Tag Archives: advocacy

5/5/5 for Families

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We have received our first grant!

5/5/5 for Families is a really cool program established by adoptive parents who understand how a small commitment goes a long way!

The premise is simple: On the 5th of each month, 5 new families are announced to be recipients of all giving for the rest of the month. At the end of the monthly period, the grant amount is divided equally among the five selected families. So, if many supporters commit to give $5.00 or more, many children help get home to their forever families!

We are blessed to be recipients this month, and we have a challenge for our friends, family members, and supporters:

Would at least 10 of you consider a one-time or recurring monthly donation of at least $5.00 to help children into their forever homes?

We would be honored to know that our story and our sweet Ladybug has raised awareness of the immense need that exists and has motivated our loved ones into action. It is said that our hearts follow our money and visa versa. Would you give a piece of your heart and your income in this way?

If you are willing to join in on this opportunity to help other adoptive families follow God’s call on their lives, would you please leave a comment on this blog post or contact us at forgoodblog @ hotmail.com?

Follow this link to donate or learn more!

We can’t wait to see what a good few can do!

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Girls’ Night Fun

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A while back, a friend at church approached me about a fun opportunity to fundraise for our adoption process costs, and I was excited to get involved! There was a girls’ night in the works, and various vendors could set up a table featuring their wares. I had never been involved in any kind of craft fair before, but I looked forward to give it a go!

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A sweet friend of mine helped me brainstorm everything from what I would sell to how to display the items. She also kept me company during the event (so did Bumblebee)!

I sold homemade fudge in three flavors: pumpkin, peanut butter, and, of course, chocolate! To go with the fudge, I also sold homemade hot cocoa mix. YUM! The girls’ night was also my first chance to show off our brand new adoption t-shirts!

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The final item we featured was so very exciting to me. The friend who was my saving grace for this event is also an excellent wood burner… and I think she’s won me over to the hobby! Oh so fun! Her stepfather generously donated some of their aspen wood trimmings to the cause, and my friend and I created one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments!

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It was a fun and special evening, and I’m so thankful for all of the support we received! I’m so grateful for our wonderful church community and the many ways in which they’ve blessed us in the short year we’ve been around!

(I had to include this photo of my little babushka… She was too sweet all wrapped up in this pretty little scarf and hat another woman was selling!)

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Cousins!

We are beyond blessed to have many of our family members nearby. On my dad’s side of the family alone, there are three kiddos on their way into the family in addition to Ladybug! Two will be sweet newborns born into the family, but I’d like to introduce the third now:

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My cousin and his wife are in the process of adopting a little sweetie from a different Eastern European country!

We are so excited to see God work His plan in both of our families as we diligently complete the process to bring them both home!

Adopted for Life Review (Part Six)

This is the latest in a (lengthy) series of posts reviewing Russell D. Moore’s book, Adopted for Life. You can start the series here.

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Chapter 7

Chapter Seven – “It Takes a Village to Adopt a Child: How Churches Can  Encourage Adoption”

Maybe the best way to introduce this chapter is with this quote:

…we must recognize that adoption isn’t an issue for individual Christian families. There’s no such thing as a “Christian family” abstracted from the church. It also is not simply as issue for an interest group within the church – the “adoption people” competing with the “homeschooling people” competing with the “Third World debt relief people” and so on.

Throughout this book, I felt that Moore provided compelling Scriptural evidence that the body of Christ should be about adoption, period. This chapter gives more ideas about how this could look for a congregation.

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First off, Moore says that the pulpit must lead the way for the church. And yet, the pastor shouldn’t preach on adoption simply to raise awareness but also to show how our own salvation is the result of our adoption. “Whenever earthly things mirror heavenly realities, a preacher is needed to point from the picture to the thing pictured, showing us why we should love both” (page 170).

Moore suggests one way to do this is to revolutionize marriage sermons. By focusing on the love between two people instead of the new covenant family being created, the prayers for children and faithful parenting abilities are left absent. “Once children are seen as a blessing, and once adoption doesn’t seem strange or exotic, an adoption culture tends to flourish in gospel-anchored churches” (page 172). This section holds even more ideas for how a pastor might encourage an adoption culture within the church – everything from special prayers, baby dedications, advocacy, and certain messages preached.

Additionally, a pastor should be able to guide the congregation in the economic stewardship of adoption. Maybe one church is called to donate sums to help complete adoptions. Maybe another church has several members who want to give, support, and be a part of adoption but lack the guidance to do so.

Moore also mentions how churches can and should preach and emphasize our spiritual adoptions and says that when churches present that picture clearly, an adoption culture can more easily flourish. “Once people learn to see their brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers in ways more significant that simply the flesh, adoption just doesn’t seem so strange anymore” (page 180).

A church with a culture of adoption might be called to assist their community with adoption awareness, hosting trainings or speakers, and more. It might find ways to celebrate adoptions as fulfilling the Great Commission. It also may be deeply involved in the missional care for orphans. There are dozens of ways to support adoption and speak out for life even if God has not called you to adopt.

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Chapter 8

Chapter Eight – “Adopted Is a Past-Tense Verb: How Parents, Children, and Friends Can Think about Growing up Adopted”

In a post-Fall world, being part of a family is tough, regardless of the circumstances. […] Adoption complicates that already complicated reality even further. […] Like the event of adoption itself, these struggles can, if we have ears to hear and eyes to see, point us to the gospel that saves us. (page 190)

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Belonging and Acceptance

Belonging and acceptance are issues we all deal with, having been adopted or not. Growing up offers big challenges, and discovering who God created me to be and what he wants to do with my life is a big deal! Moore claims that belonging and acceptance are also the first and biggest aspect of life after adoption. And that’s worth pointing out to – adoption is a one-time event. “His sons were adopted” not “His sons are adopted.”

He offers parents some pointers on encouraging a sense of belonging within the home:

  1. Don’t allow adoption to be the defining characteristic of your child (page 191). 
  2. Handle questions about the adoption carefully (page 193).
  3. Avoid “chosen child” language and assurances with your child (page 193).
  4. “Emphasize the good providence of God in putting your family together” (page 195).
  5. Acknowledge your child’s uniqueness without isolating him or her (page 196).
  6. Find and acknowledge the natural points of commonality among your family members (page 196).
  7. Demonstrate love and respect regarding the differences between you and your child, not matter the cause of these differences (page 197).
  8. Teach them about adoption in general (page 198).
  9. Highlight your gratitude to the Lord for his work in your lives through the adoption (page 198).
  10. Mimic the fatherhood of God (page 199).

Friends and family members can be of great help to a family growing post-adoption. “They shouldn’t ask questions, especially in front of the children, about the adoption, unless it’s readily apparent why” (page 199).

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Moore also provides some suggestions and insight to the individual who is growing up post-adoption, as opposed to their parents. He encourages that individual to see how his or her situation may not be all that different after all: “You may assumed that ‘regular people’ all feel perfect kinship with their families and sense a cozy feeling of belonging all the time. It’s not so” (page 200). He reminds that we all do struggle with belonging, our senses of identity, knowing where and how we fit in. And yet, Moore acknowledges that one who’s been adopted might have extra or special challenges with this aspect of life. For the next several paragraphs, he encourages that person:

If you’ve been adopted, there’s been no accident. You have the genes God wanted you to have. You have the parents God wanted you to have. You have the parents God wanted you to have. The interplay between the two makes you who you are. […] If you’re in Christ, God is preparing you to rule over the cosmos. He wants you to be who you are in Christ and to be ready for this reign. Receive God’s formation of who you are in this way with thanksgiving. (page 201).

Ultimately, Moore reminds us that ultimate acceptance and belonging cannot be found apart from God and being a member of his family.

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Behavior and Discipline

Discipline can be a challenging aspect in adoption: “When you adopt, you don’t usually have time to feel like a parent before you have to start acting like one, teaching and training children as to your expectations for their behavior” (page 202). Moore encourages parents to resist the urge to be lax in discipline due to guilt felt over their child’s previous situation, and he reminds us of what God says in Hebrews 12:8-10 that our legitimacy as children of God is reinforced because of the Father’s love in correcting us.

Moore also encourages that we recognize behavior as often the result of personality. While bonding and attachment are important issues, for example, if your child isn’t super cuddly, it may be due to his or her personality and not an attachment issue.

Similar to the urge to under-discipline, Moore shares that he himself fought the urge to over-discipline his boys and blames it on a lack of patience within him. He fought to handle their immaturity and his own expectation that children in general should be well-behaved and well-adjusted. “The root of impatience in discipline is really the same as that of overindulgence. In both instances, parents want to ‘make up for lost time,’ to speed up a process that takes time” (page 206).

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Dealing with the Past

Adoption is always tragic (page 208). Dealing with questions from a youngster curious about his or her past can be challenging, but Moore offers these suggestions:

  1. Be honest
  2. Be as positive as possible in answering questions and sharing details.
  3. Teach children according to their maturity levels.
  4. Mirror God’s fatherhood examples.
  5. Don’t refuse to answer any question.
  6. Don’t be afraid to answer with “I don’t know” when that’s the truth.
  7. Don’t minimize evil and suffering but always reinforce God’s supremacy over evil.
  8. Don’t “rescue” birth families or others who made the decisions affecting your child, but also do not pass judgment on them.
  9. Understand that fantasies about birth countries/parents are “common and natural.”
  10. Listen to your child and understand the real pain of abandonment.

Moore ends the chapter with this poignant paragraph:

The reality, though, is that in most ways parenting is parenting, and growing up is growing up. It’s always hard. Some unique challenges go along with adoption – challenges related to finding a sense of belonging, to discipline and discipleship, to answering questions about origins. Count these as all joy. They point all of us – not just kids who were adopted – to the gospel. The gospel welcomes us and receives us as loved children. The gospel disciplines us and prepares us for eternity as heirs. The gospel speaks truth to us and shows us our misery in Adam and our glory in Christ. The gospel shows us that we were born into death and then shows us, by free grace, that we’re adopted for life. (page 214).

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Chapter 9

Chapter Nine – “Concluding Thoughts”

For me, this was a perfect concluding chapter. In it, Moore shared that it was early morning on his son’s birthday and he was waiting in anticipation for the sound of his sons’ footsteps to trigger the day of celebration. He imagines how such a day would have felt should he not ever become a dad. He remembers the days of praying desperately for children, not knowing that his sons were already living on this earth!

As he concludes, he promises that he is praying for you, whoever you are and for whatever reason you read this book. He prays that you believe in God and allow your own spiritual adoption. He prays that you see your role in adoption.

Maybe there are abandoned children languishing right now in cribs somewhere who will be blowing out birthday candles with their new families this time next year because of your witness, your money, or your encouragement. Maybe they’ll be yours. I don’t know. Like I say, I don’t know you. But maybe you’re waiting for the sound of footsteps, too. (page 217).

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This concludes this series. Leave a comment on the blog with your thoughts!

Adopted for Life Review (Part Five)

Three more chapters and a conclusion left to review – wish me luck! To start at the beginning, read this post.

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Chapter 6

Chapter Six – “Jim Crow in the Church Nursery: How to Think about Racial Identity, Health Concerns, and Other Uncomfortable Adoption Questions”

This chapter packs a punch. It really is a doozy.

Moore begins by recalling some other adoptive parents he and his wife encountered while in Russia. He speaks candidly about his “disgust” for the way she was interacting with the children she was considering adopting – essentially, putting them through the ringer to ensure that she was getting a “good one.” “It seemed to me that she was sizing up these children as though she was sorting through a litter or puppies or browsing through a line of secondhand refrigerators” (page 147).

Yet, Moore carefully acknowledges that there are some questions that may push you to the limit in considering your personal answers, especially when considering children who may look different than you or have different physical, emotional, or mental capabilities.

Some of these decisions are also fraught with ethical complexities. Am I a horrible person if I adopt a child of another race? What will my extended family think if I spend all this money to adopt a special-needs baby who might now live to see next Christmas? Such things bring opportunities to see the glory of our Lord Jesus. (Page 148)

Moore continues by comparing opposites: boys or girls, infants or older children, one child or a sibling set, a child who looks like me or doesn’t, and a healthy child or one with special needs. I’ll touch on the parts that spoke loudest to me.

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Newborn or Older Child?

Some decisions in adoption are made simply by “divine providence.” For example, you may not need to specify gender because you’re adopting an infant domestically and the birthmother does not know the gender of the baby in her womb when you’re matched to her. Or, you fall in love with a sweet waiting child and accept him or her despite the special needs he or she may have (with or without anyone’s prior knowledge of those needs). Moore says that regardless of the way Christian adoptive parents decide on these issues, a Christian understanding and worldview will help to encourage you through this process. “… a Christian understanding of the world sees a child’s character not as genetically determined but as shaped to a significant degree by parental discipleship and discipline” (page 149).

Knowing that, a Christian family may prefer to adopt a younger child, thus providing more time to raise that child up in the Lord. Alternately, a Christian may feel called to adopt an older child, specifically because, by the world’s standards, that child is less wanted the older he or she is, often due to the trauma of years of neglect, abuse, or loneliness.

Such trauma is not easily undone, even by parental love. The gospel, though, is more powerful than childhood trauma. After all, we know, “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). We know that “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom. 5:10). (Page 150)

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Might God be calling you to adopt more than one child at a time? Moore says this decision is often determined by “mundane” factors such as space in your home for an additional bed, but he also relates the feeling of some adoptive parents who, intending to adopt more than one child eventually, see that adopting more than one child at a time is a way to be a good steward of the financial costs. Adoption is costly, and adopting more than one child does usually always raise that cost higher; but the additional expenses are rarely equal to the cost of two separate adoptions.

He allows that this very personal decision has a lot to do with parenting style, emotional and physical abilities, and, of course, God’s will. We should simply ask the Lord what he would have us do.

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Does race matter?

I will echo Moore’s thoughts as he begins this next section about race:

I can’t tell if you’re white, black, Latino, or whatever as you read this page. It doesn’t matter. Up to this point, the gospel is the gospel and adoption is adoption. But what if, as you proceed toward adoption, someone were to ask you your racial preference for your child? Should you have a preference? (Page 152).

Moore spends the next few pages discussing the thoughts surrounding transracial adoption. He discusses why this is a big issue for some in the adoption arena and even touches on America’s horrible past of segregation and discrimination. He admits though, too, that parents in the “majority” who adopt a child with a different racial heritage will likely never understand the challenges that child may face. He acknowledges that some adoptees themselves consider their transracial adoption an “abduction” that destroyed their racial heritage. It is certainly a hot-button issue.

But, like he does with essentially every other adoption issue, Moore presses through all of this to show how we can approach this issue from a Christian worldview:

Furthermore, for us, there’s the issue of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m not surprised to see secular social workers or sociologists suggesting that racial identity could be more important that familial love. As we’ve discussed earlier, in this fallen age it is “natural” to see things according to “the flesh” in that way. The gospel, though, drives us away from that kind of identity in the flesh and toward a new identity, a new family, defined by the Spirit. This new family solidarity is much less visible obvious. It doesn’t make as much sense to the natural man. It’s not based on marks in the flesh or melanin levels in the skin or carefully kept genealogies. It’s based instead on a Spirit who blows invisible where he wills, showing up in less visible characteristics such as peace, joy, love, righteousness, gentleness, kindness, self-control.

That’s why hesitancy about transracial adoption is so sad. It’s not just because some white kids could miss our on some godly black parents or vice versa. It’s because it’s one more reminder of how we are “conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2), with all its pitiful divisions. […]

If you’re being led toward adoption, it may be that God will send to you a child of a similar ethnicity or skin color. It may be, though, that he will providentially direct you toward a child who looks quite different from you. If you’re not sure you can love a child with a different skin color that yours, the first step for you has nothing to do with the adoption process. Repent, and open your heart to love. (pages 156-157)

I’ll let that speak for itself, but know that if this is something you are struggling with or are worried your friends or families may struggle with, Moore has much more to say on the topic. Check it out.

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Healthy or "Special Needs?"

Moore challenges Christians to “fill the gap.” He says the question of healthy vs. “special needs” is an important one for questions. To be like Jesus, we need to be his hands and feet – we need to follow where he went. If you doubt that Jesus cared for the world’s “least of these,” well, then you should probably re-read the gospels before caring much about a review like this.

It’s not wrong to want a healthy child. I’m sure no one, upon receiving a positive pregnancy test, prays that their child be unhealthy in any way. Yet, we should search our hearts and be willing to ask God where he would have us go, and then be absolutely willing to follow. Perhaps, he’ll place a specific need on your heart. I don’t know how many adoption stories I’ve read where a family’s biological child born with needs spurred their desire to adopt more children with that same need. In fact, that’s how Reece’s Rainbow was started.

It is not necessary that you sign up particularly for a special needs child if God is calling you to adopt. But if you are not prepared to love and care for a child who is wounded or disabled, should the Lord lead you to such a situation, do not seek marriage (if you’re not married yet) or parenthood. I know that statement sounds harsh and perhaps even unkind. But being a father or a mother means caring for a child, whatever his needs and burdens. Your perfectly healthy child could be diagnosed tomorrow with leukemia. Your bicycling little toddler could crumple beneath the weight of a drunk driver’s automobile next week. You might not see how you could cope with caring for a sick or wounded child right now, though you know the Lord gives strength when it is needed. If you are unwilling, though, to prepare for such an eventuality, if it comes, then you’re not yet prepared to parent, through adoption or the more typical means. (page 161)

Moore reminds us that we all bear the image of God. There is a risk in adoption, but that risk exists whether or not you adopt. He asks, “The question is, do you trust Jesus, with their stories and with yours?” (page 165).

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As always, I’d love for you to drop a line and let me know what you think!

Adopted for Life Review (Part Four)

Making my way (slowly!) through reviewing the book, Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore. Here are parts one, two, and three. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 5

Chapter Five – “Paperwork, Finances, and Other Threats to Personal Sanctification: How to Navigate the Practical Aspects of the Adoption Process”

Moore writes this chapter simply to provide suggestions about the logistics to Christian couples pursuing adoption. In some ways, this is a reflection on what he and his wife learned throughout their adoption process. He reminds readers that adoption is an intense spiritual battle but that the actual day-to-day process of it might be easier than you’d expect. He admits it can be quite long and tedious, but encourages readers in this area.

Basic Decisions

Domestic… Moore touches on a lot of the basics: foster care adoption, domestic infant adoption, relative adoption, adoption using an agency, adoption using a private adoption lawyer, and so on. Additionally, I was happy to see him refer to snowflake or embryo adoption. This is the adoption of tiny babies being “stored” frozen in their development, deemed “extras” at fertility clinics. Moore discusses his views that it is not unethical to adopt these tiny souls and says, “the adopting parents are no more endorsing the technologies involved than parents adopting from an unwed mother are endorsing fornication” (121).

or International… “International adoption […] has a distinctly Great Commission aspect to it. Many of the cultures from which Christian families may adopt have little or no culture of adoption. […] International adoption can be the means the Spirit uses to proclaim Christ among peoples where Christ is not yet named” (page 121). Moore sees many “pros” to international adoption but also acknowledges a few “cons:” the risk of shady operations by some agencies and in some countries; and the limited information you have about your child’s health, familial, and personal history. Additionally, he acknowledges the risk of a country closing to adoption.

Open or Closed Adoption… Moore shares his deeply felt emotions regarding seeing a photo of one of his son’s birth mother. Seeing her face brought forth many questions and emotions from within, and he recognized the importance of remembering her face for his son. “If I didn’t remember for him, she’d be lost to him” (page 125). And then,

I feel like I’m forgetting her, and I can’t do that. My memory is the only link my son has to his past. My son may never know anything more about his birth mother than what I can describe from that remembered photo, along with my gratitude to this mysterious woman for giving life to my sweet little man. That’s a weighty burden for me as a father, and it will be a unique burden for my son, perhaps, one day. (page 126)

He discusses that the decision is often already made (as was for he and his wife in adopting internationally, and is for most other internationally-formed families) and also that the terms “open” and “closed” often mean different things for different families. He discusses each decision and, as with all decisions in his book, does his best to demonstrate how one’s Christian faith might or could or maybe even should affect the decision.

Paperwork and Home Studies

“If the Lord is calling you to adopt, he’s calling you to sign your name… over and over and over again” (page 129).

Moore says that most adoptees will need an agency and discusses their role. He shares the importance of finding a good agency that you can trust, and he discusses whether or not he feels Christians should only use Christian agencies. He acknowledges that a Christian agency can be helpful – everything from being supportive of the ministry they may be providing to waiting children and birth families to having like-minded personnel to work through post-placement questions and decisions with. Even though a Christian agency might have added “benefits” for the Christian couple adopting, Moore admits that he and his wife did not use a Christian agency and that he doesn’t feel that the agency’s faith classification be the most important thing about them. He stresses that you need an agency that can get the job done – experienced and credible.

Regarding home studies, Moore discusses that adoptive parents must be honest and like-minded with their spouses. He shares a personal anecdote of his own experience and gives specific tips about how to answer a few specific questions.

Finances

Moore says (and I agree) that the issue of finances is often the biggest, first, or most overwhelming question of those interested in pursuing an adoption. He offers some perspective to adoptive parents and encourages us. “Child-rearing itself is expensive, but all kinds of people do it – because it’s a priority, and families adjust their internal economies to fit” (page 136). He discusses briefly that some couples have a conviction against any form of debt while others do not, and he addresses them separately. And he also encourages, “At a more fundamental level, it’s important to know that you don’t always have to know how God will equip you to adopt before you begin praying and planning toward adoption” (page 137).

Moore then shares another personal experience of an acquaintance who gifted Moore and his wife a large sum of money toward their adoption expenses. Moore attempted to reject the gift when his acquaintance shared a word from the Lord:

“Are you telling me you already have all the money on hand that you need for the adoption?” he asked. “It’s already paid for?” I said, “Well, no, but…” This young minister interrupted me. “Well, then, I’m sorry to be disrespectful, but this isn’t really about you,” he said. “I mean, we aren’t in a place where we can adopt right now, but we want to be a part of adoption. We think God is calling us to this. And it seems to me as though maybe you’re too, I don’t know, prideful or something to receive this.” I blinked. He looked me in the eye and said, “Maybe you just need to repent of your pride and self-confidence and just let somebody bless you” (page 139).

In a day and age and culture where we want to guard ourselves from accepting “hand-outs,” being sluggards and prone to sloth, I wanted to applaud Moore’s acquaintance here. I believe that Christ uses his body of believers to care and provide for one another and that we ought to be careful to “guard” ourselves straight out of God’s blessings or the fellowship and community we’re meant to have with our brothers and sisters.

If not everyone is called to adopt and yet all are called to be a part of adoption, then those who are adopting should be grateful for brothers and sisters who want to join in. Celebrate it! Don’t let pride hurt the body.

Waiting For The Call

Waiting is a big part of adoption. For sure, some adoptions are completed with barely any wait at all, but most are marked by seasons of waiting. Moore acknowledges the challenge of waiting, maybe even especially if you’ve arrived at the decision to adopt following a time of infertility or miscarriages. He doesn’t discount the trial that waiting can be.

Yet, he encourages that waiting is something that God asks of us in nearly any situation. “Even when God created humanity as the crown of his universe, he made Adam wait for his queen, creating anticipation for her by showing him in the world around him that ‘there was not found a helper fit for him’ (Gen. 2:20)” (pages 141-142).

There’s something about patience that God deems necessary for our life in the age to come. And so, whether through agriculture or discipleship or bodily development or eschatology or procreation, God makes us wait. And he makes us into the kind of people who can wait. We rejoice in such things, Paul tells us, because we know that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Rom. 5:3-4). (Page 142)

One more interesting thing Moore says in this chapter is another piece of advice that seems to fly in the face of current adoption thought – it is that regarding bonding time. Moore admits that most social workers encourage the new parents and child to stay a bit secluded from others for a period of weeks or months to help encourage healthy bonding. He allows that this might be necessary in the most dire of cases, but generally says that “such advice is misguided” (page 143).

We don’t bong in isolation from others; we bond together in community. You don’t want to overwhelm your child with new faces, but you want him or her to know that he or she is part of a larger family now of people who love him or her. You also don’t want to rob grandparents and aunts and uncles of the opportunity to be a part of your child’s life from the beginning. An arrival home from adoption is very much like a birth. There’s no shame to this. Don’t treat it clinically. Allow your loved ones to celebrate with you. (Page 143)

Conclusion

Conclusion

Moore shares this final bit of wisdom:

The most important thing for you to know about these decisions is that whatever you decide, you’re not going to wreck God’s plan for your life. Whatever your views about how God’s kingship fits with human freedom, you know as a Christian that God is at work in bringing about his good purposes for you. Your decisions fit, mysteriously, into that overall plan. Don’t worry. (page 144-145)

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Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Adopted for Life Review (Part Three)

Thanks for sticking with me as I continue to review this book. I hope someone out there in bloglandia is enjoying this. Drop me a comment to let me know!

Frankly, I’ve really enjoyed writing these posts. Information this good needs to be absorbed twice!

Part one. Part two.

Chapter4

Chapter Four – “Don’t You Want Your Own Kids? How to Know If You – or Someone You Love – Should Consider Adoption”

I read this chapter while riding home from the zoo one day shortly after Christmas. I’m grateful that it was dark outside by then because I do believe I sobbed through this entire chapter. It’s in this chapter that Moore gives the backstory to his and his wife’s journey to adoption. Their first pregnancy resulted in miscarriage: “Our baby was, in his icily clinical wording, a ‘blighted ovum” (page 86). Just like our Basil.

He recounts his emotional turmoil after this loss. They had purchased a cute little hat for baby, and he wanted to be rid of it – wanted to stuff their pain.

Time passed and, sadly, they lost two more babies to miscarriage. Just like us (no wonder I was sobbing, eh?). He shares a fear that I’m sure many couples experience when dealing with infertility or miscarriage:

I feared we were staring into an abyss of being an elderly couple all alone, like some of the people we’d known as children. Those older, childless couples didn’t really know how to speak to children, so they’d talk about the weather and how their tomato plants were doing; they started scrapbooks with pictures of their cats. I hated cats. But was that our future? (Page 86)

He recognizes that there are countless of us who are or have been or, God forbid, might one day be in his shoes. Maybe you’re hiding the fact (or not) that you really just don’t want to even have to think about adoption because you want to become a parent to a biological child.

On the other hand, maybe this isn’t you at all. Maybe you are blissfully unaware of this kind of pain because it’s not a part of your story. But you might know someone who relates to this and you wonder what to say to them. Or, finally, maybe you have dozens of biological children and still feel called to adopt.

Moore recognizes that by sharing his forthcoming opinions, he’s setting himself up to be disagreed with, and he’s okay with that. He’s simply sharing some words that he wishes someone had shared with him and his wife in their dark days of recurrent pregnancy loss.

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The first group of people he speaks to are those who are or might be infertile. He acknowledges that the grief you feel is normal and even holy. Children are a blessing, and “barrenness is part of the curse” (page 89).

I quite literally sobbed as I read his next reassurances, balm to my tender soul:

I can’t explain what the infertility means for you, but I can tell you that God is not punishing you. How do I know? If you are in Christ, your punishment was absorbed in the body of a crucified Jesus. There is no more condemnation for you (Rom. 8:1). God is discipling you, shaping you, and he often uses suffering to do so, but he isn’t punishing you. He views you within the body of his Christ, and he loves and delights in you. Whatever is happening in your life, nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ (Rom. 8:31-39). If neither death nore life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come can sever you from God’s love, can the rhythms and silences of your reproductive organs do so? (Pages 89-90)

He then reminds us of Hannah and how he delights in answering our prayers. No situation is as dire as we feel it to be in the deepest, darkest moments. Hannah was heard.

When it comes to pregnancy, it seems, even more obviously than in other situations, those who ask tend to (eventually) receive, and those who seek tend to find (although perhaps not in the way they first intended). Your prayers are not accidental, after all. If you are walking in step with the Spirit, he intercedes for you, to bring your prayers into conformity with God’s will for your Christ-conformity (Rom. 8:26). This doesn’t mean that your praying for children means you’ll be granted children, but it does mean that if you’re praying for God’s will to be done and you find yourself continually seeking to pray for children, perhaps God is readying you for children. (Page 92)

It was in this section, too, that I felt a warning and conviction. Moore reminds us that this struggle, as most, can tempt us into resigning to bitterness and emotional withdrawal.

If you find yourself mistrusting God’s goodness to you or caving introspectively in on yourself or unable to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, recognize what’s happening – and that it isn’t good. […] The most perilous aspect of this is the fact that very few of your friends will call you on it. (Page 93).

Moore also speaks about the struggles of discernment that a couple dealing with infertility may encounter in the quest for a baby. He touches on IVF and other reproductive technologies. He explores some of the worldviews behind IVF, genetic screening, surrogacy, and sperm donation.

Ultimately, he address the couple dealing with all of this who is reluctant to adopt and the couple where perhaps just one spouse is reluctant. He assures that this does not make you a bad person and says simply that if God is Lord of your heart to ask Him about it. He may send you full-steam ahead, but he may also reveal to you reasons that it may not be wise for you to proceed with an adoption. Cover this issue, like all issues in your life, in prayer. God will guide you.

Another special (to me) section revolved around Moore’s discussion of this blog’s verse: Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” He talks about how some shy away from speaking this Truth in to the life of a suffering believer for fear of minimizing their grief. He reminds us then that there is a poor way of reciting this verse (“Get over it”) and there is a way to speak this as a promise.

He tells of a night that some beloved mentors visited him and his wife. This man who Moore so deeply respected said, “Russell, this thing is terrible. And I don’t know why it’s happening to y’all. But I know God is good. And I know that God will do whatever it takes to conform you into the image of Christ” (page 104). Moore was so deeply impacted by the words of his mentor and friend. And frankly, I am, too.

I could seriously quote this entire section – it was so valuable to me to read, just a few weeks after our third consecutive miscarriage. I know that whatever I write to finish out this section will not do Moore’s words justice. Please, I implore you: if God is using this to speak to you, to comfort you or reassure you, grab a copy of the book and soak it in.

*****

The next group of individuals that Moore addresses regarding the “Should you adopt?” question are those with existing families. Eventually, Moore and his wife did conceive two more sons biologically. With those added blessings, they encountered more negative adoption language. The “Are they brothers?” question returned, as did a host of other questions and comments that essentially divided their boys into two groups and often elevated one “group” above the other.

He recognizes that if this is your situation – desiring to add children to your family through the blessing of adoption – that it might be an easier and yet more complex decision all at the same time.

Complexity may look like a struggle to understand if and how love may be different among your children. One woman described the struggle she had to love her step-children the way she loves her biological children and yet summed it up with this: “It’s not a weak wall […] It’s just that he’s an immensely powerful God” (page 106).

Another reason this decision is complex is that an adoption would not simply affect you and your spouse but also the children that God has already entrusted into your care. He reminds that any significant change impacts a family and encourages you that taking your family through an adoption process gives you wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with each member in your family.

Moore continues on with reassurances and cautions for the family in this situation. Again, he implores that we seek counsel and cover our situations in prayer.

*****

Stay tuned for part four of this review…