Wednesday, May 30, 2012

He Moves Us

When you chose to homeschool, you did something out of the box. Out of the ordinary. Probably out of your comfort zone, and it's likely that some people though you were out of your mind. But for the sake of your children and their destiny, you shook all of that off and decided to get all radical - gasp! -- in order to invest more deeply in your kids, because they're worth it.

As we learn, we grow, and we become vulnerable to God showing us things we could never have expected to learn about. He moves us unexpectedly, and He did that for our family a couple of years ago.

We had four kids. Two boy, two girls...we had a boy and girl that looked like my husband and a boy and girl that looked like me. Perfect. Well-balanced, even...but not complete.

From early in our marriage, God called us to adoption.  For a long time, it was just an idea to us - something for someday, later, when the kids were older, maybe...honestly, we were not very serious about it.  It was a dreamy idea that sounded nice for someday in the future...until we learned of the real situation. And the real situation is that adoption isn't nice or dreamy at all - it is an urgent necessity because there are anywhere from 140 to 200 million orphans in the world.

They are hungry, sick, unloved, and unvalued. They are without families, without hope, and without a good future...and while we sat in our comfortable home with our perfectly balanced, picturesque family, many of them were dying.  So we decided to do something out of the box.  Out of the ordinary, and certainly out of our comfort zone.  And, yes, some people thought we were out of our mind...but since we're homeschoolers, we've gotten good at ignoring those kind of people.  We kept on moving to what we were called to do, because out of our comfort zone is where the magic happens.

We began the process of adopting two children, Andrey and Reagan. They're not babies, they're both six years old, and they're not siblings...yet. They have lived their entire lives in orphanages.  Through a long, difficult, and emotion-wringing process we have gotten to the point where we will finally bring them home in a few months.  They have little idea, if any, of what this will mean for them. To be perfectly honest, we have little idea, if any, of what bringing them home will mean for us. We have questions and speculations and few answers. Let me share one of the biggest ones with you.

I have to admit that as a homeschooling mom, I really struggled with how adoption would impact the education I was already trying to provide for our biological kids. Would I be able to continue teaching our other four as well as we have been? Or will we be consumed with special needs? We don't know how long it will take to teach Andrey and Reagan English, much less how long it will take to teach them how to read.  How will they behave? How will our biological kids behave once we are all together? How long will it take for this to all shake out? I was really spinning for a while.

But time and prayer can solve a lot of hard questions, and I realized this: bold compassion is the great education. No education we can provide any of our kids is worth a puff of hot air if we are simultaneously teaching our kids cowardice and selfishness.  How much more will these four biological children of mine be able to accomplish in life as they grow up with an understanding of compassion and meeting the needs around them?  This reality will be the pivotal point of their education.

We also realized that as a homeschooling family, we are uniquely qualified to give adoptive children an atmosphere of healing, joy, and hope. We are home. We are together. We are already tailoring our children's education to fit their needs and interests, instead of having them shuffled through a cookie-cutter regime of someone else's idea of learning in an artificial environment. We invest in them deeply, because they are worth it.

This is the crux that flips everything else on its head.  This compassion and value for each life moves our education from mere academics to passionate ministry that changes the world.  This is why we learn, this is why we pursue a deeper education...because the more we learn, the more we can do about this.

Going out of the ordinary to achieve the extraordinary is familiar terrain for us. For the sake of our children - all of them - and their great destiny, we pursue what He has for us out of our comfort zone, because that's where He moves us.

Shannon is an Alaskan homeschooling mom who blogs about life at Copperlight Wood and Baruch's Lullaby



K Low said...

A wonderful and honest post on adoption. Thank you for sharing, Shannon!

Linda said...

My favorite post!

Karen said...

What a moving, compassionate post. Thanks you for sharing your heart and your home. What a blessing.