“Are you going to help every child that comes along and needs a family?!”

That question was jokingly posed to me several months ago. I had asked a family friend (and fellow adoptive parent) to pray about an adoption situation we were currently considering. We had just brought our son home from Africa, were pursuing a second child and now considering a 9 year old whose family could no longer care for her.

I understand, it seemed crazy to us too.

I knew our friend was just playing around with me so I laughed and said something like “we’ll see…”.

I came home that day and kept thinking about what he’d said. For weeks it just rolled around in my head. That phrase:

“Are you going to help every child that comes along and needs a family?!”

I had laughed and brushed it off as a joke. But it was more than that. There was something to what he said that I couldn’t get out my mind. It started working its way into my heart. And I heard myself saying constantly…well, shouldn’t we?

If a child comes along, needs a family and we can provide one….should we say no? If we have the ability to parent that child – should our comfort or desires come before that child’s need of a family?

I know, I can’t adopt them all. And there are certainly situations and children we can’t adopt. Where it wouldn’t be safe for our family or we wouldn’t have the resources to meet that child’s particular needs.

But not in this situation. I thought about the case of this nine year old girl. As scary as it seemed at the time, I kept coming back and saying to myself how can we say no?

How can I say no to a child in need when I have the ability to help her? We have a big house. We have an empty bedroom that could easily become a little girls room. We have food, education and mountains of love we could offer her. We could help this child.

We did eventually say yes but the adoption of that little girl never happened. She was placed with another family. We hope and pray she is safe and loved.

Even though we didn’t adopt this child, I just can’t stop thinking about the whole situation and the questions and thoughts I had as we prayed through that time.

I’m still questioning – when is it OK to say no? If a child is placed in our path that needs help and we can provide that help, what does God expect us to do?

And when is it OK to stop? When we have that “perfect” family of a boy and girl? When we feel like our family is complete? When we think we can’t afford it again? When we wonder if we’ll ever retire and have that empty nest we’d always assumed we’d have? I don’t know yet. These are things I’m thinking about and things our family will decide as time goes on. There are no easy answers.

What is right for my family may not be right for yours. But I encourage you to think about it. Just because that orphan in Uganda (or Russia or Ecuador or California) isn’t standing on your doorstep asking for a family, he’s still there. He still needs you. Maybe you have room in your home and hearts for one more child too.

Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.
It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms.
But once you do, everything changes.

From “Radical” by David Platt

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12 Responses to “”

  1. Love this! We’ve been asked this same question and you answer it beautifully!

  2. *tears* I am SO with you on this! Once upon a time I dreamed of the “someday” of just my husband and I, of a clean house…the kind that stays clean, of quiet and downtime. Ahh…no more though! Several months ago God changed this heart of mine in a whole new way and suddenly I realized that I don’t want quiet and stay-clean and downtime galore. I want a house constantly used by God and filled with His (and my) children. I can’t pretend to know what He has in store for my family beyond our current adoptions, but I know there is more to come. So long as there are orphans in this world there will be the call to care for those orphans…

  3. Great post Salem! I pray that we will have the means to take atleast one more child in…

  4. This is a great post, Salem. These are the quesions I think about all the time. I think about other families that have children while the parents work and go to school and think if they can do it, we could too. I guess there is no perfect time to add to your family but sometimes I feel guilty for wanting to wait until we have more money, more time, I’m done with school, we have a bigger house….I am so proud of everything that you are doing!

  5. Love the post Salem! Absolutely beautiful!

  6. Really great post!
    Salem , I was asked something to that effect when I adopted from Haiti.
    Listen because God will tell you !
    God Bless!

  7. Your story moved me because for a long time I have had the nudge of the Holy Spirit to adopt but what was standing in our way is a large enough home. We didn’t have the space, or did we? Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to use you and show me that if He wants us to adopt and open our homes to another child, He makes a way when we think there isn’t. :)

  8. I feel like I have this same convesation in my head on a daily basis! Could we parent more kids? Are we giving the ones we have what they need from us? When do we stop adopting? How can we EVER stop as long as children go to bed without moms? So hard.

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