Sunday, October 17, 2010

She's the One

Last month I wrote a blog post entitled “Puzzling.” In that post, I explained that our adoption agency denied our application after we had sunk over $4500 and five months of our life into the process. Emotionally, I was a wreck. I walked away.

After a few days of reprieve, the logical side of my brain kicked in. (Poor Don. I really don’t know how he handled this news or his whacko wife.) I wasn’t ready to move forward, but I needed to know how long our paperwork would be good and what our alternatives were (since adopting from Russia was out of the question).

Making the decision to adopt is the easiest part of the process. Once our options opened up, it became more confusing. Domestic vs. International. Asia, Africa, Europe or Latin America. I expended several weeks talking with friends who had adopted and researching different countries on the internet. Each had its own pros and cons. I considered cost, wait time, travel time, whether the children were in orphanages or foster care, what medical conditions each country dealt with, which countries had girls, which countries had toddlers, etc. I spent my days investigating and my evenings describing my findings to Don.

Late one evening, Don and I hovered over the desktop computer in our basement. Several hours into that evening’s quest, we were still debating which country to pursue. We typed in a search for Guatemalan orphans. A picture of the cutest girl, about three years old with pigtails, drinking out of a straw at a McDonald’s popped up. She was an absolute doll. I flatly stated, “That’s it - she’s the one,” promptly shut down the computer, and went to bed.

Don and I didn’t talk about adopting for a few days, but when I broached the subject again, we learned we had each been praying for that little girl. So I took a deep breath and called the adoption agency listed next to her picture. I was still a bit wary, but the Director helped me feel comfortable with her services. She read our home study and found nothing to prohibit us from adopting. I guess I finally asked about that little girl enough. She said to me on a Wednesday, “It sounds as if you are serious about her. Let me verify she is available for you to meet.” She called back Thursday and asked how quickly we could fly to Guatemala. We left Sunday. I didn’t sleep for three days.

Through all this, I blindly followed God. I put one cautious step in front of the other not knowing the final destination. Can you describe a time in your life in which you blindly followed God?

For His Glory,
Barb :-)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How Can the Church Help? Part 2: The Missional Church

For the church to help those who answer God's call to adoption, she must be missional. A missional church has been defined as "an authentic community of faith that primarily directs its ministry focus outward toward the context in which it is located and to the broader world beyond."*  Michael Monroe suggests "the term also clearly emphasizes a need to become intentional and focused in communicating and living out a message of hope and love."** Furthermore he adds, "Churches that are missional as it relates to adoption and foster care reach out to adoptive and foster families. They must determine to become intentional and focused about living out the heart of God for the orphan and loving and serving families who faithfully respond by adopting or fostering."** Adoption reflects God‘s heart and missional purposes in the world.  In James 1:27 we are told, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." With this being central to God's heart, adoption and orphan care is in the very DNA of the church.

As an expression of our DNA, the church must move from thinking of adoption and orphan care in terms of private callings of individuals to becoming an integral part of  the local church's mission, vision, and purposes. When we think of adoption as Christians we must not only think about individuals or individual families. This is sometimes an overall fault within the evangelical church. God has called the church as individuals and collectively to "Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow"(Isaiah 1:17).  Jason Kovacs suggests, "All our orphan care and adoption efforts ought to be done as God's community (the church) on mission in this world by the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot care for the fatherless as effectively alone as we can in community. We can do more for God's glory and the good of the fatherless as the body of Christ, with all its parts working and serving in the power of the Spirit, together".*** The church's attitude is reflected in the church's education, budget, and practices.  We are not all called to adopt, but we are all called to fulfill God's purposes.

If the church is going to fulfill its missional purpose in the world, it has to be a learning church. The church that is willing to learn is going to be more effective in reaching out to all types of families. Additionally, the church will better enable its own people to express their desires to be missional through adoption. Churches need to become educated on issues that face foster and adoptive parents. This begins by understanding our own adoption into the family of God.

What is your church doing to care for orphans?  What has been helpful to you?  What can we do differently or better?

By God's Grace,

*Ronald Carlson
***Jason Kovacs, Glorifying the Father of the Fatherless: How Families Can Change the World for the Glory of God and the Good of Orphans. Together For adoption e-book. 18

Friday, October 1, 2010

One Less

I was planning on posting part two of my last blog today until I came across this video. Thank you Kirsten and Diana.

Because of Christ,

One Less by Matthew West (The Story Behind The Song) from emicmg on Vimeo.

Below is a video of West's song. Someone added pictures to tell his/her story.