Can I just be really honest for a little bit. I wanted this post to be filled with resources and stats and bullet point lists of why more singles should adopt. But that’s not what is on my heart and so I thought I would just start typing and see what flows out of the depths of what is stirring inside.
This could be a post about understanding adoption as a Believer and how it matters to us all. But it’s not… hopefully I can write more about that later. This also could be a post talking about all the many many incredible ways single people can be a part of adoption without actually adoption. (oh.. there are many ways that are just as radical as adopting!) Since I am an adoption advocate… I think in the terms of who can adopt. And with having very limited time to spend outside my family and home I have chosen to invest most of it into encouraging and equipping those who want to literally adopt a child. So this post will be written in light of singles who are already feeling led to foster/adopt and to the believer who has single sister and brothers in christ who wants to adopt but you don’t know what to say or what advice to give or if you should even support them or not in this endeavor.
I’ve noticed something lately, that when Christians want to live radical lives, such as adoption, church planting, missions, being raw and transparent about struggles in our faith, ministries that open your everyday life to the homeless..poor..foreigners..muslims., etc.., When we start to dream and plan and live these out for the cause of Christ and we start to share and talk about it, there seems to be a lot of initial push back and warnings of how hard it will be and cautionary tales about others who have tried and well, it didn’t go so well for them. And the very ones who are being those voices of what feels like negativity are other believers. Yes, the ones who know the staggering statistics of how many are dying and going to hell, the ones who know how few churches are out there and how many are needed, and those who have heard just how many orphans there are in the world and how few of us it would take to put them all into a family, and it’s those very people who work in churches, teach at seminaries, lead bible studies, and are known in their circles as mature believers with great wisdom. So it often takes us by surprise when those who know and who are the very ones we are expecting to jump on board, jump up and down with the possibilities and the dreams He’s put in our hearts, put their arms around us and pray…even if it’s through tears of their own fears and hesitations, roll up their sleeves and start to help clear the brush from the trail ahead with us until we have to go the rest of the way without them trusting God will bring others to walk along side of us.
I know many would say they are just trying to offer a voice of wisdom. I’m not knocking wisdom…. I’m not. I’m a HUGE proponent in using Wisdom in regards to adoption. (more on that in another post) Wisdom is precious but we need to make sure that we are seeking God’s Wisdom based in who He is and the leadings He’s placed in our hearts… not human wisdom which can be based in fears, security in position and possessions and the unknowns that we long to somehow control as much as possible. And often it’s God’s wisdom that looks like foolishness to those around it.
Often God uses people who do not seem qualified in the very areas they should be to accomplish His plans. Scripture is full of examples… Moses with his stutter would be the voice of the Israelite people, Joseph with his spoiled self would generously save his family and many nations from famine. David with his shepherding skills would slay giants and become King. Solomon with all his wives would share Wisdom that would guide believers for centuries to come and guide us today, Paul with his murdering heart and hatred of Believers would become one of the most read authors of Scripture and whose missional journeys impact why there is a church in your town today. Joshua, John the Baptist, Gideon, Noah, Jonah, Daniel, Esther, The Disciples, Mary, …. These people weren’t qualified to do what they did…. and what they did weren’t things that they could have even known how to be qualified for. But yet they changed history and were part of the grand story of the Gospel. Just by following what God was asking them to do and they did it.I’m not saying any of them didn’t count the cost… or worry… or argue with God about it…or even thought about possible outcomes once they agreed to obey. but I think that despite those things they had to ultimately trust God in the unknowns and for Him to come through on their behalf whatever was to glorify Him the most… even if that meant poverty, imprisonment, being misunderstood, and even death.
Often it’s the leap of faiths, the selling everything, the running into danger, the life will never be the same, the it doesn’t make sense or add up, the are we crazy, the no going back, the gamble of our children’s future, the hopefully the relatives will understand one day, the am I giving up on marriage, the billions of unknowns , It’s those things that make much of a powerful God and through His gospel change the world. He’s leading/asking/calling you to do this and you know despite all the risks and how scary it seems that not to follow would be the greater risk and would feel much scarier to live knowing you stifled this burning urgent moving of the Spirit inside of you.
Amy Carmichael was a woman who spent 53 years overseas without furlough giving her life to caring for orphans (primarily in India) she had terrible health issues and hardly any support from home since her father left them very poor when he died when she was 18. But in Christian circles today she is quoted often and read much (she wrote over 35 books while in India). She impacted many lives with her life and has impacted millions since her death. All because as a young teen God moved in her heart as she felt compassion upon a little poor girl she saw in the marketplace who had no family.
God saw fit in His grand plan to take Moses from a godly family with a father, mother, sister and brother and to put him in the arms and family of a single woman who happened to be the pharaohs sister. BUT God did that to save him and to put him in a position where he could then be used in a mighty way to rescue His people from bondage.
The bible doesn’t go into detail about the situation surrounding how Esther became an orphan but I’m so glad that her cousin Mordecai took compassion and raised her as his own and again so that she could be in a place to be used of God to save His people from certain doom.
I could go through history and speak of people who accomplished incredible things, became presidents, invented things that changed our world, saved lives, and greatly impacted the kingdom of God because single men and women rose up to the challenge weather they became single parents through tragedy, sorrow or by choice.
What if God wants to use the life of a single parent to save His people today? Who knows what God will do with the life of that little one when nurtured in a home that loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to do great things for His name sake.
One of my heros of the faith is a single girl named Katie… I’m sure you’ve heard of her because of her book Kisses from Katie. She abandoned all the great plans her parents had for her college years, gave up having a boyfriend, and left her nice decorated bedroom for the red dirt floors of Uganda and the life of a mama with 13 girls and a ministry to those who need her care and to countless school children who need support to get an education. The book is on the Lifeway top 20 shelf and is read by millions and would be a speaker that any church would love to have come speak to their people. She just followed her heart and is trusting in her Saviors sustaining power each and every day. Her obedience though it rocked the world of so many she loved at home has impacted thousands if not millions and for sure has forever changed the life of 13 girls who were once orphans but now have a mama who daily points them to their heavenly father. I love THIS POST by Ann Voskamp about her time with Katie.
“People from my first home say I’m brave. They tell me I’m strong. They pat me on the back and say, ‘Way to go. Good job.’ But the truth is, I am not really very brave; I am not really very strong; and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am simply doing what God has called me to do as a person who follows Him. He said to feed His sheep and He said to care for ‘the least of these,’ so that’s what I’m doing, with the help of a lot people who make it possible and in the company of those who make my life worth living”
― Katie J. Davis, Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
It irks me to no end when I hear of a single woman or man here in America who has a steady job, probably even has bought a house, has family who loves them, and is in a great community at church, and they want to adopt… or foster to adopt… or adopt from overseas, but then the people in their lives start talking and giving warnings and bring up things that surely she/he hadn’t thought of before deciding to adopt. People did that to us when we were telling them about adopting Abel… It was so hard to bite my tongue as people would say things like “you know he’ll be living with you for all his life” “are you sure you have time to devote to his special needs” “so you have the right training for this?” As if we just up and decided one spring day that hey, we will adopt a kid with down syndrome and we know nothing about it. I feel that’s often how good intentioned people can make those who are doing something more radical or less of the cultural norm feel. If a single person is saying that they are wanting to adopt… trust me they have thought about it. They probably have read up on it… talked to people about it… prayed about it… imagined what it would be like… and honestly, are probably still scared about going forward but know that everything in them says they have to listen to what the Spirit is whispering to their heart. I don’t understand why it’s noble for a young lady to go and spend her life in an orphanage caring for orphans bettering their lives as much as one person spread out among many can, but it’s questionable for the same young lady to bring one of those orphans into her own home to raise and have lots of community and family help with. To me… they are both beautiful acts of selfless love that the world will take notice of and ask why?
So…. how about instead of being the voice of reason when someone says they are feeling led to do something that we think might be a little crazy, let’s ask them to tell us more, let’s pray for them… rejoice and get giddy for them… let’s get on facebook and ask for the things they will be needing as a single parent… let’s throw them a shower… let’s offer to come paint the kids new room… let’s help with fund raisers… let’s get certified to babysit for them… let’s be the daddy influence or mommy influence …. let’s be the people of God and work together as hands and feet bringing the gospel and His unconditional love to this baby or child who just might be placed in that family because God is going to use him/her to do incredible things that he/she might not would have had the chance to were they not adopted by a single mommy or daddy. Let’s stop saying wouldn’t it bet better if a couple adopted or fostered this child and start rejoicing that there is someone right in front of you willing to do it alone when so many couples aren’t willing to do it together.
I believe God is saying to us that real success is found in radical sacrifice. That ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of him. That the purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live. That meaning is found in community, not individualism. That joy is found in generosity, not materialism. And that Jesus is a reward worth risking everything for.
Indeed, the gospel compels us to live for the glory of God in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need, and this is a dream worth giving our lives to pursue.
– David Platt
I find that we often think in the here and now context… who will take the child to school if you have to work? Who will help you parent if you’re sick? How will you afford day care or really anything for them? It’s going to be twice as much work as a single. BUT are we honestly concerned about that or are we more worried that it might require the church… You and Me… to actually sacrifice as well and be the one to help this single parent raise this child. Do we have a gospel understanding of what is actually required to raise a child. Because if you spent time in a lot of other countries you’d see that most everyone here in America are actually living in the midst of excess and materialism. Let’s not think a movie star is more awesome for adopting as a wealthy single person and then think our sister in christ who lives down the road is giving up hope of getting married and rushing into parenthood when she mentions wanting to become a foster mom.
What if we looked down the road a little bit. What if we saw how much of a help that child will be to his mom when he’s a tall teenager and can do things that his mom can’t around the house…. what if we saw how protective that daddy would be to his growing son or daughter when before they had nobody watching out for them… what if we saw a son or daughter grow up and get married and take care of their mom when she can’t take care of herself. What if we saw the opportunity for other single men and women to get a real glimpse of what pure religion is and see that blossom into attraction and feel led to fill the role of not only husband or wife but also as mother or father to that single parent family. What if we saw a single woman or man be the mother and father of generations to come who know the gospel of Jesus and bring untold amount of joy to that man or woman who once just went to work to pay for their house and car payment but longed for so much more. What if the rooms of that single mother or father’s house… that street where she lives… that town… that church… that school is the place where God will place a child who wasn’t there before and who will grow up and change the world for His name and renown
Let’s start asking that in the context of what God could do today and in the years to come for His name sake and our Joy and stop worrying about the things that may or may not happen in the here and now that only stir up fears of the unknowns and unbelief in a sustaining God.
Here are several blogs of single friends of mine who have adopted and aren’t only raising 1 child as a single parent but 3 or more awesome kids! Check them out. They aren’t super heroes… they are just like you and me, but they have heard God whisper to them and they have listened and obeyed and while it’s not easy… I know they wouldn’t want any other life! * Learning to Dance in the Rain * <– I love her because we have little ones close in age who both have the love chromosome! * Little Did I know * <– great resource for wanting to adopt a child who has HIV * Chosen Ones * <– I’ve loved reading about her journey through adoptions and also as she is embracing becoming a special needs mama.
*I realize that this is my opinion based on how I understand scripture and understand the heart of God. I also realize that several prominent preachers or speakers and christian organizations that I’ve researched what they had to say would disagree with singles adopting. And many haven’t yet addressed the actual question. And while I do respect many of them… I’m okay to agree to disagree with them on this issue.