Thursday, June 2, 2011

Whom Shall I Send?

"We see the people going to market for provisions, eating by day, sleeping by night, talking their silly nonsense, getting married, growing old, serenely escorting their dead to the cemetery; but we do not see and we do not hear those who suffer, and what is terrible in life goes on somewhere behind the scenes."
-Anton Chekhov

"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." - James 1:27

     The Bible states in many places the need to help those who cannot help themselves. If this is true, why is it that the church as a whole seems unwilling to consider the plight of orphans all across this globe?  We have our Sunday services, Bible studies, and self help Christian literature.  We live and go on our way, and meanwhile just over the horizon, there are children who have no hope.  What does the Church do about it?  Are there widespread adoption related ministries to help those who seek to take on this need?  Generally speaking, the answer seems to be no.  Why is this need neglected?  I wish I knew.  There is a clear need and a clear command to fill that need, yet it is neglected.  In Isaiah 6:8, the prophet Isaiah hears the Lord call, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" This is the question that the Lord asks all Christians.  We all have a task from God.  One of those tasks is surely the orphans of the world.  We all should answer with the prophet:  "Here am I! Send me."


The above portion of this post was written by Jamie.  This is my part.  I'm not nearly so eloquent.

I want to say "Here am I, send me."  I am simply at a loss as to how we can say that to the Lord, when we simply do not have the money for this adoption.  Grants take a long time and there are hundreds of applicants for each one, because there are so few to go around.  Fundraising is difficult and time consuming, and I find it difficult to ask people for help. I am not a charismatic outgoing person, I am not an  extrovert, and I do not have a lot of connections.

Where does that leave us?  I don't know. Where does that leave a little girl who has Down Syndrome and is living in an orphanage in West Africa?   I don't know.


Young Christian Woman said...

I think there are a lot of things in American culture and even in adoption culture that make it difficult for people to adopt, even if they want to and have the heart to do it.
I think the widespread idea that all everyone ever needs or should want is one boy and one girl is a problem. People who take that premise and choose to adopt would be giving up one of their "slots" unless perhaps they had only one gender of children and wanted to be sure to get the other.
There is the perception in our culture that children with disabilities are not blessings.

Even within the adoption community there are roadblocks. There is the perception that only those who can't have biological children can or should adopt (and conversely that infertile couples automatically have a duty or calling to do so).
There are ideas about child spacing and birth order that hold families back from adopting older children or adopting when they have babies. There are agencies that refuse to start the adoption process if a family has had a child join in the past year, even though the adoption process will take another year (and countries that take the same view). There are agencies and countries who will disrupt an adoption if a family is blessed with pregnancy. This is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to me--how can I tell God "yes" to adoption if that means telling Him "no" to a child of my own body? The uncertainty can make it difficult for a family that's open to life to start the process--but these are families who understand what blessings children are.
There is all sorts of literature and lots of groups that while not explicitly against transracial adoption, make it seem very hard. People who are willing to love a child no matter what their skin color is are made to feel like they just won't be good enough at it, like they live in the wrong place and go to the wrong church and don't have the right friends.

The process is also trying and heartbreaking and frustrating, no matter what route one chooses. We started to contemplate adoption over 5 years ago. Then we conceived our daughter. It was a blessing I had started to think I would never have. We would absolutely have continued the adoption process (domestic infant, open to some special needs and transracial adoption). But the agency had been clear they didn't want people who were expecting or had a child under 1 adopting. By the time our daughter was one we were expecting our son. When our son was about 15 months old, we saw a picture in a magazine of 3 siblings, one with special needs, who needed a home. After prayer we called the agency, but they were spoken for. We began to look through our options again (before domestic infant adoption had been our only option due to our age). We searched through waiting children on our agency's page, but weren't sure we could handle their needs. We settled tentatively on Ethiopia by process of elimination, and because we felt there was a need. Then we saw "Mason" on Reece's Rainbow and decided to pursue him... only to hear after a week he had been adopted in his country. Now we are back to looking at adopting from Ethiopia... but I can understand how after finding the child they thought was the one and then finding out he or she was not available, someone would just quit. The process isn't easy, and then there's my insecurity about my housekeeping... what mother of a toddler wouldn't feel apprehensive about having their home inspected?

Best of luck with your process; I will see what we can donate.

KellyL said...

Thank you for writing, it is so well articulated and I agree. It is also upsetting when there are countries willing to let a family adopt unrelated children but agencies who do not allow it.

I admit that I have felt like quitting several times already; we have never before been so uncertain about funds but I am praying the Lord will provide.

For each of our home inspections I have been very nervous and cleaned a lot...then almost disappointed when the inspection was so simple. Just make sure your smoke detectors are well placed and work!