“Why am I in this family anyway?” Words casually thrown to me over the shoulder of my 8 year old as he disappeared up the basement stairs with the umpteenth load of clean laundry. This is the child that God is using to sharpen me and break down the self-sufficiency that I suffer so dreadfully from. On his next trip past I set a ‘date’ with him to meet in the bathroom and talk about it in 5 minutes. The bathroom is almost the only place in our house for this type of discussion and I can keep an ear to the kitchen in case the little girls get into mischief. Dutifully, I finished sweeping the laundry area, prayed for wisdom and approached my bathroom meeting with the totally wrong idea about where we were headed. You see, I thought he was warming up for a good complain about why he had to carry all this laundry up all these stairs, all by himself. I was ready with my standard lecture, “God has given us all tasks to do with our days and in a large family…” Thankfully, when I took this big boy into my lap, God had me ask 'why' he asked the question rather than launching automatically into the 3 minute mommy sermon.
He wanted to know the specifics of why he had to be adopted. He had hard questions ready, and I had to stop and truly think before I answered. “Did she cry when she gave me to you?” “Why couldn’t she keep me?” “Do I have sisters and brothers at her house?” “Why could she keep them but not me?” Every question was an opportunity to bring us back to God’s plans for our lives. And with every one I had to avoid the pat, socially acceptable answers that we use so carelessly with other adults.
When I thought about saying she was too poor to feed another child, my heart echoed with the cry, IS THIS THE STANDARD FOR PARENTING - WEALTH? When I thought about saying that she didn’t have a husband to help her, my heart cried out WHAT ABOUT THE WIDOW - SHOULD SHE LOOSE HER CHILDREN? And when he asked about her crying, I had to say yes, her heart was absolutely breaking. Rather than offer the standard adoption answer that she was a little sad but knew she was giving him a better chance at life.
The truth is, I have no solid answer for these questions aside from the destiny God has laid out before each of us before we are even conceived. Any good sounding, logical, politically correct answer I might come up with won’t stand up to the trials of adolescence and the storms of life. Nothing but trusting that God’s plans are absolutely right and for the good of those who love him will carry him through those testing days ahead.
Through this child’s questions I was reminded again that out of a dark valley in her life came a joyous celebration in ours. I’ve been chastened. For years I have blindly spoken the adoption platitudes that our culture has developed to understand these things. I have taken the easy road in discussions because people accept it without argument. Now I am walking into the wilderness with my 8 year old son, seeking to understand why Gods plans are so often pain filled, and how through it all we can honor God together.