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Adoption: From the Inside Out – Sarah Thacker

I am thrilled to introduce you to another NEW columnist for 2011, Sarah Thacker.  Not only are we colleagues but we have developed a wonderful friendship.  :-)  She will share her journey of adoption and perhaps even how you can support the orphans of the world – even if you do not feel adoption is in God’s plan for you.  There is so much that can be done, so open your heart to ‘hear’ how God may be speaking to you.

Did you know that 40% of the population thinks about adopting at one time or another but only 1-2% do it?

There are a variety of reasons that people don’t adopt, but one is the fear of how it will change them or the other people in their families for worse.

Today I want to tell you how adoption has changed me (an ordinary wife and mom). It has changed me deeply from the inside out, from the depths of my soul to the tips of my fingers.

Adoption is hard. There is loss and pain in adoption. I once heard Beth Moore say, “When did we start to think that easy equals good and hard equals bad?” I couldn’t agree more. Adoption is hard, but it’s a good hard. These are the ways that I have changed:

I am compassionate. Adoption has opened my eyes to things unseen. Since I’ve adopted, I really “see” orphans. Adoption and orphan care are the biggest things on my radar. I am more compassionate to birth moms. I am more compassionate to people who parent special needs children. I am more compassionate to just the general struggles of life.

I am understanding. One of my sons has some really special needs. He looks “normal” on the outside. If you just talk to him for a minute or two, you might not see a difference. But his brain does not function “normally”. This has taught me to not judge children, parents, or situations. In my struggles to parent him, I am super slow to judge others. I do not know their circumstances. I have not walked a mile in their shoes.

I am grateful. After adopting one child who literally would’ve starved to death had he not been given to his orphanage and adopting another child that was starved by neglect, my perspective has changed. I do not want “things”. I am grateful for a warm house, food on the table, and for the people who surround the table.

I am passionate. I can remember praying and praying for God to break my heart for what breaks His. He did and I don’t think I will ever be the same. I get mad at injustice. I want to fight for the orphans. I want to fight for what is right. I want EVERY child to have a mom and dad who are crazy about them.

Adoption pushes me out of my comfort zone. It makes me consider hard questions like, “How do I explain mental illness to my son?” “How do I explain that sometimes people can’t parent well and they do very wrong things?” “Why, when there are hundreds of thousands of orphans in Haiti, was he adopted to America?” “How much does their first/birth mom think about them?” It reminds me that with tough questions there are no easy answers.

I am humble. Oh my. This one has rocked my world. I am no longer a perfect parent.  I am humble.

Closer to Jesus. I have naturally good parenting instincts. I think I could have parented my biological kids in my own strength. I *need* Jesus to parent one of my adopted sons. I don’t have enough patience, skills, or wisdom to parent his special needs. I love how I’ve needed to take each step with Jesus.

I hope if you’ve thought about adoption, that you will explore the idea more and remember that it is good to be changed from the inside out.  It is good to get out of your comfort zone. Most importantly, it is good for ALL kids to have a family.

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