No Fear

No Fear

Sometime in the beginning February of 2014, a little boy was born in an eastern province in the vast country of China.

According to the records of the social welfare institute, he was found outside of their gates at 10:10 AM on February 22. As with all abandoned children, an attempt was made to locate his birth parents. According to his papers, “after lots of research failed to find his parents and guardians,” he was placed in the permanent care of the social welfare institute at 10:35 AM.

They assigned him a name. They guesstimated his birthday. They had him assessed by a medical doctor where it was determined that he had spina bifida.

Less than a week after he was found, he was placed under the care of the Shanghai Baby Fund and had surgery to repair his back (the result of the spina bifida). He was in the hospital for six weeks as he recovered from the surgery. When he was discharged, he was sent to live with a foreign family living in China, who have loved and cared for him ever since.

On the other side of the world, there was a family. Most who knew them thought that they were done growing their family. Three kids is a lot, after all. Their days – and sometimes their nights – were full with the children they already had. At times, it could be overwhelming. At other times, there was harmony.

They didn’t have lots of money, but they always had enough. They already had a good deal on their plate, more than most even knew, but they also knew that they had more room in their hearts and in their home.

They weren’t specially equipped in the parenting department, no more than any other parent out there. They believed in their children, and they parented from the base that everything starts with love, and you nurture your children from there.

They started to get an inkling that maybe God wasn’t finished growing their family just yet. But could they do it again? They had been called once to a daughter who was far away. Were they really being called again?

There were people, many of them, who thought this family was crazy. How could they afford another adoption? How could they make room in their life for another child, especially another child with special needs? Maybe the way to silence the still small voice speaking to their hearts was advocacy, not adoption.

And they considered it. They listened to all the logical reasons that said adopting again didn’t make sense. That they had already done it once, and that was enough. That the impact on their finances both now and in the future would take a hit. That they would be spread even thinner than they are now in terms of time with each of their children. That the medical issues alone would be more than they should handle.

And then they considered the boy.

That boy, born in a culture that would one day discard him simply because of his physical differences if no one stepped forward to claim him as their own.

That boy, who was already flourishing in the love and care of people who knew they could not be his forever and yet loved him as if he was.

That boy, whose greatest need for life, even considering his medical issues, is and will always be love.

So they said yes. Yes to adoption, yes to change, and yes to that boy.

Perfect love casts out fear.

Here we are, 13 months later, on the verge of traveling to bring him home.

Are we afraid? It’s a question I think that so many people are thinking, although only a few have asked.

Are we afraid that this will be too much for us to handle? At times, we are concerned. We worry about what four children will mean and how we will make it work, how we will balance everyone’s needs. But we are not afraid.

Are we afraid of having a child in a wheelchair? We’re nervous, sure. We have never had to deal with that before, so we’re already thinking about changes we might need to make. However, this is a boy who now knows the freedom that a chair with wheels can give him. He calls it his Ferrari. He is not afraid. We are not afraid.

Are we afraid that we won’t have enough money to give our kids everything they want? The thing is, our society confuses “want” and “need.” God promises to provide for our every need, not our every want. We work hard to teach our kids the difference now, and we will continue to do that. And we will show them how God may not meet our every want, but God will certainly meet our every need. We are not afraid.

Are we afraid of the medical issues that he might have? We already deal with spina bifida and its issues on a daily basis. And while each person who has SB has different effects from it, we have a team of doctors and therapists in place to help us help him. We have teachers ready to welcome him into the classroom despite his physical challenges. We are not afraid.

Perfect love casts out fear.

What makes love perfect? That phrase comes from a bible passage, I John 4:17-18. You can find “perfect love casts out fear” in many translations, but The Message translation beautifully explains what perfect love is.

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear.

When we know God, we understand that God is the very embodiment of love. When we live in God we live in love. In love, there is no room for fear.

When we let it in, fear can be a huge depressor, something that keeps us from living the very life that God has planned for us all along. When we live in fear – when we live away from God – we miss out on all the joy and blessings God wants us to know. We miss out on the beautiful mess of life.

Perfect love casts out fear. There is no room in love for fear.

Perhaps the biggest question, spoken or unspoken, is could we afford the adoption? No. We didn’t have $40,000 in the bank just waiting for us to use on an adoption. It was a huge leap of faith to say yes not knowing where that money would come from – or if it would come at all.

The reality is that we are still a little less than $5,000 short of being fully funded. That money may come before we travel and it may not. Some may look at the shortfall and see evidence that God has not provided for us. But we look instead at the amount we have raised and we look back on the last year when we and so many others who have invested in this journey along with us have worked hard to raise those funds, and we fully believe that the $35,000 we have is the miracle. Because we live in love, we are not afraid that the money we still need will come eventually. We know that God will provide.

But ultimately the question really isn’t “Could we afford the adoption?” The question, actually, is this: “Could we afford NOT to adopt?”

And the answer is a resounding no. Not when – and it’s not an exaggeration to say this – lives are at stake for orphans around the world.

Not everyone is called to adopt for sure. But as someone who has gotten that particular call, I can tell you that you if you have gotten it too, don’t be afraid. Please don’t choose fear and miss out on this incredible journey. Choose to listen. Choose to follow. Choose to love.

Perfect love casts out fear. There is no room in love for fear.

So that little boy and the family around the world who never knew that they were missing him have found each other.

They have all chosen not to succumb to fear. They will all live in love. And soon they will do it together. Forever.

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