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Why I Have a Love/Hate Relationship with Foster and Adoption Placement

Yes. I am an adoption mom writing this. BUT. I’m an adoption mom in this world. This world that so often gets really confused really fast…about what we are called to as the hands and feet of Jesus, what it means to have a heart like Jesus and what it means to have open hands for what is best for the children we might be called to for a time be the voice for.

My husband and I are on a board for an orphan and widow organization in Zambia, Africa. Over 700 orphans (single or double–or children of widows) attend our school. I think zero of them need to be adopted by Americans, Australians, awesome Canadians or whatever other nationality may be. Our kids are not in orphanages–so they do not need to be adopted. (I do, however, think the kids in orphanages in Zambia very much need families…so if you are waiting on bringing a child home from an orphanage in Zambia…wait well and get ready for a crazy, unknown Zambian ride;) Our kids, however, are being cared for in their communities–and those who do not have parents are being fostered by other moms in our little village. They are getting to stay in their community, raised with their siblings and really–they have everything they need. And oh how they love Jesus! If you asked the kids would they like to go to America–100% of them would say yes…but to meet Taylor Swift and meet movie stars would be the number one reason why;).

They are loved. They are cared for. They are being educated and discipled. They are going to be the movers and shakers of their community as they are being empowered to create change in their worlds. I’m excited to see what God is going to do–and how He is going to use the 700 kids in our schools there to rock change in their worlds. These kids who once didn’t know how to dream are being taught how to dream and that with the Lord before and beside them–they can do anything. I’m weekly challenged by these kids and their love for Jesus and trusting in Him for daily provision and meals…while I often get my perspective out of whack here in our world of–UGH…my daughter didn’t get the part she wanted in Nutcracker. (Someone please slap me and give me a reality check.)

I can’t tell you how many adoption agencies have heard about our work in Zambia and wanted to sit down and chat to “pick my brain”. Um no. They are good. But they still need us. And oh my gracious–we still need them. So yes–let’s go to lunch and I would love to share how to get involved in our widows or sponsorship program. Together the Lord has changed me–and I believe they are being changed too–together we are changing each other. There is such beauty as we choose not to give up on the difficulties of African ministry–if you have dug deep in African ministry and chosen not to run or give up yet…you know what I’m talking about. With any ministry there is corruption when perspectives change. Power. Money. Security. Our own desires filled. Whatever the motives…I see it seep in every single ministry whether in Africa or the church up the street…and I see why people run from ministry and the church. But please don’t give up on either of those. Where Jesus is working–the enemy will be fighting. It’s our challenge, calling and battle to stay very, very, very close to Jesus and not ever, ever let our flesh or will be louder than His.

I don’t love that adoption means there’s brokenness. Adoption is not natural. (This is one things I’ve heard and said over and over–especially from the birth mom in my home grieving a loss…where has her flesh gone–her heart…oh my heart. Oh sweet girl…I know it doesn’t feel natural. But you are so brave for choosing life.) It may feel natural to some–but being a mom of both biological and adopted children…there is a different feeling in the depth of flesh of flesh. No one ever says that. But that doesn’t mean my depth of love is any different whether. It’s not. My love for all five of my children is FIERCE. It’s a miracle. My little love from China is the most like me. That is a miracle in itself…and we share a different, beautiful bond because how we read each other. Each of my children share different connections…and yes–I love adoption…for so many reasons. But the the brokenness it begins with–I cannot say I love.

I hate that it means brokenness.

I love that it means healing.

I hate as a mom I didn’t get 9 months to nurture and connect. That’s a loss neither of us can make up for…and one that is only given to the one that chose life. I can never replace that special bond…and as a mom it makes me sad that in this life my boys will miss that. Many of my adoptive mom friends who walk the road of infertility will also miss that…and I know that is a loss they will forever carry. But it is also a loss that may also connect them deeper to the hearts of their children as they bond through this loss…something I will also never share with them…a holy sweet bond that connects on deeper levels…I can only imagine.

After the brokenness…there can be healing. But oh…oh…the motives of our hearts as moms must be careful.

We do not rescue. We don’t expect. We don’t deserve.

Children–no matter how they come to us…ARE HIS.

Our children have voices.

They don’t need to be grateful.

They need to be heard…without the noise of other people telling them what they want or need. These kids need to be empowered to think and to dream and to hope and to want…for themselves.

Children are precious hearts to be fought for…for their sake–for their good in mind.

I love the people called. I hate when the people called get in the way…when their voices get louder than the most precious voices or long term well-being of the children.

It saddens me when I see public sharing about foster/adoptive mom rights or unkind discussion of a birthmom…and I put my hands over my eyes. We are broken.

I see kids torn apart in foster care or adoption from their siblings. We are broken.

I hear the hearts…how will I ever deal with possible disappointment…I’ve waited longer…Does He see ME…I know what’s best…I will fight the good fight and not give up they say…we are putting our armor on and if need be…we’ll fight in court. I put my hands over my eyes. Oh are we ever broken.

Some where. Some how. The enemy deceives our hearts…and some how we sneak our hearts, our family needs, our dreams or wants into the equation of healing. And for THAT reason–I have a love/hate relationship with foster and adoption placements.

We need the healing of our own brokenness before we bring more brokenness to an unnatural broken beginning.

With our work in Zambia–when I see a widow we love tell a local friend to steal all the chairs…because we’ll just replace them she says. I want to quit…and run. But the children need us. And we need them. I see her heart. Wanting to help. Thinking she knows how to help. Wanting to be the hands and feet. Seeing she has been given some authority and voice. But. Those chairs. They were never hers. Yet some where she felt entitled to them and felt ownership over them…like she had a right to say where they should go for the good of her people–but not what was best for the children. ¬†She’s passionate about the ministry…and yes–her hands are hands of healing and her heart–it means well…I see it and there’s beauty in it…but I put my hands over my eyes…so broken. The need or because it makes sense to one…doesn’t make it right. BUT…but she says like the man stealing from the store for bread–if you see the desperate cause the chairs will be used for…THEN–then you will understand. You might even sneak in and get the chairs too. No. No–never me we say. I wouldn’t do that. BUT. Some where–along the line…if we aren’t careful we get confused and can justify all the wrong things.

The chairs were never ours.

Nor are any of our children. We get it when we are talking about chairs. But our hearts can be so deceived when they get overly attached and involved.

We can’t stop listening.

To His voice.

To their voices.

It may mean you let go of more things you love for His glory. You might not get to see the end. You might not get to see the fruit. You might not get to have any praise here on Earth. It might be painful. Our hearts will be broken. If we live as Jesus lived…it should be a life where we feel too often we say “Take this cup from me–but if it be your will…then okay. Why Father do you turn your face from me?” Isn’t that how His only Son felt? It didn’t mean the Lord didn’t see…didn’t love…wasn’t fighting…didn’t have a plan.

I won’t give up seeing their hearts. Our family still plans to foster. We are still very much open to adopting.

But their voices must be heard.

And for the record–I’m very nervous to hit ‘post’ because while you may be reading this as a “no-brainer”–many in the world would disagree…with most of what I have typed here. Because their own hearts got involved and I don’t understand. But if you step back…really step back…maybe–just maybe things might look a little different.

If you are listening to their hearts…don’t give up. Don’t give up fighting with them for their hearts. Don’t give up asking Jesus to help you see them as He sees them. He may ask you to do crazy, crazy things to bring healing in this broken world. Trust Him. He does have a plan. When your heart breaks–as mine has over and over for the things He has called us to for just a time–trust that You have run well and left your hands open for His glory no matter how much it hurt to let go.

For those of you fostering…and letting go to hard, hard places. Don’t give up. You are loving big and well—often when the tug-of-war makes absolutely no sense. You are filling a gap that only Jesus can…and I pray you feel His strength as you are tired and deeply want whatever is best for the child you are rocking right now. Courage dear heart. Don’t give up.

Praying with you for HIS best for all of His children. Standing with you with open hands for whatever He calls each of us.