Friday, September 10, 2010

our hearts are heavy for orphans

My heart is heavy. My thoughts have been consumed with the orphans in Ethiopia lately. So quickly, my memories can take me to the government run orphanages in Addis. Oh how I wish we could have spent more time with those precious kids. Their tenacity in the midst of such heartache humbles me. Their smiles make my heart swell, but their sad eyes make mine tear up.

As Christians we are called to care for the orphans. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV) Now, I have seen this verse on countless blogs. I always thought it seemed a little pompous to put this verse on your adoption blog, as if the blogger was trying to show the world how ‘pure and faultless’ they are. Yes, I was being judgmental. Yes, my feelings have changed.

What does it mean in your life to ‘look after orphans and widows?’ In my opinion, it isn’t a question of ‘should you?’, but a question of ‘how will you?’ What will you do to care for the orphans and widows? What kind of sacrifice are you willing to make? What are you willing to give up for God? Maybe God is calling you to adopt. Maybe he is calling you to give money to a family who is adopting. Maybe he is calling you to do something bigger.

Michael and I have been spending a lot of time thinking and praying about what God wants for our family. We keep seeing the faces of the older children we met and we can’t sit back and do nothing. In addition to praying for orphans in general, there are six specific children we have been praying for. Three we met in Ethiopia and three my friend, Janet, met. We are asking God to move mountains and find homes for these precious kids. We know that God might ask us to be the family for one or more of these children or he might have other families in mind. If we are not to be their parents, we are sure he has other children in mind for our family. Either way, we know we will have to sacrifice.

I have read James 1:27 too many times to count. I have never really spent a lot of time thinking about the last part of the verse, “…keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I am not a theologian, but I believe this verse is saying that the care you provide to the orphans and widows should be a sacrifice. It might not be easy. Perhaps ‘easy’ and ‘convenient’ is worldly. We avoid being polluted by the world when we make sacrifices and when we become okay with everything not being easy and convenient. We also become less worldly when we focus more on the world, in my opinion.

We feel called to care for orphans. It is as plain and simple as that. What does that look like? We don’t know. What we do know, is that we feel like God is going to be calling us to do things that are going to make us uncomfortable. He is asking us to make sacrifices and to lay our lives down for him. The dreams we had for our family may not be the dreams God has for us. We are scared and excited. We know everyone will not understand. You may not ‘get it’ and that is okay.

For those of you who have been to Ethiopia, you know where I am coming from. Your heart is not the same. You have more than likely lost sleep over the plight of these sweet people. For those of you who have never been there, trust me. Trust me when I say it is worth the sacrifice. God has great things planned for those kids. Will you be a part of it?

Will you pray that God would move mountains and set the lonely in families? Will you also pray that God would move mountains in our lives, so we can bring more children into our family? We are willing. Hear our cry, oh God. Here are specific things we need prayers for:

  • Guidance. Please pray that we would hear God’s call loud and clear.

  • Patience. I tend to rush into things, so please pray that we would wait for God’s perfect timing. Luckily, Michael is much better at waiting.

  • Provisions. Please pray that our business would continue to grow, so we have the money to support a growing family. We also live 25 miles from our business and put a LOT of miles on our cars going back and forth. We would love to move closer and get a home that would provide room for more children.

  • Adoption finances. Adoptions are expensive. Unfortunately, we don’t have $30,000-$35,000 in expendable income right now. Ethiopia now requires you travel for your court date. This means two trips and more money. God provided for our last adoption and we know he will again. Will you pray that we would come up with effective fundraising ideas and that God would stir in the hearts of others to help us bring orphans into our home? For those of you who supported our last adoption financially and through prayer, thank you so much!!!

We are not starting the adoption process right now, but when God gives the ‘go ahead’, we want to be ready. We want to start working on saving money and raising it, so we have a large portion before moving forward.

Here are a couple of pictures from Ethiopia of us with two sweet girls we met and are praying for. We can’t show their faces, but they are so precious.

If you are feeling called to help others in the adoption process, I would encourage you to hop on over to my friend Jennifer's blog. They are in the fundraising stage of their adoption and they are selling puzzle pieces for $20. Once all of the pieces to the puzzle have been purchased, they will assemble the puzzle and frame it for their future child. Will you please consider giving them $20 or more?

Finally, a little bit about our favorite Ethiopian! Miss Sophia is growing so much. She is almost 11 months old! She has four teeth and is always on the move. She crawls and pulls up like crazy. She has no fear, which scares her mama! She is such a joy and everyone she meets LOVES her. She is completely spoiled by her daddy, Aunt Amy and her grandparents. My parents are completely enamored with her and it has been a joy to watch.

Sophia decided to crawl under the stool and then stood up inside of it.

Then it was time to figure out how to get out of it.

She knew she couldn't crawl back under it, so she took a diving leap and made it out successfully!


Belleme said...

Completely agree with this post! Thanks for praying for "my kids"... I think about them and pray for them every day!

wildflowers said...

wonderfully written. i like to include some links to posts with our own adoption blog site (we too are adopting from ethiopia, beginning the process) and i wanted to include a link to your post, if that is alright. i just think it is very well written and informative.

wildflowers said...

p/s: i have linked to follow your blog as well, and have it within our sidebar.

Theresa said...

Wow your daughter is beautiful!