"Isn't it harder to raise an adopted child?" the friend asked. My husband smiled. I'm sure his mind must have raced with all the memories that flooded over him. Mine would have, because there are so many.
Two to three hour rages from a five-year-old, chronic lying from a teen, the twelve-foot flames from our son's unauthorized fire that quickly got out of control, cussing, countless broken items, and the list goes on. But that's not why Shawn smiled. He smiled because he could compare those incidents with the results. Those are not the same things we deal with today.
"Yes, it can be pretty rough at the beginning," Shawn said, "But the kids change..." A light went on in the man's eyes. He understood. As well he should. He is a pastor. He deals with changing lives all the time. But, somehow, it's easy to forget that children can change too.
Media reports the sensational. This includes adoption stories as well. The little boy who got a one-way ticket back to Russia because he was "too difficult" to handle. The young man who murdered his adoptive parents. The girls adopted from an orphanage who terrorized their parents. Yes, these stories are true and, yes, there are risks, but...
Don't we take a risk with everything we do? When we travel, there's the risk we may crash. When we conceive, there's a risk that something could go wrong during the pregnancy. When we eat there's a risk we might choke. When we marry, there's the risk we may divorce or be widowed. Life is full of risks. And that's where faith comes in. Is my God stronger than the risk He is asking me to take?
If God is calling you to adopt, He is also telling you He will be there to walk you down that road completely. He will hold your hand through every crisis and carry you over every chasm. He will not leave you alone. Ever. (See Hebrews 13:5). It will not be perfect. It will not always be easy. It will simply be worth it.
On that sunny day in Georgia, Shawn smiled because he remembered all the tough times we had gone through and could see the changes that have occurred. Our children are not the same troubled, broken kids they were when we got them. It has taken time, energy, some tears, and many, many prayers, but they are different kids today and they know it. Not only do we smile about the changes, most importantly, they smile too.
"I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5