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

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why I really don't want to

I've gotten several comments as well as messages on Facebook offering support, but begging us to reconsider finding another church.  I just want my readers to understand that this wasn't the first church we've had this type of experience in.  The church we were at previously, for 5 years, had a similar reaction to us adopting, fundraising for the orphanage M was from, and then hosting V.  We were actually at that church the first time we hosted V.  I won't go into details because really, what is the point?  The pastor was the same, the leadership was the same, the people were the same.

The church I grew up in was an Independent Fundamental "Bible Believing" Baptist church.  As I got older I realize that while we were taught the Bible, we were also taught that we were better than everyone else.  Public schoolers were "bad" people making "bad" choices for their kids.  Country music was bad.  Music with ANY beat to it at all (yes we were only allowed hymns) was sinful.  Women wearing pants and working outside the home was sinful.  The list goes on.  If we weren't reading the King James version of the Bible then we were committing heresy because you know God spoke in old English.

When my parents separated, we were suddenly labeled as "bad" too.  We were no longer wanted at that church.  I was a teenager and the hurt I felt from not only my parents separating, but the way my "friends" treated me then mirrors the hurt I feel now.  Its the same.  I left that church and began attending church with Phillip when I was 17.  He'd drive to pick me up every morning.  We were members there until after we got married, and W was a toddler.  We chose to begin attending a church closer to our home that had other families with many children W's age.  Phillip grew up in a non-denominational church which is on the opposite end of the spectrum from how I was raised.  We "compromised" on a Southern Baptist church that lined up with how we both truly felt.  I guess you could say we met in the middle, but really we went where we felt God leading.

We joined a wonderful sunday school class with an outstanding teacher.  We learned so much and made friends.  But… God interrupted our lives with that whispering to our hearts that we should be doing more than just hanging out having fun with friends.  Most people didn't understand why we chose to do it.

Adopting M was difficult, but even more so was the transition once home.  Feeling so alone and misunderstood.  The issue here isn't ONE church.  The issue is "the church" doesn't make orphan care a priority so when families get called to be in the thick of it, there is no support.  Its not considered a ministry, its something to be questioned.  No one thinks its important; they think its just a choice people make because they wanted more kids so if its hard, then "suck it up buttercup cause its what you wanted."

After seeing M's orphanage in terrible disrepair, we tried to organize a fundraiser to send money back.  Our sunday school teacher donated a Wii for a raffle.  We were accused of causing others to sin by promoting gambling.  I don't even want to go into the rest of it because there is no need.  That's just how churches are towards orphan care.  Its not in the budget.  Don't ask people to give their money to orphans overseas because that takes money out of our offering plate here.  Its "your passion" so go do it, but do not ask for our help.

So you see, its not a knee jerk reaction.  Its just simply residing ourselves to accept that we have no place in the church.  We've had to leave places that felt like home twice, feeling like everyone thought we'd done something wrong.  To even walk in the door to another church and "try again" sounds more stressful than an IEP meeting. (and remember those make me throw up )  If God wants us to attend a church then He's gonna have to show up on our doorstep with an invitation because we've been shoved out the door as a family twice, and for me its the third time in my life that I've had this happen.  I love Jesus, but Christians in churches don't act like Him.  They don't do what He says.  I think Jesus could better be found continuing to serve my children in my own living room.  I just hope that I'm up to the job.

My whole point in this is that maybe this IS the point.  Maybe we aren't supposed to be in a church because church is not what it should be.  I'm not saying that to accuse any one place of anything, and I'm speaking only for our family.  I'm saying it because its what is floating around in my head as the conclusion I've arrived at.  Maybe we truly were held back from our calling by being in a church with people that didn't get it.  Maybe God meant for us to get the boot so we could figure out what it is we're really supposed to be doing.  I'm trying really hard not to be bitter about it.  Am I angry at how people acted?  Yes!  But I do realize that God is right next to us.  He can see the next step.  I think its ok to be angry too.  Even Jesus flipped tables and chased people out of the temple with a whip.  We SHOULD be angry that no one cares about orphans.  How must God feel when He told us to care for them?  Calling them sons and daughters means that caring for them doesn't just stop with adopting them.  It means we do whatever they need us to do for the rest of their lives.
That's what we're doing, and that's why we have no church.  


Emily said...

I absolutely hate this for you. This is not how the church should be. Unfortunately, I know that your experience is far too common. I have several other friends who have gone through the same sort of thing. I've been blessed throughout my life to be in three churches who are the polar opposite of the churches that have hurt your family. Our church in California was 100% responsible for funding and staffing an orphanage in Romania. Short-term missions trips from our church built the thing from the ground up. Donations from members paid for building supplies, furnishings, appliances, decorations, and then the salaries of the house parents. Three missions trips a year go over and spend time with the kids, and do improvements on the orphanage, such as building a playground, painting and redecorating, and adding on. 24 kids live there. That is a church that is obedient to God's command to care for the orphan. Our church in Arkansas is hugely involved in the foster care community there. The church is a safe, loving place for foster kids and their foster families. Our church in Florida is also very focused on the needs of orphans. We host foster care and adoption summits. An adoption support group uses our facility free of charge. Several families in our church have adopted internationally, and the church members have been very helpful with fundraising, and then supportive when the kids are home. Our church hosts free parents nights out for families of kids with special needs. We also financially support orphanages in Haiti, El Salvador, and Peru, and send regular missions trips to those orphanages. I know those churches haven't been your experience, but they are out there.
I will pray that the Lord will give you His wisdom as you "church" your kids at home right now, as He has led you to do. And I'm also going to be praying that He'll give you that clear invitation to a church that is like-minded and ready to join with you in your passion for caring for orphans.

Milena said...

My experience is - sadly enough - that many Christians aren't really believers at heart, and many of the most Christian-acting people aren't believers...... I wish you all the best as you guide your children through your faith, teaching them to truly stand up for what is right. You are really doing the right thing!

Ruby said...

going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. It's what you do, how you behave, that makes you who you are. Not where you go to "practice" your faith.

Nicole said...

Today Joyce Meyer talks about it ! :)

Nicole said...

I realise my first message seems not to have made it...
Joyce is talking abot being rejected from her church

Blessed said...

I am so so sorry you are going through this all.

i am really sorry if you have already heard this from other people, but I have to ask. If you think God might be trying to get your attention now and is telling you to teach your kids at home (about Him) then is it also possible that He wants you to teach your kids at home the rest too? (homeschooling) Can you please address why you don't want to homeschool? I'm a homeschool mom and a big adoptive blog reader (hi! been reading you for a while now!) and so I'm really interested in your thoughts about that. So many other adoptive parents seem to choose homeschooling simply because of all the things you are describing here. Could God be asking you to step out in faith about that? Is there any way you have been unconsciously trusting in the school system instead of Him (helping you do it at home)? Or is there anything you think He wants to show you that you have made an idol of?

I do NOT want to rub you the wrong way. My heart hurts for you and all your family is going through, and the pain you feel for being rejected by God's people. : ( I am asking these questions because you seem to be a woman who is introspective and self-aware.

I'm starting Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study this week. It is fantastic--did it years ago and have been wanting to do it again. I sense that God wants be to see something in my life that is spiritual bondage--and I'm thinking he is nudging me to take the study again to open my eyes. If you have the bandwidth for an in-depth Bible study right now, and are spontaneous enough to do it with a complete stranger, then let me know. : ) Hey, it could be what you do on Sundays instead of church! ; )

Your sister in Christ,

Abs said...

I know,this post is old but it breaks my heart to read this. The church we attend is pro adoption and special,needs. We have my kids with severe disabilities, our pastor and his family adopted a deaf girl,with autism from china, and there are lots of other families who foster disabled children from time to time.

Every child is.gods child no matter the situation. When our pastor went to adopt their daughter his wife visited the orphanage. She even had last minute donations from the states to buy toys.

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