Thursday, February 7, 2013

I like Adoption

You may need a Tissue (or a box of tissues)!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Adoption "Why I Give ... "

Thank you Tracie Loux!  for being faithful and posting this, and so that we can link you from ours!  

Why I Give a Boatload of Money to Adoption – Guest Post (part 4)

I’m happy to add another post to this series, written by my dear friend Dorean (wife of Brian from Guest Post part 2). 
Why do I give (financially and otherwise) to help other people adopt?
There are many reasons I could give, but at the root of them all is just one thing.
I do it for the children.
I do it for the little girl whose birth mother made the painful last minute decision to place the baby for adoption. Imagine being this little girl’s parents getting a call saying, “We have a mother in labor right now. If no one comes to adopt her before the mother is discharged after giving birth, she will be placed into foster care.” To fully understand this you need to know that because of her race, and the policies of the state where she was born, she stood a strong chance of spending at least the first couple years of her life in foster care.
I do it for the young boy in a crippled body who spent the first 10-11 years of his life in an orphanage. He’s been home about two years, I believe. He is just now is beginning to talk about what his life was like in his country of birth. He recently shared of the horrors of hearing the door lock behind him after being placed in a room with other boys, with no toys, books, etc. He spoke of hearing the door unlock, opening slightly, bread being thrown into the room, and hearing the dreaded sound of the lock again. In his words, “The bread was old and didn’t taste very good, but it was something to do.” With no one to love him and get him medical treatment and physical therapy, he was unable to walk. Today he has parents, siblings, an education, and is walking and running with the best of them.
I do it for the little girl who started her life in an orphanage because her birth mother drank alcohol while pregnant, causing this little one to be born with developmental difficulties. Had she not been adopted by age 4 she would have been transferred to a mental institution where she would have spent the rest of her life without love and without hope. Instead she is in a family, surrounded by love, learning to love and to trust.
I do it for the little boy who, at the age of five, was developmentally and growth-wise identical to a newborn baby. Within months of being adopted out of the orphanage he was growing at a remarkable rate and had begun to be mobile. He is now is a rambunctious little guy you have to work hard to keep up with.
I do it for the children in foster care, with no permanent home or family. Many counties in the US have rules moving children to a new foster home every 18-24 months to make sure they don’t get too bonded with their foster families, with the idea that it would be traumatic for them if they got adopted and lost the only family they ever knew. Stop and think about that: the goal is to keep them moving enough they don’t get too attached. Is that what any parent would choose for their child?
I do it for the children in Haiti, living in orphanages, tent cities, or on the streets, with no hope for a better life. I do it for the little girls in China, cast aside because girls are not desirable due to political issues in that country. I do it for the girls in Southeast Asia whose destinies are to become victims of human trafficking before they even reach puberty.
Why do I give to help other families adopt? I do it for the children.
-Dorean Beattie

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adoption ... "Why I Give ..."

“Why I Give a Boatload of Money to Adoption” Guest Post (part 3)

Our friend is one of the most radical individuals I know. With his fiery red hair and his larger than life personality, everything he does is BIG! The thing I love the most about he and his wife is that they LOVE BIG! One of the many ways that they have LOVED is through giving. 
First thing, I’m not authority on this subject. Many, many of my friends do a lot more than I have ever been able to do. But I can share WHY we try.
There are essentially a few issues and motivations that combine to bring this issue to the forefront: Personal, Practical, and Theological. In reality, most of these are rooted in a Divine paradigm coming up and out through many outlets, however I have met many people who do not have a profession of classic Christian faith and are very connected to this cause. Clearly the classic expression of the church doesn’t have a corner on this. If they did, there wouldn’t be any orphans left.
Theologically, there are so many direct connections to adoption, it is undeniable. Mainly, the only reason I see that followers of Christ don’t participate in adoption it is through ignoring the issue, or focusing on something else. You simply can’t look far in Scripture and not come across something that represents adoption, either directly, or inferred. You have to overlook it or look somewhere else to get away from it.
The classic verse is in James “Pure Religion is caring for widows and orphans in their distress” (we tend to ignore the rest of the verse). While this sounds good, and I do agree, it is important to understand that this is the same guy who wrote:
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
And it is important to note that while we quote this “as scripture,” he wasn’t doing anything more than summarizing the Torah. The Scriptures in James time, wasn’t “New Testament”. Caring for Orphans (and Widows AND Aliens escaping War) was such a significant part of their Torah, it was basically inherent.
Paul says, after meeting with the elders in Jerusalem that they agreed on several points, especially “caring for the poor which I was already eager to do”. The commandments were clear. The Poor were to be cared for. It was required, especially if you owned a field and grew crops.
Gleaning is COMMANDED. It isn’t suggested, it isn’t a good business idea. Making provision for the poor, including doing it while protecting the dignity and the safety of the poor was of parmount importance. Many people laud Boaz as an amazing example and tell the story of Ruth over and over again. I agree. However Boaz was Obedient, and not necessarily extravagantly so.
God cares for the poor, the orphan, the disenfranchised. The most classic expression of that was the widow and the orphan. It is clear in scripture of the Jews of the time of Christ, and wasn’t some new command. There are many more references, but Leviticus 25, along with some passages in Exodus, communicate this one simple idea that as someone “in the marketplace” is required to make provision for the poor. And the clearest expression of the poor is an orphan.
God sets the lonely in families. Period. God works through His Body, and therefore we are to do this. This is simple. Not everyone is called to bring an orphan directly into their family, however ALL believers (if they are interested in a “Pure Religion” MUST be involved at some level with this work- praying, contributing, and supporting.) In the “New Testament,” caring for the poor was so common that there were arguments about how and who. There are even instructions from Paul about how to ensure it was done correctly.  If you claim to have faith, but have no works, your claim is in question. One of the most clear commands of God, after personal responsibility and worship, is to care for the poor and the lonely.
The Gospel itself, is the message of adoption. We literally go from being outside the House of God, to not just receiving a Father, but taking a place alongside Christ with the SAME INHERITANCE. We don’t just “get a family”, we become of the same status as if it was never different.
Many people are fine with giving financially to someone who is “in the ministry,” yet will balk at contributing some someone adopting an orphan. Yet there is clear direction to care for widows and orphans and giving to the poor, and no significant direction to give money to someone who doesn’t want to “work.”  Paul clearly said, “Those who don’t work don’t eat”, and he himself “worked” while “doing ministry”. Work here isn’t preaching, teaching, singing, or praying. He’s talking about literal work. Yet people will restrain their giving because they think, “Why should I help you get a kid. If you want one, do it yourself.”. My attitude is almost exactly the opposite. I see far less provision for “vocational ministry,” yet clear direction to “give to the poor” in Scripture.
I love to see Miracles. I love talking about my friends who would be dead at age 10, but instead are alive. I love seeing whole communities of families give thousands of dollars they can’t really afford, and then do it again. And Again. And yet they thrive. I love seeing children sit up in bed that would have left in a corner until they were overcome by the spirit of death. I love hearing celebration over the small things. It reminds me of how much God loves me.
I like sowing into my own future adoptions. I want to adopt. I look for ways I can. But not being able to now, I trust that as I sow, I will reap to a whilrwind. When I need the resources in the future, I can be assured they will be there because I have sown good seed into the soil of good people doing the good thing directed by Scripture. It might be selfish, but I intend to go directly to God and ask for the harvest I need when it is my turn to rescue someone.
I want to be a good steward. It isn’t my money, or my resources. At the end of my life, I want Yahweh to be happy with how I discharged it. He loves the poor, and came and rescued everyone. This is the most practical way I can give and know I’m consistent with His heart.  I want a good reward in the age to come. I’m selfish that way.
- anonymous

Again, Tracie Loux ... you are Fabulous!

Adoption ... "Why I give ... to Adoption"

“Why I Give a Boatload of Money to Adoption” Guest Post (part 2)

I’m grateful to share another guest post this morning from one of our adoption supporters. I should point out that I’m the one that assigned this task and gave the title to this series. I can assure you none of these amazing individuals are sitting there thinking, “I gave a boatload of money to adoption. Look at me.”
This particular couple, Brian and Dorean have given extravagantly to our family. They would be mortified if I shared details, but I will tell you that one of our children would not be in our home were it not for their obedience in giving an enormous gift in the 11th hour. A 6:30AM email in January of 2009 stating, “The check is in the mail,” allowed for our daughter to be plucked out of place of bondage and hopelessness and brought into a place of hope and healing. And they continue to pour in to our lives, with their love, prayer and with finances. A couple we didn’t even know at the time that their first adoption gift arrived at our doorstep, have now become family.
Why do I financially support families who adopt?
I have been told that I have given a lot to support some couples who have devoted themselves to the rescue of orphans; to families becoming the redemptive hands of God in the lives of the most defenseless of children. At the end of each fiscal year, I have a number showing the amount I have given in support of those who are, in turn, giving the priceless gift of themselves. When I look at what I can give, and compare it to what I see being given, mere money in any amount doesn’t seem to be so much.
I give what I have because I Love.
I love God and I believe the Bible tells us a lot about what God is like. Love is the character and nature of the God of the Bible; persistent, undeniable, inexhaustible Love. It is in Love that God knows us and permits us to know Him. It is His love for His creation that drives Him to intervene in supernatural and miraculous ways. To experience the presence and miraculous intervention of God in His creation, seek Him where His Love is being poured out in abundance.
The Love of God makes us all simultaneously wretched by comparison and yet infinitely precious. There is no more vivid demonstration of the kind of Love God shows us, than for a child in hopeless circumstances to be plucked from incomprehensible despair by a mom and a dad who say, “I choose you, and I’ll give you life in my family.” In that moment, it is God’s Love that is flowing, and miracles abound. Children get well. They thrive. They learn. Their wounds heal. They overcome the insurmountable. They connect. They are transformed in one act of selfless Love from wretched to precious. To witness this is to see God’s Love in action. To facilitate it by paying a few adoption expenses or offering some ongoing financial support is to participate in the miraculous.
It’s not religious fanaticism or hyperbole, it’s real. God’s Love moves in creation, and I get the chance to not just witness it, but to be in it. I love. Of course I give as much as I can, as often as I can, to as many as I can.
I give because the need is urgent.
I am a dad, and my kids have grown. Looking back, the time to raise them was so short. There was only one day for the first steps, the first communion, recitals, driving, college, and no waiting around for dad to get ready for the next need or crisis. Children are on the clock and the calendar without let up.
Orphans have a special kind of urgency; their childhood is at risk until they have a secure, nurturing environment to live in. They cannot just wait around until a willing family with sufficient resources can take them in, especially when the needs include medical treatment or accommodation for chronic disability. A candidate adoptive family could say, “We don’t have a comfortable surplus of resources right now, so it’s wiser for us to wait and save”, but each day of delay is a day lost for an orphan that will never come back.
I believe God provides for my needs, and when I have an unexpected surplus, I ask God what it’s for. I have never heard God say, “It’s time for more personal security by paying ahead on your utility bill” or “A big-screen TV would sure be sweet on the family room wall”, but I have felt Him move my heart for the urgent plight of orphan children. When I can give right now to help willing adopters care for even one more child than they have the means for, I can feel the pleasure of God and the nearness of His Love being freshly poured out.
I give because the ministry is so real.
I love and respect the institutional church, but I wonder at church priorities sometimes. Of course it’s important to have a big enough building, and I accept the necessity of staff salaries. Sometimes it feels a little disconnected when 90% for church revenue is building, grounds, staff, and bureaucracy, while 10% is foreign mission organizations and charities with their own buildings, staff, and bureaucratic needs. At what point does the church stop making excuses about care for the widows and orphans?
On the other hand, a dollar given to a family that is caring for redeemed orphans goes right to work in Kingdom purposes. It is a cup of cool water offered in kindness to allay thirst. It is clothes for the naked. It is a visit of comfort in a prison of unmet need. It is so real. It’s so now. It is 24×7 365.
Why would God want to involve me in providing for the care of orphans in someone else’s family? I firmly believe it is because God loves me, and desires for me to share His heart. When He appoints abundant resources to my stewardship, and invites me to be involved in His provision for these families, it is so much about His heart, and my heart. It is our original purpose. It is God training me for dominion of creation in His image. It is about tending the garden.
I don’t believe in an eventual day when I face God in judgment, and must answer for how generous I was with the church building campaign to build a gymnasium addition that will also have six new Sunday school rooms and a commercial kitchen for catering weddings. I do believe on that day I will be asked about the ten talents, and what I have to show for it. “I helped some families care for orphans they adopted, and I loved to see how you provided for them,” I’ll say. The kids with Down syndrome that otherwise would have been aborted or left to premature death unloved. The ones injured before birth with drugs or alcohol. The ones born in illegitimacy or crime. The ones who couldn’t wait for a family that had saved up enough money to care for them in their own abundance. That’s what I’ve got. I can already hear God saying “Yes, I already knew about that.”
I give for the reward
I believe that God exists, and I believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. One who is earnestly seeking God must consider how to maximize the probability of finding Him by deliberately looking where He is likely to be found. Giving to support the redemption of orphans is practically cheating – like shooting fish in a barrel – because God is there in miracle-working power, in majesty, in grace, in Love.
I have written of myself, confident that some will identify with my experience, and many will not for lots of reasons that are valid and legitimate; I acknowledge you and bless you.
Jesus, teaching his disciples said, “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10 NKJV)
-Brian Beattie
 Thank you Tracie!

Adoption ... "Why I gave a Boatload..."

“Why I Gave a Boatload of Money to Adoption”- guest post (part 1)

Yesterday I saw an adoptive-mom friend quoted a gazillion times on Facebook. This is what she said:
“When a family seeks help in raising funds for an adoption, it’s not like asking people to pitch in toward a new boat, or help pay for a vacation. What they are doing is committing to heal, with God’s help, a child who has suffered the profound damage of being unwanted and unloved. They are obediently living out the command given in James 1:27 to care for the orphan, clothing the gospel of Christ’s redemption in flesh and blood and now. When they ask for the body of Christ to come alongside them financially and prayerfully, they are giving us the opportunity to be a part of the miracles God works through obedience.” -Ashley Paradis Moreno
This quote got a lot of attention. Too many of us who have begun fundraising for adoption and have heard things like, “If people can’t afford what it costs to adopt, they shouldn’t adopt,” or even worse…rather horribly said to a friend of mine, “How come when YOU hear from God, it costs ME money?” 
Enough of that rubbish! Ugh!
I’ve asked a few very dear people to share on the subject of giving to adoption. I’ve asked them to share because over the past several years, they have given extravagantly to our adoptions. I emailed each of them:
“I have a favor. It’s a writing assignment, should you choose to take on this task. Could you, would you PLEASE write a guest post for my blog. “Why I Gave a Boatload of Money to Adoption.” Share why you gave extravagantly and why you DON’T have the, “If you want to adopt those kids, why are you asking me for money, you should be able to afford it” mindset.”
This is part one of what I hope to be at least a three part series.

Why Do I Give A Boatload Of Money To Adoption?

 I’m a 54 year old male.
 My hair is grey.
 My hair used to be brown.
 I have a goatee.
 I don’t understand tightwads.
 I’m a salesman.
 I sell folding chairs.
 I have a wife and two grown daughters.
 I like to laugh.
 I have three wonderful grandchildren.
 I’ve made some money.
 I’ve lost some money.
 The odometer reads 200,000
 I believe in rescue.
 I have to believe in rescue.
 I never thought to ask the question why.
 I never thought to ask for a financial statement.
 I was being asked to help redeem a life.
 I love freeing a heart.
 I believe adoptive parents are the heroes.
 I love extravagance.
 I have no regrets.
 I felt honored in the giving.
 Our giving travels outside of time and space.
 I know that extravagance has eternal value.
 I have joy in the giving.
 I see the faces of the redeemed.
 Burning delight.
 It’s a drink of beauty.
 It’s not about reason.
 It’s about joy.
 Blog Post borrowed from Tracie Loux.  A friend who helped to begin us on our own adoption journey, even when the Lord pulled our hearts from domestic (which she was helping us with as a consultant) to International School Aged children.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thank you for all the wonderful Christmas Gifts!!
 (In Lieu of paper cards, handwritten ... we opted for large scale cute!!)

and another gem from our quick trip during the holidays!