breathing life

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Right when I start to talk about the dry bones and God breathing life and the already and the not yet and how I’m hoping and expecting and longing for all of that to occur…

A phone conversation with my friend this morning turned my day upside down. We’ve been friends since the first grade. I’ve been praying for her dad to come to faith in Christ since I knew how to do so. Maybe not as diligently as I should have, but off and on for years and years and years and years. This morning, she shared with me that this is precisely what is happening in her dad’s life. Faith is growing. God’s breathing life into the dry bones of a full-grown man, a father, a grandfather. He is learning to follow Christ and recognizing God’s work in his life.

Yes and Amen. This is the season of hope, of longing, of expectation. This is the season where we pray for Jesus to come, but this is also the season where we see Him come right before our very eyes. Today, I’m reveling in this long-anticipated, yet still unexpected shower of grace.

Even in the valley of dry bones, God sends His Spirit and breathes life.
This is exactly what we’re waiting for. And sometimes, on a dreary gray, rainy day, in an ordinary phone call, we get a grace-filled moment; we get to see it happen.

Jesus has come. Already. Fulfilled.
Jesus is coming. Not yet. We’re waiting.

Today, it’s so very fresh in my heart: all is grace.

dry bones

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Advent season has always been happiness for me. Shiny, tinseled, bell-ringing joy. Full of color, full of life, full of fun. I used to long for the day that I could listen to Christmas music and put up all my decorations. Baking, game-playing, parties, carols, presents…I was always ready for the season. To be truthful, though, I was celebrating the dear-sweet-little-baby-Jesus-in-a-manger, Santa-on-the-rooftop cultural Advent. What most people commonly refer to as the Christmas season. (Or now that everything starts before Halloween – the ‘holiday’ season.)

Is that all Advent really is? The happy time that we use to shop for presents and bake cookies to eat with our families on Christmas? Is this why Jesus, the very Word of God, became flesh? Came to dwell among us? To just bring us happy times with our families, full of food and presents? I think we’ve trivialized this season for far too long.

Yesterday, we lit the first Advent candle. One lone flicker to remind us that Jesus is coming. Traditionally, it’s called the Prophet’s Candle or the Candle of Hope. When I think about the prophets in Scripture, I think about darkness. Sadness. Lament. Judgment. They aren’t tremendously fun books to read. The last words in the Old Testament are those of the prophets speaking of judgment. They were dark times. Times of rebellion, brokenness, exile, and suffering.

The words of the prophet Ezekiel that we read yesterday in our worship service:

The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out.

Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.” Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!

I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons.

Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”

So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the LORD.

I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the LORD has spoken!’” (Ezekiel 37)

Cheery, right? Bones. Exactly what you think about when you think about Wonderful Christmastime. So antithetical that our worship leader made an entirely different set list with different Scriptures. Arguing with God about whether it was right. (One thing to explain about our church is that we are a grass-roots community, so to speak. There isn’t one person in charge of the whole service. We sometimes give a general theme, but not always. So when the speaker got up to bring the message and his primary Scripture was this very passage, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s from God.)

It’s really kind of dark. Not your regular happy Christmas celebration. I love that our faith community is comfortable with this part of it. Lament doesn’t scare us. We don’t have to end everything with happiness every time. Sometimes it’s ok to know that some things don’t get better. In truth, as much I want it to be full of lights and sparkles, Advent is just a dark season. We’re longing for God. We’re reaching for hope. We’re waiting on the true Light.

The beauty of the continuing to observe Advent year after year is in the ‘already, but not yet’ part of God’s kingdom. Yes, the prophets spoke darkness, but they also spoke hope. So God’s people waited. The last words of the Old Testament were written, and then they waited. They waited for months, years, decades – they waited for four hundred years before any official recorded word from God. The beauty of that? The next time God spoke – He spoke in flesh. Jesus, the Word of God. That was the next thing God had to say to His people.

He said Jesus.

Jesus, the Light of the World, became flesh to dwell among us.
He came.

And yet…
we are still waiting on Him to come.
It’s already.
It’s not yet.
We’re waiting.

Last year, this time, our family was barely afloat. There was a lot of darkness in our house. I felt that the flickering light of that first lone Advent candle was all the light I could see. This year, I don’t feel immersed in the darkness as much, but I am much more comfortable with the barrenness of this season than I have been in the past. I’ve passed that desire to fill my home with the shiny, pretty things that I used to fill my season with. I’m comfortable with the dry bones. There’s brokenness. There’s suffering. I don’t need to cover it up with all the frosting of the season. This year, I’m ok with barrenness. I’m spending time with the dry bones in my life. I’m acutely aware of the broken pieces of my life, of my family, of our community, of the world. I’m hoping, longing for their redemption and restoration. I’m waiting on the Light.

There’s the beauty of the prophet Ezekiel’s message: our hope is in the Lord. The Lord has spoken. The Lord puts His spirit in us. The Lord breathes life. I don’t have to do it myself. My work is to hope; it’s God’s work to bring life.

In this commercialized holiday season, I don’t have to buy pretty.
In these oh-so-tempting-days of Pinterest, I don’t have to create beauty.
I don’t have to fill my house with shiny things.
I don’t have to manufacture happiness.
I don’t have to fix all that’s broken.

Jesus is coming.
He is Light.
He is beauty.
He is coming to redeem and restore.
He is coming to shower us with grace.
He is coming to be WITH us. Here.
In the valley of dry bones, he is coming to breathe life into us and into all those bones we’re surrounded by. That’s the hope we have during this desolate season of Advent.

Jesus is coming.
We’re waiting.


What are the dry bones you are waiting for the Spirit to breathe life into?
What are you waiting for?


Counting the gifts as I wait:

517. a second visit of much-needed assistance from my Aunt Marcia
518. shipping management so we can get our Christmas trees on time
519. a lot full of beautiful, fragrant Christmas trees
520. the sticky feel of sap on my fingers
521. cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movies
522. crispy sausage stuffing
523. ruby red cranberry relish
524. carrying on my Grandpa's legacy
525. that my dad always wears a bike helmet
526. crazy exhausted children
527. expectation and longing of Advent
528. new life for dry bones

with thanks to my boys

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I beg a self-indulgent moment today while I thank my boys:

He brings me water. Hot tea. Crackers and cheese in the dead middle of the night when the pain becomes excruciating, but I can’t take the medication without getting sick. He feeds the children, gets them dressed and to the bus, helps with homework. He rubs lotion on my legs, sleeps downstairs when I need the whole bed to get comfortable, hugs me when I cry with frustration and pain. He takes time off work to help me recover, to bring me lunch, to care for the children when I need to take my medication. (You know all those warnings about narcotics being addictive. Not an issue for me. Vicodin makes me so very sick. Woozy. I really can’t take it around people.)

I planned extra time to get ready for a very important day because I move so slowly. Still, I found myself panicking because I was running out of time. He helps me get dressed – held my shirts so I could get into them. Threaded my belt through the loops. Put the backs on my earrings.
He takes me to the doctor. Picks up my prescriptions. Helps me change my bandage.

My husband rocks.



He comes from school and gets the baby up from the crib when I can’t lift her. He unloads the dishwasher before he leaves for school in the morning and loads it again after dinner. He makes meals. He sweeps the floor, helps his sister with her homework, helps his little sister get dressed. He picks up, helps with laundry, gets the mail, and takes out the trash. He does more than is reasonable for any ten year old because it is what helps our family function with a little bit of normalcy. He does it without complaint.

He hugs me when I’m in pain. He tells me he wishes it was him who hurt instead of me. He rallies the other children to help more, to be quieter, to be better than they really need to be to make things easier.

My son rocks.



People live with far worse disabilities and far more pain than this complication from my wrist surgery; I’m not trying in the least bit to compare. However, this past week and a half has been one of the most unpleasant times for our family in a very long time. It seems to be getting better now, but it’s not done. Recovery will be much longer and more painful than anticipated. I couldn’t do it without my boys. They are amazing. Truly. I have never appreciated them more.

It’s good to be in a family.

halfway through the thousand gifts…the exhale

Monday, November 21, 2011

For me, some thoughts are the inhale. The sharp intake of breath. The ones you wrestle with, ponder deeply, struggle over. The ones that just don’t sit well immediately. You work to find the truth. You need to breathe them in. You’re gasping for air.

Then there are the thoughts that just plant in your soul. They settle in as though you had been believing them, thinking over them for years. Even if they aren’t your ‘original’ thoughts, they belong deep in your spirit. These thoughts, you know they’re true, they sit well, they bring peace – the exhale.

That’s what counting the gifts has been for me. The exhale. I realize that I spend a lot of time thinking about what God wants from me. The better question (loosely based on a sermon by Dan Cruver that I did not actually hear) that I should be pondering is the one concerning who God is.

Obviously, God is many things. I grew up in church; I could recite lists of God’s attributes, His names, His works, on and on. It’s always different when you learn it firsthand. The primary lesson I’ve learned of late: God is the Giver.


Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Psalm 36:5-10

Who is God? According to this Psalm, He is the fountain, the river, abundance, a refuge, full of righteousness and justice. He gives. He gives and gives, and then He gives more. I think this is the essence of the life change that I’ve experienced through counting the gifts. I honestly didn’t expect this discipline to impact my life so profoundly. When I see God as the Giver, then I can give in return. Out of the abundance he’s given me, I have so much more to pour out. So many times these past year, as I’ve been recording the gifts in my little Moleskine, when I lost my step and forgot my focus, God was there. Giving. Ever giving. An eternal fountain of life, filling me with light, spilling forth to others. I never ran dry, never came up completely short, because even on the worst day, when I had the least within me, when I got to the very end, God brought up the slack. Finished it out. I believe He gave me so much more than I could bear, so that when I hit the very limits of my being, He could be there to give me even more.

He’s the Giver.

Exhale.


Here’s where I make it halfway:
481. healthy, beating hearts
482. my sweet father-in-law
483. only minor damage
484. my husband's first 35 years
485. a sister willing to drive quite a ways just to help during my surgery
486. a little lidocaine pre-IV insertion - a small kindness that made a difference in my day
487. quick anesthesia recovery
488. supper from my mama
489. some relief from pain
490. clear breaths of air thanks to my inhaler
491. medical intervention
492. my beautiful and gracious Aunt Marcia
493. bent fingers
494. relief of pain
495. a committed and selfless husband
496. being carried to the table - weak and broken by the fall
497. the certainty that my pain and discomfort will end - a hope not everyone has
498. toddler cousin love
499. the most mature ten year old I know - a gift to our whole family
500. my Moleskine filled with page after page of gifts. A life-changing discipline I did not expect
501. a system-wide legacy
502. meeting my children's sister's mom for the first time
503. my four-year-old who, after a year and a half, finally believes that he's 'dorable
504. opened doors of opportunity
505. the hope of further influence
506. teamwork through disagreement
507. buttoning my own pants
508. a husband to help me dress for an important meeting when I can't manage it all myself
509. the start of my favorite season
510. the 'boys' - who'll stay late, work hard, mow lots to get our tasks done
511. princess hats during church
512. baby love during church
513. the sweet anticipation of my first meeting with my nephew
514. handmade owls and flower arrangements
515. a beautiful woodland baby shower
516. wishes for Truett

a sampling…

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Still recuperating from what should’ve been not that big of a deal. Thank you surgery-gone-wrong….
Since I’m all out of scheduled posts and I have no drafts even remotely close to being finished, here is a sampling from my RSS feed this week:

What I’m making as soon as my hand can remotely function:
Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake


The post that has maybe convicted more than any other this week (especially as we near the holidays):
When You'd Really Like To Wear Sheer Joy - Ann Voskamp
”What if we wanted to be beautiful more than we wanted to buy beautiful?”


The posts that moved me:
On Community, Suffering, and Hope - Amber Haines for (in)courage
”And as a woman working out my salvation as best I can, I’ve seen gorgeous God unfold in their healed faith, their honesty and humility – oh the beautiful church, there.”

ShePonders: Another Anointing - Kelley Johnson-Nikondeha for SheLovesMagazine
”This anointing pushes others toward their true call. We are invited to anoint each other toward the things that matter–for our sake, for their sake and for the sake of the world in need of transformation.”

so far

Saturday, November 12, 2011

This past May, I received some of the best news of my life. It capped off the hardest year and a half of my life. By the end of August, the process to adopt my youngest two children was complete. I was tired.

We had parties. We did special memory-making things. We shared that memorable day with almost all of our family and our best friends. We shared our joy with all the rest of our friends and family. The thing was, I wasn’t really feeling the joy the way everyone else was, the way my husband wanted me to, the way I thought I should. I was just tired.

I wish I had known this next verse then…

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” 2 Samuel 7:18

In my small group bible study, we are doing Beth Moore’s David: Seeking a Heart Like His. (I haven’t done this particular study for about 10 years, so much of it still seems fresh. Plus, she’s redone the videos so that material is definitely all new.)

One of the notable things in this verse that Beth points out is that David didn’t kneel before the Lord, he didn’t fall on his face, he didn’t dance, and he didn’t even stand and lift his hands in praise. He just sat. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Just sit there. She attributes it to him being overwhelmed with praise. I actually think that maybe he was just tired. David had just spent years on the run, afraid for his life. He had suffered the loss of his best friend, his king, his profession. He had battled lions, bears, giants, and whole armies to the death. He had dealt with sin, betrayal, loneliness, grief, and a myriad of other emotions. He had endured years of stress and seeking God in the hardest places.

Not only that, but he had also experienced all that’s good of life. At a time when the Spirit of the Lord wasn’t given to all believers, David received an anointing. He was declared the future king of Israel. He was honored and revered by his countrymen. (and many, many women) He had known the best of friendships. He had experienced incredible intimacy with God. He brought the ark of the covenant to its rightful place in Jerusalem. He had celebrated like it was 1999, and on top of all that, he received a word of prophecy from the Lord about his future, his country’s future, and his children’s future. Let’s just summarize by saying it’s good news. David had known the depths of despair; he had known the heights of glory. I think he was tired.

I spent so much hours over the past couple years on my knees and even more time flat on my face before God pleading, begging, weeping, in total confusion and despair. I experienced deeper sorrow than I’ve ever known, I felt the sting of betrayal, and I was brought to brokenness in ways I did not expect. I learned to be friends with the darkness, with insomnia, with secrets, with constant and extreme stress. I had to go to many of these dark places alone. I learned what true and deep loneliness felt like, but I also learned the depths of true friendship, the power of unafraid prayer, and an incredible intimacy with God. I grieved, and I celebrated. I spent time standing before the Lord in wonder, in gratitude, in praise – sometimes with lifted hands, sometimes with pure dancing joy. And I was tired.

Scientifically, I think a large part of it is the emotional exhaustion and let-down that comes over you after a stressful time. I was so used to operating under constant, extreme stress that when it was gone, my body literally didn’t know how to function normally. I also got bogged down in the scary parts of our future. I lost sight of the fact that I didn’t need to do or feel anything else. I didn’t have to be the happiest I’ve ever been. I didn’t need to dwell on how much of our journey has yet to be travelled. I don’t need to be on my face in sorrow or dancing in praise; like David, I can just sit before the Lord. In praise, in wonder, in thankfulness, or with none of that. Nothing required of me. When there are just no words, there are no feelings, there is no energy, there is just nothing left but just to sit before Him and utter the words of David: ‘Who am I? What is my family that You have done this? That you have brought us here?’

God gives and gives. I bear witness to that. What makes me think He’ll stop? The same God who allows me to sit before him can be trusted with my future. I can praise Him for how far He’s brought me. I can sit in complete peace before Him knowing that He knows how far I have to go.

Praise to God who has brought me so far.

of few words

Friday, November 11, 2011

As I cannot type for real due to a wrist surgery that I had on Wednesday, I am forced to do a modified hunt and peck with one hand. This makes me much less inclined to write lengthy posts right now. Well, that and the loopiness brought on by all the vicodin. I hate narcotics with an all-consuming passion, but I’m thankful that it at least kills some of the pain.

In lieu of a real post, enjoy this music on your Friday night. We’re going to see this band in January; I’m enjoying them on YouTube in the meantime. Plus planning my own sister band. One of us is going to have to learn the guitar a whole lot better first.

 

random happenings

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1) My youngest son copes with anxiety and stress by increasing his OCD tendencies. As it doesn’t interfere with his life, I’m thankful that it’s a mostly pain-free, innocuous way for him to regain some control. While my mother-in-law was here, it came out during a finger food lunch. He kept biting his cheese and crackers and pepperoni until they were all exactly the same size. If you can imagine a four year old trying to visually determine size, then biting the appropriate amount off…wait, too much off that cracker, now I have to bite the cheese…wait, now the cracker’s bigger again, time to fix the cheese…..it went on awhile.  It bordered on truly obsessive; I wasn’t sure he’d be able to quit, but in truth, eventually all the pieces were so small he had eaten all his food. Since she’s been gone, it’s been mostly about cleaning and clothing and stuff, but yesterday we were shopping, and he wouldn’t quit touching stuff in the clearance section we were in. I started to get on him until I realized that he was organizing it. Ha. At least he’s performing a viable service; we all know how terrible clearance sections are. Maybe retail is in his future.

2) I have a wicked respiratory thing going on, and I cannot express the overwhelming affection I have towards my inhaler. I don’t want to go anywhere without it. I count the hours until I can use it again. Albuterol is one amazing drug. (But hopefully not addictive. after I re-read this point, I can see some dangerous tendencies on my part…)

3) I just finished a book called The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined'>The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined'>The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. It is easily the most fascinating book I’ve read in years. I highly recommend it. Basically the entire premise is that we live in the most peaceful, least violent, safest time in all of recorded human history. Not at all what you hear on the news…

4) My youngest might flat out drive me to the heavy drink. She is so outrageously difficult right now. I have some suspicions as to what’s going on with her, but no way to confirm them without a myriad of tests and multiple doctor visits. So I’m trying some home interventions in hopes of making things better. They haven’t worked so far.

5) I agreed via phone call a couple weeks ago to donate some clothing to a national foundation. They were sending a truck around to get the box on a specific day last week. I left the box, appropriately labeled, on the front porch. They called me later saying that they could not pick up the box because there was a dog loose so their driver couldn’t exit his vehicle. If I could just restrain the dog, they would be happy to come and pick up the box. Restrain my BASSET HOUND? What would that even look like? I could stand beside him while he didn’t move. Since that’s how he spends 95% of his day. Not moving. Even the UPS guy, who is notoriously afraid of dogs (my theory is that he’s been bit) does not even show the slightest bit of hesitation with our dog. Give me a break. If you can’t get out of the car because of a basset hound, you do not deserve my donations. I’m sorry. It’s a line I have to draw.

new worship music Tuesday

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

These two artists (John Mark McMillan with Economy and Gungor with Ghosts Upon The Earth are writing what is easily the best worship music being written right now. You probably won’t ever sing it in church, but the lyrics are so incredibly deep, so profound. It’s well-thought out: every word is measured, every phrase purposeful. There’s no flippant filler. Beyond that, the musical talent of both of them is just beyond. Most people can’t even dream of writing music of this caliber. It’s just amazing. Buy these albums. Both of them.

Here are my two favorite songs (right now) from these albums. 

Gungor–When Death Dies

I mean seriously. Did you watch that? How is it even legal to play music this good much less write it?

Side note #1: I do appreciate concept albums. But I really find I can’t listen to Ghosts Upon The Earth as background music. The concept for me is so encompassing, so engrossing, that I have to just sit. and listen. to the whole album. all at once. This has turned out to be more annoying that I first anticipated.

 

John Mark McMillan–Economy

This is my favorite song today. It’ll probably change tomorrow. Every single song is good. I was afraid he would go in a whole different direction on this album, which is sometimes good for artists to do, but I’m not done with this part of his music yet. Keep it coming.

Side note #2: John Mark McMillan did this brilliant video podcast marketing thing that you can watch completely on YouTube. Here’s the link to the playlist.

the gift of adoption

Monday, November 7, 2011

Today, I’m ever grateful for my adoption into God’s family. My transracial, cross-cultural, plan A adoption as an heir of Christ. I get to share in His glory. I get to share in His sufferings. But even in those sufferings, He doesn’t leave me. He’s my Father. I’m His child. It’s forever.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”
Romans 8:14-17

 

471. folded and put away laundry
472. drawers of matched socks
472. preparing dinner without fear of total house destruction
473. afternoon relaxation with an interesting book
474. fall sunshine, crisp air
475. bouncing, joyful children
476. birthday dinners
477. exhausted children
478. excruciatingly painful grocery trips with the entire family
479. my adoption into God's family
480. Sunday afternoon football

orphan sunday

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday 2011 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Today was Orphan Sunday. My husband preached (darn well, but I might be biased), and then we celebrated his birthday at the fam’s. It was a nice cap to a kind of difficult week. My mother-in-law was here, and I loved it SO much. The first two days she was here, I made full meals without the house being destroyed, plus I got all my laundry done, folded, and put away. (Well, all that I could do since as soon as the whole family takes off their clothes for the day, I automatically have another load.) But…the youngest son has definitely had some fall-out. I noticed some quirky things while she was staying here, and then once she left, we had some more serious issues. It’s been worse, but I was still surprised since she wasn’t here long at all, and it was just her. Oh well. We’re just a work in progress. Until the end.

adoption options

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No better time to talk about adoption than National Adoption Month. There are three options when you’re talking about adoption and each comes with its own set of challenges and difficulties, as well as its own set of negative stereotypes and myths. I'm by no means an expert on any of these methods, so expect this to be a brief overview, but I hope it piques your interest enough to check one of them out.

 

*Please keep in mind that in these scenarios, it is always faster to adopt a child of color than a white child. Especially with domestic adoptions, both private and public. Sadly, there are still way more people who are requesting white babies over all others.

1) Domestic Adoption (private) – This is almost always newborn adoption. The cost is quite high; it can be (although not always) the most expensive way to adopt. You will need an agency and/or an attorney to adopt this way. This is the one I have the least experience with, and what experience I do have is pretty negative, so I will refrain from writing much on this. (Please don’t take my experience to mean I think private adoption is bad. I just don’t have positive experiences to share. I know that this avenue turns out well for a large amount of people.) The one thing about private adoption that I find extremely beautiful is the opportunity for open adoption. That is a high privilege that is rarely granted in both international and public domestic adoption.

2) International Adoption – There are many countries one can choose for adoption. They change constantly due to new international regulations and in-country changes. There are a myriad of web resources to help you choose which agency and/or country you prefer. You can also specify gender as well as approximate age. I would say that a large majority of internationally adopted children come from orphanages. It is very expensive to adopt internationally, and the countries vary wildly on total costs. However, as with domestic private adoption, there are lots of resources to help you finance and pay for an adoption. This very well might be the most complicated way to adopt when you consider the boatload of paperwork, the pain of bureaucracy, and the uncertainty of governmental regulations. (Please don’t take ‘complicated’ to mean ‘bad’. It just means complicated.)

3) Domestic Adoption (public) – This is obviously the one I’m most familiar with. I’ll probably go into this more in depth in the coming month. For now, this means adopting through foster care. This can be a couple of ways. The first is foster to adopt. You foster a child until they are legally free for adoption. The ‘risk’ is that a child reunifies with his biological family. You are still waiting, just as with other types of adoption, but the waiting period occurs while the child is already in your home. That was a huge stimulus for us.

The other way to adopt through foster care is just through straight adoption. You will only be placed with a child who is already legally free for adoption. This is the absolute safest way to adopt. Once parental rights are severed, they are severed forever. There is no way for biological families to ‘take back’ their children. While most of the waiting children in the United States are sibling groups or older children, you most definitely can adopt infants this way. Also, foster adoption is virtually free.

 

Obviously there are lots of other issues, myths, stereotypes, risks, and benefits that go along with each of these options. I encourage you to research each of them online or at the library and if you’re a follower of Christ, to seek His will for your family and adoption. You might find you’re called to an avenue you didn’t expect. You might find you’re not called to adopt at all. Whatever your decision, adoption remains the best way for hurting, needy children with no other options to find a safe and loving family in which they can heal.

collecting the best…

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As always, click through to read more than the snippet I’ve posted. Did one of these speak to you like it did me? Let me know!

Tiger Mothers or the Making of Velveteen Mothers - Ann Voskamp at (in)courage
”There are Tiger Mothers and there are Dragon Mothers, but if the years can be used to make a woman only into this: a Velveteen Mother. A Velveteen Mother — made Real by the years — the way grace can happen to you. And not all at once — but you become. And grace becomes you. To be just a Velveteen Mother: worn and weathered down to the exquisite beauty of the frame of the Cross.”

Halloween and Hot Chocolate - Family Matters
”What is the best day of the year to get to know the majority of the people living in your neighbourhood? It’s not Christmas Morning. Or Easter Sunday. Or the first day of school. The best day of the year to build community is on Halloween.”

change the world {{day 21}} :: suffer - Chatting at the Sky
”But consider those you admire, those who live with passion and intention – do they have a story of suffering? It may not be an outward, public brokenness, but I would venture to say that the world changers are well acquainted with grief. A seed must fall deep into the ground, breaking in the darkness of the damp earth before it can spring up and burst forth with life, full and new. And so the suffering of this broken life does not in itself bring about change, rather it is how the suffering is handled in the hands of the broken.”

A Sister's Eulogy for Steve Jobs - Mona Simpson for the NY Times
”Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother.”

national adoption month

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It’s National Adoption Month. I thought I’d kick it off with a pretty exciting video that the Dave Thomas Foundation released this past week. More adoption fun to come this month…

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