I get asked to speak during November. To raise awareness, to tell our story, to share what being an orphan really means. Many times at these events, I am told I am a saint and that I am patient. You should know, that I am neither. I have been told I am rude and abrupt, which is probably more accurate.
During these times, I get lots of questions.
I get asked why often: Why do you have so many kids?
Mathematically, we don't have that many. Of the 118,000 kids currently ready to be adopted in the U.S. foster system and the 17.8 million orphans worldwide - I have a total of nine children, eight of whom are adopted. 8/118,000. Or 8/17,800,000. Think on that for a minute.
I also hear frequently: Why adopt?
I have at least nine obvious reasons.
|Nine reasons. Right here.|
But beyond the overt. Really. Why?
I have so many answers.
Because we like kids. Our crew is fun and funny. Witty and weird. In most cases, we mesh well.
Because brothers and sisters are so great. Some of the children in our household should never be allowed to be an only child. They just don't have the personality for it. It would bring about a selfishness from which we may never recover.
Selfishness is not released easily. It is torn piece by stinging piece from our character, but it is never entirely removed unless we willingly cut it from our own flesh. Kindness, humility, generosity, sacrifice are the antithesis of selfishness. They are a discipline, unnaturally occurring, requiring time and practice. It is hard and precious work.
Because Adam, Asher, and Auggie needed the best protectors. And they got them.
Because Adam is uniquely terrified of any fern or ficus. And truly requires significant moral support when he is in close proximity to foliage. And his sisters provide that. Or maybe, they just laugh.
Because adventures are better when shared...
Because lonely should never be the only word that describes a tiny, young soul.
If we have the capacity, the means, the functionality, the faith, the kindness to provide one child with one home in this life, shouldn't we? There is a ME factor in there that seems to stop us short. Where the comfort and convenience of ME is the highest priority. And the loneliness, heartache, hurt and needs of another ranks somewhere beneath retirement, house, or car.
Caring for others different from ourselves. Forcing our eyes to see and our ears to hear, even when we want to shield our senses from the very real horrors around us. Being kind and compassionate to those that can't or won't reciprocate, this is what begins and builds kindness and compassion within us.
I am not saying be reckless and irresponsible. I am saying to evaluate what is and isn't important. Most of us say we are for human rights, for civil rights, for social justice. It sounds nice. But many times, that is all it is...sound. And so we have children that are unnoticed and unknown.
And no one should be entirely unnoticed or entirely unknown.
|Adam in an orphanage in Ukraine.|
|Asher's list photo. My sister and I were his first visitors. Ever.|
|Auggie. Ukraine. 2015|
Because all humans should be important enough to another human to be missed.
So, Happy Adoption Awareness Month. A time when the beautiful quotes on social media flow as freely as the hypocrisy. And the faces of family-less children are shared and liked. Also, a month when statistically, there are no more adoptions than any other month. And no excessive hands thrust upward to volunteer to foster.
In a perfect world, adoption is unnecessary.
But that is not our world. It isn't fair, but it is reality.
It leaves young lives confused, flailing, and alone.
Adults, we should be lining up to take these children. The broken, abused, hungry, alone. The unknown. We should be tripping over one another to get to them. It should look like Black Friday at Walmart, pushing and shoving and desperate, not to get more stuff, but to help. Because people are more significant, right? Right?
Our family adopts because we have experienced the fullness of being broken.
And we cannot go back.
Because we have some extra, and we can share.
Because we can't just say humans are important and have no proof.
That is just deceit. Words are never enough. They are meaningful, but not enough.
Adoption is hurt and pain. It is beauty and ashes. Life and death. It is failure and success. Joy and sorrow. Defeat and redemption. It is the story of the gospel. And sometimes, I really hate it just as much as I love it.
Adoption binds our family together.
It has ruined us for the better.
We will never not know and not see.
So - Why adopt?
It is so simple. Why not.