Friday, March 1, 2013

The rescued

Back to the American Embassy today, picking up my new passport. The old one expired in 11 days, so I made it by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.

Despite the minor frustration of the department actually being closed when said to be open, it seems God had another "appointment" for me. I watched a young mom with a long blond ponytail as she supervised three little boys who all looked very close in age--two black, one white--jumping from the landscaping stones to the waiting area's pavement.

As they clambered into the seats across from me, I smiled and voiced my empathy over the exhaustion and delight of having three kids close together. Was she there two get visas for the two boys? That, I have decided, is one of my favorite parts of the tedium of embassy visits: watching all the multi-colored adoptive families carrying, holding the hands of, or following the meandering of their new children.

But the woman explained they actually adopted the older Ugandan preschooler a year ago from a babies' home here in the city. Unfortunately, corruption is nothing short of rampant in the adoption arena here, from what I can gather. It seeps far and wide in close-knit collaborations of lawyers; police; orphanage owners who sell the diapers and formula brought over by short-term teams. Sadly, though this woman's son had been adopted from a well-funded babies' home, as a two-year-old he was neither crawling nor speaking. He weighed in at sixteen pounds.

I marveled at the bubbly, sweating little ball of energy wriggling into a seat beside his Caucasian brother. This kid? She explained that he grew 12 inches in the last year and gained twenty-plus pounds (??!!). I exclaimed over his development over one year--his pronounced English, his coordination to the point of jumping: "It's amazing what a little love can do!"

"...And a little food," she agreed. Kids didn't always have this kind of improvement, she explained, and he still had difficulties with some gross motor skills. Still, I was in awe.

My mind flashed to a conversation I'd had with another eMi mom who volunteers at a local orphanage. She described the vacant look in so many of the toddlers' eyes, who've just grown used to their quality of life (or, sadly, lack thereof). They can get that gleam back, another mom explained. It doesn't have to be gone forever.

My heart is crumpled today. I found myself, more than once, with moisture collecting in the corners of my eyes. There are so many orphans here. The words of David Platt come to mind:
adoption is not easy, and children are indeed needy. It’s important to realize, then, that we adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are the rescued. And in this way, the gospel uniquely portrays, compels, and ultimately sustains adoption.

Isn't that what's been done for me? Haven't I, at various times throughout my life, grown a spiritual foot because He's taken me out of where I was, fed me with some true Bread, and loved me?

Pray with me, friends, for God to act in mighty ways on behalf of the vast crowds of the fatherless here.


Emily said...

Janel, I don't know if you know or not, but Matt and I just adopted three little girls from foster care in Arkansas. That growth thing is so true! We've had them just under 8 months, and they've all grown 4-5 inches and gained several pounds. The light is starting to come back into their eyes. I am praying with you for all the little ones without parents. It is heartbreaking.

John and Janel Breitenstein said...

So thankful to hear how God keeps moving the hearts of his people--and so excited for you and Matt. Awesome! May He give you so much strength and grace for the task at hand. So glad you posted, Emily.