Don’t let fear win out.
By Mike Berry
When asked in a recent radio interview, “What would you tell someone who is feeling called to adopt but has some hesitations?” I replied, “Jump off!” almost without taking a breath. “Go for it. The need is great, and it’s not changing anytime soon.”
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, didn’t seem phased by my quick response to his question. He nodded and smiled. He agreed because the very same passion that I have for adoption, foster care, and orphan care burning in my heart, he has burning in his!
Life is too short to spend all of your time playing it safe, waiting for the perfect timing, or lining up all of your ducks. Sometimes you just need to … jump. Sure, you need to be wise. You need to save your money, you need to think through every angle of a big purchase, and Lord knows you need to weigh all the pros and cons of any big decision. We’ve been there. But when you know in your heart that you’re supposed to do something, what are you waiting for?
Perhaps you’re afraid. The water looks deep and choppy.
Guess what? The water IS deep and it can be EXTREMELY choppy! But it can change your life beyond what you’ve ever imagined or dreamed of.
Abandon your fear.
That may terrify you. It sure did us at one point in our life, before we adopted our eight children. In fact, let’s be honest here: some of you may even be tuning this article out right now. It’s too much, you think to yourself. Listen, we get it. But if you did give in to these thoughts, you’d miss so much. You’d miss a great opportunity to change the world. Yes … you! Change the world. You read that right!
So should you adopt? Yes, you should. We believe this with all of our hearts and here are our nine reasons why …
1. The need isn’t decreasing.
There are currently over 100,000 children in the U.S. waiting to be adopted from foster care. 100K! That number isn’t decreasing anytime soon. This is a need. A big one. You could have a hand in reducing that number drastically. If every person who reads this blog on a monthly basis decided to adopt, or even foster-to-adopt, that number would drop to 75,000 to 80,000. If every church in the U.S. challenged their members to adopt from the foster care system, and at least one person from every congregation did, that number would be eliminated altogether! There’s power in numbers … even small ones.
2. Your heart is big enough.
You may question yourself. You may whisper things like, “I don’t know if I could love a child I didn’t biologically create.” I know this because I whispered it once upon a time to my own heart. Can I tell you something? You can. The reason I know is that I could, and I did. It’s never a question of, “Can you love?” It’s a question of, “Will you choose to love?”
3. Your perspective is too small.
We often focus so heavily on our life and our own private world that we forget we’re just one small pixel of a much greater picture. We have a place in this picture. But there are other pixels in the picture (i.e. children in waiting) that need to be brighter. They need life, they need hope. We can be that for them. Fact is, there’s a lot of darkness in this world and there are a lot of children who need hope.
4. Your life needs some disruption.
Guess what? That’s a good thing. Know why? We all tend to fall into a comfort trap. This is especially true for those of us in the U.S.! You have a comfortable house, a comfortable salary, a comfortable schedule, live in a comfortable neighborhood. Comfortable. Maybe that’s not the point of life? Maybe the point of life is to live convicted, not comfortable.
5. Your family needs it.
Adoption can be one of the biggest blessings your family ever receives this side of heaven. Not only does your family expand, but so does your heart and your compassion for other human beings. Our children are some of the most compassionate human beings we know and we have adoption and foster care, in part, to thank for this.
6. You’ve been given much.
Let’s be honest — we have so much. We have a lot of money, we have a lot of stuff, we have a lot of resources. If we’ve been given all of this stuff, shouldn’t we in turn be as generous as we can be and give it to someone in need?
7. The future depends on it.
We believe foster and adoptive parents change the world, but they also shape the future. The reason is simple: love and compassion will change the world, not more money, or a better government, or a different president. When we choose to love others unconditionally, the world will change. When you choose to love a child who needs a forever home, you pay love and compassion forward to future generations.
8. It could have been you.
I know that some who are reading this article were former foster children or have been adopted, but there are many who grew up in a traditional household. I did too. Think about this for a second. You and I were only one or two choices away from being placed in foster care, or becoming orphaned. That’s a fact that has changed my perspective. It could have been me. I’m determined to never let it be my children.
9. Fear can’t win.
Bottom line: you can’t allow fear to win your heart. Playing it safe, staying on the shoreline, listening to the voices of caution will never lead you to a fulfilled life.
As I think back to our college days, when I was devising my so-called “life plan,” I realize that my perspective was both selfish and small. Not necessarily selfish in a bad way. After all, it’s in our human nature to think of our own health and safety, right?
I just wanted to play it a little too safe. I did this out of fear. Fear that I would lose something precious, fear that I would fail, and a good ol’ fear that I wouldn’t have enough. Thankfully, God greatly disrupted this and in doing so, wrote a much bigger and better story for us. You can’t let fear win in this life. Stop waiting, stop fearing … start jumping.
So, what are you waiting for? Yes, I know an article like this may sound blunt and be a little bit bold, but perhaps it’s exactly what you needed to read. Maybe you’ve stood on the edge for a long time and allowed all the “what ifs” to pile up in your mind. The “what ifs” will never stop with anything daring in this life. If you wait for them to sort themselves out, you will wait forever.
Jump … step off … go for it. You were meant to! There are thousands of children in waiting who are hoping you will.
This article originally appeared on Babble.
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Photo courtesy of author.