One comment that we’ve heard over and over by people as we’ve told them about our plans to adopt, is, “Wow! What an awesome thing you are doing for that child!”
Years ago, I would have thought the same thing. After all, isn’t it noble to provide a home and clothing and food for a helpless child without? Isn’t it admirable to love on “the least of these” as Jesus commands? Isn’t it the responsibility of the church to “help orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27)? While obviously, all this is good, I am struck by the fact that it is a view that places us as the rich westerner riding in on our white horse to “rescue” some poor, helpless, forlorn child from poverty and what we deem unacceptable. In reality, instead of God using ME to “rescue" this child, I believe that God is using THEM to rescue me.
Rescue me from what, you ask? The idols of materialism, “The American Dream”, etc… Their presence in my life and in the lives of the people they touch, is doing much more for us, then we could ever possibly do for them. Already I have seen how God is using this one child, a child whom we have never met….a child whom may not even be born yet, to impact a community. To stir hearts. To change lives. This child, by simply being whom God created him/her to be, is allowing us to catch a glimpse of Jesus.
Now, understand when I say, that adoption is a beautiful thing. It is a beautiful picture of how God has rescued us all from our spiritual “orphanages” and made us a new creation in Christ. Just like a bride and groom depict Jesus (the bridegroom) and the church….or how the love of a parent for a child models the agape love that God has for His people. Adoption portrays how God has loved us, pursued us, and given us an inheritance far greater than what we were destined for. It is a picture of the place we hold in the family of God. But God is at work, and He is doing something even bigger.
So how did we get here? Honestly, we just felt that God was calling us in this direction. We felt that we wanted to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Right now, there are 145 MILLION orphans in the world. We are hoping that when we return from Ethiopia, there will be one less. But sadly, that will still leave 144,999,999. We are but one. And so, some may wonder (quietly, to themselves), “So, what’s the point?” The point, for us, is to in some way inspire others to follow God’s leading. That may look differently for you, than it does for me. God may not be leading you to adopt at this time. But certainly He is leading you somewhere? How can we climb out of our comfort zones to truly be the hands and feet?
Many of us are looking for Jesus in the churches. We are looking for him in Christian books and theology. In worship music and Christian radio. And while all these things are well and good (and necessary!!), I can’t help but to remember that that is not where Jesus hung out. He hung out with the prostitutes…the tax collectors…the blatant “sinners”. He was more commonly found amongst the poor and the needy, than the rich and the affluent. So while I do recognize that adoption is a beautiful thing, a noble act that mirrors how God has taken us, and adopted us as His sons and daughters and bestowed upon us all of His inheritance, I see how this “thing” is so much bigger than us. It is so much bigger than this one simple act. God is using it, and HAS used it already, to reach others. To show His glory. And He’s doing it through one small child.
I’d love to hear how God is revealing Himself to you. How is He using “the least of these” to make Himself known to you? God is constantly at work…often times we are too busy doing “His work” to notice though. But HE is there…in the face of a homeless man who climbs into your dumpster at work to collect scrap metal…..in the face of a single mother who is working two jobs to support her children….in the face of a small Ethiopian baby who has already captured the hearts of so many. He is there. Will you see Him? Or will you walk right past?