My husband and I had always been “open” to adoption – we were comfortable with the idea of it and thought it was something that we’d like to do “someday”. But a little over 4 years ago, God began kindling a fire in us. We began to see His heart and His call throughout Scripture for His people to care for the orphan in response and out of the blessings that we have been given through Him. And almost exactly 4 years ago, we started on the journey toward adoption.
Around the world, there are about 18 million orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets. In the U.S., about 400,540 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. About 115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted. Over 5,000 children entered the North Carolina Foster Care system in 2013 and about 10% of those children were in Guilford County.
I don’t know about you, but these numbers are staggering to me. It’s overwhelming to the point that it makes me feel helpless – like adopting one child isn’t going to help much. But what we have to remember is that even though these numbers are startling, each number is a real, little kid. And if we can rescue one little kid from the horrors of abuse, suicide, prostitution, slavery, becoming child soldiers, immorality, and just being unloved, it helps enormously.
You would think that the sheer number of orphaned children would make it quick and easy to adopt, but as I’m sure many of you know or have heard, it’s not. Adoption is hard. The paperwork is stressful, the waiting is frustrating, the whole thing is expensive and bringing these children home isn’t always a walk in the park either. There are many times where I lose sight of God’s heart in all of this and want to admit defeat.
But then I’m reminded of a story. Of One who was perfect and didn’t need anything, including children. But He so loved us that He set out to make us His own. To be a Father to us. To comfort us. To teach us and give to us. But it was hard. We pushed Him away. We chased after money to give to ourselves, drugs, alcohol and sex to comfort ourselves, and power to rule over ourselves and others. We stepped on and exploited the weak and vulnerable by stealing their fair wages for their forced labor, refusing to defend those that are abused, and repeatedly ignoring their voices until they were without one. We didn’t want a Father. We wanted a genie who would take care of us and our families when we were sick and give us lots of money and things, but leave us alone otherwise.
But despite our resistance, He didn’t stop loving us. When we gave up everything in order to gain more power, money or pleasure, leaving us slaves to those things, He didn’t stop pursuing us. Instead of becoming callous towards us, He bought us back out of that slavery. He paid for us with His own life. And he made us His children.
It was hard. It was expensive. And it’s still not a walk in the park. But I thank God, my Father, that He did not stop pursuing me because of those things. He went to the cross to bring me home, claiming victory over sin and death. His sacrifice and victory compels us to press on in our pursuit of adoption and our endeavor to care for the orphans around us however we can.
We love and pursue others because He first loved and pursued us (1 John 4:19).
“Adopting or fostering? On Friday, November 14th join us for coffee and dessert and an opportunity to connect with others who have fostered, adopted, or are in the process. We will meet at 7pm at Ben and Mary Brown’s house at 5504 Faye Dr, Greensboro, NC 27410 – children are welcome!”
– Written by: Julianne Dager