What Are the Odds You'd Make It in the Bible?
God has a plan for your stupidity.
I never thought I was gifted. I pretty much grew up ordinary in an extraordinary family. It was large and loud and full of characters. My parents were wonderful, generous people who adopted 5 children after having 4 of their own. This made for lots of fun, but not so much for the kind of individual attention that some kids may have received from their families in the form of lessons, tutoring, or homework. Sure we all had to do our homework and we did get lectured if our grades were low. But you could pretty much fly under the radar for a lot of things. My grades were solid Cs. Except for penmanship (when that was a thing) which was usually a D- and never did get any better. I skimmed books, wrote essays the night before, and never learned how to properly cite for a research paper. I made it through college with the same efforts and got a job as a social worker. I do not consider myself a smart person. I’m no good with numbers and always struggled with math. But, I am pretty good at figuring things out and my instincts have not let me down.
Born and raised Catholic, there was never a time in my life where I left the faith. I practice my religion and cling to it through the tough times. My upbringing was solid and I was blessed with a happy childhood. As I grew into adulthood, I thought that when I married I might adopt a child. It was such a positive experience for my family that I thought it was probably a good idea. After meeting a great guy who was easy going and lovable, we married and began a family. We discussed adoption and even went to some information sessions. The cost was prohibitive for a young, mostly broke couple so we put it on the back burner. After our fifth child was born, we talked about it again. Again, we put it to rest because it was so expensive.
I still thought about it quite a bit. After the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, I recall watching tv and being touched by a mother and her child who was severely injured. That week, my daughter had to get stiches during a sledding accident and I remember how bad I felt watching her in pain. I couldn’t imagine what the mother was going through in a place with not enough doctors, medicine, or hospitals. That image stuck with me.
Later that month, my mother returned from a religious training class with the Missionaries of Charity. She met a nun who just returned from Haiti. She was very traumatized during the earthquake and asked my mother if she knew anyone who would adopt the orphans that they were caring for in Haiti. Their buildings had been destroyed and they were living in tents. My mother shared this story with me and I asked my husband if we could do this. With little information we decided to move forward. A conversation with the French nun over the phone had me convinced this was possible. Even though our earlier adoption inquiries laid out high expenses and long time frames, some how this nun thought it could all be done in 9 months and inexpensively. Also, at the time, Haiti was not included in the Hague Convention (which in layman’s terms meant there were few regulations and adoption was very risky). Knowing this, we decided we should go against good advice, and move forward in pursuing an adoption. We paid for a home-study, fingerprinting, and all the other inspections and checks required. We had no one to guide us, no agency, and worked with an orphanage from a very impoverished country. We had a nun advising us who wasn’t American and knew nothing about American immigration standards or laws. After a few months, we realized how stupid we were. But with no one to help us, little funds, and vague information from a French nun, we pressed on.
When we had all of our papers ready, we had to have them translated into French, notarized, and mailed to Haiti. Upon receipt of our dossier, the French nun called to say, “We received your papers, but I don’t think we are going to be doing adoptions any more, I’m sorry.” I remember going to bed that night so depressed. How could we be so stupid. Wasted money, wasted time. Why would God do that? For two weeks we kept kicking ourselves for being so dumb. Who tries to do an independent adoption within the developing world?
Then, a few weeks later I got a call from one of the nuns in Haiti. She said, “I have a baby girl who needs a home.” I thought this was over? You weren’t doing adoptions anymore? “Well, there is this baby girl.” There were many many more obstacles and setbacks in getting “this baby girl” to the United States.
When it was all over, it took 3 years, more money than we planned, 2 trips to Haiti and a lot of prayer. She is a blessing to our family and is growing to be a smart, strong, beautiful young woman. She is the youngest of my 6, evening the score of 3 boys and 3 girls. I cannot imagine life without her. We have life long friends from Haiti and our travels there had a profound impact on us. The suffering and joy that we witnessed in that country will for ever be part of our story. Our daughter has brought so much fun and life to our family. She is a true blessing and completes our family. We also continue to support a ministry caring for one of the orphans that was unable to be adopted. Perhaps one day when she is grown, she will be able to re-connect with our daughter.
We were pretty stupid to think that we could do this. But God has a plan for your stupidity. Maybe Noah was stupid. It must have looked pretty stupid building that ark. A definition of stupid: a lack of intelligence or common sense. To the world, Noah probably looked like he lacked common sense.
I could recount another story of God’s call in my life to do something stupid. He asked me to help open a crisis pregnancy center next door to Planned Parenthood in inner-city Baltimore. I had no experience in building management, fundraising, or pregnancy centers in general. But I listened to Him when he spoke to me, and so I did it. It was ridiculously challenging and happening at the same time as the pandemic. If I had known the problems, challenges, and world changing events ahead of time, I would have never accepted the job—no intelligent person would. The center is busy and thriving and a much needed refuge in a city that lacks respect for any life. We have to remember that the people in the Bible were ordinary people who were called by God to do something, and they did it. (They also happened to get mentioned in the Bible.) If the Bible were continuous, and stories were still being recorded, would yours be in it? Would someone be able to recount what you did for God?
Gina Ruppert is passionate in her service to women- and moms-in-need in Baltimore City; she and her family are parishioners of Sacred Heart, Glyndon.
Reminds me of the Blessed Mother saying "yes". You go, girl! You are not stupid. You are resourceful and brave.
There's school stupid and there's life stupid which you ain't.