The last few months have felt a bit like survival by the skin of the teeth...   and I am coming out on the other side with a few observations to share.

First, regardless of how I may 'feel' at any given moment, I've been reminding myself of some very basic things.    I am loved by God;   I am His workmanship;   He has a purpose for my life that reaches farther than anything I can see;    I am His.    These things feel good to a dry and weary soul... perhaps, you need that reminder as much as I do.

Second, this next year, I am committed to doing more than serving and surviving...  instead, I pray to live and THRIVE.    To thrive means I have to take better care of me and my family.   Thriving means that I have to make a home where we can be comfortable instead of trying to 'do' so many things for others that my family forgets they are the priority.   Thrive!

Third,   I have been reading some very interesting things.  Some of these links you may find a bit unsettling.   And yet, in each of these articles, there is truth to be culled.   Each of these has, in some way, helped me to solidify exactly what I believe about adoption, about orphans and about missions:

  • Jamie calls herself the Very Worst Missionary.    It is somewhat tongue-in-cheek.   Her post called Deciphering Missions has caused quite a stir in the Christian mission community.    While her tone bothers me, I find that she speaks candidly about things that are often hush-hush.   If that post gets you going, read the one that she follows with.

  • Jen Hatmaker just talks straight.  I like her honesty.   She started a series called Examining Adoption.    Whew.  Some of what she writes is HARD STUFF.     And yet, she turns my eyes back to first families and not calling children orphans when they aren't just to make ourselves feel better.     First families are the very best place for children - the FIRST best place.  Period.   The US makes serious efforts to keep first families together and this is GOOD.    Our hearts were broken because of this, but it is STILL GOOD and RIGHT.   Only when the first family is unable or unwilling should adoption be an option.  

As we walk the "open" fostering/adoption road, I will say upfront, it is not easy!  (Open adoption means that the biological family has some role in the life of the child, even after adoption has been finalized.)  This last weekend, Cumi's biological father came for a visit.   It was the year anniversary of her mother's death and he needed to see Cumi for himself.   He took her for almost 2 hours.   It required all of the faith I could muster to wait patiently on him to bring her back.     Cumi's father insists that there is not a better place for his daughter than our home and we have to rest in this ... he has never asked us for money, for clothes or for favors.  The only thing he ever asked was that we take good care of his girl and he asked us for a Bible; we are delighted to do both of these things.   This is not easy, but it is right for Cumi and for Papa Luis.  

  • Today, I read a beautiful post called 'When She's Not the Good Missionary" and I loved it.    The word missionary has never fit me... I want another title for this job I'm doing.   Seriously, someone come up with something better and let me know.     And, as my former pastor wrote, there are no 'good missionaries.'   So true, my friends!

So, I'm sorting through some serious things.    How hard am I willing to work in my current environment to protect first families?   Speaking words like this will make some people very, very angry and will disrupt some apple carts that appear beautiful and shiny on the outside.    How hard am I willing to dig to make sure that we never support the idea that 'poverty alone' is a reason to remove children?    How to support first families in a way that dignifies and empowers?    How to promote reconciliation to God and between children of God whenever and wherever possible... this is the ministry that we have ALL been given, yes?

"All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[a] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

I'd love your thoughts on any and all of the above.  


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