Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Heart that Beats for Orphans

Okay - so I stole that title, "A heart that beats for orphans." My friend Tami is hosting our Seeds of Hope Banquet on Tuesday night and she sent me her "script". It's amazing. We are so blessed to have people who "get" the ministry of Caroline's Promise. In her script she describes someone as "having a heart that beats for orphans." What does that mean?

For some it means praying. That's by far the most important thing we can do. Beyond that I think it means doing whatever we can, whenever we can, with the resources that we have - to make a difference in the life of an orphan. God wants to use all of us.

A lot of people have things that they're passionate about. David and I have always had a heart for missions, and still do. But it wasn't until we started asking God what He thought about orphans, that we realized they are his heart. God has "a heart that beats for orphans." If you ask Him what He thinks and you search His word, you'll find that to be true. You'll begin to understand that we were orphans before He found us. His heart beats for us.

Aren't we created in His image? Then shouldn't our heart look like God's heart? If you're a follower of Christ - it's not an option to care for orphans and widows. God says "do it." Not, "do it if you are passionate about it." (James 1:27). We're doing a lot of great things in our churches. But how many of those things are required by God?

Most days I can handle the fact that a lot of people don't understand the needs of orphans, don't care and don't think it's their responsibility. But this morning - I'm not handling it very well. If someone we know answers the call to adopt - do we just think it's their responsiblity to make that happen? What if it's OUR responsiblity to help God unite that orphan with their forever family? And I'm not talking about just using our money. What about our prayers? What about our PRESENCE?

When we answered God's call to adopt Caroline we were misunderstood, judged and talked about in not so nice ways. God knew that with His help we could handle it, but it hurt.

Here are my suggestions for how you can help adoptive families. I encourage you to ask God how He wants to use you.

*Pray for adoptive families

*Listen. Even if they're talking about paperwork that you're clueless about. Listen and ask questions.

*Support their efforts to raise money. Maybe you can't give alot financially - but your presence is HUGE. I remember standing in awe of the people that came and helped with our fundraisers. The blessings that came from them helped me "get over" the disapointment of the people who didn't show up.

*Encourage them during the wait and don't ask stupid questions like "Why is it taking so long?" and "Why does it cost so much money?"

*Don't criticize their adoption choice. If they adopt from foster care - don't tell them every horror story you've ever heard about kids in foster care. If they adopt from another country don't ask them why they aren't adopting from the US. Trust that they have heard God's call.

*When they travel to get their child - offer to take care of their home while they are gone.

*TAKE THEM MEALS when they get home! What makes us think that people who come home from the airport with their child are any different than people who bring their child home from the hospital? One of the greatest gifts my Sunday School class gave me was meals! But just this week someone told me that although their church takes weeks of meals to people who have their kids in hospitals....this family did not receive one meal when they came home from Africa.

*Try to understand when they choose to "cocoon" as a family. Please don't criticize when they're not at church. The first few months home are crucial to bonding and attaching. They don't need to run around. They need to stay home.

*If they're struggling, support them and be quiet. Please don't use their experience as a reason to never recommend that someone adopt. We have struggles with our biological children and our children that come to us through adoption. Your criticism does not help.

I'd love to hear other comments of how you think people can help adoptive families.

7 comments:

  1. Lisa,

    This post is beautiful and I can't seem to make my tears stop.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Jena

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  2. This is so great!! Thank you for sharing.... I would like to link this post to my blog... would that be alright? Thank you for allowing God to use you this way... to help the helpless.

    Blessings~
    Karen

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  3. Great post!!!! Thanks so much for expressing my heart as well : )

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  4. Thanks Lisa! I hope so many people read this! Can I add a couple???
    Please don't give pat phrases- mean what you say.

    When a child comes home, listen, learn, even if you don't get it. Don't insist to the new adoptive parent that since it appears to you that is good- things must be great. Really the life work has just begun!

    Identify with so many you listed, even the meal one. And as we do our own struggling after almost a year home, we get the impression that people around (not great friends of course) just don't want to know, they just want to tell us how great everything is! And how "normal" it all is.

    During our process, on top of the horror stories we got the "best case scenario" stories- you know "My cousin adopted and their child came home at 4 months! Something must be wrong with your agency/case, etc" After the years it took us, we heard ALOT of stories. :-) I am sure people have used our process to share to someone else as the "horror story!" :-)

    Thanks you for always reassuring me that I need to do what is best for us. It has certainly been a huge blessing to me!

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  5. Reading your words was like hearing myself think. My heart breaks for the children we know we had to leave behind. And for the millions around the world that can not ever call someone mommy or daddy. Blessings to Caroline's Promise and thank you for helping us in such a BIG way!!!

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  6. What great advice. I wish everyone we knew could read this. I remember when we decided to adopt, we were so excited. We waited until the process was rolling and then made a visit home to our friends and family to share our news of starting a family. I was completely stunned by people's reactions to our announcement. . . first blank stares . . . then an empty "congratulations" then 9 out of 10 times they quickly changed the subject. It was a hurt that built more and more each time it happened.

    The good news . . . we've had our son for a year and half and now and Harold is adored by our friends and family. I hope his life will be a testament to the beauty of adoption.
    --AnnMarie

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  7. We are waiting to adopt domestically right now. Thank you for your encouragement and for your kind words and suggestions. We can't wait to share when we bring our baby home!

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