From the moment we began sharing with people that we were adopting, we have been showered with, “How exciting!” And, yes, we are excited to have another son or daughter, we are excited for our children to gain another sibling, but there continues to loom a shadow over this excitement. Adoption is a beautiful thing, but in order for adoption to occur, a child must endure unimaginable pain and suffering. They must feel neglect, hunger, loneliness, fear and abandonment. Before we began researching adoption, I lived falsely under the impression that most children became orphans because their parents had passed away. However, the deeper we dig in each step of the process, we learn that most orphans have at least one living parent. We have even heard that this statistic could be close to 90% of orphans having living parents. Parents who knocked at an orphanage door, and placed the child that they brought into this world in the hands of another, and turned their back and walked away. I have carried three children. I have felt them flutter in my womb and felt their life within me. I have brought them into the world and been there for their first breath, first wail, first feeding. I have held them in my arms and looked for the first time into that sweet pink face and have fallen in love over and over again.
This is where I continually find myself up against a wall. How do I daily pray for this child who will be placed into my arms–prayers for health, love, comfort, prayers to not be neglected or alone without praying for the ones who brought him/her into the world? There are childless mothers and fathers out there that need Jesus and the peace He can offer. How can I deny the fact that there will be a mother and a father without this sweet child in their life? How can I not pray for the love of Jesus to enter their life without somewhere, deep down, wishing that they would be able to raise this child, the one they birthed into the world, with the radiant light of Christ? Is it strange to pray that the child we will adopt would not be put up for adoption at all….that our child would never have to experience feeling unworthy or unloved?
But the reality is harsh. The reality says that:
- there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide…these numbers DON’T include abandonment (millions of children) as well as sold and/or trafficked children.
- every day 5,760 more children become orphans
- each day 38,493 orphans age out of the system without ever having someone to call “mom” or “dad”
- studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen, while 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals
- less than 1/ 10th of 1% of all orphans will be adopted
The beautiful thing is that God doesn’t work off of statistics but grace. And there is grace for His abandoned children, grace for the parents of abandoned children and grace for me. I recently read a challenging book called “Undaunted” by Christine Cain, who found that she was adopted as an adult. She writes that:
“God made each one of us. We may not know what our parents felt for each other, but each of us is God’s workmanship, not the workmanship of anyone else. We are His masterpiece…it is that that gives us our identity….God is always with us. Even if our parents discard us, God never leaves nor forsakes us.”
And so, yes, we are so excited to have the opportunity to love our future child, to go on vacations and make memories and read a bedtime story each night. To watch our kids get to be big sisters and brother again, and all the fun that comes along with that. And it is our hope that with time and love we can slowly shine a light into the shadow of their life, into the dark places of rejection. For we know that our child’s identity is IN CHRIST, not in their past, not in their struggles, but in the victory of the One who is control of all things.