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Friday, December 28, 2012

Forgotten Fridays: Do.Right.

I’ve been struck with a perspective adjustment recently- the “rightness” of our actions doesn’t mean the outcome will be pleasant.  I was thinking about this as I read through a fellow adoptive mama’s words of grief about a child who has chosen to reject her love.  Does that mean it was wrong to adopt him?  I thought about it again with a friend who is loving a baby for just a brief moment of potentially days or weeks before Baby lands in her permanent home.  This will be an act of love and sacrifice that may hurt.  Does that mean it isn’t the right thing to do?  And multiple friends who have committed to little ones they would love to keep forever, but their primary goal is reunification with a potentially troubled biological family.  These friends are passionate about what is best for these children they have come to love as their own, even if that means they suffer the pain of letting them go.

I am so scared that as the Body of Christ these families are the exception instead of the rule.  How many times do I hear somebody say, “I would never be a foster parent because I couldn’t bear it when they took the child away.”  I have perfected the understanding head nod, but inside I want to scream.  Do you think these amazing women- women who are changing foster baby diapers, dropping foster kids off at school, making foster kids’ dinners, loving adopted children who have come from places so dark they don’t even know how to accept love- are so cold-hearted they won’t be devastated by the loss of these children from their homes and lives, or by their rejection?  I know each of these women will be broken hearted when and if that day comes.  I know I was broken hearted when boys we houseparented had to leave because of their own poor choices or decisions made by their parents.  I was doubly broken hearted when we had to leave that job and I had to cry with them about the break-up of the family we had created.
So because it is painful to love and to lose, does that mean we choose not to love?  God forbid.
We choose to do what is right because it is RIGHT.  For no other reason.  Not because it feels good or because it will be so rewarding.  Sometimes we may not see that reward until we see The Father’s face and He explains to us why we had to walk that road.  But I would rather suffer the heartbreak to be obedient than to run away from pain and miss the joy of loving who God has called me to love.  If Christians are too afraid of pain to risk loving children they can’t keep and whose futures they can’t control, who will?  If we aren’t willing to do what’s right just because it’s right, what do we expect other people to do?
We do what’s right.  We do it without expecting to understand the ultimate outcome.  We do it with an open hand for what God’s plan might be.  We do it even when other people fail to understand.  We do it when it’s hard and when it costs and when we don’t want to.  We don’t do it because we’re martyrs or holier than thou, but because we’re motivated by obedience and a heart of compassion.
Cultural Christianity might try to convince us that health and wealth are the goals of our salvation.  We may want to believe that if we’re doing what God wants we will never be sad or experience loss.  We might try to avoid anything that could potentially cause our family pain and imagine we’re doing it because “God wants us to be happy.”  But I think we’ve missed the point of the Gospel if our lives become an exercise in protecting our happiness and personal comfort.
When faced with a decision- pray, use your God-given discernment, seek wise counsel, and then do RIGHT. And if that decision leads to what looks like sadness or pain, that doesn’t make it less right.  It might just confirm you were exactly where God wanted you to be.
Bless you, Mamas, in the thick of the fight for your children’s hearts.
Bless you, Mamas, loving children you cannot keep.
You are my heroes.

---
Maralee Bradley 

Maralee is a mother of four pretty incredible kids ages six and under. Three of them were adopted (one internationally from Liberia, two through foster care in Nebraska) and her fourth baby came the old fashioned way.  Prior to becoming parents Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and worked with 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her husband a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries, and trying to do it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood on “A Mother’s Heart for God” and what won’t fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at  http://www.amusingmaralee.com/ 

13 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I've also encountered this as a widowed, adoptive dad whose teen son ran away 2 years ago; he's almost 19 now. Unfortunately, I saw it coming. During the days and weeks after he left, I wondered about my choices and decisions. Did I do the right things? Eventually, I came to realize that the ultimate question wasn't about the outcome; instead it was, "Were you faithful to the call that God placed on your life to be a godly father?" Although I wasn't perfect, I was able to answer an honest yes. There were no decisions that I regretted, nothing I wish I'd done differently. He was God's child before, during, and after he was mine. Painful, yes, but obedience to God's call is far more important than my potential for pain.

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    1. I'm so glad you expressed this. My brother was a single father who adopted a boy at age 10. At the age of 17, the boy ran away to be w/his biological mother & then got involved w/drugs and died at 18. Painful, yes. Although while he was w/my brother, he accepted Christ, so we know where he is today. Just knowing that my brother took that call, had many frustrating days, he still led him to our Father. That gave us peace.

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  2. I beleive faith plays such an important role in these decisions. My parents adopted three and were foster parents to over 800 children in the 45 years they fostered. They were licensed for newborn to 3 year olds and we had some children for 48 hours while others stayed for years. Often, my parents had the 6 of us and 4 foster children in the house. Yet in all of this they really felt what they were doing was important and their God given vocation - even after having to give each child up to another foster family or to adoption. I thank God for the faith given to my parents to do what they did. They, now in their 70's, are thinking about becoming respite foster care providers so that foster parents can get the help they need for vacations, etc.

    I enjoyed your article as it really does strike to the heart of faithfilled obedience. Thank you for your perspective+
    JPB

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  3. Well said. Our family looks crazy on paper. I tell all the social workers that I already know this before we even begin. And adopting a terminally ill child is asking for a broken heart but being obedient somehow makes it RIGHT. When we were fostering, I learned what a valuable piece of each child's puzzle we became. What a privilege. Thank you for putting the RIGHT motivations into words. It is hard to explain.

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  4. I don't know you, sweet Mama, but you've spoken the feelings of my heart and called me your hero. I've never tried to be anyone's hero, but you bet I've loved and lost more than I can count and it HURT. It hurt more than I even thought it might and it dimished my health a bit. I've fostered MANY and adopted in all they different ways that one can adopt...foster care, special needs, domestic infant, internationally, older children. Yup, we have what most (including Christians) would consider a ridulously large family...there's more than a dozen of us. Every single one HURT. The foster children who stayed for weeks and those who stayed for years. The failed adoptions...the ones we met and the ones we never got to meet. The successful adoptions...the ones whose lives had just begun and those who'd suffered abuse, neglect, poverty, and malnutrition. You know what? It still HURTS! Every day. But every day I look into the most beautiful African eyes, the deepest blue eyes, eyes with a hint of pain, and eyes bright again from having good nutrition. Every day I know my life has had great purpose. NEVER is there even one day when I am sorry, when I regret all the HURT I've had to experience. It is well with my soul!!!

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  5. Wow. (Waiting for the tears to clear so I can see to type.) Thank you. Whether or not we did the right thing has haunted me because it's so hard to believe that the 'right thing' would become so painful. Thank you for this so desperately needed reminder. ((((((((hug)))))))) God bless you.

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  6. I have loved them and given them back and I have loved them and kept them. I have been loved back and hated. I have been told much later by the most difficult how much she appreciated what she learned and been told at the worst possible times what a loser I was. I have seen others who were my heroes and those who needed to know that this was not their calling. I have been threatened by those in power who decided without looking and blessed in unexpected ways by those who watched even when I was to busy doing to see. I told my youngest only yesterday that fear should be considered but never should that be what rules. Do what needs to be done and what YOU are able to do. If we all do that, it gets done.

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  7. This blog post blessed me this morning. My husband and I have adopted an older child from foster care and the phase we are going through with his mental health issues right now is not happy or fun. My attitude has been rather negative lately whining to God why we can't be happy. We also just had a foster placement of a baby and a 6 year old that left our home because the state placed them with some relatives. It broke my heart to say goodbye. It's not that foster parents have an easy time of saying goodbye. Quite the opposite. I miss those babies every day and I pray for them every time they are on my mind and heart. Would I do it all over again? yes. I still miss them. This blog post was encouraging to my hurting heart. Thanks for writing it.

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  9. Beautifully written! Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  10. Is love ever wasted? No.

    here is some of our story of our family adoptions, see ...http://omega57.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/the-scarlet-cord/, http://omega57.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/daughters-of-the-king-part-one/

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  11. Ministered to me... whew!

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  12. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are foster parents and long to see the Christian church be moved by this truth!

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