I wonder if, when God called him away from his home country to establish a new one, Abraham’s legs felt as unsteady as a newborn camel trying to stand and walk in a forward motion without faltering. I wonder whether fear or excitement was his predominate emotion as he set out on the adventure of his life. Maybe it was a mixture of both. “So [Abraham] went, as the LORD had told him,” is what the Bible says (Gen. 12:4). I guess that’s all we really need to know, in the end. Abraham’s obedience is [much] later confirmed and commended in Hebrews 11:8-12. It was his faithfulness to God’s call that mattered. I want to be faithful like that.
It’s so easy for me to get distracted by all of the, well, distractions of life. I want my longing for comfort, security, and habit to be overwhelmed by God’s leading–out of my pathetic plywood shanty and into God’s city. So, it’s with this attitude, that I’ve faced some unusual situations over the course of this past year, in spiritual growth to be sure, but also in considering the growth of our family.
It was last January when we began seriously considering international adoption. (Why international adoption? We have several reasons that I’ll discuss later in another post. In short, we have friends who have adopted beautiful children both domestically and internationally, and each individual family’s path has been the right fit for them.) We had talked about adoption, in theory, earlier in our marriage, but some close friends pointed us in the direction of a reputable adoption agency (the one that they are using) and we also began to attend several adoption events later in the year. Suddenly, we knew plenty of people who had adopted, and none of them (to my knowledge) have the bank account of Angelina Jolie or Madonna. This shot our theory that international adoption is “just too expensive.” Indeed, we have heard story after story (and we’ve done our research!), of God’s incredible financial provision to those He has called to the task of adoption. Seeing Him provide so lavishly, greatly blesses not only the adoptive family, but their communities and churches, as well. Those who give are able to watch their monetary gifts multiply as they’re combined with the gifts of others, and they get to know that they have contributed to bringing a child home, into a loving family. A year ago, we imagined we would be saving our pocket change in a jar for the next fifteen years until we were finally ready for such an expenditure, but since beginning our research, we’ve learned that people are actually willing and eager to see God match orphans with families who are willing to open their homes. And we’re willing to open our home!
All of this came to a head a few weeks ago, when we were faced with a decision. We could travel to Ethiopia with another couple to study for the summer, if we were willing to raise the funds. When we asked them to send us the total cost of the trip and we began plugging in our own numbers, we realized that the overall cost would be comparable to the cost of an adoption. It hit us, quite suddenly, that for the price of a summer trip, we could bring home a child for the rest of his or her life! We were reminded of our commitment last year to pursue adoption, and we recognized that God was showing us that His path for our family is different than it is for our friends who are still planning to travel to East Africa this summer. (And, by the way, we believe that they are following God’s plan for their family by going to Ethiopia for the summer and we pray for them in their journey–different people, different plans.)
For some who read this, our intentions may seem crazy. But please don’t misunderstand and think that this has not been well thought out and discussed often within our home. Abraham’s journey seems strange until we take a Hebrews-eyeview of his life and realize that there was a bigger plan he couldn’t entirely see all along the way. We’re determined to follow God as He leads us concerning adoption. We’re praying for the child that God may lead to us (by means of our adoption agency). We’re praying for the family that will be making the hard decision to give up their child–all because we live in a world ruined by sin. We’re praying that God will supply the financial means (through gifts and grants) in order to make adoption possible. And we’re praying that we will “journey on,” (Gen. 12:9) as Abraham, eager to see how God will provide, how He will continue to strengthen our faith in Him, and waiting until we might finally gaze upon another sweet little star in our family’s sky.
We’re turning in our application, the first of many steps that will follow on this adoption journey. “Here we raise our ebenezer.”