Rick and Jessica (not their real names) walked into our service for the first time on Orphan Sunday. During that service, I unpacked God's love for the orphan from the scriptures.
To our surprise, and to the surprise of Rick and Jessica, God would lead them that day to begin the process of fostering to adopt. When I see those kids, I immediately remember hearing their parents say that first Sunday, "God is leading us to foster, and He confirmed it today in the service."
One of the amazing things about our church is the adoption culture that runs throughout it. We have had many military families who have adopted internationally and domestically.
Sarah and I are also on an adoption journey.
When we told our daughter Everly that we were going to adopt, she said, "I want a sister." (She already has two brothers—we feel her pain.) Our son Weston wanted to trade in his little brother for a Korean. We told him it didn't work like that.
With the uncertainty of the military life and the constant moving, why would any military family want to adopt?
That's an excellent question. We have found that many military families are motivated by the same reasons that we are.
Here's why we are choosing to adopt!
1. We are motivated by theology, not biology.
Most people assume that infertility is the chief reason for adoption. We didn't know when we were first married if we would be able to have biological children because Sarah had had leukemia when she was a child. The doctors had warned her that the treatments may have affected whether she could have children. We always knew this, and we kept adoption on the back burner. Fast forward 9.5 years, and we now have three amazing biological children.
Biology is not our motivation; theology is. We are adopting because we were adopted. Spiritually, God adopted us and brought us into His family—not because we were good, but because He is gracious. We had nothing to offer—nothing to bring to the table—and He still said, "I'll make you my child" (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). God is an adoptive Father!
2. We are motivated by the Global Orphan Crisis.
There are 153 million orphans in the world. If orphans made up the population of a country, they would be the 9th largest in the world.
Many of these kids end up aging out of the system. 60% of the girls who age out become prostitutes. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.
We can turn our heads, plug our ears, and walk away, but that doesn't change reality. Life can quickly become very indulgent and very narrow. The global orphan crisis bothers us because it bothers our Heavenly Father.
3. We are motivated by exposure.
We met orphans, and it changed us! We have close friends who have adopted internationally from the Congo and from South Korea. Other friends are providing traditional foster care or are adopting domestically. We have family members and friends who have helped to start orphanages in the Philippines and in Cambodia.
My wife has been exposed to orphans since she was young. I did not have that exposure until the past couple of years. I thought I was a pretty spiritual person. I could name famous pastors and theologians and had the privilege of meeting a few of them. I could name all types of theology books—but I could not name an orphan. That bothered me!
God has a plan to care for orphans—His people! When we deserved to be left lying in our sin—spiritual orphans—God Himself came and adopted us.