Saturday, May 15, 2010

Birth Order and Love

This is written by Heidi Weimer, a mom of 4 bio kids and 6 adopted (all from Ethiopia). All of her adopted children are older than, same age as, or younger than her bio kids. Meaning - they are all mixed in, all ages, birth order shaken all to heck. It is a very common fear, I think, for people to talk themselves out of adoption because of what it may mean to their birth kids, or their family life as they know it, or whatever. I know for sure it weighed on our minds for quite a while. This is a 'shake it up' post by her, and one that made us both think long and hard about some things . . .

A Greater Capacity

Every day I receive emails from potential adoptive parents and post-adoptive families asking for advice, support, feedback, direction, and information regarding adoption. It thrills us to be able to point people in the right direction, advise families in the process, and pray for those who are preparing to live out James 1:27. This is the ministry God has given to us, and we are stoked. Our vision is to serve as full-time adoption advocates, and we are making real steps in that direction. Soon we will be operating through our We Have Room web site, which will act as a resource for those stepping into the adoption world, those who are just getting their feet wet, and those who are swimming in the post-adoption sea, sometimes raging and sometimes of glee. We feel honored to be able to be used even in just a small way and to let others know, "Hey, we've been there."

One email that I receive a few times every week sounds a little something like this: "Heidi and Kirk, Your story has been very encouraging to us, as we also feel led to adopt older kids or a sibling group, but I am just very scared of what it might do to our family, how it will affect our current kids, and what kind of short- and long-term implications it might have. Can you tell me how your biological kids adjusted to being knocked out of their birth order? How did your oldest feel about no longer being the oldest? I'm afraid I'm going to be taking away from them something that is legitimately theirs and I'm scared of what that will do to their emotions/personality/self-worth/security/what-have-you. I'm afraid they will feel ripped off."

To each and every person reading this post who knows the concrete conviction of being called to care for the older orphans yet also bears the weight of the accompanying thoughts of fear, I want you to know this...Please hear me loud and clear, as we have now SIX times over displaced our "original" kids' birth order:

You are NOT taking anything AWAY from your birth children. Instead, what you are doing is imparting to them something eternal: You are expanding their capacity to love. Think about that for a minute before you read anything else. How do you plan to teach your child to love others unconditionally and in total compassion without giving them the opportunity to do so? I'm telling you now, You CAN'T.

My biological children have a greater capacity of love in their hearts than I could ever impart to them by just giving them a safe Christianity, by maintaining their status quo, by simply modeling "godliness" as parents (as if that's the end-all be-all for a Christian family). My kids...all of them...have lived out self-sacrifice and understand (because they live it!) that laying down one's life does not steal anything from us. That is the lie of the devil, who would have us believe that sacrifice is not worth it; that there is nothing for us in return; that God doesn't really mean what He says when He said to His followers that "anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. [Because] Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:38-39).

Do you really believe that? That whoever LOSES his life for Jesus's sake, for Jesus the Orphan's sake, will actually FIND it? Ask yourself honestly. Because you might answer YES prematurely. I have no doubt that you might believe it for yourself, but do you really believe it for your children, too? That if they "lose" their "place" in the family that Jesus will instead impart to them LIFE? REAL life???

What is birth order anyway but just a sequence of how your child came to you? Let's not make an idol of that sequence. Because that's what it IDOL. Something standing in the way of you taking up the Cross to follow Him, to BE JESUS in this world. Let's not place a value on birth order that God did not intend to be there.

Consider the older orphan. Consider the sibling groups. Consider the ones who are not often considered.

And whatever you do on your adoption journey, PLEASE I beg you, do NOT steal from your children the opportunity for their love capacity to be expanded. Do not deny them the true gift of learning early in life that "My life is not my own."

When your feisty and spunky 7-year-old biological daughter, who is now the middle child of 9 after being knocked down to #5 from #2, pleads "Please, Mommy, Please!!! I want another sister my age!!! Can we PLEASE adopt again?!!," your heart will beat out of your chest, not just because you can envision another child saved, but because you know that your daughter will NEVER EVER live a limited, safe Christianity. She won't even know what that means. In fact, she won't even have the capacity do so.

And all because you didn't limit her, either. You didn't limit God.Give your children the gift of the greater capacity to love. Let it ripple out into the future. Let it change the world. "

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