Advent and Adoption: the long wait for a family

graffiti message: "PLEASE WAIT HERE UNTIL YOU ARE USEFUL"

Girls waiting for adoption in Brazil often face a ‘brick wall’ with a message like this, says mission partner Andy Roberts (photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash)


Andy Roberts, founder and director of ReVive in north-east Brazil, reflects on the agony of waiting experienced by some of the at-risk girls to whom the ReVive team offer shelter and hope.

Advent has just started – the start to the new church year and traditionally a time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus.

We open our advent calendars and burn our candles as we methodically eat our little chocolate, counting down the days until the waiting is over. 

When Jesus came he brought an end to the wait for a saviour and to one of our deepest desires as humans; to be part of a family. Through Jesus we are all adopted into God’s family and share in all the blessings as “co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

However, there are still many who are waiting today to be part of an earthly family, who don’t have a chocolate calendar which counts down the days until their waiting is over.

Advent always focuses my attention on the waiting that all the kids at ReVive go through – waiting to be able to return to their biological family; waiting for other people to make decisions about their lives in courts of law; waiting to find out if there is anyone on the list who would like to adopt someone like them; and then more waiting to hear whether that family deems you acceptable enough to be brought into their family. 

Once again we’ve gone through this roller-coaster with the youngest girl currently at ReVive. She arrived at ReVive as a four year old and has waited a long time for the authorities to eventually decide that she needs to be adopted. A waiting time of over three years…

Now, at seven years old, she’s still “young enough” to have a line of families wanting to adopt a girl of her age. It seems like the end is in sight, however, all these families have also been ‘waiting’ for their dream of adopting a seven year old girl. And so starts the worst part of the process, where adoption and our consumerism mix: the ‘get to know you’ phase (which is important) although it can spill over into a ‘try before you buy’ attitude.

Our little girl has been rejected by four couples so far… some after spending time with her for a few weeks, even spending weekends together at her new house and her new room… before being “returned” because she wasn’t as expected, faulty product, wrong size, wrong colour.

You may think I’m exaggerating but the reason for one of the couples ‘passing’ on adopting her was because she failed an impromptu maths test after lunch in a shopping centre’s food hall. Despite being academically on course for her age she was deemed insufficient to be granted access into that family. 

She’s only been aware of two of these rejections… two too many. It’s getting harder to protect her from these rejections from defining who she thinks she is. The wait goes on… 

How I wish she could grasp the good news of Advent – that she is already part of a family, that her Heavenly Father accepts her just as she is and that she is loved beyond measure. That can sustain us in our waiting. She certainly hears that at ReVive and perhaps feels some of that love through our great team. But, how we long for her advent to be over as she continues to await her forever family. 

Originally published on the ReVive blog, republished here by Andy’s kind permission.

Published 10 December 2020
Region
Latin America

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