Last week we celebrated two years with Anna Faith. Even though she didn't fully understand what was going on that day as I made her a special cake, we ate lots of Chinese food with Chinese friends, and we dressed her up in a Chinese outfit, she did know that it was a special day for her. She gushed with every compliment, the gifts given, and the excitement over having "fancy hair".
As her Gotcha Day was beginning, we sat down for our homeschool morning session. My three boys sat themselves around our big table in the classroom and as a usual practice, the boys wanted to talk about what was on their minds before we got into our official school day mode. They asked questions about Anna Faith's party that evening, as previously they had overheard me read someone's comment on Facebook saying "It's like Anna Faith has two birthdays every year to celebrate". One of my sons looked at me with all sincerity, and said "I wish I was adopted".
My heart sank.
I paused, and took in the weight of his words. How do you react when your son, who you love with your whole heart, blurts out what he's feeling deep down inside? He knows that his sister was special, he celebrates her uniqueness and loves her deeply, but as a child longing for a special identity from others he wants what she has.
"No Buddy, you don't want to wish that."
He looked confused, as if to say "Yes I do! I want attention, a special party, and a cool story. I'm just an ordinary kid. I don't want to be normal but be celebrated like her!"
" Anna Faith will never know about her first family. She may have a sister or brother she will never meet, her birth mother and father will always be a mystery to her, and she will grow up with lots of questions and at times be sad about that. You do not want to be adopted."
He dropped it and school resumed.
Sometimes the Christian community feeds into this. They get carried away with the growing popularity of adopting orphans. They put adopted children on a pedestal and lavish them with attention and praise. Seriously, I get about twice as many "likes" on Facebook when I post a picture of my daughter versus an equally cute picture of one of my sons. What if they knew that? Many big-hearted people are placing more value on adopted children than biological ones. Sure, their intentions are good. They want to support that child and be there to affirm them, make them feel like they belong, and show them they love them just the way God made them for the purpose He created them to live out. But what about the "normal" biological kids?
We in the Christian community make out adopted kids to be rock stars. We parade their pictures like they are celebrities, share the sad story over and over about how they were rescued from a terrible life and future and how we are so glad God called their parents to save them.
But we parents are not their Savior. Jesus is.
I have to walk a fine line when I talk about adoption. Kris and I have such a deep love for orphans. We have sat in orphanages and held these neglected, forgotten ones. We have prayed and cried tears of intercession for them. If anyone has a heart of compassion for the fatherless of the world, it's us. Orphan care is a passion God has placed on our hearts. However, we are not our daughters' saviors. We are not heroes. They are not the only ones "lucky" enough or "blessed" enough to be in our family. Our adopted children aren't to be put on a pedestal and honored above other children as the "saved ones". Our first and soon to be second daughters are normal little girls. They are loved as much as our sons, no more, no less. Why does the Christian community need to elevate their value just because they are adopted? We adoptive families want to be normal families serving an amazing Savior. He is to be exalted, not our adopted children! It is as if the created is worshiped more than the Creator!
So please, dear Christian brothers and sisters, don't overlook those biological sons and daughters and ignore them because they aren't adopted. Don't forget about the unique make-up of every child in every family. Every child has a purpose, whether he was born into a loving family who bore him or he was grafted into a family who chose him. And don't elevate adoptive parents either. Every person who serves Christ has a purpose and special calling. We must see every act of obedience to God and His plan as a reason to praise Him and give Him glory. If a family member goes on a missions trip, praise God! If your friend's husband gets called as a minister in a church, praise God. If your sister announces she has been called to help those in need, praise God! If someone shares with you that they just shared their faith with someone, praise God! And if one you know follows God's call to adopt, praise God too.
But when that child comes home, celebrate him as a part of that family. Give God the glory for what He has done, and allow that beautiful, adopted child to be "normal" too.