There is unity among adoptive families, a connection of experience, passion and heart. Becoming a card carrying member of this big, powerhouse club takes tears, bravery, faith, paperwork and prayer. We’ve paid our dues and call ourselves blessed to stand shoulder to shoulder, unified in many ways.
Unified in celebrating adoption.
Unified in raising funds to bring babies home.
Unified in advocating for children who wait.
Unified in cheering on travelling families and holding signs at airports.
Unified in praying for newly home little people facing surgery, therapy and emotional challenges.
Unified in our deep appreciation for the Peoples Republic of China.
Unified in our heartbreak for, and desire to serve, the waiting children we left behind.
Together, we’ve shed tears, encouraged, penned blog posts, donated and prayed.
And when our time came to walk into orphanages, we all realized that adoption falls on the redeeming side of loss and trauma. We stood close to the fire, and felt the heat of searing hurt. The sparks lit fires in our hearts, burdening us to consider how we might extinguish some of the flames for the fatherless.
We had to leave China though, and got to start moving toward the happy redemption side of our children’s adoption stories. But, if you are like me, you still feel the heat.
For us, the fiery trauma started with three sets of parents somewhere in China who carried the weight of our children before we did. We try not to conjure romanticized versions of stories that we’ll never know, but we do know that children are abandoned daily due to the cost of medical care. Three of our children have special needs that might have resulted in their abandonment, and this grieves me. Two of them were with their first parents for several months. They were fed, bathed, dressed, held and nursed
by them until they no longer could, until the smoldering fire of loss was lit.
The ugly truth is that we might possibly get to parent these three precious souls because our fallen world is turned upside down, and we’re blessed with really good medical insurance. We are deeply grateful that part of God’s redemption plan included them forever calling us mommy and daddy, but we can’t ignore the story’s beginning.
Though I’d like to, I can’t believe that our adopted children were “meant for us”. God placed our babies in the wombs of other women, and I don’t believe He makes mistakes. I presume that when those families deemed it necessary to abandon their babies, it crushed God’s heart. As those mothers wept, I trust He grieved alongside them.
Parents having to give up a lifetime with their child is unjust. I can no longer walk humbly with my God on the adoption journey, and not be burdened by what He has opened my eyes to. I can’t do orphan care well without pondering why orphans enter orphanages.
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God? — Micah 6:8
It’s evident that God’s heart burns for orphans, but wouldn’t that pain begin at the source?
Several months ago, images of China’s “baby hatches” (locations were parents can legally leave babies), appeared as evidence to one of this world’s harshest truths. Children are abandoned by parents who can’t pay hospital bills.
The pictures we’d conjured in our minds of relinquishment became real images on our computer screens. We as an adoption community were unified in our heartbreak.
Might I suggest that our powerhouse, passionate club act on our heartache?
Can we add orphan prevention to our list of ways we are unified?
Might we consider how God would have us show mercy to parents surrendering their child so they’ll receive medical care?
Let’s “do justice” by supporting organizations working to preserve families. Let’s make some noise for orphan prevention in China. We can raise awareness, pray, and send some donations their way.
Love Without Boundaries is an organization close to our family’s heart. They describe their Unity Initiative as an effort to “provide surgeries and medical care for children from impoverished families who would otherwise face the extremely difficult decision of how to get the medical care needed by their children. It is our goal to help keep families together, and it is our desire to help many more rural families with medical care in the future.”
Tara Peltier, Unity Initiative Director, shared that (in addition to surgeries done through their cleft initiative) so far in 2013-14, they have helped 40 families. 40 families, friends. 40 children spared the title orphan. Imagine how that number would change if our passionate adoption community showed some solidarity for orphan prevention.
The number 40 seems small until you consider a few of the lives impacted and read their stories, written in desperation by their parents.
Thanks to donations, DaLang, Angie, and Yuqing received their surgeries, and families were preserved.
Love Without Boundaries is not alone in orphan prevention efforts. Find one that fits your family, and consider how you might “show mercy” through them.
Evergreen China: Serves the people of Shanxi through education, medicine and community centers.
ELIM Kids: Helps families affected by HIV stay together.
Chinese Orphans Assistance Team: Offers education for local children in Jiaozuo.
Bethel China: Provides educational materials and schooling for families with blind children.
Holt International Family Preservation Program: Provides funds for vulnerable families for basic living expenses, school fees and supplies, as well as nutritional supplements for HIV-positive children.
China Heart: Serves families in Shanxi province through special needs schools, school scholarships and teen camps.
International China Concern: Serves in Changsha through their Community Outreach Project, which provides resources for special needs families.
Morning Star Foundation: Supports families with children with congenital heart disease.
Our family faces all the surgeries, infections, therapies, prescriptions, medical supplies, fears and emotions that come with special needs children. Fat medical invoices arrive in our mailbox weekly, but our location and insurance provide a giant safety net. We make financial sacrifices, but never have to consider walking away so that our children might live. To realize that your child faces medical challenges, to intentionally release them for their sake, and then never know how and where they are, is a pain greater than I’ll ever know.
It would be much easier on my heart to not think about how the orphans of China ended up in orphanages. My comfort zone loving self would prefer it all be anonymous and tidied up at adoption.
Sticking to orphan care and adoption advocacy is my preference. But, I can’t. God calls me to do justice and love mercy. He compels me to look deeper. Join me?