Thursday, July 29, 2010

7th Anniversary Reflections

Mark and I celebrated our 7th anniversary on Monday, July 26th.  We spent the weekend in Orange Beach and enjoyed the almost vacant beaches, almost oil-free waters, and glistening sand.  The ocean is one of God's most amazing creations.  There is another world living below the horizon of blue/green waters that we know so little about.  The power of the current as it pulls you deeper into the gulf is startling.  Yet, its sound is one of the most relaxing, calming reverberations known to man.  The sound reminds me of Don Piper's description of angel's wings in his account of 90 Minutes in Heaven, “a beautiful, holy melody with a cadence that seemed never to stop.”  Hebrews 1:7 says, "In speaking of the angels he says, 'He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.'" I imagine the sound to be like that of waves crashing on the beach in a constant rhythm and with the intensity of Niagara Falls.  Angels aren't the wimpy cupids we've made them out to be.  They're warriors, ambassadors, and messengers!  


In the midst of complete delight and beauty, I could not help but think of our little Zane, and the millions of children who have never seen the ocean, experienced the power of the water, and felt the salty splash of the waves.  My heart hurts for children who do not have the opportunity to experience such magnificence.  Even more disconcerting is the fact that experiences such as these are rarely even a thought to a child who has no time for such luxury and leisure.  Monumental issues, such as poverty, disease, hunger, and homelessness are barriers to such dreams and thieves of one's innocence.  Many children between the ages of 6 and 10 are parents, providers, and caretakers to baby brothers and sisters.  Their jobs?  Begging, stealing, sex-slavery, forced labor... Life is about survival, and this kind of survival is dismal at best.  Who will see them?  Who will rescue them?  Who will restore their innocence?


Isaiah 57:18 - "I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him,"


Jeremiah 30:17 - "But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the Lord, 'because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares."


Psalm 71: 20 - "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, You will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up."


God is El Roi, "the God who sees".  He will not forget the oppressed.  Through adoption, God is restoring dignity, health, and opportunity to children who otherwise would end up trafficked, homeless, or dead.  I'm so thankful to hear from so many families who feel God's call to adopt children.  His heart is becoming our heart for the lonely and oppressed.  


I pray for Zane's mother, though I have never laid eyes on her.  I wonder what kind of life she has had.  I wonder if she was once a middle class woman in the beautiful country of Ethiopia, living comfortably with her young, hard-working husband like Haregewoin (learn more at http://www.thereisnomewithoutyou.com/ and click on the video to hear a summary from the author).  Was her husband diagnosed with "the unmentionable disease" and fired from his job?  Was he out-casted by society and left to die a painful death in destitution on a cold dirt floor?  What happened to her?  Did she also catch the disease?  Was she raped by deranged and defiled men who took advantage of a vulnerable woman?  How does she eat when her family has been ostracized because of disease?  I wonder what she is thinking now...knowing she will never be able to provide for Zane, and loving him enough to let him go.  Does she pray for him?  Does she beg God for a Christian family to raise him with love and opportunity?  Does she know that God is answering her prayers?

In an ideal world, Zane's birth-mother would receive the health care she needs, eat healthily every day, and live a long, productive life.  She would love her son, send him off to school with a kiss everyday, and tuck him in to bed each night.  While I know I will love Zane with my whole heart, he will one day long for his birth-mother, and wonder about her just as I am today.  Together we will grieve the insurmountable loss he will experience and the injustices of a fallen world.  We will cry, call out to God, hold each other close, and rest in the hope of one day seeing her again in a place where there will be no more death, no more crying, no more pain.  And as He always does, God will fill us with His unexplainable peace, until that day when Zane, his birth-mother, and I will stand on Heaven's shores hand-in-hand, engulfed in the beautiful thunder of angels wings. (Ephesians 2:14 - "For He Himself is our peace..."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This is just the toddler room...

I saw this on a blog that I follow and I couldn't help but post it here.
Bethzada Toddler Room
This is one of three rooms in an Ethiopian orphanage.  This one is the toddler room.  There are two other baby rooms full of children.  I can't imagine what it must feel like to live communally like this when you are so young.  Who comes in to kiss them good morning and lay out their clothes for the day?  Do they have anything that is just there's?  A special blanket, a stuffed animal, a picture of a mother or father?  Or do they lose themselves in the shuffle, expecting only daily necessities:  food, water, shelter?  I wonder what these children think about when the go to sleep.  Do they run to anyone when they've had a bad dream?  Who's telling them they will be alright?  They will be alright, won't they?
Adoptive children coming in to the United States was at an all time high in 2004, with 22,990 adoptions.  Last year there were only 12,753.  With more orphans today than there were at any other point in history, I am concerned about the decreasing number of adoptions.  There is nothing more important to a child's development than having a loving family.  Without a family, where will the children in this video be in the next 10-20 years when they age out of their country's system?  Will they be trafficked by work and sex trade predators?  Will they live on the streets and steal from local markets?  Will they be dead from disease and hunger?  Let's be real...they won't have money to go to the University, travel abroad, get well-paying jobs.  The reality is...without people accepting the challenge of adoption by faith, these children are on a fast-track to destruction.  We have a short window of opportunity while these orphanages protect these children physically, to get them into loving homes where they can make something of themselves.  The time to adopt is now.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Paperwork is nearing an end! YEA!

Last Friday, Mark and I headed to Baton Rouge to get our dossier documents certified by the secretary of state! It was a great birthday present to get that behind us.  Check out the videos below to see a quick snap shot of our "adventure."
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The "Official" Secretary of State's Office in the "Old Capitol Building".  Of course great work is done everyday in our state's capitol...just not the kind of work we were interested in getting done!
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We thought we followed the visitor's office directions exactly as we were told...
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But apparently we missed a key turn somewhere along the way....
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In order for the state to certify our papers, they have to be signed in front of a notary....
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Where better to find a notary than your local grocery store?

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Finally back at the right S.O.S. office...

So it turns out LA is very efficient about getting the documents certified, and I recommend that anyone adopting internationally from LA just take it to Baton Rouge, instead of mailing it in. They finished it in about 5 minutes after we FINALLY figured out where we were going.

Mark took me shopping in BR after getting the papers certified at the Mall of Louisiana. What a happy birthday! :)