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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Adoption Approved...Mine & Yours!

Adoptive parents, are some of my biggest heroes!

I am so humbled by what they sacrifice because of their obedience to follow Christ, no matter what, often not knowing the full ramifications of those sacrifices until much later, after the adoption is approved, when those new daughters/sons, sisters/brothers are brought home.  The adoption process, alone, with its mountains of paperwork, delays, frustrations, and on and on (an emotional roller-coaster for most) is only Chapter One in a multi-inch-thick novel entitled, "Adoption:  The Lifelong Journey!".  

This is the Luebke Family!  Some of my hero's! 
Read about their adoption journey.

I know that obedience is far greater than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22), but this is not choosing one over the other.  This is choosing obedience which, in turn, causes sacrifice at great cost, sometimes.  I am not saying this is a bad thing, because I know God desires to redeem those sacrifices for His good, for developing character, a much deeper dependence on Him and ultimately for becoming like Christ. But I am saying this is a challenge adoptive parents are not fully prepared for, especially when it suddenly impacts their precious biological children so drastically.  Realistically, how can they be, fully prepared that is, when suddenly they see their precious little ones' sweet, endearing, personalities change right before their very eyes.  You guessed it, rarely is that change a positive one.  Sometimes, behavior changes are not those observed as aggression toward a particular family member, but instead a withdrawal into themselves.  Each child is as different and unique as their coping mechanisms are.  However, if you probe deeper, I am sure most parents would reluctantly say they have seen glimpses of this behavior leaking out previously, but certainly not to this extent. knows no boundaries, this side of Heaven.  We are all more keenly aware of that fact as it reared it's ugly head in CT, yesterday.  All babies are born into sin, except Jesus, of course.  We do not have to teach them to do wrong, but we do have to teach, train, coax, and sometimes bribe them to do right.  Adoption will certainly bring out the sin in all of us. The reason?  I believe it is, partly, because it is such a clear picture of God the Father's adoption of each of us through the blood of Jesus, His Son (Ephesians 1:4-5).  Redemption has always been...from the ugly! The question is, what will we do with that ugliness each time it re-appears?

I am speaking more specifically about the effect adoption has on the biological children/siblings (especially younger ones) in families and then, in turn, the mental, emotional and even spiritual anguish that has on the parents as they watch what they knew and cherished before as "their family" be completely turned upside-down and disintegrate into oblivion, never  to return to what it was previously.  Not surprising is the parents sudden doubt about their decision to adopt, one they KNEW, 'beyond a shadow of a doubt', to be from God before it caused such trauma for their bio sons or daughters.

Much like any other obedience we offer Christ, the consequences (good and bad)--and yes, I am speaking of the consequences of our obedience--often are not fully realized until after the following through of the obedience.  I think we should look deeper and longer at that word obedience, especially as it relates to adoption.  Obedience is an ongoing action, not a one-time deal and it's done.  This is much the same as we should define the word faith.  Both words represent a continual action or ongoing process that is required. 

I realized all this before, but this week it has made a much deeper impact on me.  Sacrifices, due to obedience, are not only personal for mom and dad, but involves sacrifices that the vast majority of biological children are forced to make when God calls the family to adopt.  Forced in the fact they are not given an option, but instead told, "We are adopting!" Basically the same thing that happens when mom becomes pregnant with the next child. "Guess what, Johnny!  You are going to be a big brother!"

However, birthing or adopting an infant into a family with older siblings is much different than adopting a toddler or older child. It is now Game-Day and each competes, with great skill mind you, for lap-time, nap-time, snack-time, play-time, bath-time, potty-time, mommy-time, daddy-time, and even night-time. 

I am convinced adoptive parents, especially those with young biological children, should receive grief counseling in their pre-adoptive training required hours.  The death of their pre-adoption family unit is one that will surely be grieved, but must be done guilt-free.  

I recommend both of these books for those
experiencing grief of many kinds.

God is not surprised by the changes and challenges adoption will cause these precious biological children and their parents.  In fact, He delights in using them.  He intimately knows each one of us and each one of those biological siblings.  He knows what we need in order to develop in us the Christ-like characteristics He so desires us to share with others.  And He knows what each biological child needs to help them attain their full spiritual maturity so they can successfully accomplish all those works He has prepared in advance for them to do, in the future (Ephesians 2:10).  The other half of that equation, though...what will be Johnny's response?  How can mom and dad help Johnny's response be one which benefits him and the family as a whole, in the end? 

This is also true for families with only biological children/siblings.  God designs families, through birth and adoption, through loss and grief, through every circumstance and situation He allows.  His design is for every family member to reach their fullest and greatest potential while holding tightly to His outstretched hand and eyes firmly fixed on Him.

I do know families, where adoption and/or fostering have scarred family members for life and they still do not see any good that has come from their obedience to follow God's leading them to adopt and/or foster children from the hard places.  In the past, resources for families like these have been almost non-existent, but not today!  Today, research and resources are multiplying and families are sharing these new found new-life-breathing tools with those they come in contact with them via the information highways.  Thank God!

One thing to note, attachment issues are not only for those adopted and fostered children you bring home, but they can also affect bio-child to parent relationships and the mom or dad to adoptive-child relationships and bio-sibling to adopted-sibling relationships.  Therapy and counseling for these attachment issues, also common in adoptive families, is now available in most areas of the country.

We find ourselves in the midst of a season where we are granted the opportunity to focus, once again, on just how much one single life can impact, not only their one family, but the entire world and even turn it upside-down.

Born to Die!

The birth of Jesus Christ! No one life, death and resurrection has impacted the masses, as His!  Jesus Christ...our very own adoption approval, by God Himself, for Him, God-Almighty, to become our Father, our Abba, our Daddy!  

But wait!  This is only Chapter One in a multi-inch-thick, never-ending, novel entitled, "His Adoption:  The Eternal Journey!"  

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ,
in accordance with his pleasure and will—
to the praise of his glorious grace,
which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
that he lavished on us.
With all wisdom and understanding,
he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,  
to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things 
in heaven and on earth under Christ.  
Ephesians 1:3-10

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Orphan Care & Adoption! It Is Not One Or The Other, But Both!

This is part 1 of, at least, 2.

"Coordinate the adoption of deaf orphans in the world!"  What did He really mean?

In the beginning, one thing I questioned God about, more than once, was why would He choose me for this task when I did not have a positive view of adoption and/or foster care?  Charles and I never adopted and never fostered children.  We did not ever feel God leading us in that direction.  But we did have multiple friends, through the years, who experienced heart wrenching situations because they adopted or provided foster-parenting.  These situations were not just cause for temporary heart-ache that came and went, but they were and are life-altering ones that will never be forgotten and have forever impacted our friends lives.

Now I know. He knew that I would not sugar-coat this thing called adoption to the families that He sent my way; I had seen both sides of adoption.  He knew it would take my seeing families ripped apart, with my own eyes.  These were my friends, the parents, who had simply opened their all-consuming loving hearts to those who had known no love, assuming they would be overjoyed to have someone finally love them--when in reality, they could not be.

For many years, the adoption world was filled with stories of only 'happily ever after endings'.  For the most part you only heard the negative ones if your life some how personally touched those that were secretly dying inside and trying desperately to maintain some semblance of sanity because of the noble act of adoption and/or fostering.  Resources for these families in desperate need were non-existent and they were forced to deal privately with the guilt of their failure, falsely believing the lie that their love for their adopted/fostered child(ren) was just not strong enough.

Today, multiple resources are now available for these families and the self-quilt is beginning to be balanced with the knowledge of how great neglect and lack of nurture affect children adopted and fostered from the hard places.  This does not take into account for those who have been abused in others ways, especially sexually.  In addition, the Internet, blogs, and Facebook have opened up the truths on the other end of the spectrum of adoption, children who have been so scarred by their past that they cannot receive their adoptive/foster parents love and the reality of human-trafficking of children as it really does relate to adoption is made more easily accessible.



Tapestry Ministry of Irving Bible Church

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