Monday, July 18, 2016

The heart of our story: Why we adopt internationally

I have debated about writing this post over and over again.  I want to begin by saying, I LOVE ADOPTION...domestic adoption, foster care adoption and international adoption.  One is not better than the others.  They are all needed and they are ALL God's heart.  Our pastor preached from James on Sunday and there the verse was again...staring me in the face....

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

I can't read that and walk away.  We are asked some variation of this question A LOT..."Why do you adopt from other countries when there are so many kids in America who need families?"

It's a complex question and a personal one, honestly.  The short answer is that we felt God specifically speak to our hearts about international adoption in 2001.  I believe God can specifically lead you where he wants you.    The US has a foster care system.  It's broken, it's not perfect, but kiddos with be with a family at least until they turn 18.   We are adopting from China.  In China, when a child is 14, they are no longer eligible for adoption.  They.Have.No.Options.  I don't know about you, but when I was 14 I was naive an immature and in NO WAY capable of caring for myself on my own.

My friend Judy Wheeler used the same agency we are adopting through.  She just arrived home from adopting a sweet kiddo right before he aged out and shared the following post, which I am sharing with her permission.

"Tears and Heartbreak from Children Who Have "AGED OUT " told to Amy E. of LWB

Tears from Jenny, who broke down on her 14th birthday when she realized that she had aged out of the adoption system without being chosen. The final realization that she would never know what it meant to have a mom or dad of her own caused her to fall into a deep depression. Tears from Lily, a 17-year-old girl whom I had given my jacket after she admired it. When she refused to accept it initially, I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “But of course you have to take it because you are like family to me.” And it was at that one word, “family,” that this normally stoic young lady broke down and sobbed uncontrollably, as it is the one thing that she longed for.
By far, however, the most emotional moment of my time in China came one night when I was able to meet with a group of older orphaned teens I had watched grow up over a five year period. Every time I would visit their orphanage, I would enjoy getting to know them more. They all seemed so close, such good friends, and they always had smiles for me when I arrived. That night, however, was a night when the kids finally let their guard down. It was a night of real conversation and sharing what it means to grow up as an orphan. Toward the end of the evening we were all in tears. Afterwards, one of the older boys stayed to talk with me privately. I am hesitant to even write of it now as it was such a deeply personal and emotionally raw conversation.I will share, however, that he told me that growing up without a mother or father “hurts more than death.”

 Again, I LOVE my friends and family who have adopted from the foster care system.  They are Jesus to precious kiddos who need a family! And so are we and my friend Judy and my many friends who have adopted internationally.  God leads us each where he needs us.  My heart is with these precious kiddos who if they continue in an orphanage will never know the love of a family.  I hope this helps to give you some insight into our hearts and our decision.

Much love from the Shuberts!

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