He did it.
Our unbelievably amazing and all-providing God found our 10-year-old host child a forever family.
In just 11 days.
But WE get the honor of hosting this Chinese superhero-in-no-more-waiting for two more weeks. And as I’ve been praying about where we go from here, the Lord has lit a fire in my belly. And somehow, I think this is only the beginning.
So what now?
Now, we get to ENJOY every minute with this sweet and curious superhero, who wonders at the magic of pools and drains and can openers and electric toothbrushes.
Now, instead of feeling compelled to document every second in photos and videos, we get to put down the camera for five minutes and just SAVOR this sweet, sweet time we have with this little boy who has turned our world upside down. To prepare his tender heart to receive the overflowing, overwhelming, super-sized love of a forever FAMILY. To love him WELL, and to possibly get more sleep now doing it. :) (3 a.m. blog writing does not look good on these blood-shot eyes.)
And now, we get to help share the story of DJ’s friends — beautiful superheroes JUST LIKE THIS ONE who DESERVE the love of a forever family, but so far, have not found a family of their own during their two weeks here in the United States. (I'll be breaking from blogging the rest of this week to post the adorable photos and videos of THESE children to my Facebook page.)
The orphan crisis doesn’t end with this sweet boy’s placement in a family. 132 million future superheroes await. And after hosting this precious boy, who just needed the security and comfort and acceptance and love of a FAMILY (even an imperfect one like ours!) to find his WINGS AND FLOURISH, has reminded me of the BEAUTIFUL WORK God does when we just keep an open hand with our hearts and with our lives. When we allow HIM to be the author of our story.
Friends, DJ now has a family. But 132 MILLION children JUST as sweet, just as precious, just as deserving as him still await. 132 million DJs sit in orphanages tonight without the luxury of hosting or the knowledge of “family” or the security of unconditional love. They, like DJ, are largely the victims of hurting parents, poor decisions and a broken world. They didn’t ask to grow up without a family. They didn’t choose to live this life.
And now that we’ve helped DJ find a forever family, the temptation is to cross this “task” off the list and pat ourselves on the back and say, “There you go, God. I served. I did my part.” And to return to that ignorant place where we don’t allow ourselves to see the NEED or CONTINUE COMPASSION for these children or admit the CRISIS before our eyes. Where we instead retreat to the comforts of our home — our cozy home and our convenient life with three precious superheroes that, outside the occasional challenges of the military — is really quite predictable, comfortable and easy.
But we can’t be God’s hands and feet if we’re more concerned about our CONVENIENCE than His CALLING in our lives. And as DJ’s deep black-brown eyes have gazed into mine so many times this week, brilliant and shining and beaming with something called “hope,” God has reminded me that THIS — not in my ease, not in my financial security, not in my need for cleanliness and organization and toilets that don’t reek of badly aiming boys — THIS is where I see the face of Jesus the most clearly.
In the eyes of His children.
Hosting DJ in our home has convicted me — about my priorities, about my parenting, about my tendency to prefer PERFECT over PRESENT. And God has used these two short weeks to remind me of HIS passionate love for HIS adopted children — children just like me who, in the biggest emotional messes of their lives, were adopted by a perfect and patient Father.
And for His children around the world who still need someone to be their voice.
DJ may now have a forever family, but 132 million future superheroes await. And after falling in love with one of them and getting a front-row seat to the TRANSFORMATION God works in a heart that is seasoned with LOVE, I can’t just sit back and “hope” that “someone else” will love the rest of these deserving children. That “someone else” will do “their part.” Because God, I’ve checked the checkbox. I’ve done what you’ve asked. I’ve said yes, and now I want to return to my easy and comfortable life, please.
The truth is, the easiest place I could possibly live is not in the middle of my self-directed, self-arranged, completely-in-control, Container Store-organized life, but in the PROVIDENCE and PASSION of the center of God’s will.
This month, as you followed DJ’s story, maybe you felt that calling, too. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that these children should not have to live lives without parents. Lives without families. Lives without HOPE.
Maybe you found yourself waking each morning to read DJ’s story. To wonder at his adventures. To, like us, stand in amazement at the adaptability and resourcefulness and flexibility of a superhero who had never experienced the chaos of family and who embraced it as if it had been his whole life’s song.
And maybe you found yourself in tears when you saw our awesome God write a new ending for DJ’s story — as part of a forever family. In the center of a home.
Now that DJ has a forever family, it will be easy to turn off that voice. It will be easy to ignore that pit-of-your-stomach feeling, the one that says, “I can do something. I can do SOMETHING.” And to return to normalcy. To return to convenience. To return to a life where you aren’t confronted daily in your Facebook feed by pictures of a Chinese orphan who has waited a DECADE for a family to call his own.
But maybe, just maybe, God has placed DJ in your life, not so YOU will become his forever family, but so you will experience GOD’S HEART for the orphan. And so you will MOVE from your place of comfort and convenience … and do SOMETHING.
Our family’s hearts are in China, but you don’t have to fly a child across the world from China to host an orphan in your home. THERE ARE 400,000 CHILDREN IN THE UNITED STATES just WAITING for hosts to love on them, provide for them, give them a glimpse into the love of family.
It’s called FOSTERING.
Our adoption agency and many others DO offer hosting programs once to three times per year, where superheroes from all nations come to the United States for a month to, like DJ, experience a new LOVE, a new CULTURE, a new HOPE. Where they receive medical care they wouldn’t have received in their orphanages back home and have host parents to update their adoption profiles with pictures and stories and personality descriptions that help these superheroes, whether they find their families in the United States or not, find forever families when they return. (Check out orphanhosting.com for more information on our agency’s hosting program.)
Maybe adopting, hosting or fostering aren’t options for you at this time. Host families and adoptive families can’t do what THEY do without communities to support them.
Serving an orphan can be as simple as offering childcare to an exhausted new adoptive mama or bringing a meal to a family still in transition. It can be as easy as offering to take other kiddos while adoptive parents attend a slew of initial doctor appointments or just picking up groceries at the store for that parent who now has three special needs superheroes in her home and dreads grocery days more than tax day each year. It can look like offering free services (dental work, eye exams, doctor visits, family photography, music lessons, etc.), or it can look like offering to organize an adoption fundraiser or simply GIVING to one. It can look like designing adoption t-shirts or running marathons in the name of an adoptive family or designing advocacy websites or volunteering to tutor foster children for free.
It can look like an entire community of FRIENDS who helped find OUR superhero-in-waiting a home by simply SHARING THE ORPHAN STORY.
Serving orphans doesn’t have to include adoption. It takes a village. And when that village rises up and HEARS the song of these beautiful and deserving children — an entire WORLD CAN CHANGE. An entire crisis can end. An entire community of little DJs who have no parents and little hope can experience LOVE.
We don’t know what our future holds. Our love for DJ has re-lit that passion in our hearts to serve these superheroes-in-waiting in ways we never have before. Maybe that will lead to another adoption. Maybe that will lead to another host child. Maybe that will lead to a life of advocacy, where we share our hearts for these beautiful and deserving children with a world who has largely forgotten about them. We’re asking God for direction, and we’re thanking Him for this beautiful and life-changing opportunity.
What we do know — DJ’s story doesn’t end here. It doesn’t end with us. The impact he’s made will continue. And snowball. And grow.
We’re praying that the picture-perfect ending of HIS story will just be the BEGINNING of YOURS. The beginning of ours. And the ENDING of an international crisis where 132 million superheroes are still waiting to experience the LOVE of a forever family.
It can happen, one surrendered heart and one superhero-in-waiting at a time.