A Woman's World by Rob (Aaron's dad!)
I have said it before: the world of special needs adoption is a woman’s world. If you don’t believe me, try reading some adoption blogs. Take just one cautious step into this marshy bog of sentiment, and suddenly you’ll find yourself thigh-deep in a muck of chatter about breast pumps, toddler fashions and the contents of dirty diapers. There isn’t a man alive who wouldn’t rather hang himself to death with his prison sheets than read these womanish adoption blogs.
On the other hand, these children need families, and that usually means two parents. How do we men come on board? I only know how I came on board:
To explain, I have to relate a bit about how I feel about women: I love women. In my opinion, there isn’t a single woman on earth who doesn’t have at least some God-given beauty-- although a few hide theirs most effectively. And I especially love my wife. I find her endlessly fascinating. Every good thing I have in my life, I have because of her. Everything that matters to me matters more because of her. I love life only because of my love for her and my love for my children. No other earthly thing signifies-- no accomplishment, no amount of wealth, no pleasure or diversion. I knew God before I was married, but I understood God’s father heart (a little) only after I became a husband and a father.
When my wife became interested in special needs adoption around last Christmas, I resisted. The pictures and the stories on the many blogs she followed didn’t move me in the same way they moved her. I’ve always given liberally to church and charity, but I was very reluctant to bring a stranger into our home, our only refuge from work and the world. When I’m home, which is little enough, I want to rest. And I already had bookkeeping, editing and business chores chewing away my home time, plus my home schooling duties. Besides all of that, we both knew that we were in no financial shape to undertake a hideously expensive international adoption.
Yet only a few weeks after all of this came up, I found myself agreeing to pursue Aaron’s adoption. I told Julia that I would “follow her heart.” I said that after I realized that every good thing we’ve ever done has come from following her heart, her good woman’s heart. I couldn’t let myself be the fool who stood in her way and prevented her from doing what I was sure the Lord was leading her to do.
If the path of our lives together was left to me, I would do nothing but work. I would work for twelve hours every day, six days a week, thinking about little but work all the while, and go home exhausted. I would come to view my time off as unproductive, wasted time, and I would begin to work half days on Sundays, too. I’m already a long way down that path. My work is tiring, but satisfying. I don’t have the energy for much else.
My wife is different. Her heart is more like God’s heart. She is more in tune with the Holy Spirit. She naturally cares about the things God cares about. She loves what God loves, and hates what God hates. Where I overlook people and their needs, she cares for them and frets over them. Where I assume that people are beyond help, she finds ways to help. Our family leads a much more fruitful life when we follow her heart than when we follow mine. We lead a more Godly life, a life more pleasing to God, when we follow her heart. And we experience more of the love that God has to offer when we follow her heart.
I picture it in this way (I may be borrowing this illustration, I don’t remember): imagine that all of God’s people are swimmers in a broad, swift stream. The stream is God’s will, and it flows toward the accomplishment of God’s purposes. People like me tend to stay close to the banks, where the water doesn’t move too fast. We hang on to the edge to keep the raging will of God from pulling us faster than we have the courage to go. Sometimes we even try to swim upstream, against God’s will. People like my wife, on the other hand, are always pushing away from the banks, out into the center of the stream. They want to be where the action is, to see God moving in the world and move with Him. We’re all going downstream to the same place, because God’s will cannot be denied. But if we want to experience more of God, we have to move out into the center of the stream.
That’s how I see this adoption: we’ve pushed out nearer to the center of the stream of God’s will. With God’s help I followed my wife’s heart, I took a step in faith, because I wanted to experience more of what God has to offer. I was curious to see what God would do. And God has not disappointed me: He has aroused compassion in the hearts of hundreds of people who have helped to bring Aaron home. Through them, He has raised all of the money that we needed. He has saved a precious little boy from being Lost forever. He has moved the heart of our skeptical judge.
And before any of that, he chose the perfect little boy for us. This was the thing that worried me the most before we got here: who was this little boy? We committed to adopt Aaron based on one smiling photograph and a short description that turned out to be about 75% right. All of our efforts to learn more about him before we got here came to nearly nothing. I even doubted that we’d be able to find him when we got here, because there seemed to be so little information available on him. When we finally found him, though, it took us only a few minutes to discover that God had not steered us wrong. On the second day we knew him, we were already making plans for his care, plotting his life with us as if he were one of our own. Now that we’ve been with him for several weeks, we smile fondly at him and admire his features, just as we do with our own sons. We take pride in his little eccentricities. We couldn’t have wanted any other child this much. God made the perfect choice for us.
Yes, our adoption has been hard, harder than it had to be. Maybe that makes it even better in the end. No matter what happens from here on, I think I shall always consider Aaron’s adoption the best good deed of our lives.