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"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." Ephesians 1:5
"We love because he firstloved us." 1 John 4:19

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why Adoption and Why Africa? - Karen's perspective

 written June 2011

I often ask myself the same question. Chuck and I have a history of learning to trust God and often He takes us out of our comfort zone and calls us to take steps of faith and sacrifice, only to pour any “sacrifice” back into our own laps ten-fold. I quickly learned that this is NOT about sacrifice but about God's desire to give us a precious gift if we would just let go of what was in our hands in order to take hold of this better gift instead. This is the story of our lives as we make intentional leaps of risk to trust Him. If you are one who knows the biblical God personally, through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, you may know what I mean. If any of my thoughts and comments about God seem ridiculous and foreign to any others of you, I respect that and I just hope you will be like one who gleans from the edges of the field, all I have is yours. I hope you find it to be sweet to the taste and nourishing to your soul, even if it is something you have never tasted before.

So, sensing these nudges that there is more to our family, that the plight of the orphan often goes ignored (by us as well, sadly enough), maybe another pregnancy would test my health further, that there are many millions of children already here on this earth without a mommy or daddy, home, hope, love, safety, education, or a future, it seemed that having another child, at least for now, would be missing a different path that God is maybe intending for us to take. This direction of adding children to our family by adopting them some days seems enthralling and other days, more than a bit overwhelming. I have enough difficulty being the mom I want to be to Nathanael and Annalise! How in the world will I do with more?

We have for many years thought that adoption was something we might want to do "one day".  Then we had many years that we never thought about it or even felt that our family was done!  We had more than we could handle at the time.  Long story short, about 2 yrs ago we each began thinking about adoption a lot and had many instances over many months where we were compelled to consider it anew.  Unable to step forward until I had a greater sense of certainly about what I might be getting myself into, I set apart 3 days to fast and pray and seek God’s thoughts. Whenever I was praying and waiting and listening, my concerns and fears stilled. I was at peace as if God was smiling over these little children that He loves so dearly, not just our two hopeful adoptees, but all of the millions of orphans that He Fathers through the scary nights, hunger pains, and lonely days. When I wasn't praying and just going about my normal daily tasks, I became overwhelmed and doubtful again. That in itself was an indication of whose voice I might really be hearing on the matter, God's and my own.  They were in contrast with each other and I have learned which one is more trustworthy. So adopting became more certain in my heart and mind, though the country of adoption was unclear. 

When I had a few months prior asked Chuck where he thought we might want to adopt from, he immediately said “East Africa”. I was a bit bewildered, for one because I had no inclination toward one country or another while he seemed so certain and specific and this was the first mention of it. For two,  Africa of course raised other questions and concerns for me because obviously everyone in mainland Africa is black and we are white. I want to love all children, whether black, white, yellow, red, green, or purple deeply enough that I would welcome them into my own family. This must be a deposit in my heart from my Lord, who died for all people and grieves over the injustices we humans bring upon one another out of our pride and selfishness. As far as our family is concerned I am thrilled about the opportunity to live out what we say we believe concerning the equality and value of all mankind. It’s a beautiful picture and I can’t wait for a real little African baby girl to replace the beautiful black baby doll that my blond hair blue eyed 3 yr old baby girl tucks into bed beside her many nights. And for our 5 yr old son to begin to see the world through the lens of his Creator by giving him the opportunity to call a little orphaned African boy “friend” and better yet “brother”. All of this aside I had concerns for how our adopted children might feel being raised in a white family, how they may one day wonder if they really belong with us, and how other people might misinterpret our family. This is the joy of knowing God personally! You get to lay all these fears aside because He replaces them one by one with a new and better understanding. For me, the specific understandings He gave were that when He knitted this little boy and girl into their mother’s womb, it was with the intent that they were in fact our children, Hetzlers on purpose and not by accident. They really do belong to and with us. They make complete the Hetzler family that He intended all along. Secondly, for about the 5th time now, He brought to mind a passage in His word (it makes sense that this is one of the ways He still speaks today since our words are a primary vehicle of our communication!). The passage is Isaiah 54:13 which reads “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.” When I first read this passage in the Fall of 2010 after being compelled to get out of bed and ask what God was trying to tell me, I prayed and opened a book of bible promises. As I read, the word all jumped off the page and took on new meaning that made my heart skip a beat. I knew there would be more than the 2 we already had and that there would be children grafted in. This was the first time I had considered adoption seriously and it would be many months until we took any steps of action. So as we considered whether or not to adopt, I was reminded that I can trust that He will take care of ALL of my children, identity issues and all, and that in spite of the identity issues that all of us face at some point or another, He will be the one teaching them and He will bring them the peace that only He can bring. This is what they will learn I trust - the mystery of God and of His adopting us into His family as sons and daughters through the ransom of His Son’s death in place of ours. None of us “belong” in God’s family either but He offers the call of adoption to all who will come. We trust that they will find the Prince of Peace. When I lay these thoughts and concerns side by side I now ask myself, how can one even compare living in an orphanage or on the streets with even an imperfect life in a white American family who loves and adores them, offers them all the privileges and inheritances of a son and daughter?! So I lay these questions to rest. Lastly, I had some frank conversations with God, He likes that I think, telling Him that I will walk on in faith and obedience, trusting that He better stop this in it’s tracks if in any way we have contrived it or it is detrimental to any of the children or to us. So, we walk on. Yet again, as we thought we were sacrificing all the things that are most important to us, He has turned it around and we see that He is the one giving the gifts to us, not us to Him.

For more answers to Why Adoption and Why Africa?  see "Info on Congo" and "How Did We Choose Congo"

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