What Breaks YOUR Heart? Thoughts on Brooks’s Dedication Weekend

Last night, we dedicated our sweet Brooks to the Lord in front of our church and family. It was such a full circle moment because God first planted that adoption seed in our hearts in that same room, from that stage over two years ago when a message from our pastor, John McKinzie, asked us two very simple questions: 
1. What breaks your heart? 
2. What are you willing to do about it? 

That day began a journey for us that has been up, down, and everything in between, but Blake and I wouldn’t change it for the world. This little boy is a huge blessing, and we pray that the Lord uses his life to do big, mighty things in this world. He has already opened the hearts of so many, and we are beyond grateful that out of everyone in the whole world, God chose US to be his parents.

As I was showering last night, I began thinking about the power of those questions, and I wondered how the world might look a little different if we reflected on those more often. I think that two years later, my answers to those questions have changed a little. Before our trip to China, my heart was broken by the IDEA of kids without parents and kids without permanent homes, but my knowledge of the orphan crisis has evolved since then. 

Since I first answered those questions in January 2015, I’ve walked the cold and sterile halls of an orphanage. I’ve looked little ones in the face who have no one to call mama or daddy. I’ve held the hand of a little girl who will likely spend her entire childhood looking at the same four walls of that sterile building.

And now that I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, I’m responsible

I can’t wake up everyday with the same naivete I had two years ago. It’s one thing to KNOW that the orphan crisis exists…it’s another thing to stand in the trenches of it. David Platt once said, “Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. Once you do, everything changes.” I would add that orphans are easier to ignore before you’ve held their hands. Before you’ve looked in their eyes. Before you’ve felt the plywood boards they spent their first year lying on 22 hours a day.  

And, of course, orphans are easier to ignore before you’ve taken one in as your own. 

I’m not sure how I’d answer that second question today. At this point, another adoption is not in our plans, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be involved in the adoption/foster care world. I can advocate. I can write. I can speak. I can support adoption fundraisers. I can buy from fair-trade companies and small businesses that support families. 

But what I can’t do? I can’t stay quiet about the orphan crisis and I won’t stop advocating for adoption and family preservation. I can’t undo the last two plus years and the journey we’ve walked, and I don’t want to. God didn’t put us on this path simply to bring Brooks home. I firmly believe that God put us on this path for the rest of them. The ones left behind. God gave me this space and this voice and this journey so that hearts might be opened to answering those questions for themselves…and then ACTING ON IT. 

Whether it’s orphans or those in poverty or the homeless…whatever breaks YOUR heart, DO SOMETHING.

It would’ve been easy for Blake and I to simply say that it’s heart-breaking that so many kids don’t have families and that it’s sad that some kids grow up without the stability of a forever home. It would’ve been easy to stop there and admit that it’s terribly unfair. But we can’t just stop there if we want things to change. It’s the answer to that second question that really matters. 

So, I’ll end by asking you…what breaks your heart?

And, even more importantly, what are YOU willing to do about it?

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