Friday, October 18, 2013

Why We Are Called to Davion

I read an article yesterday that brought me to my knees. You're welcome to read it if you'd like, but it boils down to this: A 15 year old child named Davion, raised his entire life in foster care, dons a second-hand suit and shows up at an evangelical church with clammy hands and a lurching in his gut to ask if someone - anyone - would adopt him.

I wasn't present for the service, but 300 people were, and I have my hunches about how it all went down.

He probably made the congregation uncomfortable at first, because we like our church services as tidy as possible. No surprises, please. Please don't put us on the spot like this. The ladies shifted in the pew. The men took an unusually keen interest in their wrist watches.

But the more he spoke, the more they listened.
The more they listened, the more they felt.
Now what? What on earth do we do with these big feelings?

Here's what I tend to do - I tend to start thinking about folks who should help. If I were there, I might have thought about the empty-nesters with the extra bedrooms and time on their hands. I might have thought about the couple sitting on the newborn baby waiting list for two years and counting. I might have thought about the friends with cash to burn. I might have thought about you. But probably not me.

Because while Davion stood shaking in the pulpit, having harnessed all of his guts to bring himself down into the low places of pleading for help from strangers and admitting his need, his piercing loneliness, his intense longing to be loved, I would sit politely in my seat and tick down my list of excuses.

I don't have enough time.
I have four children already, who demand so much from me.
Our home is small.
He could be dangerous.
He might be wounded.
It would disrupt my home.
I don't know how.
I have a sick kid.
I have a troubled kid.
The system is too confusing.
They system is too demanding.
I'm too old.
I'm too young.
My family wouldn't support us.
We can't afford it.
We've done enough.
This isn't my calling.

Of the 300 congregants present the day Davion stripped down to his emotional underwear and begged for a family to want him, not one of them stepped up.

''I'll take anyone," Davion said. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."

This breaks my heart in half, mostly because there's a very good chance I wouldn't have stepped up either.

I would have smiled through a set of very sweet "Bless his heart" thoughts. I may have gone the extra mile and tracked him down afterward to tell him he was brave, a fine young man, so well spoken!, so mature! I would have promised my prayers. I would have turned around and walked away.

This isn't an indictment on *that* church, it's an indictment on The Church, who has handed us an out cloaked in a Holy-sounding lie - I'm not called to this. It's an indictment on us for lunging for that lie then wearing it like a mantle.

We have got to do better than this, friends. We have to decide - for real and forever - that Davion is our responsibility. He's our gift. If he continues to live as an orphan, it's on all our heads. 

This child who has never known the particular security of belonging decided, on his own, to find himself a family. He made himself the best he could be, swallowing the rage that comes from years of abandonment, rejection, and God knows what else. He studied hard and raised his grades. He shed 40 pounds.

And none of that matters at all. None of it is relevant to a God who scooped me up sin-soaked and broken from the ditch I dug with my own two hands and carried me home. When orphans believe they have to fit a certain standard to win our acceptance, we have failed to strike the mark of love that identifies us as followers of Christ (John 13:35). If Christ dwells in us, His love should flow from us, a wild river of foolish sacrifice.

Do I believe that every family needs to foster or adopt a child? Nope.

But I do believe that every one of us needs to figure out a way to do better at caring for orphans. And widows. And the poor. It can and should look different from person to person.

I believe this mandate is not a one-and-done. I speak from a heart that knows I default to withholding when I should be offering extravagantly.

Truth is, God could reach down and unlock all the chains Himself, chains of poverty, illness, addiction, loneliness, suffering. He could do all the work because He is the only answer, the only way out. But He loves us so much that He chooses to let us join in the redemption of others. He requires this of us because He knows that in laying our lives down, we are rescued.

So while we stew around, clutching the costume jewelry of "our" life, we do so at the expense of the riches of more of  Him.

It should feel like a no-brainer.

All the while, He waves us over to the gutter, where He waits. That is the size of His love, that He would invite imperfect, broken us out into the world with Him.

He asks us to share in His story for another broken human knowing we all walk away healed.

So I'm praying tonight for the excision of my paltry, worn-out excuses. I'm praying for more trust and bigger love. I'm praying for courage that matches Davion's by even half.


  1. It's not even 8 in the AM and I'm weeping into my cereal bowl, heartbroken and convicted.

    We have got to do better. For real and forever. YES. Every one of us.

    Love you so much, dear. xo

  2. Davion had more courage in that moment than I will ever have in my life time! I could barely read the article because it made me sick....not at "them".....but because I am afraid that I too would have failed to meet his eyes!

  3. Praying that God would break wide the dam that keeps me from sharing that "wild river of foolish sacrifice."

  4. I appreciate your take on this. I saw this ALL OVER the interwebs yesterday, posted by lots of people who delivered scathing rebukes on those who might be reading. Yet, not one person I saw "share" this felt compelled themselves to adopt Davion??? At least, no one shared that they had.

    I agree that we need to do SO MUCH MORE in these areas but I admit to being a little weary of the "trend" of adoption and, more disturbingly, the "trend" that only the cool, TRUE christians, adopt! God blessed us with four children. I do not feel called to adopt. I am called to do lots of things but adopt isn't one of them. And that's okay. I'm not a lesser christian or a lesser person because of that. I applaud and support all those people who DO feel called. But I'm tired of being viewed as uncaring or unchristian because I do not share that calling. Caring for the fatherless, widows, and orphans doesn't always look like ADOPTION, yet it's hard to browse around the interwebs these days and NOT be condemned for NOT choosing adoption.

    My heart breaks for Davion. My heart also breaks for rich, comfortable Christians who live in big fancy houses and pass judgment on others who they feel should be doing more.

    Thank you for acknowledging that while we ALL need to do more, "more" looks different for everyone.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts! I'm glad you caught that I'm saying there are many different ways to care for orphans. The point of my post is not that we all need to adopt Davion OR that we all need to adopt. The point is we're all called to care for orphans. We need to figure out what that means. So yes, Someone needs to adopt Davion (it sounds like maybe that's in the works!) but the bigger issue is that there are thousands more Davions. I didn't necessarily mean this literally about Davion himself...but he represents a much larger heart issue on our end.

  5. I have been praying for him every moment since I first saw the video. What a precious child. Davion does matter. I know God has something special in store for him.

  6. crying with a broken heart for that child - the courage he has shown is amazing...and sad to know that I too would most likely find an excuse...

  7. Ahh... yes. yes. yes. In all hardness of speaking the truth. Thank you for speaking it.
    James 1:27, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

    This has been making my heart be in flux for the last five years when I saw the orphans and widows in China begging in the small province we lived. There are children in trafficking all over the world (US being one of the largest) and the foster care in our country is broken. May we (I) be part of that answer. Even helping one child is a difference that effects generations.

    Here's a video that your post reminded me of -

  8. Thank you for sharing your heart. I admit that your words challenged me on a deep level, brought me to tears. I can't stop thinking about all of the hurting kids around the world. The ones I know and the ones I don't know yet! I find myself searching, for answers. Thanks Shannan.

  9. Whew boy - that was hard to read. Wow, just wow. I'm one of those "empty nesters with a spare bedroom"...

  10. You are spot on.
    Side note: I called the number posted in the article and the voice mailbox was full. I am hoping that's what you meant by something hopefully being in the works for Davion.

  11. Thank you for this. I was so angry and sad with society and with myself when I read Davion's story. As someone who has had a heart for foster care but has had things prevent us from moving forward with getting certified I felt both convicted and encouraged by your post - if that makes sense. I need to look at my heart and see what my family CAN do while we wait.

  12. oh girl. i wonder what i would have done.
    to the least of these....
    it sounds beautiful
    until we are face to face.
    what would i have done
    what am i doing now...

  13. Amen! We have to do better than this. And we can!

  14. Amen Sister! I can always count on you to tell it like it is. I sure hope that dear boy gets adopted too.

  15. I read the story yesterday and my heart broke.
    My list consisted of:

    But I live too far away
    But we're just not cut out for this
    What if the neighbors talk
    I know our family will not understand
    I work from home and this will be a HUGE disruption
    We are broke as it is and have nothing to offer

    LIES...all of them. Oh, they seem true to this brain, but to my heart..I am a mother, crying and longing for this son. Feeling the need to embrace him as my own.
    And THIS is me.......wishing to do the right thing...wanting to do the good thing...and all the while too full of self to make any real difference.

    This boy and other like him, has well wishers.
    They needs love 'do-ers.'

    Lord help us all to humble ourselves and meet the needs of others

    1. Well wishers vs. love do-ers. Good and challenging words.

  16. I have always felt this strong desire to someday adopt. My husband agrees but we both want to wait until we have one more biological child. I am ashamed to admit I too would probably found a thousand reasons NOT to stand up and offer my home to him. He is such a courageous strong and inspiring person that has just begun to show what impact he can have on the world! I pray for him and all the others in similar situations. I long for the day were I can build up the courage and say now is the time, start the adoption process and complete our family.

  17. This is a wonderful post. Thank you!

  18. thank you thank you thank you. you always know just what to say.

  19. I need to know the rest of the story...need to know about this young man. What was just 300 peoples issue has now become a HUGE amount of people's issue. I realize that the point of this story, this discussion is not how can we help this ONE young man...but all the "one young man's" that are standing beside us as we go down our check list of reasons to say "no." This story has just cracked my heart open a little farther. This is scary business, this cracking open. May Davion be lifted up today where ever he is, may more hearts be cracked open today because of his story and your willingness to discuss it.

  20. Very well said. When we adopted an adorable four year old with tons of baggage and lots of special needs, we were not supported by many people and or family. This little boy needed a home. He was actually in the hospital very ill because his current foster mother asked him to be moved out. Family services had no one to turn to. So they turned to me. I had previous shown interest in him as he was attending the day care that I worked at. I remember how people would say that he was "so lucky." My response was always that "we" were lucky. All kids deserve a home to grown in and to be loved. Our story after the adoption was not roses, believe me, but he is doing well as an adult now. I hope that this young man will have someone to step forward. Others that are on the line about adopting please consider there are so many children that need your help. Thanks Shannan for posting this.

  21. I want to say I would have jumped up and said "Pick us!" but would I have? Why am I not doing this for other children? Hmm, much to ponder.

  22. If one person stood up...and said, "Come home with us!"
    I bet there would have been another who stood.
    And, the another.
    I could see a bidding war for that boy.
    And, that town could have been that poster-town for change.

    But, it would have taken one person...
    To stand up...
    And match the courage of the boy.

    Would I have been that person? Probably not.

    1. I LOVE the picture of this....of one person standing.......

    2. I, too, wonder if I would have - do have - the courage to be the first person to stand in response to the call, to the need....praying.

  23. I read Davion's story when it first broke and it made me weep. As someone said already, not all are called to adopt (although I'm an adoptive mother), but as you say, we're all called to care for the orphans and widows. They are the most vulnerable among us and there are various ways we can help. The question is, Are we willing? I'm convicted. Davion's story reminded me of a story I shared recently about Mark, and why I believe mentoring is something we all can do to help the children around us. (

  24. The name Davion? It means Beloved. I don't think it's a coincidence. Oh, that we would all be brought to our knees by this story...

  25. I read an article earlier that said they have received 300 inquiries about adopting him, then just found this one saying 500 inquires....I hope they find the perfect home for him.

  26. Praying for the day when our churches are RUNNING to these children, rather than having a child have to beg at the altar for someone, anyone to love them. So incredibly hopeful for Davion and his future, and hopeful that this will open up opportunities for the +100,000 other children waiting for families in the foster care system.

  27. If only Australians could adopt from America.

  28. Thank you. I am inspired by the courage of this boy, but heartbroken that it had to come to this. As a foster mama, praying this stirs more hearts to step up and care for them. So beautifully written.

  29. Just want you to know that his case worker said over 500 people have inquired about adopting him :) hopefully oneof them is a good match for him!
    Thank you for your post, you are absolutely right we may not all be able to this, but we are all able to do more...

  30. Thank you so much for paying this. I've actually written 3 posts about Davion because it touched me so much. My husband and I have adopted 10. The reason not everyone its called to adopt is because those who are drastically need support. For those who don't adopt please find a foster or adoptive family and see how you can help them. There are ago many ways to help.

  31. yes... a million times yes. The Gospel in a nutshell. He loved others.... we must love others, too.... I am so thankful God has been working on my own heart on this exact topic. I'm not certain how my husband will feel when he finds out.... ;) Knowing & believing God will go before me...

  32. God has big plans for this child. Thankfully many have called to inquire about adoption.

  33. This! This is the kind of post I'm talking about where you make my mind hurt. Precious, precious boy. Thank you for sharing his story and making me think.

  34. Update: Davion lives in the Midwest now. But his name is Allen, Brandon, Cameron, Christian, Heaven, Jaden, Jay'Sun & Yasun, James, Madisen, Xander, or Zakkary.

    I wonder how many of the people who inquired about Davion realize that there are 104,000 kids in the foster care system available for adoption right now (

  35. My husband and I want more kids. My husband and I have recently decided that we are not going to try for any more natural children. We have one that we love dearly. We have multiple reasons for this decision. One of which, there are so many children in need of parents, of love, of family, of hope, of faith, of nurturing. We have decided to foster kids over the age of 5 and then, hopefully, adopt. The only thing we are waiting for: owing our own home. It's all in God's hands. He told us when to have our, now 4 year old, son. He will tell us when to begin fostering. And we will obey His word. Thank you for posting this. It moved me to tears. There is much truth in your article. God bless you and your family.

  36. Thank you for speaking the truth right into my heart. You stir up my comfortable, easy life in the most wonderfully scary ways. <3

  37. So, I read this on the day you posted. I couldn't comment bc my heart was too full of thoughts and stirrings and my eyes were too filled with water. But pushed a button for me. The words were words I couldn't have expressed in any better way. Anyway, I have a question I would like to ask through email. Do you have a way to contact you privately? Thank so much for sharing your heart on your blog. It's always so inspiring. ~Melissa Lewis

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