How Adoption Changed Us

How Adoption Changed Us
by Megan Gilliam

In the beginning of John 9, Jesus says we must not hesitate to carry out the things assigned to us here on earth. He miraculously healed a blind man on the Sabbath and told his disciples that while He was in the world, He was here to be the light. I have to believe He means the same for us. When thinking about adoption and foster care, I think there is a space for everyone in the body of believers to love others in this arena. While it is true not every person should foster or adopt directly, there are so many tangible ways that all of us can, and in my understanding, are called by Christ, to get involved somehow in loving and serving in this realm.

My husband and I have an adopted son from Uganda, and it has been a little over two years since we all came home together. There are so many examples I could name of the ways people supported us along the way, regardless of their direct involvement with fostering or adoption. For those of you who are not called to foster or adopt directly, here are a few ways you can love these kids and the families who are. Bring them meals or gift cards for groceries, offer to babysit or housesit (for free), or offer to help with transportation for their other children.  Be there for them; listen. Do not underestimate the power of the gift and ministry of presence.  Become licensed in foster care for respite purposes or get involved with Safe Families (https://safe-families.org), both wonderful ways to love and care for vulnerable kids. Talk to your biological children about what adoption is and how all families do not all look alike. Please educate yourselves and your children about things that are (and are not) okay and kind to ask or say to adoptive and foster families. Teach them to celebrate the uniqueness and preciousness of God’s creation in every one of us.  It is truly a priceless gift to have safe people like this around you and your adopted/foster children.

For those of you that might be called to adopt or foster – yes, it is hard and scary, full of unknowns and things that will break your heart, and it will require you to get uncomfortable. It will require you to say yes to things that might seem impossible from our human perspectives. While all this is true, saying yes to this call has completely changed my life and my perspective – for the better. I read once that fostering and adoption will cause you to give up your comfort, your routines, and your sense of security to give those very same things to a precious child of God who has never known them before. It will not be easy, but I promise you it will be worth it. These kids are worth it.  There is always room for more love in the family of God. If you think there is no way you could do something like this, you are probably right in your own strength, but you will be surprised what God can do with a willing and obedient spirit. If you feel Him asking you to step out in faith and open your home to a foster or adoptive child, please say yes. Just take one step. And then another. Every step of faith we take grows more faith in us to take the next one. Jennie Allen says that on the other side of godly risk is more of Him, and adoption and foster care is no exception. It moves the focus off of us and our inadequacies to Him and His ability to do more than we could ever imagine.

We are not the same people we were before we took the first steps to pursue our son, who is amazing by the way. There is no one I know with a more sweet and gentle spirit than him. It crushes me to think that if we had let all the things that scared us about adoption keep us from saying yes, we would have missed knowing his precious soul. I am more aware of who God is, the way He works, and how much He loves each one of us. I am getting a better grasp on what He cares about and how that looks in the daily choices I make with my time and resources, and ultimately, I am continuing to learn more about why we are all here on this planet. We are not here to be comfortable or to build up treasures for our own selves that will one day rot away or to sit and safely soak forever as Pastor Paul says. We’re here to take courageous risks to invest in things that matter for eternity, and I know with all my heart that these children matter a great deal to Him, and they should matter a great deal to us – the body of Christ.