Do you ever have people ask a question that seems simple enough in their mind, but as you hear it you think, “Uh oh. There isn’t enough time to answer this question! It is too deep and too involved!”? That is how I feel about our adoption story.
My family consists of an amazing husband and 5 crazy little boys. Two of our sons are from Uganda, Africa. It is very clear to others when we walk into a room that I did not give birth to the two of them and this often leads to questions about where they are from and how we ended up choosing Uganda. This is one of my “Uh oh!” questions because I never want my answer to make people feel like this is the only path to choose in adoption. It is merely what God called our family to and so far it has been the only path for us. So here is my brief answer to these questions. My hope is to give you a glimpse into how God called, equipped, and blessed our family with these two little boys as sons and brothers.
When my husband and I were in premarital counseling our pastor encouraged us to think about and talk about what we dreamed our family would be someday. To discuss things like: how soon we wanted to have kids, how many kids did we want to have, what would happen if we were unable to conceive? In a very boring and anticlimactic way we both agreed that adoption was a way that God wanted to write the story of our family. We didn’t know details or specifics but we knew that God was aligning our hearts in the same way.
I heard a Christian speaker years ago talk about discovering your holy discontent. What is the thing that you can’t stand that God can’t stand either? I believe that as followers of Jesus, He gives each of us passions and desires that His heart beats for and we are given the privilege of being His ambassadors of truth in those areas of darkness on earth.
I know that God cares for the orphan (Psalm 10:14, Psalm 68:5-6) and I know that it is not a suggestion that followers of Jesus do the same, but a command (James 1:27). So as Christians seek to walk in obedience to God’s command to care for the orphan I believe He gives each person a “holy discontent” for different aspects of caring for the vulnerable. Maybe it is caring for birth mothers, children with special needs, domestic adoptions, international adoptions, foster care, respite care, etc. For our family, our holy discontent is international adoption.
God brought us stories over the years of children in under developed countries aging out of orphanages and care as early as the age of 5 because of the massive number of orphans and insufficient number of care takers or resources. This meant they were left to fend for themselves without any ability to do so and with all the dangers of the world waiting to snatch them up. We were made aware of devastating numbers of children being left as orphans by war and disease. With each new story, new fact, and new statistic we heard our hearts broke and yet at the same time it started to cause a fierce passion in us to fight for those children who had no advocates and barely any chance of survival due to their circumstances.
As we started to pursue adoption in 2013 my husband and I prayed that the Lord would continue to align our hearts. We never felt God audibly talk to us, but we both felt at peace and confident in each step we took in the process. We researched countries to find where our age, health condition, income etc. met the requirements of adoption. After we settled on Uganda, we researched adoption agencies. During our research we had questions about the ethics of the adoption process and the people we would be working alongside. We contacted agencies and people who had adopted with them. We had multiple doors close for us with agencies that at first we thought were a good fit. It was tempting to be discouraged but God continued to be faithful in leading us step by step. I tried to carefully document each step along the way. This was one of the most amazing things and when it was all over I was able to look back and see God’s faithfulness so evidently. There were days I thought, “What are you doing God?!” but He was always working in amazing and truly sovereign ways. His plan always works together for our good and for His glory as believers in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:20-21).
I don’t want to over spiritualize things; however, I believe that all good things we experience on earth are just a shadow of the perfect example of a loving Heavenly Father. Through sin we have lost our relationship with our Father. We are orphans. Jesus sacrificed leaving His Father and came to us. He endured hardship and sacrificed His life so that we could be called sons and have an inheritance in Christ. I am so grateful that God called our family to international adoption. I am so grateful for the amazing little boys that call me Mommy, but even more, I am grateful to have the experience of catching a glimpse of the shadow of my spiritual adoption. Through every fear, worry, impossibility, and mountain that we experienced in adoption I felt God whisper into my heart in the most near of ways, “Remember what I did for you. Remember what I have called you to and empowered you to do by the Holy Spirit alive inside of you.”
So when people ask, “How did you decide on Uganda?” I want to spill my whole heart out, yet I also want to be sensitive to the leading that the Lord is having in their lives for the part of orphan care they are supposed to obediently play, the passion that God has placed inside of them reflects a portion of His heart. If you ask, God will show you how He wants you to be involved in caring for the vulnerable. He has placed a holy discontent inside of you that is unique to only you. Be quiet enough and still enough to listen. If international adoption is the road He has for you to walk, then from my experience I can say, hold on tight. It’s going to be the best and craziest journey of your life! There is no greater joy than to obey a good and perfect Father.