Saturday, July 21, 2012

Surrendering My Life AND Theirs

"Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" ~Luke 9:23

This is honest...proceed with caution...  ;)

We have 2 teenagers still living at home and 1 in college. For the 2 living at home especially, our adoption came on very suddenly. Further, it wasn't just adoption. It was moving to these children's birth country for 3-6 months, a country with a reputation for poverty and a very unfamiliar government (to put it politely). 

The adoption has moved at a break neck speed. Suddenly we were asking them not only to move there, but to give up the things and activities they loved. It moved so fast we didn't have time to add on to the house. We have plenty of room but things will be much tighter for a while after we are able to return home. 

We've asked them to:

~Happily and contentedly move to a 3rd world county for an undisclosed amount of time, understanding we don't know when we are leaving or when we are coming back, where very few speak English.

~Give up things like soccer, youth group, fun times with their friends, their hobbies, their home church, their home.

~To face fears with faith of losing friends, facing diseases and other various dangers. 

~Give up their privacy and having their own bedrooms.

~Answer endless questions from well meaning people about our adoption, the timing of our leaving and the kids coming home when they were still trying to figure it out themselves. They grappled with the "are you excited??" questions when they were still reeling from the speed and shock of it all and hadn't yet worked it out in their own hearts. They feel guilty on days when their faith feels tender and unsure and they want to express doubt and fear. They want to give the "right" answer and yet long for strength, encouragement, and support without their love of the kids we are adopting being questioned. 

~Defend us to people who ask them if they realize their parents are crazy to adopt 4 kids at once. (This might have been an easier one as they were pretty sure we were crazy even BEFORE we decided to adopt 4 children! harhar) But really, this line of questioning does not exactly give them security... 

(note...if you're one asking the questions, it's really okay, just part of the faith journey!)

~Give up the financial security we were enjoying just a few short months ago as we lay it all on the line. It's all provided by God but we're trusting that it will continue to be provided when the numbers do not currently add up.

You see, our kids are OLD enough to count the cost, to SEE what is being surrendered, to QUESTION if God will come through. But yet they are not old enough to make the decision about what THEY will surrender. Being under our authority, my husband and I are responsible for that decision. God has called us and since they live in our home, they are included in that call and it is new territory for all of us to figure out what that looks like.

There is blog after blog after article after article about adoption, international travel, etc. There's plenty about surrendering our OWN lives and desires and plans to God. But not a lot written or spoken about that I have found about helping your kids, and especially kids old enough to start making their own life decisions, to understand this type of calling and surrendering. My husband and I are not just surrendering OUR lives, but THEIRS.

I know there are mission boards who will not take parents of teens because of these very facts. It's extra hard, hard on the teens and thus hard on the parents. We've felt like we're walking in uncharted territory, but since mission boards know it is hard we know we must not be the only ones to have walked this journey. Others HAVE walked this messy path.

It's just nobody seems to be talking about it. 

So we trust God with this too. We believe this is our call. And we know it is hard. But we believe that there are things we cannot just TEACH our kids, but we must SHOW them. This is a faith journey for us too, and we are learning at the same time as showing. It is vulnerable. It is scary. Our whole family is in a free fall, trusting God to catch us. We're praying and seeking God as a family. We're trying to support each other on days when one or the other of us is struggling. It's messy. 

Last Thursday the topic of the Youth Group lesson was SURRENDER. It had a whole unique meaning for our kids, because they are on this journey of surrender whether they asked for it or not. 

So, to answer the obvious question, yes they are excited about their new siblings. Yes, their heart is stirred in love for them when they get to skype or talk on the phone. 

But they would love it if a social worker showed up at the door with these kids, or if there was no requirement to live in country and miss 3-6 months at home (who wouldn't?). And as parents we would love it if there were some tried and true method of how to walk our teens through this journey. If there is, I haven't found it yet. It's a walk of faith, daily seeking God, succeeding and failing, giving wrong answers and right ones, looking great to others and bad to others, struggling through the truth and the error and the fear and the faith. 

All I can say is..."Family and Faith under construction. Thank you for your patience."

1 comment:

  1. You don't know me, but I've been reading your blog for a while now. I think I found you via the Living Proof Live Blog some time ago. I have been reading as you chronicle your adoption story and felt moved to comment today. Your family's faith and willingness to follow God down a scary (though rewarding) path is such an encouragement to me. I will be praying for all of you - you and your husband and your 7 kids as you continue this journey. Thank you for sharing your faith and reminding me that God's plans are so much better than our own.



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