Monday, September 24, 2012

formula, the best milk and having faith

sometimes God leads christians to do things that make absolutely no sense.

a great example of this is in the bible.  God promises abraham that he will make a great nation through him, but doesn't give him a son.  not for years and years.  but at the right time (God's time, not abraham's) he does give him a son, isaac.  then some years later, God tells abraham to go sacrifice (ie kill) his only son, who is just a few years from being a man.  this makes absolutely no sense (humanly speaking) but abraham obeys, having faith that God will do something miraculous through it (he thinks that maybe God will end up resurrecting isaac from the dead).  as it turns out, as abraham raises his hand to kill his son, God stays his hand and tells him to sacrifice a provided lamb instead of his son.  this act of faith is not only exemplary to believers of all times, but also provides us with a great foretaste to the gospel, when God sacrifices His only son to save all who believe in him.

[as i write this i am getting tears and goosebumps thinking of the gospel implications of this action]

this week has been a similar experience for me, following God by faith in something that really doesn't make sense.  my trust (and only hope) is that God will make something beautiful of it, as he did with the sacrifice of isaac.

you see, we want to give littlest miss the best milk, because i am fortunate enough to be lactating right now (one of the reasons we wanted to get another little one while esther is still young).  the day that she came to us, i told the social worker (SW) our intentions and she didn't object so we proceeded with the best milk.  but a few days later she changed her mind and told us to give formula.  i tried to object (telling her that if they are truly in this for littlest miss' well-being they wouldn't want her on artificial milk which is associated with higher risk of SIDS, type II diabetes, obesity and cancer among other things), but the case was transferred to a different SW right at that time.  since then we are waiting for permission to give the best milk, and as of right now we have no idea if we will get permission and if we do how long it will take.

six months ago, i probably would have just broken the rules and given her breast milk anyways (its not like they can really know what i am feeding her.)  but recently God has been showing me the importance of submitting to the authority he has placed over me (see romans 13) and constantly reminding me that "the king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD, he turns it wherever he will"  (this is an important verse to remember for foster parents).  submitting to ungodly authority is an act of faith and submission to God himself, since he is the one who places governing authorities in our life.  i have also been reminded that when we think that God isn't acting and we take matters into our own hands, it often has disastrous results (see for example the story of sarah giving hagar to abraham when God didn't seem to be giving them their promised son.  thats a mistake that we are still feeling the consequences of, as ishmael was the father of the arab peoples).

furthermore, i had kind of a revelation the day that we had to switch to formula.  i realized that the same all-powerful God who wants us to submit to this rule can also easily make the formula as nutritious for her body as the best milk.  such a thing is easy for God!  and if i believe that God really loves her more than we do, why wouldn't he do this?  so i have been praying every time i have to give her formula that God will make it the same as breast milk in her body.

waiting for something so important as this is difficult.  maybe this is why God has given me the tangible example through esther of why waiting for a good thing can be a good thing.  some days this week my faith has been strong and other days very weak, but God is unchanging even as i constantly change.

but i am also thankful:
*that she got breast milk for the first week of life (in the hospital she got donated milk and she got it from me for several days before the SW changed her mind)

*that she is not starving.  many, many babies in the world do not have enough to eat whether that is breast milk or formula.  she has more than enough to keep her alive, and has never had to wait more than a few minutes for a meal (and thats only because of the logistical hassle of preparing a bottle!).

*that we are not paying for the formula.  i would be especially frustrated to pay so much money for such a low quality processed "food" for her.  until the best milk is approved, the california government will be wasting $155 per month on formula (in addition to the increased health care costs of a formula-fed baby, which averages about $2,000 more in the first year of life.  i am thankful that we don't pay for that either.)

*that cuddles, hugs and kisses and baby wearing are all allowed.  physical contact with a caregiver is associated with better outcomes for babies.  so even while she is being artificially fed, she is being truly loved in other ways.  at night, co-sleeping is not allowed for foster babies, but she sleeps within a few feet of us, which has been shown to regulate breathing and decrease the chance of SIDS.

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