Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's Heroic Overseas But Foolish Here In The USA?

A child in Kenya eats peanut butter most likely for the first time.  From our Kenya Trip 2010.

Yesterday (well today actually, but I'm posting this tomorrow for the East coast) I celebrated my "Airplane Day." This is the day that my parents got me in an airport when I was 5 months old after I had flown from South Korea to NY. 

To celebrate Jess and I borrowed someone's car and ate Korean food for lunch.  I'm grateful for a biological mother who chose to carry me for 9 months and then give me up, and I'm thankful for a family that wanted to adopt.  

Here's a thought I had recently along these lines... 

If someone opens a large orphanage in Africa or Asia it's heroic.  People look up to them as people with great faith.  

John Okinda the man we worked in Africa is a hero.  He opened up his own personal home and took in 14 children, 2 while we were there.  He's also built a large school for 300+ children.  

My friend Anneli works in China with orphans.  She's a hero too.

But I have this suspicion that if Jess and I were to open up our home to a lot of kids here in the United States, it wouldn't be viewed as heroic.  I have a feeling it would be viewed as foolish.  

"Well Jim, you don't have a stable income..."  or "Jim how are you going to take care of all of these kids?"  

Granted, this is all hypothetical, we're not thinking of opening up our "home" right now.  (Big sigh of relief, I can visualize some of your faces right now.)  But I hope if God called us to that, we'd be obedient.  

However, we have talked about the possibility of adopting some day, and most likely we will have more than 1.86 children that most Americans have.  We might end up having more kids than most people are comfortable with if we have biological children and adopt.  

So my question is what's with the double standard?  Why is it acceptable to have large orphanages overseas and not in the United States?  

I really am asking this question.  There has to be something I'm missing.  

I feel like some of the people that would think we were being foolish if we adopted, had, cared for a lot of children are the same ones that say "well can't you do ministry in your own back yard, I mean there are a lot of needs right here."  Wouldn't we be meeting some of those needs?  

Man, I'm fired up tonite.  I've been feeling under the weather, and I just read a blog post that got me pretty riled up.  I'll probably post in response to it soon.  It has nothing to do with this topic.  

Anyway.  Can you be obedient to God without taking steps of faith?  

The funny thing about faith for finances is, if you're believing God to do a miracle for your next paycheck, next meal, whatever, then you can believe God for $10 million dollars.  Because if it requires a miracle, the amount doesn't matter.  

I heard someone say "I don't want to be on the wrong side of that statistic when I stand before God."  

The book of James says this: 

James 1:27 "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."

But Jim... the next year we'd have a whole new group of orphans...  Yes, I realize that.  And I realize that there is no "simple" solution to this problem.  And adoption is a process.  BUT what if more Christians DID start adopting and raising kids in Godly ways, what impact would that have on the world?

Here's some statistics on kids in foster care in the United States if you want to check them out.  

I can think of two families right off the top of my head that have more than doubled their family size and adopted 3 children.  They got their worlds turned upside down.  I in no way think adding more children to your family is ever easy.  But as much as I wish Jesus would have promised following Him would be easy... He never said that.  Thank you to those two families.  You're heros.  

Jim this is so overwhelming... there is no way I can adopt right now... what can I do?  

You can PRAY and you can GIVE.  Adoption is a costly process.  I know of two families right now who are in the process of adopting.... and they are AWESOME families.  

The Rainwater's are good friends of ours who are adopting from Haiti.   

And The Reinard's are some other good friends of ours who are adopting from Ethiopia.  

Engage:  What are your thoughts?  Let us know in the comments.  


  1. I never realised there was a double standard. wow. I think you're absolutely right. Great post. Great, great questions. Gotta think about this and figure out what I am going to do :) Keep asking these questions!

  2. You should look up the blog Rage Against the Minivan. She talks about lots of different stuff but also is a huge adoption advocate. She has one boy adopted from LA and one boy from Haiti plus two girls biologically. She talks a lot about how we as Christians could be doing much much more for the orphans of the world. She also talks a lot about interracial adoption. She'd agree with your points!

  3. Or course I love this post since this topic is near and dear to my heart. And I really don't have an answer to your question. I know many people think my family is crazy because there are 6 bio kids and then my parents decided to adopt... when they were in their late 40's! A book I am currently reading is "Orphan Justice: Caring for Orphans Beyond Adopting." This book has really made me think. Yes, I whole heartedly support adoption. But there are also children who are "unadoptable" for several reasons, I have met too many kids who will never be adopted. This book really gives ideas of how we can help those children too. One of my little guys in China will be number 12 in his adoptive family. I think he will be their 9th from China. And I know so many families like that who have opened their home time and time again to children.

    Thanks for the post. Very well written.

  4. really great post, Jim. definitely a double standard. maybe because in Africa/Asia the governments aren't taking care of their kids, so orphans will literally starve to death if they don't have anyone? where as here the situation isn't as dire, the kids will be on welfare and be taken care of financially by the government? good question- very thought provoking

  5. good points, thanks for sharing.

  6. interesting, what makes a kid "unadoptable?" sounds like a good read, it'd be cool if you shared what you learning!

  7. thanks for sharing that blog! I checked it out a bit. I love the name haha.

  8. thanks jeff!

  9. I'd rather be seen as foolish in the worlds eyes than rebellious in the eyes of the father.

    For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:25-29 ESV)

  10. thanks for sharing your thoughts Tracy!

  11. Great thoughts Jim! I am reading your blog for the first time and really enjoying it! (I don't get much time to read these days with two little ones.)

    We would like to adopt one day. We've talked about adopting here in Albania but not sure if we can or not. The majority of children in the orphanages here are "unadoptable." Most actually have parents that abandon them and don't want to take care of them (especially Gypsy's) so the orphanage takes care of them. But you are not allowed to adopt them because technically they have parents. There are very few truly orphaned kids here that are adopt-able. It breaks my heart that all these kids need loving parents but I can't adopt them because technically they are only abandoned.

  12. hey Rachel, thanks for reading! I've just recently learned about children that are "unadoptable" that is CRAZY to me. I'll shoot you a message and we can catch up!


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