Why International Adoption? Part 3

>> Friday, April 30, 2010

Erika says I’m becoming obsessive about creating short posts. I’ve got this thing right now about making sure that I communicate what I want to say before my reader gets bored and goes back to surfing facebook. This is going to be a short post but mainly because there’s just not that much to add to the point.

Why international adoption you ask? (Did someone ask this or did I just start answering the question?) My third respond is: Why not? I know. I’m not supposed to answer a question with a question. But we need to be careful that we don’t deem the things we love and do more sanctified just because they’re the things we love and do. There are many ways to adopt/serve orphans. Every way has positives and negatives. Hopefully in every case the goal is to serve God by serving these children. So it’s really not up to me to decide which way is best for somebody else.

From my experience it is best to be very settled in whatever you choose. Adoption itself isn’t for everyone and certain types of adoption won’t be right for everyone called to adopt. The process can be challenging at times and it is important in the midst of those challenges to be resolved that you’ve made a wise decision. So when it comes to how one intends to adopt I suggest you do good research, seek good counsel, and pray that the Lord will give you wisdom (trusting that He will! – James 1:5-6).

See also:

Why International Adoption? Part 1
Why International Adoption? Part 2


Weekend Report

>> Sunday, April 25, 2010

One nifty little feature of this process is that we’re able to follow our dossier as it travels to Ethiopia. They gave us the FedEx number so that we could keep track of the progress. As of yesterday morning it had arrived in Newark where it remains as of the last time we checked. Hopefully it will soon be on its way to some airport in Europe and then on to Ethiopia.

This has been one of the most eventful times of this whole process. It’s nice to be moving forward after having been stuck waiting to send the dossier away for so long. I’m sure we’ll be back to feeling like nothing’s going on soon enough.


Why International Adoption? Part 2

>> Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One of the things that has driven Erika and I to international adoption is the overwhelming need. There are 143,000,000 orphans in the world today. That is a staggering number of children. Many of these children spend their early lives in the care of government institutions until they are deemed old enough. At that point most end up on the streets with little or no education or skills to support themselves. Many of these are forced to turn to prostitution and other illegal activity just to survive.

Last year Erika and I read a book that helped put some faces on these 143 million orphans. There is no Me Without You is a biography about a woman in Ethiopia who somewhat reluctantly became a caregiver to dozens of children. In Ethiopia the AIDS epidemic has decimated whole villages. Girls as young as 7 or 8 are left alone to care for their younger siblings. Haregewoin Teffera began sheltering children reluctantly after the death of her daughter. By the time she died in March of 2009 she had cared for over 400 children. Yes, her ministry to 400 children seems like a drop in the bucket compared to 143 million. But her love was hardly meaningless to those 400 little lives.

The same could be said (and has been said) to us. What good are you going to do for 143 million orphans? While it is true that this adoption won’t make a dent in the statistics, we believe that to one child who is created in the image of God we can make an eternal difference.

See also:

Why International Adoption? Part 1


Why International Adoption? Part 1

>> Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It’s hard to maintain a blog. I’ve published 3 blogs now and typically ideas come faster at first and then become progressively rarer. Frankly, sometimes it’s nice to have an idea to blog about. Someone in the comments section of the post titled “DTE” raised a good question: Why adopt internationally? This is an excellent question and one that Erika and I spent a lot of time thinking about before we started the process of adopting from Ethiopia. So after this post I will begin a little series in which I will attempt to answer this question.

I am actually thankful that people are wrestling with adoption in general and international adoption specifically. Erika and I are praying that our experience in Ethiopia might raise awareness about adoption in our church and community. It is exciting to us that another family in our church has just recently begun the process of adopting domestically. If you’re reading our blog and have questions or concerns we would invite you to contact us personally or by making a comment. It’s actually nice to have someone express their concerns rather than force a smile, say, “That’s great!” and then turn away as fast as possible.

Let me start just briefly by addressing one of the specific questions raised by our anonymous commenter, “Why adopt a child from a godless country so far away?” Because God our Father adopted us to be His children even though we belonged to a godless country far away from Him. Distance and sin didn’t stop God the Father from bringing me into His family. And for this I am eternally grateful.



>> Monday, April 19, 2010

We need how much right now? That was my response when Erika told me that we needed $7,200 to be able to take the next step in this adoption. We hadn’t been clear on exactly what was due when and so this amount was a shock to me. At that time our “adoption fund” had about $800. Last Wednesday Erika wrote a check for $7200 and sent it with all of our paperwork to AWAA to be reviewed. Our family coordinator, Nicole, told us on Thursday that our dossier looks good and will be sent to Ethiopia on Friday, April 23rd. We're excited to be done with the paperchasing stage and amazed that God provided so much money in such a short amount of time.

We are so thankful to all of you who the Lord has used to get us to this point in the adoption. Not very many weeks ago it did not seem possible that we would have all that we needed at any time in the near future. But God has been faithful to provide through many different ways.

As of Friday we’ll be DTE (dossier to Ethiopia). Now we begin this new phase of waiting for the good people in Ethiopia to connect us to a child. We still have to raise more money for some final fees and our travel costs. But we look forward to see how God will provide just as He has done until now.


Pray for Russia's Orphans

>> Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Russell Moore on the news story of the mother who sent her son back to Russia:

I nervously switched off the television early Sunday morning as I heard my children bounding toward the door. I didn’t want them to hear the news. I didn’t want to hear it myself. Every time I see what is going on in Russia, with the government calling for an immediate halt on American adoptions, I think about the orphanage where I first met my two oldest sons.

And I want to cry.

The news reports are appalling, to be sure. A grandmother in Tennessee reportedly placed a child adopted from a Russian orphanage on a plane bound for the former Soviet Union, sending him back because the family allegedly said they couldn’t deal with his disturbed emotional state and alleged potential for violence. The Russian government and the Russian people are outraged, and want to see to it this will never happen again.

There are several things Christians ought to keep in mind and, more importantly, in prayer here.

First of all, we should pray for this child, and for his family. We, of course, don’t know much about this situation beyond what we see in the news, but that’s enough to know this is a catastrophe. It is horrific any time a child is orphaned. It is even more horrific when a child is twice-orphaned.

There is no defense, and no excuse, for the actions this family took. If there were emotional or behavioral problems, there are legitimate mechanisms in place to work through those things with the assistance of counselors or social workers, even through the agency by which the family was formed in the first place.

We should also pray, and pray fervently, that God would change the hearts of the Russian government officials, that they would not allow this tragedy to further harm the already endangered orphans of Russia.

Sadly, this American family’s actions may well have catastrophic implications. This case, along with one or two others, has given impetus to a nativist Russian nationalism already uncomfortable with international adoption.

At one level, I can understand this. Imagine if the United States collapsed into a hodgepodge of independent and impoverished states and American children were being adopted by citizens of a Cold War triumphant USSR. Add to that, a high profile case of this kind of neglect, and this impulse can be whipped into a frenzy.

The stakes are high. Families who were poised to be formed through adoption are now suddenly on hold, in a “diplomatic limbo” of waiting. “An estimated 3,500 Russian children are in some stage of the adoption process with 3,000 American families,” reports the New York Times, citing the Joint Council on International Children’s Services.

The very fact that this horrible situation is getting such coverage all over the world right now is precisely because it is such an anomaly. There have been more than 50,000 U.S. adoptions from Russia since 1991, with adopting parents carefully screened and the Russian government receiving reports back from the post-adoption home studies. The stories of abuse are rare, much rarer than domestic abuse rates in virtually any country.

It would be quite different if there were a vibrant adoption culture in the former USSR. This is not the case. Adoption is extremely rare in Russian culture. The very few families who adopt, and children who are adopted, are often stigmatized.

The leftover effects of Communist materialism matched with the instability of the new economy have resulted in a skyrocketing abortion rate along with orphanages filled with abandoned infants and children. The children who are not adopted languish in these orphanages until they are old enough to be thrown out, defenseless, into society, where they often find few options beyond the Russian military, prostitution, or suicide.

The Russian orphanage where my wife and I found our sons, then Maxim and Sergei, was the most heartbreaking place I have ever been. Its sights and smells and sounds come back to me every day.

But, even more so, before my mind’s eye every day are the faces of the children we couldn’t adopt. The little girl who peered around the door frame every day as we visited our then-future sons in their room. What happened to her? What will happen to those like her, and like my sons, who are waiting now for homes and families, someone to love them and feed them and hug them?

Until now, my hope has been that Christians from America, Canada, Germany, France, or somewhere may have adopted them, to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. If the anti-adoption Russians get their way, I fear that these children will be sentenced to institutions, never to find families.

There are other Maxims and Sergeis, sitting day and night in cribs somewhere in Russia. Let’s pray that the Russian people make the right decisions for them. And let’s pray for the providence of the One who promises to be a Father to the fatherless. This situation isn’t just a human interest tragedy. And it’s not just a foreign policy issue.

Russia’s orphans aren’t foreigners to those of us who’ve been adopted into the family of Christ. They’re Jesus’ little brothers and sisters (Matt 25:40). He won’t forget them.

And neither can we.

My television’s going to stay off for awhile. I don’t want my boys to overhear this horrible scenario and wonder if, God forbid, they might ever be put back on a plane to Russia. I don’t want them to know, yet, that they live in a world so dark that such things can happen. Maybe you could turn your television off too, just for a little while, and pray for the orphans of Russia.


Sons & Daughters

>> Tuesday, April 6, 2010

File this one under the ever popular "What I'm listening to Right Now" section. I'll admit I was a little surprised by just how much I like this CD. When I like a song I tend to wear it out. After a couple of weeks of tracks 2-4 I still can't wait to get in the car and listen again.

I like that the musicians of Soveriegn Grace have provided us with an album full of very singable songs about an aspect of our salvation that often takes a little bit of a backseat to some of the more prominent salvation metaphors.


Easter Weekend Update

>> Saturday, April 3, 2010

We would like to say many, many thanks to those who have contributed to our adoption so far. We are getting closer and are hoping to send away our dossier to Ethiopia in April. Please continue to pray that we would be able to take this next step asap.

March was a month of ups and downs in this process. The notification regarding the extra trip to Ethiopia was followed by another notification that this may not be the case and then another stating that the two trips are indeed necessary. At this point we’re planning on the extra trip and if it doesn’t have to happen we’ll be glad.

We’ve also had a minor change in our thinking about this adoption. For various reasons we had focused on adopting a boy from Ethiopia. But some of the upheaval in the process over the last few weeks has led us to change our request to either a boy or a girl. So everywhere below on the blog where I speak about “my boy” or “my son” just feel free to think about that as “my child.” If we adopt a little girl she’ll probably be reading through those posts one day and wonder “I wonder what happened with that little Ethiopian boy they were going to adopt?”

Finally, it’s great to be celebrating Easter this weekend. As we anticipate another adoption, the death and resurrection of Christ is the basis upon which we are able to be adopted by our Heavenly Father. We’re looking forward to celebrating Easter tomorrow with a room full of the adopted children of God.


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