Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Can We Do More?

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My wife and I are up to no good again. This is the beginning of a new chapter in our story.

We adopted two children from China the summer before last, returning home in August of 2012. Adoption is easily the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The last fifteen months have been filled with fatigue, frustration, yelling, selfishness, surgeries, and therapy. And they have been filled with forgiveness, growth, and love.

With time life settled down. Somewhat. Either the constant craziness died down or we simply got used to it. But with the cycles of the moon, life became doable again.

Around the same time, I took a trip to Uganda with Bob Goff. My wife and I joked with each other that I should bring a kid home with me. Hide a small child in my suitcase. Of course we were only kidding. We both felt we couldn’t possibly do more.

While we were both being silly, we also knew the idea was true and good, like undefiled religion.

photo by

photo by Zach Dischner

Can we do more?

And so we found ourselves asking, “Can we do more?”

I can give you a million reasons why we can’t. Well, maybe a million minus one. We traded our minivan for a van big enough to hold a soccer team, so transportation is no longer a reason. But I can give you many others.

  • Our lives are out of control. Just spend 2 seconds with us and you will no doubt agree.
  • Dave Ramsey would not approve. Adopting is expensive, and while we can “afford” it, adopting wreaks havoc on what most would consider sound financial planning.
  • We do not feel we have as much time as we would like to give to the six kids we already have, much less for each other.
  • I don’t think we can cram anymore food into our refrigerator.
  • We are tired.
  • We only have 3 bedrooms. They are big bedrooms, but there are only 3 of them.
  • Adopting is hard.
Would you fault us for saying no?

We are all limited.

I don’t know how much we can do. We are human, and we have limits.

We are limited by time. We are limited by energy. We are limited by our finances. We are limited by our bodies. No matter how hard I try or how loud the demands of life yell at me, I can only jump so high.

But is our love limited? And if it is, who decides what that limit is? Who says we can’t love more?

The greatest obstacle to doing more isn’t our human limitations. The greatest obstacle is ourselves.

We can’t do everything for everyone, this is true. But I bet we can all do more than we think we can.

I bet we can all do more than we are.

And then the email came.

My wife subscribes to the rainbowkids.com newsletter. Featured one day was a thirteen year old boy from China. I don’t know what it was about him that grabbed us. I don’t know why we focused on him. But we did.

Sometimes we need no explanations for why. We just need to know that the answer is yes.

The reason this boy was featured on a national newsletter is because his chances of being adopted were dwindling. He was running out of time. He needed someone to step forward and say yes. When you turn fourteen in China, your name is removed from the list. You are no longer eligible to be adopted. Then, at the age of eighteen, they open the front door and wave good bye.

This young man turns fourteen in January.

So we asked ourselves again, can we do more? And we were unable to come up with a reason to say no that we could live with for the rest of our lives.

We inquired. We waited to see if anybody else would try to adopt him, since we weren’t very far along in the process. Time was short. There is still a chance we don’t get all of the paperwork done in time. But it turns out, we are it. There is nobody else.

For this boy, we are his only hope to have a family. To be embraced. To be known and accepted. To be loved unconditionally.

So here we are. In a frantic paper chase. Waiting. Doing the best we can at more.

Can you do more?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

PS: We hope to be traveling to China to pick up our son in late December or early January. For those of you who are interested, I plan on keeping you updated through articles on this blog.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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23 Replies

  1. Yay! Sometimes you need people who watch you be crazy and just shout yay you can do it! I hope you have them up close in real life. If not, I’m clapping my hands and shouting, you can do it, God can do it!

    1. thanks for the yay. not everybody responds that way.

  2. Randi

    I think I may know who the boy is and am so excited for him – and you! We returned home from China in May with two girls and are in process to return this coming spring for an older boy. These kids have so much to offer. Thanks for seeing that and saying, “yes!” Congrats to your family!

    1. Randi, as the time to travel approaches, I will post pictures of him, so you can see for sure. and I think you are right, we are the lucky ones.

  3. Jeremy, my life is pretty chaotic and I have two kids. (Maybe ALL parents lives are filled with chaos perhaps?) I love how you slice through the reasons and excuses like a machete. Thanks for allowing God to let you live an amazing story.

    1. thanks. amazing or not, this is the story.

  4. Bunny

    I so relate to your story…I have 5 from china and 1 from foster care, ages 7-14. In my mid sixties, I still ask if I can just take one more. I have a 3 bedroom house too. Every time the dust settles from an adoption and things are back to some sort of normal chaos, I think there must be one more I can give a family. Lots of people question my sanity but I am blessed with seeing the progress the kids make in their lives because they have a family. Got home with my last from china in January 2011…hmmm, feeling restless :)

    1. I am blessed to hear this short version of your story. I feel your restlessness. right now it feels like we will be done. but there is always another kid who needs help.

      1. Bunny

        People often say I am doing such a great thing…they don’t understand that I am on the receiving end of a great thing. Not saying I am not stretched way beyond myself and that things are pretty difficult as these kids work through their hard starts, but I am seeing fruit from the effort and totally blessed by it. Love what you share…speaks to my heart.

  5. christianneg

    YES, you can do it!!! And you can love doing it!!! I am so happy for you, your family, and your new son. We have wrestled many times with the same thoughts and questions as we keep adding precious children to our family. We know the ups and downs very well around here. In a few months we will be going to China for a 13 year-old son as well– making ten kids for us. I’m excited to follow your journey!

    1. Ten kids!?! That’s crazy. Good for you. I’d love to hear more about your own journey. Do you have a blog or other website?

  6. Melinda Koetsier

    We just saw a boy on Rainbow kids tonight that will soon be moving out of foster care. I immediately ache for him but we have 4 kids already, two young ones, from Korea and a handful. Most days I am done in. And the money we don’t have. And we are too old for Korea! Is that my answer?
    God needs to make a way!

  7. Jeremy, thanks for doing more for these young men and women. You’re making an impact that will go further than you will ever know.

  8. Sheila

    I don’t know how you all do it. You are a special family giving children who wouldn’t get a chance of a family life any other way. Good luck to you all. My hopes and prayers are with you. Aunt Sheila

    1. We don’t know how we do it or how to do it either. Thanks for your encouraging words and prayers. Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. Maureen

    Oh wow. This is amazing news. So happy for your family and, as always, moved and inspired by your writing. Since returning home from China I have felt so burdened for those still there, especially the older children. So happy to know that one of them will not be facing the world alone anymore. You guys are crazy (in a good way)! And brave! congrats and good luck finishing the paper chase. Very excited to follow your journey and wishing you all the best.
    Maureen
    http://Www.findingmeimei.blogspot.com

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