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Audience of One

by Troy Livesay Published Jul 30, 2010

(Guest post by  Tara Livesay)

We are thankful that Together for Adoption recognizes that adoption is just one piece of our call to defend and provide for the orphan. There are multiple ways to engage with, love, defend, provide for, and reach out to orphaned and institutionalized children. Our prayer is that through our dialogue here and at the conference in October we will all be more aware of the plight of the orphan, God’s great concern for the orphan, and His desire to use us to love and serve them.

We’re blessed, humbled and honored to be adoptive parents of three gorgeous Haitian children.  They joined us in 2002 and 2007. We are open to adoption again in the future, whether or not that will happen, we don’t know.  When we share that we are “open” to adopting again, we’re sometimes met with a raised eyebrow or snide remark.  Being open to God and His direction is where we want to remain in spite of the raised eyebrows and while we don’t know today if we will ever adopt again, we do know that it is easy to let the opinions of others override or interfere with the call of Christ on our lives.

We get this question emailed to us fairly frequently:

“Dear Troy and Tara,

We want to adopt from _______. Our family is not approving of this decision. They say adoption is dangerous/risky/corrupt/not for us. They say the child could be damaged and hurt our family.”

They go on to ask, “What do we say to those people? Did you hear this when you decided to adopt?”

This question is loaded.

The problem is, most of us live to please humans. Sometimes more than anything we care what our peers (and even strangers) are thinking of us.

Consider the last time you tripped or fell in a public place.  If you are anything like me your immediate thought was not so much “Ouch, that hurt, I hope I didn’t break anything” as it was, “Oh man, I hope no one saw that.”  We care deeply about how others see us.

Truthfully, we all desire affirmation. Sometimes the need for affirmation becomes a monster of a problem. Troy and I have been known to fall into that trap.

If you live to please people you will get tripped up much more frequently. The opinions of others will hurt more. Frustration over feeling misunderstood will happen continually. The focus becomes getting others to see it your way rather than focusing on trusting God in the middle of the big things He wants to do with you.

Been there. Done that. Hate to admit – we’ll probably do it again.

If your chief purpose becomes being liked, being popular, or being approved of and cheered for by all — prepare to fall.

If you are certain God is asking you to do X Y or Z, and you are certain because you’ve prayed and discerned and maybe even sought the counsel of  wise and trusted people in your life, it matters not what Aunt Bea and your old friend from way back think. Really. It doesn’t. Do you feel God directing you to investigate trans-racial adoption. Do you sense the Holy Spirit leading you to move forward in faith? Your passionate call to do whatever it is will have to stand up to disapproval and unkind words. If it can’t, maybe you have to evaluate how called you are.

Sometimes people are even called to do things that will ultimately fail. (Learning from failure – the world’s best teacher.) We believe God is in that too.

Of course we did not have all totally happy people jumping up and down at our decision to adopt from Haiti. Yes, disapproving emails and comments were received.

Did that hurt? Sure it did.

Does it matter?

Well … It shouldn’t.

We cannot always expect people to understand OUR vision or call from God. It is not their calling, therefore they cannot be expected to “get” it. Maybe they are scared for you and wanting to protect you. Maybe they are jealous. Maybe they truly think you are an idiot.

Let them … And love them anyway.

Our encouragement to all in the decision-making place about adoption is to pray, and pray some more and if God is still nudging you forward you’ve got to move forward in obedience and faith. Trust His leading.  Your friends and family will either get on board later (most will eventually) or not … but gaining their approval cannot be your primary focus.

Your audience of One will see you through it.

  • Erin M

    thanks for this.. I really really needed this reminder today!

  • http://Website Kari

    Thanks for the reminder. My husband and I just told our families this week that we have made the decision to adopt two boys from Haiti. We were met with some disapproval, apathy, and concern. I let it get to me, but my husband reminded me of this same thing. Its cool to read your words echoing his today. THANKS!

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