Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Ideal Life

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

–A Franciscan Blessing

There has been so much on my mind recently. It's been one of those times in which I feel like i just need to sit and write. Yet, the time has not been available, and I haven't been able to find the words. We're living in an "almost....but not yet" period. Cleaning, saving, working, preparing for this new little life to join us....yet still feeling like our time is an eternity away.

We recently met with our pastor to talk adoption. We applied for a grant with a foundation that does such things, and it was a requirement of our application. However, even if we don't get approved for the grant, we walked away feeling renewed and blessed, and reminded why we trudge through this journey, which can be so ugly sometimes. So less than "ideal."


He brought that word up actually, as we spoke. We mentioned our struggle and disappointment that sometimes we didn't feel like we were successful in helping others see and understand the miracle that adoption is. He mentioned his conversations with many couples throughout the years who contemplated adoption, yet just couldn't get over the perceived "ideal" American family of house, jobs, cars, 2.5 kids who look like their parents, etc.

And it made me wonder. ..is that really "ideal?" Is that concept...that generic plan....ideal?

Now, don't get me wrong. I KNOW that adoption isn't for everyone. I also DO NOT believe everyone should adopt. It's not for everyone. Not everyone is up for it. It's hard. And it can be ugly. And I am certain that it can push some people past the point of return in their family. I'm not looking to extend judgment. However, I do believe everyone, specifically Christian families, should at least consider it. And pray about it. And at the very least, pray for or support another family who is doing it. Because the orphan crisis in this world is just that. A crisis. And if the church, the people who are supposed to be living out the love of Christ, is silent, then who shall we expect to fix it? Besides that, it's a command....not an option. Jesus doesn't give us the choice of helping the orphan. He TELLS us to. There is no choice. But I digress....

Well, I started to wonder what my family would look like if we had stuck with the perceived "ideal." What if we never adopted Rylie, or pursued Judah's adoption? What if we did what the world considered "normal," never pushed past the status quo, never rocked the boat?

Would my life be easier? Most definitely. I LIKE having 2 kids who are pretty easy, and well adjusted, and make me all mushy with love. I like their independence. I like that people don't look at us weird when we are out in public, contemplating if they are "mine." It's easy.

I would like to have a lot bigger bank account, or house, or options of what to do with my money to make my life easier and more comfortable.

I would like for my kids to be completely healthy and not have any medical needs.

I would like all of that.

But I know that just because I like something, and something is easy, doesn't make it good.

I don't want to live my life on cruise control. I don't want my faith to never be tested.

You see, back when we had our "ideal" family, we had everything the world said we should have. A home. 2 healthy kids, one boy and one girl. A dog and a yard and jobs and flexibility.

Yet, we had nothing. We were broken. We were selfish. We lived in a bubble where as long as things under our roof were ok, all was right with the world.

What we didn't realize was that things under our roof were not ok. Things in our own hearts were not ok. We were blind, yet didn't know it. We learned that there's nothing ok about turning a blind eye to the needs of the world because it makes you uncomfortable.

Enter Rylie. There is nothing ideal about her situation. There is nothing ideal about a couple travelling to the other side of the world to adopt a child who was meant to be with her birth family. There is nothing ideal about millions of kids who are in the same situation. Orphaned. Abandoned. Hopeless.

There is nothing ideal about orphanages filled with kids who are "cared for" if they are lucky...but not loved. There's nothing ideal about kids being shunned by society because of a special need. There is nothing ideal about rules within societies or situations created by other humans that force the hand of parents to abandon their children.

There's nothing ideal about spending exorbitant amounts of money to bring one of those children into your family. There's nothing ideal about having a child with special needs. There's nothing ideal about wondering if you will be the parent your child needs you to be as they navigate a life fraught with emotional issues. There's nothing ideal about choosing to bring stress into your family because that child doesn't run to you with open arms, thankful that they are with you and leaving behind the only life they have ever known.

There's nothing ideal about kids who grieve, and act out, and test, and push you away. There's nothing ideal about rejection and fear of repeated abandonment and institutional behaviors.

No, adoption isn't ideal.

But it is good.

And for us, it's the best thing that has ever happened to our family.

We were blind, but now we see.

We see the needs in this world. We see the change in our hearts and choices. We see the change in the hearts of Jonah and Reagan, as they sacrifice, and accept, and want to help those who are hurting. We see the changes in Rylie. We see how to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We see how to love when it's ugly...when it's a choice....when you don't feel like it.

And for us, that's what we call ideal.

I encourage you to pray that God would break your heart for the things that break His. Pray that He would use you for something BIG. Then sit back, and let Him show you His version of ideal. I promise, life will never look the same.


  1. This is beautiful Jennifer. Thank you for posting this.

  2. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

    We have been considering adoption ourselves. Praying and seeking.

  3. You were blind but now you see. That is a beautiful. And it pierced my heart tonight when I read it. Truer words never spoken. We were blind too...but now we see. And it is also the best thing we have ever done. So so blessed we are...and so so thankful. Best wishes to you on this last leg of your journey. I think we might have used the same agency (twice!) as you are after reading your RQ posts. They will get things done and correctly...if not exactly timely (or cost efficiently for that matter)...but that discussion is best saved for another day...

    We will be praying for you all!