Sunday, May 27, 2012

Noma Kanjani (Whatever it takes)

In case you didn't notice, I added a chip-in button that you can use to donate directly to us through pay-pal. :)

Today at church we had a guest missionary speak.  His message was from the story of the good Samaritan.  The basic message was that we prove our love for the Lord by caring for people.  As I was listening and (doing a very poor job of) interpreting, I felt that feeling in my stomach.  You know, the one where you feel all floppy inside?  That's the best way I can describe it.  But the reason is that I really wanted to stand up and shout to the whole church, "THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!" If you missed my last post, please go back and read it, and you'll understand.  Taking care of orphans is following Jesus' command to care for the least of these!  And when we do it in his name, it's the same as doing it for Jesus himself!  And if we refuse to care for them, it's like refusing to care for Jesus himself.  And to those people, Christ says, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 
Do you get it?  This is NOT OPTIONAL. 
At the end of the message, he gave 3 levels of involvement.
1. Do Something NOW.  In our service this was answered with an unplanned offering for Cry Africa, the ministry these missionaries work with.  But for you, I'm giving you the opportunity to do something now by coming to Celebrate Adoption!  Not only will you be helping us rescue an orphan, but I believe God is going to stir hearts for adoption, and other families are going to get on board.
2. Short-term committment.  To me, when it comes to orphan care, this can come in the form of child sponsorship.  As I said before, I understand that not everyone can or should adopt.  But almost everyone can sponsor a child.  It costs less to feed, clothe, educate, and provide medical care for a child than it does to pay for your cell phone.  And because so many orphans will never be available for adoption, we need people to step up and provide the care their country cannot.
3. Long-term commitment. Obviously, I'm going to say this fits into the adoption category.  Adopting a child is forever, just like having a biological child.  It takes work, sacrifice, money, and more.  But it's so worth it.  The life of a child is worth it.  Jesus is worth it.

If you want to join us for Celebrate Adoption!, please let me know this week so we can plan accordingly.  And bring a friend!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Questions and Answers (that you might not like)

People always ask a lot of questions when they find out we're adopting.  Which is totally fine.  I'm happy to educate people about such an important topic.  But I find some questions more difficult to answer than others, simply because I don't know how to say what I really want to say, without sounding like a jerk.  And I feel like I'm not being totally honest in my answers. For example, people often want to know why we chose the Philippines, as opposed to a domestic adoption.  That answer is another post for another time.  Another question I find hard to answer honestly, and I've basically made up my nice, standardized answer that won't get me all riled up and into rant mode, is "Why are you adopting?"  And I give them my safe answer, but what I really want to say is "Why aren't YOU??"  You see, for me, the choice to adopt is a no-brainer.  For starters, God commands us to care for orphans.  Yes, that can mean more than just adoption, because I understand that not everyone can adopt.  And not everyone should adopt.  But it seems that most people can adopt, and in my opinion, therefore should adopt.  Millions (yes, millions) of precious children are being thrown away, literally, in orphanages and mental institutions (which are even worse than they sound!) simply because they were born in a country that does not value human life.  Namely, human life with any kind of difference that will require extra care.  Children born with special needs are considered not worth the time or money it would cost to care for them, and parents are encourged to abandon such children to the orphanage where they can be "with their own kind."  They are neglected, denied medical care, starved both physically and emotionally, often abused, and the most needy children are left to die.  Alone. 
Children who are orphaned or abandoned for reasons other than special needs have it only slightly better.  But their lives still have little hope apart from adoption into a loving family. 
Maybe right now you're thinking, "Merissa, aren't you being a little melodramatic?"  Is it really all that bad?"  If you don't believe me, take a look at some of the blogs I follow.  Or google it.  You'll find plenty of information out there on foreign orphanages that will leave you speechless.  Heartbroken.  Outraged.  And hopefully motivated to do something about it.
I said, 'for starters...' and for me it really doesn't go much beyond that.  We are commanded to care for orphans.  And the poor.  And God puts no qualifications or conditions on that commans.  There's no "if you feel called" or "if you feel qualified" or "if you are rich" or "if you ..." But we selfish Americans put our own conditions on obedience (in many areas,  not just this one).  And we make excuses as to why we aren't obeying.  And we try to justify ourselves and create a version of Christianity that looks nothing like what the Bible calls us to. 
Now you see why I have a hard time answering the question "Why are you adopting" in casual conversation??  I've probably lost most of you already, but the reality is that we are commanded to care for the poor and the orphan (and all orphans are poor, so they should get double care, right?:)).  And for the most part, we really are not doing it. 
Yesterday at church we were singing the song "Hear Us from Heaven."  The chorus says "Open the blind eyes, unlock the deaf ears, come to your people as we draw near."  Before when I sang that song I always thought about people who are not yet saved, and need to have their eyes and ears opened to the truth of the gospel.  But really, the song is about the church. We are blind, and we are deaf.  We are blind to the needs of the world, deaf to the cries of those we are supposed to care for.  We need to wake up.  We need to repent.  And we need to move. 

I hope you will all come to our event, Celebrate Adoption! on June 9th.  My prayer is not only that we raise money for our adoption, but more so that many other people will decide to adopt, and rescue a child (or children!) from a life without hope, without love, and without Christ.

I know this is a rather long post, but I also want to give you all an update on where we're at in the process.  Last week I spoke with the director of our agency, Jim.  Before I talked with him I had gotten a bit of a scare from one of the other agency workers, who told me that Philippine adoptions typically take 2 years, start to finish.  This was the same lady who told me at the beginning that they had recently had a family finish their adoption in about 8 months.  So I was freaking out a bit.  But I talked with Jim the next day, and he explained the process more thoroughly, and also told me he was planning on calling the Philippines that night to check on the progess of all the families in the process right now.  He emailed me back later in the week and told me that a social worker is still reviewing our file, and has to give her approval to match us with James.  That matching happens on Tuesdays.  Then she must present us to the ICAB (Intercountry Adoption Board) for a vote to approve us and match us officially.  That happens the Friday following the Tuesday approval.  Once that happens, it is roughly another three month wait while they get his visa ready, and then we can go and pick him up.  So, we could get approval as soon as this Friday, or it may be a few more weeks.  We are also waiting on USCIS approval, which is going to be slightly delayed because we had to reschedule Jason's biometrics appointment.  But hopefully that will still happen quickly.  So that's where we are at, and we would appreciate your prayers for our social worker, Angelie, and for the ICAB.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No Greater Joy Mom: a matter of life and death

This is one of the blogs I read.  Maybe YOU could be this little girl's family!!

No Greater Joy Mom: a matter of life and death: Friends, today I come to you with a situation which is truly a matter of life and death.  A situation where one little girl's life hangs in ...