Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Defeating Satan

I don't usually pin my troubles on spiritual warfare. It's the sort of thing I do believe in (in a "Yeah, it's probably true" sort of way,) but it's certainly not my first thought whenever I'm faced with a challenge or hardship. I tend first to look at myself: is there something I am doing, or not doing, that is causing this?

Yet I've been increasingly convinced that the obstacles to our adoption are coming from a nefarious spiritual source. It was my husband, actually, who alerted me to this fact. I have been called to adopt for years and years. I've been praying for it daily and offering my Masses for at least three years now. Yet I've been met with such resistance from my husband that I have put the possibility aside for some undetermined age that is known only as "God's Time." I know I will adopt. At some point. But it's not on the radar right now.

A few weeks ago my husband sent me an email with an adoption horror story where a boy was returned, by himself, to Russia (who was threatening to freeze all American adoptions at the time of the story. ) He followed it up a few days later with an opinion post by an adoptive father lamenting the dearth of support agencies and resources for those with troubled adoption situations.

In the email, my husband wrote something like, "These stories are just falling into my lap without me seeking them out. If I believed in an omnipotent being, I'd think he was trying to tell me something."

It floored me at the time, and I started thinking to myself, "Maybe he's right...Maybe God is speaking to my husband because I'm such a control freak that He can't reach me through my stubborn fixation on this idea. Maybe God really is saying no to the adoption...Maybe it's because I'm not a good enough mother...I yell at my kids too much and I watch too much TV and don't sweep the kitchen every day...Maybe God knows I couldn't handle it..." Then I got hold of myself and realized I had played right into that trap of self-doubt and fear that is the Devil's M.O. It took me a few weeks to see it, but once I did it became clear as day.

Who uses fear to keep us from doing good? Who divides a husband and wife? Who attacks using lies that are hidden by half-truths? Not God. Not an omnipotent being who loves us, loves His creation and urges us to be loving to each other. I'm aware of the potential for great pain and sacrifice. It's not enough to drive the call from my heart, because God has put that call there, and "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8 : 38-39

These adoption horror stories are not coming from God. They're coming from someone who wants to stop the adoption. I've been reading a book titled "Successful Adoption," and this afternoon I read the following: "When you adopt a special-needs child, Satan really doesn't like it, because that has been his territory, and he knows that God is going to be glorified." Source: Robin Pennington

Satan is served by people fearing to adopt. It supports the idea that there are too many people in this world, and that children are a burden rather than a blessing. It creates a justification for abortion, birth control and IVF. It perpetuates the lie that suffering is bad and should be avoided whenever possible. When people are afraid, they do not reach out. They close in, protecting themselves from suffering and harm. Satan is served when people are afraid, because fear makes us put ourselves and our own needs first.

It's like my heart has burst into flames and my energies to pray for our adoption have been completely renewed. I'm still prepared to wait for God's time, but instead of limiting my prayers to "Lord Jesus, I pray for our adoption and our future children," I am going to be focusing my prayers to defeat the work of Satan. A novena to our Lady seems an excellent place to start, followed by candles lit at my parish for this purpose and a daily prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. I'm also going to turn my husband's heart over to St. Joseph, foster father of our Lord Jesus. What a wonderful role model in whom we can place our trust!

I humbly ask for your prayers as well, my friends. For me, for my husband, for our adoption and for an increase in adoptions around the world, for those who are orphaned, for those who are neglected or abused or unloved, for those in foster care, for all those awaiting a forever family, and for all families.

Picture credit.

17 comments:

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I think this is a huge insight. It's funny, I was just thinking about doing a post about the reality of spiritual attack, and how understanding that it's real and it does happen has been so critical in my spiritual life.

Interestingly, one of the worst, most obvious examples of spiritual attack I've experienced was the day we were matched with our Kidsave child. It was so bad that I started to think that we should pull out of the program because I was such a terrible person and mother. Anyway, it's looking like she will get adopted (at 14 years old!) thanks to our participation in that program, so looking back I can see why the demons were pulling out all the stops to keep in from happening.

Also, keep praying for the gift of faith for your husband! As a former atheist, I think it's huge that he had one of those "this seems to be beyond coincidence" moments, and talked to you about it.

Jessica said...

I think you're right in recognizing that that kind of fear is not from God. Great insight.

Blessings to you as you continue on this path.

Lisa said...

This is quite insightful. I've thought about this a lot as we prepare to adopt again. Satan does try to put obstacles in our way, but we trust that God has a child for our family and a family for each child.

Anonymous said...

If your husband is not 100% ok with adopting, then it is wrong to pursue it now. Perhaps you need to focus on being the best Mom you can be. If God is aware of your desire to adopt, it will happen in his time, not yours.

Amber said...

What a wonderful blog. Jennifer at Conversion Diary tipped me off to it, and I am so grateful. I've been thinking of adopting myself for several years, and, while my husband is fine and supportive, I realize I've spent too much time listening to the scary voices saying "You don't have the money...you'll be a bad parent...you'll just get turned down, anyway...it would make you change you life too much." You really clarified for me how the devil just loves this kind of thinking (whether it's from him or not) and how I am playing right into his hands by listening to it. It's also got me spurned into looking into the process again. So thank you!

Peter and Nancy said...

We are in the middle of our 2nd adoption, and I think you're right about Satan's opposition to it. I think he hates it because it so closely mirrors God's own adoption of each one of us through Christ. We can do nothing to earn that kind of love -- He just reaches out in love and enfolds us into His heart and family. When your heart is open to loving a total stranger that way, Satan definitely wants to stop you.

I hopped over from Jen at Conversion Diary too. :o)

Fr. Michael Najim said...

I saw your blog highlighted on Conversion Diary. I read this post on adoption/spiritual warfare...which is VERY REAL! Your instinct is correct that the Lord does not divide husband and wife, but rather it is the work of the devil.
Please be assured of my prayers for you.

Peace!

Susan said...

My husband and I have three children, all full siblings, who we adopted out of foster care because we knew that's what God wanted us to do. They are now teens and are a handful, like most teens are. My oldest so in bipolar and that has led to many extra challenges. But I tell you this from the bottom of my heart: it was the best decision we ever made. Please don't give up on your call, but please wait for God to work in your husband's heart so you can be united on this all important issue. God bless you and yours.

Anonymous said...

I doubt this comment relates to this post, in fact I didn't read it
but having read yesterday, via Conversion Diary, your blog(s) about your call to GIVE money to Darfur and the conflicts found in how this weighs so heavily on your heart and your families financial needs - I offer you these comments
1. PRAYer is the Greatest of ALL gifts
Pray if more valuable or powerful that gifts of money will ever be.

So lift up to God all that is in your heart. ask for Divine, saintly, angelic and human intervention.
Prayer allows and activates
God often can not intervien if human free will imprisons.
Why do you think God rejoices over realized vocations to clostered religious life?

2. "Abandonment to Divine Providence", Fr Clausade
Be try to your station in life as a wife and mother

3. Ask God what to do with the desire to give - not ask God to help you do what YOU THINK you are being asked to do

4. be patient with yourself - this is a human lifetime journey and after this we can grow and do more. God Willing

God Bless

Heidi Saxton said...

As the foster-adoptive mom of two, I can relate to many of the misgivings you describe (many of which I didn't have until AFTER the children arrived). Feelings of inadequacy are a part of normal parenthood; having said that, I concur that you should not adopt until your husband's concerns have been addressed.

The best way to address those concerns, however, is by getting him to articulate his concerns, and getting the answers and/or support you need to make sure thse concerns are adequately addressed. (Just as you would have with regard to biological parenthood.)

A good part of the reason that the Russian adoption fiasco turned out as it did was because the family either did not get (or did not take advantage of) post-adoptive counseling services. With a special needs adoption (and MANY if not MOST of the children adopted out of institutions are special-needs), a support network is absolutely crucial.

In the meantime, options are available to you. You and your family might consider sponsoring a child from the country you are considering. Become licensed foster parents, and do respite care (tending to a child for a few days or a weekend to give his/her regular foster parents a break), or become a CASA worker (CASA workers befriend children in foster care while they are in care, tending to the emotional needs of the child and looking out for his or her best interests). You can find out more about CASA (Court-Appointed Social Advocacy) here: http://www.casahelpskids.org/

Abigail said...

Such an honest, truthful post! So glad you got a nice write up at Conversion Diary. You've got an awesome blog! Thanks for sharing your faith journey.

I'll be praying for your family this month.

Kathy said...

I saw you on Conversion Diary, too.

My three kids are all adopted. Yes, there are horror stories out there, and we got a few medical and psychological surprises... which can also happen when you give birth to a child.

There is a lot of stuff out there (even among people who say they want to promote adoption) that will play to the negative (usually without statistics, since there are very few available on adoptees).

I would really recommend Dr. Ray Guarendi's "Adoption: Choosing It, Living It, Loving It." When I feel like I'm loosing it, either on parenting or adoption, I pick up Dr. Ray. He's a solid dose of Catholic common sense on both subjects.

Praying for you and your husband.

Paula said...

I am going through a similar struggle... I feel called to adopt again and add to our now somewhat large family, my husband is not very accepting of that idea. You have inspired me to renew my prayers in that area... thank you for a very inspiring post.

Brianna Heldt said...

Oh my goodness what a blessing this post is! I loved how you said that fear of adoption justifies all of those things, etc. So incredibly true.

I'm a mom to five children, including two sons who are from Ethiopia. We're also in the process to adopt again. Adoption is difficult and the road is not always easy...BUT...it is blessed.

My husband and I live in Colorado as well! Thank you again for such wise and insightful words.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous has an excellent point, and I think this is SO important: If your husband is opposed to this, then you must NOT continue to pester him about it. You can still pray, but you must NOT think that you are right and he is wrong. When you read the lives of the saints, you find that Christ would tell them, over and over, that obedience to their spiritual directors (or Mother Superiors, or Bishops) was more important for their souls than any amount of good works or sacrifices.

In a Christian marriage, our husbands serve in the role of "superior" (and I don't think I need to explain here that of course, I don't mean they are "superior" to us in the sense of better or more worthy or anything else, but in the sense of being the ones we are supposed to submit our wills to, as long as what they are asking us to do isn't immoral. Well, I guess I did just explain it!)

Of course this means we can talk to our husbands, and make our case for whatever it is we want (and for what we think God wants for us), and pray, pray, pray! But we must NOT make the mistake of assuming that the Devil is dividing us by making our husbands on the wrong side, and that we are on the right side.

In that same vein -- what does your husband think about homeschooling? If he wants you to continue, I think you must -- in spite of the obstacles the devil may be throwing in your path. If he doesn't want you to homeschool, then don't. But it seems confusing to me that you are sure the devil is throwing obstacles in the path to adoption by making your husband opposed to it ... and yet, you throw in the towel with homeschooling because of some obstacles.

Most husbands want to please their wives, and sometimes will go along with their wives heartfelt pleadings even when they truly are uncomfortable about the decision, or when they know in their hearts it's not the right thing for the family.

Please don't put your husband in that awful position. Accept his decision about the adoption; ask for his advice about homeschooling; trust in God that if you submit your will to your husband's, you are doing God's will for you.

(Please forgive me for unloading all this on you... especially when I only just visited your blog for the first time today!! ... but I recognized some things in you that I have also struggled with. Consider this for what it's worth, OK?)

Tienne said...

Anon - You are absolutely right that all I can do right now is pray. I actually haven't been bringing adoption up to my husband for quite a while now. Since you're new to my blog, you haven't read the post I made seven months ago, where I realized that my husband's heart was closed to adoption and it was therefore off the table for the moment. This post is only meant to focus on how I'm changing my prayers for the adoption.

Your point about homeschooling is spot on. If the only obstacles were the time committment and my son's learning style, I would continue. I had every intention of continuing right up until mid-February, when my husband expressed his concerns, because my heart is 100% committed to homeschool. But my husband is not committed in that way and he wants to try school. So, we are trying school this year. I pray that it turns out to be the right fit for my son, but if it isn't, we will revisit the schooling option next spring.

It's so encouraging to know that other people struggle with these things too! You're right: my marriage comes before anything that I want. That's something people often have difficulty accepting, and I can see why! It helps to know I'm not the only one facing these issues. :)

One final note...my husband IS wrong about the adoption. I respect his position, and that is why I'm not going out and signing us up for a homestudy without his consent, or bringing up the topic every time it resurfaces in my heart. But the fact remains that our family is called to adoption, we are in the perfect position to adopt, and the only thing standing in our way is fear. That's from the Devil, and only God will be able to eradicate it. Logical arguments won't erase fear. Faith is the only cure.

Dymphna said...

If your husband is against it do not insist on adopting. It will cause a wedge of resentment.