Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Celebrate Adoption-Prudence and Practicality vs. Faith and Fearlessness

People often assume that D and I adopted our children because we could not have biological children.   While it is true that we have yet to experience pregnancy, what is also true is that we did not set out to adopt because of that.  We discussed adoption long before we married.  When we were ready to start actively taking steps to begin a family, we started looking at adoption.  Like many people, we came to adoption because we wanted to have children.  But we also came because of a deep desire to do the right thing for children without families.  For me, I had personally seen children in Romanian orphanages and I could not know what I knew and just walk away.

It's not that our adoptions are more noble than anyone else's.  Our adoptions were simply about obedience to God, believing that God placed in our hearts a desire for children, that God gave us certain gifts and talents that made us a family who could parent kids with some hurts, that we knew that God desired us to love the "least of these".  

If you know our story, you know that when I left Romania, I swore I would never be a part of the international adoption system.  I saw how the Romanian government did little to prevent the orphan crisis there and how the Romanian government ran orphanages that were truly institutions.  I saw how it seemed that any money associated with international adoption never made it to the children who were in the orphanages.  I just didn't want to be a part of it.

So we decided we'd do a domestic infant adoption through local, reduced cost agency.  Until our little dream was crushed by the news that because we did not have diagnosed infertility, the agency would not work with us.  We looked at a few other options for domestic adoption, then stopped.

A few months later, we were contacted by our state about doing foster care training specifically with the intent of adopting out of foster care.  After completely the training, inquiring about lots of children, and spending about 18 months with no real leads, we were certain we had come to a dead end.  We opened ourselves up to not just more permanent situations but also foster care and had an emergency placement which taught us a lot about ourselves and what fit our family.  Straight foster care was not it.

So we stopped yet again.

And went to Peru.

And came back feeling like maybe it wasn't the time to have a family but maybe it was the time to travel.  So we started praying about going to Haiti on a mission trip.  And from there, it quickly changed into adoption.  The thing I swore I'd never do because a reality and my life is blessed beyond measure because of it.

Through all of that (and now) it was always a struggle to balance prudence with faith, practicality with fearless living. I want to be sold out for Jesus.  I want to say that no cost is too high when it comes to obeying Him.  I want to love freely, to love deeply, to love passionately with no regrets.

But then the reality sets in.  There are bills to pay.  There are emotional consequences to our actions.  There are relational consequences to our actions.  Things seem to hard, too long, too expensive, too risky, too out there.

Our rational brains go to war with the convictions of our hearts.  Maybe that right there is the crux of faithful living?  That a life lived in faithful obedience is a life full of wrestling, full of more questions than answers.  It's a life full of disequilibrium, a life spent balancing on top of a ball, knowing that at any moment you could slide right off into the land of "too safe" or into the land of "reckless pursuit without regard to godly wisdom."  (And even as I write this, I can't help but think that perhaps the "land of reckless pursuit" is maybe where we're all supposed to be.)

When you consider adoption or orphan care, it requires you to stand on that ball, balancing prudence and practicality with faith and fearlessness.  Our decision to adopt from Haiti took a lot of wrestling.  And where we are now, considering another adoption, has probably required even more wrestling.

How do you get past the mental games where you talk yourself in and out and in and out of getting involved?  I struggle with decision making, especially when it comes to big decisions.  I'm a recovering perfectionist so when a decision needs to be made, I long to make the perfect one even though I know there isn't a perfect solution.  I understand how hard it is to make a decision that is outside of the box.  It's incredibly hard to make a decision that literally means "I've counted the cost to follow Jesus and I'm willing to lay it down."  It--as in my relationships with my family, my friends, my finances, my nice comfortable life with 2.4 all American kids....I will lay it down.  There is no 12 step plan or a how to book on that.  And it's scary to start thinking about what are often considered radical choices.  To wonder where the line is between practical prudence and fearless faith.  But start thinking.  Get on the ball and start balancing.  Start counting the cost.

Livesay family on counting the cost


Naomi said...

We answered a call too! It's been an amazing ride. Thank you for your thoughts on adoption. It's not easy, our kids aren't home yet, but I know it will be worth the wait!

Stacey said...

I truly believe that God brings people across our paths ON PURPOSE. As I read your blog, I realize that I haven't met you just because you make really cool hats. :-)

I have long known that I will adopt at some point in my life. I have felt this burden for the longest, but have never met anyone else who identifies- as you did in this particular post. When I mention my desire to give a child a hope and a future, I'm always confronted by skepticism. ('But, you can have your own kids!')

I don't know where to start or what I should be doing. I don't think that I am financially ready, yet.....But, then, I don't know, either. I have no idea what all is involved. I've tried to do research but it is all confusing. I DO, however, feel a heavier burden than ever to begin taking initial steps. Perhaps, I should read deeper into your blog, instead of just the recent posts, to get some idea of the journey.

This particular post has inspired me! Thanks so much for sharing!