Updated: Jun 24
It may only be big news in the circles that I run in these days, so if you haven't heard about it, I came here today to talk about the Stauffer family. I will link an article below which details the whole story, but the long and short is that this family adopted a little boy from China at about 2 years old. They already had 3 children and have since given birth to another child, now totalling 5 children including their adopted son, who is autistic (which they knew when they adopted him). Now this family is apparently famous for video blogging which promotes positivity and the power of yes and being a pinterest perfect family and what not, which is hard (probably even impossible) to do with 5 children, one of whom is disabled. Yet they have been seemingly perfect until now. Now the thing that has landed them in the hot seat. They decided they couldn't handle the adopted childs behaviors and have chosen to give him to a different family, "rehome him" as they called it. You can read more details about the story below:
Ok, so I'm not going to lie. I came here ready to throw my own stones. The story is a frustrating one on so many levels. There are so many different factors for people to be angry about. Some are mad about child exploitation and financial matters. Some are mad about the child's disabilities and the family being representatives of autism which turns out to be less than pinterest perfect after all. Some are angry about the adoption in general and why this child was allowed to be placed with an ill prepared family. I won't lie, I came here angry about all of these things. I opened up my laptop and logged into this site ready to talk about the dangers of social media and it's hold on our lives. I was ready to write about protecting children, especially adopted children and children with disabilities. I was ready to discuss the broken system. None of these things are untrue, but all have been said before. Whether in the right or wrong, this family is being crucified for giving up. GIVING UP is something we have all done at one time or another, MYSELF INCLUDED. In case you forgot, I also GAVE UP a child for adoption. Of course the messy part is that this child was already an adopted child. None the less, they could not in their own strength get it together to raise this child appropriately, and they are being stoned for it. You know what I really want to talk about is God's grace.
God had grace enough for me, and I know he has grace enough for this family. God has grace for this child, he has him in his hands (along with the whole world, in case you forgot the nursey song). I do wish this family had thought more about it before getting involved in this child's life. I do wish they had considered this child's needs over financial gain and popularity. I am praying for this family. I do believe God will bring good from all of this. I think for this family this event may be the kick in the pants they need to disconnect from social media. Prior to this it may have not seemed like an option because that was their source of income. Perhaps losing that source of revenue will force them to stop focusing on how to appear perfect to the world and instead focus on the 4 beautiful children God has blessed them with that they are privileged to raise and teach. They speak about God on their blog, maybe this is what God intended to help them actually know him and introduce him to their children.
Regardless of what happens to this family or this child or their other children I do know this, We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I can only imagine families like this end up on the alter because they portray themselves to the world as being perfect. It is very dangerous to look at pinterest perfect people and assume they are truly who they claim. There was only ever one many who walked this earth that was blameless and perfect, and he was put to death at the age of 33 for heresy and claiming to be Christ (which, turned out he was, oops). People did not like him because he was blameless and held a mirror up to their sin. He did not flaunt his perfection in peoples faces, instead he helped them understand their sin and gave them the invitation to come away from it and follow in truth and light. Wouldn't it be beautiful if we could use social media to spread truth and light instead of beautiful lies and false perfection. Can you imagine how we could further the kingdom of God if everyone were just transparent about how imperfect and foolish we are, and we were all willing to ask for grace and forgiveness in all of it and then invited other imperfect people to follow after Christ with us?
And what about the baby who was "rehomed"? I am praying for him more than any of them. Adoption can be very hard on a child emotionally and mentally. It actually rewires their brain losing out on something so vital as your caregiver at a young age. For this child to have been through that twice, that is an absolute tragedy and I pray for this little boy that the Lord bless him and keep him close. This is an opportunity for the Lord to draw near to this little child.
But Jesus called them to him, saying,“Let the children come to me,and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:16
I feel very sad that this family gave up an opportunity to learn and love with this child. They did have an opportunity to show something real and imperfect and instead chose to push out anything that didn't fit into their "perfect" bubble. That is a tragedy because the Lord loves his children and he loves those that would choose to love his children.
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me. Mark 9:37
I'll tell you what I am taking away from this story, which I have had a hard time saying in the past. Adoptive parents are after God's heart. I've always struggled with this. If you know my story you know that I felt less than loved and cared for in my birth parent role. I blamed my daughters adoptive parents quite a lot as I got older. It wasn't until recently that I have truly started to see them for who they really are. They are parents that God made parent's through a different means. They have loved that child as their own (not LIKE their own, AS their own, as in they have made her their own child, not similar to their own child). A true adoptive parent doesn't look at the biology of their child and say "well, if it doesn't work out I'll give her back". They take that child into their arms and nurse her and love her and she becomes their child. In this sense the true adoptive parent is a perfect reflection of the relationship God has with us. God loves us and takes us and crowns us with glory and makes us his own child, his own flesh and blood, where we were not. That is what Christ did for us when he came to this earth as a man. He became as us, human, and then he bore the cross so that a perfect human sacrifice was made for his children.
Adoption is something that is so common place in our world, not only children but we also adopt friends (and call them sisters), we adopt spouses, we adopt aunts, uncles and grandparents in our neighbors and friends that we consider as close as family. This is Christ love pouring out of us. This is common. And unfortunately in our broken and sinful world, just as common place is breaking adoption. We divorce. We lose touch with our friends or we fight with them and refuse to back down, so we part ways. We move and forget the people that previously mattered so deeply to us. Every day we abandon relationships and friendships and spouses and children. We give up on all of the blessing in our lives. We give up on ourselves, we give up on our purpose, we give up on God. So the Stauffer family is in the spot light today, but really we all deserve to be up on that stoning block. We all deserve to be stared down by thousands of angry people ready to see us killed for the crimes we have committed against them and others. We all deserve to be frowned upon for giving up. But God has given up for us his son to the earth, and his son Jesus has given up his life to death to save us. God has given us more grace than any of us deserve. It is our turn to give up our selfishness, our anger, and sense of injustice and just give grace. It is our turn to give up on being sinners and follow after Christ is word and action. I do feel for this sweet child, but he, like us, has an opportunity to know the one true Lord of creation who loves him and will never abandon him. I am also upset about the situation created by this family, but Christ also died for them. If Christ had grace enough to forgive me then he has grace enough to forgive them. And if Christ forgives them, then who am I to cast the first stone. I know this story is passing and in 15 minutes it will be irrelevant, so just take this away from this post - We are all sinners, we are all forgiven by God's grace, and God is our strength and our protection.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3
Lastly, let's keep baby Huxley and all adopted children in our prayers. Children (and adults) of adoption (and those that experienced the death of a care giver young) face many unique challenges in their lives that are different from those who were raised by biological parents (even those adopted as babies). These people's brains were rewired to have to accept that their supposed care giver is not actually caring for them. Many of these children deal with rejection issues well into adulthood. Many find themselves in relationships as teens and young adults that aren't healthy, including seeking after people who don't have their best intentions at heart. These children need guidance, love and acceptance. This is a very hard thing to find in general in this world, and especially for adopted children it is vital.
Lord, I pray that these children find you first. In all their wandering and searching they will never find a love as deep and caring as the love they find in you. You are never ending. You love them before they were conceived and long after they are dead. You love them in their best and worst. You love them the way they long to be loved and you will care for them better than any parent, boyfriend, spouse, friend, teacher, or birth mom. You love them better than they can even understand. Please Lord bring these children close to you and hold them tight and help them understand your deep, unending and unfailing love. Amen.