Ryan and I are not particularly equipped for this. Deciding to adopt a child with special needs wasn’t a plan that we had or even a distant dream that we thought we one day would make a reality. The truth is, we weren’t really interested in international adoption. And if you were to look at our “range of acceptance” when we were going to adopt domestically in 2010, you’ll see that we weren’t particularly open to adopting a child with special needs.
We have enjoyed a comfortable life, with Ryan working out of a home office and me spending my time volunteering before Ben came along, and being a stay at home mom once he arrived. Like most people, we like life to be easy. We each have our hobbies, we enjoy going out to eat, sleeping in, and spending time with our friends. I don’t cook much and I only clean when the mood strikes me or when we have company coming over (and those two occasions typically overlap). Fixing meals for children and changing diapers isn’t our idea of a good time. I would bet the latter isn’t yours either.
Ryan does well with his work but our income fluctuates every year depending on contracts and projects. Having his own business means that we don’t receive benefits from an employer, so we purchase individual health insurance and are in charge of managing our own savings and investments for retirement. There is a certain level of instability but such is the life of someone who is self-employed.
So why am I telling you this?
Because Paul has only been home a month and I’ve heard a number of people tell me how they “just couldn’t do it.” They just couldn’t do what we’ve done. Maybe that is supposed to act as a compliment to us. Forgive me if I am not being gracious, but all I think about are the faces of the children that I left at the orphanage in Ukraine. And I want to say, “I can’t do it either!” but the words just don’t come out. I have a long list of reasons why I am not the ideal person for this, including both lifestyle habits and preferences, and personality traits (flaws, if we’re being honest).
I would love to hear the reasons why someone just can’t do it. They are probably the same reasons why I can’t do it either.
We are not immune to the things that people fear when they think about adopting a child with special needs. Paul will probably live with us until we are old. We could lose him when he is young due to medical complications (his heart surgery is hopefully towards the end of January, by the way). We will be tired and impatient and grumpy when we will have to work with him to accomplish things like walking and reading. I don’t even want to think about toilet training. We could suffer financially from the hospital bills (remember, individual insurance means that our premiums can and most likely will skyrockets once they figure out Paul’s medical needs).
If we have to be comfortable and prepared and secure and confident for everything that comes to us in life, well, we should just stay in bed.
My Paul knows all too well the life of someone who remains in bed.
God tells Paul the Apostle, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
And St. Paul continues, “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12)
Are there reasons not to adopt? Yes, of course. But I don’t believe there are as many as you may think. And I think we should give God what is due to Him. We should trust His Word, and trust His plan, and send our fears to Hell, along with our selfishness (don’t be insulted, let’s get real, we’re all selfish). We should step out boldly, and lovingly, and with the sincere belief that God’s power and glory shines through our weaknesses and that through Him, we can do great things.
None of this is easy. I am right here with you.
Nevertheless, our strength is not our own. Our abilities are not our own. Our lives are not our own. They are His.
What would He have us do with them?
PS Justin has a $150 matching grant! This means that if you donate $10, an anonymous donor will also donate $10. If we meet this match, which must be done by Dec 12, Justin will receive a total of $300! Go help a kid out! http://reecesrainbow.org/26372/justin