The Gift

Tonight Cassie and I received a gift that didn’t (and still
doesn’t) even seem possible. For about 15 minutes all we could do
was just stare down at the cashiers check in my hand. Cassie was
trying hard not to cry but couldn’t keep it in. My eyes played ping
pong between the piece of paper and her face as I repeated, “This
must be a mistake, right?”. There was no mistake. We were holding
an amount that would pay for our application fees and home study,
with more left over to start in on the next step in the adoption
process! What do you say to someone who gives like that? Well I can
tell you that when we called the generous couple a few minutes
later it was still hard to express our thanks. “We have been on the
receiving end before”, he said with a smile we could hear through
the phone, “and we are just excited we could give this to you
guys”. Wow. We feel unworthy, undeserving, almost…dirty.
Seriously. All the silly things I complained about even just this
weekend started to flood into my mind. I mean, even just a few
hours ago I was in a bad mood because I couldn’t get the screen
protector on our brand new iPad (another unexpected and awesome
Christmas gift) to lay down perfectly. It’s a silly example to
emphasize a powerful reality: We DON’T deserve a
gift like this but it didn’t keep them from giving it or us from
receiving it. In fact, can you imagine if we had called and said,
“Thank you so much for writing out this check and going to the bank
to get it notarized but it’s just too much. We will swing by
tomorrow to return it.”? There is no doubt in my mind that they
would feel deeply hurt and rejected. Similarly, God gave us back a
relationship with him (the most immeasurably great gift) through
his son Jesus and still so many of us don’t accept because we feel
unworthy. We are unworthy. But, just as our friends intended that
we accept the gift (regardless of our worth) for a purpose
(adoption), so too Jesus asks that we accept him (regardless of our
worth) for a purpose (adoption as his sons and daughters)!

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We Can’t Adopt?

Of course, the truth is that we CAN adopt.  There is no law keeping us from being an adoptive mom and dad.  So, the title and theme of this blog has everything to do with our realization that we are not alone in this.  God has put an unfading love in our hearts for the millions of orphans on this earth and we know that he will lead us to our child one day.  By ourselves, we would not be able to handle the emotional, physical and financial demands of adoption.  By God’s grace he has provided us with family and friends who have reaffirmed us on this journey.  We can’t adopt.  But with God giving us himself and working through all those around us, we can.

Here is the first chapter of our adoption story…

When people talk about important things and then don’t revisit them until much later, certain details tend to get lost.  That, I believe,  is what happened one day when Cassie asked me to really tell her how I felt about adoption.  It turns out that my excitement about the idea of adoption did not remain as vivid in her mind as it had in my own.  I defended my case for too long but the “discussion” ended with us both knowing that each party was equally as motivated to pursue adoption.

Fast forward to November 6th, 2010….

Eden, North Carolina

We are sitting in a small classroom of a very large church.  The woman in the front of the room is listing numerous costs and requirements based on who and where you are planning to adopt.  Understand that only a few minutes earlier we had just approached base-camp of the mountain that is orphan care.  And, just as many travelers who set their sites on Everest’s summit, we were beginning to feel…well…small.

Looking over at Cassie I whispered my fear, “I don’t know if we can even do this”.

She must have been thinking the same thing but came to the truth much faster than me.  I could see the weight of all the numbers lift from her face and pull the corners of her mouth up into a smile as she said,

“Your right, we can’t do it”

Soon, I was smiling back at her and we turned again to listen…

Since that day, we have been affirmed over and over that God is calling us into the world of orphan care.  That calling seems to us as clear as a ringing bell.  At the same time, it’s easy for us to slip back into fear when we think of all the unknowns.  What we do know is that this journey will stretch our faith in ways that will hurt and strengthen.  We cling to the redeeming work of Jesus Christ to guide us as his own adopted children:

Romans 8:15-16

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”.  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,