Emmie and I received a particularly nasty anonymous letter in the mail yesterday about our adoption. I’ll admit it was disheartening for a few minutes, but we prayed about it and then decided that God had given us an opportunity to use the situation for good. Specifically, we want to write a post of encouragement for other people who have adopted or will adopt. Since we have started the process, we have been warned by nearly every adoptive family that we have talked to about how insensitive people will be about the adoption. They almost all said some of the most hurtful things come from unsupportive and hateful statements from people they had considered to be close friends, and even family. Yesterday was our first experience with this, though I am sure it will not be the last. People will inevitably be very insensitive about your adoption, but the best thing you can do is just move on and focus on all the other blessings God has given throughout the process.
I want to make it very clear that we are not writing this blog post to solicit some sort of pity or sympathetic response. Our goal is to encourage others throughout their adoptions. Ideally, we would like to see adoptive families who are still in the process read this post so that they will know what kind of responses they might expect. Then they can be better prepared and hopefully encouraged when situations like this inevitably happen. Beyond that, hopefully some people with negative attitudes about adoption will read this, and God will change their hearts. Above all, we hope that God gets glory for adopting us and demonstrating the gospel though us adopting our child.
As many of our friends and family know, we have been raising money for adoption. Most adoptions cost somewhere north of $30,000, and most families simply do not have the means to pay this kind of money to adopt a child. While a few of the families we have talked to have been blessed by God to the extent that they were able to do this, the vast majority of them engaged in extensive fundraising to bring their children home. Emmie has been making beanies, and I have recently started making growth rulers. God has been blessing us tremendously, and a few people who we love dearly have exceeded even our greatest hopes with their generosity in donating, time, money, and other materials for our efforts. Up to this point, one thing we had not yet done was writing fundraising letters. I really had not wanted to do this, but it was mostly my sinful pride getting in the way. After talking to many families who used many different methods to raise money, the one common method that they all seemed to use was letters to close friends and family. After praying about it, God dealt with my pride, and we decided to send the letters. After all, people send out letters for 1-2 week mission trips all the time. How much more should people be willing to contribute to adoption—a process in which we will bring a child into our family and pour the gospel into them for the rest of their life?
So we prepared a list of close to forty names of people who were close to our families and people who had supported Emmie’s numerous short term missions trips to Romania (where God planted the seed of adoption in her heart through work in orphanages) and Mexico. We made it clear that the letter was not simply a solicitation. The letters were an avenue to let these people know what God was doing in our lives and how they could participate, if God so led them to. We asked for prayer first and foremost, and also specified that while we did not expect everyone to contribute financially, we listed instructions on how to donate through our adoption agency if God so led them to. We sent two letters last week because that was all we had time to address and stamp, and then sent out the rest yesterday. It also so happened that yesterday we received a letter back from one of the two families we sent the letters to last week. The letter was anonymous—not signed and our own address was listed as the return address. After reading the letter, I can see why they did not want to include their name. Here is the text of the letter:
Zane & Emmie –
I will have to say I was quite surprised to receive your request. Indeed we are called to care for orphans. We are also called to be good stewards of our money. That means living within the confines of what we make. Having to solicit for an adoption is living outside your budget. If you cannot afford this child, wait because you will not be able to afford it once it’s here. Or adopt from our own country where adoption might be affordable. Your request is totally unrealistic in my book & I’m sure in other’s [sic] view also. If I give money it will be to my child – not yours. Best of luck & God’s blessings. Please re-evaluate your finances & thinking. Align them with God’s.
Emmie was understandably upset when she read that. Even I, who am emotionally unaroused by almost anything, just felt kind of numb after reading it. My first reaction after that was anger, but God graciously prevented that from consuming either of us. After praying and talking to a couple of trusted friends, we decided to use this letter as encouragement. Yes, this was the first person to be a little bit nasty about our adoption. But we have been encouraged by having far more friends and family come around us with love, encouragement, and support throughout the process. We have had friends donate more money than we would have ever expected. We have had friends spread the word about Emmie’s beanies and my boards. We have had friends donate I can’t even imagine how much time collecting donations of raw materials for Emmie’s crafting. And we all know how precious a resource time is. These things are all a great source of encouragement, but God’s Word is the greatest encouragement of all. We know James 1:27 still tells us to care for orphans. We know that adoption is still one of the truest pictures of the gospel—of God rescuing us helpless orphans from our sins. All of these things are beyond encouraging to us.
So my encouragement to anyone who has adopted or will adopt in the future is this: Don’t be disheartened. Rest in the Lord. Think about all the ways he has blessed you so far, and think about all the ways your friends and family have supported you. Ultimately, these things really matter, and when you hold your child in your arms, the farthest thing from your mind will be those who were hostile.
Later on, we will write one more post on this topic. Unfortunately, I have heard other Christians use many of the same arguments against adoption in the past. They are unbiblical and illogical. Hopefully, we can all be a force for correcting unbiblical thinking about adoption within the church.
Thanks for reading.