My wife, Kendra: “I’d really like to talk about us adopting a child some day, or maybe being foster parents.”
Me: “I want my own kids, with my own blood, and my own athletic ability.”
Okay, okay. That’s only what I was thinking. What I really said when Kendra began pressing me to adopt or foster was, “I’m just not feeling led by God yet, I need to pray about it, I’m not sure I’m ready.” Those were all true statements. I didn’t feel 100% at peace about it. I had reservations. However, whether I admitted it or not, the real reasons I didn’t want to bring an orphan into my home had everything to do with me and nothing to do with God’s will for my life.
Then I got eviscerated by God. Not just a “come to Jesus moment”, but rather a “let-Me-rip-every-semblance-of-comfort-from-you” kind of experience.
The phone call
On April Fool’s Day 2011 I got a call from my hepatologist that I had suspicious spots on my liver. Two weeks later on my only child Colton’s first birthday, I was told that I would likely not help my son blow out the candles on his second birthday. No lie. My name is Ryan Prudhomme and I have stage IV liver bile duct cancer.
Something changed almost instantaneously in my life. Things that I’d spent years praying for, now came true in a flash. I became 100% dependent on God for survival, I was humbled, compassionate, and I had an unexplainable burning passion to help children that are hurting. A lot of other things in my life snapped into focus immediately. I call it seeing in High Definition. It was like life just exploded with color for the first time. There is no place that compares with coming to a full understanding of your reliance on God.
So now that I am finally excited and passionate about adopting or fostering, I have lost the opportunity. Besides whether it’s morally right to adopt a child knowing there’s an overwhelming chance you’d never raise them, it’s legally pretty impossible right now for us to adopt or foster anyways due to my medical condition.
Why would God wait to “lead me” to adoption until after I am even able?
God didn’t wait to tell me. He prompted me over and over and I ran away from Him. There was no real reason why we shouldn’t have adopted before I was diagnosed. I was waiting for the magical Holy Spirit light to go off and finally give me “peace” about the decision. Are you familiar with this way of discerning God’s will? I only act once I’m 100% confident (read: comfortable) with this decision.
The problem is that removes the element of faith. Faith requires us to act when it doesn’t always make sense or feel right. Do you remember Jericho, the Passover, or Peter getting out of the boat? Unfortunately for me because I was too selfish to act a few years ago when God (through my wife) presented the idea to me, I fear I’ve now lost the chance forever. Heaven forbid some child out there could have had a father but now won’t because of my selfishness. Praise God that He will love them regardless of my lack of obedience.
What changed in my heart? I can’t tell you. I can only say that I’m a different person than before. Things that used to matter now don’t, and things that didn’t matter as much, now do. Cancer changes your perspective, and terminal cancer oddly gives you a new lease on life.
What might God be telling you to do that you’re not quite “feeling” yet? Is there any real reason you’re holding back? I missed that chance. Lord willing I’ll get another one someday. Don’t miss your chance. Be brave enough to be obedient. Imagine what a nation of people who served God like they were dying? What would that look like?
(It’s been 8 months since I was diagnosed and my wife and I live in confidence of the knowledge that God is 100% able to heal me. Whether He chooses to or not is His decision. The cancer has begun to retreat, which is huge. We take everything one day at a time and are so grateful for God’s provision and blessing in our lives.)