other vulnerable people in society. Scripture speaks to this throughout both the Old and New Testaments. I could give many, many specific examples about how God commanded the people of Israel to welcome the foreigner and alien among them, or how many passages speak to the issue of caring for orphans directly, or how Moses was adopted, and even how Jesus was adopted by Joseph and raised as his own son. Clearly, God cares about orphans, and he commands us to care for them.
So like I said, I was one of those people who harbored feelings about orphaned children being “problems” that I didn’t want in my home. But I realize now how that mindset is something that the enemy uses to attack and kill off weak little lambs/children. One of the enemy’s most effective tactics he uses is to get Christians to start seeing adoption as an “issue” rather than as a real person with a real story. That’s the way it was for me. I saw adoption as an issue rather than a person… until I met an adorable little five-day-old preemie girl who was released from the hospital into my arms. She just happened to be one of those “foster children” or one of those “issues.” But as I held this little “issue” in my arms and prayed for her almost every night, I found that my heart changed:
Jesus I pray that you will protect Aundrea and keep her safe. I pray that you will enable her to be in a safe place where she can receive You as a child, and where her life will be a blessing to thousands and millions of people over her lifetime.
So how did God answer those many prayers I prayed over her? He helped me to see that the “issue” of adoption was really about this little girl in my arms. Was I willing to stand in the gap for this little child without any hope or any future? As a husband and father, was I willing to allow my faith in Christ to mean something for a vulnerable child? My decision to fight for her protection and safety was something that profoundly changed me forever. That little five-day-old preemie is now my eight-year-old daughter named HopeAnne Aundrea. We named her Hope because we were praying that we wouldn’t lose hope in the days and weeks when we could see that the county children and youth agency worker was making some poor decisions. We stood in the gap for her, and today that little girl is now in second grade, she plays the viola in our family band, she love gymnastics, she loves Jesus, and she loves to run. She runs like the wind, and she wins many of her races. And every time I see her run a race, I am the loudest parent there. “GO HOPIE GO!!!” I could care less about what people around me may say about how loud I am, because I am privileged to see God redeeming a child whose life was hanging in the balance back in 2006. And God enabled me to be part of the answer to my prayers over that little girl named Aundrea. I only wonder what our decision to adopt little HopeAnne will mean 100 years from now.
I don’t know what it will mean for you to take the plunge into adoption. It may go wonderfully. It could be difficult. But God has promised that He will walk with you as you journey with Him. It is my prayer that God will raise up men who decide that they will be protectors, shepherds, and fathers of vulnerable children.