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Archive for February, 2012


Another of my heroes is the musician, and now director, Steve Taylor. I discovered Steve’s music on my way to my first music festival about 6 months after becoming a Christian in 1986. Why they played “I Wanna Be a Clone” for me is beyond me. But the actual concert hooked me.

I came across this interview from 2007. It is very interesting listening, as he talks about any number of things including dating Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel, filming PSAs for Al Gore, why he thought Bono should get a Nobel Peace Prize and the emerging church movement they talk about how he met his wife and how they ended up adopting a little girl from Uganda after a trip to Africa.

Since Lisa came up, here she is helping Steve out on his first concept video which was made for $5,000.

BTW: a recent Peter Furler interview mentions that he and Steve formed Some Other Band with guys like Jimmy Abegg. The album is in the can, and should be released after Steve is done with Blue Like Jazz. Steve sings and Peter is on the drums.

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John Newton is a towering figure in 18th century evangelicalism, British and otherwise. He was a remarkable man because of the grace of God. He was a scoundrel and “blasphemer” by his own testimony who was engaged in the slave trade. Among his many lasting gifts to the world because of Christ’s mercy were his hymns (Amazing Grace being the most famous), the poetry of William Cowper (whom he prevented from committing suicide as one of his many acts of friendship), and the abolition of the slave trade in England through his influence on the newly converted William Wilberforce.

I enjoyed learning more about him in John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace. It was a great read that I’ll review more thoroughly on my blog. But one thing pertains to this blog: adoption.

He and his beloved wife Polly never had children of their own. But they had children. First they adopted a niece, Elizabeth, whose parents had died. Then they adopted another niece, Eliza, whose family had been wiped out by TB. Eliza herself suffered from consumption. They knew this, but adopted her and cared for her until her death. It was a great act of compassion on their part.

Elizabeth remained in the home as a dear companion and help to Newton after Polly’s death. She handled most of his correspondence as his own eyesight began to fail. For a time she was hospitalized with depression. Her absence was incredibly difficult for John. He’d go to the asylum each morning to wave a greeting through the window. Friends noted who shaken he was by this turn of events. Soon should would be released. Shortly after her marriage in 1804, she and her husband moved in to care for the increasingly decrepit Newton. She would inherit much of his estate, including his property and the copyrights to his books.

I wish the biography spent some more time on this aspect of his life. It was a very busy and productive life. Yet Elizabeth obviously felt well-loved and cared for by her adoptive parents.  Part of Newton’s greatness was how he incorporated people like Cowper and especially his nieces into his family.

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Preparing a Place


I just finished reading the Gospel of John. In the 14th chapter, Jesus informs them that He is about to leave soon. He was going to prepare rooms for them. Later He tells them he would not leave them as orphans, He was sending the Spirit.

There is a connection there: adoption. Jesus was leaving (for His death, resurrection and ascension). He was going to prepare a place for His adopted siblings.

We’re preparing a place for our adopted children. There is plenty for us to do. Most of it includes painting. I’m sick of painting. Painting our loft. Painting our bathrooms. Since our home is relatively new, most of the walls are still white. Soon we’ll be painting the kids’ bedrooms.

But there is more than pain. We bought and build storage at Ikea. We needed room for toys so we can store them out of the rooms, and the closet under the stairs. We needed that closet for other things. Soon we will install Classy Closets to maximize space for clothes. Sort of like Home Makeover: Cavallaro Edition.

In the meantime, we just got notified that our I-171H, the provisional approval of the I-600A, updated. Micah will most likely be 5 when we adopt her. We had to reflect that change in our home study and the I-171H. Mission accomplished, now we can apply for the I-600A. We’re getting the show on the road!

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Recently I preached on Jacob’s dust-up with God. Jacob was living in fear of his brother Esau who was coming with 400. He resorted to old patterns- scheming. He sought to appease his brother and sent his family across the river ahead of him. He spent the night alone, in the dark, until … God showed up. Jacob didn’t start the fight, God did.

In Tim Keller’s sermon on the text- An Encounter with God- he talks about how God intrudes upon our lives. He has the nerve to tell us what to do. He holds us accountable for our actions. Here he is confronting Jacob.

Steve, isn’t this an adoption blog?

Yes.

We aren’t used to such a God. We struggle with this God. We are comfortable with the God’s of our own understanding. This is a God we have to hold in reverence.

Likewise, adopted orphans usually have very little experience with men. Their care givers are predominantly women. This is good in some respects. Most predators are men. Most men they come into contract with are probably security or support personnel. They have little direct involvement from men.

Our son arrived from China and suddenly there was a man telling him what to do. An intrusive, involved man. It was completely new for him. He struggled with it. We had to establish who was in charge, that I was more than furniture or someone who hung around the fringes of his life. It took awhile, but we worked it out. He learned what a father is.

We are in the process of adopting 2 children who have probably had a similar lack of interaction with men. On the paperwork their fathers were unknown. They spent most of their lives with their mother and grandmother before they were brought to the orphanage. They probably have no idea what a father is, what a father does. They have no idea they ever needed one.

I hadn’t really put all of this together until recently. Certainly not when we had adopted Eli. Why had no one thought to tell me? This is another of the many adjustments the children go through. Children who have little to no prior relationships with men are thrust into a family led by a man. I hope I have learned from my experiences with Eli. Perhaps I might be more patient, more gentle. It is an adjustment for me, just as much as for them.

Just something to think about if you are in the process of adopting. Just something to think about if you’re praying for us.

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Fun with Shots


Can't show you how it really happened

One of the joys of international adoption is the big trip. But all you want to bring home from the big trip is the kids you adopt. Okay, maybe a few souvenirs. But you don’t want to bring back any nasty diseases. Or parasites.

One of our social workers for Eli’s adoption had adopted from SE Asia. They were very careful about water- both drinking and bathing. The husband ended up being very fatigued for the next year. No doctor had an answer. He went to the acupuncturist one day and there was a parasite specialist. The specialists asked a bunch of questions. Turns out he took a swim in the pool at the hotel in Japan. He thought he was safe. Nope. After treatment he was his old self.

Most countries in Asia and Africa require shots, and lots of them. The decision of which of us is going has been resolved. Amie is getting the shots.  Shots for typhoid, yellow fever and polio.

Our acupuncturist told her to ask for the shots in her bottom, not her arm. The arm, she says, is too close to the lymph nodes and can impact your immune system. The health department shot worker was not too down on that. She did not want to deviate from the norm. Trust me, Amie’s not in the habit of showing her bottom to people. Eventually the health department employee relented. Three shots in the bottom. And only one really nasty bruise. It made up for the other areas that were not bruised.

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