Sunday was Orphan Sunday; a day set aside where churches around the world talk about orphans and adoption. Trent and I brought this to our pastor who graciously agreed to give us 5-10 minutes of an already packed service to let us share. We experienced some technical difficulties and so were unable to share the video from the Orphan Sunday website that we were hoping to share. However, we felt like our prepared speaking parts went well and the next day at the church business meeting Trent was able to have two good conversations regarding adoption.
One thing that came up in Trent’s conversation was the cost of adoption and the idea that the dollar amount is part of what men find fearful in adoption. Trent and I had debated whether or not to share the cost of international adoption. We agreed that most people have the idea or impression that adoption is expensive, but they don’t really have a good reference for the cost because money tends to be a taboo topic. However, we agreed that we should share with the church the cost of an international adoption with China is approximately $35,000. What we did not do well in that setting was to show the faithfulness of God’s provision when we are doing His will.
I hope to rectify that today.
In Numbers 11 Moses is having a conversation with God about how all the people are going to be fed in the desert. Moses is really struggling to believe that all these people are going to be fed. It doesn’t matter that God has already freed them after 400 years of slavery, or the fact that God parted a sea for all the Israelites to walk through on dry ground only to close it up again upon the enemy (just think about that for a second. God. Parted. The. Sea.). Moses is just struggling to see how God could possibly feed these people. It doesn't make sense in our rational, human minds.
Here are verses 21:-23 “But Moses replied, “Here I am among 600,000 men on foot, yet You say, ‘I will give them meat, and they will eat for a month.’ If flocks and herds were slaughtered for them, would they have enough? Or if all the fish in the sea were caught for them, would they have enough? The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not My word shall come to pass.”…
I think about this when it comes to adoption. Most Christians can agree that adoption is important to God; His word tells us that caring for orphans and widows in their distress is religion he considers pure (James 1). We say we have faith in God, we believe that He is good. Yet, we don’t believe that he will provide the finances for something that he cares about.
Do you see how just like the Israelites we are? Many Christians (myself included) find it so easy to look at the Bible and say, “My goodness! How could they not believe? They had the evidence right before their eyes. Surely they should have had more faith than that!” But my friends, we do the exact same thing. Why is it so hard to trust in God to provide financially for something that all Christians (and even most non-Christians) can agree on as something good?
I’m trusting in God to provide the finances for this adoption, and He is! God has put it on the hearts of his people to provide the finances for this adoption and people are giving above and beyond, immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine. I have so many stories to share but that will have to wait for another post. Is the arm of the LORD too short? No. He can and He will provide. If God can do that for me, a sinner who deserves nothing, can he not do it for you?
Recently I finished George Muller’s autobiography and I wanted to share something from it with you. For those who aren’t familiar, George Muller was a pastor with a bad past who started an orphanage and a Bible distributing society in Bristol in the 1800s. He never asked people for money, only prayed that God would lay it on the hearts of believers to provide the finances. George would say that he didn’t do what he did to help the orphans (though it was an important part of his labor), he did it to encourage other believers to trust in God to provide for their needs.
I can’t find the exact quote from his autobiography but he said something along these lines when asked about providing for hundreds of orphans: ‘The finances always come when they are needed. It’s much more difficult to find willing workers.’
If I could encourage those of you who are considering adoption I would wholeheartedly agree with George Muller. The finances will come together; whether that is through the many adoption grants available, through fellow believers, your savings account, fundraisers, or by using a special skill that God has given to you.
He will provide.
In Matthew 7 Jesus said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
Look, I know he’s talking about going out into the world and spreading the gospel. But I wonder if we can say the same thing about adoption, which we’ve already determined is something God cares about. There are approximately 153 million orphans in the world according to UNICEF and (sources disagree) between 576,000 and 1 million of them live in China.
The problem is plentiful and the workers are few. In 2016 there were 2,231 children adopted from China by families in the USA. At it’s peak, 2005, there were 7,905 adoptions from China to American families. The number of orphans are high and we understand we can’t change the whole crises. But we can make a difference for one (or two) children.
My hope is that those of you who have been touched by Ruth, who have met our family would prayerfully consider what an adoption would look like in your home. While I am partial to China because that’s where my daughters are from, there are other countries, including the US, that have children who need families. I'm asking the Lord of the harvest to send out my friends. After this adoption of sister six, China is closed to our family due to family size. But it may not be closed to your family.
The only wrong thing to do when it comes to adoption, is nothing.