Monday, April 16, 2012

The Fear of Man II

My husband and I have had numerous conversations about adoption throughout the years. Those dialogues, while often times being redundant, have evolved as we have grown up a bit.

Recently, our discussions about adopting a child with special needs have been more full of possibility. A couple of year's ago we didn't even mention it, because we both assumed we would have a child with no health problems. Now being given two children biologically, we know that our assumptions about the health of our children were wrong. Neither of our children suffer from devastating illness, but neither one qualifies as being "perfectly" healthy. Dashing to a new specialist last week confirmed my suspicions that raising these babies of mine isn't ever going to be easy, or boring.

When we began filling out paperwork for our home study a little over 18 months ago we actually stopped to think about the possibility of raising a child with special needs. That pile of paperwork was good for something, apparently. While we felt confident that we could love & raise a baby that was crippled or handicapped, we didn't feel our extended families would love that child fully or support us completely.

A year ago an influential member of my extended family deserted us. She abandoned her position, and her influence, in my life. (This seemingly random fact will make sense in a few paragraphs.)

Last year we started getting calls about babies with special needs that needed to be adopted.  As each call came, we dove more deeply into our family theology. Is God sovereign? Do we want to control the number and types of children He gives us? Would we abandon a biological child with special needs, then why would we abandon an adopted one? Is adoption our way of obeying the Father's call to care for widows and orphans? Is obeying Him more important than pleasing our families? Is redeeming children from the grave worth a life of "less than" for us? What, precisely, do we want to hand our children for an inheritance?

Two months ago my husband and I hauled our kids across a couple of states to attend my grandmother's funeral. During the drive we got a call from our adoption coordinator about a baby with Down's Syndrome. They knew from ultrasound that the child would be born with a heart defect, but one that was surgically correctable. The reason we knew we weren't the parents was the timing in our lives. The baby would be born, and therefore hospitalized, pretty close to the time we would be moving.  We mentioned to each other the fact that our families would not understand. But what had been a wall-like barrier years before now served only as a speed bump in our decision.

One of the biggest opponents to adopting a child with special needs had walked out of our lives. Had I seriously made choices about my children based on her opinions? My grandmother reminded me that some people will leave us through death. Any one of the people who say, "But what about your other kids? That isn't fair to them," could easily die tomorrow. How foolish to hold off loving & raising a precious child, designed for our family, because of the opinions of people that may die, or walk away. How stupid to design our family around the fears and prejudices of other people, even if they never leave. How dumb to be afraid of mere men.

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Luke 12:5

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him
Psalm 103:8-13

I don't know if we'll ever adopt a child with special needs, or not. But I'm trying my best to fear only One opinion.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Fear of Man I

My husband and I are in the process to adopt a baby. We've been home studied approved for a year and a half. I started researching adoption agencies two years ago. We've spoken of, and planned, adoption since our courtship. This morning I wondered if I have actually been ready to adopt, though.

I was reading the blog of our adoption coordinator (Tracie) and noticed her tweets on the sidebar. One of Tracie's daughters met her birth mother for the first time yesterday. By reading between the lines of the 140 characters I felt Tracie's love for her daughter's birth mom.

As I walked away from my computer it dawned on me that up until this point I have not been fully ready to love the birth family of my child. I know from our two failed adoptions that I am really good at loving them through the matching process, but what happens after that? My link to my children's birth families is just as eternal as my link to my children. Am I ready for my life to reflect that? Would I have been too busy living my life to keep loving my babies' birth family?  There is a chance that busyness is actually a cover for fear.

There are a pile of things to be afraid of: they might try to take my babies away from me, they might be a horrible influence on my children, they might try to manipulate and steal from us, they might confuse my children, they might steal the hearts of my children, they might, they might, they might. . .

And yet.

In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 56:11

God has got this. He has my family. He has my heart. Jesus has already walked us through two painful adoption situations. He can and will take us through anything else that comes.  No person can inflict the one wound that God can't heal.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

I am called to love. And that love has some power behind it. Not just some power, all power. Defeat the grave kinda power. I can't do it on my own, but Jesus can love through me. Oh, there are so many verses that talk about the love of God poured out in and through us. Here's just one:

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:5

So apparently I haven't been ready to have more children, because I don't have them. (God IS sovereign) But I am being better prepared every day. Another lesson/deep truth has been stirring within me for a couple of months. It needs to roll around in my brain a little bit more before I can articulate it clearly. So stay tuned for another fear of man that God has revealed and healed.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.