Sunday, November 14, 2010
Ethiopia, Here We Come!
Hello friends and loyal dadlosophites! I am writing this entry rather quickly from a coffee shop in Washington, D.C. Meredith and I arrived yesterday on the first leg of a long trip. In a few hours we will board a plane for Ethiopia. We have a twenty-hour flight ahead of us as we go to Africa to meet the twin baby boys we are adopting.
If all goes as planned, we will make a seven-hour drive from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to the orphanage where our sons are living on Tuesday. Then, on Friday, we go before an Ethiopian judge, hopefully to be awarded custody. Unfortunately, we do not bring our boys home right away. Next begins a month-long process of paperwork, during which Meredith and I will return to the states until time to return and pick up our sons in late December.
It's crazy! It's exciting! It can even be challenging. You go through a lot when you're trying to adopt. There's a ton of paperwork, a massive amount of financial expense, and (when adopting from Ethiopia) quite a bit of distance one has to travel to bring home their child/children.
"So why do it, Kindred," you may ask. "You and Meredith already have three beautiful kids. You have a great family. You're happy. Why spend all that money? Why put up with all the administrative headaches associated with gathering paperwork, passports, tax records, and so on? And, for goodness sakes, why get all those shots to protect you from diseases you usually only hear about on National Geographic or the Discovery Channel? Most of all, why risk it? Aren't you worried that you might mess up the kids you've got? Don't you think you should devote your full attention to them and that this will only take away from all you and your wife should be doing to ensure they have a fulfilling childhood? Shouldn't all that money you're spending on an adoption go towards Emerson, William, and Carson's futures? And what about possible issues? What if these kids you're adopting have inherited diseases, mental problems, don't adjust well, and so on? C'mon, man; what are you thinking?"
Well, I'm sure I'll get deeper into our reasoning in the weeks to come as I get to know my new sons and have more time to write (fighting the clock a bit today). But here's some short answers.
1)Why do it? -- It's right. God is described in Psalm 68 as a "Father to the fatherless." Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that "as we do unto the least of these, so you do unto me." The Bible repeatedly tells us to remember the orphans and widows. And, let us not forget, of all God's kids, only one is begotten. The rest? All adopted if you believe the Bible. Oh, and any distance we're having to travel or trouble we're encountering is a lot shorter and easier than the distance Jesus had to travel to reach and save us so that we could be part of his family.
For me, the answer to "Why do it" goes back to the fact that I'm a Christian. I claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. 'Nuff said. Of course, many Christians say that they "don't feel called to adopt." Hey, it ain't my place to judge; especially since many of these people exhibit Christ-like qualities that far outshine my sinful example. But I will say this: The math doesn't seem to add up. God calls all Christians to remember the orphans, but most Christians don't feel called to give an orphaned child a home. Something to ponder, eh?
2) Why Spend the Money? -- Trust me, I've asked this one more than a few times. But the truth is, I believe this is why God gives me money. God hasn't blessed Meredith and I so that we can read monthly statements showing a growing IRA or other retirement account (although I do believe in saving). No, he has blessed us so that we can put the money towards His purpose. "A Father to the fatherless." I think God wants us using our resources to adopt these orphaned boys, not planning our dream home or the trips we'll take one day when we retire (although it will sure be cool if we get to enjoy those things too.)
3) What About the Kids We Already Have? -- What about them? They're excited about 2 new brothers from Africa. And you know what I've seen? They are more selfless and more conscious of God and what it means to care about and love others since we started talking about the adoptions. Yep, lots of money saved for college is nice (and is still a goal of mine). But I'd rather my kids value the lives of these two Ethiopian boys and see parents who live out their convictions, not just talk about how much they admire other people who do.
4) What About Health and Other Issues? -- What? Our twin sons don't need a mom and dad if they have health issues? In fact, wouldn't they need the love and support of a family even more if they have health concerns. And, if they are going to have health issues, how much more does God expect Meredith and I to be there for these kids. As for issues, the fact of the matter is this: We all have issues! Heck, I hope the twins do have issues. If they don't have issues they won't fit in with our family. In fact, don't give us kids with no issues--we'll only mess 'em up.
There's tons more I want to, and eventually will, say. But for now, so long. We're off to Africa. I'll shoot out my next post when I return (probably just before Thanksgiving) and give you an update. Take care and, if you're a prayer warrior, say one for us. We'd really appreciate it. In the meantime, look for ways to remember the orphans and widows (and sick, and poor, and hurting...) Don't forget, your adoptive Father is watching.