1. great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering, or trouble. 2. a state of extreme necessity or misfortune.
The word “distress” has taken on a new meaning for me. I’ve never given much attention to the weight of this word. Until now. “Great pain…sorrow… acute mental or emotional suffering.” It feels as if this word is moving into my heart and taking root. For now that is okay. Because there are many who feel, or will feel, the weight of this word in very tangible ways. They will feel the aloneness, the hopelessness, the fearsomeness of this word. Now I no longer read this Scripture the same way:
“Pure & undefiled religion before our God & Father is this:to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:27
Though adoption is a beautiful journey, I have found that, at least at this stage for us, it is an uncomfortable journey. As many of you know domestic infant adoption is an expensive journey. But despite the $22,500 price tag, we press on.
$22,500. That is a lot of money for many of us. It made me feel uncomfortable because I knew that we could not do this on our own and we need help. We have prayed and asked God for help. So we are spading through every detail of our finances. We are seeking any and every fundraiser possible. When we reach $9,500 we will be able to apply for grants, and we will. And as we do all of this I still believe that God also works through the hands and feet of others, so we have begun the process of asking everyone we know for help. This is uncomfortable, or at least it was. Until it hit us.
Only $22,500 stands in the way of us bringing our child home. This means there are at least 22,500 obstacles in the way of meeting, holding, knowing, and loving our son or daughter for as long as we have breath; 22,500 “obstacles” in the way of him or her never having to live with the word “distress.” What parent wouldn’t do whatever it takes to remove however many obstacles that stand in the way of them and their child? We would do it for Ian, no matter the cost because he is our son. We must do it for his brother or sister because he or she is our child.
Is. Not will be. Is. See, “is” has become another word that has moved into our hearts. But this one I cannot adequately explain. All I can say is that adoption feels very close to what it felt when Alison was pregnant with Ian. It just is because we know that somewhere a child will be waiting for us to bring him or her home. Somewhere a birth-mom/dad realizes they are not able to take care of this child and will demonstrate a love so deep that they will make a plan for this child to have what he or she deserves: to have life and to know and experience the love of a family.
We have met birth-moms who have done this. We learned that these moms did not make this decision lightly. They made a choice in love to make a way for love. Somewhere we know there is a birth-mom who will choose us. So we will tear away at all 22,500 obstacles until nothing but time stands in the way of us and our child. We have to. And we believe with all our hearts that God is a “father to the fatherless” (Ps. 68:5), and He has asked us to join Him in making sure that in at least this one child, “distress” will not become a word that he or she will live with.
What we have found is that many of you have become (and are becoming) an answer to this prayer. For all who have, thank you. For all who will, thank you. For all who are reading, please consider helping us. For simply considering, I say thank you.
Now I would like to outline the story of adoption in a different way. It goes something like this:
- In 1 year 145 million children are living without families worldwide
- In 1 month 3,858 children enter foster care in the US
- In 1 week 33 children are adopted by a family
- In 1 day 3,287 children are aborted in the US
- If 1 family in every church in America adopted 1 child there would be no more children in foster care. (statistics published by Bethany Christian Services)
There are at least five ways we can all make a difference in this story:
1. Don’t let the story of these children be lost on you.
2. Pray for these orphans and that families will be found by them.
3. Sponsor an orphan anywhere in the world (see www.christianrelieffund.org).
4. Help a family–any family–make their adoption journey a reality by financial gifts, helping in fundraising, grant writing, etc.
5. Prayerfully consider becoming an adoptive family (see www.bethany.org)
“Pure & undefiled religion before our God & Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27
I’m always glad to learn about adoption stories. I pray it goes well for you.