Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why We Are Adopting, Part Three

Yes, there is a part three to this. I'm sure there could be a part 438, but I will try to wind it down soon. :0)

It was not until we had prayed and prayed about adopting and had begun to pursue the journey that I realized how much earthly adoption is such a picture of the Gospel.

Yet now, I see it from Genesis to Revelation.

"just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to ADOPTION AS SONS BY JESUS CHRIST TO HIMSELF, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Ephesians 1:4-5).

". . .God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might RECEIVE THE ADOPTION AS SONS. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'ABBA, FATHER!'" (Romans 8:14-15)

Consider all the parallels. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He reached out to us with his outstretched arm and redeemed us. Similarly, an adoptive family reaches through the beaurocracy and piles of paperwork, perhaps making financial and many other types of sacrifices, to redeem a child from the clutches of an orphanage or other type of establishment (perhaps even from the hands of the women's health clinic professionals).

When Christ adopted us He gave us His name and promises us "full rights as his adopted children" (Romans 8:23). An adoptive family also does this when giving their new child their own name and welcoming him or her into their family and home.

What about a special needs adoption? Were not you and I on the special needs list, needing Someone to pull us out and call us His own? My special needs probably came with a very long file but could be summed up in 2 words: sin and self. Yet, those needs did not scare Christ. He did not back up and look for someone easier. He took me and began His very own therapy: regeneration.

Oh, of course, some folks always worry about trans-racial adoption. Should I really adopt someone who is not the same race? Well, praise the Lord, He did not stick with His own race! I'm as far from Jewish as one can be (by birth), but Christ didn't turn His nose up to trans-racial adoptions and brought me right on into His family.

So there you have it. I was a spiritual orphan, on the special needs list, and to top it off, I was the "wrong" race. But Christ, in His grace and mercy, adopted me into His family, calling me a daughter of God.

What about you?

Consider what the Lord told Moses and the Isrealites in Deuteronomy 10:18-19:

"He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt."

Sweet Believer, you too were brought out of Egypt. Yet God showed unexplainable mercy and compassion on us while we were still in the bondage of slavery and BROUGHT US OUT!!! Despite out race, despite our issues, He brought us out and called us His own. So we too must show compassion and love. even "love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why We are Adopting, Part Two

"Don't excuse yourself by saying, "Look, we didn't know." For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve" (Proverbs 24:12, NLT).

God mentions over and over in His Word the importance of remembering the plight of the orphan (as well as the widow and the poor).

Such verses as Psalm 82:3 come to mind:

"Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute."

. . .and Psalm 10:14:

". . . .The helpless put their trust in you. You defend the orphans."

. . . and, of course, James 1:27:

"True and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

And these are just a few.

Obviously, to say the Lord has a heart for the orphan is an understatement. He has been concerned and placing great emphasis in His Word for the fatherless since WAY back; evidence being the many references even in the Mosaic Law.

So what do we do with this? Should we not value what God values? Unfortunately, in our American Dream society, we value things far less eternal. Our bank account, our big houses (or the dream of one), whether our 2.1 kids have the best schools, latest toys, and a paid for college education.

It's true, isn't it?

These things shouldn't surprise us in the world, but what about those of us who profess the name of Christ?

Aren't we supposed to be different? Shouldn't we have a more eternal perspective?

I have a long way to go, and everyday, I feel like I know less and less, but I do know that an eternal perspective includes valuing what God values.

And God values the orphan.

So after my husband and I emerged from the reality shock of "Yes, there are orphans out there, and it is REAL, REAL, REAL," we had to make decisions of what we were going to do with this reality.

We began by sponsoring a precious sibling group whom we met in a Nicaraguan orphanage and have been able to visit them several times a year. They are near and dear to our hearts. They often call us Mama and Papa, and believe me, if I could have brought them home, I would have done it a dozen times.

For us, the desire to help did not stop there. The "cry of the orphan" has been a ring in our ears and a tug on our hearts ever since.

After making ourselves available for adoption, I figured God would wrap it all up so nice and neat for us, ya know, since we were so willing and all.

But that hasn't been our case. Our journey to adoption has been rocky at best. We have experienced shut doors and terrible heartache. We have on more than one occasion considered giving up and keeping our orphan ministry focused in other areas.

But God wouldn't let us give up.

Our social worker suggested we consider some opportunities and programs our agency offered that we had not considered (because of our family size and family size/income ratio).

And so it was that on March 4, 2010, we found Hai Hai, and he found us.

Some people call it the red thread; I call it God.

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows--this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families;. . ." (Psalms 28:5-6a).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why We Are Adopting, Part One

"You mean you want another kid?" This question was posed to my husband recently when the conversation was turned to our adoption process.

"Yes," dear hubby assured him.

But thinking of our other six children, the concerned fellow responded, "But is that legal?"


Of course, I understand that not everyone has the same perspective we do, so I thought I would share just a smidgen of our story and how God has brought us down this road.

I have not always wanted to adopt. In fact, I never considered it until after our first child was born. It was after viewing a popular talk show's episode on the plight of Romanian orphans that I began to feel God prick at my heart.

The Lord was so generous and continued to bless us with biological children. Even after our fourth child was born, I remember looking into Chinese adoptions online. I remember being re-inspired by Steven Curtis Chapman. Yet, when I saw the cost of international adoption, I was so overwhelmed and discouraged. I remember thinking, "This is such a wonderful idea, but it must be for other people. (People with money. . .;0) People who do not have children."

God began to change my thinking, though. My husband went on his first international mission trip in 2005 to the country of Nicaragua. He was changed forever.

He persuaded me to return with him on another trip. For the first time, I saw real poverty, first-hand. I was overwhelmed, confused, sad, yet blessed beyond all measure.

And for the first time, I held real orphans in my arms.

For the first time, they were no longer faces on the tv screen.

They were as real as you and I. They each had a story. They each needed a loving family.

I was broken. I returned to the US, seeing everything differently, for the first time.

The orphans there opened my eyes to a world of children who need a family.

It slowly began to sink in. There are 147 million orphans all around this world.

147 million.

My husband and I finally realized that there are way too many orphans for us to think we have enough children.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Winner and a Birthday!

Good morning everyone! Thank you so much for particpating in my first giveaway. It has been a lot of fun, and I have enjoyed meeting everyone!

The winner of the giveaway package is Rachel!

In other news, we have another birthday around here! Today is our sweet Middle Sister's birthday!

Middle Sister is a great joy and an incredible blessing in our family!

She is joyful and gentle and ever-mindful of others' feelings, sensitive in so many good ways.

We are thankful and also looking forward to great things God has in store for her!

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Look and First Giveaway!

I am so excited about my blog's new look! Alexis over at Blog Designs by Alexis did a wonderful job! She worked hard to customize it just the way I wanted it. Thank you, Alexis!

To celebrate the new blog design here at "In the Heart of our Home," I think I will try my first giveaway! This should be fun!

The giveaway will include the following goodies:

* a great summer apron, modeled below by my sweet daughter, Big Sister
* a cute "Friends" tray
* a copy of Let's Go on a Mommy Date by Karen Kingsbury
* a copy of the must-read Crazy Love by Francis Chan
* a wordless book.

You can easily enter this giveaway by doing any or all of the following:

1. Leave a comment telling me what you think of the new blog design.
2. Become a friend of "In the Heart of our Home" by adding yourself as a follower.
3. Do a post on your blog about this giveaway (and let me know :-).

I hope you will take the time to participate! We will have the drawing Friday night (July 16) and post the winner Saturday (Middle Sister's birthday :0)!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pure Delight!

In the Heart of our Home,


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Within Us

One of my favorite songs is "In Christ Alone." I love to hear Big Sister play it on the piano, and it is so sweet to hear Middle Sister singing the words while she empties the dishwasher.
"In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are still, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All; here in the love of Christ I stand!"
It is through Him and Him alone where we find our hope.
We have no hope of salvation without Him.
We have no hope of sanctification without Him.
We have no hope of grace without Him. We have no hope of peace without Him.
It is in Christ. Alone.
But think of what He can do in you and through you. Look at what He is already accomplishing.
The Pharisees wanted signs and wonders.
"Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, 'The kingdom of God does not come with observation, nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you'" (Luke 17:20-21).
Yet, the signs and wonders seem, more often than not, the miraculous work God is doing within you and me.
How awesome to see God rule in the life of a Believer through faith in Christ.
"No gult in life, no fear in death; this is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry, to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns, or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I'll stand!"

In the Heart of our Home,