A few weeks back, I wrote about how we decided to quit the game of asking adopting families for money, during the time in which they live in our home. I told you this came about after we realized how much the money stress was getting to us… But there are a few more things I don’t like about money.
I hate that money keeps us practically chained to our computers right now, as we earn money to pay the bills and keep our work here going. I hate that I might have to ask my friends to support us so we can have more time to serve here.
I hate how money causes such a great gulf between the haves and the have-nots, and that the gulf can have such a negative impact on relationships. I hate that there are so many financial needs, pretty much everywhere I look.
We’ve talked often about how happy we are to have jobs we can work from anywhere, which enables us to support ourselves even on the “mission field.” But the further we advance along this path, the more we realize how little time it affords us to actually serve. So, about eight months ago we began inquiring with missions agencies to see if we could join one, to start receiving support. The idea was that perhaps we could find a happy medium between the two extremes, where we worked part time to earn our “salary,” but then received donations to cover our ministry expenses (such as rent, gas, food, etc.), and to eventually build the adoption care facility we’re dreaming about. Sounds like a good idea, right?
The problem has to do with how we’re actually serving. First we tried all of the missions agencies who already have missionaries on the ground here in Nicaragua, to see about joining their group. Unfortunately, each one turned us down for various takes on the same general concept: we’re not focused specifically on Nicaraguan nationals. [Ironic, we thought, given that each of the orphans being adopted happens to be a Nicaraguan national…]
So we switched gears and tried contacting orphan care agencies, to see if they might take us under their wing. Guess what their responses were?! We’re not focused specifically on caring for orphans within their homeland. (International adoption has its share of controversies and stigmas, causing it to not fit nicely into the orphan care package offered by many of these agencies.)
Instead, we fall into the middle ground of what we’re calling adoption care. We are working with national orphans, but we are walking alongside the adopting families who plan to return to their home country with their new children. In many ways, we are actually North American missionaries ministering to North American families abroad. And that is what makes us a bit of an anomaly. In fact, there are very few people in the world doing exactly what we do. In fact, when I attended the CAFO conference last week, I was told that in ten years of connecting orphan and adoption workers worldwide, they’ve never heard of anyone doing what we’re doing.
There is much pre-adoption care, and options for post-adoption care, but why isn’t there regular old adoption care for the in-the-trenches-abroad part? The first six months of an adoption are considered critical to its longevity, and yet so many families who adopt internationally spend much of that initial period separated from loved ones in a foreign land, cut off from their support system.
If families are willing to care for these kids for a lifetime, shouldn’t we — the hands and feet of God — support them for the weeks or months it takes to finalize the adoption abroad? We are all called to care for orphans. If we can’t do it personally, by actually adopting them, we most certainly can support those who are, right?
More than money
Now that we’ve made the case for why this work is needed, you might wonder if we wouldn’t just create our own organization? Well, we really would like to have a supporting partner for this primary reason:
- Time and resources — we’re currently working full-time to pay the bills, and then also running a growing ministry. We recognize there are administrative and financial tasks related to this ministry that we are not currently equipped to handle. So, we either need more boots on the ground here to help, or we need some folks to stand in the gap back in the U.S., to take this adoption care program to the next step.
This leaves us wondering, how do we get from here to there?
We thought maybe it might involve a cross-country trip this summer, to try and raise enough support to allow us to cut back our paid work hours. But without an agency to handle the donations, we realized we’re not quite there yet. Instead, we did pretty much the only thing left to do (yes, props to you for recognizing this should have been our first thought, not our last): we are delegating the task back to our Boss.
We are going to the States this summer, but just for a few weeks so our kids can go to camp. Beyond that, we’re leaving it up to God to figure all of this out. He knows we have a desire to serve more and “work” less. We believe He gave us that desire, so it is His job to make it happen.
I’m sure there are people out there who would like to join us — and I’m sure there is an organization that would like to act as the go between — and we’re trusting God to connect us. We know that in God’s economy it is just a matter of doing an “account transfer,” and we look forward to seeing that transfer of resources happen.
Would you join us in prayer that we would connect with the right partner for this ministry? And if you have any friends or family who might have connections, please share this post with them. Also, we’re still looking for someone to take our place in Nicaragua during the four weeks we’re back in the States. If you’d like to learn more, please let us know!
Colleen Connell Mitchell says
Praying for you all to find the right partner. I know the exhaustion you are facing. We are running our non-profit, our ministry, and I am still working part time to pay our expenses. It is beyond exhausting and I constantly teeter on the edge of burn out. The right partner would make all the difference for you guys. I do not what they could do as far as partnership but I have a number of friends working in the US with Hand in Hand Adoption Agency at high levels for building relationships with country contacts. Email if you’d like me to put you in touch.