Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Costs of Adoption - Part 1

I wrote a post in February detailing why international adoption is so expensive.  I laid out our entire fee schedule so people could understand just why we have to raise forty thousand dollars.

I've felt like I should write about this for some time now, but I haven't.  This may not be a popular post but I have come to realize that there are many others out there who have experienced similar situations and I feel like they need to hear it.

Today I want to write to those considering adoption, those in the first stages of adoption, those already home in the trenches of adjustment, and those who have been there, done that and are doing it again!

I want to write about what adoption can cost in terms of your comfort zone, your support system, your family, and your life, in relation to your church.

When we set out to adopt M in 2009, most people didn't understand why.

To be honest, we didn't really know "Why" either other than we very clearly felt God telling us to do it shortly after our second son was born.  The Bible very clearly says in James 1:27 that we are called to care for orphans.  Well, there are lots of orphans!  Our question was "Why are more people NOT?"  Clearly we are TOLD to do it!  I have never said that everyone should adopt, but anyone can read James 1:27 and see there is no qualifying clause.  It says "Pure and faultless religion before God the father is this, to care for orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself unspotted from the world."

There are many ways to care.  

People can honestly act like you have stuck them in the eye with something when you show them that verse.  Christian people.  They do not want to believe they too have been commanded to do something as crazy as caring for orphans because most are not.

In our experience, most people (within the church) don't really want to hear why you are adopting if you start talking about it being something that is not really a calling, but a step of obedience.  They want to tell you that you are "special" and that they could never do it because its "your calling."  They are happy in the belief that their "equally as important calling" is to make sure the styrofoam cups at church are kept in stock for those who want coffee on Sunday morning. (In my humble opinion, there is a huge difference between service, which is essential IN a church, and stepping out in faith in obedience when God calls you to a lifestyle that others view as extreme--but that is another post.I'm not in any way knocking those who serve.)

This is just Eastern Europe.
What will the church tell God they did about it?

Church is supposed to be so much more than Sunday morning.  Jesus came to save a dying world; He redeemed us; yet for some reason the church thinks they are following his example by showing up on Sunday and trying not to do anything "bad" during the week while children are dying on the other side of the world.

 The American church has been lied to about what is important in this life and due to our own lack of studying the Bible and truly seeking God's heart, we have believed that lie.

When you start expressing opinions like that, people can get offended.  You can get labeled as "Passionate" about your "Pet Project" and deemed a leech to the budget in your own church because your ideas for orphan care go outside the nice tidy box of "important church programs."  Oftentimes these sentiments come directly from those in leadership within the church.  The very people you thought would be offering support and coming alongside your family as you stepped out are the ones tearing you down.

They just don't know what they will do if people decide to give their money towards caring for and bringing orphans into families and not towards painting the scuff marks on the walls or landscaping the lawn?  The day people wake up and realize that new playground equipment and flashing lawn signs are not things Jesus demands of a church is a day that they will find themselves swimming against the tide in the American church.

The long and short of it is, adoption can cost you your church.  

Take heart though, because God didn't promise it would be easy.  He said that in this world we would have trouble.  The quandary most church going Christian families find themselves in though when they take that first timid step is that they expected the trouble from OUTSIDE of the church not in it.

Do not lose faith.  Perhaps God is using the indifferent or even hostile attitude at your current church to move you to a place where your family can more fully realize God's calling on your life.  Perhaps He has even better plans for you.  Perhaps He knew all along that you would not have what you needed to do what He has called you to in your current location so He used painful situations to move you.

The one thing I have learned as we have struggled with some of the costs of adoption over the past 2 years is that God never leaves us.  People may leave us.  Family may forget us.  Friends may abandon us.  Our church may reject us.  God promises to do what is best for us. 

Adoption may be costly, but we do not need to look very far in our Bibles to remember just how much Jesus thought we were worth.

Could we really be satisfied with doing less for others than He did for us?

My advice for those of you struggling with a situation like I have described here?  Seek God.  Pray that He will show you what to do.  If you truly are not finding the support that you need when you first go against the status quo, you can be sure that you will not find it once home when you may really need it.  Pray that God will show you what He wants you to do, and don't be afraid if His answer is move.

There is not only a church out there somewhere that you will want to attend, but that will see as valuable the gifts God has given you and the calling on your life to live out the gospel.  Somewhere out there is a church that is truly seeking the heart of God and sees valuable those who do the same.

Find it.   




Carrie Leary said...

Thank you for your honesty and encouragement.

Judy Deaton said...

This is just exactly spot on! So sad, and so true. We experienced all of this to some degree. We pray daily for the Church to rise up!!

Shandra Rota said...

While adoption could be expensive, the delight which the child will bring onto one's life could be priceless and worth more than what they spent. There are even some who adopt a child even if they already have their own. Some do it for charity, and some because they are unable to conceive naturally and want to raise a family of their own; the common ground is, there's something about children that brings us joy and reminds us how important life is. Shandra @ GivingBirthToHope.org

Mama of 3 said...

I agree, Shandra. Its why I also wrote a series of posts titled, "The Joys of Adoption." We are also part of the *some* who chose to adopt a child even though we already had biological children. As we are now near to adding even more children to our family through adoption, I can assure you though, they are all my "own."

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson