Monday, August 30, 2010

I Love Adoption

I recently clicked on the “like” button for a Facebook group called “I Love Adoption.” I have discovered that several of the other members do not love adoption. In fact they loathe adoption. Most of these women had a negative adoption experience. Throughout the page these ladies mock and ridicule those who believe that adoption is a good thing. I know this from a first-hand experience of being mocked. To their defense, I will say some of their arguments point out legitimate and sometimes horrific failures of systems and people. Additionally, they remind us that the adopted child has often faced incredible losses and pain in life. Dr. Sherrie Eldridge, herself an adopted child and now a psychologist working in the field, has written:

As with most everything in life, adoption has positive and negative elements. None of us wants to acknowledge the negative, painful side-that is, loss. But the truth is, the very act of adoption is built upon loss. For the birth parents, the loss of their biological offspring, the relationship that could have been, a very part of themselves. For the adoptive parents, the loss of giving birth to a biological child, the child whose face will never mirror theirs. And for the adopted child, the loss of the birth parents, the earliest experience of belonging and acceptance. To deny adoption loss is to deny the emotional reality of everyone involved.[1]

How can I love adoption? Sin is the cause of pain and loss, not adoption. I am not suggesting there are certain people who are more sinful than others. What I am suggesting is that when sin entered into the world it affected the entire created order. We live in a fallen world. In a fallen world we have sin, death, and separation. Sin wages war against the very fabric of community. The family is just another casualty of this unrelenting enemy. When these ladies stand against sin they are in agreement with God. God is for truth and justice. God is for families staying together. But, God is also a master of bringing hope when it appears hope is gone. Sometimes God brings hope through adoption. I love adoption like I love redemption. Redemption is not necessary in a perfect world. I hate the sin in my life and in the world that made God’s loving redemption my only hope. But, I love God and His redemption. And I Love Adoption.

Because of Christ, Don

1.Eldridge, Sherrie Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wished Their Adopted Parents Knew (NY Dell Publishing, 1999), 4-5

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Drowning in Paperwork

One of the purposes of our blog is to talk about real every day issues surrounding adopting. One of those issues is paperwork. For two and one-half years it felt as if the nitty-gritty details of trying to bring home our child was a full-time job. I spent many hours, sometimes daily, trying to find the right information to put in the right blank to avoid the hassle of extra work or delays. I repeatedly wondered why anyone would put themselves through this grueling task just to abuse the child he/she worked so hard to bring home. (This thought was partly prompted by the news headlines highlighting so many horrible adoption stories.)

As soon as Don came home from Russia with the news God said, “Adopt,” I got busy. I figured the sooner we started, the sooner we could move on with it. I still wasn’t fond of the idea, but was resigned to the fact that it was going to happen. I don’t mean to sound callous, but my fear was more tangible than my faith. And the more I read, the more fearful I became.

Without going into lots of boring details on “how to” adopt, I’ll tell you that because the original adoption agency we chose was out-of-state, we also needed an in-state agency to complete our home study. Between the two, we were required to complete numerous applications and read several books, as well as attend seminars and interviews. One six-page document asked which physical and/or mental disease or problems we would accept in a child. It presented a checklist. Club feet, yes or no. Cleft palate, yes or no. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, yes or no. Six pages! I scheduled an appointment with our physician just to find out what many of the terms listed on those pages meant. He may have wondered why this crazy lady with the deer-in-the-headlights look on her face ever considered this venture. It was apparent I was in over my head.

And, that’s exactly how I perceived myself - drowning without a life preserver. With each seminar I attended and each book I read, I felt less and less adequate. Add to that the guilt associated with picking and choosing what type of child we would accept. The weight of that decision was heavy. This was a privilege most aren’t offered and I didn’t want to “throw out” a child God intended us to parent. So, we prayed and we said “yes” to each illness or negative situation we felt God would equip us for. And, for each “no” checked, I prayed someone else would check “yes.”

Thankfully, the rest of our home life was running smoothly. When I lifted my head out of the water to look around, it was reassuring to see my two sixth graders keeping up with their school work and my preschooler doing well. But, I still couldn’t quite see how a little girl would fit into the equation. I tried to wrap my mind around having another child in our home. I tried to visualize a daughter. A girl! I began to walk around the house wondering where she would sleep and where we would put her toys, etc.

Then one day, it happened. I was walking down the street holding Kenneth’s hand and I stuck out my other hand for . . . My heart sunk. Someone was missing. I realized it was my daughter. I was trying to grab her hand, but she wasn’t there . . . yet. However, hope emerged. The fear still existed, but there was a glimmer of hope.

For His Glory!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Name and a Promise (Part 3 of 3): Guest Blogger Diana DePriest

It was 4 am on a Monday morning that I was awakened out of sleep to a ringing phone. The baby wasn’t due for another week, and we were still waiting on the DOJ to straighten out the fingerprint issue. As I aroused to consciousness I remember uttering, “No, no, no, it’s too soon, we’re not ready!” But it didn’t matter that we weren’t ready, G’s water had broken and there was no putting it off, Ethan was on his way.

I spent that day making arrangements. I had to get flights for Neal and I to Shawnee where E was to be born. We had to pack Jake and get him ready for Grandma’s house. I wasn’t even out of my pajamas yet when the phone rang again just after noon pacific time. The baby was here, it was a boy! Ethan was born.

Jake home on a school holiday was the first person I told, we danced and shouted and celebrated he was a big brother. Neal came home and we headed off on to the airport. After we landed we got a rental car and drove more than an hour to the hospital. We made it to the hospital just around midnight.

Ethan had a few health problems at birth, a couple of deformities we were made aware of that first night. And he had a skin condition that had the hospital staff on edge. I will tell you the truth, when we saw him for the first time that night he was a little bit of a mess. G was frightened with his challenges we might change our minds. To be honest the thought never ever crossed our minds. God had brought him to us, God had given us his name. Who were we to question the process?

The hospital was so accommodating, they settled Neal and I into a private room with the baby who hadn’t even bothered to wake to greet us. Exhausted from the long day Neal and I each lay down in separate hospital beds and fell fast asleep. It was some time later that I was awakened by the most pitiful little cry. Fumbling in the dark I made my way over to him and lifted him in my arms. It was the moment the crime was committed. Right then and there Ethan stole my heart. Broken, beat up and needy, and I would have done anything for him. He was my son, and I was in love.
“Hello Ethan,” I told him, “I love you.’ And I surely did. It was that love, and my faith in my God that would lead me through the next three years. I didn’t know it at the time but the road ahead of us was long and difficult. But before the journey began, there I met my most precious traveling companion, and he had met me, his mom.

Diana DePriest is wife for nearly 20 years to Neal, and mom to Jacob, 16, Ethan, 9, and Victoria, 8. Since giving her life to Christ in 1992, she has served in various ministries, including pro-life, post-abortion, women’s and youth ministries. With a passion for the Lord and her gift in writing she has been an avid blogger since 2008 when she felt the Lord called her to it as a new avenue of ministry. She writes regularly about her faith ( and her family (

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Name and a Promise (Part 2 of 3): Guest Blogger Diana DePriest

We started talking about names for our unborn baby. I learned a long time ago, that biblically speaking the meaning of names was very important. Since I had somewhat failed in naming my firstborn “the deceiver” because I wasn’t aware of it, I didn’t want to leave my second child in the lurch too. (No worries about our oldest, his middle name means “God is my Judge” so in the big picture, it all panned out.)
We quickly decided that if the baby was a girl, we would name her after my cousin, who has a beautiful name that she’s never used. She’s gone by a cute nickname since she was in the bassinet and although I am not a huge fan of naming people after family members (I am named after two, and the one I share my first name with always seemed sort of annoyed about it.) But for an adopted child I thought it might be nice to bestow a family name. But I wanted to make sure it had a good meaning as well.

I always knew I liked the name “Elijah” if I had another boy, but I had no idea what it meant. So I sat down at my desk at work and brought up a website on baby names. As I clicked through links, finally a page of boy names starting with the letter “E” began to scroll down the page. As I skimmed the column on the left, a name on the right jumped out at me. Now, this may sound a little unbelievable, but “jumped out” is actually sort of an understatement. In my memory it was more like it floated out into 3-D with neon arrows pointing at it from every direction. Truth be told I had never heard the name before and I sat at my desk and read it out loud.

“Ethan.” I said.

And then, “Ethan Mitchell DePriest.” It flowed off my tongue like it was meant to be. In the moment that I said it, I knew the baby we were waiting for was a baby, and I knew that was his name. It was one of those supernatural moments. God was with me and speaking and I had heard Him, so I ran downstairs to tell Neal.

“Honey,” I said, “the Lord just gave me the baby’s name. It’s Ethan Mitchell, I know he’s going to be a boy.”

Neal true to form looked at me and smiled, “OK,” he said, because he never really questioned me when I told him I felt I had heard from God. “What does it mean?”

And that was the really cool part, on the page that I first saw the name, the definition was listed as “Permanent.” How cool is that? Our adopted son, permanently ours. And Mitchell, my grandmother’s maiden name, a family name for our adopted child means, “Who is like God.” I loved it! Still do.

A couple nights later I got my regular call from G. That night she wanted to talk about baby names, she was curious if we had made any decisions. Knowing her faith and her understanding of God was different than ours, I didn’t want to freak her out by telling her God had given me the baby’s name and that I already knew it was a boy.

So I told her the choice for the girl name (Adriana Yvonne, in case you’re wondering.) And she told me it was pretty. Then I told her the boy name, “Ethan Mitchell.” After I said the name G got really quiet on the other end of the phone. Really quiet, uncomfortably quiet. Finally, I asked her, “Do you hate it?” And then I held my breath.

Her answer came slowly, “No,” she said, “I don’t hate it at all, if I had kept him, I was going to name him Ethan Michael.”

I felt the Holy Spirit fall. It was absolute confirmation. As it happens, Mitchell and Michael mean the same thing and come from the same root. God had put this little boys name in both our hearts.

“Permanent.” I didn’t know it at the time, but it was more than an encouragement, it was a promise. It was a promise we would hold to for more than the next three years. It would be my prayer more times than I care to recall, “Lord, You gave me his name, You told me he was permanent.”

Diana DePriest is wife for nearly 20 years to Neal, and mom to Jacob, 16, Ethan, 9, and Victoria, 8. Since giving her life to Christ in 1992, she has served in various ministries, including pro-life, post-abortion, women’s and youth ministries. With a passion for the Lord and her gift in writing she has been an avid blogger since 2008 when she felt the Lord called her to it as a new avenue of ministry. She writes regularly about her faith ( and her family (

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Name and a Promise (Part 1 of 3): Guest Blogger Diana DePriest

As we sat across from Ethan’s birth mother (who I’ll call “G”) and her mom that December evening, it was almost as though you could hear life clicking into place. She had asked us to parent her unborn child and we had excitedly agreed. We had asked God to drop it in our laps if adoption was our will for us, and He very clearly had.
After G and her mom spent a few more days we said farewell at the airport and hit the ground running. The baby was due in just over 2 months and we had a lot to do.

We had an acquaintance at church who was an adoption attorney. We hired her and she helped us get the adoption ball rolling by finding a Christian agency that we could begin our certification and home study through.

There were so many things to do, fingerprinting and child proofing, we had to get CPR certified and First-Aid trained. We moved the cleaners and locked up the medications. We measured the temperature of the water out of every spigot and made sure nothing was wrapped in foil in our fridge (yes, it was a particular of our agency.)

It was a lot of work but thinks all went pretty smoothly, and we passed all the obstacles quickly, except one. There was a glitch with Neal’s fingerprints. When they sent them off to the Department of Justice, they came back with a hit from circa 1986. To my knowledge Neal had never had any trouble with the law, but the DOJ report refused to clear him.

When I went to Neal, he knew exactly what the hit was for. A dumb kid of 16 with his only real run-in with the law. He was never formally charged with the crime, but as a kid he and his buddy went on a “beer run,” which in layman’s terms means, he shoplifted a six pack. And when the police came after him he and his fellow idiot friend ran from the cops. By the time the policeman caught him he was mad, and he wanted to teach Neal a lesson.

Perhaps a believer in the “scare them straight” mentality the police man decided to teach young Neal a lesson, and put him through the booking process while he waited for his mom to come and pick him up. As part of that process, he fingerprinted Neal and he landed in the system. Of course it was until some 14 years later that any of us had any idea about it.

Perhaps you are thinking, “They are supposed to expunge his records! He was a minor!” Well, that’s what we thought to, but instead they had simply sealed the records, which was a red flag for the DOJ. They could not unseal them to assume our agency he wasn’t a murderer or a child molester, even though he had never even been charged with a crime, much less convicted of one.

So our attorney friend began the process of trying to have the record unsealed and we were assured it would take no time at all to straighten things out. So we just continued to jump through the hoops place before us and waited for the DOJ to catch up.

Diana DePriest is wife for nearly 20 years to Neal, and mom to Jacob, 16, Ethan, 9, and Victoria, 8. Since giving her life to Christ in 1992, she has served in various ministries, including pro-life, post-abortion, women’s and youth ministries. With a passion for the Lord and her gift in writing she has been an avid blogger since 2008 when she felt the Lord called her to it as a new avenue of ministry. She writes regularly about her faith ( and her family (  

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Indian Children in Need of Sponsors

A few years ago I traveled to Southeast India to dedicate a church through Commission and Compassion Ministries. I am grateful I experienced first-hand the work my friend Pastor Bontha is doing through this ministry. Churches are planted, pastors are trained, and children are cared for. Many street children are fed and hear the Gospel on a weekly basis. In addition to this work, he runs an orphanage for boys. At the Mercy Home, the boys are fed three meals a day, have a roof over their heads, hear the Gospel, and attend school.  Most of these children would be homeless and working hard labor if it were not for the love shown  to them at the Mercy Home.

While on this trip I walked along one of the beaches where the tsunami hit that started our adventure with adoption. As I walked the beach, I was reminded of the detruction and the burden that God placed on my heart for orphans.

Below are some recent pictures of the boys at Mercy Home.

The sponsor of one of the boys pictured above has passed away and there is a new boy that has come to live at Mercy Home.  These boys are shown below. Rajkumar, on the left, is 9 years old and in 3rd grade. Rajasekhar, on the right, is 12 years old and in 5th grade.

Both of these boys are in need of sponsors. For $25 a month, you can make sure they have all their basic needs met and are in a Christian environment.  If you want additional information on either of these boys please ask me.  Below is a video of my trip to India.  Hopefully it will help show the ongoing work of Commission and Compassion Ministries.