Category Archives: Adoption

In our weakness…

…His strength is made perfect. How I know this now. And I also know how painful it is to be weak and let His strength be perfect.

I was reminded of this as I was visiting Owlhaven’s site and ran across this plea to pray for Lucas, a fellow blogger’s little boy who was burned last night. Many of you know that our own son was burned about a year and a half ago. My heart goes out to this family and Lucas. It brings back the feeling of my heart breaking in two for my little boy. Please read his story and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for him.

Also, scroll down and look at the you-tube video the family made of their adoption story. Keep a kleenex ready! They brought their two new children home only a few months ago.

I was thinking about how right now the family’s souls feel as raw as their son’s flesh. I was also thinking how God showed Himself over and over through our ordeal, mostly through the prayers we felt that were coming literally from around the world. Now, as I told my son of little Lucas, his earnest face lit up when I asked him to pray for him. Can you imagine? He actually felt joy that he could pray for another little boy in need. What a blessing. I think of how many people come away from a painful tragedy bitter. I know our son’s injuries could have been worse, but I believe his belief in God’s goodness would still have been the same.

Now our son is healed and stronger in his faith than he was before he was burned. Please pray the same for Lucas.

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Filed under Adoption, Babies & Kids, Giving Thanks, His Banner over Me, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Color-blind vs. Color-blessed

I hope this works! I’ve managed to shift my sick baby (see last post) to where I can use both hands. I only hope it lasts!

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ever since I heard MLK’s quote years ago, I was determined to be color-blind. Of course I wanted for all people to be judged by the content of their character…why on earth would their skin color matter? So I tried never to notice the color of people’s skin, thinking this was the proper thing to do.

Easier said than done.

It wasn’t until I sat through a Beth Moore study that I realized why this is…duh!…God gave us eyes and well, we notice things. We notice that one neighbor is covered with red freckles, another is swathed in skin the color of coffee with cream, and yet another is so translucent, you could count every blood vessel in her body!

In the study, she summed up my whole ridiculous notion of being color-blind, in her usual funny way. We stammer, we stumble, we back pedal, all in trying to avoid naming a race, or admitting that we noticed a person is black, brown, or whatever. Here on the Texas border, I hear people say “See the Spanish waitress over there? Could you get her attention?” I promise you that there is not a Spanish waitress around for miles and miles. It is just that in our effort not to notice, we just get all tied up, and end up using the nearest ridiculous phrase available. In many cases, by avoiding the more accurate description, as in the Spanish waitress case above, we inadvertently turn the real term into a perceived derogatory one.

What phrase Beth introduced to me was “color-blessed.” Ahah! I loved it! What a relief! A phrase to fit reality. A God-honoring phrase. A people-honoring phrase. When we are color-blessed, we can live into the reality that we are all made a little different and hallelujah, how beautiful it is!

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as we enter into the whole new world of adoption. I get excited thinking about our family being color-blessed, should God choose to bless us that way. It makes me remember another phrase from MLK’s speech:

“…one day … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Amen.

 

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Values Clarification

There is something about explaining things to children that makes them clearer. If you ever find yourself fuzzy over an issue or you think you may be taking a position on the wrong side, float it over your children, or, if the subject is too heavy, at least imagine discussing it with children.

This works especially well with controversial issues. Try it with euthanasia, for example. When Terri Shiavo’s photograph appeared every time I got online, my kids began asking questions.

“Who’s that, Mommy?” “A lady.” “Why is she like that?” “She’s sick.” “Why do they keep showing her picture?”

The conversation had begun. Children are not jaded, and they have such a fresh and uncomplicated view on things. Imagine how horrified they were to find out that people could just starve and dehydrate a sick woman to death, just because she was sick. I explained all of the ‘whys’, none of which I agreed with, and it is amazing how much clearer the issue becomes as the words form in your mouth. “Uh, her husband was tired of caring for her (I left out the part about his girlfriend).” “It is expensive to care for sick people.” “Some people think she will be better off dead.” Imagine the blank stares with that one. We ended up having a great conversation on the sanctity of life.

A friend of mine noticed this phenomenon regarding birth control and sterilization. She confided that she could not bring herself to tell her children that she had purposely sterilizied herself. As she imagined the words forming on her tongue, the truth seemed grotesque; “I surgically mutilated my perfectly healthy reproductive organs.” How could children begin to understand that? In other words, “I went to great and scary lengths to avoid more of you!” Not something children want to hear from their mom.

The same thing is happening now with adoption. Many well-meaning people have been giving us all kinds of reasons why we should not adopt, from “You already have too many” (which one should we put back??), “Your family is so nice as it is, why add problems?,”and “It is too expensive.” I don’t even have to bring these reasons up to my children, I can already imagine their responses. They simply know that they are worth it all, so why wouldn’t another child be worth it too?

I can imagine some people saying that there are good reasons why we don’t discuss complicated issues such as these with children. While I agree that some subjects may be too much for some children, I still think that people are afraid to hear what the children will say. Or perhaps their view arose from experience, when their very words stopped in their mouths as they looked into the clear and open eyes of a child. Nothing clarifies your values like a child.

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Transformations

I love meeting new people. I love how a stranger can walk through your door and you suddenly find a connection and a conversation begins. An editor of the home and garden section of a large city newspaper, Tracy, traveled to my home to interview me about my kitchen makeover. Somehow during the first few moments of introductions, my oldest daughter informed her that we were adopting.

“Oh, I have two adopted children. My youngest son is 4 months old.”

Wow. Tracy talked about her two boys, the domestic adoption process, and how quickly time passes with each new child. What a delight. She came here to talk about the kitchen but, as she put it while talking, you never realize how adoption touches so many lives until you are involved in the process yourself.

But, alas, we were there to talk about my kitchen. Being a doula and childbirth educator, I have been accused of seeing the birth analogy in every area of life. I am finding it is the same thing with adoption, only more paper driven. As I talked about the kitchen transformation, I was beginning to see connections.

I am in the planning stages of our adoption, much like I was back in January and February with my kitchen. I am currently awash in the ‘I can’t-believe-this-is-happening’ feeling. I am a little fearful of the unknowns and questions: will we have enough money? what if it all goes wrong? what if I don’t like the outcome? I am fascinated with families who have adopted, reading every article and blog I run across. This past year, I probably bought every Kitchen and Bath magazine to hit the newsstands. I wonder how many books and articles I will amass this coming year on adoption.

I also find there is much creativity and flexibility involved in both processes. How will I fit five children in two bedrooms (don’t worry, they’re huge bedrooms)? How will I help the siblings to adjust to each other? Will we have to move? Should I start color-coding the children’s belongings? How long am I willing to wait for a referral? What will we do if a match dissolves? The questions and possible outcomes seem endless…

I did find some things out about myself and my family during the past year. I found out that I am more creative than I gave myself credit for. I found out that in areas that I am not so good in, a little self-education at the library helps tremendously. I found out that, after years of neglecting my checkbook, I can keep a ledger of expenses successfully. I found out that my family of 6 could exist with one bathroom in the house (did I mention that we renovated the children’s bathroom at the same time?) I found out that no one went crazy while having a temporary “kitchen, ” complete with refrigerator and table, set up in our bedroom for 5 months. I found out that our family works really well together as a team.

I like to think that all of our experiences in life will, if we let them, help us grow and become better. I know that winning the makeover was the most unexpected thing to ever happen to me. It certainly was such a visible blessing, though it came not without hardships. I am confident that when we meet the newest little person of our family by adoption, that little stranger will suddenly be family. This kind of makeover will hold far greater blessings, the kind that will last much longer than a kitchen.

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“Are you done yet?”

UPDATE: I won the coveted GOLDEN KEYBOARD award! Thanks, Owlhaven!
This answer is in response to Owlhaven’s Opinion Saturday regarding family size and how do you know when “you’re done.” Of course, that phrase always makes me think of being a turkey, but, anyway,…here goes:

I wonder how many times I have heard the question, “Are you done?” in regards to my family size. This question and other comments like that began immediately after my second child was born. The nurses crooned, “Ooh, look now, you can stop. You have a girl and a boy.” Most people assume you have children to check the “girl and boy” box on your life checklist. It is still acceptable to have three children, but only if the first two are of the same sex. If you would want to have more than that, well, you are downright crazy.

Let me back up and say that in my childhood I always pictured having four children. Soon after my husband and I got married, we lost two children through miscarriage and had a shaky start with our oldest girl. It was then that we realized that it was a little presumptive of us to plan the fruits of our womb so carefully in advance. God’s timetable certainly differed from ours, so we figured His plan for our family might be a little different too. Later, this same train of thought led me to just shrug my shoulders to the “Are you done yet?” question. I wanted to be open to what God had planned for us.

This is not to say that from time to time I have not thought differently. I have been overwhelmed by nausea and vomiting with all of my pregnancies. Each time after heaving up my guts, I have held up a number with my weak hand to my husband, signifying that I am stopping with this one. He learned to ignore my hand signs after our second child. I also can hardly think about another child after just giving birth. I always tell friends to never make up their minds about family size the first year after birth. That year is so intense, but so quickly forgotten as your family and the blessings that come with it grow too.

I also hear that “I could never handle that many children…I am swamped with only two.” I, too, felt that way. But the beauty about life is that you keep on growing and changing and (usually) babies never come in groups larger than two at a time. I am a much different parent now than I was when we first began. My first children are also older now, and that has made a world of difference. I fully believe that family life was harder when I had one or two than it is now. Many factors contribute to this: experience, age, playmates, and most importantly, my surrender.

Do I think everyone needs or can have a larger family? No, I do believe not everyone can or is able, but our society has definitely been blinded to the blessings of children. We somehow think that material comfort and luxuries will bless our families more than children. We also forget that God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. He has told us that children are a blessing…the question is do we believe Him. I have never known anyone to turn down more money, but we go to great lengths to avoid more children.

God is urging us in new direction now…adding to our family by adoption. I am so thankful that he allowed us to participate in the creation of our biological children. We are now looking forward to participating in the adoption of our “gospel” children. Of course, we worry about finances, laundry, and all of the other things inherent in raising children, but we know that God will provide for our deepest needs. He has been with us every step of the way thus far. I know He will continue.

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The Orphan’s Voice

Wow, what a Saturday. We arrived a few minutes late into Dennis Rainey’s talk Saturday morning after rushing into town, dropping the children off at my parents, and stunning them (my parents) in the process as we yelled out the door that we were going to an adoption conference. I think we were as surprised as they were. My DH and I had not been talking about adoption much to each other, just separately and privately to God. John heard about the conference on Friday and we made the decision to go at 8:30 p.m. that night. Just 12 hours later, we were finding a seat among the rapt audience. As Dennis Rainey talked, though, I realized that what had just been a dormant seed in my heart for years was being watered by the truth of Scripture.

God’s heart for the orphan is found all over the Bible. The very heart of the gospel is pictured in adoption. This became clear over and over throughout the day. As my husband put it, adoption as “pure and undefiled religion” is almost an understatement.

Before you stop reading and think, “Ah, how nice for them! I’m glad people are interested in adoption,” please consider the main question posed by the FamilyLife staff. Very simply put, “Are you available if God wants to use you?” God doesn’t call all Christians to adopt, but He does call all of us to care for the orphan. Furthermore, making yourself available doesn’t guarantee that he will ask you to adopt. We need the Body of Christ to pray for orphans, support foster care families, give financially to those seeking to adopt, and support birth mothers locally who have to make the decision between abortion and adoption.

Probably one of the greatest gems of the day was uncovering the great and beautiful truth behind the notoriously high “cost” of adoption. What it really is is a “ransom,” not a price.

Just like the Savior who paid a ransom for us.

This month Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, and Shoahannah’s Hope have joined forces to awaken the church’s need to address the 143 plus million orphans around the world. Check them out at www.voiceoftheorphan.org

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Saturday and Sunday

My DH just called me to ask me to pack up the family for an impromptu trip to a conference on adoption and we are leaving at dark thirty tomorrow morning! It is now 8:56 p.m. so as you might imagine, I have quite a bit to do! More on the adoption conference:

http://www.familylife.com/hopefororphans/adoption

Pray for us!

I’ll be posting again on Monday.

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