Monday, February 18, 2013

Fighting for a Child...

I have often heard... and even used the phrase myself, in adoption... "We need to fight for our child..."

I have been processing that a whole lot lately.
I have for the most part assumed and promoted the truth of this statement, that is until recently I started asking some questions...

Is this true?
Is this biblical?
Is this needed as we adopt, to model the heart of our God?

I experienced feeling this need to "fight for it" while in Uganda bringing home our son. The whole premise of the post was that I thought that our son's adoption was all up to me and that if I didn't "fight hard enough" for it I'd not be acting in a God-modeling manner for my son.

Funny... how ridiculous a notion... how big I thought of myself and how little I thought of the power of my God! While I need to model God as a parent, it isn't as if God wasn't there being the Defender at those very moments for BOTH my son and I... as the story so aptly shows!

If you read here much, you know about how we almost went on to adopt sweet Ezra... and people told us we should "fight for him" and do all sorts of unethical things to get him home... because that was what was most important... and the goal... adoption. 

By God's gracious instruction I realized that adoption may not have been God's plan... and that, ALL I was ever really called to do was to participate in HIS plan for Ezra. God's plan for Ezra was for him to stay in his biological family and this has proved to us that broken and impoverished bio families CAN very successfully care and raise children that God has entrusted to them. Adoption isn't always the best option for ALL children that are at risk for being "orphaned".

A Perspective Change

Any how. Lots of things are floating around in this addled brain of mine and I know I am not a really great writer so please bear with me. 

Yesterday, at church we had a missionary of 30+ years from Rwanda come share with us. He said something that I really didn't expect to hear, but is was refreshing perspective... the paraphrase of his sermon was like this...

"We all hear that people go to places like Rwanda and help others, while this is good and great, it isn't missions. It is good deeds to help others, make their life better and to get them things like education or clean water... but this isn't the Gospel. They are still just as much lost and with out God while having clean water or a good paying job. Missions is participating in the heart changing work of the Holy Spirit, as He saves and redeems lives for God's glory."

Yes! It is good to give people things like clean water or even provide a family for a child... but this isn't "missions" and it isn't "the Gospel"... it is "good deeds."
Good is good, but it sure doesn't save!
Only God saves... only God defends and only God redeems.
That is His work.

Similarly, adoption is good... it is good work... it improves lives, but it ultimately only God's work can change lives! Lives do not change by the will or power of adoptive families.

Back to "Fighting for Them"

I started off by saying people often talk about "fighting" to adopt a child. 
As you read... I even said/thought similar things. 

But here is the thing. That isn't necessarily a fully biblically accurate statement.

Jesus didn't even "fight for" his bride or children.
He never claimed or said he came to do that for us.

I know! 
I could hardly believe it too!

It is not in the Word... if it is in there, please show me because I have looked quite extensively... 

I know a handful of times in the Old Testament God tells us He will "fight for us"... but really that is not a general statement of what God did through the person of Jesus Christ on the cross or through our adoption as his children. It is a specfic statement made to people at that time in a particular circumstance.

If Jesus didn't fight for us... in turn, I am processing if we are to put ourselves in the place to "fight for the adoption of our children" mainly because our children already have a Defender... Psalm 68:4-5 says...

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families," 

Who? God.
God defends orphans (and widows) and God alone sets them in families!

But... Christ did come for a purpose and to do something specific... something that models human adoption...

He came to lay down his LIFE for us. 

1 John 3 is the chapter that lead us to adoption more than any other... what does it command?... the laying down of our lives. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."

Often... laying down our lives means doing the very thing that hurts us the most... for me... that was leaving Ezra in that slum. It physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually hurt me in every way! 
It was agony! 
It was cross-like.
It still hurts today.

The laying down of one's life is a whole lot less attactive than "fighting as a defender"... but it was the only picture of adoption that Jesus provided for us in the Word. Interesting.

For Those Who Are in the Fight

I know there are families and couples out there currently "fighting" for their children... I don't know the details, but, I know how scary and hard that place can be!!!  I don't know what God calls his other servants to do. To some God might call them to "fight"... I can admit that.

However, I just keep coming back to the thought that this "fight" is much less of a fight than we think it is... it is much much more of a laying down and a surrender.  It sounds inspiring to say we are going to "fight to the death" for our children because that is what Jesus did for us... except, he didn't fight. He laid down and surrendered to death to self, for us. I don't know how that looks in each situation. But I know how it looked when Jesus made our spiritual adoption possible.

Galatian's 1:4-6 clearly expresses why God completed our spiritual adoption... 
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." 

Basically, spiritual adoptions (and arguably human adoptions) are for God's glory alone! If we are doing the "fighting" for our child who would, undoubtably, be given glory for that? Us... because we did it by our own might and power... perhaps, right? But, if we are laying down and surrendering it to God to be our powerful Defender, He is the only One to be made much of! Just something to consider.

Really, it doesn't get much more freeing and empowering than that...
Surrender and know that God knows the plan.
The plan in the Word is surrounded by the concept of laying down and sacrifice.

That is ALL we have to do!


Ahhh!... pushing "publish" on this one is like torture... I've prayed about it and please, know that I am NOT a theologian or much qualified past my experiences in Uganda bringing our two kids home through a fair share of trials. Please know, that it is my only hope that we know God and His Word better and that we live like His Word in all facets of our lives! And that includes about how we talk about human adoption in relation to spiritual adoption.

Hugs to you all as you surrender and lay down your lives for the children God might bring into your families through adoption!


Cheap Missions Trips said...

Wow. This is beautiful. I did not know all of this about your story and this is very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing. I had no idea!!!

Brenda Andrews said...

Thanks for sharing your heart. I had not thought of it that way, but it does make a lot of sense.

the_blissful_mommy said...

Marci, I think this is one of the most beautiful and truly refreshing out-of-the-bo, sound things I have read. Well said! Love it. Esty