Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Struggling to Know - Adoption

As I’m sure you are quite aware, it doesn’t even have to be National Adoption Month for the subject of adoption to be on my mind.

Most recently, the subject of adoption in Chile has been at the forefront of my thoughts. Well, honestly, it has been battling for the forefront of my thoughts with the subject of adoption from Uganda since learning about Welcome Home Ministries (you can read about that in my previous post, HERE.)

There are many children in need here in Chile. I am learning this more and more, as it seems every time I turn around I hear about yet another “hogar de niños” (children’s home). There seem to be so many homes, not necessarily unified under one particular organization. The children in these homes are not always orphans. Often then are considered “niños en riesgo social” (children at risk socially) – meaning that they come from homes where some kind of abuse has occurred. Some of them spend their entire lives in these hogares, until they reach emancipation age.

Not all of the children are adoptable. Yet there are many children who are, especially those who have outgrown the infant stage and thus are considered more difficult to place.

We have no doubts that another adoption is in our future. We have always felt that our family would hold 4 (or more?) children, if God allows. I have been researching adoption in Chile for some time, and have been participating in a Chilean adoption forum for over a year now. We envision being open to adopting one child or siblings, ages 0-2 (younger than Owen, so as to maintain the birth order in our family.)

Yet the struggle I have is with this feeling that Owen needs another sibling who shares his racial heritage. This week, we were at Eva’s school and I observed several little boys pointing at Owen and laughing. I’m sure they were just being silly, not necessarily unkind. The boys were all shades of brown – some Chilean, some Korean, some American. But Owen still stood out from the group, and I know that is how it will be his entire life here in Chile. I believe with all my heart that God brought him to us, and to Chile, for an awesome divine purpose – but I don’t want my little boy to be hurt, and in my human understanding it seems like having a sibling close in age who “looks like him” would be comforting as he grows up.

So I struggle to know … what is best … what does God want us to do … if we were to pursue an African adoption, how in the world would we and could we from this corner of the earth and on a missionary’s salary? Unfortunately, there are those who feel like spending money on an adoption while being supported to serve God overseas is irresponsible (but when has walking in obedience to God’s commands, in this case those regarding orphans, ever been irresponsible?) Then I consider how adopting a Chilean child will be such a wonderful relational bridge between us and the people of this beautiful country, and how it is something I have dreamed of since I was a child. And so the “struggle to know” continues.

I am thankful for my husband, who is truly my best and most level-headed friend, who allows me to bounce all of these thoughts off of him without getting sucked into my emotional confusion! (: And I am thankful for those who care enough to pray for us in this area outside of our other ministry concerns … for even as I remind others that “You Are God’s Plan for the Orphan,” I too am seeking to know what that looks like in my own life, today, here in the wonderful country of Chile!


ERIN lee said...

struggling to know is some of the hardest moments we go through in life. trying to make the decision that GOd wants and yet just "struggling to know" what exactly that is. i'm praying for you steph. miss you so much right now!

Deborah said...

Praying with you Steph...and understanding...