Monday, December 27, 2010

Adoption Is...

I love my pets! Always have!! I even would go as far as to say, I'm a dog lover. But lately something has been bothering me. I am constantly bombarded with pictures of dogs needing "adoption". Don't get me wrong, I love for needy dogs to get loving owners and I am glad there are rescue groups that care about that, I guess I just get tired of a word that is so sacred to me, being used in so many ways. And I am starting wonder, what about the children? Do people think more about needy animals than needy orphans? I have never received a message asking me to care for the orphans, that is except for the command in God's word. I work every day with children that could be considered needy by our standards but would also be viewed as "well off" when compared with so many in this world. There was a time in my life, that I didnt think much about orphans around the world. There were so many and what could I do anyway. That was before God changed my heart. Before my life changing experience, I am ashamed to say that I viewed adoption as a choice for people who cant have their "own" kids. Then God spoke and revealed that it was His plan for us. I have never heard His voice more clearly. After a great deal of soul searching, I realized that there was someone in the world God had hand picked to be my own child. I loved her before I met her and my soul was knit with hers before she was even born. The moment she was placed in my arms was as miraculous as the birth of my boys. I have never been able to put into words what happened to me that day, but I recently read a book that summed up what I have always felt but didn't know how to say. Here is an excerpt from Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman, also an adoptive mom, explaining what happened to her the moment she met her daughter.

In that moment, time stopped. It was like God was speaking to me directly. "Mary Beth, you thickheaded woman, do you not understand now that this is the very way I see you? You are this orphan! I adopted you and you are mine! I bought you with a price! Do you see how you love this baby? That's just a reflection of how much I love you! You didn't have a name, and I gave you a name. You did nothing to deserve my love and I love you anyway. You had no hope, no future, and now you are the daughter of the King!" I saw it. The second she was placed in my arms, I would have fought to the death to protect her. I loved her with everything inside of me. "Do you get it now?" God was saying to me. Under the blanket, this baby was wrapped in rags. She was poor. She didn't smell good. She was hungry. There was nothing about her that had "earned" my love. but I loved her powerfully, deeply, absolutely. Period. I got it.

That says it all to me. I might have missed this miracle if I had listened to the messages of society instead of the voice of God. By no means would I ever say that everyone should adopt. But I do believe that we all have a command and a responsibility to care for orphans. We can pray, give, go, minister, and most of all be as positive and as supportive of adoption as we are about birth children. Learn about using correct adoption language. I once had a stranger stop me, my child within hearing range, and tell me that someday I would have a daughter of my own and then acted offended when I assured her that I already did. Not that I was so shocked. I know how I once viewed adoption and my change came only by God's grace. Now I look at every orphan and think, That could have been my child! I constantly hear Christians preaching about being pro life, but rarely hear them promoting adoption. Don't they go together? I understand that unless you've been there you just might not see it. But, to me adoption is not a word that should be interchanged with trees, ducks, dogs and rivers. It is a picture of what God did for me on the cross and what I experienced on a beautiful September day in China.

Our Christmas 2010

This year was another wonderful Christmas celebration. We began celebrating on the 18th with Rob's family. That morning, the children sang and quoted verses in the morning service. After church, Rob's family came for finger foods followed by a gift exchange. That evening the choir sang our Christmas cantata followed by a dessert fellowship.

On Christmas Eve we had our own time at home. Before dinner, Jillian read the Christmas story from the bible. We ate biscuit topped Italian casserole and then had our gift exchange. Brandon received an I home, x box game, cologne and money. Jillian got books, movies, Mario game, snowpants , costumes and a Headbandz game. Korbin had books, Dragon movie, snowpants, Imaginext space ship, and costumes. Later we went to Dad's to take his gifts. He surprised Brandon with an old pocket watch he'd had fixed. Brandon was very touched by the thought and asked a million questions about it. I really enjoyed the story of how he stayed at the store one night after he closed and cut a side of beef for it. The kids had a great time playing at Gdad's and we enjoyed listening to more old stories. Some were new and some were old, but always hilarious. As we drove home, it began to snow and we are sure that Rudolph crossed the road in front us. Arriving home, we found that santa had already come and brought pillow pets and a sled.

On Christmas Day, we loaded the van and headed to Bowling Green as the snow continued to fall. This year, it was hosted by my niece Dana, We had our traditional meal of turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, casseroles, rolls, deviled eggs, dairy orange salad and lots of sweets! After eating, the kids traded gifts with a cousin closest to his/her age and the adults had a "dirty santa" game. Rob drew a UK hat which was his favorite gift of the day! :) Next we played the Newlywed game. Last year Rob and I came in dead last but we came back and did better this year... I thought we may win until the end when he started giving silly answers... again!! His answer last year to "What famous person would your wife like to be.... Queen Latifah. This year he said, "Michelle Obama." All the time, the kids were ripping through the house having a great visit with their cousins! We returned home late in the evening, tired and thankful for safe travels.

Thanks to God for the gift of Jesus! It is such a beautiful time of year, but would just be another ordinary day without the cross looming ahead of him, even in the beauty of His birth. Praying that those who are feeling pain at this time of the year will KNOW there is a Savior that understands our sorrow and joy! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!