Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A little off my usual topic

You know how cute Dasha is. As you may well guess, she is still the most amazing cutie. Seeing as that is not going to change any time soon, I thought I'd venture off onto a topic that has been on my heart for a little while. I hope this is recieved in the spirit it is written, and it is just my opinion. As much as I like to believe I am always right, I know that is not the case.
So this is just what has been rankling around in my head. What do you think? Am I off, or what?

Here goes:
During our Church service, my church prayed for my family before we left. I was and am very grateful for all the sustaining prayers then and while we were away. However, one aspect of the prayer left me bristling a little. It took me a bit to figure out what is was that didn't sit right with me. they prayed for our trip as we embarked on our ministry of adoption. So what's wrong with that?

Well, I guess I don't view the fact that we have adopted 6 children as my "ministry".

Adoption is simply how God has chosen to fill my quiver.
They are my children.
I parent them.
They are not a ministry.

Maybe I am wrong here, but here's how I see it.

I mean, do families with only birth children view their children as their ministry?
Does the husband come downstairs and say, "Honey, I've been going over the numbers, reviewing our ministry, and I think it's time we expand. Take a look at these projections and let me know what you think."

"OOOOh, this does look good. You're right. Come on, let's go and PUT A BABY IN ME!"

I am being purposefully silly here, but I think you get my point. Your children aren't a ministry.
They are family. My friends have always told me that they kind of got the itch for another child and went for it. Sometimes it was a bit of a suprise, but no one has ever said that as a ministry, they were deciding to have another child. Even within our own adoption dicisions, we never chose to adopt because it was a ministry move. Definately the Holy Spirit moved within us, showing us that there were children who needed a family and we were to be that family, but it was us saying yes to the blessing the Lord had for us. In acting in obedience to the Holy Spirit's guidance, we met the needs of orphans and our need to obey, but we didn't take on more ministry. While we all definately minister to our children, they aren't a ministry.

I am rambling, but continuing on:

There are aspects of adoption that fall under orphan care, no doubt. In fact, everything up until the judge says they are yours IS orphan care. After that, it is parenting the kids God blessed you with. I have 6 children by adoption in my home, but there aren't any orphans here.

Adoption agencies are ministries. Orphan advocacy groups are ministries. Adoption grant funds are ministries.
Me parenting my children is not a ministry.

I have issues about thinking that way. Ministries are not forever. You can scale back on your ministry. You can quit a ministry. You can turn it over to someone else. You can't do that with a family. If I were to view my children as a ministry it would imply that it was not quite permanent. That if I got tired, or sick or felt under appreciated, I could step out. With family, that is not an option.

I do have an adoption related ministry. Whenever I am asked to share our family's story and it inspires someone to action, every time someone asks me how to go about starting the adoption process, or asks for a referral of an agency, or asks for support or advice once their child is home, or I prepare a meal for when they get home, or get their mail, mow their lawn, watch their other children while they are gone, that's my ministry.

As for us and our 2 Russian, 3 Ethiopian, and 1 Ukrainian born children, well, they are my family.

Psalms 113:9 (new century version)
He gives children to the woman who has none and makes her a happy mother.

11 comments:

Bridget said...

Well put. I did not hear rambling I heard truth. I think what you do for others is a God given talent and your ministry is to help the lost find what they can do to help the orphans. Some people , like myself have found children and others find purpose. And I know I can speak for many when I say thank you for all you do...It's our pleasure to receive your talent and direction.

Bonnie said...

I get what you are saying - but 2 things to think about one is that our children birth or adopted are the biggest mission field/ ministry that parents have (I know that wasn't the gist of what your pastor was praying for but non the less it is true that the most likely way for your kids to come to know Christ it thru you. And 2 alot of folks adopt because they have seen others be successful at it - it encourages them to say yes when the Holy Spirit whispers to them.

positivelyorphaned.org said...

I hear you. The other thing that irks me is when people say they are 'saving' children - no pressure kids, but I saved your life. No. We adopt them because we want to parent them and be their family. They do not owe us anything. They are not a charity or a ministry or a project - they are family.

Molly said...

Traci,

I just found your blog through RR... I have really enjoyed looking at all of the photos of Dasha. She is beautiful! We're trying to adopt Erika & Ilya from #33.

Charissa said...

I hear what you're saying, but also knowing the fate of many children whether they are in abusive homes or being raised in orphanages, I believe adoption absolutely is saving a child and is ministry. At the same time it is a beautiful way to grow a family. Having been offered children last year for adoption who had been recruited from their loving families, I am really sensitive to this. Adoption should be totally child focused not parent focused, and if the child doesn't need 'saving' then why shouldn't we leave them exactly where they are, with their first families. That said, I think being a parent, whether by biology or adoption IS the greatest ministry we could ever be called to. I understand what you are saying though. Our adopted kids shouldn't feel that we just adopted them to fulfill a ministry just like a woman doesn't want to think her husband married her just because God told him to. But when I look into my kid's eyes and try to answer the hard questions of why am I here instead of with my mother....I better have a more reasonable answer than than we just wanted to grow our family through adoption. These kinds of issues are so delicate and I am praying I have just the right answers someday to help ease the pain of their incredible losses.

traci said...

I didn't mean to get preachy or overbearing. I just realize that statement hit me the same way it hits me when people ask insensitive adoption questions:
Are they your real kids?
Are they related?
Can't you have any of your own?
So this is your Ministry?
See what I mean? They are not my ministry, they are my FAMILY.
I don't ever want my kids to think I adopted them out of some sense of duty. I want them to know that it has been my honor, priviledge and joy to become their mom.

Holly said...

Traci,
I do understand your view but I DO see my children as my ministry. ALL of them...biological, adopted and waiting in China.
Many times I have had to stop, rearrange my priorities and remind myself that my ministry is at HOME with my children, teaching, instructing, training, loving, preparing, equipping...you get the picture. No, I didn't think about getting pregnant OR adopting as a ministry, but I do think that my family IS my main ministry at this stage of my life. I hope this makes sense.
Blessings,
Holly

Cindi Campbell said...

I understand what you are saying BUT.....My family is my ministry! It is my first calling outside of ministering to the Lord or my husband. My children have needs that supersede anything else I could be/or have been asked to do in the context of any church duties. I am not the least bit offended but actually am offended when people do not realize that I cannot fill my plate with other church duties. Did I save them? No! The Lord has saved them . My adult adopted daughter knows what she was saved from by being adopted into our family and we have always told her that she was adopted into our family by the will of God and that He has a greater plan than she could ever imagine on her own. It was His idea, He put it into our hearts and we are His hands and feet.

Kevin and Sue Krippel said...

Your heart clearly shows that your children are definitely not an obligation or a mere duty but the definition of ministry is so much more than that. Ministry is our service for the Lord and quite possibly our calling. Romans 12:1-2. We are ministering or serving our families and ultimately God. When we think of ministry as obligatory, dutiful service to a project or entity it is cold and heartless but our ministry to our families and the Lord is anything but that. Personally, I think it is good to view our families as our ministry. A ministry that is a great sacrifice but also as you said an honor, privilege and joy. I hope and pray my ministry is effective for the salvation of my children, a witness to a lost world and to bring glory to our great God and King.

Dawn said...

Very well said...I think this is more confusing to those who have not adopted then to adoptive parents. You do minister when you also HELP others with adoption expenses as well.But the love for our children birth and adopted is the same so they are just our family...some one who has not adopted can not know this truth.

traci said...

I agree with all of you who so eloquently describe your family as your ministry. You and I feel the same way here.
I am talking about the act of adoption itself as a ministry. I don't think you view the act of procreating as a ministry. To reduce the formation of my family down to the act of adoption as a ministry, to me devalues the magnitude of what it means to be a family. That somehow the importance and value of my family are negated, and merely the act of adopton itself is the focus.
This is what offended me but it is quite possible that I was and am being overly sensitive. This is just everything that statement stirred up in me.
I guess it's like people who would rather have you say "make an adoption plan, over "gave up for adoption."
I want you to pray for the formation of my family, rather than my ministry of adoption.