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Saturday, October 1, 2011

beautiful Rachel on adoption

Ya'll. Enjoy this wise & beautiful post from my friend Rachel today. 
She is a gem and LOOK at those precious kids.

Hello to the Naptime Diaries readers! 
My name is Rachel and I met Jessi when she was a young spry college student on a mission trip to Haiti. I remember that she was a sweet girl, who had great hair and was way into her boyfriend (don’t worry it was Nick.) I have loved watching her become a wife and mama via the blogosphere. Even though I have not seen her since that trip nearly 8 years ago I feel like she is a friend. I love to hear her heart for Jesus, her husband, children, sister and friends. It spurs me on to love others better.  I also love and appreciate her heart for the orphan and it is because of her heart for this that I have been asked to guest post. I asked Jessi last minute to go to an orphan care conference in August and she could not make it but she said "can you blog about what you learn?"  I agreed, even though I am not a writer, because I am passionate about orphan care. Before I get started I want to give you some background:

First off a little about me. I am 32 and grew up most of my life in SC. By the grace of God, I began a saving relationship with Christ as a sophomore in college. I met my wonderful husband while in college, but we did not marry until 4 years after college. We are in our sixth year of marriage and have four biological kids. We hope and pray that when my husband is finished with seminary we can adopt. That does not cover it but you have others things to do than read my post, so I must move on...

 It seems in the blog world you do not have to be an expert/professional to write about something but it can't hurt to tell you what has led me to want to care for orphans and to want to write and share on this subject.
1. I have an adopted sister and brother. 
2. The home I grew up in had an open door policy. We always had people who were in need living with us. Whether it was an elderly man with no family (my adopted Grandpa, who we affectionately called AGP), or a college couple who got pregnant out of wedlock, or a battered woman and her children, the door was always open.
3. Last year I started an orphan care ministry at my church (not as big of a deal as it sounds - I prayed, got people together to pray and then we took action).
4. Lastly and most important I was actually an orphan: alone, hungry, living in filth and poverty and my God adopted me, brought me out of all of that horror and made me HIS CHILD. He told me that He would relate to me the same as his real son Jesus and invited me into his home and family. Amazing!

I thought narrowing down what to share with from the conference you would be hard but it was not because even though I learned tons about the call and mandate to adopt (listen here) and I learned lots of practical tips from the seminars (here is a sampling: adopting out of your skin color, adopting special needs, the ministry of foster care). I was reminded and reinforced in my belief and awe of the doctrine of adoption (listen here.) I got some great books, Orphanology and Reclaiming Adoption. But what I really wanted to share with you was what I learned from the speaker Sean Cordell (listen here) whose talk was entitled "How can we care for the orphan." However, his talk was not a “how-to” on adoption or a strategy session on how to get all the kids out of orphanages.  Rather, he spoke about how it is ONLY the love of God that will really motivate and  allow us to persevere in the cause of orphan care. This topic resonated with me because I am a mother of four little people, one with special needs, and most days I can barely keep my head above water. Still, I desperately care for these children who are orphaned in this world. I want to do something about it but it is HARD and it is COSTLY! What in the world is going to get me and keep motivated to help in this cause of caring for the “least of these”? The answer is not what I naturally think or feel. It is not the praise of man. It is not even the praise of the children we help. It is the love of the father.  "We love because he first loved us" (John 4:19). "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 5:9). When we know we are loved freely then we can be empowered toward orphan care.

You might be saying “Well, duh Rachel. That is simple enough.” But, I constantly need to be reminded that it is the gospel, the truth that Jesus gave up glory and became nothing to purchase and adopt me that needs to motivate me toward good deeds. See, I am a man-pleaser. I easily can help orphans so that I look good to others, namely my church, my facebook “friends,” my whole community. I have to soak in the gospel to avoid the temptation of such an improper and short sighted motivation. I am also the lover of all things “underdog.” I do not love watching sports, but if my husband can convince me that a person on the team is an underdog I am so excited to watch. I love to look and cry at the adoption websites like Adopt US kids and Reece’s Rainbow. My heart breaks for these children. I have to fight hard to not let pity for these children, these underdogs, (who do indeed deserve our pity) to be the motivator in taking action to serve them.  I am also often a Pharisee at heart and I have to fight my tendency to serve the needy with the motivation of trying to earn Gods favor. I need constant reminding that God loves me. I need to read it, speak it, write it, hear it! I have to soak and bask daily in the love God has for me demonstrated in my very existence and his Son’s death for me on a cross. It is his love for me and this alone that will cause me to take on the costly job of caring for the orphan.

Folks, we know it is not all going to be peaches or everyone would be doing it. We all know deep down no matter how cute those kids are they are going to cost us. Not just money, but time, energy and even heartache. It will be hard. It might be late nights (like tonight for me, and oh those kids get up early), skipping vacations, or getting the minivan or, even worse, the 15 passenger. It may be later retirement or even no retirement at all. As Sean says in his talk “Adoption is tragic beauty.” There will be hardship, but there will also be great beauty. For the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross. We can endure the cause of caring for the orphan because He first loved us. His love can make us the most crazy, loving, sacrificing, risk taking people on the planet.  We can love the orphan simply and yet profoundly because God loves us.  So, I challenge you to soak in this love and pray and ask how God wants you to love others. Ask him if he wants you to adopt, to foster, to mentor a parent-less child. Ask him if he wants you to give money, raise money, or receive money to get an orphan adopted. Ask him if he wants you to teach, plan or lead in the cause of orphan care in your community. There are so many ways you can demonstrate the love that God has shown you. We need stop and stare and soak up His love for us and then step out in faith and take action. 

Jessi and her readers, thank you so much for letting me share my heart.  I hope it blesses you and glorifies God and serves to bring more children home here on earth and in the kingdom to come!

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