Adopting Again

lovely messMy new favorite description of love is the willingness to enter a mess. It’s a pretty decent description of the Incarnation (or kenosis for you theologians out there); it captures the spirit of that oft-quoted passage from Matthew 25 about feeding Jesus when you feed the hungry. It’s pretty close to the sentiment that Ignatius counsels in the Contemplation to Attain Love in the fourth week of the Spiritual Exercises. It’s certainly what was on Ignatius’s mind when he penned the beautiful Suscipe prayer: “take, Lord, receive all my liberty….” For if the spiritual life is coming to inhabit the place where God stands, and seeing the world as God sees it, and being willing to act upon what one sees from that place, well, that’s being willing to enter a mess.

Sue and I are sprinting toward a lovely mess. The amazing thing is that it wasn’t one we’d planned. It was one that God told us to enter last month when He e-mailed Sue the photo of a 7 year-old boy in China, Fu Yuan, who has a heart defect. God said, “yes, he’ll fit into your family nicely. You can get him some good medical care, you can give him older sisters who also started their lives in China, and you can help him make the transition because you, Dad, speak Chinese like a 7 year-old.” We protested that we couldn’t afford the fees; we’re taking care of Sue’s mom; we’ve had to deal with various work and school difficulties; yada yada yada. I went into a conversation with Sue thinking we’d have to say no, and came out of it convinced I’d be with my son by the end of the year. Thanks be to God!

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Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon is the author of a number of books, including The Ignatian Workout and Living Against the Grain, and teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Boston College.


  1. So so timely! I was just in the middle of thinking why I still try to pursue things that seem so futile, and your statement that love is the willingness to enter a mess just inspires me to indeed continue! God bless you and I’ll pray for you.

  2. When God calls it is impossible to resist. And when God calls, God will provide you and your family with the resources to thrive in the “mess”.
    God bless.

  3. Tim, congratulations and much joy to you in the messiness! Prayers to you and your wife in this new adventure with God.

  4. I so get this one! I found my homeless brother this summer while vacationing in Balt., MD. I wasn’t looking for him. I had not seen in about 20 years. I saw a man pushing a shopping cart and recognized my dad’s eyes, otherwise I would not have recognized him. Thank God I have a wonderful husband who knows when God is moving. Messy doesn’t even describe what I am going through but I can tell you that when He places you in the mess, His beauty shows up just at the right time. The good news is I don’t worry about my brother sleeping in the cold anymore. I’m looking forward to the day when God opens his spiritual eyes and I do my best to love him into the Kingdom! What a
    mess! Everyone thinks I’m crazy! Oh well…..until He says otherwise!
    Could use your prayers!!! Thanks!

  5. As an adoptive mother of 2 sons, one of whom just adopted his stepson I send love and blessings. As I read about your “mess” I vividly recall a day 40 yrs ago when I received the message that our son was “ready” and how soon good we get to another state 1000 miles away. Boy does mother nature and her 9 months have it right… ah the panic when I sat down in the plane 2 days later, no baby clothes, no crib, a job to juggle leave, but when they put that beautiful baby in my arms… that was all it took. An would you believe the Social Worker then said “Do you want him?” Who could say “No” ? God did provide all that we needed. Good luck

  6. As another adopting friend says…Be ridiculous. Do the thing others say is nuts. If God put it on your heart, there will be a way. I like the “sprinting into a mess” language. Best wishes. We hope to travel in May….
    Susan WD


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