Friday, August 10, 2007

Dealing with the Issues

I love the discussion going on about adoption below. I decided to type a new post because there are so many comments, and we've kind of narrowed down some of the issues.

Here are some things we have been learning.  Maybe not all of you are as hard-headed, selfish and prideful as us...but we had a lot of prejudice, preconceived notions and bias in our hearts when we set out on this journey.

This topic is already hot and perhaps making people hot...I don't know! But I'm tired of running from the ugliness in my heart. When I just stays there.

Issue 1

My kids are cute, and I love that they look like us and act like us. I love seeing that they have my legs and Aaron's hands. That wouldn't be true in an adopted child!

I am learning...

That I'm prideful and I like myself too much. Don't get me wrong...there's nothing wrong with loving to see myself in my kids. That is super cool.  However, for was way more than just a cool thing. It was a necessity. I know that because it was one of the reasons why I was telling God to shove off in the area of adoption.

I can promise you that nothing in me or about me looked anything like the Father when He chose to include me as one of His children. I mean, not a thing!

Issue 2

Will I really be able to love an adopted child like I do my biological children?

This is a real fear of mine.

From the beginning of the Bible until the end, God is trying to shatter societal norms and structures.

He challenged equality between men and women.

He said Jews (much like God's biological children) were equal to Gentiles (outsiders, aliens).

He challenged racism.

He challenged our ideas about family.

I have so much to learn about how God loves and invites us to love all of mankind.


Hendrick Family said...

So obviously I can't stop thinking about all of this.

Aren't you glad blogs exist so that you can see inside the inner workings of a mind that never stops?

I'm driving along tonight mulling all this over...asking the Lord a few questions...arguing with Him...I shouldn't do that, but I do.

There are times I can almost feel Him laughing at me.

That's when I know what I've been chasing is much simpler than what I'm making it.

Here's what I got tonight.

Ephesians 5:1
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.

Imitate God.


Like children imitate their fathers.

How did we become His children?

He adopted us.

So that should SETTLE this once and for all.

We should all be QUICKER to ask God if we should adopt because God is an adoptive parent. He has adopted tons of kids.

I pray these posts have done that if nothing else.

I pray adoption would be on the forefront of our minds, approaching God with this new mindset... are an adoptive parent. You say adoption is good. You say that children are a blessing. You say ministering to orphans is FAULTLESS. Imitating you would mean adoption was fine. So is there some odd reason why you don't want us to adopt?

I pray we would hold our own reasons for not wanting to adopt up to scripture. God may need to do a work. He certainly had to do one in us.

I pray adoption, something so dear to God's heart that HE DOES IT, would never again be seen as "the worst case scenario" for families facing infertility.

I pray adoption would never again be something that every Christian couple doesn't ask the Lord about.

I pray we will learn how to imitate God more and more in everything we do as believers.

Anonymous said...

Such truth! Thank you for sharing, Heather. God is doing a work in my husband and me through this discussion. We have always considered adoption as something we thought we would like to do, and knew it was good and right, but we are learning through Scripture that it is so much more than that to God. We are now looking at adoption through God's eyes and working through our own issues of fear and selfishness, asking God to change us, so we can be where He wants us.

I do have one question though...everyone we know that has adopted has done so after they were finished birthing their biological children...maybe that is just part of the mentality God is working so many of us through...adoption not being second best to birthing a child. Is there any reason not to adopt somewhere in the middle?

Rusty Bacak said...

Heather, when I read your blog I feel like I am reading a Beth Moore Bible Study (Oh man did I just admit to everyone that I did a Beth Moore study): great stuff but I keep getting addressed as "ladies" and "girlfriend." So can guys comment on your blog or is "game locked" to just women (a comment that admittedly only a guy would probably remember from bad playground days).


One point that I am sure that Jenn has made repeatedly on her blogs about adoption is this:
We get so frustrated and somewhat perplexed when we repeatedly hear comments from people that we are such "great people" for having adopted. Or that our adopted children are "so lucky" to have us as a family.
All four of our children are a blessing from the Lord and when people talk about how the adopted ones are blessed to HAVE US - it basically sort of implies that those poor white, brown, black (or whatever) children are less worthy or special; and therefore, they are blessed to have us. I mean, no one ever says that about our biological children.
WE ARE THE BLESSED ONES that God has even given us any of these children. When I read all of the blog comments made, I worry that people see adoption as a task that some Christians "have" to do because these poor children "have" to be taken care of (and there is truth to that). But if you think about it, looking at it that way would sort of imply that these children are a burden that must be carried. WRONG - as adopted and foster parents we are the ones that are blessed by these amazing little munchkin children! These are not defective children - they are incredible, amazing little people that have DNA (keeping witht the theme) and attributes and talents and abilities that blows our little DNA away in so many ways. They add so much to our family and our lives. We are the blessed ones. Thank you God that you gave us these little boys!
So I challenge Christians to think of adoption not as some altruistic service project, but as a way that God will bless your family in such a cool way (be a Christian hedonist and delight in what God will do!)
If you think about it- one of the Biblical examples of human adoption is the adoption of this pretty special baby named Jesus. I have a feeling Mary and Joseph didn't view it as they were somehow blessing little baby Jesus by taking care of him. I have a feeling they realized that THEY were the ones being blessed by God by Him even allowing them to be a part of his life. In the same way we are the blessed ones as adopted parents that God allows us to be a part of their lives.

Hendrick Family said...

How amazing! I am excited for you guys.

About your question...

I really don't think it matters what "order" God places kids into a home. For us, the answer to that question is simple...we never asked God about adoption until later in life. We already had three kids when we even began looking into what God's Word says about children, family size, orphans and adoption.

I would have LOVED to have seen adoption differently early on in life. If nothing else, I think we would have continually been planning financially to adopt. Of course, God took care of that hang up by providing the money for us once our hearts were moved in the direction of adoption.

To be honest, one of the things that has scared me is whether or not a birth mother would choose a family that already has three kids in it. Aaron keeps reminding me that if this is God's plan, then my fears are silly. But I could see where a birth mom would much rather place her baby in a family with no children, or a smaller amount of children.

So...there have been times throughout the last few months that I have thought, "Man, I wish we would have done this earlier in our family." I probably STILL would have wanted to be pregnant three times, but if I knew what I knew now, I think the order of kids may have been different.

Again...that's if I was the planner of my family and not the Lord. This is the way He has planned it. I just have to trust Him and be willing to obey.

I am praying the church would see adoption as just as viable of a way to grow a family as birthing children.

Hendrick Family said...

So good Rusty!

I know...I'm sorry about the "girlfriendness" of this blog. I really forget that men read it...or their wives make them read it sometimes! Ha!

I loved what you said. We are selfish to the core, constantly making everything about us. I know that mindset comes so natural to me!

I do praise God that He tries so hard to teach us His heart through His Word in so many ways.

Yes, we can see adoption or caring for the orphan as just another command in scripture. It is commanded.

But then God goes on to share His heart about children...that they aren't a burden...they are a BLESSING.

Deuteronomy 14:28-29
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

God wants to bless us! Obedience is not about taking upon ourselves a burden. Children are certainly not a burden...blessing...not a burden.

He gives us the commands to care for orphans, but then reminds us that in doing so...WE are blessed by having the precious children in our lives.

I love what you said about Jesus and Mary.

I had never thought of that.

She considered herself blessed and was so humbled that she was CHOSEN by God to raise HIS son.

Rusty Bacak said...

Actually Heather - In my on selfish focus, I was actually more thinking about Jesus and JOSEPH - he was the one that really adopted Jesus. I think the men really need to hear that one! I know I did. It is interesting, sad and so worldly and cultural that when talking about adoption and family planning, most men are just sort of steered that way by their wives. I am so guilty of that with Justus - God revealed it to Jenn before me that this is what He was going to do in our lives. But I guess that is the order He revealed things to Mary and then Joseph. But it does not excuse that men need to take the leadership role in their family in this area! Children are to be arrows in our quiver - Psalms 127:4-5- MEN - a pretty manly analogy to think about!

Bill, Heather, and Company said...

I want to preface all of this by saying... I have not read the entire post or comments. I did my best to skim and catch the gist of it all... sorry, but it's Saturday night I am doing computer stuff for service inthe a.m. and am on a brief break.

Having said that... I had a thought about issue number 1. I imagine that I would have similiar hang-ups. I love the way all of my kids look like Heather. I LOVE that I can watch Addison sleep and think how she is a carbon copy of her mother.

I too am glad that God did not have simliar hang-ups when he adopted me. But the most beautiful thing is what happens AFTER God adopts me. It is then that I am continually formed inhis image. As his child, I begin to look more and more like him.

I imagine it is the same thing with all adoptive children. The most important thing is not the physical traits they mirror, but the inner qualities they acquire.

Though they might not have your nose or eyesor legs... as they live in your house and witness your heart and worship your God, these precious children begin to exhibit your compassion and humor and love and passion.

After all, being created in God's image... and being conformed into the image of Christ... has nothing to do with our physical attributes but has everything to do with our hearts beating with the heart of our Savior.

Biological DNA is irrelevant when weighed up against spiritual DNA.

LD said...

I love these posts!

I love that you can articulate things that I'm thinking so gracefully.

I love the the Lord has spoken SO CLEARLY to you about this issue, and that you have turned around and shared TRUTH with us.

I love that you have been open and honest, even when it was hard.

I love that God has used families at LH to change my heart (and so many others) on adoption, before it is even a possibility.

Rusty Bacak said...

Yes, Bill, what you're saying is true, and how wonderful that we can mirror our Father the longer we know him! That is truly a miracle!
But the truth of how I feel about my kids looking like me/not looking like me...the truth is I could care less. Bringing them home and falling in love with them, it is actually the last thing on my mind. I think it's more along the lines of what Heather said...we like ourselves too much. And God just does a work where you just don't value that anymore!
I enjoy their little noses and quirky talents just as much, even though I had nothing to contribute to it physically, and I actually enjoy the fact that when people admire them, I just say "I know! Aren't they beautiful?" Because they didn't get it from me!
I don't want to minimize this fear that EVERYONE has, and I do mean everyone. I do remember wondering if I would love our adopted baby the way I loved Emma and Jax. But then, I remember wondering the same thing before I had Jax. How could I possibly love another one like we did our first? It's the same thing. Your second is born, and that seems ridiculous. It seems equally ridiculous when God gives you a baby through adoption. It seems preposterous! So I just want to say this is a normal fear, but please hear me, and every adopted parent say that your baby is your baby, whether they look like you or not. Your feelings for them are the same. Because God's heart for them is the EXACT same!
Hope y'all don't mind me sharing again. I fear I am being a blog hog on this subject! Sorry!

King Family said...

Well, since I have been out of town, I have missed the bulk of this discussion, one that I clearly care very much about. It sounds like the discussion has been great and I want to contribute as an adoptive parent who has not had biological children.

The thing to remember is that if we are a part of God's Kingdom, then we live according to that. There should be nothing other than the Spirit of Jesus leading us on this journey. As we take all of the sinful things inside us and lay them down, we embrace a transformed heart and mind. Our worldview changes and we end up immersing ourselves deeper into a way of living that was once contrary to our flesh.

Obviously the way that God set up pro-creation was through a husband and wife birthing biological children. He did that in the Garden of Eden. But after the fall, even that natural system became broken. Adoption is the reconciliation of broken things: a husband and wife who are broken because they can't conceive, and a child born without a whole family coming together to create a new, whole family. Two broken things made whole, for the glory of God. A "perfect American family" taking in a child who doesn't look like them looks a lot like the Kingdom of God. And obviously, our ultimate example of adoption: God adopting us – children who sinned and messed up his perfect original plan – is the ultimate reconciliation of what was broken in the Garden of Eden.

As Christians, we have to remember that we are not entitled to things. We can't stand up and demand what we deserve. As hard as this may sound, we don't have a right to birth children from our own womb. We don't have a right to have children who look like us. Of course, the Lord loves to bless his children and He does. Birthing children and having your child look like you are amazing miracles that can never be understated. But they’re not our rights. God controls the womb. He closed my womb. I believe that if he wants me to be pregnant, he will open my womb. I am not going to spend lots of money trying to make it happen when I know that I could spend that money filling my home with precious babies. I have already started filling my home with them and will continue to until we feel Him telling us to stop. Somewhere along the way, I may get pregnant. It's up to the Lord.

I hope that if you are dealing with infertility, you will not hear me being insensitive. We waited for 13 months for Jude and had 2 failed adoptions during that wait. We felt the longing for a child we did not yet have, and could not conceive. I just understood that I was longing for any child and that I would love that child whether they came “from us” or from someone else. The Lord will place the perfect baby in your home. He knows what your family needs. If you go into adoption with an open heart, he will bless you beyond your wildest dreams. He loves to surprise us and lavish us with his love, and He knows what our families need better than we do.

staci (and ross)

BHG & Co. said...

I know it is against the rules to post on a closed blog, but I wanted to be sure I was not misunderstood.

I wanted to communicate that whether the child looks like us or not is an irrelevant issue. God calls us to reproduce his image (his heart) and not our own. Though I may find joy when my children mirror me, that is selfish... the far greater and more significant joy is when their character 'looks' like my heavenly Father.

sorry if I miscommunicated.

Molly said...

Rusty, thank you for your note. I read the blog and also had the same frustrations. People give my husband and I those same comments about our children being lucky and it just kills me. Thank you for so gracefully saying what I could not and struggle to explain. We need to be careful with the way we look at adoption. Thanks for your note.