J is boarding the morning ferry and heading to Dar as I type. We all wanted to go but the funds are running low so we sent our man-folk to do our bidding. He is checking in on our adoption paperwork because we received word that Fed Ex did in fact deliver our international report to the social service office in Dar. And since we have heard many a story about them losing paperwork we knew this meant a trip to try to verify its arrival, remind them about our family (everything is done in person here), and take one more step to our baby. A baby that is probably already born. That has started his or her little life somewhere in Tanzania. A baby that I think of everyday and pray for. After this we wait yet again for the letter from an orphanage that our child has been identified. It could be 4 weeks, 4 months, or much longer. We just don't know and everything is always subject to change. The unknown is admittedly scary but for me I have learned again and again this is the place where I most rely on God. Our child is out there somewhere. A stranger to us but known to God.
We have felt a calling to adopt for some time but we did not know where or how or when. I remember even being a teenager and thinking I would one day adopt a child. J and I discussed it even before we married and continued after. We had started the process stateside but then had to stop when we felt called here but adoption was always in our hearts and minds. We always felt it was something important to God.
I see adoption as a picture of the Gospel. Only it is not in a book, in your mind, or far away in something you wish you do. It is in your house. And that makes it realer. closer. Adoption is beautiful and difficult and I do not pretend to understand all that it will require. But I want to actively participate in living out His love among people. And too often I see people spending their time and breath engaged in arguments and hate rather than spending their one life making the most of the opportunities He gives us to show Love, Grace, and Mercy for His glory. I get really tired of people preaching against abortion without realizing the bigger issue. Not that I think abortion is good but I realize I must count the cost before opening my mouth about it: am I willing to take in an orphan? an unwanted child that would be aborted? into my home and love them as my own? are you? That shows real Gospel compassionate love. Way more than standing in front of a clinic shouting at women making difficult decisions.
But adopting children can not be "our good deed for the day." That would be empty and selfish and stupid. I cannot do it to prove to anyone I am a good person or earn heavenly "points." I am not "religious." And I don't want to be. Religion is man made and I fall short of following the rules everyday. But I do want to follow Jesus with everything I have. Everything I am. Everything in our family. And rely on Him not myself. We want to adopt a child as our own because God commands us to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I do not yet know what "their distress" will mean and as I pray I have a sense it will be wicked hard. Require more tears, prayer, and dying to self but I know His promises so I can welcome that all. And I have been more convinced in the last 3 years that if we are seriously following Jesus, we will go to the hard places. No matter the cost. To take His commands seriously will be uncomfortable and costly at times. He calls us to demonstrate love to a hurting world for His glory and it costs us dearly. But it is not suffering for the sake of suffering. It it for our sanctification and for His glory. Because being a follower of Jesus means being acquainted with sorrow like Him and rejoicing in trials. Because understanding sorrow and growing through trials in necessary to fully appreciate joy.