This is the place where we are have documented the road we have walked in order to adopt our four children from Brazil and the road we are now on as a family. We are keenly aware that adopting is not just a process we've chosen to go through, but part of God's plan for us and for our children. May He be glorified through the process and through our family!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stop admiring us, please

I've been rolling this post around in my mind for weeks, it seems, and I'm still not sure it will come out quite right.  We want to give the right amount of respect and appreciation to all of the people in our life who are approving and supportive of our family, but we both feel like the time has come to clarify why we adopted and... and why we didn't.

Some very loving people in our lives have said things like, "those kids are so lucky to have you," and "what a good thing you've done," and "we admire you so much," and "you're such good people," and  "you're going straight to heaven for this." (Click here for some more explanation on that last one.) One well-meaning new friend even bowed at us when we told her who our children are.

I'm never quite sure how to respond to this kind of comment, but it always makes me feel more than a little uncomfortable.  Let's talk about not worthy!  US?  Not even close!  Having Maynara, Lucas, Luana and Brayan as our daughters and sons is the most humbling experience either of us has ever experienced.  And even thinking that something that we did or some admirable virtue that we posessed was what got them here in our family couldn't be farther from the truth.  Look back 3 years ago in this blog and you'll see that if things had gone according to the way we had originally imagined, our family would look nothing like it does today.  And we can't imagine, even for a minute, our family being any way other than the way it is today.

The children who are upstairs asleep in their beds as I sit and ponder what it means to be thier mother... those kids are my children.  They are my sons and daughers just as much as if each one had been born to us on the day of their first breath.  And on the day, 10 years ago, when we were 19 year old college sophomores and Maynara first saw the light of the Brazilian sun and cried her first cry... she was our daughter then.  And 8 years ago as we were planning the last details of our wedding day, our son Abraao Lucas was coming into the world.  And 6 years ago when we were struggling to  make ends meet while James was in school and I was trying to figure out how to be a decent teacher, our daugher Luana was born two days before her father's birthday.  And 4 years ago when we were deciding that we would grow our family through adoption, our youngest son Brayan was meeting his sisters and brother for the first time as a little babe.

How could we have known what God was planning for our family?  How can we know what plans He still has in store for us?  It was not because we obeyed that He rewarded us with this family.  This was always our family, and He was faithful to reveal that fact one little bit at at time while teaching us to trust His ways, not ours.

Adopting is not and should not be an act of charity or rescuing.  Of course, there is a very real sense (in many cases) in which being adoption equals being rescued (think Haiti), but adoption is not about rescuing, it is about uniting families.

Here's another pair of comments we've heard several times since coming home with our children, "I always wanted to adopt" and "we're really thinking about adoption, especially because of what we've seen in your family."  I'm always a little shy about answering these comments too, but my heart wants to scream out, "DO IT!"  If you feel the slightest tug toward adopting or fostering children, in the US or abroad, because of what you've seen God do in our family and others like ours... DO IT!  At least look into it and start asking the tough questions:  Do I really want a family?  What adoption agency can answer  my questions?  How can I afford the process?  Am I called to adopt domestically or internationally, an infant, an older child, or a sibling group?  How do I make it happen?  Ask yourself.  Ask us.  Ask any adoptive family.  It's not impossible.  It's not unaffordable.  You're not too old and you're not too young, and you DO have room in your heart for a child that was not born from your womb.  If God has a child out there for you, He will give you all the love you need and you'll be surprised how much of it there is!

Stepping down off that little soapbox I just built myself... we really just want to reflect God's goodness to us by loving and raising our children as best we can.  We don't want to be on anyone's pedistal.  We want to step out of the way and let you bow before the Creator of the universe who also created this family.  Just the way it is.


Julia said...

That's so lovely, Kim. It is such a blessing to see you walk through this process.

jane said...

Kim, I am honored to see how you have become a awesome women of God! I am so proud of you and James. Congrats on your new addition's. By the way your day shared a pic from the kid's first experience with snow it was great.
FWC, Jane Zotter

Colleen said...

Well said.

We love you guys!

crazyblindchick said...

Hi Kim -

I think your timidness at accepting all the admiration is a great reflection of your humility; but I want to assure you that you needn't feel shy about the accolades you guys are receiving. The fact remains that the world is filled with parentless children who would be bless to have a couple like you and James welcome them into a home. Your faith requires you to ascribe your huge heart to God, but no matter how your heart became so huge, at the end of the day - you have a huge heart. :-) I think you guys are an inspiration, just your way of being you amounts to as much. You don't think you've done anything special since you live with yourselves every day - but the rest of us see something very special there. Be it God or be it something else, you live the life of great role models.

T Tesfamichael said...

Kim, James,

I don't know either of you very well. I went to school with James many years ago at Tech. But what I will say your act to adopt is what I believe to be a ministry. I believe that all parents are ministers, and should also consider themselves stewards. I admire you not for adopting, but for hastening to what God calls you to do...whatever that may be. From what you share, you have been convicted to minister through your family not only to your children, but to others who may not understand or appreciate how family edify communities. Sometimes, God calls us to do things we do not understand or even want to do, but I am thankful to read stories about people in my network who delight in the fruits of the spirit. As a parent, it encourages me. As a person, It somehow affirms that I still make decent decisions about even loose associations that influence my life.

And seeking God's will for your life is always to be admired. It gives others permission to do the same.