27 July 2009

Adopted for Life-chapter 6

"She actually had a measuring tape, for the baby's head. I didn't know who this woman was, but I was disgusted. The woman with the measuring tape said she wanted to measure the craniums of their potential children 'to make sure there is nothing wrong with them.' Another told us that this was her third--and final--trip. The first two adoption referrals she had received had severe and obvious 'attachment issues,' and she had turned down the children. It seemed to me that she was sizing up a litter of puppies or browsing through a line of secondhand refrigerators." (p. 148).

Chapter 6 deals with tough issues, which all of us going through the adoption process think about to some degree. I could easily look at Moore's paragraph above and join him in his revulsion, thinking to myself, "what kind of Cretan would bring along a measuring tape?!? Scientifically, there is no real connection between cranial size and intellect anyway." But the reality is, I face those uncomfortable biases in myself as well. Through the encouragement of some dear friends, we felt called to special needs adoption, specifically Down Syndrome, but I would share the same hesitations as the second woman above regarding a child with "obvious attachment issues." I am not sure how my hesitations fit with Matthew 25:40 where the King will say, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me," though I believe God reveals to us His will for each of our lives and that it will not look the same for every person.

These differences in perspective become apparent when you interact with those around you. Through our adoption process, we have variably considered: international, sibling group, transracial, and special needs adoption, eventually being led to adopt a little girl who is transracial, international, and has special needs. It has been a learning process for us to observe the reactions of our friends and loved ones each step of the way. For example, long ago, God created in my mother a heart to care for "the least of these" and she feels the same sense of urgency waiting for our daughter that we do. On the other hand, Heather's parents expressed impassioned reservation about adopting a special needs child and they have been slower to warm to the idea, but we can see their hearts softening. A good friend of ours told us that he could never love an adopted child as much as "his own children." All of these are valid responses and I have no right to feel my perspective is superior to anyone else's.

What I do know is that God has called our family to special needs adoption (Luke 14). Although we will continue to consider the thoughts and perspectives of others, we are doing what God has called us to do. On page 158, Moore wrote, "if your parent or grandparent or some other family member rejects your child on the basis of his or her race [or I would add whatever background], then your first responsibility is to the child." I resonate with this and I think deep down, the people who know us well agree with the principle, even if they don't agree specifically with what we are doing. My prayer though, is that through this adoption, we show Christ to our family and our community, but most importantly, to our child.

God, I pray that you would be working in me.
Ready me for the challenge of becoming a father yet again.
Teach me to love as You first loved me,
with unreserved compassion and patience.
Not only for my children,
but for others who cross my path.

Grant me understanding and mercy
when I become frustrated with attitudes
I perceive contrary to your own.
Forgive me in those circumstances
for feelings of righteous indignation
and help me to recognize
that it is only by Your grace that I have the privilege
of serving You in whatever capacity you deem fit.

I pray also that You would be working in your church
to care for the fatherless.
Create a thirst in individual hearts
and in the church to bring orphans home,
to pour out Your love on those less fortunate,
so that we may be seated together
at the marriage feast of Christ.
Open our eyes to see that great need exists
outside of our homes and churches,
and that by extending ourselves through your grace,
we can live out the Great Commission
to those who need it most.

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