November is National Adoption Month.
For those of you stumbling upon my blog for the first time, you may be a little confused because you probably came to see some photos. Ehh… well, not today.
Adoption is something that my wife and I have become increasingly passionate about over the last several years. We knew before we even got married that we would eventually grow our family in part by adoption. It wasn’t something that just came to us one day. In fact, we had honestly thought about adoption next to never in our lives. We knew that people adopted, but our culture had never really helped us to see that it could be something a family would do who did not have fertility issues.
We’re incredibly thankful for families that we love who have gone before us and shown us by example that caring for the orphan is something that every follower of Christ is commanded to do. Many of us are called to adopt. Many are called to support those adopting. Many are called to open their homes up to foster children who may be reunited with their birth family eventually. NONE of Christ’s followers are called to do nothing.
Sara and I were also thrown into unique situations in life that opened our eyes real quick to the need. After graduating from college, I moved to Malawi for about a year. A country rocked by the HIV/AIDS crisis and flooded with orphans. Although, at that stage in my life, I didn’t really think a lot about how adoption could play into things, I did think a LOT about what the answer could be for the orphan crisis. It was a time that I wrestled with the brokenness that I saw in the world constantly.
Sara and I both had jobs here in Bryan that put us on the front lines of seeing what destitute poverty looks like here. Seeing what happens when children are not in loving families. I worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters for a year and a half and learned things that were hard to believe. Sara works for Bryan ISD and knows that there are many students right on the line of dropping out and within years will end up in prison.
We’ve learned that there are 500,000 children in the U.S. Foster System at any given time. Sadly, because we tend to not use the words “orphan” or “orphanage” much when referring to children in our own borders, we tend to think that there is only a problem in other countries. We learned just this past Friday that here in the Brazos county, there are only 15 active foster families currently… yet annually, there will about about 100 kids flow through the system in our county.
It’s real easy to look at these numbers and stories and feel overwhelmed and guilt-ridden. Throw in the stats about the global orphan crisis, and you will probably just throw your hands up, grab a pillow to plunge your face into, and sob!
But, God has graciously moved us out of a guilt-driven faith. He’s shown us hope.
Sara and I are in the very last stages of being licensed to foster children. Hopefully within a matter of weeks we will have a little kiddo in our home running around and tearing up all the nice things that married people who don’t have kids have!
But, we’re not out to save the world.
We fully believe that the blessings that come from having a child in our home will far outweigh the struggles… the hurt… the uncertainty. Once we came to the realization that although we (Ryan & Sara) are broken people… just like many foster children, we too, have Reactive Attachment Disorder toward God… we too, hated God and slapped him in the face… we too, never deserved to be called his son and daughter. But, despite these things, while we still hated God, He adopted us. He reached out… pulled us close, called us son and daughter.
So… we care about adoption because it is our story. It is God’s story.
We care about adoption because God has a special place in His heart for the orphan… for the oppressed.
And we believe that God is using His people to step up to the plate and say that we will take the children that no one else wants.
So, we’re eager to see what God has in store for our little family. We’re hopeful that MANY more will join this journey with us to care for children that no one else cares about.
Throughout this month, I’m hoping to write a few more post to help educate us better on adoption and orphan care. Sadly, the church has vered away from teaching about adoption and caring for the orphan over the last several hundred years. But, we’ve seen signs of that changing… and we’re excited! So, if that’s you… someone who has claimed to follow Christ and has never even thought about caring for the orphan in tangible ways… don’t feel condemned! But, perhaps it’s time to open your eyes and ears to what God’s heart is about it and pray about what your involvement needs to be.
I’ll leave you guys with this amazing video. Every time I watch it, I get a huge lump in my throat. Not really a sad lump, but one of those hopeful ones. Be inspired…