Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Would Your Mother Think?

Last night, as my wife and I were getting ready for bed, I asked her, “So what do you think your mother would have thought of your adopting a child?”  (Her mother has been dead 17 years and mine has been dead for15 years though neither of us can believe it’s been that long).  My wife thought for a moment before replying, “She probably would have thought I was crazy.  What about yours?”  I had been thinking about this long before I had even asked my wife the question, but still I had to answer, “I don’t know.  I really don’t.”  Nor could I answer that question today as I continued to mull it over.  

What would my Mom think?

I know she would think this was out of character for me.

Would she think I was crazy?  

Maybe.  

I’m sure there were plenty of times while I was growing up that she must’ve asked that question to herself, especially during the teen years.  

She may have even responded in her usual fashion whenever I joked around, “Not funny McGee.”  How would she have taken it when I said, "But I'm not joking"?

My Mom liked things to be nice and pretty, which adoption is not.  The more I read about children who grow up in orphanages, the more I understand this.  But the fact of the matter is that life isn’t always nice and pretty either.  Life can be messy and full of unexpected things that pop up out of nowhere that you’re not prepared for.  She also liked comfort, but one thing the Bible is clear on is that God most often calls people to leave where they’re comfortable, to trust Him, and follow Him where they are extremely uncomfortable.  God loved us sacrificially and I really do think He expects us to be willing to love the same.  But as Jesus told us, for all that we leave behind He will give us so much more, including family. 

Mom, like my son, grew up an only child and she hated it.  I can remember her telling me repeatedly over the years how much she disliked being an only child and how much she had longed for siblings.  My son is the same way.  I know she would have wanted us to have another child and, if we had have been given another one, then we probably wouldn’t be adopting.  I can’t help but believe that God had this in mind when He gave us only one.  My Mom had been a strong Christian, but I’m not sure she would have seen this as God’s plan for us the way that we see it is.  Growing up, we came at faith so differently.  I have always been a questioner.  Even as a boy, I would ask her theological questions (Where did God come from?  Did God have a mom and dad?  Why did he put the tree in the garden if He knew Adam and Eve were going to eat it?  Why didn’t God just cast the devil to one of the uninhabited planets?) and she would get frustrated and blurt out, “Because that’s just the way it is!”  And the older I got the more I questioned and the more complex the theological nature of those questions became.  Yet would my Mom see what I’m doing now as my letting go of my questions and trusting God?

I have. 

Every day I learn more and more how this adoption is not about me or my wants or any criteria I might have for some imagined child that exists only in my imagination.  There is a real child out there, somewhere, who needs a family and will become part of ours.  But this adoption is bigger than that child or our family.  This is about God, His glory, and our obedience to His will.  I have to trust in that and, if I explained this to my Mom, would she think me less crazy? 

More than likely, she would be nervous for us.  I’m sure the, “But you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into” train of thought would be there.  And we don’t know, but we trust in a God who does know.  And I trust in a God who keeps giving me Psalm 37:5 over and over again in my life:

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him.
And He shall bring it to pass.

I believe that, through adoption, God is showing our family His heart and that it is to be our hearts too.  After my mother died, one of her closest friends who she grew up with, came up to me and told me, “You were your mother’s heart child.”  This meant a lot for her to tell me this and I feel the same about my own son.  Yet in the bigger picture, I realize that we are all God’s heart children. 

Would she understand this if I told her? 

I hope so. 

Ultimately, I cannot worry about what others will think anyway.  As a Christian, I want to please God more than I do those around me, including my family.  It’s amazing that God chose our family to undertake this journey: that He’s using us to go to another land and return home with a child who we will love into our family and, ultimately, teach her or him about God’s love.  In seeing our family do this, I cannot help but think that my Mom would understand that this adoption was all part of God’s plan.   

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