11.14.2008

Adoption v. Abandonment: Court is now in session.

There is a hard to quantify, yet hard to deny reality that the spirit world operates something akin to mathematics at times. Truth works no matter how you approach the equation. X is elusive, yet it is the glory of kings to search it out. And for every positive action or number, there is an equal and opposing reaction.

We are seeing that play out in a very real, very tragic way.

The prophet Malachi delivered an oracle from God describing the time nearing the end of days:

Malachi 4:5,6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.

We may not agree on what the great and dreadful day of the Lord means in specifics, but most of us agree that a) today isn’t it and b) it’s closer today than it was yesterday. In light of those two points, it would do us all well to take a long, hard look at the things God says are to come.

One of the positives to come will be a great adoption movement - figurative and literal - as the hearts of the generations turn 180 degrees to face one another and the church rediscovers a wholeness lost long ago.

Not many years ago, people primarily adopted because they were unable to conceive. That’s no longer the biggest reason. Increasingly, I’m meeting people who are adopting for more proactive, spiritual reasons - as prophetic declarations of God’s heart for children. I believe is a foreshadowing of Malachi’s promise.

Of course, there is a negative reality as well. Even as the church discovers the spirit of adoption, there is a radical display of child abandonment happening in Nebraska. Not long ago, Nebraska instituted a Safe Haven Law, promising clemency to anyone who, unable to care for a child, would surrender them to a hospital or police station.

The thought was they would safe a number of infants from poor care or abuse. Never in their wildest dreams did they expect what would happen next. Rather than infants being delivered to hospitals by teen parents, children as old as seventeen are being flown across the country and dropped off by parents who are at their wits end as to how to deal with them.

In the past few days alone, three teenagers and a five year old were brought from as far away as Miami, Florida by four different parents. In one case, a 17 year old girl and her 14 year old brother were dropped at an Omaha hospital. When the girl figured out what was happening, she ran way, preferring to face the world on her own than in state custody. Her brother did not go with her. It's hard to tell who got the better deal.

State lawmakers are in shock. "Please don't bring your teenager to Nebraska," Gov. Dave Heineman told CNN. "Think of what you are saying. You are saying you no longer support them. You no longer love them."

There’s no way to tell the conditions from which these kids may be being spared. In some - if not most cases - they actually may be better off in a foster home. I can’t imagine a child living long term with an parent who would prefer to abandon them.

That being said, the greater issue is what this says about our culture. Kids are commodities, not responsibilities. Parenting is a magazine, not a life of sacrifice. When it gets hard, help is only as far away as Nebraska.

Good God, what have we become.

The church must embrace these kids and thousands of others with spiritual and temporal adoption. It will not be pretty, easy, or fun. It will be obedience. They are not the prom queens or football stars we thought we would raise...but their reception by the body of Christ will be the barometer of what will come.

Hear the words of the prophet, and the warning therein.

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.

4 comments:

Tracie said...

Well written Randy. Nothing I could say would do your post justice. Thank you.

Josharoo said...

Very sad, God help us!

I've thought about adoption since before being married (7 years). Would most likely me at least a couple years, but we're asking the Lord for direction. Either way, we have the heart of adoption for all these kids. It just makes my heart break.

Wife to the Rockstar said...

My heart is sick and heavy reading this.

Cj said...

I wish this were a new phenomenon, but we experienced this about 15 years ago when we were pastoring youth and for some odd reason we began to get a few, then a dozen, then 40 kids coming to our house weekly from an alternative HS. My husband got to know the county sheriff, local cops and judges. We had to institute odd rules like "when you come to group drunk we're taking your keys and we'll drive you home later" and "you can only smoke outside under the lamp, not in the barns where the hay could burn" and "you can't come anymore if you take someone on a suicide run." After one kid shoplifted some bottles of Robitussin and drank it on his way to group and then got sick, we had to get him to the ER and try to find his mom and she later called and wanted us to adopt him because the Catholic & Lutheran agencies wouldn't take him ... he was 17 and had a rich dad out of the picture ... he was a sweet kid. He stayed with us while his mom got counseling and he called us Ward & June. In that season we knew we were in way over our heads and wish we had been in a community like IHOP to help us get these kids set free. All we had was love ... if only it had been enough.