Friday, February 11, 2011

How could you do that to your kids?

This is a question I've heard from people over the years. "How can you take those precious children to China for two years?" "How can you think about moving to India with those children?" "What about your REAL children...(when you adopt)? What will it do to them?" [This causes me to shudder as I realize that others place a separation between our biological children and our someday-to-be adopted children!]

These are real questions I have fielded. From people I love.

How can we do these "mean" things to our children? How can we cart them halfway around the world in the name of Christ? How can we upheave their world by adopting orphans who have an unknown past and might bring in unknown diseases? How can we return their Christmas presents and give to the poor instead?

We are called to do these things, not as individuals, but as a family. We do things together. That means serving God too.

It wasn't my idea...we tried tirelessly to go overseas before we had children. God stopped our plans each time. It wasn't until Jensi was 3 and Anneli was 1 that God opened the door and rolled out the red carpet for us to go. And we did. And it was amazing. We saw Him work miracles, both in us and around us. We went through great hardship, but He was enough for us and carried us through.

Certainly, you must know, as human beings we want to shelter our children from pain, hardship and turmoil. We want nothing to touch them that hurts. But don't we all know that our character grows best under the pain of these very things? Consider how a diamond is made--PRESSURE! Might we be praying a more effective prayer if we prayed for God to do whatever He needed to so that we might grow closer to Him rather than 'keep us safe,' or' keep us healthy' or 'bless us' with stuff?

I honestly think I thought I was saving my baby (Oskar) as I allowed Jensi, Anneli and Oliver's hands to be on my belly as they would boldly pray in their childlike faith, "Please God, let this baby live!" I couldn't fathom that God would ever allow a third child of ours to die. I truly thought that by involving my kids, God would protect their hearts from such pain and allow the baby inside me to live. (This is all months before we had any clue that he would in fact die at 39 weeks.)

But guess what? Our sweet Oskar did die. My children, the very same ones who prayed and did not receive what they asked for, walked through the grief with us as a family. They attended their baby brother's funeral, kissed his casket and squeezed my hand when the anniversaries roll around and the tears roll down my cheeks. We have experienced this as a family. And as a family, we have met God in the depths of our despair. Ask any of my children and they will tell you that GOD IS ENOUGH. No matter what they face, they know that He is real and He will help them to learn, grow and glorify Him through it.

So I don't see the fear that others do in our adoption. Questions like "how could we do this to our biological kids" doesn't even compute. How could we not? If God is asking us to take this journey, one that will cause our very family structure to change forever, how could we not include our children in such an opportunity? Even if it goes atrociously bad (which it could), would it still not be worth it? What is the value of living out our faith with our children? Teaching them what forgiveness looks like on a daily basis; learning what it means to love sacrificially; learning how to have faith in God when circumstances say that you should give up. In the end, is that not worth it? And would the fear of such pain seriously cause us to turn around and disobey God's command in our lives? I think you know the answer.

"Truly, truly, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24.

We are in the process of dying to ourselves, that we might bear much fruit. It is our prayer that God is glorified through ALL we do. 


  1. Amy and family your faith is AMAZING. I'm blown away by your heart for God. It calls me higher! I struggle so often with faith and wanting to hold on to things because it gives me "security." The truth is that GOD IS ENOUGH and He has taught me that through every struggle, every hardship and every challenge that serving Him and walking with Him is the only true security. Thank you for loving God with all of your heart, mind, strength and soul. I want to share this scripture that just came to mind: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those being saved it is the POWER of God (1 Corinthians 1:18)." What you are doing may be foolishness to some who don't understand, but to those wonderful and fortunate children in China it is God's power, grace, mercy and love embdied.

    God bless your heart and your life.

    With Christ's Love,

  2. When Heather and I decided to follow our calling and go to China, we heard all kinds of comments. Most were encouraging, but many were not. Even my own grandmother, who reads the Bible every day, asked why I would "do something so stupid" as to take my children to a foreign country. Here is my answer:

    First of all, don't you know the Gospel? Did you conveniently forget that part that says "go into all the world?" Did you add the words "if you are called"? to the end of that passage? Guess what? That passage is directed at you! How can you take all of Jesus' other commandments literally but assign this passage to only those special few who have been called to missions?

    There is nothing as satisfying as being in the manifest presence of the Father. If you have never experienced the tangible love of God, when it's so thick in the room that you can hardy stand, then you haven't experienced Him! And, trust me, it's not because He is withholding from you.... When you have been in His presence, obedience is not a demand on your life, it is the deepest desire of your heart! That love makes you trust Him with a reckless abandon-at least it feels like reckless abandon. But, Father has plans to prosper us, not harm us. That's not to say that his will is safe. It's not! He's not a God of status quo. He's the God of extraordinary! And He has called us to do extraordinary things!

    Imagine how Peter felt when he laid hands on the man at the gate called "Beautiful". This man had been there for 40 years and had been passed many times by Jesus himself! Yet, it was Peter who was used by the Spirit to heal the man. Now, that's amazing!

    I also remind people that in the tongue is the power of life and death! I didn't make this up. It's in the Bible! Proverbs 18:21 to be exact. It's not just "if you can't say anything nice"...Your words can actually create or destroy life! Didn't God speak the world into existence? Didn't He establish the ministry of Jesus with words? Isn't Jesus, in fact, the Word of God? Think about that. Why would you speak death over what God has ordained? Words matter. Stop tearing down the Father's will that none should perish!

    This is all about relationship. You may think you have a relationship with Jesus, but if you can't feel His heartbeat for the nations, you don't know Jesus! You know about Jesus. Even the demons acknowledge who He is, but they don't walk in His will.

    Father, I pray that You get the glory, that You get the fame. I pray that we realize that we were created for Your good purpose, not ours. I pray that hearts are opened to your love and how that moves us to live in open abandon of our own well being and safety. I thank you that Jesus didn't put His safety above our need for his blood!

  3. Thanks for sharing Amy, and thanks for loving people so much that you want to share Jesus with them - no matter where they are or where they are from. I loved seeing how your "big girls" were so much a part of your ministry overseas - I still remember the crowds gathering around them to see that blond hair, and Jensi holding the baby in the market. I'm so excited to see who your new children will be...more members of your growing family! Keep showing 'em Jesus!

  4. What an amazing thing you're doing WITH your kids, not TO your kids. It's amazing that they will grow up to really know God's love for orphaned children because they will have experienced it with their siblings that were once orphaned and now are a part if their own family. It's a beautiful example of how people are lost without Christ and then are welcomed and loved into His family one day. I know that your little girls that I had the opportunity to know before we left fir our overseas adventures are so precious and were used even that young to share the Gospel. Thank you for being such an example of following Christ to your family and friends. You are a BLESSING to so many...including me. I love you all. Praying for y'all.

  5. I love every word of this. Every.word. We are a family living in China and have adopted from Ethiopia. And yes, we too have swallowed our sarcastic and non-Godly responses to the exact same questions. People have bought into the lie that we as parents exist to make our children happy. Wow, all the lies wrapped up in that. It makes us do things like not move to China, not adopt, and work tirelessly so that we can own oversized homes. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and intentionality in raising your children. Pure awesomeness.


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