Friday, May 11, 2012

Respond to the Call not the NEED

Earlier this week I was reading a fellow adopting mama's blog post and was scrolling through the long list of comments made below it.  I came across a comment that caught my eye by a women who's opinion I truly respect, Beth Templeton. You may or may not have ever heard of her, but I had the privilege of hearing her speak at the Created for Care retreat that I went to back in Feb 2011. She has an incredible testimony and offers much wisdom when it comes to world of adoption! In her response to this particular post, she offered such truth, that I find it keeps coming to mind over and over again the past couple days. Here is a what she said that has captured my thoughts...

"The key is responding to the Call, not to the need. Jesus always and only responded to what he saw his heavenly Father doing and what he heard His Father saying, and never to the need or the expectations of others. It's fascinating to read through the Gospels and see his actions from this perspective. It seems to me that the many families I have had contact with who have experienced destruction of their marriage or family structure as a result of adoption often adopted out of a sense of pressure that this is what they should do as good Christians, or in response to a very enthusiastic advocate who they respected. That does not give a strong enough foundation to deal with some of the extreme issues that many adopted children face, many not until they reach their teen years. I think it is important for people to be always encouraged to hear from God and not to overstep, so to speak, their level of faith. And if there is disagreement within the marriage about it, moving forward only with the revelation of the most conservative perspective. In our advocacy for special needs or older children (we adopted our 4 from Russia at 5, 7, 10 and 10), it is important that we don't encourage people to live out of our own faith or experience. Our role can be one of strengthening faith in this amazing God, so that others can then look to Him and hear what He is telling them-- possibly to step out of an already shattered comfort zone (as most people who are considering adoption have!) into another level of believing Him."

I LOVE this... respond to the CALL not to the NEED! How awesome is it that God has designed each one of us so uniquely different in order to accomplish His purposes AND that because He calls each of us to a different story- if we say YES, we are privileged to play a role in the most beautiful script ever written, specifically designed just for us?! Our distinct personalities, our God given passions, the way we are wired-they all play a role in what God has called us to do!  

I can say with confidence that God's call for our family has been to pursue an international adoption of a baby boy, our Isa... we didn't conjure up the idea of adoption on our own, God flipped our world "right side up" (as my hubby says) with the unexpected burden to adopt. We've had no agenda of our own this entire time, which has left us begging for God's direction and clinging to His lead! Honestly, there have been more times than not where it would have just been easier to take matters into our own hands and walk away from the whole thing, or change our parameters, or pursue an entirely different route- after all, two years into this process is WAY LONGER than we ever thought it would be! The thing is though, God continues to confirm that we are exactly where He wants us to be (maybe not always where we want to be) but exactly where HE wants us! And so we stay put until HE tells us to move. My sweet friend Nancy Powell reminded me a couple weeks ago when I was discouraged  to, "consider it a privilege that God thinks our story is worth the wait!" (thanks for reminding me of that Nancy!) His purposes are far greater than I can comprehend, He is working in facets I can't see, and my responsibility isn't to meet the need of the orphan crisis... it's to be obedient in responding to the call that He has so clearly placed before our family and to glorify Him in the process!

And so we continue to do our best to respond to the CALL (even when we're tired and wish His time frame was different than our own!) (o; 


  1. Aren't you glad it's not ultimately up to us? love you friend.

  2. I love this it just spoke to my heart and what the Lord is doing in my life! I am praying for you guys in this Journey!

  3. I LOVE this, sweet friend!!! So thankful that God's plans and timing are so perfect! We are going to make it!!! Waiting on Him will be so worth it!

  4. Thanks for the encouraging words. My calling is no where near adoption at the time but this speaks volumes to the heart of anyone who is truely seeking God's will and direction in their lives, no matter the cost! When I see the obedience of others for God's call in their life it make his voice more clear when he's calling me in a whole new direction.

  5. Very encouraging and beautiful! Thank you for posting. In a time when we are beginning our adoption and read or hear from other's condemning us for our choice, it is a breath of fresh air from someone who truly get's God's gospel and purpose for life. Thanks.

  6. Hilary, I am so glad to hear of your story of responding to God's wonderful calling voice! Blessings on you and your sweet family, including that precious Isa. Bring him home Lord!!

  7. I don't know you, just clicked on a link from another blog. I am an adoptive mom too. I think the danger in saying this is that the word "call" is fuzzy. Is it a feeling? Is it God literally opening the heavens and speaking out load? Is it something we come to through prayer and by seeking wisdom from Godly people?

    The danger in feeling "called" to adopt a baby from Africa is that there are relatively few babies in "need" of adoption in Africa. The "demand" created by Christians who feel "called" far exceeds the "supply" of waiting babies. So Christian parents who feel "called" to adopt wait year after year for a baby to adopt - while older children wait years in orphanages without a family. And while many agencies on the ground in places like Ethiopia, DRC and Uganda go out into villages and slums to "find orphans" to meet the "demand" created by people who feel "called". I am an adoptive mom. I love adoption. But I am back in Africa right now investigating the truth about our adoption story, meeting my daughters first mother and family. I am talking with others who are involved in trying to reform adoption and orphan care here. And the stories I hear over and over again of birth families who are being pressured to place children for adoption are just heart breaking.

    How can Christians be "called" to essentially take children from poor families?

    We are called to love, to care, to defend, to protect, to provide. I just can't see anywhere in the Bible where it is okay for the rich (us) to exploit the poor (families in Africa) through harmful, coercive adoption practices.

    There are absolutely children in need of international adoption - and I wish more Christians would feel "called" to the 95% of orphans who are older or who have special needs. Because these kids are truly the least of these. And we have no excuse.

  8. To Sara who posted above and others who question others' callings from God, I would say there more danger in being judgmental about others' callings from God. Now, I don't discount that there are valid concerns raised and believe that you are truly *trying* to be helpful in your words, but I have two observations that I find often hold true when I read comments such as those right above:
    1) It's almost amusing how often someone changes their position on something after they are already on the other side (of an experience, wisdom, time,etc) and yet have no problem standing and pointing out the "flaw" in the plans of others who are doing the very same thing. For example, criticizing those who are adopting babies from Africa, even though you have done the same thing yourself. Here's another favorite, long-term missionaries to a place who criticize short-term missionaries although they never would have themselves been introduced to a ministry or become a long-term missionary without having been on a short-term trip themselves. To do anything but humbly share potential concerns in the most grace-filled ways is not only unbiblical, but also hypocritical.
    2. It's not what you say, but how you say it. This is another way of saying, there is a way to engage others in your "newly discovered" beliefs, but remember that you were once ignorant of your current positions as well and were doing the best you could--what you thought was right and noble. Guess what? So are most others who enter the world of adoption. Just some (humbly offered) food for thought. :)


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