A couple weeks ago at church a young guy came up to me that I’d never met before. He spoke some English and wanted to try out his skills, so we chatted for a bit. He said “I heard you guys work at the orphanage for sick children and now you will take one of them home to be your son!” I said yes, he was correct that we are in the process of adopting one of our Boys and then proceeded to proudly show him lots and lots of pictures of our special boy on my phone. As soon as he saw the pictures his face fell. He was obviously a little shocked, and obviously a little confused at my proud exclamation of how sweet and cute and special our boy is.
Then he asked the question that I’m sure many have wanted to ask, but so far no one else has been brave enough to utter:
“Why? Why would you do this? I don’t understand. Why?????”
I paused for a second, happy that he had the guts to say what was really on his mind, because it was definitely written all over his face. 😉 I answered with the simple truth:
“Because we love him, God asked us to, and we said yes!”
It’s a simple truth, but there is a lot more behind it, a lot more led up to it, and there is a lot more weight that goes along with it.
This adoption yes was not a simple yes. Much prayer, many tears, many conversations and sleepless nights led to this yes. In fact, many years of “yeses” led to this yes.
I remember in 2010 when our Ukraine story first began. We knew that God was asking us to say yes to adopting a little boy from Ukraine with multiple special needs. Oh boy, that was a hard yes to come to. There was nothing simple about that. We had always been open to adoption. We were fostering our Seth at that time and were really hoping we would be able to adopt him. Adoption and orphan care was important to us! But I always said I could never adopt a child with a disability. No way!!! Willingly take on a child that would remain a child for life? Knowingly adopt a child that would never live alone and would need my care for all their life? Give up the dream of retiring someday with Jed and traveling the world together (child-free!)? Heck no! Are you crazy???? Who would do that?????? That would be so hard! I guess some people are meant for that life, but not us.
Oh how the times have changed…hehe
I remember back in those days, praying about that certain boy who needed a family. I couldn’t get his face out of my mind. I couldn’t forget him, even if I wanted to. I began to rethink my reasons for saying no to him. The more I examined my line of reasoning the more my argument sounded rather lame. All my reasons for saying no were because I wasn’t willing to lay down my life and my comfort. I really, reeeeeeeally like to be comfy. Oh I love comfy clothes, comfy socks, comfy shoes (no heels here!), comfy hoodies, comfort foods, comfy chairs, a comfortable salary, a comfy house, friends I can be super comfy with. And most of all I love a comfy future. I like to know what’s coming and I like to like what I know is coming. I don’t like things that make me uncomfortable- like exercise, hard manual labor, and things that are out of my control.
Saying yes to adopting a child with severe disabilities is the exact opposite of comfy. It’s inviting stress and pain and hard work and expenses and a lot of “out of control” moments into my life.
God doesn’t call us to lives of comfort. He doesn’t call us to lives of free and easy living where happiness and security are the ultimate goal. He says to us “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26)
Friends, living a “chasing-comfort” life is no life at all. Jesus says that the only way we can save our own lives is to give them up for Him. That’s not a call to comfort- it’s a call to sacrifice. There’s just no way to put it lightly. Once I considered what Jesus was willing to do for me, how could I say no to a little one so in need, in order to tend to my own comfort? Ick.
That original adoption didn’t work out, but you probably know that that is what God used to turn our hearts to Ukraine. And here we are now, saying yes to our special boy.
Please hear me. I am soooooo not talking down to you right now. I am not the pro at sacrificing my comfort- just ask my husband and kids. I fail at it all the time. I’m still learning and I thank God for his patience with me.
The thing is, now I see what I almost turned down in favor of my comfort. I see it in the form of our most precious boys at Romaniv. I see it in my Dima as he sits on a plywood bed, foot tied to the slats to keep him from falling off. I see it in my Misha when he cries, so unaccustomed to human touch that a hand on his shoulder is too much to bear. I see it in my other Misha who has lived at Romaniv since 1987 in one single hallway, his world shrunk by injustice. I look into the faces of my precious boys who I love like my own children and I mourn how their lives have been stolen from them for the sake of others’ comfort. I know these boys. Over and over again I wish I could sit down with you and just tell you all about each of them. They are AMAZING.
How could we say no to them in favor of ourselves? The world has said no to them over and over and over to the point where almost no one even knows of their existence. It’s just not right.
I usually prefer to keep this blog upbeat, but today I’m calling you out. I’m asking you to set your comfort aside for the sake of the yes. This life is not all that there is.
There are boys who sit on wooden slats and never feel the grass on their feet or the sun on their face. Their lives are void of all comfort.
There are people being sold into slavery for the pleasure of others. No comfort to be had there.
There are children sleeping on county office floors because there is no foster family to take them in. No mommy and daddy to comfort them when they cry.
What will you do with your yes? Will you pick up your cross? Will you sacrifice your life for the One who gave His whole life for you? Will you see past your comfort and your 401k dreams and your comfy couch and rise up? We can do something about these injustices! We must do something.
Your yes means something. It may mean everything to the someone who needs it, the someone sitting on a plywood bed.
The friend from church, the one who asked us why we would do this crazy adoption thing? He said yes and visited our boys with us the next week. As we were riding home in the car he said: “I spent the morning with the boy you are adopting. Now I see! I see why you would love him. He is great! He is so smart! He is just…..great!!”
There is so much joy in the yes. What will you do with yours?
*Several of our boys need adoptive families who will say yes to them. Would you pray about that yes? You can read more about those boys here and here.