First, let’s see what scripture says. It always must be our compass! The mandate from the Lord is clear: James 1:27 clearly states: Pure religion in the sight of God is to care for the orphan and widow. It doesn’t say, “If your family is into it, then take care of the orphan and widow.” Throughout scripture God pleads on behalf of the orphan. He does not say, ‘if your family is into it – care for the orphan” nor does He say, “check with your family before being obedient to me.”
In fact a rich young ruler and Peter were in a discussion with Jesus about giving it all up to follow Him. In Luke 18:29 Jesus remarked: “’I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.’"
Now someone could say, “but scripture tells us to honor our parents.” True! But honoring is showing respect, whether married or not. It is not obeying. When a person grows up and leaves home they are “out from under their parents ‘rule’.” The only one we are to obey is God. In fact scripture says, “It is better to obey God than man.” (Acts 5:29)
So what are we to do when our parents or our family don’t like that we are adopting? Do we shrink back or do we obey God? We must obey God!!
Please hear my heart. It can be incredibly painful to not have family support. BUT, we strongly believe that God will use our testimony and life to influence. That being said, we cannot be content living our lives to make our parents or siblings “happy”. What we have also learned is that when we attempt to make family happy, often they change the rules and they are no longer happy about that either and so we are contorting life and standing on our head and doing somersaults and guess what? They are still not happy!!! The only one we are to please is God – period!!
From my end, I need to set the record straight. We have not always had family happy that we were adopting. Not at all!! One of the most horrible statements I have ever heard in my entire life came from a family member a few years back. It is so horrible I have not nor would I ever even repeat it. Ever. Sincerely – not ever to anyone!! It makes me sick to my stomach when I think that this person, whom we dearly love, could have said such a yukky thing. And the mama bear in me would like to have “straightened them out”….but that’s not really my job. We chose to keep our mouths shut and pray for their heart. Scripture says that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” so I’m guessing that there is a lot of yuk in their heart, so we keep praying.
On the other hand, at one point we withdrew contact from another family member because they were being very ugly with their comments. We still honored them – just from a distance. We did not trash talk them. We just prayed. We felt strongly that it was detrimental for our kids to be in close relationship with this person, so we kept our distance.
Many years ago when the word spread through our family members that I had lost another baby (the third loss)….I received three phone calls (talk about Job’s comforters! – three of them!! Gracious be!). A little background. Having always wanted a boatload of kids, we wanted them from everywhere and we thought it would be fun to mix a few birth up in the pile too. Over the course of 10 years I only got pregnant 4 times and eventually lost all four – one quite far along.
Anyway, Job’s comforters called me. Each of them called individually, but there was no doubt that at least two of them had been chatting prior to calling me. Cause the conversation was something like this: “Don’t you think it’s time you got over this whole wanting more kids thing and just got busy doing something else?” Excuse me? I/we had never grieved with them about our loss. We had never complained about the kids we did have. We had never asked them to babysit for us. We had never asked them for anything. We were not and are not on public assistance. We wanted lots of kids. Like somehow our wanting more kids made them uncomfortable or something. I was polite, but really, could they be serious?
On the other hand, some family members have been wonderfully supportive.
And what about our friends? Surely they have been cheering us on? Nope, not really. Most of our friends don’t understand. And no, they are not cheering us on. Most of our peers are empty-nesters. We are anything but!! We have lost friends along the way who “just couldn’t get into it”. Some have said some pretty unbelievable things. Oh well.
Dance shows are routine at our home...
Although I don’t know what their motive is I often wonder if people have been opposed to us adopting - maybe, possibly because it all makes them uncomfortable because maybe just maybe they even feel a teeny bit convicted? I’m just sayin’.
And here’s some real gut level honesty….
No doubt - The road to adoption can be a lonely one. No doubt - The road to a large adopted family is even lonelier. I think that some people thought when we were adopting Isaiah that we “would get it out of our systems.” So contrary to what one may think……we did not have a huge crowd cheering us on when we announced that we were adopting again. Instead most jaws dropped when we told our friends and family that we were adopting a gorgeous princess named Jubilee Promise.
Then we really freaked everyone out when just six months later (before Jubilee was even home) announced we were heading to Africa for another beautiful African 2 year old princess named Elizabeth Mercy and a one year old handsome young warrior named Elijah Mueller.
People’s reaction? We think they were thinking……. “Oh my gracious – I’m beginning to think they’re serious about caring for the orphans.” The crowds? Not even a small one cheering. The airport celebrations have been teeny-tiny, (my mom - who has been thrilled and a couple of friends and when I say "couple" I mean "couple") and yes that has made me grieve and even cry. My joy at showing the world my new little ones….well, I’m learning that my skin-on “support” comes from the blogging world. The friends we have made and continue to make. The people who “get it” out there. You!! You are the ones who cheer us on, pray with passion, sometimes even fasting....you are the ones who join us in saying, “Asian, African, “special needs”, Hispanic, Caucasian, Bi-Racial” - - - - ALL ARE PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT!!!
And really, I have to come back to the fact that we “sing and dance” for an audience of ONE - Jesus Christ – the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords – the lover, protector and defender of orphans – OUR Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God whom we praise with all our might, day and night!! He is the only one we sing and dance for. He will, Lord willing, one day say: “Well done thou good and faithful servant. You were faithful with little. You were faithful when I gave you much. I am pleased with you.”