The orphan crisis suffocates if you let it. Numbers overwhelm, faces merge together, stories fall on top of each other and pleas for help go unnoticed. Our heartstrings can only take so much before they snap in two.
At this moment - when every pore dangerously hangs on the line of apathy and indifference - we have to dig deep.
It's really easy for me to disengage. Even in writing this post, I've done nearly everything other than dwell in the messiness of the orphan crisis. I can blame it on lack of focus, but it's really just my heart's hesitancy to sit and rest a spell. Primarily because sitting and resting usually reveal some type of pride and unwillingness to allow Christ to break me. It's pretty common in my life. Make me face ugliness, distress, pain or grittiness and I run the other way. Most of it's a defense mechanism - but this doesn't make it right.
Most of you know Russ & I are in the midst of adopting from Ethiopia. What you may not know is that I ran from this for as long as God's mercy would let me. We always knew we were going to adopt. Others went before us in obedience and authentically shared the pitfalls and celebrations of the process, so we were well aware of what it would take and for awhile just waited for the moment where He would look at us and say, okay...it's your turn. Follow me, I have a child for you.
So when that moment came, I freaked. Russ and I aren't experts in any way shape or form. We invite people to an event and may have our closest friends show while others have the ability to snap their fingers and gather hundreds. We don't have a trust fund set up or any type of savings. Compared to others who seem to join the adoption community and immediately have everything complete, most days Russ and I struggle to find our keys. I don't have any little children to keep me busy, but the laundry still gathers in a pile and the dust still multiplies and the dishes wait in the sink for me to wash. To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. How in the WOLRD would we last through this? And right before I turned and sprinted the other way, He caused me to trip and fall. Broken, I remembered the morning I woke up burdened for our child knowing at one point, he or she would be waiting on our obedience.
That moment was here - although I didn't know whether or not our child waited in an orphanage or in a womb, our obedience was essential and instead of pushing and shoving and crying and fighting to get to my child, I was running the opposite direction. I let my comfort get in the way - I let the suffocating brokenness of the orphan crisis cripple my ability to react to His leadings.
I wish I could tell you I don't fight it anymore. I wish I could tell you in the three months since Russ and I decided to adopt not a day has gone by where I wanted to give up and let go of the calling. It's hard. Most moments I want to collapse in tears from the weight of it all - the paperwork, the phone calls, the travel, the expenses, the knowledge that at one point our child will be an orphan - it's just too much and my heart wants to cower. I don't handle well the questions geared toward why we chose international vs. domestic and I don't like it when people ask about how far along we are in the process. I cringe whenever I sense the glamour associated with adoption and the element of celebrity status some people achieve after completing the process.
Bottom line: I'm hanging on the line of apathy and indifference with my pinky finger.
But in the same escaped breath of desperation comes the intake of grace from my Father who adopted me. I'm reminded how he sacrificed his own Son in order to heal me and how he watched me broken repeatedly before I even let Him touch my wounds. He doesn't run from my mess and He chases after me in moments of rebellion. Times where my actions could suffocate even the most patient parent with the audacity of my disobedience, He holds me and whispers words of quiet admonishment.
He does not let go. He pulls me from the pit of apathy and indifference and holds my chin towards Ethiopia so I won't forget. And He does this in such a loving way that slowly my heart begins to match the beat in His chest. Suddenly, the suffocating weight takes root in my soul and I know the heaviness will always be there - but it's only so I won't ever turn away.
So where does this leave you? I don't know. Our callings toward orphan care are all different yet similar - they all echo the heartbeat of One who wants every single one of His children to know the love of a Father. Are you running? Are you hesitating? Take it from me: it's not worth it. He doesn't care if you're not an expert. He thrives in situations where people like to throw around the word impossible. And later this month, hundreds of ragtag wonderers will gather in NW Arkansas to look at the messiness of the orphan crisis and work together for creative solutions.
Maybe you would like to join?