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Posts Tagged ‘gospel’


One of the agencies that helps people adopt- not an adoption agency- recommends The Connected Child: For Parents Who Have Welcomed Children.  We hadn’t read it, so we figured we would.  Amie got it from the library and has been reading it.  I took it with me on my recent trip to Baltimore and read much of it on the plane rides.  It is an easy, and quick read.

The Good

The book was helpful in plenty of ways.  I wish we had heard about it before we adopted our son.  This book is specifically for those who have adopted children.  They can often be subject to abuse or neglect prior to entering your home.  This can lead to some issues they have.  At times they are not being disobedient, but full of fear.  Some behavioral issues may have to do with learning disabilities that may not be apparent.

So, it helped me see areas where my son may be struggling.  The key word is may.

She provides some helpful techniques for addressing the most common concerns.  These are easy things that seem obvious, but often aren’t in the midst of parenting. So there are things here that are not found in the average book on parenting.  It is an important read.

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In a letter discussing his new Bible Study on Ruth, Paul Miller talks about “love with no exit strategy.”  That phrase is striking.  God has no exit strategy in His love for those He adopts in Christ.  He perseveres through all our rebellion, fear, lack of trust, manipulation and tantrums.  He’s in it for the long haul.

Adoption has to be like that too.  You can’t have an exit strategy, but willing to do whatever is necessary before and after the child comes home.  Just like when the child is coming from your (or your wife’s) womb.  You’re committed even though there will days when you want to be committed (to an institution).  You’ll love your kids and you’ll hate them at moments.

Amie sent me a link to someone else’s blog about their adoptions.  This summer they adopted a boy and a girl from Ethiopia.  Their newly adopted kids are older than our newest little guy will be.  We might face similar struggles with our newest little girl.  Here’s a glimpse:

Remy gave us about 12 hours of honeymooning until her terror burst onto the scene. Sometimes her fear is so palpable, it literally takes my breath away. New places: terror. New faces: total insecurity. Transitions: help us, Jesus. She has asked us every single day since July 22nd if she is going back to Ethiopia. Every. Single. Day.

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I’m wrestling with all of this more than Amie is.  As husband and father who is the provider, I think of the money.  Both the additional money to adopt 2 kids instead of one, and the additional money to raise those kids.  Many people face this when they get the news twins are on the way.  The difference being I can decide if I want to add 1 or 2 right now.

Sometimes God doesn’t play fair.  Or at least it seems that way.  He’s got incredible moves none of us can counter.  “Reading” providence is a risky proposition.  I hesitate when someone says “God told me to…”.  I’m a Presbyterian, though I’ve had some very unpresbyterian moments.  But those are extraordinary, not to be expected.  God doesn’t provide big neon signs.  Unlike in the In Plain Sight episode we watched last night, we have no “spirit guide dog.”

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The recent increase of adoptions among evangelicals has caught the eye of The Nation.  They have an interesting article on the subject.  It is also a frustrating article on the subject.

What catches their eye is evangelicals that break the rules.  The case in Haiti in particular.  That is a particularly difficult case since it was on the heels of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.  The issues and details are cloudy, so I’m not tossing her under the bus.  There is corruption in many places and abuses can take place.  That is a human problem, not merely an “evangelical” problem.  Even when someone like Brian Luwis from America World Adoption Agency (we adopted our first adoptive child thru them and I even wore the hat this morning) is interviewed, the focus is on the abberitions.  He, Russell Moore and Dan Cruver of Together for Adoption have many positive things to say.  But most of what is recorded seems intended to cast the movement in a possible light (like the term ‘crusade’).

“… now-commonplace Christian adoption rhetoric…”

I didn’t like that the author called my convictions (beliefs that grip me) rhetoric.  Adoption is one of the main metaphors in Scripture that helps us to understand salvation.  Maybe I’m just missing something but to call it rhetoric is ignorant rhetoric.  It shows the author doesn’t really understand us or the Scriptures.

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One of the newer books on adoption out there is Russell Moore’s Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches.  Moore is the Dean of Theology at Southern Seminary, as well as a preaching pastor.  He is an adoptive father.

Most books about adoption that I’ve read are either about the adoption process (including trying to encourage people to adopt) or about the doctrine of adoption as an aspect of our salvation.  This book is about both, which is both its strength and weakness.

It is a strength because the church desperately needs to see the connection between the two.  Since we’ve been adopted by God, we reveal much of the gospel as we adopt children who have no status, stability and inheritance.  Moore does a great job of working through much of the doctrine of adoption.

He also shares his struggles in deciding to adopt, the process and then parenting 2 boys.  He wrestled with pride in many forms all through the process.  He paints a realistic picture of international adoption though he also addresses issues regarding domestic adoption.  Some of our experiences were the same, others were quite different.

For instance, he relates how his boys had never seen the sun or ridden in a car until they drove away from the orphanage.  Our son was quite familiar with cars.  It was car seats that he had no experiential knowledge of.  He was used to sitting on the driver’s lap.  That was quite an adjustment for the little guy.

This strength is also a weakness at times since he flits back and forth.  It wasn’t confusing, just irritating.  It was like he kept changing subjects.

Another minor weakness was the length of the chapters.  As a father, I found it difficult to read at times due to the time commitment for a chapter.  I like to read whole chapters, a practice that causes no small amount of frustration for Amie.

Another strength to the book was his interaction with the naysayers in the world.  He didn’t pretend they didn’t exist.  In some cases he revealed their presuppositions which point them there (Darwinism and eugenics for instance).  In other cases he returned to the sufficiency of the gospel.  Adopting is abit counter-cultural (aside from the glam factor for celebrities these days- not all of them, just the ones who draw lots of attention to themselves in the process).  The gospel is typically counter-cultural, particularly in trans-racial adoptions like ours.

Adopted for Life is well worth reading for those considering adoption or who want to help those who do.  He helps people understand how important adoption is in the history of redemption (stories, not just ‘doctrine’).    He longs to see the church return to the days when it took in the most helpless of society because God has a heart for the helpless.  This is an important issue, far more important than if you are a hipster Christian or whether or not all Reformed churches should be monolithic in doctrine and practice.  Adoption is, simply put, a gospel issue.  As a gospel issue, it requires our attention.

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On September 25th, Steve will be leading a breakout session at the Great Adventure Men’s Conference here in Tucson.  It will be held at Christ Community Church beginning at 7 a.m.  Thankfully Steve won’t be teaching so early.

His topic is Adoption: The Greatest Adventure.  His talk with cover:

God’s concern for the defenseless, including orphans.

Adoption: the highest grace of the gospel.

Adoption: a picture of the gospel.

He’s stealing his point from Russell Moore’s book Adopted For Life (more about this book later).

“What if we Christians were known once again, as the people who take in orphans and make of them beloved sons and daughters?”

He wants God to develop hearts for the orphans in men, to essentially put his heart in them.  He hopes some will consider adopting, or supporting those who do.  Adopting is more than charity- it is kingdom work.  Men will be challenged to love a child long-term, there is no greater adventure.

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