Friday, October 8, 2010

Together for Adoption

Last weekend in Texas there was a huge conference called Together for Adoption. They provide, "Gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care." We hope to catch up on some of the sessions that they have posted on line, and maybe to attend in the future?!

There is a blog called It's Almost Naptime that I have seen through a friends blog that is adopting and she attended the conference. She wrote a really neat blog about their future daughter and the Theology of Adoption, she has a unique perspective that is definitely worth reading.

In less than a year (hopefully) Walker and I, citizens of the wealthiest country in the history of the world, will travel across the globe to Africa to retrieve the child who has been chosen for us.

We are unknown to this child. We are complete strangers to her. She does not know our ways, or how we think. She could not even fathom these things about us if she were to try - which she would not. Because she is an infant, her mind is not capable of grasping who we are or the land from which we will come. But even if she were older, Houston, Texas is so utterly disparate from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that it would take much explanation to supply her with even a glimpse of our world. It is simply beyond the scope of her experience and imagination. Inconceivable.

This child is nothing like us. First off, she's much smaller than we are. In addition to that, she resembles us only in the way that all humans resemble. I guess you could say that she is made in our image in that she will have two hands and two feet and two eyes and ears and a nose, but aside from the basics, we are very different. Her skin will be much darker. Her hair will be much different and require me to learn a brand new skill set in order to maintain it. Her skull will be shaped in the way unique to Ethiopians. Her DNA will contain the reminders of thousands of years of her own personal anthropology. None of mine or Walker's. Her personality will be her own, assembled from the genes of her ancestors. Her mutations will be her own. Her propensity to disease or greatness will not be inherited from either one of us.

This child is an orphan. She has not a possession in the world. And she is an orphan in a third world country on top of that. No one can get any poorer than our Bethie is. We, by contrast, are incredibly rich. Walker earns over a thousand times what the majority of her fellow countrymen earn. A thousand times. By contrast, we are millionaires a hundred times over. The woman who bore her could probably not conceive of the riches that Walker and I possess in our upper-middle-class American world.

This child belongs to no one. And she is female. She has no power. Any intellect and ambition that may be etched in her soul and personality would be cast aside in the daily struggle to survive. If she survives at all in a land of desperate statistics. We, by contrast, have all the power in the world. We're educated, we're healthy, we're wealthy, we're well connected. There is little we could not accomplish, if we chose to do so.

Despite our many differences, for the past year, Walker and I have committed to this invisible child. We have denied ourselves financially as we struggle to raise an exorbitant amount of money to pay her ransom. We have suffered emotionally and mentally in the process. We have lost friends. We have strained relationships with family. We've endured the questioning, the mocking, and the criticism from others for our choice.

Somewhere there is a woman who is pregnant with a girl. The woman will make a great sacrifice to give her life - either by her own death, or by handing the child who has kicked her womb for months to strangers with a desperate plea for them to care for her. The sacrifice will not be easy. The sacrifice will be costly.

And soon, when the time is just right, we will take a long journey to a land that is in some ways a reflection of hell, where death abounds, where disease is rampant, where life is cheap. We will not count the cost as we will take a child we have never known, who is not of us, and hold her in our arms tell her how far we've come for her. We will cover her face - the face that looks nothing like our own - with kisses. We will give her our name so that all the world will know that she belongs to us and is a rightful heir to all of the riches we possess. We will ask her to call us Daddy and Momma and we will always answer her when she does. Then we will bring our child back to our life and our family and our home and our hearts and she will be an orphan no more.

And we will understand the Theology of Adoption in a way that we never could have before we found her.

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a women, born under the Law, so that he might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘ABBA, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 4:4-7

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in His holy habitation.Psalm 68:5


  1. What a powerful story! She so eloquently put together the whole process through "Gospel-eyes".

  2. Ashley - You may not remember me, but we met at Megan Barley's birthday dinner at Cheesecake Factory a while back! I found you guys were adopting, and I've been blog-stalking a bit ever since, because I long for the day when we will start the process for ourselves! Anyways, just wanted to say thank you for posting this - it definitely made me cry and give thanks for the gospel and the very real picture of the gospel that adoption portrays!


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