I've been reflecting a lot on why we're adopting; not just why, but why now, why a boy from Ethiopia, and why a boy with such significant medical challenges.
As to why I've been thinking about it a lot, let's just say that we've been asked those questions by a number of different people, not all of whom asked out of simple curiosity. At least one said they thought we're being irresponsible and neglectful of our duty to our other children (they used the term "real children"). Although in retrospect I shouldn't have been, at the time, I was rather surprised by such an un-Christian accusation. After all, that particular person isn't typically all that Christian anyway, and in fact, we'd had similar (although perhaps not as choleric) responses from friends who are (at least outwardly) very Christian.
I wonder how people who believe in God, who know his word, who claim to follow it, can take such a position. After all, do the circumstances of Tommy's birth make him any less human?...any less a child of God? Would he have been deemed more worthy of parenting had be been fortunate enough to be born in America? Or is it possible that wouldn't even have been close enough? Would some have still been unhappy that we didn't request an Ohio child, even a Warren County, Ohio child?
In the end, we've decided that some people just aren't comfortable with adoption, and these challenges to our decision are just their way of expressing that discomfort. We knew we'd have people who don't understand, and we knew we'd be challenged. After all, we're not wealthy, four kids is already a bit peculiar by some peoples' standards, $32,000 is a lot of money to be pulled from our earning/savings, and we certainly have insufficient information on Tommy's health to know what we'll be dealing with when he gets here. So, what!
Last night at mass, the closing hymn, although I've heard and sang it many times before, struck me as poignant. Without being overly dramatic, I really believe it applies to our family, our choice, our approach. It goes like this:
God has chosen me, God has chosen me | to bring good news to the poor. | God has chosen me, God has chosen me | to bring new sight to those searching for light | God has chosen me, chosen me | God is calling me, God is calling me | in all whose cry is unheard. | God is calling me, God is calling me | to raise up the voice with no power or choice | God is calling me, calling me ( http://www.spiritandsong.com/compositions/7776 )
I believe God has called us to stand up for children in Tommy's situation. I believe he, and plenty more children like him, need people like us who will "bring good news to the poor." God has chosen us; He is calling our family to live out his commandments, and we have answered his call. I'll say it again, WE KNOW THIS WILL BE HARD! But that's exactly the point! This isn't supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be impactful! We're changing the direction of a young boy's life! And in the process, we're changing the direction and values of our entire family. If it was easy, there wouldn't be such a huge surplus of parent-less children. It's going to be hard! We knew that at the first thought of adoption. Every step along the way has confirmed it. But we've never used how difficult something would be as a criteria to determine whether we'd do it; certainly not with things of great importance.
Still, it's hard when people you love treat you poorly because they disagree with a decision you've made. In the end, it'll makes little difference. We've taken our decision and we're very nearly at the crossroad; just 36 days. We're comfortable with what we're doing and why. I'm hopeful eventually those who disagree with us will come to understand and accept it. Till then, we'll keep praying.