Monday, April 15, 2013

questions and answers

This weekend was full of life-affirming, family-protecting events for us; and the life-loving events will continued through this week, because this Wednesday Bradlee (sans the beard and awkward facial hair) is speaking at The Vine at MSU about--what else--adoption. Let me break the events down for you a bit...

First of all, I'm nearing the conclusion of the book, Adopted for Life, and I can tell you that it is worth the read if only so you can better understand the world of adoption. The more I read about adoption and the more I experience adoption--either personally or through the lives of friends, new and old--the more excited I get about it, and the more I'd really like to just quit my job and get my hands dirty getting orphans with families that will love and protect them forever. (For the record, I love my job. I can honestly say that now after struggling with some aspects of it for quite some time. Even now, I still struggle with those same aspects, but I'm coming to recognize that God has me here for His purposes at this moment, and I am truly enjoying working with a great faculty and great students, as well as sharing some of my passions (adoption!?) with my students, athletes, and others. WOW, do I know how to get off-topic or what?!)

Secondly, last week at The Vine (which is our churh college ministry, by the way), Bradlee and two other men were answering questions about various topics from anonymous sources.

This was one of the questions: My friend is pregnant, and she wants me to take her to the clinic to get an abortion. What should I do?

Brad answered: Bring her to our house and let my wife and I talk to her. WE will adopt her baby.

I think some people thought he was kidding. I assure you, he was not. We care DEEPLY for human lives, and we will do what it takes to help a scared young pregnant girl make a good decision for the life of that baby. If that means we adopt another child, we adopt another child; if that means we help her become a great mother through access to resources and training, that is what we will do. I assume the person who asked that question is not reading this blog, and I assume that her friend is not reading this blog, but if you are out there (or if you are in a similar situation) please let us talk to you. We can help you, and we know tons of people who will love you, guide you, and protect you through this. There is hope for you, and there is hope for your baby.

One avenue of hope and help is the Pregnancy Care Center. We actually attended the Springfield Pregnancy Care Center's annual banquet on Saturday night (more life- and family-affirmingness<--not a word, but whatev). We have attended this banquet several years in a row (minus the year we were stuck in Kentucky for Brody's adoption), and it is always an incredible event, full of encouragement and amazing stories of saved lives. (Did you know that since it's doors opened in 2000, over 6,700 lives have been saved?!) The guest speaker for the evening was Roland Warren, acclaimed Fatherhood expert and former President of the National Fatherhood Initiative. He rocked it, focusing on the necessity of involving young men and equiping them for fatherhood (yes, fathers are important). He made a good point: Joseph could have just said "I'm out" when Mary told him she was pregnant. Instead he stayed (might I add that he "adopted") and played a huge role in the life of Jesus, providing and protecting both Mary and Jesus to the extent he was able. Warren made a point that fathers needed to be involved in the training that we often offer women who are pregnant, and PCC is doing just that. This struck me: We need to be pro-family, not just pro-life. Life without family is dismal. So I ask, what are you doing to promote the pro-family mantra or to help connect families with children who need them?

Follow Saturday's evening of life-affirming events with Sunday, when we met two awesome families who have adopted from the Congo! One of my friends connected me with her friend, who recently adopted a BEAUTIFUL four-year-old little girl, and her friend introduced me to her brother- and sister-in-law, who just adopted a SNUGGLY 6-month-old little boy and are in the process of bringing home a daughter from the Congo as well (and they have a sweet three-year-old son from Korea!) We met up and I LOVED every bit of it. We got a lot of our questions answered, and we now feel like we have a better grasp on what's to come (but--obviously--you can never really know). We hope to hang out with them again; very real, very easy-to-be-with people with great hearts.

Anyway, I'm excited about adoption and the way it seems to have come alive in our lives from all angles (or have we come alive because of our greater understanding of adoption? Maybe both). I am passionate about the way it reveals the Gospel (we are adopted as Christians, despite our race, ethnicity, origins, or past; we are now identified by a new Father, our heavenly Father; and we are heirs with Christ). I am also passionate about adoption as a mission field. Bradlee and I have been talking with our church's adoption ministry and leaders in the church about becoming a church that truly supports adoption as "mission" (as The Great Commission!), and we are excited to see what will happen for our church--and the people our church is able to help and minister to through adoption--in the future.

The "stats" on this blog said that 303 people read one post in one day last week. This is 302 more people than I ever thought would be reading something I had to say (thanks for being the shoe-in, Mom), but I am thrilled because I hope that it is making people consider doing something they might not have ever considered. So I want to throw this out there...If you have any questions that I can help you get answered about adoption, home studies, financial help, grants, agencies, resources, et.c, PLEASE ask in the comments section. I know about 7% of everthing there is to know about adoption, but I know plenty of people who are smarter and more experience than myself, and I will help find you an answer.

LASTLY, please be praying for the four families I know about right now who are either traveling to pick up their children or waiting for courts to process paperwork so they can do so. I haven't asked permission to share their stories, so I won't, do that just yet, but God will know who they are when you pray.