I Never Felt Called to Adopt

April 27, 2016 adopting again, Family Stories, orphanage realities, orphanage visit, should we adopt? 5 Comments

I never felt called to adopt.

For me, adoption was simply the way God chose to build our family.

In 2011 we adopted our son Sean who is now seven years old. In 2013 we adopted our daughter Elliana who is now five. When people first started saying that adoption was a beautiful thing for me to do, I wasn’t sure how to respond. The adoption process certainly didn’t feel beautiful. If anything, the avalanche of paperwork made it feel clerical. It wasn’t until our first trip to China that I started to see the beauty of adoption. And as much as I love my son Sean, my change of heart had little to do with him.


While Sean was in China, he lived at a foster home in Beijing. He lived on the main campus for a year before being placed with a loving foster family nearby. One afternoon during our adoption trip, Kevin, Sean and I had lunch at the foster home cafeteria. As we sat down, I noticed a five year old boy named Bing at a nearby table. Bing was in a wheelchair patiently waiting for his foster dad to return with their food. Bing watched us for a moment with a small smile on his face. Then he quietly said in Chinese, “Sean’s got a mommy and daddy.”

He said it to no one in particular. He might not have even meant to say it out loud. It was as if his deep longing for a family spilled out of him in words.

“Sean’s got a mommy and daddy.”


He was happy for his friend, but his heartache was unmistakable. Like Sean, Bing had foster parents who loved him deeply and gave him exceptional care. But even the best care by substitute parents couldn’t erase his longing for a family of his own.

“Sean’s got a mommy and daddy.”

Until that moment, I didn’t think much about the profound loss that an orphan feels. After that moment, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I saw it on Bing’s face in the cafeteria. I saw it in the fatherless boy who called my husband ‘daddy’ and jumped in his arms. I saw it in the six year old girl who squeezed into our family photo, and in the two year old boy who pulled me toward a swing and asked me to push him too.

As joyful as I was to be with my son, my heart ached for the ones who still waited. Not just at Sean’s foster home, but the 153 million orphans worldwide. After seeing Bing, I realized it didn’t matter whether or not I felt called.

I am called.

I am called to take up the cause of the fatherless (Isaiah 1:17). I am called to give justice to the poor and the orphan. I am called to uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute (Psalm 82:3).

I am called.


Because I was that orphan. Without God, I would be Fatherless. Without Christ, I would be destitute. Without the promise of His Kingdom to come, I would be left wondering how I would ever find Home.


Almost two years after our initial trip to China, Kevin and I returned to adopt Elliana. Once again I had people tell me that adoption was a beautiful thing. This time I agreed. Adoption is beautiful — not because of what I’ve done for my kids, but because of what God has done for me.

“I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you…
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:18, 27

– guest post by Michelle

5 responses to “I Never Felt Called to Adopt”

  1. Erin says:

    Michelle, I recognize the playground in the picture. Our son is at the center now. I’d love to ask you some questions.

    • Michele says:

      Hi Erin!
      Send me a PM through the Shabby Chic Ministries Facebook page. If you put my name in the message, it will get to me.

      Looking forward to connecting!

  2. Karen says:

    “Sean’s got a mommy and daddy”…..talk about smashing your heart into a thousand pieces. Praying that Bing will get a mommy and daddy too….and realizing that there are sooooo many just like him.

  3. Deborah Dare says:

    This should be a required read for all those who are seeking the IVF treatment. Think of all the orphans in the world who are longing for a mommy and daddy.
    Thank you Michele, for the enlightenment.

  4. Stan Kratzer says:

    This story is wonderful. I am so happy for the both of you. It’s been so long since we were in Greensboro. Our adopted son is now 5 and going to kindergarten. It’s a journey.

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