Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dreams & Sacrifices

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a daughter.  I can’t hear Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Cinderella” (see video below) without a twinge of envy and sadness.  I’m not sure if this desire to have a daughter stemmed from being a protective older brother over my younger sister or from being around my nieces, one who I had nicknamed my “pretty princess.”  In fact, this is one of my favorite photos of her:
What father doesn’t want a “Daddy’s Girl”?  Or think of her as his “pretty princess”? 

Whatever the reason, when it we prayerfully came to the decision to adopt, my heart’s desire has been to adopt a little girl: who would be a daughter to us and a little sister for my son, Benjamin.  Unlike many, I’m not under any delusions that girls are easier to raise than boys.  To me, both bring their challenges.  It is interesting that I read a recent on-line poll that asked which was more difficult to raise and more than half stated they thought girls were.  This trend of thought does not seem to apply to adoption, however.  From my previous post, it is becoming clearer to me that girls are more highly sought after and are becoming more difficult to adopt.  When I was told that my chances of adopting a girl were a mere 25 – 30%, my heart sank.  I was deflated and on my way to being defeated.

Needless to say, that night, I did not get much sleep as I, like Jacob, wrestled with God. There have been quite a few of those nights since then.  E.M. Bounds, who has written eight books on prayer, concluded that, “Prayer in its highest form and grandest success assumes the attitude of a wrestler with God.”

What about my dream?  One night I dreamed of our family going to an orphanage to get our little girl.  The dream ended with all of us hugging her.  Some would say that was just a dream, but before my son was born I had a dream that we were having a boy. 

Now God knows the desires of my heart just as He knew the desires of Abram’s heart.  How many years had Abram longed for a son?  Then God finally gives him a son, Isaac, and very promptly tells Abram to go and sacrifice that very son Abram had waited so many years for.  I cannot imagine the despair that must’ve gripped Abram’s heart and how he must’ve wrestled with this decision all the way up to drawing his knife.  Abram was willing to sacrifice his heart’s desire to be obedient to God.  I have to ask myself if I’m willing to do the same.  Am I willing to lay my heart’s desire, having a daughter, on the altar as a sacrifice to God? 

Growing up, I remember getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, especially the Super Friends.  In between cartoons, ABC would show these animated educational shorts called “Schoolhouse Rock.”  One of them was all about interjections.  In this short, a little boy gets a shot in his behind and yells, “Hey!  That’s not fair!”  How many of us feel that way towards God?  The book of Job deals exclusively with this struggle we have with God.  God’s response was to pointedly ask, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions?  Surely you know!”    How can mere finite man answer an infinite God who created universes and multiverses and more than our science can comprehend?

God’s ways are not our ways. Still I question them.  I’m very good at questioning, at doubting, but not so much at trusting.  Yet God has called me to have a child-like faith in Him.  He wants me to pray, as Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done.”  I try to do this but it too often comes across as, “Thy will be done so long as Your will is the same as my will.”  I live in a country that is all about getting what you want and telling you that you deserve to get what you want.  Then I read Daniel J. Bennett who wrote, “The goal of orphan care is not creating a pseudo-nuclear family, or getting the children you want.  The goal is the worship of God, which enables you to enter into a relationship easier than those people who have the wrong expectations.”


Is he joking?  

No, no, no.  You see, the plan is to adopt the child that I pick out that meets my criteria: young, female, healthy, pretty, smart, etcetera.  After all, I’m paying good money to adopt so I, as the consumer, should get exactly what I pay a lot of money for, right?

Bennett continues, “Sometimes people enter into adoption with a list of what they don’t want.  They want things to be as neat and tidy as possible.  It’s good to go into caring for orphans knowing it’s going to be difficult.  Difficult isn’t bad; it is often the best thing God has for his people” (A Passion For The Fatherless).

Not exactly what I want to hear.  But it’s exactly what I need to hear.

Once more, I have to ask myself: Do I trust God or not? 

This means I have to ask myself: How do I see God?

Do I see God as capricious or as a father who loves me and knows what is best for me?  As Matthew 7:9–11 tells us, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for fish, gives him a snake?  If you, then, that are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.”

Do I really believe this?

As He reminded us in Job, God has a much bigger perspective than our limited one.  So what if God has a son in store for me instead of a daughter?  What if there’s a little boy out there who needs our home and our family more than a little girl?  Or what if He has siblings in mind for us?  Am I willing to trust in God’s will more than in my wishes?  Do I long for God more than I do my desire to have a daughter?

C.S. Lewis wrote, “God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.”

The day after I got the statistics of my chances of adopting a young girl, I went on-line and researched to see if this was indeed true.  Certainly adoption websites would lead you to believe otherwise since the photos on them are predominantly of young, healthy, pretty girls.  As I researched I only became more and more discouraged.  So I stopped.  Going to God, I prayed and, when I opened my Bible to read, I was given Numbers 11:23, “Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”  This is a reminder that I’m not to put my faith in statistics or percentages but in Him.  If God wants us to have a daughter then we will have a daughter.  But I have to be willing and obedient to say to Him, “Thy will be done” and mean it.  I, like Abram, must be able to offer my heart’s desire on the altar of God’s will.  More than sacrifices, God desires obedience.  This is not an easy lesson for me.  Yet this whole adoption process is about surrendering my will to His, putting my faith in Him, and trusting that God does know what’s best for our family. 

1 comment:

  1. We have 4 sons, 2 adult & 2 teens. When we first started adoption, we signed up for 2 girls, 5 or under. After it became obvious 1 of our "healthy" referrals had FAS, we researched & prayed & accepted her, only to have Azerbaijan close to adoptions. When we finally gave up on AZ, we changed our parameters, ultimately choosing sp. needs up to age 11 & ended up w/2 girls age 6, with FAS, from Lithuania. On the blog, Micah Six Eight, Julia Nalle's husband writes an amazing post about letting go of the banks and swimming in the river of God's will. If you are serious about that, I urge you to explore what parameters would you enjoy parenting, letting go of original ideals. We know our 1 daughter will never live independently and are planning for her adulthood. I would say that to protect your son, the child(ren) should be younger than he by a couple of years. We are advocating for 1 daughter's best friend, Zana, shown as "Zabrina" on Reece's Rainbow in Lithuania. Only a few agencies work there. We used An Open Door. I never believed in signs from God, but there were many during our adoption journey. My faith has been rocked by them. I suggest you open your home study parameters to as many children as you have potential bedrooms for at 2 per room and include all potential special needs, then pray for guidance (you don't have to "use" all your home study options but it costs less to go high than to add kids!). I would like to confirm your suspicion that God probably does not want you to "compete" with secular parents over the few healthy girls, but rather used your initial desires as a springboard for His wonderful plans for your family!