Saturday, November 10, 2012

Orphan Sunday

There are a lot of made up holidays out there. National Mustache Month, Talk Like a Pirate Day, Valentine's Day. Most of these holidays that aren't really connected with something significant don't make much of an impact on the global scene. My life stays relatively unchanged even if I choose to walk around saying "argh" for one day of the year.

But last Sunday was Orphan Sunday. Yes, another truly made up day. A day initially started in Zambia that spread across the world for churches to talk about the orphan situation. To talk about the millions of children who are without families due to war, disease, natural disasters and abandonment and all the implications that go along with being alone in this world. To challenge individuals, families and churches to think about what role they might play in alleviating this tragic problem. A made-up holiday that has the potential of actually impacting millions of lives.

My church put together a video highlighting families that have already adopted as part of a way to talk about Orphan Sunday and showed it during the service. As I sat in my chair, I swung back and forth from laughter to hope to sadness at the scope of the problem. I beamed seeing several families from my own life group represented and being so honored to be a part of their lives as they've walked this incredible journey. You can see the video below.

CHBC Adoption Families

As a family who is actively waiting to adopt and one who is part of a community that is full of adoptive families, Orphan Sunday didn't feel wildly different than usual. We think about this all the time. We wonder if there are other things we can be doing while we wait. I'm so proud to be a part of a community that cares about this issue and is asking questions on a corporate scale. I'm glad that after the service, people could walk into the lobby and immediately start sponsoring a child or get information from a number of adoptive agencies. Things are happening here.

But I know it's not the same everywhere. When I hear people say things like "Wow, you're doing such a great thing" or "I don't think I could do that" I just want to ask why. Why is something that is all over the scriptures and something that is such a massive issue on the global scale something that so few families think critically about? Why is it so often "plan B" for so many of us, something we might eventually think about if we can't have biological children or only after we've had as many biological children as we want? 

Friends, don't hear me wrong. I don't necessarily think everyone should adopt. Maybe some of us aren't built for the specific types of challenges that come with this. Maybe we have children who wouldn't do well with added stress in the family. Maybe you are reading this and have a spouse who would never consider it even if you might. Who knows? What I am saying is that this problem is huge. And it's something we can't afford to ignore, especially if you call yourself a Christian. So I think it's always worth asking "How can I be involved with this issue, right here and right now."  And being open to at least laying the bigger question before God that might say "What role should I and my family play in adoption in the future? Are we meant to adopt?"

On Orphan Sunday last week, my pastor prayed a very vulnerable prayer before his sermon. He confessed to God that he was afraid of what asking some of these questions could mean for his family. He wasn't sure he would like the answer. But he was convinced by scripture and the need in the world that he still needed to ask these questions and he needed to be willing to hear the answers. And he reminded us all that God does a lot of work in us between the time when we ask a question like that and the fruition of the answer. What might be fear now could be transformed to something else in the waiting. I know this has proved true for us, even as we wait amid so much uncertainty in our own adoption process.

So, I challenge you, friends. Read about Orphan Sunday. Become aware of the huge scope of the problem every day. Check out your foster system or a local adoption agency or orphanage and see what needs they have. Be willing to ask God "What role might you have for me in all this?" and then be willing to hear the answer. Scary or not, if we trust our lives to God and care deeply for the state of the "least of these" in this world, the question is always worth asking.

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