Tony Merida is pastor for preaching and vision of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He’s also the content director for Acts 29, producing blogs, podcasts, and other resources on church planting. Tony has an extensive itinerant ministry and has written several books, including Ephesians, The Christ-Centered Expositor, and Ordinary.
In this excerpt from the Ordinary Bible study, Tony tells a heart-warming story of when he first brought home one of his adopted children from Ethiopia and how even children adopted from Africa, still don’t like spinach.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
My wife and I have five adopted children. We have a lot of stories, as you can imagine. We have four children from Ukraine. We have one from Ethiopia.
It was like the second night we were having dinner with our new adopted son, Joshua, from Ethiopia. And my wife made a spinach salad, which she’s prone to do. We were all standing there, eating and we had other meat and vegetables around the salad. I don’t particularly like spinach salad, but I’ve learned to enjoy it and eat it.
But Joshua, our new little five-year-old from Ethiopia, refused, not only to eat it – he refused to be in the kitchen itself. And so in protest, Joshua left the room because we were having spinach.
So I went and got the little guy and brought him back to the kitchen table. He kept doing his face like this. And he was going to the next room. This happened two or three times. I was telling him, “Eat. Eat. You have to eat.”
This whole time, as I was watching this experience, I had a thought in my mind. When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me, “Tony, you need to eat your green vegetables.” I would say, “Why, mom?” And she would say, “Because there are starving kids in Africa.”
As I was looking at this whole scenario unfold, I just couldn’t help but to think to myself, “Apparently they won’t eat it either.” Here we had a little case study and our starving kid from Africa didn’t want spinach either.
We have learned over the process of adoption, over the process of caring for the fatherless, there are a lot of unpredictable things that are going to happen. It’s a joyful adventure. It’s a challenging adventure to care for the vulnerable.
My wife often says that she never struggled with cussing until we had children. And now she’s a pro.
I often tell people that my expectations of parenting decreased by the day. Now my expectation is if I can just keep the kids out of prison, that would be success. Then other days I’m thinking to myself, “If I can stay out of prison, that’s gonna be success.”
But I set all of that up just to illustrate for you that caring for orphans is real life stuff. It’s about sitting at the kitchen table. It’s about trying to get them to eat spinach. It’s going to bring with it all sorts of complexities, all sorts of issues and challenges. But it’s worth it.