“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.” Psalm 68:5-6 (NIV)
“Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
Adoption is a wonderful analogy of what God has done for each by adopting us as his children through Christ. The scriptural mandate of caring for orphans, such as the one found in James 1:27, is an exciting invitation to experience God in a profound way by being a part of His sovereign plan for orphaned children.
Cole & I began praying about whether we should have another child. During that month of prayer, I was bombarded with adoption stories everywhere I turned. I have had a heart for adoption for as long as I can remember. As a small child, I recall seeing a paid program on television about poor and abandoned children. I ran to scour every penny I had for my parents to send to those precious children who needed love, clothes, and food. Even then, I was overwhelmed at our country’s excess and their longing for the bare necessity.
When I married Cole, I adopted Sarah Kathryn as my own. I assumed that was the end of my adoption story. Now I clearly see it was only the beginning. The Holy Spirit miraculously moved our hearts toward adoption. There was no question that this was the will of God and the time was now! Suddenly, we were faced with many decisions: Would this be a domestic or foreign adoption? What agency should we use? Boy or girl? What age? Would we consider special needs? Would we accept twins or sibling groups? I was overwhelmed and scared. We knew God had already chosen our child and we were open to whatever that meant. After deciding to adopt a child from China, we told our agency we were open to all possibilities and began the “paper chase” phase. Two months later the special needs coordinator from our agency called and said they had received 23 new referrals. We would have the opportunity to choose one of these special needs children. The thought of having to choose, broke my heart. How could I choose one and not another? I asked many to praye, that we would have wisdom as we considered the referrals. The following Monday, the adoption coordinator called back to let us know she was sending me a referral. Only ONE. I was relieved that I would only see one face, but I was not prepared for the sad eyes that would be staring back at me on my computer screen in a matter of minutes. I knew nothing about him, but I already loved him. As I read his file I learned he had been abandoned on the steps of a Civil Affairs building at what they guessed to be around 7 months of age. He was severely malnourished and had cleft lip and cleft palate. He was sent to the Pingjiang Social Welfare Institute and later discovered to have Congenital heart disease after battling sickness and pneumonia repeatedly. His file also said a single ventricle is possible and if that is the case he will need a heart transplant. We kept his file for three weeks, trying to get answers from cardiologists, but in the end we knew nothing more than we knew in the beginning. His medical records were not very thorough and nothing could be determined from them. After three weeks of praying over this child’s file, we knew this was the child God was calling us to adopt.
Although the unknowns of his heart condition scared me, I was comforted by Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. ” God had directed our path to intersect with this young child. There was no way we were going to say no, despite our fears and the unknowns. The day I sent our letter of acceptance to adopt him I opened my mailbox to find a Christian magazine on top with the following scripture on the cover: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
God had waited for us to be obedient and then sent confirmation and reassurance through His word. Our son may have physical imperfections and medical uncertainties, but God is only concerned with his heart.