Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Counting the Cost and Saying YES Anyway

Adoption is often costly. And while yes, that includes finances, it can go way beyond finances. When God stirred in our hearts about adoption there were many obstacles standing in our way. Finances? Um yeah ..... like a mile high boulder right in the way. Beyond finances though were other obstacles. Ones that cut deeper to the core. Ones that were going to require us to take risks. Ones that would cause us to lay down EVERYTHING that we knew, and step forward in obedience anyway.

You see, my dad grew up surrounded with a lens of prejudice. While it wasn't something that we discussed often, the reality of it became very much at the forefront of my mind. It was hard enough telling our family that we were going to step forward and answer God's call on our lives to adopt. We didn't know if we'd receive any support at all. It was important that we be patient and realize that just because God was speaking to OUR hearts about the Fatherless, it didn't mean our family would be hearing those same messages.

My dad hardly spoke of our adoption plans throughout the process. We told our family in a letter, as we were far away and wanted them all to hear the news at the same time. I didn't know if I'd ever hear from him much again. We were already doing "crazy things" like living way off far from family as church-planting missionaries. Let's just say there wasn't a big fanfare when we shared our news. I remember one family member telling us after learning we'd be adopting an AA babe ... "well at least you don't live close-by so it's not like you'll be rubbing the grandparents noses in it". SERIOUSLY? That was the only "positive" they could think of? That we didn't live nearby?

Fast forward several months later. The email came. "African American girl. Born needing heart surgery. No family available for her." Let me tell you .... I knew the risks of saying "yes" to that baby girl. I knew that me saying 'yes' to her, might very well mean my dad saying 'no' to me. I had to come to a place that I cared more about saying 'yes' to my Heavenly Father than I did my earthly father. We'd long before counted the cost. And said YES anyway.

We didn't hear much from my dad. A few months later it was time for a trip home. My heart was torn in two when it came time to pay him a visit. I wasn't sure how he'd handle this whole thing. I remember like it was yesterday, walking out to where he was working in his shop. There I went walking {in a bit of fear and trembling} with my three pale skinned sons, my faithful husband and a light-chocolate skinned baby girl. I'll never forget his words. In his infamous southern drawl he slowly shook his head back and forth looking down into her car seat and said: "my ... my... my .... my.... my!". It was in that moment I knew things were gonna be ok. I didn't expect it to all be natural and easy in an instant. No, it would take time. But in that moment I could tell that he was opening his heart up and allowing something beautiful to begin to grow.

Unfortunately because of our distance, we didn't get to see him much. A couple times of year is about all we had. As our little girl grew and started showing us she has spunk the size of Texas, so did dad's heart. About the same time as we were going through all of this my brother and his wife became very involved in the CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocates). They would share about the needs of the kids they were serving in US Foster Care and dad would listen. He'd ask questions. He began to realize that so many people out there had not be blessed to have the upbringing we'd had. A mother and a father to nurture us and teach us how to work hard. It was like a whole new world was opening up to him.

A couple years passed and the Lord asked us again to count the cost and say YES anyway. This time it would mean traveling across the world to a foreign land and bringing home a 14 month old little girl. By now our family was used to the idea that we were plain 'ole radical and they might as well make the best of it. This time the sting came in a different way. People outside of our family. Some that had supported our ministry. As missionaries we were supported by both churches and individuals. I'll never forget receiving word that people were questioning our mental IQ. Ok, so they probably didn't word it like that, but the message was clear. Thankfully God had placed a few people in our lives that did what they could to be a voice to help others understand God's heart in this. That was truly a comfort. It still hurt when yet another private supporter stopped our support because they couldn't support what we were doing with their money. Another wrote a letter of why they were strongly convicted that supporting ministries and children oversees is wrong. We should only focus on the needs here in America.

I share all of this, because I know some of you are having to count the cost. You wonder if there is ANY way over the financial boulders. Your heart aches as you think of crossing ethnic lines when there is racism in your own family line. The cries of the Fatherless keep you up at night, but you feel weak and just aren't sure if you're up for the journey ahead. None of us can possibly know the outcome. What we must focus on is listening to our Heavenly Father and obeying Him no matter what He asks us to do .... even if earthly voices that we love are loud and even at times unkind.

When our girls were turning 4 and 2 God brought us back to our home town area. The visits with family grew more frequent and have been greatly treasured. My heart bursts with joy remembering times of my dad stopping by just to see us and he'd sit up at the counter with my baby girls and color with them. Laughing at their antics ... trying to woo them in. He was a big guy, I tell ya! All 6 ft 4 in of him would just melt and it was beautiful.

A year ago today, my dad left this earthly life. He passed on suddenly far from home after suffering a heart attack. I miss him. The eighteen months we had here together were the best I ever knew. I remember back when he traveled all the way out to ND to move a bunch of our things ... and he saw our sweet Maleah toddling around. After a few quiet moments deep in thought he looked up at me and said ... "Can you imagine how many things have changed in her life and how hard it must be?". There was MY dad .... having eyes and a heart for the Fatherless. I treasure that moment.

There's no guarantee what the outcome might be for you. It might be that some won't ever accept your obedience. What I CAN tell you is that your Heavenly Father's voice is more important than all the rest. After all, His son came to earth and counted the cost for YOU and for ME and said YES anyway.

Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. I really needed to read it today. When your heart is breaking in the adoption process, it can be an unexpected blow to not have the support of family and friends. You think, "how could anyone NOT think adoption in any form is a great thing to do?!" I pray that hearts will soften and light bulbs go off when our little ones are home.