We made a commitment to pursue adoption.
This was followed by a year and a half of questions: Could we really, truly love and accept a child that wasn’t born into our home? How would our kids react, and later, interact with one another. How on earth would we ever get the money to finance such an undertaking?
Which was punctuated by a greater understanding of my own adoption through Christ. (As in the, “you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Rom. 8:15-type of adoption).
Then, the other day, over two years later, while we’re in the midst of our adoption homestudy, it hit me: We do know orphans. Well, OK, not all of the facts and figures, per se, but we know names and faces.
- We know Said and his brother Ibrahim. They lost both of their parents in Somalia when they were young. Their hard-working aunt then took them in and has raised them, even as they arrived in America as refugees. We’ve known them for six years and they’ve taken part in many of our family activities. I love these boys like they are part of our family. No, they are a part of our family.
- We know Changwa and her twin sister Hawa. In the broadest definition, a child who has lost even one parent is considered an orphan. Their father died six years ago, shortly after arriving in the US with the family, leaving their mother, who suffers from various health problems, to raise them. They are the youngest of her 13 biological children. We’re teaching Changwa to drive and sometimes I watch her, incredulously, and think, “Is this what it’s going to be like to have a teenage daughter? God, help us!” But she is so smart and determined. She has the potential to do something incredible with her life. And we’re watching.
- We know Adonisi, originally from Burundi, whose father is dead. For the past several years, he’s worn a path on our street as he’s passed from his mom’s apartment on one side to the community center at the other end. We’re a frequent stop on his journey, and he inevitably ends up sitting in our kitchen holding a cup of water and whatever cookie we happen to have in the cupboard at the moment (yeah, I have a “mom” stash). He has an adorable smile and loves playing with our kids. They love him, too.
None of these loved ones is adoptable, but if any of them ever needed a home, buddy, you’d better believe we’d be shoving another bunk bed up the stairs faster than they could pack a suitcase! I wouldn’t even have to think about it!
God’s prepared our family for this and I never even noticed it until a few days ago!
There are orphaned children around the world right now who are much like Said, Ibrahim, Changwa, Hawa, and Adonisi, except that they have no one who is willing or able to offer them a place to sleep or a warm meal. They will not have opportunities for college scholarships. Perhaps no one will teach them how to drive or how to interview for a job or love them unconditionally when they do something completely ridiculous. Indeed, many will die from curable diseases during childhood and the survivors will end up on the street once they are sent out of the orphanage.
But we have room. We have access to beds, medication, education and food in the fridge. We have love that comes from the One who has first loved us. And now we’re simply waiting for God to rock our family tree.