Thank you to adoptive mom Andrea Edin, pictured with husband Matt and son Jian, for submitting this great insight on children who need families.
Who is most deserving of a family, a child with special needs or a healthy one? Someone from Africa, Asia, or America? A boy or a girl? A baby, a child, or a teenager? Ridiculous questions, right? The answer, of course, is that they are all equally deserving! All children need families.
Yet these are the questions we face filling out adoption paperwork. It can turn overwhelming quickly, if we approach this as our work and not God’s. It might feel as though you need to comb the whole world to find your child, or that saying yes to one child means saying no to another. It doesn’t! Let me share three tips I learned during our adoption that will keep your heart on His as He builds your family:
1. Start with the mindset that every child is the right child.
By taking a child into your home, you’re obeying the unique call God has put on your life. Find peace in that. For Christians, it is never a mistake to love people. It’s our mission! So free your heart right now of any guilt or pressure to love one child instead of another. Free yourself of any fantasies you have of what your family will look like. Free yourself too of any fear you’re wrestling with. All love comes from God and is always good – He will help you, even when you feel inadequate.
2. Pray and stick with what you hear.
God is sovereign and will guide you to the individual child He has chosen, but He might not tell you everything up front. My experience was exactly that. God showed us a little more each time we needed to file paperwork, but we did not know who our son was until we had his file in our hands. When God called us to consider special needs, we were scared what that life would look like, but we said yes. A little later when He called us to consider an older child, we were uncertain we could handle the responsibility, but we said yes. And when we received a referral that fell outside the guidelines we’d already prayed over, we declined it (no pretending that was easy!). Prayer is absolutely essential to this process. God can’t lead someone who isn’t listening to Him or willing to submit.
3. Remember who your Father is.
Consider the Good Samaritan. The man who prompted the story had asked Jesus who he ought to love, and Jesus’ reply was that we should love whoever God puts in our path that day, even if they shatter every prejudice and preconceived notion we have. When the best day of your life comes and you receive your child’s referral, thank God for the amazing way He has led you. He’s been working on this much longer than you have! Take these words from Jesus to heart: “What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.” (Luke 6.29-31, MSG)
Trust Him. You are in good hands!