I’ve often wondered and been asked many times why international adoptions take so long, and are so complex. The question behind that of course is, “Is it really worth it?” “It sounds very risky?”
We have been in the process of an international adoption for almost one year. We expect to be in process for at least one more. During that time, we have had both highs & lows. We have experienced exhilaration, disappointment, confusion, and frustration along the way. I can begin to explain why adoptions take so long. I could talk about infrastructure in a third world country, government bureaucracy, child trafficking protections, and yes, even possible corruption. That would not be a good use of time, because I can’t affect any of those issues.
I would like to answer the questions behind the question and tell you about unspeakable joy & adventure in the journey itself.
Despite all the red tape, delays, hassles, costs, mosquito bites, and setbacks, it is indeed worth it! Belle & I just returned from our second trip to Haiti and had this very conversation. We wouldn’t trade a second of this journey. It has been a profound, life altering decision and journey. We don’t know what tomorrow holds and that is just fine. Here are just a few reasons that adoption is a worth it, and you can’t put a price tag on it.
- Building a love & concern in our family for the marginalized.
- Watching my children cultivate a missional & servant mindset.
- Experiencing Jesus in deeper & more powerful ways.
- Being exposed to third world poverty and brokenness.
- Seeing our local church grow in concern for orphan care.
- Having an opportunity to love on orphans in practical ways.
- Meeting incredible people.
- Seeing the body of Christ in action in diverse ways.
- Watching miracles & seeing prayers answered.
- Observing a girl set free from modern day slavery.
- Watching my wife meet our daughter for the first time.
- Seeing our extended family support and grow in excitement for us.
Then there is Monday night 11/19/2012 at 11pm. I look down and see my new daughter fast asleep beside me on a single bed in Port au Prince. I watch her, study her, and place my hand on her back to feel her breathe. I am extra careful to make sure I don’t inadvertently roll over on her. I’m not sleeping. This is almost too much for me to take in. The events and red tape that have gotten us to this point suddenly no longer exist. Do you understand the miracle that has taken place? I’m laying next to my daughter at this point, not an orphan. We have been given the ‘experience’ of adoption. This is something Paul talks about in Galatians, where we receive a very deep knowing (feeling) of our adoption through Christ. On human terms, as I lay beside our sleeping girl, I’m realizing this is taking place. I’m loving her with fatherly love, which is distinct, unique, jealous, and powerful! I’m also noticing that she doesn’t look like me in any way, and that doesn’t matter in the slightest. I’m watching this all happen in the course of 48 hours, and appreciating the fact that after our embassy appointment, we will leave her behind for another long period of time. It could be easy to become saddened over this. I am not sad. I am appreciating the journey and the joy God provides when we get engaged in the sort of activities for which we were designed.
I don’t know exactly how this story ends. There are going to be more disappointments. There are going to be difficult days. It’s also going to be okay, because God is in control and in the end He wins. We are learning that when we take risks like this, God will indeed provide the strength for the task just at the right time. Anyone who knows me understands that I am a sinful person prone to selfish tendencies. I’ve met some personal heroes on this trip that leave me lacking much. Somehow in God’s mercy He has placed me in the Son, and that gives us the power & strength to do anything. What is even more stunning is that God tells us that it is He Himself working, not us. There is no room for boasting here. This is God’s doing, God’s work, & God’s goodness. We just happen to have been given a front row seat!
Anthony Schultz – Haiti Adoptive Family