This morning, I am reading an education packet about adoption and adoptive parent preparation. It's for the most part. It is fairly straight forward parenting issues, but particularly relates to parenting an adopted child. In the section on attachment I found this sentence. The author was talking about the "bad" behavior of the child as a result of being fearful of rejection by his new parents.
"Ironically, his negative behavior may be designed, on an unconscious level, to provoke the very rejection he fears. He is rejecting you before you can give up on him."
This is an interesting thought to say the least. It is almost reverse psychology from an internal point of view. The child probably can't express in words the he is doing this. He can't tell you, "Daddy, I can't appreciate your love for me now because I don't trust that you will always be my daddy. Because of that, I'm going to hit my new sister." The child simply can't (and wouldn't) communicate the cause of his behavior in this way. And yet, I think the sentence above is correct, that the child's rejection of his new parents is pre-emptive of his imagined rejection by his new parents. The adopted child has potentially been tossed around from orphanage to orphanage. The child found primary care givers at each of these locations, but shortly after identifying that person he could trust, he was shipped off to another orphanage, another situation, another care-giver. He fears rejection more than anything, and in order to have the upper hand and be in control of his situation, the child is likely to reject the trust of the parents before they can reject him.
Of course every illustrative situation only goes so far, so take this next thought with a grain of salt. However, this "internal" reverse psychology from the adopted child is a picture of our "internal" reverse Christianity. Here's where I'm going with this. Why do we not seek God's hand for help more often? (i.e. reject his love) Why do we not look to Christ to fulfill all our longings and desires? (i.e. reject his sufficiency) Why do we not trust that the Spirit of God will help us in times of need and encourage us in our Christian life? (i.e. reject God's gifts). We, SPIRITUALLY ADOPTED CHILDREN, are just like all other adopted children. We are likely, indeed, we are inclined to reject God's merciful hand, because we don't really trust that he will NOT reject us. We want to be in control of our own situation and we want to decide who even gets the chance to reject us. Hence, we push God to the side while we fulfill all our earthly desires. We "reject" God so that he doesn't have the chance to reject us first.
As I said before, the illustrative picture breaks down, but not completely. As ADOPTED CHILDREN, we don't "reject" God as in rejecting the gospel. We don't "reject" God as in rejecting his grace and salvation through the blood of Jesus. What we "reject" is God's continued fulfillment of our needs when we cry out "Abba, Father." We don't really believe that God can/will work on our behalf for his glory. Don't get me wrong, we are in the family; we've been ADOPTED and God is faithful to his covenant in Christ. But we act out in disobedience, unconsciously, thinking that we can somehow control our life to the point that we don't need to be dependent on Christ. We fear rejection. And yet, we reject the very one who is able and willing to help us face all our fears. Paul's argument in Romans 8 (a chapter rich with adoption language) presents the dichotomy of walking by the Spirit or walking by the flesh. This is the difference between obedience or disobedience. When we walk by the flesh, we walk in disobedience, relying on ourselves. When we walk by the Spirit, we walk as those who cry out "Abba, Father," dependent on God's sufficient grace. In other words, when we walk by the Spirit, we walk as children who are comfortable trusting God with our lives. We walk as children who are comfortable to be called by a new name; the name our heavenly Father gives us as members of his kingdom.
This sentence from our adoption education materials is written from a child psychology/child development point of view. And yet is says something significant about our spiritual condition as adopted sons and daughters of the one who defends the cause of the fatherless. I don't want to proceed in our adoption thinking that I planned our fund raisers, I planned our interviews, I controlled our paperwork gathering, I controlled my life while God stood on the sidelines cheering ME on. I want to cry out "Abba Father" so often that it becomes a joyful cry. Will you pray with Liz and me that our hearts would reflect this attitude of dependence on God so that by the gospel we will be "attached"?
Adam and Liz<><
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Once again, an opportunity to raise money to defend the orphan. For our Congo adoption, Liz and I are hosting a golf scramble on August 13th at 2:00pm in Jeffersonville, IN. The golf event will be at the Jeffersonville Elk's Country Club. You can go to www.sojourningsadoptiongolfscramble.weebly.com to find out more information. The registration information is there, or you can click on this link to access our registration brochure. We would greatly appreciate it if you would spread the word about this fundraiser event. We will be having raffle prizes and prizes for the top 3 winning teams. Thanks for looking into it and hopefully we will see you there.
Adam and Liz<><
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Many people use handmade crafts or gifts to help support the adoption journey. Well, count Liz and I into that group now too. We have set up a website where we will post handmade items that are donated to us throughout our journey. As of now, we have some blankets (probably more like baby blanket size) that you can purchase to help us with our adoption fundraising. We have a couple of scarfs from Liz's sister that I haven't been able to get on there yet, and we will have more items later hopefully. Visit the website to see all the blankets. Thanks for supporting our journey.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
"And they shall be called the Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken."
I am sitting here listening to a song by Sojourn Music called "A City No Longer Forsaken." The base passage is Isaiah 62 above and it is a remarkable cry of and for the day when we will be finally redeemed by our Savior. When we will be given new names in a new city under a new King who rules with love and premier authority. A couple of lines brought me tears and caused me to continue to repeat the song over and over again.
"A brand new name
Straight from the mouth of God
The orphaned ones now take
through the waiting years, he preserves his own
in a city no longer forsaken."
We've talked much about the parallel between our adoption in Christ and adopting a child into our family. I'm always moved and affected by thoughts of the end of the age when Christ will make all things new. In the same way the Jewish people looked for the Messiah, we wait for our Savior to return and conquer sin and death for good. When I heard this line from the song, the Lord allowed my mind to connect the longing for Christ to return with adopting an orphan. I've been given a new name in Christ. I've been given the name Redeemed, Holy, Sought out. There is nothing special about the name, "Howell," but this is the name that will be given to our adopted child. He/She will have a new name as part of a new family, and Lord willing, he/she will also have their new name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We can't cause or guarantee our adopted child's salvation, but we are thankful for the opportunity to give a child a new earthly name and to give him/her and environment in which he or she is given the opportunity to respond to the gospel so that he/she too will be given the names Redeemed, Holy, Sought Out. These thoughts moved me today. By God's grace he will bring our little one home. We long for the day when the earth will be called "A City No Longer Forsaken."
Thursday, June 2, 2011
We are hosting a fundraiser this Saturday with Jennifer Jacobs from the Biggest Loser this season. She will be teaching some cycling classes at the Louisville Athletic Club in Clarksville, IN and all proceeds will go to support our adoption. We are excited and grateful to Jen for being willing to do this for us. If you are interested in joining us, you can go to www.spinwithjenclarksville.weebly.com to register.
The prayer request, like all other fundraisers, is that the Lord would provide exactly what he intends us to gain from this fundraiser, AND that we would be grateful for whatever that amount is. When planning a fundraiser, my mind automatically goes to the maximum amount that we could get from it, and most of the time, we just aren't going to reach that maximum. So, we want to be grateful for what the Lord provides through this event this weekend. We've asked that the Lord would provide for us, and even if it is only $5 here and there, he is providing. We want to trust him. Would you join us in praying for this heart of gratitude?
Adam and Liz<><