Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Not About Me...

A few of you know what I’ve been up to lately, but most do not.   I’ve leaked the news little bits at a time out of necessity, mostly to explain our recent move to a larger house just fifteen minutes away from where we have been living in Lansdale.  I love Lansdale. It’s a quiet town, everything within minutes of my house, a fabulous pizza place on the corner where my five year-old son and I have weekly dates and a church and school that have been filling us spiritually.  Who would want to leave such a place? 

It all started on Veteran’s Day weekend.  Ecstatic about the four day weekend, we all make special plans to take advantage of special deals for the military, trips away for the long weekend, or tackle home projects that can’t ordinarily be managed in a typical weekend.  I was ready to roll up my sleeves and rearrange all of the furniture in my upstairs to give Jonah the larger bedroom… to make room for another child.  Don’t panic.  I’m not pregnant.  I committed, in October, to adopt a child.  She is a very special child from Eastern Europe and I’ve been praying for her and about her for a year.  In my heart I knew that I was to pursue her, but all of the typical questions that come up in such an instance began to flood me.  Could I afford to care for her? Could I give her the time she required without leaving my other children out? Could I afford to bring her home?  Of course, where God calls, He provides.  He asks only for our obedience.  After much prayer, consideration, and discussion with my sons, I knew that the answer to all was a resounding “yes”.

I ran into a snag that Veteran’s Day weekend, when I found that the child to whom I committed, a girl, could not share a bedroom with Jonah.  Sitting on the floor of the bedroom (yes, after I’d moved all the furniture), I cried for ten minutes and then suggested a couple of options to the agency (one being me moving to a fold out couch in the living room and giving the kids each of the bedrooms in our two-bedroom townhouse). Fifteen minutes later, I was in the parking lot of Big Lots, where I had gone to look for a fold-out couch, when I received the reply: “Sadly, her country demands that all occupants of the home have bedrooms and that only same-gender children can share.”  I took a deep breath and said, “Okay. Time to move” and began looking for a house.  I committed to her.  A couple of people suggested I choose a boy instead.  A reasonable suggestion, yes, but I couldn’t.  I already committed to her. A person I promised would be my daughter unless her country somehow stated she was unavailable.  A person God had led me to, the desire for her had been laid on my heart by Him.  How can I say to her and to God that I loved my rented house more?  Four days later I found a house for basically the same cost, three days after that signed commitment papers and the lease. One week after that, I picked up the keys.  We moved the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  (Please pray that the old house rents by 1 January.  There was already one renter, but the family had to back out.)

I know there are people in my life who may think this is a crazy thing to do, who can’t understand why someone with three wonderful sons and a perfectly healthy reproductive system would want to mess up her quiet, peaceful, relatively “easy” life by adopting a child.  Not a cute, cuddly baby who hasn’t had time to be damaged by neglect and abandonment, but an “older child” with special needs. This little girl is five years old; in fact, she’ll be six in January.  She has Down Syndrome.  She is medically healthy but is expected to be significantly delayed due to a lack of intervention thus far in her life.   I’ve been warned of all sorts of possibilities: “She’s going to have a lot of problems”, “you won’t get to travel or go on vacations” (not sure why adopted children aren’t able to go on vacation- but if you can explain that one, let me know). “It’s going to be really, really hard”.  I don’t want to miss out on something really wonderful just because it might be hard.  Lots of wonderful things are difficult to do.  I should add that none of these warnings have come from anyone who has adopted or even knows anyone who has adopted.  The only warning I’ve been given thus far that actually has any truth to it is this:  “She will likely be in your care for the rest of her life.”  I’m waiting for someone to tell me why this is a bad thing.  It’s only a bad thing if my plan is to have children, raise them to adulthood, kick them out of the nest and squander my retirement (which doesn’t really exist) on myself by indulging in all manner of desires and dreams.  That is not my plan.  The only freedom I look forward to is that which will be granted when I cross over Jordan into the arms of my Savior.  Freedom from darkness, from sin, and from the curse of death on this world.  Until that day, as a Christ –follower, I am called to serve.  Serve Him.  Serve others.

James 1:27 reads “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”  I am not implying that we should not enjoy the blessings that God gives us, but I have yet to find in scripture where we are instructed to scramble to earn and stash away all that we can in our youth so that we may shove our children out into the world and rest comfortably in an easy chair until we die.

Jesus said, and it is written in John 14:18, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”   If He will come for us, why shouldn’t we go after others who are lost? Weak? Fatherless? Helpless? Abandoned? Weren’t we all of those things before we came to Him? The verses above in James and Isaiah are not suggestions.  They are commands of God to each of us who has called upon Him for Salvation.  A command.  I’m in the military.  Commands are something I have come to understand quite well.  Commands are direct. There isn’t much room for debate, for consideration, for question, and definitely not for hesitation.  Unlike my mother who, in my childhood, would say to me, “Why don’t you clean your room?”  I guess I was a budding English major even back then.  It was a question.  A suggestion.  There was no air of certainty in it. Though, it became fairly clear when it was time to do something fun and she denied my request because I hadn’t honored hers, that she fully intended it as a command to be carried out.  Yet her words did not express that directly.  It was her way of being gentle and I eventually learned “Why don’t you…” meant “Do it now, please.”

God doesn’t leave us that wiggle room.  He knows that we’re slow to act, quick to complain, and that we will find any excuse we can to leave His gentle requests unfulfilled.  He commands us because we need to be told directly.   Paul tells us in Romans 6:16 (NKJV), “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness.”  .  I hear the echo in my heart.   “Don’t you get it, people? You’re going to be a slave to something either way!”  I have been a slave to sin in the past.  I spent much of my life enslaved to my own will, my selfish desires, and my sinful choices.  I repented of my sin and gave my life to Christ, to do His will and to obey (Romans 6:17).  I would much rather be a slave to a Master who loves me enough to die in my place than to one who will lead me to a physical and spiritual death.  To that end, I choose to obey the command in James 1:27.  There are an estimated 150 +/-  million orphans in the world. According to one study I read, there are over two billion people in the world who refer to themselves as Christians.   If only 7% of the people who call themselves Christians (thanks Kate) acted out of obedience and adopted, there would be NO orphans. None in America, none in Russia, none in Kazakhstan, Korea, China, Albania, Guatemala… none anywhere.   I know I cannot save them all.  But I can save one from a life of neglect, isolation and emptiness.  To that one, it may mean everything.   If you have managed to stay with me in this lengthy post, please stay tuned.  I’ll be posting regularly to keep you all up to date, to share prayer requests and to promote fund raising opportunities.   I appreciate your prayers as we go through the home study process, and as we wait on God to provide the means to bring her home.


  1. Awesome post!!!! Glad to see who is bringing Oksana home. She has been listed since we first saw our own...a long time. Can't wait to follow along.

    Stephanie Lynch

  2. Stephanie! Glad to have you along! It's been a bit since I have posted. Much has happened. Still awaiting news from RR about receipt of the paperwork for official commitment, but yes- God led me to her and I have claimed her. :)

    How did you find my blog? (just curios, because I am new to this!) Looking forward to sharing with you in our journey.