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Posts Tagged ‘orphans’


I know how that sounds. It sounds like mom is allowing me to go on a field trip or something. It is important if you want to go on the field trip. No form … no trip.

When it comes to international adoption, no form … no adoption. A child has to be declared abandoned, with a failed effort to identify the parents (ads in the paper, for instance). This is the case for our son. He was abandoned, and no one knew his parents were.

Things are a bit different when a child is dropped off at an orphanage by the parents. Or parent. There is a legitimate concern about human trafficking. Legal authorities want documentation. The USCIS wants “parental authorization” that the parent(s) has revoked their parental rights permanently. The statement has to be clear.

This can happen as part of the court document- the Certificate of Non-Appeal.  In our case, it didn’t. So we needed to wait for the Parental Authorization. This is what we’ve been waiting for far longer than we wanted to wait. Amie has turned into Mama Bear. Some of this is cultural, I’m sure. Our culture is far more time sensitive than other cultures. And the agency reps have had plenty on their plates. You try to be patient, but as my earlier post said- we’re getting restless!

But today we learned that our PA has come in. Amie can put away her bear suit.  This means we are probably 2-3 months away from travel. We hope. Keep praying. But the PA is just awaiting translation. In a few days one copy will go to USCIS and another to us. We are a big step closer, so we better keep painting!

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"I'm so confuuused!"

In recent weeks Amie has joined some adoption groups on-line.  We entered into the utter ambiguity of the internet.

She came across a few people who were very critical of the agency we are using for our adoption, particularly with their work in the DRC.  But when you Google the person’s name, you discover they now have their own orphan care ministry.  So, is this ministry a response to what she witnessed, or is she just running down the competition?  See the ambiguity?  Enter the confusion.

We wanted more information.  I did not want us to make a knee-jerk reaction (Jesus, we need you!).  Changing agencies meant we only had one option, the one we decided not to go with.  The other agency was used by someone Amie knows, and she was happy with it.  But it was more expensive than the one we are using.  And it was run by lawyers (sorry my lawyer friends).  We preferred to work with Christians so our values would be honored in the process.  One of the main contacts for the African program appeared to be a professing Christian.  To jump ship would be costly in terms of time and money.  We had to make sure jumping was necessary before jumping.

I am reminded of the sleepless night when Amie was pregnant.  She had an ultrasound in Winter Haven, and they determined that Jadon was way too small.  We needed to see a specialist (the next day!!), and we were scared.  We’d waited so long (not as long as Abraham and Sarah), and to think that something was seriously wrong had us on our knees in desperation.  Turned out that a more advanced ultrasound revealed that she was not dangerously small.  But the specialist remained involved to make sure nothing changed for the worse.  Jadon was barely over 5 lbs when born, but you wouldn’t know it now.

Like that day, we realized we needed more information.  We communicated with the agency, letting them know what happened.  You could tell this didn’t take them by surprise.  It was a thorn in their side- you could sense their frustration.  We were told a lawsuit was pending.  The answers to many of our questions would be answered shortly.  Okay.

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Finally went to see Despicable Me today.  No, it was not available in 3-D at the 2nd run (down) theater I gave my $1.50 to.  I had forgotten that the movie included adoption as a plot line.

Tormenting a child

Gru, voiced by a heavily accented  Steve Carell, is a criminal whose reach exceeds his grasp.  He wants to be the worst, most famous criminal.  He lives with memories of his mother (voiced by Julie Andrews) treating him like a total loser his whole life.  He wants to be somebody, even if it is a criminal.

The movie starts with the newest, latest theft which has shocked the world.  A pyramid has been stolen from Egypt.  Kind of hard to stick that in your back pocket or down your shirt.  Doesn’t really fit on a plane or boat home.  But Gru didn’t do it, and it is eating at him.

He decides to fulfill his life-long dream to fly to the moon- to shrink it and steal it.  That would be the most famous theft- ever!  Only his new nemesis, Vector (“Victor is my geek name”) has the same goal, and always seems to get the best of him.

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Since it is Orphan Awareness Month, I thought I’d list some movies that have to do with adoption and orphans.  If you have any others I didn’t think of (since this is off the top of my head), let me know.

The Blind Side– since this movie came out, there has been an increase in adoptions.  Causation?  No idea, but this is a great movie based on a real story about a family moved to compassion for a homeless boy who miraculously attended the private school their children went to.  That teen, given a 2nd chance at life was named Michael Oher who now plays in the NFL.  Sandra Bullock played the mom, said “I finally met people who walk the walk.”

The Cider House Rules– was written as an apologetic for abortion, but I think it fails to make its point.  Tobey MaGuire plays an orphan who helps the doctor who works there.  It is a loving environment.  The doctor, played by Michael Caine, hopes that the boy will take over for him one day.  But first he must explore the world, and leaves with a young couple who just had a ‘procedure’.  The movie is about rebellion against rules written by others who don’t live in your shoes.  But the movie portrays the destruction caused by abortion more consistently and effectively than it does any pain caused by having the children.

Mommy Dearest– a horror film of sorts as actress Joan Crawford adopts children to appear ‘normal’.  Their experience was anything but normal, as they endure abuse at her hands.  All I can remember is “no more wire hangers!”

Rabbit-Proof Fence– The Aboriginal Act ended up in the Australian government placing many “half-caste” children in orphanages (after removing them from their families).  One teenaged girl and her younger sister escape and travel 1,200 miles thru the heart of Australia to return to their mother and grandmother, outwitting a tracker during their lengthy journey.

Tears of the Sun– Bruce Willis is a soldier who finds himself with the unexpected task of protecting orphans and other refugees from government troops while in Nigeria.  It is an action film, with the protection of orphans as a plot device.

Superman & Spider-Man– both of these comic book heroes were adopted.  The Man of Steel was adopted by the older couple that found him, concealing his identity from the world.  Peter Parker’s parents died, and he was adopted by Aunt Mae and his murdered Uncle.

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I started reading Generous Justice by Tim Keller today.  While the book is not about adoption and orphan care, it certainly has some great implications for them.

He starts with talking about Micah 6:8, that we walk humbly before God by acting justly and loving mercy.  They are connected, not separate.

“In Micah 6:8, “misphat puts the emphasis on the action, chesedh puts it on the attitude [or motive] behind the action.”  To walk with God, then, we must do justice, out of merciful love.”

In other words, because we love mercy we act justly.  As Christians, we have received mercy (and Jesus received the retributive justice we deserved).  As the gospel transforms us, Jesus makes us people who are merciful (Mt. 5) and pursue the rights of others.

“Over and over again, misphat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor- those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.””

He quotes a number of passages which use justice to describe how we are to treat those who are often defenseless.  Among those are Zechariah 7:10-11, Deuteronomy 27:19, Jeremiah 22:3 and Deuteronomy 4:6-8.

“If believers in God don’t honor the cries and claims of the poor, we don’t honor him, whatever we profess, because we hide his beauty from the eyes of the world.”

In other words, God’s people are supposed to manifest his beauty and glory as we care for such people in great need.  The church, and individual Christians, should want to glorify God by, in part, caring for orphans.  Adoption glorifies God precisely because it is just, in addition to merciful.

Keller makes the argument (which I agree with) that to not do such things is in fact unjust.  We are unrighteous when we close our ears to their cries, and our wallets to their legitimate needs.  Adoption is one way to respond to their cries, and meet the need of orphans for parents to protect and provide for them.  Are you listening?

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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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