–An adoptive mother’s perspective on barrenness–
There is just something about a baby in a basket that no one can resist. A tiny, precious, brand-new pink (or blue) bundle wrapped up in a swaddling blanket and lying in a brown woven basket is just too much for our human hearts to resist gushing and exploding all over the place. You see it all the time in newborn photo sessions. It is a staple on birth announcement cards. Babies in baskets…swoon!
Ever wonder where that comes from?
I am inclined to believe it comes from the most famous baby-in-a-basket story there ever was. The story of Moses.
In the Bible, we read in the book of Exodus that the king of Egypt is threatened by the growing number of Israelites. Worried that they will someday overthrow him, he issues a command that all Hebrew baby boys are to be killed. A Levite (Hebrew) couple gives birth to a son and they see that he is a fine child, so they hide him for three months. When they can hide him no longer, the baby’s mother places him in a papyrus basket and sets him among the reeds of the Nile river. Miraculously, at the same time, the Pharaoh’s daughter comes down to the river to bathe and finds the baby in the basket. She decides to keep the baby and raise him as her own. She gives him the name Moses, meaning “to draw out,” because she drew him out of the water. (Exodus 1:22-2:10)
Both of my sons were left in baskets outside their orphanage in Delhi, India. I don’t know who their birth mothers are, but I do know this – it takes an incredible amount of bravery and self-sacrifice to leave a baby in a basket, most likely never to be seen again. To set down a helpless, vulnerable, literal part of yourself…never to know if there will be a “Pharaoh’s daughter” waiting on the other side to save them from death. Someone to raise them, love them, give them a name and a hope and a future.
(WATCH ROBYN’S ADOPTION VIDEO STORY HERE)
Here’s the thing about the basket in Exodus and the basket in Delhi. They are not picture-perfect. They are not set among fields of wheat or under golden aspens in the fall. They don’t have a sepia filter to them. They are last resorts. The only safe place for a desperate birth-mother to relinquish her child in hopes it will give him a chance at life. These baskets are not fresh off the shelf from Pottery Barn or Target. They are dirty. Moses’ basket was coated with tar and pitch for extra sturdiness as his mother set him among the reeds along the bank of the Nile (Exodus 2:3). Our sons’ basket sits among Delhi smog so thick it burns the lungs.
But no matter how dirty the basket, or the circumstance that brought about the basket, the life that’s inside is truly precious. A gift from God (Psalm 127:3).
Maybe you are sitting in the valley of infertility with an empty basket or at least what you think is an empty basket. Just wishing and hoping and praying for that positive pregnancy test to reveal a life growing so you can start making plans for that basket.
But friend…what if your baby is already in the basket?
Think about that for a minute. Pray on it. Ask God about it. What is your initial gut reaction?
We never imagined we would adopt a “baby from a basket,” let alone two. My husband and I went through two years of secondary infertility before we knew God was calling us to adopt. We didn’t come to the decision to adopt easily or quickly. We believed a lot of falsehoods about adoption, more specifically international adoption.
The day Jesus told me He already had a child waiting for me in India was the day I realized how much time I had spent waiting on a blessing that already existed. Here I was crying out to God daily and begging for Him to send us a soul from heaven to be manifested earthside into our family, and yet there already was a living soul with the breath of life – just waiting. Waiting to be rescued. Waiting to be loved. Waiting to be chosen.
When I pictured my son sitting on the other side of the earth just waiting for me to come get him, a fire was lit like no other. A fire that melted away all of the agony of barrenness, and spurred me towards a hope and a promise.
In that moment, I stopped sitting in the valley of infertility with my small god. I got up, took my Mighty Savior’s hand, ditched that empty basket of despair in the valley, and started running towards the mountain of blessing that is adoptive motherhood.
Was it simple? No. Was it easy? NO. Was it long and expensive? Yes. Was it worth it? YES. Our story (view here) is not your typical adoption story. Although what I LOVE about adoption stories is that they are almost never typical, because our God is not a typical god. He is a miracle-manufacturing, way-making, promise-keeping, provisional God.
We did not adopt because we felt we were owed a child (no one is owed a child), or because we felt like “saviors,” or because we felt like a child would be better off with us than with their birth parents, or that they would be better off in our country and culture than their own. We did not adopt just because “the Bible says so,” although that was a big factor. Make no mistake, we knew our family wasn’t complete…and we knew there are children all over the world waiting for families. We also knew that the Bible does say that adoption is the gospel – and Jesus is always in it.
Friends, according to Adoption.org and UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund) there are 153 million orphans worldwide…and that number grows every day. There are 153 million “babies in baskets” RIGHT NOW.
I realize not all orphans are relinquished in baskets. Children come into orphanages and foster homes in all sorts of ways. But the reality is that they are there and they are many. There are 437,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, 117,000 of which are waiting for adoption. Just waiting. There are 20 million orphans in India alone. Of children waiting worldwide, most are over the age of two, and have minor, medically correctable to severe needs, and have been in the orphanage/foster care system since birth. This should make us sick.
So my question for you is this: What is keeping you from adopting?
If you decide to adopt – there’s no promise you that God will give you an infant. There’s no promise that He will give you a newborn. But there is a promise that He will give you your baby. Because He promises to give the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children (Psalm 113:9). You can stand on that verse because here’s what it doesn’t say: it doesn’t say that He makes her the joyous mother of children from her own womb.
I believe adoption is one of the ways He redeems this broken world, where women are barren and children are orphaned. It was never His original plan. But it is something He has provided. Barrenness is trauma. The loss of a family is trauma. Only God can bring the two together to create a tangled tapestry of empathy and healing. Grief and joy can coexist because He has made it so.
So if the God of the universe, the Almighty creator of heaven and earth, the Author and perfecter of your faith wants to set the lonely in families (Psalm 68:5-6) – in your family – will you trust Him to do it? If you are reading this and you have felt a divine tugging at your heart to adopt, and you are sitting in fear…rebuke that in its tracks. Paralyze it with the Word of God that says you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). Decide TODAY that you will not for one more second sit in the enemy’s boat with your life vest on. Because friends…that life vest is actually a chain. Get up and run for your life off the edge of that floating prison disguised safety, and LEAP for Jesus. You may think you are safely above the water, while at the same time drowning in despair.
I know this feeling. It’s fickle and false.
I can testify that if you step out in obedience and faith, you WILL walk on the water holding the hand of the One whom the winds and the waves obey, and if you proclaim His name and give Him the glory every step of the way – you may not only become a mother and give a child a family – you might be the arrow that points to the Narrow Gate (Matthew 7:13) that can save souls who are watching from the shores in the process. Seas will part and mountains will move and the skeptics will be forced to grapple with miracles that can be explained no other way. You WILL see a face of Him like never before. You WILL defend the cause of the fatherless, and I can think of few greater causes.
The best part about signing up for a cause that the Almighty is spearheading? He will give you His own personal armor. That is a PROMISE. If you believe what the Bible says…if you believe what God claims about Himself…then you have zero reason to fear and you can put that faith into action (James 2:17).
I am a barren woman physically. I have a home. I am a mother of children both biological and adopted. I have never been more JOYOUS. And trust me, I have walked through the fire with Him. More than once.
God has walked me through PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), two live births (one ending in a placental abruption and an early emergency C-section), three pregnancies (two that came easily and one that didn’t), one miscarriage, being an anonymous egg donor, secondary infertility, fertility treatments, kinship foster-care, the death of a child, and two international adoptions.
I am still standing, sisters, and my faith is stronger than ever. My joy is FULL. My confidence in His goodness is solid because of watching Him bring beauty from ashes. My spiritual muscle is ripped from all the divine cross-fit. Even though I am still greatly flawed and flabby in many spiritual places, I am covered in spiritual stretch-marks. I am living proof of His faithfulness in crisis and loss, and there is almost nothing having to do with barrenness and motherhood that I cannot relate to.
Adoption showed me the face of Jesus like nothing else (not even biological motherhood) and I can tell you first hand…IT IS BEAUTIFUL. Not because we are great people who did a great thing. But because we serve a great God who does great things through broken people. Adoption is not all sunshine, but it is where the Son shines.
Sister, your baby could already be in the basket. Go draw that baby out of the water.
Do you want to ask Robyn some questions? You can!
Join Robyn and I (Rebekah) for a LIVE Webinar about her adoption experience on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 7 p.m. EST in the Barren to Beautiful Community Facebook Group. She will be answering questions about adoption. A few things, you must be a member of the group in order to watch. Our group is for female’s only, sorry guys! (But husbands are welcome to watch with their wives. 😉 If you’d like to join the group, you can do so here. This webinar will run for about an hour, so try to join (on time) for the live session!
Robyn is a scripture-diving blogger with a miraculous adoption story gone viral. As someone who found true healing while battling infertility, PCOS, and international adoption, Robyn is a wealth of knowledge with a passion for women and children. She’s got her coffee and her bible ready to go at any time! Robyn blogs at RobynKremser.com .