If you missed Part One of my interview with Adeye Salem, please take the time to go back and read it. I was so moved by her words, even though I already knew her story. Her life is like a wonderful book that you return to again and again to read...and each time you find something new. I am so blessed that she took the time to answer all my questions- I know how busy life with a bunch of rugrats can be!
This is Part two....and as a special treat Adeye put her husband on the spot to answer some questions! I had fun getting photos from Adeye for this one...I didn't know she and Anthony had quite the sensational romance brewing before they got married! If you've never been to her blog NoGreaterJoyMom...make sure you scroll all the way back to read about this world famous pair;)
Some might look at the orphan crisis in the world and say the need is too great, and where would we start to help? What would you say to that... and what would you say to those who do not have a spouse who is ready to adopt right now?
I’m going to let my dear husband Anthony answer this question. For the longest time he was not ready to add any more children to our family. God had to do a deep work in his heart.
Hmmm, need too great? Don’t know where to start? How about one place at a time. Start by taking each other’s hands and crying out to God. Say yes to Him, that you are available to rescue any child or children He gives you. But then you must reach an agreement about what KIND of child. Not only race, but with what level of special needs if any. Or you can trade it all in for what’s behind Door Number 2—Tell God you don’t care what the child’s circumstances are, you are YES and AMEN. Then get online and see who He presents to you. Or speak with your agency about what you two agreed to do.
As for a spouse who’s not ready, I always say, “Happy wife, happy life.” Just kidding.
Adeye’s right. It didn’t come right away with me. I wasn’t so much concerned about loving a child that didn’t come from my loins, so to speak. I was looking at the financial issue and the “crazy house” factor, the latter being, could I tolerate a continuous din of children sounds, seeing as I was a bachelor for the first 39 years of my life?
In all earnestness, I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed. Why was God silent on this? Wouldn’t He speak to ME, the magnanimous HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD?! But because He was silent toward me didn’t mean He wasn’t giving an answer…through my wife. I had to remember that God often speaks to women when men are too dense to hear straight. Particularly when I’m trying to “save my own life.” For example, I now know experientially how God can shatter my fears of not being a good provider for my family by using my wife to assure me that if we jump off the deep end for Jesus, then we’ll know how HE provides for our family. He’s the ultimate Provider, not me.
Similarly, I learned how God gave man a helpmate who, lo and behold, also hears from Him. Otherwise, how do they help us, men? By cleaning the house and changing diapers? If that’s the case, I wouldn’t have a wife but a live-in maid. And that’s where Abraham got into trouble!
God did an amazing, gracious thing in my heart. Once I said yes to adoption, he gave me “ownership” of the decision. In other words, through my step of obedience, he placed in me a surety that the children we were adopting were indeed Salems. I’ll always remember our first adoption, Hannah-Claire. We got a referral picture of her from our agency and I ho-hummed it. I thought, let me put it on the fridge so that God can perhaps give me a Damascus Road experience when I pass by it. So even after I said yes to adoption, with THIS girl, I was humming and hawing.
Three days later, my wife discouragingly said, “Well, it’s obvious that you’re not into this girl, so I’m going to call the agency and tell them no.” At that moment, the Spirit of God rose up in me and said very incredulously, “Don’t you dare tell them no! How can you give away ‘our daughter’ like that?!” Wow, did I really say that? Yes. And life has never been the same.
Other than adoption, what is the best thing people can do to help, practically speaking?
There are many, many things you can do besides actually adopt.
I think that the most important thing you can do is help other families who are in the process of bringing a child home. Many of you know that adoption costs money—a whole lot of money. For most, having $30,000 lying in the bank is just not an option. Many families embark on the adoption journey in faith—trusting God to provide every dollar they need. They work hard to raise funds. From someone who has been there, done that, it is not the easiest thing to do. It can become tiring. It can even be disheartening. Some days you wonder how in the world you are ever going to have the amount that you require.
The greatest blessing for adopting families is when the body of Christ comes alongside them in their fundraising efforts. Help them in any way possible. Host a fundraiser for them. It could be a dinner, or an online auction, or anything else. Sow financially into their adoption too. God expects us to be generous in our giving. Sowing seed into an adoption is so rewarding because it enables us to play a part in saving a child’s life. Some may think that a $20 gift may be so small in comparison to what is required for an adoption. You know, it ALL adds up. Every small amount donated adds up so quickly. I cannot tell you how many ten-dollar givers we had with our four adoptions. The Lord multiplied that seed and before we knew it, we had everything we needed to bring our children home. There is such incredible blessing in sowing financially into a family’s adoption.
Adopting families also need physical assistance. Make a meal for a family who has just gotten home with their child. Offer to take care of their children as they adjust to their new normal. Pray for them. Call them to offer help. Send a note of encouragement. Just be there for them in any way you can think of. I can promise you that they will so appreciate it.
Other than adoption, there are so many amazing ways to practically DO something to make a difference in the lives of the estimated 147 million orphans in the world. Sponsor a child through one of many programs available. Go on a short- or long-term mission where you can physically give of your time and efforts to make a child’s life better. Advocate on your social networks for children who are waiting, just as Patti has done. It all helps.
It’s true—the orphan crisis sure can seem overwhelming once you start learning about the plight of the fatherless. But I’m convinced that if all Christians just did something to help, no matter how big or small, we sure would have a major impact on the way things currently are. We’re the Christians, the ones the Lord has commanded to care for orphans. It’s OUR problem, not the world’s. Jesus never told the people in the world to go out and care for the fatherless. No, He told US, His beautiful Bride, to do it.
I was so moved by your post, "I Left My Heart There." Is it possible to experience joy every day in spite of what you have seen? Are you haunted by the memories of those children you had to leave behind, and how do you deal with those memories?
Oh my. Yes, sweet little faces I left behind are never far from my thoughts. Ever. They do absolutely haunt me. At the same time, I never want to forget all that I have seen. It’s their faces that keep me determined to do everything I possibly can to create an awareness. I lie awake at night wondering how I can make a difference, what can I do?
Proverbs 24:12 has become so very real to me over the years: "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act."
My eyes have definitely been opened to a desperate need that I never knew existed. And now it is my responsibility to act and DO something. I don’t know how that will end up looking in the future, I only know that I will try as best I can to be a voice for the fatherless until the day that Jesus takes me home.
As for every day life, yes, it is possible to experience joy every day. All I need to do is look at our four beautiful little girls who have been rescued from a life of desperation. They make me realize time and time again that every late night I spend posting on a blog, every email about a waiting child, every note I send to encourage an adopting family, every question I answer about how to adopt a child…it is all so very worth it. Every child rescued is such a beautiful thing—another life snatched from darkness and brought into HIS glorious light.
One of the things I love about your blog is that you maintain such a spirit of hope, and at the same time you are able to write so passionately and convictingly about the desperate need of orphans. I love that I can feel the burden that you articulate so clearly, and yet come away feeling like there is such great hope in spite of the need. I have a feeling that "in real life" I would get that from you as well. What is your "governing philosophy" so to speak? :)
You are too kind, Patti. I appreciate your very kind words.
You know, I definitely do have days when I feel so desperate. Days when I wonder how on earth we are ever going to make some kind of difference in the way things are with the world’s orphans. It is so easy to fall into despair and to have a feeling of hopelessness.
On days like these I think about the time when Jesus went to the pool called Bethesda in Jerusalem. Many, many disabled people lay there. The Bible calls then “a great number” (kind of like the number of orphans in the world). Jesus went in and singled out one man to be healed. Just one. He did not look at the overwhelming problem, but went to the ONE, and what a difference He made in the life of that one man!
I find such hope in that story. Just ONE.
One child at a time…that’s what can make the world of difference and the difference in a child’s world. If every person burdened to do something about orphans just tried to make a difference just one child at a time, what a glorious result we could have!
Thank you so much, Adeye...I am honored to call you a friend.
You know, as I was reading this and getting ready to post, it hit me...when God really started to move on my heart to help orphans, I wrote this post called "Just One."
I had no idea what God was going to do..I had no thought of doing a giveaway..I just committed my heart to helping JUST ONE.
And here we are a less than two months later, and with God's help and a whole host of online friends, we are seeing two little girls rescued. And we are determined to help one little boy experience the same.
And yes- I said two little girls.
I know we have all been hopeful for Olga and were heartbroken when several families had to withdraw their applications. As heartbreaking as that was, there is still hope..and there are GOOD things to come. I am whispering a tentative hallelujah here (to coin a Courtney phrase once again;)) at what is to be announced very soon.
Please, please, please...do not miss this: February 1st we are kicking off a HUGE giveaway to help Peter, Olga and Kareen. Sam and I have been praying all month for God's favor and miracle provision in this- we are sunk without His help. We have had so many people donate the most incredible things...I am humbled to be a small part of this.
I wanted so desperately to save a child on Reece's Rainbow myself. The fact that I have ten kids probably speaks volumes about my heart's desire- I adore children. Because of several factors, adoption is not an option for us at this point in our lives. Maybe you're reading this and you're in the same position. Maybe you would love to adopt, but for whatever reason you just can't do that right now.
I hope Adeye's words inspired you like they did me- we can still help. In a very meaningful and powerful way, our giving and blogging and praying and raising awareness is helping to save these children.
Friends, my heart is so heavy for Peter. I emailed Andrea Roberts at Reece's Rainbow again today to ask if anyone has inquired about this little boy...who has so very little hope right now. I'm going to go into more detail on Tuesday, but this giveaway is going to help decide- quite literally- whether Peter will live or die. Maybe that sounds dramatic. It is true nonetheless.
When I asked Andrea for suggestions ...what I could do to help save Peter...her response cut me to the heart.
I wish I had a suggestion about Peter....I have been advocating for him for YEARS. Nothing short of a full grant is going to do much for him, I'm afraid.
So you know what I determined in my heart?
We're going to get Peter a full grant.
And yes, I'm shaking a little in my shoes as I type those words. I know how crazy that sounds. A full grant is $20,000. That's a big pile of money.
But guess what? I serve a big God.
I'm going to go out on a limb here.
I truly believe God can do this for Peter. There are so many who have a heart to help and who truly see the desperate need of these orphans.
The sitemeter stats for Lily's blog this week were 3,236 hits. We're going to do our giveaway for ten days. If every person who visits this blog gives just $10...that would mean Peter's life. And substantial help for the Cox family who is adopting Kareen ...and more help for Olga's family.
I am praying God multiplies...finances, readers, blog hits, you name it.
I'm asking ..pleading... for your help with this fundraiser. I'm aiming high, because that's what God put on my heart. I don't think it's an accident that Adeye graciously agreed to do this interview with me. I think God wanted to use her to show us what could be done. Julia's life was saved- through Adeye's giveaway she saw $20,000 raised in less than five days.
If you are committed to helping, giving, praying, blogging, whatever..could you leave a little comment here telling me so?
Thank you so much, ahead of time.