Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Day It All Changed ~ July 7th

July 6, 2017 was like any other day.  We worked hard, then played hard with the kids before crashing early.  When my alarm rang at 2:30 a.m. for an early morning surgery check-in for our littlest guy, it was a new day.  Little did we know it was a day that would change our lives.

The China program director of our adoption agency had posted that CCCWA had implemented new policies, effective immediately.  (new policies here)

Something we had shared with only a handful of people is that after much prayer and the reminder that this life is not our own and we want to live it with no regrets, we were adopting again.  July 6 we were praying for PA, pre-approval, from China, to bring our newest treasure home in the coming months.

In the early morning hours of July 7, on the phone with my prayer partner, in the surgical waiting room, I got the call that changed everything.  Since our PA had not yet been issued, we were subject to the new policies, and were no longer eligible to adopt simply because of the size of our family:  we have more than five minor children in our home.

Before I go any further, let me stop to say that God is still on the throne, and He is still good, all the time.  He is not surprised, and He has not left us.  Nor has He left this sweet baby and so many others whose lives will be impacted by the new regulations.

While our hearts are shattered, and we can't stop thinking about the precious child we already love, we take some comfort in knowing we did all we could to give him a family, scrambling our way to the proverbial door before it was slammed shut.  Our hope is in Christ alone, and we take refuge in Him.

My flesh wants to cast blame and ask why.  After all, God moved mountains to get us to this point!  Would He really bring us this far, only to stop us in our tracks?  He very well may!  And He can.  He knows the whole story.  He will be glorified in His plans, not mine.  Maybe it was about the surrender, the commitment to prayer, the simple, "yes, Lord."  Or maybe He has something more in store for us.  I'm reminded of some of my favorite Elisabeth Elliot quotes:
 “Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”
“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”
“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes.’"

We have no right to ask why.  Maybe "What next?"  But not why. 

Since July 7th we've spent even more time in prayer.  Where do we go from here?  It would be so easy to simply round the corner and forget.  Forget all the children.  The children in China and around the world who desperately need the love of a family.  But we've seen them.  The images of children in poverty, lacking medical care, nutrition and love, those are forever etched on our hearts.

We don't have a large home, or a large bank account.  We do have a love for Christ that moves us to act, even when it seems foolish in this world to do so.  We are followers of Christ, and by God's grace, He has given us a gift of faith and a desire to live radically for Him.  

While adoption isn't for everyone, as Christians, we are given instruction in God's Word as to how we should treat others.

Matthew 19:21
“Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.”
Zechariah 7:10
“Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.”
Proverbs 14:31
“He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors him has mercy on the needy.”
Luke 14:12-14
“Then He [Jesus] also said to him who invited Him, ‘When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you…”

1 John 3:17-18(ESV)

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

James 1:27 (ESV)

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Psalm 82:3-4(NIV)

Defend the weak and the fatherless;

    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
 Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
There are many ways to care for the needy.  Hoping they are okay, wishing them well ~ that isn't enough.  Our care is evidenced by our action.
Are we praying?
Are we giving?
Are we sending?
Are we going?
Are we serving?
Are we feeding?
Are we mending?
Are we welcoming?

Many incredible families no longer have the opportunity to care for the orphaned children of China by adoption under the new regulations.  But many families are eligible to adopt!  Are you one of them?

As for the rest of us, unless and until waivers are granted or the policies change, we will find new ways of caring, such as advocacy, fundraising for families, fundraising for life-saving surgeries in country and serving.

Adopting a child with medical special needs can be frightening.  Certainly, for our family, it was a process.  The choice to take on responsibilities we wouldn't have formerly considered, and certainly couldn't handle in our own strength, evolved over time.  It was a matter of prayer and growth.  

As God continues to reveal Himself by His faithfulness and sufficiency, our weaknesses become irrelevant.

I put a quote on Facebook that we strive to live by:

It seems that self, comfort and convenience are the going thing.  But are we most content when living for ourselves?  Don't we find more fulfillment in loving and serving others?  Will it be uncomfortable?  Maybe.  Will it be inconvenient?  Most likely.  Will it be worth it?  Absolutely!

The thing is, we don't all have to adopt.  According to this source, if only 6 to 7% of born-again Christians would adopt, there would be no orphan crisis!  Church, we will have to answer for what we've done, and for what we haven't done.

If the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever (source), brothers and sisters, let's ask ourselves if that is indeed evidenced in our lives.

Will you join us in praying for the children who, on July 6, 2017 had a family, and then did not on July 7.  Let's pray for all the waiting children.  Pray for the families who are willing but are no longer able to give these children a family.  Let's pray for the families allowed to continue the process, that their children will come home.  And let's pray that the Father would touch the hearts of His people and raise them up to move on behalf of the orphan.

To Him be all glory!

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