Adoption: eyes open

One of the most frequent questions we get asked about our adoption is why we chose to adopt internationally, and why from Ethiopia. In fact, it was one of the first questions we answered on this blog here.

The short answer was, God told us to. We felt led by God to do so, and we obeyed. I firmly believe it was God's sovereign design for Abby Lynne Adele to be a Walser.

That was almost two years ago, when we made that decision. Since then, my eyes have been opened to so many things, so many stories, so many experiences that have broadened, at least for me, the realm of what I see as "doable" for my family when it comes to adoption.

The first hurdle for us was just adoption in general: could we handle all that went with it? We decided--no, frankly, we couldn't. But we weren't relying on our strength anyway--we were relying on God's and He could handle anything. If we had waited for a flashing neon sign or some sort of warm fuzzy that we could "handle it", we never would have done it. It has always loomed large above us, something too big to anticipate everything that we could potentially face--even still! as we have many years ahead with Abby--but we stepped out in faith and have found firm ground beneath our feet.

Someone accused us back then of wanting to adopt because we knew someone who had. Well no duh! Seeing it fleshing out in a family we knew and loved, seeing the impact on a little boy who was an orphan no more, knowing we would have support and love from those around us--of course it motivated us! Isn't that what the body of Christ is suppose to do?! "Spur one another on to love and good deeds"?? It should go without saying that each individual should evaluate that call on their family, but OF COURSE seeing others who have adopted inspires me. OF COURSE it makes me realize it is doable, that God can give us the ability to do more than we ever thought we could when He equips us. Not sugar coat it, not paint a picture of roses and buttercups--but see all that God can redeem and rescue (including ourselves!)--even when it's hard or not as we expected it to be.

I have seen families adopt internationally. Domestically. Special needs. Infants. Toddlers. Teenagers. HIV+. Sibling groups. Inter-racially and bi-racially. My eyes are opened, and my heart is open in ways it never has been before, to the possibilities!!, to how God might use our family in the future.

There is no "one" right way to adopt. No one path is for everyone. You should seek God's wisdom is setting your parameters when beginning an adoption process, on who and where from and when, etc. But sometimes I wish we could lay down our swords we take up to defend "our way" and instead work together to help each other, and help get information to those who want real answers about what options they have as God opens their hearts and lives to adoption.

I pray that we would walk with eyes open to ALL the possible choices. Listen for example to my friend Erica:

Staggering statistics say that 95% of the orphans in the world are over the age of 5 and or special needs. Why is it that most people are still requesting healthy infants? (please note I'm not judging those requesting infants, I realize there are agency rules, etc etc) My biggest question is are we as Christians/adoptive parents/adoptive parents to be doing the best we can to advocate for these kids? Are we helping the orphan crisis or perpetuating the problem? I ask myself these questions all the time. We have biracial infants here facing being placed in the foster care system? Why? Because most of the people adopting here want healthy white babies.

For me this raises the question - people adopting from Africa wanting healthy infants would certainly be open to biracial infants here right? So why is there a HUGE need for people to adopt older or special needs kids from Africa and a HUGE need for people to adopt biracial INFANTS here in the US? Something isn't adding up. Please don't think I suddenly hate Africa or I think you've some how misheard God. I don't. I'm not even speaking to anyone in particular I'm just thinking out loud. We love Africa, the decision to adopt from Africa changed our world. It's changed who we are, how we view life, and its forever a part of our DNA. I want everyone to love Africa like I do so please don't think I'm saying anything against Africa or your adoption personally, I'm simply asking questions in an effort to advocate for kids who need advocates. Maybe just maybe in that process others will be moved to think on some of these things too and together we can do MORE for all of the children needing families both here and abroad.
And so I want to echo Erica and stand as an advocate for children who desperately NEED families. If you're reading this and are thinking--I could never adopt--why not?! Of course there are plenty of legitimate reasons not to--not everyone should adopt!--but maybe one person reading this might just decide they should investigate because (horror of horrors!) they saw us do it and maybe they could do it after all! Maybe you don't have to be a movie star or have it all together or have a big house or have all the questions answered--maybe you just need to be willing. If you've only considered one avenue--one age perimeter, one country, one race, one health status-- and never opened yourself up to another option--why not?! If you tell me, because God has led you there, it's hard to argue with that. But maybe someone, somewhere, will open themselves up to an older child, or a special needs child, or a biracial child right here in the US, simply because (again--the horror) others have done it and they are just regular people dependent on the Lord, one day at a time.

Go read Erica's full post
here. I know it challenged me to consider the great need here in my own backyard. My one friend commented on facebook, "Adoption needs to be about kids needing families and not the other way around." That's a bold statement, and I know not everyone will agree with her. But I do think we need to consider that adoption goes beyond a desire for children in your home. It is an opportunity to provide a home and a family for a child who doesn't have one. And frankly, sadly, there are many who don't have one.

I said
this a couple of weeks ago:
Let me now say this with boldness: many of us could--even should--adopt, but don't because it is too hard, or because we like our little tidy family, or because it would cost us too much- now and in the future, or maybe simply because we don't know where or how to begin. I know not everyone is going to agree with me on that, but when I read scripture, I see a high calling of self sacrifice that many of us avoid because of the safety and security that we cling to as God-given rights in this country. And I think adoption is one of those things we quickly dismiss as something someone else can do.

Time is short. Life is short. There are children growing up with no moms, no dads, no homes to provide security and love and nurturing . About 147 million of them. What else would we do, church? Why are more of us not burdened-- as we look around our lives full of God's grace and hearts full of love and our homes full of provisions-- why are we not burdened to share it with a child who has none of those things?? YES, it's hard. Yes, it's often costly. Yes, it can be very, very messy. I am not trying to sugarcoat adoption to be easy or problem free...but it is worth it.
Let's continue to challenge each other. Let's share when we hear of great needs here or abroad. Let's not get offended when someone suggests a way other than our way. Let's not immediately take it as a personal assault, and let's celebrate thinking outside of the box and highlighting needs we didn't know were there. Let's think the best of each other and realize that we're all fighting for the same thing: Children in families.

May God use all of us and our efforts for His glory and His Kingdom purposes.


The Roberts Family said...


Susanna said...

Well said. Thank you.

AGoodKindOfCrazy said...

Very well said ( both you and Erica!)!!!

Anonymous said...

♥ ✞

love said...

love this. with you. thank you.