December 12, 2008

Should Christmas be canceled when you are pursuing adoption?

BodeChristmasThis is actually a question I have posed to myself -- tongue in cheek -- because we have had five of our children placed with us during the days immediately before Christmas and have wrestled with the same dilemma each time. The problem isn't whether we should celebrate the birth of Christ, but whether we should invest in the economic side of how we do it in America. Tree, gifts, spiral ham and sparkling cider -- we are not talking about gross excess here, but the simple things that are a traditional part of our culture. It’s the question of spending money that does not absolutely have to be spent while we are facing the inevitable reality of significant bills related to adoption.

With the joy of each new child, we have to work through this issue to a place where we are comfortable balancing everyday life with the need to save for those looming bills. Five separate times my Christmas list has only had two items on it: A new baby and a new Bible. The new Bible has become a joke because the ‘old’ baby is usually about 12 months old and has discovered the joy of crinkly pages and usually entire books are missing by his first birthday. The baby request is pretty self-explanatory: there never is a question about committing to the adoption expenses. But that $30 Bible! More than once I have anguished over requesting it.

The end result of this is that I have committed to stop and pray over things I invest my money in, not just during the holiday/adoption season, but all year round. Whether we are on a rice-and-bean diet or investing in airplane tickets to visit relatives; there is no pat answer to how our money is to be spent when we are preparing for adoption. Only God can lead us, and even amongst our closest friends we will not find a consensus on this topic.

The good news is that our Christmas is not dependent on gifts and trimmings but on the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. No placement costs change that reality. And never, ever, have we needed to cancel the joy of Christmas due to an adoption. In fact, our earthly adoptions just dial up the joy in our heavenly one. This year we are celebrating the first Christmas with our tenth child Jeremiah. He joined us in October, and so far my Bible has been safe from both him and Joe, the 'old' baby. . . . I wonder what will be on my list this year?

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