Once per pregnancy, it seems, I watch a movie that completely undoes me… breaks my heart, sends my emotions into a tailspin, keeps me awake at night. Pregnancy #1 (2005) was Hotel Rwanda. Pregnancy #2 in 2007: Blood Diamond. Pregnancy #3, this week, it was Slumdog Millionaire. What these films share is a close-up view of fact-based, unmasked evil – injustice, manipulation, cruelty, despair. Genocide in Rwanda; child slavery in Sierra Leone; child beggary in India. My emotional response to these movies, beyond simple pregnancy hormones, has been twofold: 1) what kind of horrific world is my unborn child being born into?, and 2) what if it were my child, defenseless and naive, facing the terrible cruelty and evils these children face? These questions haunt me.
My environment is pretty insulated. A bad day for me is a computer crash, lost cash, or misbehaving kids. So being confronted with unmitigated and raw cruelty – especially involving young children – shakes me to the core. And frankly, it should. God despises injustice and opposes the wicked who promulgate it… and, conversely, loves and advocates for the world’s defenseless. And he makes it abundantly clear that we, his followers, are to do the same. In Isaiah 1:17, we’re commanded to “seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” And Jesus, in Mt 10:42, says, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple will certainly not lose his reward in heaven.” He’s not okay with our ignoring the defenseless, the orphans, the ‘little ones’ and just going about our business as if all were well.
These thoughts have knocked around in my head this week as I reflected on the sadness and discomfort of soul that Slumdog Millionaire roused in me. And it’s been against this backdrop that I’ve been pondering adoption. Two close friends of my husband’s and mine, brothers whom we’ve known for 15 years and whose families are dear to ours, are nearing the end of their adoption processes. One is in Ethiopia with his wife right now, collecting their 14-month old son. The other just received word on Monday from the Rwandan courts that their 6-month old son is officially theirs. Both families already have two biological children, and both families are overcome and overjoyed at the reality that their adopted sons are truly theirs, and soon to be home with them and their families.
On her adoption blog my friend (as of Monday officially the mother of her Rwandan baby) wrote:
“I cannot wait to hug this little boy and tell him how much I’ve missed him. Tell him how I’ve longed for him for months, whisper in his soft ear how much I’ve ached for him… The longing and indescribable desire to protect him, smother him with touch, and love him unconditionally, are just overwhelming. I absolutely hate what he has already been through in his short life – that he was kept warm and safe in his mother’s womb for 9 months, only to lose her forever only a few short months later… At the same, incomprehensible moment, we are insanely overjoyed that God has given us Myles as our son.”
Contemplating the love that God has put into the heart of this family for an orphaned baby half a world away is moving and overwhelming. And if theyare overjoyed at the adoption reality as it draws near, how much more must God be? What rejoicing there must be in heaven to see this family serving as His hands and feet, embracing and welcoming this child – physically being Christ to this precious baby, whom God made in his image and loves beyond imagination.
Following the process through our friends’ journeys has touched my husband and me deeply. How amazing that God has provided loving homes for these two boys and, through our friends, is pulling them out of the wretched and miserable circumstances that might otherwise face them in our fallen and depraved world – the circumstances painted so clearly by the movies mentioned above.
My husband and I have long talked about the possibility of one day adopting a child, so I’m thankful for the humble and powerful close-up modeling our friends are providing. I pray that many more families would follow suit and that, by God’s grace and in his time, we may be one. [P.S. A few other compelling adoption-related blogs I’ve been following are Steppin’ Heavenward, Owlhaven, and African Heart.]