In the United States and a few other countries, November is National Adoption Month. While Chile is not yet one of those countries, it is our deep desire that believers here would also count the cost of committing their lives and opening their homes to children in need of forever families. It is not much, but I am doing a personal adoption "campaign" on F*cebook by creating cover photos that highlight adoption throughout this month. I have also been collecting short videos and creating a P*werPoint presentation on adoption to share with our local church. We have done similar things in the past and we have also personally accompanied two families from our church to informational meetings on adoption, but we have yet to see anyone here personally take that step. (Someday!)
We recently had the opportunity to speak to the social worker in charge of our city's local adoption branch. She shared with us the great need for families open to children with special needs. Her definition of special needs was anything "organic" that cannot be fixed - it could be as mild as limb differentiation or something much greater. It might also include Down syndrome. She stated that just last year they were searching for parents for an 18-month old with DS who had been in care since birth. They also had a little girl who - after exhausting all national and international possibilities - had to be placed in a special-needs group home when no parents were found for her. She will not have the opportunity to be adopted again. Heartbreaking.
This social worker said it is very hard for Chileans to consider special needs adoption. Since we have found that many misunderstandings about traditional adoption still abound here – though thankfully that is gradually changing – it is easy to believe she is right. Encountering a family that is willing to consider a special needs adoption, she described as “magical” for social workers in Chile’s adoption system. The adoption process for special-needs is the same but streamlined and prioritized, and the pool of children is nationwide. In each case, adoptive parents set their parameters according to what types of special needs they feel capable to handle.
The video above is beautiful, isn't it? Can you imagine if a family like this sat down with the social worker from SENAME? It would be absolutely unbelievable! But such is the power of God which enables average people to do uncommon things for His glory and the good of His children.
I loved what my husband had to say after our meeting with the social worker. Many times people relate the adoption of children to our adoption by God. Yet Pedro reflected that really, it is special-needs adoption that most closely illustrates God's love for us. "For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8) - not once were perfect and whole, but while we were broken and defeated God extended His love and mercy to us. Through Jesus Christ, He offered not only the salvation of our souls but also our adoption into His family as "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17.)
Not everyone is called to adopt, but we can all minister to the orphans in our world. With our prayers; our financial support of orphan ministries and/or families in process of adoption; our presence and friendship in the lives of adoptive families who may struggle through the process of restoration with children whose early history was so very hard. While adoption may still be a new concept in our church, I am thrilled that just last month we began what hopefully will become a monthly ministry to a local children's home. Puppets and playtime and snuggles and snacks with twenty-four beautiful kids ages 2-7 blessed us even more than them.
November is National Adoption Month. How will you play a part?