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September 22, 2010

Why Adopt?

I just recently posted this bumper sticker on my facebook page. It’s a BOLD statement, one that I knew could cause some controversy. Does this mean to be “pro-life” you need to adopt? On some level, I believe yes! To take a pro-life stance is to take a pro-child stance. If we ask others to keep their babies that were conceived not in the best of situations, to most likely be born not into the best of situations, we need the resources to care for those children in the event that they are orphaned or given up for adoption. Those “resources” should be the ones who ask demand that no child be murdered in the womb…Christians.

Hear me out. We are called by God to care for the orphans of the world (James 1:27). What does this look like? To me, at first it looked like sending money to some obscure orphanage in some obscure region in some poor country. And maybe, just maybe, someday I would go and physically be there in a show of support and Christian love…just to eventually leave for my cushy life in the US and resume the money-sending.

Until I began the process of adopting an orphan.

My true belief is that when we are called to care for orphans, we are called to give them homes…to give them parents! I don’t believe that there is one child out there who does not painfully yearn for a forever family. Even in the best of situations (when the orphanage is run well, is stocked with all necessities, has loving caregivers, etc.), children constantly look at the front door wondering, “when will my parents come to take me home?” (just ask a first-hand witness…my son). Sadly, most orphans do not receive quality care and many are left to lay in cribs day in and day out, being fed by bottles with the tips cut off so that they drink it quickly and the “caregiver” can move on to the next child asap. They rarely reach the age-appropriate milestones that are so critical in childhood development…thus severely handicapping them for life as an adult. Is this what God wants? For us to *only* send money so that these kids can languish in orphanages like that? For them to eventually become disconnected and ostracized members of adult society (if they don’t commit suicide before then)? I’m not so sure. For we were adopted into the family of God…He took us as his own - despite our seeming unworthiness - and promised us everlasting life with Him…NOT apart from Him (Eph 1:5).  Shouldn't we do the same?

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO not against sending money to support orphanages. On the contrary, we Christians should do everything we can to make sure that orphanages are supported and properly equipped. And I believe there is a niche of Christians who can easily do this…the unmarried, the elderly, the couples who do not feel called to have children, the families who are no longer expanding…yada, yada. But I would issue this challenge to those married couples who do want children…consider adoption. In Russia alone, there is over ¾ of a million orphans. That’s just one country. There’s also China, Africa, Latin American, South America, Europe, Haiti…and our own backyard, the USA. It’s utterly heartbreaking how many beautiful amazing children out there need forever families.

Adoption. Is it scary? Yes. Is it overwhelming? Yes. Is it uncomfortable? Yes, at times. Is it a blessing beyond comprehension? YES! I truly believe that God equips people with honest discernment when they earnestly seek His will in adoption. Does this mean everyone should pursue adoption? No, not necessarily. While I am very opinionated and passionate about this subject, I cannot (and will not) condemn others for not adopting. Ultimately it is a decision reached through much prayer and supplication. And it is a decision reached with God at the helm. Personally, I just find it disturbing that, out of so many Christian families expanding in America, so few even consider adoption. I’d like to see us getting a little out of our comfort zone…and a little out of the “but it’s not MY child” mentality. Because, Frankly speaking, even our biological children are on loan to us in this world. All children ultimately belong to God, but it’s up to US to care for them while we are all here. I’d love to someday see the seemingly impossible dream of orphanages becoming obsolete become reality…wouldn’t that be just so awesome?!

Oh, and there is always foster care to consider... ;)

September 15, 2010

South Dakota Trip

This year's family vacation was to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We went with some great friends and stayed in a cozy (very rustic) cabin for a few days while taking in some gorgeous views. And the weather? So perfect! It was in mid-seventies with no clouds during the day and lows of upper-thirties at night...just enough to enjoy a fire in the wood stove and/or fire pit.

On Saturday we visited Mt. Rushmore.  C was excited about seeing the "statues" (for about 5 minutes) and we adults enjoyed learning about how the monument came to be. It was also humbling to see the flags at half staff since we were there on Sept. 11.

That night we returned for a video presentation about the presidents, singing of the National Anthem, a dedication to all war veterans in attendance, and a lighting of Mt. Rushmore.  It was quite moving and I am really proud to be an American...despite our faults.

The next day we ventured to two more tourist traps:  Cosmos Mystery Area and Crazy Horse...

Cosmos Mystery Area is supposedly an area in the Black Hills where physics is all wackadoo.  Trees curve down (our friend Austin pointed out that this seemed to happen only to the saplings..), the cabins all are slanted but level (the picture above is how you have to lean when inside.  I got quite sick in there and basically hugged the wall the whole time).  In my opinion this 20 minute tour was not worth the $10/person fee, I could have lived without it.  Made for some fun pictures though!

We then moved on to Crazy Horse.  This was also somewhat disappointing.  The monument is really far from the visitor center and you have to pay an extra $4 (on top of the $10/person entrance fee) to take a bus to the base of the mountain.  It seems like this is really a slow process so I'd be curious to see it in 50 years when they are hopefully done with it (it's taken 62 years just to get to this point).  Right now it's just not that exciting (note C's thrilled look)...unless you are really into Native American history...then the visitor center is right up your alley. :)

Sunday Sept. 12 was also Tom's birthday!  Our friend Erika made Tom a slow-cooker chocolate pudding cake with whipped cream and topped it off with 33 candles...

 (the candles melted fast in that bonfire)
We sang our best off-key rendition of Happy Birthday and topped off the night with some bad wine with a cool name (at least it appealed to us Mommy's):

And the next day we left our wonderful vacation behind for a 6 hour drive back to Denver.
Thanks for the memories everyone, it was a blast!

Radical - Chapter One

*This post is part of a read-along of the book "Radical", by David Platt.  It is being hosted by Marla Taviano if you would like to join in or would just like to follow along.*

 For some reason I had a really hard time writing this post in response to reading chapter one of "Radical". In school terms, this "essay" was due yesterday. I started it numerous times and then erased practically everything I wrote. Finally I walked away thinking I'd just come back to it later when I had some time to reflect. As of right now I still have no idea what will end up here.

I think that it is because God is trying to teach me something. Something I am having trouble wrapping my head around.

I could start with the blame game. I could tell you that my church is SO one of those self-catering churches mentioned in the book.  How everyone seems to have trouble looking past the walls out into the community. How some even have trouble looking outside the sophomoric clicks that I thought I had left behind in high school. Oh how I could rant about all of that! But how productive would that be? I am reading this book to find where God might be leading me...and by extension my family. I am also reading this book because, through various sources, it has been exposed to me rather frequently as of late. I can only assume God is trying to get my attention...not to point out what is lacking in my church, but what is lacking within ME.

Ok, God, I'm listening!

I am guilty of believing that the "American Dream" is the endgame that will bring ultimate happiness. From a young age I bought into the idea that I was entitled to success...if I worked hard and followed the "ADB" (American Dream Blueprint). Trouble is, I did that and it hasn't brought me happiness. I'm not even content! I am...searching. I need to bring Jesus out of the box I've put Him in. I need to REALLY study the gospel and BE the person God intended me to be. Does that mean I need to do something "radical"? Probably, because as David Platt writes, Jesus saying "Follow Me" contains radical implications (p.11).

But I know I will not go it alone.

And I know that if it is God's will, doors will open and opportunities will arise. I just need to be open to whatever that might be. And then maybe, just maybe, the change in me will be enough to make a change in the people around me...and ultimately whatever church God places me in.

To coin a term from my generation, wouldn't that just be RAD?! :)

September 6, 2010

Labor Day 2010

Hope everyone is having a nice long labor day weekend! Tom is off bow-hunting so I'm home with the kids cleaning and doing laundry. Not very labor-less of me, I know. We do have a BBQ later today to head off to, so that helps. :)

I was trying to master my camera again and got a few shots of the kids playing in the yard...

They still love their sandbox!

I can never get enough pictures of this face...even through the awkward growing of permanent teeth.

Her's too.  She definitely has her Daddy's eyes.

C stepped on a rock and skinned his foot (never mind that I am *constantly* telling them to put their shoes back on).  E ran into the house, brought him back one of her band-aids, and put it on his owie:

I love my kids. :)

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