by Kari Gibson/ March 5, 2015
“The answer to 168 million orphans in our world can be summed up in two words: family and church. Unless orphan care becomes personal to us it will remain something that’s ‘out there.’” —Kay Warren
Roger and I stumbled into our adoption not understanding the profound impact it would have on our entire family. We didn’t do it to rescue an orphan and honestly had no clue about the process. We adopted for only one reason . . . we love being a mom and dad.
When we adopted our daughter, and held her for the very first time in Ethiopia, my heart fell deeply in love at first sight. I know that this phenomenon doesn’t happen for everyone, but it did for me. I looked into her deep brown eyes and every love song in existence hit my heart instantaneously! I was madly in love!
I write often in my blog, My Crazy Adoption about adoption. Our story is meant solely for God’s glory and to share His miracles, faithfulness, and love, and to be an encouragement to others. We were all created to love big and serve big.
Adoption is radical hospitality and is not for every family. But, caring for orphans IS for everybody.
Our daughter’s adoption was an overflow of blessings, but the real change happened in my life when I started visiting orphans on the mission field. If God places a desire to grow your family though adoption, this will be a miraculous journey of love. However, God has commanded us all to care for orphans. Adoption and orphan care go hand in hand.
Believe me, I know people thought Roger and I were seriously crazy in 2013 when we sold our home, quit our day jobs, and lived in three third-world countries with our children for fifteen months to love big and serve big. Honestly, at times, I thought we were a little crazy too.
The culture around us probably thought we wasted money and time being happy helpers to missionaries and ministries by doing crazy things like: sharing the gospel, caring for the sick, spending time loving orphans, and on and on! This much I know: when God allowed us to GO, regardless of all the “things” we might have lost, we gained more than we could ever imagine.
I’m thankful that God stretched us, and used us, and grew us, and challenged us, and loved us through every twist and turn and bump (and there were bumps!) on our God-sized adventure.
Caring for orphans models God’s love.
I want to model for my own children the importance of sharing Christ with my actions. I recently had this conversation with my youngest daughter about my upcoming trip to Uganda to work with the ministry Sole Hope. It’s important for her to know that sharing her mommy with others makes an impact for the Kingdom.
“Mom, why are you going to Uganda?” my youngest asked me, frowning.
I gathered her in my arms and said, “Baby, it’s a special trip for Mommy to help kids with jiggers in their feet feel better and loved.”
“But, I want you home with me,” she said firmly.
“I know you do, but I promise I’ll be home soon and can’t wait to tell you stories about the kids you shared Mommy with,” I said hugging her tightly.
Teaching our children how to care for others who are hurting, orphaned, helpless, and lost can radically change the way your family looks at the world.
Teaching our children to love big, respect, value, and honor others’ cultural differences can change the way your family treats other human beings.
What will you do?
The best encouragement I can pass on to you is simply . . . go. You don’t have to sell your home or stuff, but do go and serve locally, or go on a mission trip to love orphans.
Learn the truth that David Platt articulated so beautifully in his book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream: “We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”
Live James 1:27 out loud: “look after orphans and widows in their distress.”