For those of you who like the hard, cold facts, I have an adoption update for you – probably my last for a while. After being DTC (sending our Dossier To China) on September 24, we were notified by our agency that our dossier was delivered to the CCCWA (the government agency that oversees all adoptions from China) on September 28, and they officially acknowledged their receipt by giving us a Log-in Date (LID) of September 28. That is a pretty quick turnaround, but everyone at the CCCWA was out of the office for all of last week, so rumor has it they like to clear their desks before leaving for the holiday. And from there, we start our wait for our official approval from China to adopt Cai Qun – we’re currently on day 15 of our wait, and we’ll likely be waiting for quite a while longer! The average wait time is right around 60 days, but there is huge variance in those times, so I’m just hoping to have it by Christmas – but even more than that, just hoping that we – at some point – get it. We so want Cai Qun to be part of our family! It’s rare for China to turn anyone down, but it could happen, so nothing is guaranteed.
And now, for those of you who are willing to leave the world of black and white number-crunching projections, my thought life recently has been primarily in the world of grays.
I am struck more and more by the reality that I am the 1%. Maybe not in America, but the world is bigger than this country. I am literate. I have a pantry and refrigerator full of food. I grew up with both of my parents very involved in my life. My home is equipped with both heat and air conditioning. I have locks on my doors and a relatively low probability of ever being the target of a major crime. I benefit from 24/7 access to modern medical care.
And there are MILLIONS of orphans in the world today. MILLIONS. There are disputes about the exact number – but no one disputes that there are millions. That number is so huge it’s hard to imagine. We read it, can’t comprehend it, and move on. But stop to think. What does it mean that there are probably more than 1,000x as many orphans in the world as you have Facebook friends?
And of those orphans, if they age out of the system, it’s estimated that 15-20% commit suicide before reaching the age of 18; 60% of the girls enter into prostitution; and 70% of the boys enter into crime.
And there are little girls mopping dirt in Haiti.
And the infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) in the Democratic Republic of Congo is 109.4.
And the little girl we are hoping to add to our family is heading into another winter in an orphanage that has no heat. With 599 other children – some of whom will never know the love of a mommy and daddy.
Where is God in that?
If He is all good, and if He is all powerful, why is there so much suffering?
I’ve really been pondering that question lately.
And yet I also come back to the opposite question – in a broken, fallen world filled with sinful, evil people, why is there so little suffering?
Freakonomics did a podcast recently called “Fear Thy Nature” in which they propose that, “the puzzle is not why is there so much crime, the puzzle is just the opposite, why is there so little crime? Why does the average person who has literally hundreds of chances to commit crimes in a day not take advantage of those?”
And by faith, I affirm that that is the real question – not why there is so much crime, not why there is so much suffering, but why there is so little – and that the answer is our all good, all powerful God.
I don’t understand the mechanics of the universe. I pray that God will reveal more and more of them to me, but I’m not certain that my limited, finite mind, constrained by time and space and my own mental capacities, could understand much of any significance. How much there is that we don’t know!
And so I press on. As little as I understand about the universe and its workings, I understand that I am being given an opportunity in this life that I have to walk with God and to be part of the good He is doing in this world.
I don’t really know what that looks like. I think I spend far too much time thinking about interpersonal drama, checking Facebook, or just seeking my own comfort.
I was reading a blog this evening that is written by a couple adopting 2 children – a ten-year-old girl and a baby boy – from Russia, and at the end of one entry, they posted this quote from Francis Chan:
“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”
I have seen glimmers of the blessings of that truth in our adoption journey – I’ve seen God’s amazing provision for us, beyond what we thought was possible, through the encouragement of friends and family (and people we’ve met over the internet) and through the outpouring of financial support we’ve received. And I know that what we have experienced so far is, in a lot of ways, the most straight-forward part of our adoption process. Fill out that form in this way, follow these instructions, send this money here, etc. Once we get on that plane to China, we’ll be embarking on the most fun – but also most challenging – part of our journey. I’m excited to, Lord willing, experience that.
And yet I’m still left wondering…what does it look like for me to live a life that is truly about following God, about living out His mission here in the world, being willing to risk all that I have, pouring myself out, and loving with abandon?