Last Sunday, my husband and I made the big announcement to our church family that we were in the process of adopting a little six-year-old girl with Down Syndrome from China. We decided to name her Anah (Ah-nah) Joy. Anah means "God has answered" and "she who sings." I'll be sharing more about her in the posts this week. Our church had been supporting this orphanage (Mother's Love) for many years. Little by little, the government began to close it down---first the infant portion of the ministry, and now the special needs section. The director of the orphanage sent a plea to our pastor, asking our church family if there would be six families who would be willing to step up and take six children into their homes and lives, so that they would not be sent to the state orphanage. From what we learned, children who were over 14 years old were no longer deemed adoptable by China's standards. These six were still under that age and though each of them had a special need of some type, were still open for adoption.
That was in April. I must confess that when the call first came out, I was very curious. That night, after the announcement came out, we had a family discussion at dinner about it. I was surprised to see that all of the others were very interested in seriously pursuing it. My husband then started communications with the staff about our interest. A week or so later, we called a day of fasting and prayer, to ask the Lord where He wanted us to go.
I will have to admit that of all my family, I was the squeaky wheel. I felt like I wasn't keeping up with what I already had to do, much less add another person into our home...and one that needed special care! I kept asking, "What about me?" When they are gone at work, who's going to be holding down the fort at home? When the kids have grown up and moved out, who's still going to have to take care of her? Will I ever have time alone again? Will there ever be space for me to pursue my dreams of getting a Master's degree? Open a retreat home? Write? Will I never be able to travel? See the world? Will my husband and I never have an empty nest?
These were the very real questions I had. All I could see was what I would lose. And because all I could see in my future was loss, I could not move ahead with the adoption. And so it came to a screeching halt because of me.
But oh, how gracious God is! How can I outgive Him? "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all---how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom 8:32) It finally dawned on me that when I focus on the things that I lose, I will miss out on the things that God wants to give.
In God's economy, the greatest gifts come with the greatest sacrifices. Just think of all that Jesus had to do so that we might be saved. He had to lay down His life. He had to sacrifice His comforts. He had to give up trying to retaliate or prove Himself. And He did it so that you and I might have forgiveness of sin, a new nature, the privilege of an heir, hope, eternal life...and so much more.
What I need to give up is a sacrifice. I still feel sad at times. There still is mourning. But when God leads, He is able to take our mourning and turn it into dancing (Psalm 30:11). And I am sure there will be a lot of that in this house when Anah finally comes home.
First in a series: Adoption Journey
PS If you want to hear my husband's message, go to http://www.evergreensgv.org/sermons/ and click on the Aug. 27, 2011 message, "The Heart of Adoption." Somehow at the end it gets cut off and our pastor ends up giving an altar call from another message. Sorry about that!