I find it interesting how many people ask about our story now that our son is in our arms. I usually accept this as an opportunity to share how the Lord worked mightily in our lives to bring us to where we are. Most often, this means I confuse the question as authentic interest as opposed to what it is: the ever pressing question, "How do you have a black son? Did you adopt? Where is he from?". And for the record, I don't mind those questions being simply stated. I would be curious, too. But what I find, when I answer the question they actually asked (what is your story), is a person who feels the need to defend why they have not adopted. It never fails to follow, "It's good God called you to that. We are called to care for the orphans and widows in a different way." I agree.
When I look at the Old Testament, I see a few directives surrounding orphans, widows, foreigners...who we refer to as "the least of these". Exodus 22:21-24 Tells us not to exploit or oppress the least of these. Deuteronomy gives much directive as to the care of the least of these. Interestingly enough, Deuteronomy 27:19 states, "Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless, or the widow." This leads me back to the above conversations.
What are you doing to care for the least of these. I will speak directly for myself prior to our pursuit of adoption: We sponsored a few orphans. We gave to CASA. We helped with ministries that host foreign students. Hey, don't forget IJM and the periodic, small donation to people traveling on mission trips to care for the least of these. But we did withhold justice. Justice is the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, fairness, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics. There is nothing "just" about the token, compulsory, unsacrificial contributions made by most Americans. When faced with this comment, I struggle not to question how exactly God has them caring for the least of these. I long to point out how many of us continue to drive around in our luxury SUVs, drink $3 lattes, go for ice cream at the local shoppe that costs more than a month of food in a languishing country, carry swimming, golfing, and tennis memberships, have boats or other recreational vehicles and closets full of shoes and clothing, attend private schools and yet refuse to live a life of sacrifice for the least of these. It seems to me, whether we are or are not called to adopt, we are all called to live in a "just" way that communicates the heart of the gospel...sacrifice.
Money is not the only justice we can offer. I have a friend, who cares for the least of these in a very unglorified and unnoticed manner. She doesn't have a cute baby on her hip. She didn't travel to a foreign land. Without proclamation, she gives up days of her week to go to the lonely, the abandoned, and the discarded. When praying how the Lord would use her, she was compelled to go to the nursing homes and love those who our society has forsaken. Nothing fancy...but sacrifice.
My heart desires to be bold when next faced with this statement (or tempted to make it) and lovingly ask, "Tell me your story. I want to know how God is using you to provide justice to the least of these?" After all, for the darling set of brown eyes below, there are 147 million others begging to feel the justice of the gospel walked out.