It would seem nearly impossible for one to make the act of rescuing an orphan sinful. However, as someone recently thrust into the process, I have become well aware that adopting offers a myriad of opportunities for sinful behavior. I have even seen adopting Christians forget about the person they are rescuing because they are only concerned with how the process is affecting them at a given moment of delay or difficulty. Blinded by the deceitfulness of sin, what should inherently mean good for another is devoted to the altar of self. Feeling the natural tendency of my own heart, I have had to pray constantly, “Lord save me from turning the adoption of two Ethiopian orphans into an act of self-serving wicked idolatry.”
Adoption has many twists and turns that one cannot anticipate from the beginning. With all the documentation it takes and all the hands that your paperwork has to go through, there is a huge risk for mistakes. Having to trust a small army of people, who you may never ever see in your lifetime, to approve and deliver everything needed in a timely manner is nerve racking to say the least. For those of us who like to think we are in control of all things, the opportunity for anxiety is tremendous. It is not to be underestimated.
However, halfway through the process that person who just loves Jesus and wants to rescue orphans can turn from one who counts it all joy to one who is full of grumbling murmurs. In the form of prayer requests and ‘journey updates’, they excuse their sin as venting and being open with their feelings. The scary thing is what those feelings are revealing about what’s going on in their heart. Who are they really serving in this matter?
It is true corruption abounds and many requirements may seem arbitrary to us. The process can be grueling when you are relying on folks who may take the rainy season off or may simply decide not to work on a given day, due to a solar eclipse. But, instead of taking on the persona of a pro-wrestler, thumping our chest and saying, “We deserve them because we are better than you!” should we not first remember what’s at stake. Is it just about us getting our kids? Or is it about rescuing children who desperately need a family. The American in general may not be on board with this, but the Christian should be.
Understand I fear such idolatry taking place in my own heart. By God’s grace I have not posted any complaints or ‘ventings’ at this point. That’s not to say its beyond me.
At this moment, we wait realizing that the fate of these two boys is now in the hands of people we have never seen. There is a man in Ethiopia who is carrying around the last 30 years of my life in paper form. He will represent my wife and I and who we hope to be our future sons in the Ethiopian court system. Knowing this, I have been forced to realize that there are a myriad of things that could go wrong. We could be among the thirty percent of parents adopting from Ethiopia who are given multiple court dates. Such thoughts are not comforting.
May God help us to be more aware of the sufferings of these two boys than that of our own. Christ’s example teaches us that adoption has never been easy. May we come to grips with the reality that whatever we have to endure for these two boys can never be compared to the suffering they have felt of being left fatherless. If this is what causes pain and turmoil in our lives so be it. But, may it not be just because we are not getting our way. Or because God is not doing what we think He should do.
I ask you to pray that we would remember that this particular adoption should not cause us to grieve the Spirit of adoption that indwells us. We must remember that we were orphans who deserve nothing but God’s judgment. By grace, we received adoption in Christ. By grace, we will receive this adoption as well.