Adoption: a spiritual journey

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A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.

A few weeks ago, we welcomed a new addition to our family — a baby boy that we are now fostering with the intention to adopt.

Needless to say, our lives — and his — are forever changed and we cannot be more thrilled about it!

There are approximately between three and four million orphans in South Africa, with some estimations being closer to 5.2 million. So the need is, to say the least, overwhelming.

God-given responsibility
I am of the view that the state can only do so much to address this crisis and that, in line with the scriptures, the Church at large has a God-given responsibility to take care of the orphan (and abandoned child).

Of course, there are many ways to get involved and make a difference in the life of an orphan or abandoned child – apart from fostering or adoption – in the many great initiatives that are underway across the length and breadth of this country.

Possibilities include volunteering at an orphanage, sponsoring an individual child’s physical and educational needs (in the short or long term) and even fundraising to provide for a home’s ongoing daily running costs.

But as a couple, we knew that we wanted to adopt a child and give him or her a “forever family”.

The thought of making such a commitment to a child, a commitment that would forever change his or her future for the better, stirred deep in our hearts.

Interestingly, our journey to adoption began with a conversation my husband and I had before we were even married — just over 18 years ago.

I can’t remember who first raised the topic but we were agreed — whether we could have biological children or not, our intention was to adopt.

In the years following, we moved a number of times, across both country and continent, and I also suffered a number of miscarriages before giving birth to our first son, who is now nine years old.

At various junctures since, we revisited our dream of adopting but the time just never seemed right.

Then, late last year came the surprise communication that there was a baby boy available for adoption, and we just knew that the time had indeed come.

What followed was an emotional rollercoaster — of anticipation and disappointment (due to delays) – as we anxiously waited for the legalities to be finalised so that he could finally be placed in our care.

We have since come to realise that as much as adoption is an emotional and physical act, it is also very much a spiritual act, for as the scriptures state, God’s heart is for the orphan and He sets the lonely in families.

It goes without saying that we feel privileged to be such a family for our baby boy.

Lessons so far
Though we have only just started out on our new adventure, this is what I have learned in our journey so far:

  1. When God places a dream in our hearts, He is faithful to bring that dream to realisation. Yes, there were times when I doubted whether adopting was a God idea or simply just a good idea but year in and year out I continued to hold on to the dream in my heart.
  2. Though a dream may lie dormant, it is not dead and we should not regard it as such. There were times in my life that other dreams and responsibilities had to take priority. As a result, the dream of adopting remained in the background and almost forgotten but when it was brought to remembrance, I would pray about it, trusting that God in His wisdom would bring it to pass at the appointed time.
  3. Delays and (apparent) hindrances are often set-ups (for a successful outcome) not setbacks. While we had to wait five (very long) months for him to be placed in our care, in hindsight, this time was invaluable in preparing our hearts (and home) for the new season that lay ahead.

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