I don’t know that I understood the full ramifications the day I marked the CHINA box on our adoption paperwork. I understood that I would be bringing a piece of China home with me (he was so soft and cute!), but I didn’t realize that I would also be sending a piece of myself there. The sending has been a process. I admit, initially my heart was to just get my baby out of the place that hurt him; from a culture that abandons babies and hurts women and hates children with special needs (wild & generalized emotional extremes). Even while in China itself, I was too hot and sticky and jet lagged to think past rescuing my child from this place.
Great Wall? Cool. Lots of rocks in a row. Where is my baby?!
A gazillion years of cultural history at the Forbidden Palace? Awesome. I’ll catch the next episode on the Nat Geo channel. Where is my son’s passport?!
Although, I think I gave the best I had at the time, I’m sad that I wasn’t able to see past my cultural & sensory overwhelmed-ness to feel God’s heart for China. Somewhere in time, as cultures and countries and ethnic groups were being birthed our Loving God put within my son’s people an ingenious mind: inventors, artists, and philosophers have flourished here. A people with patience and work ethic (ahem, The Great Wall). And as I’m learning now, a people whose quiet & thoughtful personalities have been misunderstood and at times been wildly taken advantage of for thousands of years. God’s heart melts for China. Mine should too.
My Asian- American household has just entered into the Chinese New Year, the year of the sheep (or goat or ram depending on the translation). I still don’t fully understand the Chinese significance of it all, but I do know that my Lord is the great Shepherd (for sheep, goats, rams and me). It seems appropriate to seek God’s plan for me and China together. As we act as a community of advocates for more children to be in safe homes, I know more can be done.
How do I love China through it all?? I can pray. Praying is what we ALL can do. There is power and no distance in prayer. Imagine if every Chinese forever family got on their knees and interceded for the homeland of our children. Mountains would move. Hearts would melt. Families would be strengthened. As we start this new lunar year, we can declare the Lord over our beloved China. Over the country that has sent a piece of it’s heart to us. We can respond with “Lord, until more beautiful pieces of China come home to our family, send MY heart.” What a Chinese New Year resolution that is!
Here are some specific ideas to get you started:
Political Leaders in China (Daniel 2:21)
— President Xi Jinping has been in leadership for several years and has positioned himself as a significant global leader. He has the opportunity to effect significant change within China and through international relations. President Xi will be visiting the United States in September. Pray that there is a healthy strengthening of relationship with the United States; that there is open dialogue regarding key economic and human rights issues. Pray for the heart of President Xi to be turned toward the cause of the widow and orphan in his own country.
— Premier Li Keqiang chairs the State Council which is the chief authority of the Peoples Republic of China. The 50 members of the Council directly oversees the various local governments and in theory balances the interlocking membership of the three branches of Chinese government. What if this Council became passionate about human rights, gender equality and religious freedom? Pray for leaders like this to be placed into a position within the Communist Government that can make real change.
— Provincial & local governments are managed by governors and mayors vaguely similar to US system. These leaders manage the laws, economy and freedoms that directly affect our children’s birth families. Leaders that advocate for public health, education and safety could forever change the culture of child abandonment. We can pray for this to happen!
Local Chinese Christians (Phil 1:3-11)
— Our partners in Christ in spreading the Good News..and without the banner of freedom that we move so easily under in America. Pray as the Apostle Paul did: for encouragements for their hearts; that their love for each other would overflow more & more, and that they would keep on growing in their knowledge & understanding, living pure & blameless lives, always filled with the fruit of their salvation. Pray for physical protection and provision. Pray for the opportunities to care for the needy children in their communities and that it speaks to their neighbors deeply about the love of Christ. The house churches in Isaac’s home Province have ‘taken over’ the foster care system in that area, loving and caring for their own children publicly. That ministry forever changed MY life, I truly hope it has been a rich testimony to believers and non-Christians alike in that part of China.
Missionaries in China
— As they minister with the locals: Lifting up the arms of Moses is a special ministry (Exodus 17:11-12). Pray for the international missionaries in China as they support their local Brothers & Sisters. That as they move in cultural sensitivity strong relationships would be built with their neighbors and those in authority. That they would have a strong passion for the Chinese people and their culture. That their international status would not harm or hinder the work of Christ in that area, but they would be surrounded by favor and, when appropriate, allow their non-Asian-ness to be used to the advantage of their Chinese Brothers & Sisters and to the Glory of God.
— As they minister to the travelers (Col 4:11): We ‘stumbled’ upon an underground Christian coffee house during our time in Province. I can’t tell you what a place of refuge that back alley coffee house was to us! With air conditioning and sandwiches WITH CHEESE, we ate there twice per day for nearly a week. Our physical needs were met while clearly under the Banner of Christ. We could safely inquire about local customs (specifically regarding children with special needs) and speak freely with other Christians. It was deeply refreshing to our emotionally weary souls while we traveled alone in that part of China. I am so very thankful for the Believers there who potentially risk much to offer this refuge to their Brothers & Sisters. And I continue to pray that many more locals & travelers alike ‘stumble’ upon that blessed establishment.
Your Chinese household
— “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). As our physical family as been knitted together through adoption, our spiritual family too has been enlarged. As I pray for my immediate & extended family members, I pray for our unknown Chinese family: for health & physical safety; for peace and comfort in hearts regarding their ‘missing’ child; if they already know the Lord, that they would be blessed in their relationship and grow deeply in their spiritual growth, even keeping, us, their American family in their prayers; if they don’t know the Lord, that they would be surrounded with those that do and can speak the Lord’s loving grace into their lives; that the people who’s very DNA created my little boy would come to know the Great God that brought us together; ultimately, that we would be united in Heaven as a completed family loving OUR son together for eternity. This I claim over our Chinese household and hold tightly to in Faith.