Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Who's The Boss, Part 2

Who is The Boss of your life?!?

Here's Part 2 of the blog series found on the Hope for Orphans blog:

Who’s in Charge? Part Two
July 2, 2010 by John Moore

Having learned our lesson — that God is in charge, and we’re not — with our adoption of Chris and Ant, you would think Terri and I would move forward in wisdom and not put so many conditions on the children we would or would not take into our home. Then again, you would be wrong to think that.

After we adopted Chris and Ant, and after we took a short break from fostering, we opened our home again, taking in Ashley, who was twelve at the time she moved in, and fourteen when she was adopted.

Then, in the summer of 2006, we decided to open our home again, but this time, we once again decided to put parameters on the child we would be willing to accept. The lessons learned from almost losing Chris and Ant because of our own self-imposed limits were distant memories, or maybe they were lurking and we just decided to ignore them. I’m not sure.

Regardless, we asked our agency to be on the lookout for a baby for us. We had never done that before. Terri especially wanted to take care of a baby, and she actually had a pretty sound reason for wanting to do so. She figured that one day our kids would likely have babies. And like many first-time parents of babies, they would likely have questions. And like many parents who have questions about childrearing, they would likely call us and ask us what to do in certain situations. Well, Terri didn’t really want to have to say to our kids, “we don’t know what to do…call us back when they’re four.” She wanted to be able to help our kids with their babies. Noble. Practical. Not exactly selfish.

Still, the result of us acting on our desire meant that we called our agency, requested a baby, and pretty much eliminated most of the children in the foster care system from consideration. Because of our long track record with our agency, our social worker told us she would keep an eye out for a baby. It wasn’t long before we got the call – they wanted to place an eight month-old baby girl with us, a baby that was likely to be adopted. The baby was placed in another home for a few days while we got the room prepared for her. We saw pictures of her. We shopped for her. We anticipated her arrival with excitement.

Then, as things often happen in the foster care system, plans changed. The woman who kept this baby over the weekend decided she didn’t want to give her up. She had fallen in love with her, and for the first time, had decided she wanted to adopt. We were deeply saddened by the unexpected turn of events. To add insult to injury (that’s how we, in our self-absorption, saw it at the time), our social worker told us that she had gotten a call about a “problem six year-old” who needed a home. We had expected this sweet little eight month-old, and now instead we are being asked to take in a problem six year-old who was hitting the other children in her current home, and was having tantrums that lasted up to eight hours – on a daily basis.

In addition to our sadness, we were a little bitter. We questioned God. After all, we had adopted three older children, which everyone knows are generally harder to place than infants. Didn’t we deserve to get what we wanted? In a word, no. We didn’t deserve anything of the sort.

We had forgotten what this is all about. This isn’t about us building our family to look like we want it to look…this is about God using our family to accomplish what He wants. There is a huge difference. And what we didn’t see at the time, but did soon enough, was that God didn’t have an eight month-old for us at that time. He had a six year-old whose options were running out, a six year-old whose social worker said they might have to place in a group home if they couldn’t find a family for her soon. A six year-old who had been deeply hurt by recent turns of events in her life and was crying out to be noticed…and loved.

Our oldest had lived in group homes while in foster care, though when she was much older than six. A group home is no place for any child, let alone one as young as six. So again, God was compelling us to realize that He was in charge, not us. Again, He was asking us to abandon our pre-conceived notions of what we wanted in favor of what He wanted. We gave in.

Aruna came to us on August 10th, 2006, and she was adopted on April 2nd, 2008, which was the 5th anniversary of Chris and Ant’s adoption. She had some adjustment problems, and she had a few of those hours-long tantrums we had heard about and braced ourselves for. Ultimately though, God’s love touched her heart, and she began to change. Today, she is a straight-A student who has just finished the 4th grade at our church’s elementary school. She loves to sew. She loves to play video games. She loves to get on her oldest brother’s nerves, and frankly, she’s pretty good at it, too. She hasn’t had a tantrum in years.

As I mentioned, this adoption journey we have been on for over a decade is about God and His plans, not us and ours. God is simply not concerned with our plans. He isn’t concerned with how we want our family to be made up, or what we want it to look like. He is about fulfilling His purposes in the world, and as we discovered yet again, His way is always better.

We also rediscovered another truth about God back in 2006 — that He is a loving Father who loves to give good gifts to His children…and does so in abundance. Seven weeks after we were blessed with the wonderful gift of our daughter, Aruna, we got a call from our social worker. A two day-old baby girl was in need of a family that would foster and likely adopt her. Two days later, on September 29th, we brought her home from the hospital, and on August 14th, 2007, we adopted our first baby, Hallie. We made a million calls to our parents and other friends asking advice during her infancy, and we are now in a much better position to answer our children’s questions about their babies one day. We’re also in a better position to answer our kids’ questions about problem six year-olds one day.

We smile as we think back on those months in 2006 when we again wrestled with God and were again brought to our knees, first in submission and repentance, and then in gratitude and awe. Our lives are forever enriched and blessed by our precious Aruna and Hallie, and we cannot imagine what life would be like if we had gotten our way.

What an amazing God we serve.

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