“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” -David Platt
the orphan crisis was always something that haunted me. the numbers are staggering: an estimated 163 million children who don’t have a family or a place to call home. but, it was a problem i conveniently kept in the back of my mind…waiting until “the right time” to adopt. waiting for “the right child”. it’s easier to ignore this crisis than do something about it. i know many people think that adoption is just an option for couples who can’t have “their own” kids or single women who have always wanted to be moms. but really, every child deserves a home. so why aren’t there more people stepping out and doing something about this huge need?
for me, nothing about adoption was convenient. i was single, living off of donations from generous friends and working in dire poverty in rural uganda. i was young and naive. i didn’t have a plan for the future. didn’t own a house [or any furniture for that matter]. didn’t have a nice paycheck waiting for me when i returned. didn’t even have a place that i called home. and as for my daughter? well, she certainly wasn’t the easiest one i could have picked. she had multiple special needs and emotional scars so deep they made me shudder. she was an empty shell, expressionless and lacking the will to live. i was terrified.
but God…He knew what we both needed. He brought us together. He lead me to that tiny pile of skin and bones and drew me into her hollow eyes. He beckoned me to care for her and helped me let go of my fears. He kept her alive while her frail body was wracked with malaria and malnutrition. He protected her brain through a scary seizure episode. He gave Mikisa what she needed: a mom. and, even though i wasn’t ready and had no idea what i was really getting into, He gave me the best gift of all: family.
you see, it’s not about finding the perfect fit for your family. it’s about finding the right family for each orphaned child. and it won’t be perfect. it will be messy. hard. discouraging. lonely. exhausting. painful. raw. but it will also be wildly beautiful. full of love. life changing. exhilarating. purpose-giving. redemptive. it will expose things about yourself that you never knew were there. deep wounds that need healing as well as strengths you didn’t think you had. it will change your perspective. it will break your heart. but it will be good. so, so good.
sometimes God calls us to do hard things. things that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves. things that break us open and leave us wondering how our pretty little lives got so torn and shredded. God’s heart beats for the orphans. they are His children. and so, even though we want to turn our heads and run the other way, into the safety and comfort of an easier life, God calls us to more. He calls us to a reckless abandon of self, a complete surrender to His will. and when we meet Him there, fearful and trembling, He gently takes our hands in His and reminds us that we are adopted too. we are His sons and daughters, found and rescued. we fail, just like our once-orphaned children, but He gives us grace and loves us anyways. and so, being here in the middle of this melting pot of broken dreams and redemption, God is tangible. and that, my friends, is one of the reasons adoption is so beautiful.
*all photos compliments of www.mandiejoy.com