Finances are never an easy topic to talk about, especially when there is such a broad scope of opinions of what is fiscally responsible, appropriate, or sustainable. If you want to make Thanksgiving truly exciting this year, whip out the pay stubs just before the turkey is carved to see how many different opinions there are in your family alone. Money has the potential to cause conflict and bring judgment, so the rule of thumb is typically just to never bring it into conversation.
As two middle school teachers, we are blessed with stable, reliable incomes, and even though the pay is quite humble in comparison with other professions, we live comfortably and enjoy the family-friendly schedule our positions provide. One thing that has always been important to us is that we live within our means. We do not have credit cards, our cars were bought outright, and our home value is rising through sweat-equity alone. In the psychological evaluation completed for our home study, our doctor noted in his report that we were “incredibly wise and responsible with money, especially considering [our] ages.”
And as “two financially responsible youngsters,” our financial motto was always straight forward—don’t buy what you can’t afford. It was a rule we vowed we would never break.
And then God called us to adoption.
Early in the process, Matt and I met with our pastor, spoke with other adoptive parents, and compiled quite a bit of research to decide how we would afford and fund our adoption. While there are grants available, a sizable tax credit after placement, and other creative ways of cushioning the cost, these methods are not always reliable and only cover a portion of the total bill. When we learned our adoption would cost anywhere from $40K-$50K, our financial motto should have blared a huge warning siren in our minds, and while it rang clearly in the ears of many around us, we didn’t hear so much as a whistle. We felt completely at peace, which could only be explained by one thing—God’s motto was louder than ours.
James, the little brother of Jesus, said himself in James 1:27, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans…in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” What this meant for us, which was admittedly difficult at times, was that we might need to take the unpopular road, the road in which we rely on the generosity of God’s people, often to our own ridicule, in order to complete the task that God so clearly believes is more important—to care and provide for these orphans. And while there were comments made and judgments voiced when support letters were sent or fundraisers were scheduled, the majority of the people in our lives leapt forward, eager for a chance to serve and play a role in this calling. What we eventually realized as we raised the funds was that while it may be taboo or tacky to ask for help monetarily, we felt it would be tackier to take away the chance for a child to have a family then to swallow our pride and simply ask for help.
Five statistics I found early in our research helped us feel at peace with our decision to raise finances, which I would recommend every couple considering adoption to read. Abba Fund, a grant program run by The Billy Graham Foundation, highlights these five staggering facts:
- There are approximately 153 million orphans worldwide—a number that seems to get higher every time I look at it.
- International adoption in the U.S.A. has decreased by 59% in the last decade.
- If one family from every three churches in the U.S.A. pursued adoption, every American orphan would have a family.
- Average adoption costs are $20K-$30K while the average adoption grant is $2K-$5K.
- 33% of Americans consider adoption, but 79% of these are concerned about the cost. In the end, less than 2% decide to pursue adoption.
You and I, as adoptive parents, are part of the 2%, and we know there is no price too high to provide the opportunity for orphans to be renamed sons and daughters and to be raised in homes where they will learn about the God who set them apart from the beginning of creation, and who will never leave them lonely again. This reality is so clear to us that it burns like a beacon, day and night in our chests, but to others, this may not be so clear. Our calling as adoptive parents is not always the popular one, but we have to remember how valuable these kids are to their heavenly father and that we are called to love them the same way He has. This morning I ask that you read the following verses aloud and hear the power of the love our Lord has for you and for these precious ones we are fighting for!
Verses to Consider:
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. –PSALM 139:13-16
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? –MATTHEW 6:26
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you…bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. –ISAIAH 43:4-7
A Prayer for Your Day:
Lord, you love your children! You have never allowed anything to come between you and the children your son died to save. I was purchased at a high price—the death of your perfect son—so that I might glorify you in everything I do (1 Cor. 6:20). Help me to see that you purchased [child’s name] with the same price—that you sent your son to die in [his/her] place so that [he/she] might be adopted into your family. Your word says that every single hair on [his/her] head is numbered by you (Matt. 10:40). In times of stress when I cannot understand why or how this adoption can be so expensive, or when I become embarrassed by asking others for help, remind me of the eternal value this has on the life of a child who may one day call you [his/her] savior and be adopted into your family forever! May the world’s views on money never deter me from completing the work you set me out to do. Grant me wisdom that I would steward what you provide well, and that I would never dishonor you in the way I raise the necessary funds to seal [child’s name] identity as a [son/daughter] forever!
In Jesus’ name,