I will begin this post with a part of another post, one my late husband Derek wrote years ago:
“In James 1:27 we read that ‘True Religion’ has to include taking care of orphans and widows. The King James version reads ‘visit’ orphans and widows, but the root Greek word translated ‘visit’ actually means ‘to take care of.’ We are to take care of orphans and widows in their distress. ‘Distress’ refers to the heavy weight pressing down upon them. Religion that God accepts will take care of orphans and widows in a way that lifts the weight and stress off of them.
What is the greatest source of stress pressing down on orphans? … not belonging to a family. An adoption revolution within the body of Christ is a front line of attack in recovering the essence of true religion in the church. Without literal, physical, legal adoption, the greatest pressure bearing down upon orphans cannot be relieved. We can house orphans in institutions or group homes, but until someone says ‘I will be your father, I will be your mother, we will give you permanence,’ those children will remain orphans with their primary pain aching in their hearts and their primary crushing burden unmoved. Within the body of Christ there will be many ways to lift the burden off of orphans, but unless an army of sober and compassionate couples arise and bring those children into their families, the other avenues will remain closed.”
As my husband wrote, without the actual act of legal adoption, a child will forever live with the very real pain and fear of being alone. The need for permanence is a huge, gaping need–the cry of countless hearts across the globe. It is a cry that throbs, that aches, that longs… and it is a cry the Father is calling us to answer.
And we all have the heart to answer it. When faced with this horrific crisis, the vast majority of us long to make a difference. But we must tread carefully. For while adoption is noble, beautiful, and courageous, it is not about us.
We cannot, even with our good intentions, use these children as a way to fulfill our own need to help the less fortunate.
To love–to adopt–is to give away your life to save the life of another.
This love–this pulsating, bleeding, beautiful love–is attained only through death, through the laying down of our rights, our needs, our lives. It is a love that says I am committed to you regardless of what the journey ahead looks like. This love values the child above avoiding discomfort, above escaping retaliation, above circumventing pain, even pain caused by that child. It is willing to go the distance. It is a selfless love, that walks in willing to serve without expecting anything in return.
When we walk into the crisis with hearts to love like this, the Father responds and gives the grace we need. It is a sacrifice… a huge sacrifice. But Love Himself said, “take up your cross and follow Me,” didn’t He? He chose a life of slander, of reproach, of rejection, of abuse. He chose the people that would spit in His face, rip His heart out and nail His body to a cross, all so that they could have a chance at knowing love. An opportunity to belong. A place to be vulnerable with their failures and weaknesses, not having to question whether or not those failures or weaknesses would make them less desirable or unlovable. A place of complete safety, where healing could take place and hearts could open up to dream again, where pain and fear had no power.
And that’s the call He’s giving us–to be that place. It’s a heavy calling. We will fail, we will fall short. But it’s an expression of His heart, His love.
And what greater calling is there than to display the beauty of who Jesus is?
And these priceless ones are worth it. They are so worth it. And while adoption is not about us, in some ways it is. Because the Father will bring a child into your life, into your home, to give them that safe place… but in the middle of it all, He is also using that child to change you. Through the fire, the weeping, the laughing, the really hard days that seem unbearable and the days where incredible breakthrough comes, He is teaching you something.
He is giving you a glimpse into His heart, and the pulsating, sacrificial love He has for you.