Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

147 Million

Do you know that there are 147 million orphans in the world? In James (1:27)*, God instructs us to care for these orphans. So what do you think their greatest need is? A meal, sponsorship, a short term missions group coming in and sharing the love of Christ? All very good. But what do you think the greatest earthly need an orphan has is? It has to be the love of a parent. I once asked a young woman who was adopted when she was 13 if she would consider adopting when she became an adult. She replied "Of course. How could I not? I know what it feels like to be in limbo. To wonder if anyone will love you, and wonder if you'll ever have anyone to call Mom and Dad." I feel sick to my stomach to consider that feeling. To not not have the security and guidance of loving parents. My heart goes out to all the orphans in the world. What does an orphan look like? An orphan may be a child in a third world country, whose parents have died, and they have little to eat each day. An orphan may be a child right here in the US, for whom it has been determined, that their parents cannot care for them. An orphan may be 1 day old, or 18 years old. They may be white, brown, American, foreign, disabled, healthy--an orphan can look like any child in the world. What does an adoptive family look like? They might be in their 20’s 40’s or even 60’s. They may have no biological children, or a quiver full of bio kids. They might be poor or wealthy. They look exactly like you and me. The one thing I know about them, is that they are is past excuses. Many Christians tell me they would love to adopt, but….then come the excuses. One of the biggest I hear is that of finances. Yep, it’s overwhelming when you look at the cost. That’s when it time to step out in faith, confident that your heavenly father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Many adoptive parents refer to the cost as “ransom”. They are not “paying” for a child, they are ransoming their child. This is where the church needs to step up and help with the ransom for these beloved children. Orphans should be one of the missions of each and every church. They should also be a big priority for each and every Christian. Why? God told us so. What can you do? You could bring this need before your church. Personally, you could look for little ways to sacrifice (like going on a fast food fast) and consider giving to a family who is scrambling to get together the ransom bring home a fatherless child to shower in love as beloved sons and daughters. Don’t know any families? Check this wonderful family out: http://amomentcherished.blogspot.com/p/our-journey-to-ethiopia.html Finally, you could consider bringing an orphan into your home as a part of your family. Sounds big, doesn’t it? That’s exactly what our heavenly father did for each of us. Even if you only read the first 2 sentences of my blog post, you are without excuse. I told you the problem (147 million orphans) and God’s solution (we are to care for them). So what are you going to do about it? "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” Matthew 25:34-40 *James 1:27 is personally very important to me, but God's command to care for the orphans and His love for them is evident througout scripture...don't believe me? Check out: Exodus 22:22, Deuteronomy 10:18, Deuteronomy 14:29, Deuteronomy 16:11, Deuteronomy 24:17, Deuteronomy 26:12, Deuteronomy 26:13, Deuteronomy 26:19, Job 29:12, Psalm 10:14, Psalm 10:18, Psalm 68:5, Psalm 82:3, Psalm 146:9, Proverbs 23:10, Isaiah 1:17, Jeremiah 7:6, Jeremiah 22:3, Jeremiah 49:11, Zechariah 7:10, Malachi 3:5, Hosea 14:3--this is by no means an exhaustive list, it's just the passages I've run into in the past few months during my daily bible reading.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Father's Day

You might think this post is tad late. Father’s Day has passed for the rest of the world, but not for our family. My husband doesn’t return home until July, and we’re saving Father’s Day until then. So Father’s Day has been on my mind a lot lately. Particularly since I’ve been reading through the bible this year. This is the first time in my life that I’ve made a commitment to read the whole bible through in a year. One of the interesting things about reading the bible this way, is that you notice themes running throughout scripture. One of the themes that has really popped out to me is God’s care for the fatherless. I honestly had no idea before I started reading the bible all the way through, but over and over throughout scripture, God reminds his people to care for the fatherless, and reminds the fatherless, that he will care for them. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s explicitly mentioned over and over: Exodus 22:22 Deuteronomy 10:18 Deuteronomy 14:29 Deuteronomy 16:11 Deuteronomy 24:17 Deuteronomy 26:12 Deuteronomy 26:13 Deuteronomy 26:19 Job 29:12 Psalm 10:14 Psalm 10:18 Psalm 68:5 Psalm 82:3 Psalm 146:9 Proverbs 23:10 Isaiah 1:17 Jeremiah 7:6 Jeremiah 22:3 Jeremiah 49:11 Zechariah 7:10 Malachi 3:5 Hosea 14:3 James 1:27 (btw, I’ve also noticed that when his people are being reprimanded by his prophets for heinous behaviour, not caring for the fatherless is mentioned over and over as one of their awful sins.) My husband has a zeal for following God. He truly loves God and desires to follow his commands. I know it’s largely because of this that he desires to care for the fatherless in the most amazing way possible: to be an earthly father to them and introduce them to their heavenly father. This is not a duty for him; it is his pleasure, his joy, and one of his very life’s missions. Recently my daughter said to me : “I didn’t know God before I came to you. I went to church, and I knew about him, but I didn’t know God until I came to you, and you read me the bible and prayed with me.” I cannot imagine anything more meaningful in this life than introducing “the least of these” to the king of the universe. I am so grateful to be married to a man who’s passion is Christ, and who truly lives it out by taking on the mission of caring for the fatherless.

Coming soon to a blog near you...

Due to illness for most of June, and chronic ocular migraines, my writing/computer time/internet/blogging has been pretty much non existent. I’m healthy right now though, and I’m trying to persist on the computer despite the ocular migraines. So keep an eye out, my brain’s been working, even if the rest of me hasn’t, so there should be some new blog posts coming soon! ;)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Box

Me: "You know what your problem is? You never think outside the box!" Hubby: "Well, you know what your problem is? You HATE the box! You're nowhere near the box! The box doesn't even EXIST as far as you're concerned! THAT'S what YOUR problem is!" It’s true, I’ve never been good with the box. I don’t think in it, and I don’t fit in it. Being unconventional is just who I am, so it doesn’t bother me much, but it can be heart breakingly lonely at times. Most of my life I’ve been blessed to have a few kindred spirits around to make life more full of joy, and far from lonely. Unfortunately, when I took a more unconventional path to motherhood, loneliness really struck. Most women have babies. Cute, adorable little bottle sucking babies. They meet other moms-to-be and new moms and join mommy groups, and end up with an amazing support systems. Being a new mommy to a 6 1/2-year-old is without such opportunities. You’re definitely far outside the new mommy box, and no one knows what to do with you. You’re tired, emotionally worn out, dealing with a host of issues as you bond as a family, and there is virtually no one to lean on. New Mommies are dealing with breastfeeding, colic, and diapers. They’re looking for other mothers dealing with the same issues. Mother’s of school age children are already tightly part of cliques formed when their wee ones were born. They don’t know what to do with a woman who is facing motherhood for the first time in her life--to a school aged child at that. Somehow I knew. Before I ever became a mother, I would see Mommy groups advertised in our church bulletin, see face book groups come together and find times to meet, watch groups of moms at the park, and I longed to be a part of them. But even then, even before children, a small voice reminded me that probably would never be me. I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life wishing I were more conventional. Wishing I could get in the box with everyone else (even though I’m a little claustrophobic at the very thought!) Sometimes you just want to belong. I guess the upside of this experience, is that I’ve learned to be more considerate of people who don’t belong. It’s made my heart ache for orphans who have no one permanent in their lives. It has filled me with admiration for single mothers. It has given me sympathy for single people in churches where the congregation is mostly neatly paired off into couples. The occasional experiences where I have been included where I don’t belong have meant so much to me. The people who have taken the time to ask me to dinner over the years when my husband has been deployed have a special place in my heart. Inviting half of a couple to a dinner party isn’t really the norm. You really have to think outside the box to reach out to someone dissimilar to you. We like to surround ourselves with the familiar. Couples without children hang out with other couples who don’t have children. Singles hang out with singles. Couples with young children spend times with couples with young children. Empty nesters tend to veer to other empty nesters. It’s comfortable and familiar. I imagine though, that our experiences would be so much richer if we branched out to include those who “don’t belong” in our circles. To enjoy conversation and spending time with people from all walks of life is an adventure, and broadens our perspectives and thoughts. So what holds us back? Comfort? I love mac and cheese (well, mac and vegan cheese substitute at any rate) it’s a great comfort, but I don’t eat it every night of the week. Variety is good …and healthy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are you ever going to have a BABY?

“Are you ever going to have a baby?” I get this question from a lot of people--including my own daughter. Some people have even asked me if I have something against babies! It probably won’t surprise you that I don’t mind that question a bit, because it opens the door for me to talk about something I’m very passionate about. Since why we chose to adopt an older child is a very common question for our family, I’m going to attempt to answer it here. When hubby and I actively began the adoption process, we truly felt comfortable opening our home and hearts to a child of any age. Through the church, we have ministered to children from the age of newborn through high school. We love kids. Each and every age is so amazing. At the same time, we also decided to leave the infants for infertile people, and decided that if we wanted a baby, we’d go the old fashioned route (though due to chronic physical issues, pregnancy is not a very appealing option for me) People who are seeking to adopt are usually in 1 of 2 categories: they are passionate about orphans, or it’s plan B (conception being plan A) I’m not knocking plan B-- I firmly believe our plan B is often God’s plan A J But I’m sure you can understand how a couple hoping to conceive would desire to adopt an infant, and more often than not, an infant who looks like them (not every family enjoys being a walking billboard for adoption) So we figured we’d leave the babies for those who need them. We’ve since changed our minds on that matter--as we’ve received several e-mails begging for adoptive parents for domestic minority infant adoption. Our hearts go towards the need, so now that we know the need is there too, it's possible we may end up with a baby in a couple years, should God lead us in that direction. But I digress. Adopting an older child certainly isn’t the easiest route, but it may well be the most rewarding and satisfying. Believe it or not, a lot of people haven’t been incredibly supportive of our decision, even pastors have questioned our choice, informing us (now mind you, not even ONE of the people warning us have ever been an adoptive parent) that “these kids have problems” and “how would you know how to parent an older child when you’ve never parented an infant?” My answer to the first is that we all have problems, and thank God he doesn’t avoid adopting us because we have “problems”! My answer to the second objection is this: by the grace of God. It saddens me that people don’t think that older children deserve the same loving home an infant does. That’s what it comes down to really. People say they want to see older children in loving homes… many just don’t want it to be their home or the home of someone they love. Some people even go so far as to blame the child (though no one has been brave enough to do this to my face) saying that obviously there’s something wrong with the kids whose parents aren’t willing to parent them. I assure you, it’s not the fault of the child if their parent makes the choice to love illegal drugs instead of their baby. It’s a not child’s fault if their parent chooses to beat them, or molest them. It’s not the child’s fault when a parent chooses not to feed them or supervise them, or provide them with clothing and shelter. Do some of these kids have “problems”? Well, of course! Are these “problems” insurmountable? Well, I don’t know. Is anything insurmountable with the power of God? God has blessed my family abundantly. He hasn’t given us a great deal of monetary wealth, but he has given us a wealth of love and compassion. That is the answer to why we have chosen to adopt older children. This is a family built on love, and we are so excited to share that love with the children God has appointed to our family!