Thursday, July 21, 2011

We are ALL designed...

Kenney and I get LOTS of questions regarding adopting. I have found this time the questions are bigger. Maybe its because we already have three children. Maybe it's because we have already adopted once. Maybe it's the money, or maybe its the fact we are adopting two children. Amazingly though, the big questions come when people find out we are adopting children with "special needs."

What are "special needs"? The Webster's dictionary adoption answer is:  a problem, usually medical, that a child has, that prevents him or her from being adopted as a healthy normal child. Special needs can be ANYTHING. Children who are blind, deaf, have HIV/AIDS, missing limbs, sexual ambiguity, heart problems, and downs syndrome, would be considered some of the more serious issues. Then there is the list of problems that are "correctable." Things like cleft lip/cleft palate and clubbed feet. Even more sadly are the children who are over the age of 3, as they are no longer considered "desirable."

I have a special place in my heart for these kiddos.  I do not know why.  I know God must have put that there.

I look at websites like Rainbow Kids and my heart breaks. These are photo listings of children that desperately need mommies and daddies. These children are the un-desirable of the un-desirable. They are the children never chosen, or chosen last. When parents fill out paperwork to adopt, these are the children no one chooses. They can not be adopted unless someone specifically requests their needs, their problems, their issues. They wait, usually to never be chosen.

The number of orphans in the world is staggering. 147 million. Stop. Read that number again. 147 million. Ouch. For me, that number stings a bit, it hits me at my core, and makes me feel a little queasy. It bothers me. 147 million kiddos, with no one to tuck them in, kiss their foreheads, and tell them mommy and daddy will always love you.  Who teaches them to love? Who teaches them about Jesus? Who teaches them about forgiveness?   Do you know how many of them get adopted each year? In the USA, about 120,000. That's it. The United States leads the way in adoptions, if the other 5 continents adopted the same amount as us, (which they don't) do you realize that yearly not even a half a percent of these children are adopted?? Millions and millions of children are left alone.

The subject of orphan care and adoption specifically is not the point of my thoughts, so in an effort to prevent myself from running all over the place with my thoughts, I will save those specific topics for another time. My thoughts tonight are surrounding special needs.

If you are an orphan your chance of being adopted is slim to none, and if you are an orphan labeled as "special needs" the chance is almost non-existent.

My little China girl...she doesn't get to be adopted because she can't walk, because she is deformed? No one loves her like a mommy and daddy because she is physically broken? Other little girls get to go home to mommies and daddies, but she doesn't? All because her body is not perfect?

ALL children are made in the image of God. They are image bearers, each specifically designed to glorify God. God loves them. Shouldn't we?

James 1:27, 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. That applies to the orphans with special needs too.

Oh, I could ramble. Lord knows I could keep on going. I could keep on writing about verse after verse where God loves ALL of his children, ALL of his creation EQUALLY. No matter our disability, we are LOVED. We are LOVED by God. Verse after verse about God using our weaknesses, using our disabilities to bring glory to His kingdom. Verse after verse about advocating for the helpless, advocating for the weak, instructions to care for the least of these.

The babies God chose for us to bring home have disabilities. They are weak. God will use them to glorify and grow his kingdom. This I am sure of. We will love them, just as we love Tommy, Noah and Audrey. We realize the challenges we will have. We are very aware of the daily struggles we will incur. We are scared. We know though that our fear is unfounded, because our God, my God has chosen us and has told us to fear not.  

Isaiah 41:9-10
You whom I took from the ends of the earth,
   and called from its farthest corners,
Saying to you, "You are my servant,
   I have chosen you and not cast you off";
Fear not, for I am with you;
   be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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