In southern chin state when a step parent gets involved they almost always don’t want the partners children from a previous marriage. Sometimes they try to kill them. Therefore they run away or are taken by someone to an orphanage.
Orphanges often care the best they can. They have a lot of children to care for on top of their biological children. Today for example I visited a home where the mother of the house looked after 20 children. 3 biological & 17 not. Even as she spoke I thought how funny when your planning to care long term for these children, to make sure one of the first things you say is that 3 are ‘your own’.
As we dug deeper we discussed how she didn’t think many of the children could go back to their homes as they had a stepparent who wouldn’t allow it. She told us of a girl recently who was taken back by her mum as the mum was sick and needed a cook, but when the stepdad saw, he brought her straight back to the home as was very angry. There’s so much in just that one story don’t you think? That poor little girl, the emotions she must have felt to be going to be with mummy-but then just to be a cook-to endure the anger and who knows what-to only be rejected again. Awful.
We carried on talking and Phil asked the question. “Do you think somebody could truly love another persons child like a biological child?”
I was half shocked at the question. She cares for 20 children, she must know it is possible. She maybe will shout ‘of course’ or be offended at the question..
“Impossible” was her reply. “No, it is impossible”
My initial reaction was like I had been wounded. On the outside I smiled along and was composed. Yet inside it felt like a punch deep into my gut.
Phil answered that no, it is not impossible. He beautifully told how he is a biological father & a step dad yet feels no difference. He loves all his children, truly and deeply. His grandchildren are adopted-yet they are not distant they are close family. If anyone were to say to his granddaughter that she isn’t his-despite the distance on paper of an adopted child to his stepdaughter-she would laugh. That would seem ridiculous to her, this is her grandad whom she loves & is loved by and they are fully and loyaly family.
As he spoke I felt Holy Spirit so much. I felt God echoing what Phil was sharing..urging it on and bringing it clearer. Yes. This is Gods heart.
At first I had felt worried that this was the ladies response. As I continued to think about it through the day it has really stuck with me. Impossible. That it would be seen as impossible to truly love someone else’s child as your own.
I worry it is a hugely believed idea. By people all over the world and sadly massively in my country, in the UK. I can look at Burma and see how much need there is, how many children need families. Yet the situation isn’t much different at home.
People have said to me in my coming here “oh bring one home in your case for me, I’d have one.” I don’t mean to cause offence or be pious but to be honest..you can have one. Plenty in stockport desperate for a family.
Being here has only stirred my love of adoption even more. I can’t see anything being more what God asks us to do-and to be honest again, I really don’t think it’s a ‘calling’. Sometimes we wait around to be called and are happy for others to see it as their calling- yet Jesus already told us to. He said to care for the widows and orphans, God speaks about adoption so much is His word already. I don’t think it’s a calling I think it is a choice.
You choose to love.
When you get married they teach you that some days you won’t be ‘in love’ but you choose love.
Love is a choice. Yet once that choice is made it becomes natural and grows and deepens and you forget it was ever a choice as its the most natural thing in the world and you are overcome with true pure whole heated love.
So no. It is not impossible to love a child who was born to someone else. It is more than possible, it is a gift and an honour and a blessing far more than anything you may give you get back and more. The beauty is they are your own.
I do know it’s not right for everyone’s situation. I know it wouldn’t be pretty, it’d often be bloody hard. Yet I think if we actually make it personal- if we saw these children, got close in their face, knew their laugh, played their games, heard their story and felt their pain..there would be a lot more families for these children.
(FYI There is more work to do with the lady mentioned and we will continue to see how we go. See my previous blog for info on what our aim is. https://hannahbettany.com/2015/11/12/why-are-we-in-burma/)