Adoption Month Musings Part 1

Here it is, November 12th already, and I can finally sit down and reflect on it being National Adoption Month.

My thoughts ping and pong in all different directions as I ponder if this will be the only post I manage to make time for in November. But if nothing else, I want to share two predominate things that have impacted me recently.

The first came unexpectedly one day after “racing” Elise back to the house from the mailbox. We sat down to flip through the mail and she asked me to read her the Bethany Christian Services Magazine. Instead of reading it to her, I turned to the pages of the kids who are waiting to be adopted. I told her how they don’t have Mamas and Daddies and how we should pray for these kids. After that, she memorized every kid’s name by quizzing me over and over on every picture.

When we got home from Daycare the next day, she opened the magazine up again and named off all the kids.  And then she asked me if they have Mommies and Daddies yet.

If that doesn’t break your heart…

On one hand, adopting a child from Foster Care is not a venture to be taken lightly. I want that point to be clear.

But on the other hand, perhaps we – the church – need to make a little more of an effort in finding homes for these children and supporting those families willing to do so. I know some churches do a great job at this already. But even one of the largest churches in our area offers no special assistance or programs for foster or adoptive families. That seems crazy to me.

Creating programming that appeals to the masses seems like a good idea. That’s how business strategies work, right? Appeal to the largest population using the leanest resources. But how can we call ourselves “the body of Christ” if we are not intentional about reaching out to those in the margins? Isn’t that what Christ did again and again? Broke away from the crowd to give special attention to marginalized individuals who needed Him most?

These children may not seem like our responsibility because they are not a part of our congregations.

They are not a part of our congregations Yet.

Top number: Foster children waiting to be adopted Bottom number: Number of churches

Top number: foster children waiting to be adopted
Bottom number: Number of churches

But can we make room for them? If 1 family out of every 3 churches in Michigan chose to adopt from foster care, what a huge difference we could make! (And not to say church-goers are the only ones who should adopt from foster care – but if we claim to be Christians, we are implored to “Take up the cause of the fatherless.” Isaiah 1:1.7.

Can we make more of an effort to share their stories and implore people to consider if they might be open to making room for a child in their homes? Can we support families through networking and respite care and material services and counseling? I’m sure there are even more needs I’m not aware of yet.

I could never tell anyone that adopting from foster care is something they should do. I don’t know what particular calling God has put on their family. But it is crazy to think of the number of children who don’t.have.parents.

Staggering. Sobering.

And after seeing Elise show so much interest in these children, it’s made me realize how important it is to teach your kids about real-life orphans. To help them grow compassionate hearts instead of self-pitying little souls. And not in an angry, “There are starving children in Africa who would be glad to clean your plate for you.” But in a “What do you think we should do to help kids who don’t have families?” And then involve our children in whatever activity we can think of – whether it’s praying for them, buying material supplies for a home for foster children, donating, etc…

(All that is to say, our daughter is still self-pitying. Aren’t we all? 😉 But the more we focus outward, the easier it is to forget why we thought our busy schedules and materialistic woes were ever so important to us.)

Anyway, this is what has been speaking to me lately. I wanted to share the other thought with you also, but I’m not quite sure how to segue into it without making this post extraordinarily long. 🙂

I’ll just plan on posting Part 2 next week.

 

Advertisements

Goosebumps

Coincidences happen all the time.

My husband and my brother have the same birthday.

Both of my grandmas were named “Marge.”

My mom decided to name me “Cheyenne” when she was only 9 years old, not knowing that my last name would be the exact same letters: Cheney.

Thanks, Mom.

Sometimes coincidences give more meaning to your life. Like when my mom had to have her first colonoscopy and found out that her nurse home-schooled her kids too. We heard about it for the next 12 hours after her surgery. That common bond really put her at ease.

Or maybe it was the drugs. Either way, apparently this coincidence made her first colonoscopy a very meaningful experience.

And then there are coincidences like this:

Remember my post last week about the results of our Garage Sale? I talked about how God has given meaning to our heartache of infertility by giving us a “new song” of praise that it led us to this path of adopting. I spoke of Psalm 40:

“I waited patiently for the Lord;

He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a New Song in my mouth – a hymn of praise to our God.”

An hour after publishing this post, we were singing these very words in church. Literally a New Song to us – I later discovered our Worship Pastor actually wrote the song.

Talk about coincidence.

I need to start carrying a purse just so I have tissues on me. Good grief. Thank goodness we had already “greeted each other.” Boy would they have been in for a surprise when they shook my tear-coated hand.

I’m not kidding, next week I WILL have tissues on me. Because if that wasn’t enough, this week I sat down next to Tyler in the row and opened up the bulletin to discover that the sermon was titled “Adopted.”

Crazy, because I had just finished placing announcements about our Fundraising Dinner in everyone’s mailboxes at the church.

Fundraising dinner announcement

And guess who was preaching? Our Worship Pastor.

Darn it, I should have known. He has it out for me, I think.

Except that he had no idea I was going to hand out invitations to our dinner. Nor do I think he even knew about our dinner. It’s a pretty big church – we really don’t know him or his wife at all.

At the climax of the sermon, he shared his story of how his “foster” sister became his sister. From a name that represented a life of mistreatment and indifference…

… to a new name that represents her new life in a family whose love for her knows no limits.

I tried to not look at him as his emotion broke his otherwise seamless presentation. Seeing his emotion made holding back tears too hard. But his family was sitting, sniffling in the row right in front of us. Good grief… it was no use.

Following his story, he proclaimed that as Christians, we have been adopted by God. It is our identity. And as such, we are called to a life of hospitality to children who aren’t necessarily born to us- whether that be through adopting a child ourselves or through supporting adoptive families.

Meanwhile, people all around us held our picture in their hands, with an invitation to help us bring our baby home.

*whew* (holding back tears again)

Did you get goosebumps?

Some coincidences are more than a weird accident.

Sometimes… God acts on our behalf before we’ve even asked.