Are all Christians called to adopt?

Ethiopian orphan

A baby we met last year in an orphanage in Ethiopia.

Since we decided to adopt 18 months ago, I’ve often been surprised at peoples’ responses. Many times we hear “Oh, that’s so great. I sure could never do that” or “I’m not called to adoption” or something similar. It’s as if people assume we’ve become official adoption recruiters and they are set to defend their “adoption-less” family. I’ve been careful to say that God clearly called our family to this journey. That’s all.

On a recent trip to Haiti, I visited an orphanage full of children. It was the first time I had been in an orphanage since our sons came home last summer. Suddenly, across the world from my son’s country in Africa, I was face-to-face with a hundred other Judahs and Levis. Precious children, each in need of a loving family. As I looked in their faces, I had to believe that God has a plan for their lives. With approximately 2 billion Christians in the world (“Christian” in this instance is a loose term, I know) and  approximately 147 million orphans, the numbers don’t add up to me. Maybe everyone isn’t called to adoption. But I can’t help but wonder why God wasn’t calling a follower – maybe a family in the US, or in Europe, or even a Christian Haitian family – to change the future for just one of these children.

I wonder a lot what would have happened to my boys if we hadn’t decided to answer the call to adopt, and believe me, there were times I wasn’t positive we could do it. I’m not sure if another family would have stepped in, or if our disobedience would have meant a hopeless future for my little guys. I don’t know the theologically correct answer, but I’m glad we’ll never know.

Just as often as people defend their right not to adopt, I also have people say “I think that’s something we’d love to do someday.” To which I usually politely reply, “It was an amazing experience for us.” But just once, I’d like to shock somebody and say, “Stop thinking, start praying and get going.” Ask God if there is a child somewhere in the world, maybe even in your back yard, who he has assigned to you. Could it be that he’s calling Christians, and we’re not hearing?

  • Becky Turner

    Good word, Shannon! I think you should tell them to get going!! The fields are white…

  • Tami Heim

    Love you, Agent Mom. I’m grateful you heard His call to action.
    Thanks for writing this post.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Tami. It’s a special calling…but you know that. :)

  • Anonymous

    I’ll let you know the first time I respond with “Then what are you waiting for?” I think I should, too.

  • Heather Maggio

    WOW! My husband and I have had that call for a long time, but with 3 girls of our own I get overwhelmed by the idea of another child. I start overthinking things like schedules and how would it look if we had another child. What if it was a boy? I have 3 girls, how would they react to that. Then I go back to the fact that it is all in God’s plan. You spoke to me in an intimate way I can’t describe! Consider me the one you just said “STOP THINKING, Start thinking praying, and get going!” I will call today. If just to gather information on the process. God will lead the rest.

  • Anonymous

    Heather – Wow! Thanks so much for sharing that. I really felt like this was something God put on my heart, but didn’t know for whom. I’m glad it was for you!

    The process is all baby steps…we did it one step at a time the whole way and God was faithful. I think about how many times along the way we almost stopped, and it makes me sick. We would have missed out on two of God’s greatest blessings for our family.

    Please, please keep me posted. I said a prayer for you this morning and will continue to lift you up.

  • Randy Maricle

    When the call comes, pick up the phone and say yes. i remember a conversation many years ago with a road rep about adoption. Who would have ever thought we would be where we are now. We are 15 years in and the ride only gets better. again thanks to both of you for having the courage to answer YES.