Monday, March 28, 2011

The Whys

We get asked often why we are adopting and why we are adopting from India.  Although those are personal questions, I never mind answering them.  My life is an open book for all to read so I'm just fine with sharing my thoughts and reasons.  Feel free to ask me questions anytime.  We created this blog to let family and friends know what is going on with the adoption, and we also want to be an encouragement to those who are adopting, have adopted, or may be considering adopting as well. 

Why adoption?  
My doctors have all recommended that I not try to conceive again.  My body and pregnancy just don't agree.

1st pregnancy- Baby Andy miscarried at 12 weeks
2nd pregnancy- Baby Brody born at 28 weeks weighing 2 lbs. 4 0z.

It would be a great risk for me to try for a third baby.  It was also very difficult to watch Brody fight to live.  I would not want to make another child have to go through what he did.
My first time to see Brody.  He was 2 days old.
This week we celebrate Brody's 5th birthday, and he is doing wonderful.  We still work hard to help him in some areas, but we are so thankful for all the struggles that have made us a strong family.  Brody really wants a brother, and I hope one day he gets his wish.

In 2008, we went to Africa for the first time, and it was a  trip that changed our lives.  Had Brody been on that trip with us, I'm not sure Ryan would have ever got me to leave. On day 3 of that trip, I told God how much I loved being in this village and would gladly move there.  So we began praying from that day for several weeks if God would have us to change ministries and go on the mission field.  God did speak to our hearts and gave us a knowing that our place was to continue to serve in the church and share God's word with teenagers.  He did move us to North Carolina, but He sent us here with a passion for all the nations.
Hassan and Housayni with their beautiful mother
This is who I meet on day three who broke my heart.  These tiny twins who probably weighed around 4 lbs. were so precious.  Their mother's milk was already starting to go dry, and I couldn't help to wonder as I held them if they would survive.  I wanted to help them, and I cannot hardly describe what it feels like when your whole chest aches so badly with the feeling of you need to do something.  Now these boys have parents who were doing their best for them, but I started thinking about all the orphans who have no family.  I thought about what if Brody had been born to a different family, and they gave him up because they thought it might be too hard to take care of him.  I had to change the way I thought of the world after my eyes had been open to the desperate needs of the world.  There are so many orphans in need, and our family is incomplete and is in need of more little feet running about the house with sweet little smiles that light up the room.  So we will build our family through adoption. We have lots of love to give, and we can hardly wait for our baby to come home where he or she is hugged daily and told what a special treasure they are.

Why India?
Selecting an adoption agency is no easy task.  There are many out there, and you will find yourself asking "Who's the best?"  I'm not sure there is one better than the other, but the best fit for our family is Dillon International.  We prayed a lot about what country to adopt from, and we just kept being led to India.  I've never really been around many people of Indian heritage, but during those weeks of prayer I bumped into so many of them.  Whether I was sitting in a waiting room or in an airport, someone from India would end up sitting beside me to which we had wonderful conversations.  I even came upon a family who had adopted from India at a grocery store.  God kept confirming India over and over to us. 

India is not a huge country, but it is the second most populated country in the world.  Many of its people live in near starvation on the streets in overcrowded cities.  A recent study showed the Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, have 421 million poor people.  This is more than the 410 million poor in the poorest African countries.  It was hard for me to believe at first that eight Indian states account for more poor people than in the 26 poorest African countries combined.  As I wrote in my last blog, UNICEF estimates the number of orphans at 210 million in the world in 2010. This includes the estimated 86 million orphans in India, 44 million orphans in Africa and 10 million orphans in Mexico.  To us, there just seemed like a bigger need for adoption there than in other countries. 

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8  I remember my youth minister George teaching this passage when I was sixteen years old, and it had a great effect upon me.  He shared the importance of being God's witness to our neighbors, to the person who's locker is next to you, to the old lady on the other end of town, to the opposing college football team in the state and their fans, to the people up North who don't drink sweet tea, to the people across the country, and to all the nations until we reached the ends of the earth.  I am called to go to all distances to share the gospel.  My heart's desire for many years has been to be an Acts 1:8 family.  As a family, we will be a witness in our community, state, country, and world.  India is our "ends of the earth."  We may not be able to bring the gospel to the whole Nation of India, but we can bring it to one child.

These are the answers to the "whys" we get.  It may not make sense to some, but that's ok too.  It's what is good and right for our family.  My prayer for writing this is that it will plant a seed for a new thought to someone. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

They Cry Out "Love Me!"

I have come to realize more and more that the greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, to be shunned by everybody, to be just nobody (to no one).  -Mother Teresa of Calcutta

UNICEF estimates the number of orphans at 210 million in the world in 2010. This includes the estimated 86 million orphans in India, 44 million orphans in Africa and 10 million orphans in Mexico.

That's a lot of children crying out "Love ME!"  My heart breaks thinking about 210 million children who feel unwanted and unloved.  I was talking with a friend this week who has adopted a little girl, and she said something very important and inspiring to me.  She said, "We just don't talk about orphans enough."  So today I'm going to talk about them.  Maybe so many children are not adopted because people are not aware of the great need to help these children.

Statistics of Orphans:
-Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa
-Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans
-Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)
-143,000,000 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home
-Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
-Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system
-Every DAY 38,493 children age out
-Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home
-In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.
60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.
-Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves.  Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

Well reliable statistics are difficult to find, even the sources often list only estimates, and street children are rarely included. But even if these figures are exaggerated by double, it is still an unacceptable tragedy that over a million children would still become orphans every year, and every year 7 million children would still grow to adulthood as orphans with no one to belong to and no place to call home.  They are totally vulnerable and easily fall prey to predators and slave recruiters. The disastrous outcomes of most children who age out of institutional care is evidence that these children don’t know the meaning of love.

There are so many children who just want to be loved.  What will we all do about them?  Will we act like they don't exist or will we find ways to support them?
Support them by prayer
Support them by adopting
Support them by helping others adopt
Support them by helping their orphanges
Support them by being Foster parents
Support them by encouraging those who have been adopted
Support them by being a voice for them
Support them by however God leads you to love them



every child deserves to learn what it feels like to be loved
These are all pictures of children who are orphans.  Aren't they just beautiful creations!
I'm sure they all cry out "Love me!"
Will we love them???