Thursday, September 30, 2010
Adoption Season For Evangelicals
By Naomi S. Riley
Last Saturday at Grace Chapel in Denver, Focus on the Family (in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Human Services) hosted an information session for parents interested in adopting children out of the foster-care system. More than 150 families were represented and 55 of those have already begun the process. It was a successful and fitting end for the summer of 2010, which turned into a season of adoption for evangelicals.
In May, megachurch pastor Rick Warren held a "civil forum" on the subject. An audience of 800 attended and thousands more watched the webcast from their homes. "Orphans and vulnerable children are not a cause," said Warren. "They are a biblical and social mandate we can't ignore. A country half the size of the U.S—that's how many orphans there are in the world. We're not talking about a small problem."
Adoption was the cover story of Christianity Today in July. It included a feature by Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in which he described in heart-wrenching terms the circumstances of his own adoption of two brothers from a Russian orphanage.
Mr. Moore, the author of a book called "Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches," has become a sort of go-to person for evangelicals on the issue of adoption. In trying to explain why Christians have a particular duty to adopt, he told me that "every one of us who follows Christ was adopted into an already existing family."
Which is to say that unlike Judaism or Islam, faiths that one is born into, Christianity requires each member to have an individual relationship with Christ. And so, in that sense, it is as if each Christian is adopted.
Yet it is the efforts of Focus on the Family, a group which has previously been most known for its political involvement on issues like abortion and gay marriage, that have produced the most striking results so far. The group announced two years ago that it would be devoting a considerable amount of its resources to a new initiative called "Wait No More." Focus is partnering with different state governments—six so far—to reduce the number of children on foster-care roles.
In Colorado alone, Focus has moved about 500 of the 800 kids in foster care into permanent homes over the course of less than two years. The group has had success helping infertile couples desperate for families, but also in placing children with couples who are older, some of whose children have already grown up and left home.
The Focus efforts are particularly interesting because foster kids are typically not young, and often have emotional or even physical problems as a result of a lack of prenatal care, or neglectful birth or foster parents. Sometimes they can only be adopted with siblings, and so a family must take on two or more children at the same time.
Foster children are also likely to be of a different race from their new adoptive parents. As more and more evangelical churches take up the cause of adoption on a large scale, their congregations have begun to look like the multiracial sea of faces that Christian leaders often talk about wanting. But it does involve parents giving up on having children who look like them.
All of this makes the growing evangelical interest in adoption seem particularly countercultural. With the widespread availability of artificial reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization, many couples who previously would have chosen adoption can now use surrogates, donor sperm or donor eggs to have a baby who shares their DNA (or whose DNA they have carefully chosen), and whose prenatal care they can closely monitor. Taking a child as he or she comes to you may be a difficult choice for some parents to make these days.
The contemporary cultural message that we can have complete control over our children goes beyond making sure our babies are healthy and our children are given good moral direction. We take yoga classes with our infants, we attach GPS devices to children's backpacks and we call our kids in college on a daily, if not hourly, basis. There is no doubt that the world can seem a more dangerous place, with too many other influences, particularly new media, trying to exert control over our children. Now that Americans are having fewer children, we fret more over each one, too.
But how much control can we have? A Christianity Today cover story earlier this year on "The Myth of the Perfect Parent" discussed the sense many religious parents have that they've failed if their child strays from the church. Given this backdrop and the wider cultural messages about parenting, one wonders how these evangelical adoptive parents overcome their own desire for control, bring a stranger into their home, and then take responsibility for raising him.
The most persuasive explanation comes from the author of that article, Leslie Leyland Fields, who exhorts her readers: "We are not sovereign over our children—only God is. Children are not tomatoes to stake out or mules to train, nor are they numbers to plug into an equation. They are full human beings wondrously and fearfully made. Parenting, like all tasks under the sun, is intended as an endeavor of love, risk, perseverance, and, above all, faith."
Ms. Riley is an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values.
Praying for his role as husband
Today, let’s focus on our husbands as just that, a husband. If you are not yet married, pray for your guy as he steps into the role of husband. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Your husband, my husband, is the leader. Already. It’s settled. You don’t have to negotiate it or loose sleep over it, they are the head of the home. Christ appointed them to that role.
· Encourage him in his leadership of me, his wife.
· Continue to develop him into a man that always makes marriage a priority.
· Give him a deep love for me, his spouse.
· Give him a new revelation into your heart for marriage.
· Guard his eyes from satan’s attempts to steal his affection from me.
· May he be a model of submission as he submits to the Lord.
· Give him wisdom in leadership.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Today let’s pray for our husband’s job. Whatever it is that he does to ‘bring home the bacon,’ let’s ask that Jesus meet him there today.
We all know our husbands’ jobs well, so spend some time today personalizing your prayer in the way your husband needs them most. Try to take yourself out of the prayers. Don’t pray for what you would be pleased to see happen, but rather things that would bring growth to your dude.
· May his workplace be/become a place where he has freedom to show his creativity and use his gifts.
· That he would gain encouragement, specifically today, from his co-workers.
· That he would be effective.
· A thankful heart for a job that provides.
· Give clarity to any callings that the Lord may be placing in his heart.
· Professional growth.
Take a few extra moments to thank Jesus for giving your husband a job. For those of you who have the joy of staying at home with your kids make sure you have your heart right. Rather than comparing your life to the lives of others or wishing you had more to “show” for your life or sulking in the career you used to have, give thanks for a man who works so hard so that you can be a full-time mommy.
If your husband is between jobs right now, while your praying for direction, open doors, and new opportunity, also pray for his emotional state. That he would feel valuable, significant, and loved.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
- She Worships- This is a blog written by a friend, Sharon. We met Sharon through the Summit. Her blog is basically a place she can share her thoughts on theology and women. She uses it as she is walking through life and learning more from God. She has some great insight on women and I always enjoy reading her thoughts.
- Leading and Loving It- This site was actually introduced to me by Sharon. It is pretty cool. It is a collaboration of some pastor's wives. There is a blog, virtual community groups, resources (like the prayer guide I am using this week), and virtual conferences. I am still digging into this one, but am really enjoying what I am gleaning.
- Totally Tots- SUPER cute site. It is totally up my alley. It is incorporating great books with lessons that center on God. This is something I am looking for with activities I do with Zeke. I don't want our Bible time to be the only time we talk about God during our day. I want to look at everything through the lens of Christ and then filter everything down through that. This site has lots of cute ideas AND they keep a running list of giveaways going on, SCORE!
Praying for his worship
Worship, as you know, is a matter of the heart. So, let’s begin by praying for his heart. I know what it feels like to have a heavy or burdened or uneasy heart. Don’t you? Let’s come together against this for our guys.
· Take the burdens from the heart of my husband.
· Replace them with freedom.
· In that freedom, begin to teach my husband what it truly means to worship You in spirit and in truth.
· Come and meet my husband where he is.
· Allow him to find rest in his home and in his current circumstances.
· Begin to lay new words and encouragement on the heart of my husband.
· Develop him into a man who is capable of being in a constant spirit of worship
Monday, September 27, 2010
Praying for his leadership
All of our men are leaders in one way or another and most of them lead in multiple areas. They are all the leaders in our relationships and homes. Many of them lead multiple people in their place of work. And whether you realize it or not, many of your husband’s friends look to your husband as a leader in their friendship. For those of you who have been in leadership roles yourselves, you know the burden and pressure that can come from such roles. Recognize that your husband is a leader to many people, even in situations that you may be unaware of. Let’s ask the Lord to bless them in this role, to teach them through leadership and to use them to influence others.
· Increase his wisdom in making decisions for those he leads.
· God would give him confidence as a leader.
· Call him to step out in his role and calling.
· Give him influence in the lives of others.
· That he would view his leadership as a way to lead as the Lord has lead him.
· Teach him through leading others.
· A teachable spirit.
Use the next twenty-four hours to focus on your husband’s roles in leadership. Take him before the Lord, specifically as a leader.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
* He has learned to sign bird (same first sign as his big bro, what is it with these boys?!) and when he saw his new cousin Jace this week he kept signing it at him.
* When he wants to be cute, he puts his hand against his cheek and kinda leans his head
* He has learned how to shake his head no. The other night in the tub, he stood up, I asked if he was all done and he slowly smiled at me and shook his head. I told him to sit back down and he continued to shake his head as he slowly sat down.
* He has Spence WRAPPED around his finger
And here are some cute pictures:
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
RIP Ham's :(
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
We are so very proud of Zeke. He has had an excellent first week of training. And I would even venture to say that he is daytime trained. The real test will be next week when we take him to church in his undies. This week I am going to work on taking little short trips out with him. Places like running to Target or going to visit dad at work.
Because I will want to remember here are the details of this past week:
Tuesday- 8 accidents, 4 successful trips to potty
Wednesday- 4 accidents, learned how to go on command
Thursday- 2 accidents, but one was because he was playing in the bathroom instead of sitting on the potty and one was at our neighbors
Friday- 0 accidents, and he asked and went at a neighbors
Saturday- 1 accident (with dad)
Sunday- 0 accidents
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
*He gave up breastfeeding a week and a half ago.
*He isn't great at drinking anything ever, which has brought lots of worry to Spence and I. But we are working through it by tricking him into drinking anything in anyway that we can- using a straw, open cup, or different sippy cups.
*He cruises regularly and can stand on his own. He could totally walk. When he realizes that he isn't holding anything he slowly lowers himself down very controlled.
*He uses the signs for more and all done semi-regularly.
*This past weekend was his first overnight away from home with out us (something Zeke hasn't even done yet)- I'm pretty sure we struggled with it more than he did
*He still only has four teeth