"We are all handmade people created by a God who is not safe or small." Rend Collective Experiment

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor...

I am absolutely amazed that I have the opportunity to write this. I don’t usually make comments or suggestions on Renee’s blog. She writes to encourage and inspire, where my job is to be controversial and confrontational. The reason I am writing this is due to a seemingly common obstacle that I have noticed when it comes to adoptions: The husband.

Number one: Please don’t force your husband to read this and try to manipulate him and make him read something that he does not want. Don’t make him read this when he is tired. Warn him that it may take anywhere from 5-15 minutes to read this. Too much information can be overwhelming, especially when it is all words and no pictures. Don’t let him read this and then expect a reaction from him such as tears, that he bursts with excitement, or even just wants you to hold him. A simple grunt is all you may get.

Number two: I have said “no” to so many things it is not even funny. When I say that I have said no, it was an emphatic NO, no way, I am not ever going to do that, kind of “no.”

Here is a condensed list of many of the things I have said "no" to.

  1. I am not going to get married. I am going to go to Daytona Beach to party, become a pilot and travel the world .
  2. I will not work this job long-term, it is not in my field, and I will work it until I find another one. I will not stay here any longer than 2-3 months.
  3. If I ever have kids, I won’t have more than 2 or 3.
  4. I will not be some bible thumper.
  5. I won’t give up my beer or drinking.
  6. I will never stop watching my movies or listening to my CD’s.
  7. I will not tell a woman she cannot have an abortion.
  8. I will not allow my children to be homeschooled.
  9. I will not adopt. I do not want the controversy surrounding me why there are a mix of kids in our family. There will be too much baggage from these kids, they are going to be too much of a burden emotionally, financially, etc., besides, we already have enough kids.
  10. Even if I adopt, it will not be older children, there are too many issues with them.

If God can change a very foolish heart like mine, He can change anybody’s. This post is not about me, it is about the Creator of the universe that holds the heart of man in His hand, and if you submit to His will, there are blessings waiting that you cannot imagine.

Here is what happened:

  1. Partied in Daytona, met Renee in the first week of school, got married one week after graduation, flew once with Renee and made her puke; haven’t flown since.
  2. I have had the same employer for the last 14 years and have had a very blessed position as a sales representative for a national company. This job has funded every child (biological, and especially the expensive international adoptions). Never thought it would be amount to anything other than a paycheck to get by, just a temporary job.
  3. I have given up on the kids thing. Thought that would be all of them at 3, 4 5, 7, 9,11…..and so on it seems. Maybe 18 will be it???
  4. I became a born-again Christian in 1999, not by any good works on my part, but by the grace of God, he saved a wretch like me.
  5. My desire for alcohol almost instantly went away, have not had a drop of alcohol since 1999.
  6. I smashed all the music and movies that did not honor Christ (even PG ones, just in case you wondered)
  7. It should be obvious there was a change of heart about abortion due to the amount of kids we have now. I want to help preserve life, not destroy it.
  8. I have found having anti-social, nerdy, and weird kids has many advantages. Homeschooling has been a blessing for our family :)
  9. These kids are just the same as if they were biological. All of the concerns and doubts and fears are unfounded. I was foolish for thinking that way. They are a blessing, not a burden. I love our children adopted and biological the same.
  10. Older kids have a great need. I wanted it to be easy with younger kids. It turned out that the older children have been easier in many aspects, and they don’t need diapers!

I said all of this to encourage anyone who has a spouse that may not be on board with the adoption process. My problem is that I have a very convincing wife. She really makes it easy for me to change my mind. When I saw how she loves children, how she sacrifices her time and energy for them, gets totally whipped from them, and still wants more, all I can do is go along for the ride. I believe it is how she lives for Jesus and how she raises these kids is the greatest motivation to give her what she desires. I am challenged to do whatever it takes to accommodate her and her needs. I wish I could say I have done a good job on my part, but God reminds me that His grace is greater than me. This should be encouraging for anyone who thinks that you have to have things altogether and perfect in order to be a vessel useful to God. If God can speak through Balaams donkey, he can surely use someone who is about the same as the donkey.

Husband: If your wife told you she was pregnant right now, what would you do? Would you be happy? Would you go to your worry place and say, ”how are we going to do this, how are we going to make it, there is no way, I don’t see how it will happen” (that is what I said after our first). What if your wife said she wanted to adopt, she is totally willing to make the sacrifice and expend her time and energy to help raise, nurture, and care for this child? Can you trust her to do her part? Maybe if she is ready and you are not, pray that God will show you the bigger picture. You would deal with the fact that she would have a baby if she were pregnant. Can you look back years later and laugh at what you were worried about? I know I still do. Would an adoption be any different? You must not do this on a whim, God MUST lead you to adopt, but don’t limit God with all the excuses and reasons why you can’t make this happen, since Paul said, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).

Wife: Are you raising your children that you may currently have in such a way that when your husband sees you, he thinks that you are doing an awesome job? I did not say things are perfect, but at least raising them without referring to the kids as burdens, brats, and barbarians, and complaining on a regular basis how difficult things are. Instead of trying to convince your husband that you want to adopt a child while things are just being made to stay afloat, how about praying for God to change the heart of your husband according to what His will is. Show your husband that you can be trusted by being patient with him. Lovingly approach him that it is your heart’s desire to adopt, but don’t plead with his emotions. Show him that you can practically care for him and any other child that is brought into the family. Tell him to think of the tax benefits, the extra help around the house, someone to wash the car and mow the grass (That last part was a joke).

I do not have all of the answers, but again, with all of the husbands out there who say “no” to adoption, maybe through prayer, living your life as a godly example around your husband and children, he may be like me, and say finally say “yes.” You would think that Renee has this whole thing licked by now and has me in the palm of her hand. She just asked me to adopt again, so what did I say? After all of past experiences, what do you think I said. I wish it was a yes. I said No, of course. After some prayer and seeking God's wisdom , I realized that this woman is crazy (in a good way) and I was not going to stand in the way of this one. There is one Scripture that keeps coming back to me from Proverbs, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” (Prov 3:27)

I will conclude by saying that I do not want to have any regrets in eternity. Don’t worry, I already have regrets over things I have done, or not done, for the kingdom of Heaven. I look at it like this; if God can bring an outsider into His family, turn this stony, hard heart around, and turn a “no” into a “yes” all for the glory of His Name, how much more should I be motivated to live for Jesus, and be willing to do what He has called me to do.


patjrsmom said...

What a beautiful testimony to the importance of a father's role in God's plan for families. May He continue to bless your efforts abundantly.


Grateful for Grace said...

Thank you so very much.
Thank you for sharing the guy's point of view so clearly. Thank you for speaking your heart.
What a beautiful post. I'm saving it for a good time for my husband. Now is not it and I'm glad you reminded me of that.
Thank you for reminding us wives to be sure we do not have a plank in our eye.

I would say that Renee is as blessed to have you as you are to have her.

in Christ,

Laurel said...

Hi Jim,

GREAT post! I will share it my "my" Jim, and he will be blessed by your words, also.

After 2 kids ... my dear husband said, "No more." After 5 kids in 4 years ... he said, "Absolutely, no more!" After 7 kids ... he said, "7 is God's perfect number". After 10 kids ... he said, "This is really it. We're done. We're already going to be too old when our youngest is raised." That stage lasted for 5 years.

Then, God gave me the wisdom that if we adopted older than our youngest child, we would still be parenting the same number of years. Jim said, "No." ... for 6 months. Then, God showed Jim who we were going to adopt before He showed me.

Our 3 Ghanaian children are 6, 9, 12 ... and they match right up with our youngest 3 bio. children who are 6, 8, 11.

What an amazing God we serve. He has the plan, and He will confirm His plan in both husband and wife, if we wait for His timing and if we are both open to His plan for our family, rather than our own selfish plan.



Robin's Reports said...

What a great testimony from the sponsor. Thank you Jim.

sue said...

What an encouraging testimony. Just beautiful.

Sue :)

jill said...

A really worthwhile post...humorously written from the heart. It occurred to me as I was reading your words that my husband has never really sat down with the two adoptive dads we know and asked "heavy" questions. Men don't do that too easily. Your post brought a lot of thoughts and worries out into the light where they can be dealt with.

Thanks so much.

Jill (mom of 8 bio and praying for two Ethiopians)

Joy said...

Thanks Jim, it has been really awesome to see how God has worked in Daddy's heart about adopting!

Thank you for sharing your testimony!

Carla said...

Okay Jim, I am going to show this to my husband! And everyone else I know too! (If I can see through my tears to do it, that is.) What an amazing testimony. Prayer has changed my husband's heart towards adoption two times already. God's power is simply amazing. He makes what we think is impossible, possible.

Jenny said...

Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts concerning adoption. Thanks for showing a man's point of view on the issues and the timing and the worries. You guys keep so many things to yourselves that it is really hard for wives to understand sometimes what is going on in there. I will be sharing this with Keith one day. God gave the opportunity Saturday for me to share indirectly with him again why my heart is called to adopt. But he gave me no response. I am such a direct person that it is really hard for me to hold my tongue and not argue the point with logic, scripture, emotions, anything that could possibly change his mind. It will have to be God that changes him, not me. Please keep us in your prayers. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and struggles. Love you!

Debbie B said...

This was just a lovely post. I am glad that your sponsor decided to share a word. :)

I am a friend of Deborah and Travis. We have known as other since 1989 when my family moved to Rome.

Our youngest son, Paul is adopted. We got him at 5 weeks old. He is now 15. He has blessed our lives with tremendous joy. He is Asian; however, he was born in Rome, Ga.

I enjoyed looking at your photos below and seeing familiar faces. May you and yours be blessed and walk in God's grace.


darci said...

thanks for sharing..it is interesting that it 'often' seems like God lays adoption on the hearts of the wife first-it was the same for us. This blog has blessed me for months, and this post blessed me as well. (and made me laugh-I definitely have a hubby that would grunt rather than need me to 'just hold him' lol!).
God bless you and your beautiful family. Thanks for taking the time to share with even those of us you may never meet in order to bless and enourage.
('done' at two, now at three, and 2 coming home from ethiopia.."this time" as i tell my hubby.teehee)

Melissa said...

Thanks for the post, it was a great reminder for this wife, to trust the Lord to lead me though my "sponsor" :)

The Lewis Brothers said...

So true. Wonderful post - thank you for writing it!

becomingamama said...

Thanks for that great post. I especially appreciate the verse...so perfect!

Chad and Sandy said...


You ARE blessed! But you you know that already!!!!

Deborah said...

Thanks, Jim.
You are one incredible Dad. Thank you for the influence you have had on our family, and for the love you have shown to us. Thanks so much for taking such good care of Noel.
I love you and Renee very much.

Eileen and Jerry Mestas said...

Thank you for this absolutely beautiful, transparent and encouraging post. What a blessing to all of us who have the privilege to follow along your family's journey! (and have been called into the beautiful journey of adoption as well) Blessings to all of you, I would love to meet you all some day!

In His Timing & Care,
The Mestas Family

Anonymous said...

Jim ~
As I've told you many times, I could not have picked a better husband for my little girl ~ You and Renee make a dynamic duo ~you guys are my super heroes!! Love to the gang and see you this weekend!! Love, Karen :~)

Kristy -Mom to 4 and soon to be more! said...

Wonderfully said!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks fo taking a guest spot and speaking your heart!
What a blessing!

Erica said...

Awesome testimony of what our God has done in your family. Thank you for posting this.

Debbie said...

What a testimony of what God has done in your life!!! Your family is gorgeous!!!

God bless!

natalie said...

Hi- I just happened upon your blog. I'm truly blessed by your testimony. Thank you for honoring God with your lives. What a beautiful family!