Heart Strings Pt 5: Adoption
Pastors Dave & Kim Chiolero
Most of the relationships I have in my life exist because they suit me. I like you, so you're my friend. I really enjoy hanging out with you so you're my close friend. I really really like hanging out with you, so you're my wife. We like each other so much, that we think there should be more people like us to hang out with, and children are born. These relationships suit me.
There are a few other relationships in my life that came unexpectedly. I didn’t go looking, maybe I didn’t even want it, but it came anyway, because God brought it to my doorstep.
Or maybe I got involved in a relationship with expectations that were unreasonable, and felt let down. Today, we want to talk about unexpected relationships.
When I was 18 years old I was in the youth group at my church in Napa. It was my senior year of high school, I had just surrendered my life to Christ a few months earlier and God was teaching me so much.
At that time, there was a high school boy in the youth group named Steve. Steve was one of those young men who needed a lot of attention, and in order to get it He would do some pretty crazy things.
He was annoying, he was awkward, he would tell dumb jokes, he would laugh real loud at your dumb jokes, and basically he would do anything to get attention.
As you can imagine Steve was pretty irritating to most of us in the youth group, including myself. I remember times of avoiding him, not inviting him to come out to eat with the rest of the group, even playing a dirty practical joke against him at a winter camp.
One day, God told me to take Steve underneath my wing and become a friend to him. I was not excited about that, but I obeyed.
I became his taxi cab taking him to and from church every time the doors were open. I would invite Steve to come out and eat with the youth group every time we went, driving him home afterwards, paying for his food if needed. I even started spending spare time over at his house, just hanging out with him.
An incredible thing began to happen. God started to change my heart towards Steve. I began to love the guy who once annoyed me.
I began to understand who Steve was, and why he acted the way she did. God gave me compassion for Steve.
After a little while I wasn't hanging out with Steve because I had to, I was hanging out with him because I loved him and I wanted to.
You know, the Lord loves to use challenging relationships to teach us important lessons. And the only way to learn those lessons is to humbly lay down your rights. Because as long as you want things your way, you won't be open to learn the lesson that Jesus is trying to teach you.
I heard it said, “you’ll know if you have a servants heart by how you respond when someone treats you like one.”
The sermon series were in is called HEARTSTRINGS and is all about relationships.
In Ephesians chapter five, Paul gives these instructions to us…"Do not be drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
We have all kinds of relationships in our lives. They are very important. God has designed us for relationship. We need each other. We learn, we love, we laugh, we cry, we fight, we make-up, weather in Marriage, with our children, our friends, or out co-workers.
Because these relationships are so important, they are constantly under attack. So we need to...
-Be filled with the Holy Spirit
-Speak to each other in a way that blesses
-Give thanks to God in all things
-Submit to each other
Today, Kim and I have been asked to share about the unexpected relationship that entered our lives when we decided to adopt Lorree and Allan.
11 years ago, the Lord spoke to Kim saying, “one day you will adopt a boy and girl twins.” 21/2 years ago, we became aware of a single father who needed to adopt out his twins for health reasons…Lorree and Allan have been living with us for 2 years, and we are one big happy family, most of the time anyway.
This has been one of those unexpected relationships I mentioned. We didn’t go looking for it, we weren’t sure we wanted it, but it came anyway, because God knew what he was doing. Through this journey we have learned so many things. Far more than we could share with you in one setting.
Today’s message is all about entering into relationships that might not suit you, you may not be sure want them, but they are the relationships you need because God’s using them to help you grow. Some of those relationships could be between…
-Teenagers and parents.
-Building a relationship with someone who doesn’t know Jesus.
-Getting involved in a small group at church.
Here are some of the things Kim and I have learned adopting Lorree and Allan.
1. It’s a step of faith.
There will always be those edge of the cliff faith jump experiences in our life will you be ready.
We all have questions in our mind like:
- It’s the right thing to do
- It’s what God wants me to do
- We have enough time, love & money (resources)
11 years ago my father gave me a great book I prayed it read it: the book of Jabez boy now he has expanded my borders…For me this decision was something God placed in my heart 11 years ago. I still needed to know that it was the right decision for our family. This was a journey of listening to God speak to every one of our children as well as us. Also realizing that God is faithful to complete what he has spoken to you, Even if it takes 11 years to fulfill it. We had to lay down our fear of the unknown. We are all human and don’t we all fear the unknown, “what will it be like?” We already had three kids and money always seems tight. But there are moments when you say "we made this commitment of love without knowing Lorree and Allan and God will provide" in our life we all have to jump to take that leap of Faith. God had prepared me but here is how Dave came to his decision.
For me, the real journey started with a phone conversation to the adoption agent. I asked him, “tell me what I should be thinking about”. He told me, “before you start thinking about weather or not you should adopt these kids, you have to decide if your ok with the whole idea of adoption”. “Are you ok with the idea of adoption?” …”NO” I said.
This was new to me, and I needed time to think about it, pray about it, ask 1000 questions to 100 people, and search online. We needed to talk to our kids to see what they thought, give them time to ask questions and think about it. And although all of that process was and is important in making decisions, at the end of it all there’s no guarantees except to trust God and jump.
There are also times in our life that we realize that we feel isolated we have let our schedule or family business get in the way of Godly friendships that help you grow. It is time to reinvest in your spiritual life and be ready for anew adventure. Because you know you need it you need godly connections in your life.
2. You have to surrender your expectations.
Some relationships have a honeymoon stage. There’s an emotional high that overshadows all wrongs.
-When dating, you want to be with her all the time. She is on your mind 24/7. You daydream about her. You have marathon phone conversations. You prepare for dates like job interviews. Your appearance and speech have never been so important. All you want to do is please her.
-A new born baby has a honeymoon period. Your baby is the best baby in the world. Even their poop is cute.
But there are other relationships that skip the honeymoon stage altogether. When Allan and Lorree moved in with us, it was challenging from the start. There’s a saying “love is blind”, but that wasn’t true in our case because we didn’t love each other yet.
The day the kids moved in was a very emotionally draining day for everyone and I was handed paperwork that told me that Allan was autistic, which we did not know before they moved in with us. I read a whole stack of doctors diagnosis and sat down next to Dave in the bed and began to cry and said, “I don’t know if I can do this” He looked at me and said we have to fall in love with these kids just for who they are now without trying to change them. And we have already made this decision. I had to die to all expectations and just fall in love with these children.
When you decide to open up your life to unexpected relationships, it can be challenging. Maybe you’ve found yourself in one of the following situations.
-You start a new friendship and discover that your new friend is more demanding than you expected. You figure this will not be the peer-to-peer relationship you had hoped for, but maybe God has another plan is store. Now you have to decide if you’re willing to re-define the relationship and minister to them. You know it will take time and sacrifice, but you sense God has orchestrated this new relationship.
-Maybe you reach out to someone you admire and respect to be a mentor to you. Not long into the relationship you discover they are not the Superman you had imagined. You expected them to have all the answers for your life’s problems and they don’t. You have to surrender your unreasonable expectations and realize that type of person does not exist.
-Maybe you’re afraid to get into a small group because you have imagined how uncomfortable that type of setting would be. Any group of people who want to know all your business should be avoided at all costs. But you realize that your relationship with Jesus has been standing still for a long time and you need to face your fears if you want to grow.
There’s a time to surrender your rights and die to yourself so you can allow God to use other people to shape and transform you.
3. You have to find your new norm.
- Allowing yourself to change
- Loving kids for who they are
- It takes time for you to adjust
You know I thought I was doing good as a parent until we decided to adopt. We had a pace a rhythm to our life and we brought 2 more people who had a different rhythm. I found that I had to change more than they have changed. God showed me how to relinquish my expectations of how things should be. I had to love Lorree and Allan for who they were not who I could make them in to. Really fall in love with their personalities their uniqueness.
We would do well and then a crisis would happen. Each crisis would bring growth in all of us. And then we finally reached our new normal. The new normal will be your new rhythm and pace. It is hard for me to remember before Lorree and Allan moved in now. Without growing through each stage you cannot discover the blessing.
4. Discovering the blessing
It’s only after you take courageous steps of faith, die to your new expectations, and find your new norm that you start to see Gods blessing and plan. And even now, we only see a small part. There are so many layers of people that are being influenced because of our obedience to Him. And of course, we feel like the ones who have been blessed the most through the whole situation.
Illustration: If you throw a rock into a body of water, it makes ripples that carry all the way to the shoreline. Our choices affect people event past our ability to see.
Let us share just a couple of stories we have seen…
- Allan’s video game prayer faith story.
- Lorree’s shoebox in Walmart faith story.
- Allan telling Kim he sees himself in her eyes.
Unexpected relationships that God brings your way always have huge benefits for you. You probably won’t see them right away. It will take work and sacrifice, but God knows what you need more than you do, and He knows what you’re capable of.
I told the story of how Allan saw himself in my eyes and he looks good. We need to look at the world and those around us with eyes of Love. You will begin to see the blessings of new connections and rich relationships.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?
You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us; it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’
Any change in our life is scary and involves a step of faith. It is the same when you move to a new level in your walk with the Lord. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but you want to grow to make Godly, Holy Spirit connections with those around us. We are still growing lets grow and learn together. Get ready to take that step or leap of faith.