God's Adoption Plan is Jesus

I was not yet a mom when I spent a week at a state run orphanage in Moldova.

Uganda Trip Highlights

Thank you Community Fellowship Church in Staunton, VA and all of my ministry friends who sponsored my Ugandan trip with my father and Larry Barrett. We left on December 12. The previous two weeks were some the busiest of the year as I wrote four papers for three graduate courses I was taking at University of Dallas, as well as grading dozens of short papers from online students at Liberty University. We connected in Washington D.C. and then London and finally to Uganda.

When we arrived, it took us hours to get settled, because our original hotel room was overbooked. We only received a couple hours of rest, before we showed up to Back to the Bible Institute in Kampala. Honestly, I had no idea how I was going to stay awake. Our driver who took on what felt like a crazy excursion through Kampala of dodging of people, random obstacles in the street, motorcycles sometimes with up to three people on the back, cows, and children. This however, did not keep me from wanting to fall asleep. However, when we arrived, I looked in the building, the orphanage, then looked at the faces of five hundred African young adults in their twenties who cheering and giving us the warmest welcome. Their friendly and enthusiasm woke me up immediately and automatically I felt an adrenaline rush.  They were the reason we were on this trip. Then the leader of Back to Bible Institute, Alex Mitala, who is currently leading about 20,000 born again churches stood up to welcome us. Alex spoke in English with his translator speaking fervently in the native Lugandan language. 

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Advocating For Orphans As Busy Moms

Today I will be leading a panel at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit about how to be an advocate as a busy mom.  I’m already feeling inspired by the things that busy moms have done.  Yesterday morning I went to a session on the socio-political aspects of adoption, and I heard the story of McLane Layton, a mom who adopted three children from Easter Europe only to discover that her children did not get citizenship after being adopted.  She started lobbying that adopted children be treated as relatives instead of as immigrants, and in 2000 helped put together the Child Citizenship Act.

I heard the story of another mom who was in the process of adopting 9 siblings from the Philipinnes, only to find out that an error made in the Hague Convention prohibited the adoption on siblings over age 16.  In the sibling set she was trying to adopt, two children were over 16. She contacted her senator and they worked to ratify this point.

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What I Wanted to Say . . .

 

 Well, folks, my fifteen minutes is up.  I was glad have a chance to share a bit of our adoption story on a national media outlet.  Leading up to the show, my mind was racing with points I wanted to make about adoption.  It's something I'm so passionate about, and it's hard not to replay what I wish I would have said.  Here's a bit of it . . .

Orphan Movie, Orphan Stigma

One of the most discouraging things I have heard people say about adopting a child is that "you never know what you are going to get." I supposed there is some truth to that statement, but I feel that it is usually said with some air of genetic superiority . . . that somehow a person's own familiar chromosomal makeup would be preferable to the "crap shoot" of adopting. It's interesting to me that this notion is held in a society that seems to blame bad parenting on every childhood deviation from perfect behavior. I also think it is interesting that anyone should think that their own family blood line to be better than another without taking into account the mitigating factors of education, privilege, prenatal care, and good parenting. In fact, even in the presence of these things, families from all walks of life have some blips in the tree here and there. Which is why I always find it a little rattling when I've been asked about my son's birth family in a way that indicated the answer would be some sort of an indictment on his character or potential. (This is also why I am tight-lipped about it, because I know the prejudice of "guilt by genetic association" is still pervasive).
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La Casa De Mi Padre (My Father's House)

Between 2002 and 2004, I visited an orphanage in San Salvador, El Salvador four times. La Casa de mi Padre (My Father's House) was founded in May 2002 and currently rents two homes on adjoining property in Colonia San Francisco, San Salvador. Each home, one for girls and one for boys, has a houseparent couple who models a loving, Christian family. The two homes can now serve up to 37 children.

The picture at the right is of me playing guitar on one of my trips. That's what I mostly did there - played music and sang with the kids.

The little boy behind me is Alejandro. He was a sweet child who loved to run and play with the other kids - and he was always interested in my guitar. But on my last trip there in 2004, the workers at the orphanage had grown very worried about Alejandro. He had become withdrawn and was misbehaving at school. He had grown very thin. When I saw him, it seemed pretty obvious that he was severely depressed. All he wanted to do was sleep.

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The Journey Begins

For some time now, Mike and I have have felt an undeniable pull toward adoption. For the last several years, however, our lives have been too consumed with church work, various crises, and parenting the 2 kids we already have, to thoroughly process what this meant. 

Lately, however, this pull has become so strong, so magnetic, that ignoring it is no longer possible.

We have traveled overseas numerous times in the past 15 years to places like Kenya, South Africa, Venezuela, and Mexico. On each trip we encountered mind boggling poverty, orphans, innocent children without parents to advocate for them or provide emotional or spiritual guidance. Many of these children were well-cared for in orphanages, transition homes, and health centers. Many, however, were not. 
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