I asked our caseworker this question multiple times at the first of four meetings as a part of our home study. For those of you who do not know very much about the adoption process, the home study is meant to assess the readiness of the family for adoption. The caseworker assesses everything he or she can about your lives over about twelve hours of interviews, including: family background, statements, and references; education and employment; relationships and social life; daily routines; parenting experiences; past trauma; details about our home; assessing our readiness and desires for adoption; etc.
Yesterday was our first home study meeting. It didn’t take long to figure out that the most challenging part about the home study isn’t its length (some can take as long as six months depending on the case load of your case worker or the diligence of the adopting family to complete the necessary paper work). The most challenging aspect about a home study is probably the fact that it’s invasive. It’s a deeply personal process meant to prepare you for adoption, that at the same time, forces you to ask why you are pursuing adoption in the first place.
I couldn’t help but wonder if our caseworker thought we were crazy for pursuing adoption. After all, I know that some of the folks reading this blog probably think we are. I remember telling an older lady recently we were adopting. After closing her gaping-wide mouth, she said in disbelief, “Why? You already have a big family.” She’s right. We have four energetic, super-active kids. Our quiver and our lives are full. Super full. Wonderfully full. And not only is our life full, but it’s pretty predictable right now. It’s normal.
It’s the normalcy of our lives that makes the prospect of adoption feel truly crazy. We are willingly exchanging our normal, somewhat predictable lives, for the unknown. Things are going to change in our home; significantly, if not dramatically. I was struck by this reality during our meeting yesterday, as well as in reflection upon a conversation I had with a good friend on the challenges they are facing in adoption. This isn’t a safe choice. Loving? Yes. Sacrificial? Yes. God-honoring? Yes. But certainly not safe. Or predictable. And some of you may not even think it’s rational.
But Emily and I think God wants us to cast off normal for the sake of displaying a tangible, real-life picture of what it means for God the Father to adopt us through faith in the Son Jesus Christ. I know people talk about being “called” to adopt. Frankly, I’m not even sure I know what that means exactly. It’s like when people talk about being “called” to home school. People aren’t called to home school any more than they are “called” to send their kids to public school. They are just doing what they think is best for their children and family in faith before the Father.
I’m not sure that orphan care is as much about “calling” as it is about obedience to God’s Word (James 1:27). Adoption indicates a willingness to be open-handed before the LORD and say, “We will accept whatever opportunities you put in front us to care for orphans and widows. As you give us opportunity, we will obey in the strength that You provide.” We are all “called” to care for orphans. That’s it. Period. There are many practical ways to obey God in the “call” to care for orphans, and adoption is one of them.
The second time I asked our caseworker if she thought we were crazy, she smiled and said, “No. Of course not. You’re not crazy. But don’t ask me that again!” She laughed as she replied. So, I won’t, even on those days that I’m wondering to myself, “Are we crazy?” God’s grace is sufficient for us in our weakness. I know that, but I’m sure we’re going to learn how true that promise is in the days ahead in ways we’ve never experienced before.