“I would adopt, but my job is really demanding.” she said. “I can’t take care of any more kids. I can barely handle the ones I already got!”
I nodded my head. “Yes, kids sure do take a lot of time.” I said with a smile. “I am really busy. But I am also really happy.”
I turned my eyes back to the basketball court where my children were playing. They chased each other around the blacktop, taking wild shots and laughing when they missed the basket completely.
I was sitting on the sidelines, enjoying the warmth of the sun and a few minutes of relaxation between homework and dinner. My kids had been begging for weeks to go to the park. I finally gave in and agreed to “Thirty minutes. No longer!”
Another mom sat beside me and we struck up a conversation. When she learned that the entire team on the blacktop belonged to me, I got the usual response. “Six kids! You sure do have your hands full.”
I laughed and we talked about the busyness of raising children. Then she hit me with her Adoption Exclusion. “I would adopt, but…..”
I have heard many versions of the Adoption Exclusion over the past five years.
“I would adopt, but we don’t have enough money.”
“I would adopt, but my husband isn’t onboard with the idea.”
“I would adopt, but I am too busy.”
I have heard Adoption Exclusions from friends, strangers, the bank teller, even my auto mechanic. People see my large, transracial family and often feel the need to explain why their family does not look the same. They want me to know they are proud supporters of the adoption movement, while at the same time explaining why they can’t participate themselves.
No matter the details of the individual story, every person who has an Adoption Exclusion falls into one of three categories.
CATEGORY ONE: YOU ARE NOT CALLED TO ADOPT
There are many reasons you should not adopt. As I explained in one of my most popular posts, we are each playing different notes in a grand symphony composed by God. We need to learn how to interpret our own musical score. Why would we play the part written for another? If we all played the same note, the world would never hear the beautiful music God’s people are capable of producing. If you play your notes and I play mine, together we can create a masterpiece.
God has given us each different gifts. Maybe you are called to be a pastor, or a lawyer, or a garbage man. Maybe He wants you to serve in the soup kitchen or on the worship team or in your very own neighborhood. Wherever you are called, go there. Whatever gifts you have been given, use them to the best of your ability. Stay in your lane and don’t apologize for it.
CATEGORY TWO: YOU ARE CALLED TO ADOPT BUT NOT AT THIS TIME
I recently attended a formal dinner event and was seated next to the CEO of a large company. He travels often to multiple job sites. He sits on several boards. He is raising three children who are all busy with sports and extra-curricular activities. We were chatting about our lives and he asked what I do. I told him I am a mother, a fitness instructor, and an author. I was excited to share that my first book will be published soon. He looked at me and said, “I have always wanted to write a book. I know exactly what it will be about. In fact, I have already written the first three chapters. But every time I sit down to work on it, I have to stop and take care of one of my other responsibilities. I don’t know that I will ever finish writing it.”
I said, “Don’t give up your dream so easily. It sounds like this might not be the right season for you to write a book. The good news is that seasons change. Another season is always just over the horizon.”
Are you one of the many people who knows you are called to adopt, but this is not your season? Maybe you are saving money to fund your adoption. Maybe your biological children have health issues and currently require all of your attention. Maybe you need to finish your schooling or launching your business or spearheading a new ministry.
Maybe your spouse does not hear the same calling on your lives. This is VERY important. God is not going to call only one of you. You are a team. Before you start down the rocky road of adoption, you must be in 100% agreement with your spouse. If one of you is being pulled along reluctantly, there will be room for blame when the going gets tough. And it is going to get tough. Guaranteed.
Maybe — and this is the most important reason of all — maybe your children are not available for adoption at this moment. Wait upon the Lord. He will let you know when the time is right. He will choose the perfect season, the season when you and your children are ready for each other.
CATEGORY THREE: YOU ARE CALLED TO ADOPT BUT YOU ARE TRYING TO IGNORE THAT CALL
The most popular Adoption Exclusion is: I would adopt, but I don’t have enough money.
Either you are called to adopt or you are not. Don’t use money as an excuse to run away from your calling. Don’t say “someday” if you are hoping someday never comes.
If God is asking you to adopt, He will provide a way. He will never ask you to do something without giving you the resources to do it.
After we decided to follow God on this adoption journey, we opened our spreadsheet and pulled out a calculator and tried to figure out how we were going to pay for the adventure. We knew adopting a sibling set of four older children from another country would cost somewhere around $30,000. On crunching the numbers, we quickly realized we weren’t going to be able to afford it. For some reason, we didn’t have an extra $30,000 laying around.
But we were already committed. We had signed the paperwork and started the home studies.
We said yes to God and then God provided.We obeyed. He provided. A very specific order of events. Because sometimes faith is the victory.
God provided through an unsolicited love offering from our church. He provided through our friends and family. He provided not only the $30,000 we owed to our adoption agency, but also enough money for us to live in Ethiopia for several months while we fought for our oldest daughter.
God isn’t stingy. He’s not carefully measuring out a little bit of blessing for this person and just enough to get by for that one. He’s not short on resources. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He gives gifts that “are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light” (James 1:17).
If you are trying to ignore the call of adoption on your life, if you use the word “someday” to mean “when my finances (life, schedule, heart, etc.) are ready,” let me tell you something.
You will never be ready.On your own, you will never be ready for the refining fire of adoption to consume your life. But God is ready enough for the both of you.
So get on with it! Answer the call. God is waiting to take this journey with you.