For some time now, Mike and I have have felt an undeniable pull toward adoption. For the last several years, however, our lives have been too consumed with church work, various crises, and parenting the 2 kids we already have, to thoroughly process what this meant.
Lately, however, this pull has become so strong, so magnetic, that ignoring it is no longer possible.
We have traveled overseas numerous times in the past 15 years to places like Kenya, South Africa, Venezuela, and Mexico. On each trip we encountered mind boggling poverty, orphans, innocent children without parents to advocate for them or provide emotional or spiritual guidance. Many of these children were well-cared for in orphanages, transition homes, and health centers. Many, however, were not.
With each trip, each new exposure to injustice, our hearts broke open a little wider. I began to have serious doubts that I was actually living out my faith in a practically compassionate way. Ignoring or over contextualizing James 1:27, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you," became increasingly more difficult.
A few months ago, we had lunch with an Indian minister named Pastor Gilbert who works with the poorest of the poor in the diseased, dirty, and often treacherous slums in his community. He and all his church staff have adopted street children. He challenged us saying, "Take in a child. If you don't have enough food on your table, or love in your heart, then I will quit my job."
And then, there were the friends and relatives who began adopting. Mike's brother, Mark, and his wife, Kristen, adopted our nephew from the Foster Care system in California. Our friend Lynne adopted a little girl from China. Our friends Dan and Kathleen, empty nesters in their fifties, adopted two little boys from the streets of Kenya. Our friends Josh and Neely are in the process of adopting a three year old girl from Ethiopia.
So, we're in.
We're following the crowd on this one.
After much prayer and discussion with each other and our kids, Mike and I have decided to become foster parents in the Foster-to-Adopt program in Washington State.
Alex and Caleb have each started sleeping on the top bunks in their rooms to leave an open place below for a new brother and sister. They pray every night for their new siblings. They've told all their friends.
And, now I'm telling the Internet. :)
We start our classes for certification in May.
Somehow I don't think Pastor Gilbert will need to quit his job.