Christian adoption...

Roger K. just forwarded this Times article of wonderful Christian witness titled "God called them to adopt. And adopt. And adopt." Praise God for Misty and Don!

In a few short years, the family of six had expanded to 10 — including three children with medical or psychological issues. It has helped that Misty has a high tolerance for — even thrives on — the “controlled chaos” of her big-family life. She also has unflagging energy and often manages on four hours’ sleep. On the day we first met, I momentarily mistook her for the kids’ babysitter, in her flip-flops and pink toenail polish, a tiny faux diamond stud in her nose that matches her daughter Lauren’s.

Jon is an involved father who spends hours with the kids, coaching his oldest son’s wrestling team, dirt-biking with his teenagers and skateboarding with the younger ones.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

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It is a shame such a good story is marred by this swipe:

The director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University, Purvis has, as much as anyone, helped uproot some ideas about traditional Christian parenting, which one Christian leader described to me as “high on structure, lower on nurture,” and in which “spare the rod, spoil the child” has been used to justify spanking.

A shame but certainly not surprising given our societies hatred of Christianity. I'm just surprised they didn't say "In spite of being a raving homophobic fundamentalist bigot......"

I read this article about a week ago and have been thinking about it ever since.

As a foster parent (with hopes of adoption) I found it eye-opening, encouraging, sobering, and discouraging at the same time.  We've never had any children as high-needs as the ones in the article, but even seemingly well adjusted foster kids can become high needs at some point.  What if one of our kids, after adoption becomes really difficult like this?  Could we do what these families are doing?  They seem like they are of an extra-special class of people.

And part of me thinks that I could never do that.  So should I even be a foster parent?

But then I realized something important.  These families are faithful, but not extraordinary.  But they serve an extraordinary God.  He first adopted them, when their lives were more messy than those of their children.  He gives them the love and the ability to adopt and pour out to these kiddos.  And really, any Christian has access to the power that empowers these families.  And that is an encouraging thought indeed.

Our 3 oldest children were adopted from the foster care system.  They are grown now.  It was a difficult journey raising them.  Before we told children's services that we would adopt our daughter  an older gentleman from church told us that adoption will break your heart and you should not do it.   Another woman who had adopted children told us you change diapers or you change character and diapers are easier.  We adopted anyway feeling that we could not desert our daughter to live in the foster care system forever which was highly likely because of her age (6) and our status as a military family (we would be moving on leaving her behind).  A year later came her brother.  At age 10 he was considered special needs because of anger issues and some other things.  A few years later came their younger brother at age 8 after a failed adoption.  He was our most difficult child endangering our family's safety and eventually we had to give him up to the state.  He died a violent death a few years ago.  Our oldest son is  a lovely young man who loves the Lord even as he struggles in his relationship with God, his birth family, his past, and the scars he bears in the present.  Our oldest daughter is estranged from our family partly by her choice years ago and partly by our choice to protect our underage children.   Thankfully God does not tell us the future when he sends us down a road.  I would never want to give up the lessons learned and the relationship my husband and I built with God and each other during those years.  They left scars though  both on us as parents and on some of our older children.  As one who has traveled that path I would say the first of all you need to make sure that both husband and wife are definitely totally committed to adoption.  If one of  you has talked the other into it you will struggle mightily.  Those kids will try to divide you and they can find a weak spot a mile away.  You will need to work as a unit.  Second  you need to make sure God is calling you to this work.  It is work and not a feel good job with a guaranteed positive outcome.  Third do not adopt children that are older than your own birth children.  They will influence your birth children and  usually not in a positive way.  They will also be more likely to abuse your birth children if they have been abused in some way.  Fourth the social worker honestly does not always know what these kids have been through, how they have been abused, or what they have been exposed to.  So you can not trust that this child has not been........ fill in the blank, so we don't have to worry about.......fill in the blank.  We had been foster parents for several years before adopting and we had some difficult children that we parented successfully.  Being an adoptive parent is not the same as fostering.  We were wrong to assume that because we were good foster parents we would be be able to handle problems that came at us as adoptive parents.  Oh how the proud are humbled!  Looking back on it however we can see how God provided for us time after time after time.  He protected us from physical harm although we realized that he might choose not to.  He provided for our financial needs.  He gave us people to help us in so many ways.  He grew us spiritually as he stretched us to the breaking point but we never broke because God was holding us up.  My oldest son was at the birth of our youngest child 3 years ago and it was such a wonderful thing to see him holding his baby brother.  I would not want to give that son up and the blessing he has been to us for all the difficulties we all  went through.  My daughter is still living and God can still change her heart.  Bottom line is this: if God is truly calling you to adoption he will give you the strength you need at the time you need it no matter how difficult the path he leads you down.  Go into it with your eyes open,  love those children, fill them with God's word, fight their battles with them, and leave the outcome to God. 

Anne,

Thank you for these wise words, so humbly given. 

Dear Anne,

Thank you for taking the time to write your comment. It's one of the most helpful I've seen in the years we've had this blog.

You highlight both the potential cost and the potential reward of fostering/adopting in a way few are able to. Cheryl and I admire the work you've done and the price you've paid. May God grant you the joy of your daughter returning to His fold.

Love in Christ,

David

Yes, Mrs. Borgeling; thank you so much, and may God give you many more joys and much more fruit from the work you and Ralph have done and are doing.

And Sarah, also; thank you too!

With love in Christ,

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