Feb 15, 2012

Why Adopt?

"Why did you adopt all these kids?" It's a question that has come up in whisperings and hints around me but no one comes outright and asks it. I know I don't "owe" anyone an explanation/justification ... and there's no way to do it adequately in a few paragraphs but here goes a quick overview attempt. (And I don't think there's a way to do this without offending a few, but I will try.)

Dan and I grew up in a church that had a general philosophy of "When the Kingdom comes". There's a thinking that "In the world tomorrow" x, y and z will be fixed. When Jesus returns, things will be made right. Many people understood the concept "correctly" but it was also used as an excuse (to many) to do nothing. No need to evangelize, no need to be kind to fellow humans, etc. I mean NOTHING.

Dan and I got married ... Christmas Day (yes, you read that right) in 1994. A week later, the church announced some major changes and the church we grew up in became splintered in several directions. So we have friends/family with hugely varying religious ideas. (Understatement).

Before we got married, we wanted to adopt. Somewhere along the way, it became clear to us that we should adopt those who wouldn't have had a family otherwise. I feel God showed us that path and we took it. At first, the choices were fairly easy. Jacob and Kaley, for example. People don't adopt kids who are African American out of the Foster system. Period. The odds are (at least in our state) that if you hit age 1, you have less than a 5% chance of ever being adopted. So it seemed a no-brainer. Along the way we discovered their medical conditions. AFTER we adopted them. But by then, they were "ours" and you just buck up and do what any parent would do.

Eventually we got to China and you can't "unsee" after you have seen something. These kids are just babies needing a home, needing warm clothes, needing a stranger to be kind to them.

Matthew25 comes readily to mind. Do this unto the "least" of these... clothe, feed, etc. If you haven't read this powerful chapter lately, you might want to reread the whole thing. The context of it is quite chilling.  It talks about an ACTIVE participation.  DOING, not just saying. 

But bottom line ... by the end of the chapter, Jesus says to one group (the doers) "Well done, welcome to Eternal life" and the other group (the non-doers/waiters) "Depart from me, I never knew you." And I don't know about you, but that makes me WEEP. And all I know is, I have NOOO excuse. I know what I am to be doing. It is in my power to help. I must not withhold my help.  And beyond that, God has equipped me to do just that.  He's given me talents (also talked about in this same context) and expects me to use them to propel His Kingdom. 

James 2:14-17 is another powerful section. In paraphrase ... faith without works is dead. If a person says, "Hey, I'm cold and I need a coat" and you say, "Hope you find one" ... uh, it's a problem. But I know soooo many people who do this in regards to kids who need a home. They see the need. They close their eyes and say, "I hope you find a family".

Am I saying everyone should adopt? NOOOOO ... Trust me, this road is not for everyone. But there's stuff people can do for the orphan. Mostly: Don't turn a blind eye and shut off your heart.  God has probably prepared YOU to do something for His Kingdom.  Do THAT. 

So ... back to Manny specifically. Our family had been being prepared for a while. God even prepared our hearts for taking in a child that would not live long. (A string of converstations, trainings, experiences, etc.) I'll write that blog soon... "Why Manny". 

But when Manny was presented to us, we initially said No. He was too severe. His needs were very unknown. Even his condition was unknown. And I can write out the details of the 2 weeks where we kept saying No and God kept saying Yes. (It's quite remarkable.) But ultimately, we said yes.

And by saying YES to Manny.... it was the right decision. (I know some of you might question that, and it's OK.) We would do it again in a heart beat.

With that said, to say YES to Manny meant we had to say NO to a lot of things too. I had China projects that have been put on complete hold. Our house is needing maintenance. My relationship with Dan and each of my kids is sometimes strained (like a month at a time hospital stays). Dan's business has suffered. We have said no to countless things. Life is VERY hard sometimes.

So why did we do this? For so many reasons. (Some mentioned above.) But bottom line is ... Jacob, Kaley, Sam, Luke, Zoe and Manny deserved a family. They deserve to walk out this life with people who love them. People who will fight for them. People who will teach them of God.  And we wanted to be parents.  A match made in heaven. 

And I believe that MY role as a Christian is to do the best to walk the talk (to the best of my ability), to show God's love wherever I go.  ("You shall know them because they show love to one another") And I have chosen to walk the road of adoption. 

I hear all the excuses of people as to why they can't adopt.  (Not sure why they feel the need to let me know their reasonings ... guilt perhaps?) But among them are cost, too old, not enough room for more, not sure they could love someone that is not their "own", time consuming, too much paperwork, fear of the unknown, etc. 

I am so very thankful that God didn't use any of those excuses when He chose to adopt me!  I mean I'm SURE I was costly (Jesus Christ's sacrifice comes to mind as just one of the high payments He made for me).  I'm sure God is old, but never too old.  He always has room for another child.  I AM His "own".  etc. 

So why adopt?  I think the better question would be "Why NOT adopt?"


  1. Becky Browder NeustadtFebruary 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    God blessed me when I was led to you, Beth. I am humbled. I am in awe. I never questioned why adopt, why Manny. I knew it was Divine Intervention and no one messes with that.

    I am praying that little guy has a good day - and that you do too. And I want to make sure I acknowledge your family at home. Much like our military - "those left behind" make just as many sacrifices and are crucial components to any success. May God bless them as they live moment to moment, day to day as well.