But I’m Unqualified

UnqualifiedI think the feeling of being unqualified is one of the biggest things that paralyzes teens who want to make a difference. Actually, it probably extends beyond the teen years because I’ve read adult writers on adult blogs talking about the same thing. This feeling can be especially hard to deal with when it comes to orphan care.

The more I learn, the more complicated everything relating to orphans becomes. If you follow what’s going on in international adoption at all, you know what I mean. Is it more important for children to stay in their country of birth than to have a family of their own? When should biological families be encouraged and helped to keep their children and when is it best for the child to be surrendered for adoption? How do you help poverty stricken people financially without degrading their self-esteem and penalizing work?

So many questions and uncertainties surround orphans. The majority of adults, even the ones deeply involved in orphan care, don’t have the answers and solutions. If they can’t “fix” things what can we expect to do?

Sometimes I feel uncertain writing posts for this blog. It’s so easy to get something wrong, break some bit of etiquette I’m not aware of, step on toes concerning a sensitive topic. I know that friends and peers whose families have adopted read this blog. They know so much more than me on a much more personal scale. I worry about hurting their feelings or getting something glaringly wrong and making it clear that I don’t know what I’m talking about!

I appreciated a comment in Becoming Home, by Jedd Medefind. He said,

Even a glimpse of all this complexity can be paralyzing. Like the risk adverse investor in Jesus’ parable of the talents, we may be tempted to bury what we have to offer and not get involved at all. But Jesus minced no words in condemning that approach. He called it “wicked and lazy.” Instead, God calls us to act despite the risks. Understanding that helping can hurt gives us much-needed caution and humility. So we begin with learning, listening, planning, and only then, finally, action–always ready to recalibrate when we discover the mistakes we’ll inevitably make.

Just like every other area of life, we’re bound to goof up somewhere, somehow. It’s kind of like final exams in school. You study hard but you don’t understand everything. A lot of the complexity escapes you (or at least it escaped me…good for you if you understand all of it). You’ll probably get some of the questions wrong. But you don’t skip the test just because you’ll probably make a few mistakes. You prepare as best you can and, when it’s time to take the test, you do the best you can. Afterwords you look over what you got wrong, learn from it, and use it to do better next time.

I think that’s how we should approach the world of orphan care. Don’t avoid it just because you’ll probably get something wrong. If I goof up here, one of my lovely friends with more experience will probably send me an email pointing out the mistake. I’ll be embarrassed, but I’m sure they’ll be loving about it, and I’ll know better next time.

The bottom line is, don’t do nothing because you don’t understand it all and are bound to make mistakes. Learn what you can, do what you can, and fix what you’re doing wrong when you find out it’s not right.

Do you feel unqualified to help orphans? What mistakes are you afraid of making? How can you prepare and take action anyway?

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