Monday, July 26, 2010

rlrm



 
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Even though 'blogging' is so very 2006, the good things about blogs remain. You get to choose to read. You won't wake up to find emails in your in-box with information and stories you don't have any desire or time to see. There is never guilt for deleting without reading.  If you don't like it or don't have time, you don't come read it.  If it is offensive to you, it is your choice to never return. 

In the last five years this blog has become a place where we not only share all the stories and happenings in Haiti and in our family, but we also process things 'out-loud'. Sometimes our struggles have been more open, raw, and honest than some people are comfortable reading. I know this because of the occasional email we get explaining how we can be better at life, faith, and the sharing of both. 




The paradox of Haiti certainly creates conflict within us. There are plenty of posts that were written from a place of deep pain and total confusion. There are many more written from places of great encouragement and pure joy.  I don't want to be defined by things I said in dark times.  Some of what I've written over the years is not how I feel today. I have been tempted to go back and get rid of stuff I wrote when I was hurt or confused or just tired and vulnerable. The problem is, if I do that I make part of this story untrue. I make the journey into something it is not.  To be truthful is to acknowledge that parts of the journey are high places and parts of it are low places and that people change...  Their hearts change, their minds change, their moods change...sometimes all in the same day.  We are thankful that the vast majority of people offer grace and understanding as we walk through it all - the ups and downs, emotions, and confusion that injustice and traumatic events can cause.  Life is so messy - and we are messier still -  But here's to an honest journey. We don't want to fake anything.



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I grew up attending an annual Missions Conference every August.  Besides the fact that family tradition demanded it, we went to see our cousins and aunts and uncles and to swim and enjoy summer. We also went to hear from preachers and teachers and missionary-speakers. The missionary speakers came dressed in the native garb of the land they were serving and shared about the culture they were living in and talked about the ways God was moving in those lands.  It was usually interesting to hear from them, and without fail each summer we listened to stories from around the world. I cannot say I ever felt like I identified with them or that I thought I would ever do anything like what they were doing. They were just a different level of humanity - they appeared similar to regular folks, but they had an aura of holiness.   (If you're having deja vu, it is because I wrote about them back in February too.) My perception, whether true or not, was that they had never made bad choices or fallen from grace. 

The summer preceding my senior year of High School I was expecting Brittany. I missed going to the conference that year. During the five years that followed I made a pretty big mess of things - divorce and then a second unplanned pregnancy and partying to name a few.  I missed going to Iowa a handful of years. After Troy and I were married we attended a few times.  The two times I have gone in the last five years Troy was in Haiti and a few kids and I made the traditional trek without him. In some ways I kind of felt ashamed to show my face there for a long time. I was embarrassed and wanted to hide. I don't blame that on anyone but myself - I just felt like my mistakes made me ineligible to attend.

A week from today we are going to go speak at that very conference that I grew up attending each August.  The meetings take place in the same building as it did when I was eight and thirteen and twenty-six. Tradition draws many familiar faces; a lot of the same people will be in attendance. It will be one of the top ten strangest experiences of my life.  But I am looking forward to it.  This is a good kind of strange.

We actually feel blessed that we've become an example of "see, God uses anyone" (not just perfectly holy and all-together people). If sharing our testimonies, stories, and struggles helps people to receive God's forgiveness and offer it to themselves ...  or proves to them that He works through broken vessels, we'll keep sharing.

In the six months since the earthquake we've been honored to share in all sorts of places...including - downtown coffee/wine bars with people randomly walking in off the street, vibey post-modern-ish candle-lit churches filled with college kids and hipsters, small old-school traditional churches where the pews are filled with the AARP crowd and Texas summer camps with hundreds of spazzy 9th graders. Once in a while a much older lady will come pat my hand afterward in a 'Oh honey -  we just don't talk about those things' sort of way - but for the most part, regular-joe-Christians seem pretty encouraged to see regular-joe-screw-ups like us talking about the multiple ways the love of Jesus can (and does) redeem. 

We don't speak eloquently, we are not all that faithful, we often feel that we lower the bar for missionaries everywhere - but we know- the Good News lies in His eloquence, told through our story, and His faithfulness, told through our healing.


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Troy, Collette and Baby Ester
Up to this point July has been a month of purposefully engaging in real-life-relationships. (aptly named RealLifeRelationshipMonth)  It has been good for our friendships and for our family.  Our natural inclination is to keep getting the latest stories out of Haiti and keep putting it out there for you to see and in turn support.

Our hearts are with the suffering; we don't want anyone to forget Haiti or give up on praying.  But RLRM demands even less internet relationships -  and more real life ones.  Therefore this blog will get fairly quiet for a couple weeks after this post as we continue in that vein and travel with our crew across the great plains into northwest Iowa. We've not yet figured out if we can make it work, but we also hope to get to Minnesota for some time on the lakes teaching our little ones to water-ski and fish and all things summery and Minnesota-like.

Putting a teenager plus five young kids in a vehicle, all of whom are not used to road-trips or seat-belts or cops that care how they sit in the car, and driving 950 miles is something you would do for only three possible reasons -
1) You are insane

2) You are stupid

3) You are insane and stupid

Putting Lydia Beth Livesay, age 2, in a car and driving 950 miles is something you would do  for only one reason -
1) You hate yourself
(We knew we were having a girl. I used to lie awake concerned about what kind of baby she would be. I was scared to have her. And now - LOOK - two experienced parents fear 17 hours in the car with her.  We love love love this child but boy oh boy - she is a pistol. Car-seats and Lydia hate each other. Forcing Lydia in one makes her hate us. Earplugs anyone?)

But if ever there was a time to do something this dumb, real-life-relationship month seems like the month to do it.  Our truck is already a crumb-filled, crayon-melted, pop-stained, mystery-substance encrusted, downright nasty machine. When Troy takes it to the car wash he reports that at times, lighting a match to it seems like the best option. Another 950 miles won't hurt the old gas-guzzling grey beast.

Before we check-out for a while to fully engage in RLRM - we wanted to update a few current projects/activities.

In Haiti:
Houses are slowly but surely being built.  Many of the 42 houses (21 purchased plus 21 matched) will be going to Petit Goave. That area is very near the epicenter and has been all but totally destroyed. Ten houses have been committed there but we are planning to increase that number due to their need and the great partner we have helping coordinate the work. In one week they built six houses. They plan to get 21 up by mid August. A friend that we met back in 2006 is overseeing that work.  The houses are being built mainly by Haitians, they need the work more than anything.

The other houses are going to Heartline patients, employees of Heartline, family of friends, other ministry partners, and a handful that have yet to be designated.  We knew this would be a long project due to land issues, please be patient with us as the logistics are worked out for the remaining homes. We'd love to give you a date and time when all 42 will be built and given to the recipient families - but anyone that has experienced Haiti knows that would be just making stuff up. Western culture loves a deadline, meanwhile Haiti scoffs and rolls her eyes. It is often frustrating but Haiti has its own pace. We can only do our best and work within those constraints and we assure you, that is exactly what is happening. :)

Heartline Ministries continues to work on their existing projects while constantly identifying ways in which they can further invest in the lives of the people they serve. Stay tuned in to the work on websites and blogs. When we return from the road-trip/RLRM we'll update the situations on the ground.

In the USA:
It has become clear that in order to remain in Waco long-term, we are going to need to get some fancy rims. Waco loves tricked-out rims. It is one of the key identifiers for 'TIW'.  (Don't know TIW? - see this post for clarity.) We only know this, it probably means we can't stay. When we burn the Suburban it would be a real waste of flashy rims.

We've been in this waiting season for six months. Our advancing ages tell us that six months is not a long period of time. Even so, occasionally we've been frustrated and impatient in the wait. At other times we've acted a little bit like grown-up people living in the moment and accepting there is little we can do but try to wait with grace. We know there are lessons in waiting. We believe waiting prepares us, produces patience, and provides opportunities for personal growth.  We want something and we cannot have it yet.  What will we do with our waiting?  There are lots of options.  We are attempting to choose good ones as the wait continues.

If you are in Wichita, KS or Okoboji, IA  - we'd love an opportunity to meet and engage in RLRM with you. Come find us. We'll be the harried looking people in a Suburban with boring rims and a bunch of kids. Times and locations of those speaking events are always in the left column. If any others pop up we'll post them there.

We are hopeful that we can move back to PAP in the next few months. Things have happened and finally we are seeing movement in our case. The timing of a lot of things is such that we have many decisions to make while having no exact return date set. We have this unexplainable total peace that we will be back soon enough, because of that peace we're moving forward with paying another year (paying a year at a time is the norm in Haiti) of rent on our home in Haiti and starting to look at tickets to transport the tribe back to the island.

Until the date is set, Troy will be back and forth more. School for four of the kids starts in mid-August in both places - so we have some pretty major decisions to make about that as well. Today we don't know which country they'll start in - but what the heck - we've still got three whole weeks till school starts to decide. An eternity really.   

The variables surrounding each option are mind-numbing. Making decisions in the TOTAL absence of facts is more challenging than you might imagine. I figure after Troy and I have finally had enough "if this than this" sorts of conversations we'll get around to deciding to expect God to do some good things with the timing of it all. We might even try to set aside a few hours 15 or 16 days from now to sit down and recall the days of late July, realizing we stressed about it for nothing.

We know many of you pray for us and specifically about these sorts of logistics that go along with living with one foot in two worlds, we thank you for that and ask that you pray about the August decisions.  Mesi Anpil!

We don't typically (ever) use this blog to fund-raise for our own personal needs, that has always been uncomfortable and/or unnecessary.  Raising money for earthquake relief, new houses, Medika Mamba, surgeries and really important needs of the Haitian people always feels right.  All of this is to say, we're still uncomfortable with fund-raising for ourselves via the blog. Fund-raising for personal needs is number one on the "don't like" list of required things in this line of work. We have been incredibly blessed by loving and generous folks that have been willing to sacrifice in order to help us live and love in Haiti. This core group has sustained us during hard times. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

The fact remains that our budget upon returning will be greater due to four children going to school and general increased cost of living.  If your church, family, or civic group is interested in learning more about the work of either of the two ministries we represent and are open to supporting a 'God-works with-ordinary-messed-up-people' type of missionary family in Haiti, please contact us. We'd love to share more about the work and ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with us in the coming year.


Thanks for reading, enjoy RLRM!

T & T and the tribe

"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." 
Martin Luther

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Song

We love Aaron - he is a trusted (and hilarious) friend ... we enjoy his music ... hope you will too.






(We also love and enjoy Steven and Jimmie and Phillip - the others making this music.)

LET YOUR KINGDOM COME
Aaron Ivey, Matt Carter. ©2009 IVEYMUSIC. (ASCAP)
Give us a love for peace
Move us to brokenness
Our generosity
release from poverty
Your Kingdom here and now
To the least of these
Distribute what we have
That all may taste and see
Pocahontas dvdrip Let Your Kingdom come
Let Your will be done
And all the Earth will say
And echo angels’ praise
That You are God

So, let the sick run free
The orphan find her home
The captured man will know
Release from slavery
Your Kingdom here and now
To the least of these
Distribute what we have
That all may taste and see
Let Your Kingdom come
Let Your will be done
And all the Earth will say
And echo angels’ praise
That You are God

We pray and ask for hope
We pray and ask for peace
We pray and ask for justice
We pray and ask for You

Friday, July 23, 2010

More Linking

Go here to read more thoughts from Ryan Booth about his time in Haiti  and the "Don't Forget Haiti" project. 

Quoting Ryan:
"I’ve heard it said that the best way to tell a big nuanced story is to tell a very, very tiny piece of it. The mystery seems to be that in the small things we see an emerging picture…not that each small piece is somehow representative of the whole, but rather each small piece hints at a larger framework. It can be counter intuitive, it can feel too simple, but ultimately we are creatures of small circles, of limited interactions and we just aren’t able to comprehend the gravity of large scale disaster."

"These are the stories we will work to tell. Why? Because, quite simply, if we live in a world in which my computer can come from China and my clothes can come from India and my apple can come from New Zealand…if my everyday life is impacted by all corners of the globe, then shouldn’t it follow that “neighbor” is an ever expanding definition? If we are global consumers, then can’t we also be global producers, investors, givers…

Check out this 10 year old kid!

Malcolm's Houses for Haiti - GO HERE  to encourage and support him.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Solomon's Story

Meet Solomon.

Solomon

Solomon works hard every day to support his family by selling ‘fresco’ (flavored shaved ice) at a busy intersection in Port au Prince, Haiti. He begins early each day pushing his wooden cart with wheels that are no longer round to pick up a block of ice and make his way to his spot. He tries to arrive at the streetside marketplace in time to catch children on their way to school and the few people that have jobs to go to with a few coins in their pocket and a sweet tooth. He is always hoping that the day will be hot enough for good sales but not so hot that the ice doesn’t make it through the rush hours. He is a kind and soft spoken man who always shares a smile with his customers.

Solomon-fresco

The smile belies the weight on his shoulders and the difficult life he and his family face daily. Solomon has a wife and seven children. Three of his children had to be handed over to an orphanage to keep them alive since the money and food never made it far enough. The other four children (three sons and a daughter) are at varying levels in their education, sometimes attending, sometimes not, depending on how well the fresco business treated them that year. This was all true before January 12th, 2010. Things have only gotten harder since then.

Solomon-neighborhood
Solomon's neighborhood sits along an open waterway full of garbage and sewage.

All of Solomon’s immediate family survived the earthquake that decimated Port au Prince. Fortunately they were all away from their home when the quake struck. Solomon was out selling fresco. His wife and daughter were out trying to sell goods in an outdoor market. His other three sons were on their way home from school. Their single-story home was made of cement blocks and consisted of two rooms covered in corrugated tin. The house cracked and crumbled in the quake, but the main damage came from the two-story building next door toppling on to and into their home. Parts of the neighboring buildings are still standing but do not appear safe, so Solomon and his family (like hundreds of thousands of other Haitian families) are living and attempting to sleep in makeshift shelters under open skies.

Solomon's 'tent'
The shelter the family has lived in since the earthquake.


When it rains, Solomon describes the efforts they make to take turns sleeping on the one mattress in the one dry spot. It has been raining a lot. They have not been sleeping much.

Solomon-showing 'house'
Solomon describing sleeping arrangements in their temporary home.


The four children still living with them are:
Simon, 20 years old – three years left to complete his secondary education.
Michline, 19 years old – works and cooks with her mother, has never gone to school.
Wilgens, 17 – trying to finish sixth grade this year.
Samson, 7 – first grade interrupted by the quake.


This family will be receiving aid through friends of ours at Makarios International to rebuild their home and restore their lives. With all the challenges facing Haiti and the Haitian people, it is truly miraculous and an incredible blessing that your generous contributions can make a difference in lives there – and that is exactly how Solomon’s family views it.

Reconstruction of their home is underway. Discussions have begun regarding enabling the children to finish their educations.


Wilgens, Solomon, Simon

Samson

Written by Troy 

Summer Lovin'

a planned and very intentional afternoon of summer fun:

  • went to Y and worked out - troy did "body toning for women" with tara to prove his love
  • left Y to pick up noah from school
  • ate pizza in a parking lot - because - why not?!
  • went to water park - taught one 47" child that if you wear shoes with a heel when you enter the park you will be tall enough to ride the big slide 
  • immediately recognized our tendency to teach that rules are made to be pushed/questioned/broken - thinking that might possibly come back to bite us in the butt one day - but for today, noah rode slides and we were heroes -woohoo
  • lifeguard moving at the speed of light scooped lydie up into his arms to warn her against her plan to walk into the water at a deep spot - she never forgave him for telling her what to do
  • bought starburst candy and 7Up to ply the two youngest for a while so we could sit in the shade - later isaac came asking for starburst - when asked how he even knew we had them? - he answered, "I smelled them on the girls' breath"
  • as we left the park we trailed behind isaac who waved goodbye and said farewells to people by name all throughout the park - adults and children alike waved to him as if they were old friends - to one guy he said "alright, see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya."  I asked him later if I had heard him say that?  He said "Yeah, I wouldn't wanna be that guy he seemed like he was on drugs"
  • loaded five exhausted children into the truck - expertly handled delirium and meltdowns and tucked all into bed moments ago 
  • recognizing the gift of this time to play and enjoy these America things with our tribe - so much fun!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

By Beth McHoul

MATERNITY TRANSPORT/WE CAN DO BETTER

Women are vulnerable when they are in labor.  They can get exhausted if they labor for hours and those that care for them can get weary as well.  We are incredibly proud of our beautiful maternity center and we respect and love the women in our program.  Each woman receives quality care, lovely surroundings, sweet new baby clothes, fresh clothes for herself, a bathroom to herself, and two midwives at her service.  This is her reward for faithful attendance to our program throughout her pregnancy.  Our goal is to have a healthy mom and baby happily breast feeding within a reasonable amount of time.
Occasionally complications come our way and we have to look for others to help.  We have back up medical professionals an email and phone call away.  People with our same passion and commitment to these women and their health.
Over the weekend we had two laboring gals.  One has had high blood pressure over the last several weeks.  The other had her water break and needed to deliver within a certain amount of time.  Labor and delivery can be like a game of chess - working each move with skill, thinking through all the possible outcomes and working with what we have available to us here in Haiti.
The decision came after two days to transport to a hospital for both ladies for different reasons.   This rarely happens but when it does it is a disappointment and a concern that a woman receive higher quality care then what we can give.
Our weekend had been consumed with these ladies.  On Sunday night we headed out to find a hospital to take our gal.  For various reasons our choices are limited.  Of course it was raining, and we headed our with our little family, food and their grocery sacks of supplies loaded on their laps.  We ended up at a government hospital that has joined up with an international organization.   Rain, mud, finding parking, twists and turns  in the dark  we finally found ourselves at a very old and run down building.
The Haitian resident doctor  was kind, accommodating, and helpful.  Yes, he knew of our mom we sent for high blood pressure this morning.  We took her BP every 15- 30 minutes.  They had not taken it in 12 hours.  He grabbed a BP cuff to take it, oh, the cuff was broken.
He discussed our two cases with us,  he satisfied us with his responses for right choices and we gave over our ladies to join hundreds of other moaning, laboring, walking, sitting ladies. All vulnerable, probably all afraid, all wanting to make it out alive.
We hadn't slept in many hours, it was night, but the conditions of this hospital sent my head spinning.  I saw two doctors and one nurse for many, many laboring women.  The plight of Haiti - understaffed and overworked.  Broken equipment, no sheets, no supplies, bare, dirty, rooms, no clean up crew rushing over for every spill of vomit and blood.  Joanna spoke as an expert midwife to the doctor giving over the dossier  while I stood there, looking around, trying to keep back the flood of emotions.  I so wanted to grab our ladies and head back to our clean, sterile maternity center.  But they have what we don't.  An operating room for a possible c-section.  We know our limits, we know when care is beyond our skills.
I envisioned our ladies grabbing our bodies and hanging on as we headed our the door.  They didn't.  The hugged and kissed us with promises to call when babies were born.  They accepted this.  They are poor, Haitian and this is what hospital means to them.  They were not appalled as we were.  They were not fighting back tears.  They were not thinking human beings should not birth in places like this.  They understood.
I don't understand.  And as a person with power I have to advocate and fight for them.  We can be a voice for them.  Hospitals should have equipment, clean sheets and women should be treated with dignity.
Our prenatal program services 20 pregnant women at a time.  We lavish them with good care, dignity, love and respect.  All women should have this.  We feel ownership once a woman joins our program and we have a commitment to see her through till that child is six months old and flourishing.
Sometimes pregnancy means complications especially with an impoverished population.  We can only go so far when dealing with these complications.  I want a better transport option.  I want quality care in decent surroundings.  This should not be a luxury for the wealthy only.  All laboring women should be guaranteed good care in a clean environment.
If we can't find it here then we have to take action.  We either need more money to send our ladies to the hospitals that only the rich and powerful can afford to go to or we expand and provide a hospital ourselves.  Let's do it.  A small hospital with clean sheets, equipment that works, a caring staff and patients that come out whole in body and spirit.  Our field hospital showed us that this is a possibly. We can do it and we can do it well.

Beth McHoul

Help Heartline help the women in our care.
Go HERE to give.






Related story:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kid Stuff Post

Isaac-

When we spoke in a little town called Lovelady in East Texas on Sunday Isaac leaned over and asked if he could come up and say a few words.  I said, "sure." After we showed the opening video he said, "Mwen se ayiti tou. Bonjou. That means I am Haiti too, good-morning. Thank you for inviting us Loveladians, I am glad to be here and I have never been to East Texas."  Then he sat down.  We've had a lot of great opportunities to share, but Isaac is not usually sitting and listening to us.  I got a kick out of watching his face as we told the story.  During the part where Troy talks about wanting a son and looking at different countries and adoption, Isaac's ginormous smile grows so large it appears it will take over his entire face. On the way home I asked Isaac to paraphrase what we'd shared in those 30 minutes.  Oh.my.gosh, his version is awesome.  He breaks 30 minutes of a detailed story into about four things that make no sense when strung together.  He mixes up facts and numbers and comes up with this:
"We met about 20 years ago." (We said we met when we were in our 20's) "We were on a run." (We said we were running from God at that time.) "We had to climb many mountains to find Isaac." (There were many mountains/obstacles standing in the way of moving to Haiti. But that was long after we'd adopted Isaac.) "But we climbed them and now we have our wonderful son." (Never said anything like that. Although he is wonderful.) "There were 14 things. And now we live in Haiti. That is the end." (Referencing a list we made of 14 reasons we could not move to Haiti.) 
I told him maybe we'd just have him share for us in the future. :)

Noah-
Brittany gave Noah a cowboy hat.  Noah has a cowboy persona that is both entertaining and stereotypical.  The entire way to Lovelady he said cowboy things in a super-silly southern drawl.  He apparently thinks cowboys say things like: "I am gonna catch me some cows."  "See that horse there? I am gonna lasso me that there horse." This is his cowboy face  >>>>

Hope-
We brought Hope up to Dallas last week to a Pediatric Endocrinologist. She had thyroid problems as a baby and a few things made us think we needed to re-check that situation.  At the end of the appointment the doctor sent us to the lab.  Hope has made a hobby out of making her brothers look like scaredy-cats, and the blood-draw was yet another opportunity. She sat stone faced and unflinching waiting for the needle to go in.  Once it was in her arm she said, "It does not hurt. At all."


Phoebe and Lydia- 
Conversation from a day ago -
Lydia and Phoebe are playing mommies and babies together all through the house ... they are walking around with a stroller together.   Phoebe kind of bumps herself on a door way ....

Lydia -  "Are you okay Phoebe?"
Phoebe-  "Ya. I okay."
Lydia - "Okay Phoebe. I okay first."

They compete in every way at every moment of every day, even when they are just having fun and playing. Sibling rivalry is not really very cute.


Paige-
Came back to Tejas from a 11 day trip back to Haiti and her own bed, describing it as "epic" and then went straight to a youth summer camp with kids from the church our son-in-law works with as a youth pastor. She described the camp week as "amazing and life changing".  Paige is having a great summer.  She has a big test to take again tomorrow. After the test she is jetting off to spend a few days with the McHouls daughter Morgan in Florida. They have plans to annoy and alienate everyone by speaking only Kreyol while they are together. 


Photo taken before church on Sunday morning at a bathroom stop.  Caption?  

(Best caption wins a copy of Radical by David Platt.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't Forget ...

Because in this case, camping in tents has nothing to do with vacation ...


Don't Forget Haiti: Tent City from Ryan Booth on Vimeo.



 
Video produced by Ryan Booth - 
Ryan said:
it's always tricky making videos like this. best case, you tell one small part of a small story from one place at a certain point in time and it begins to give people a sense of scale. for instance, i hope that, when we open with the wide shot passing rows and rows of tents that we get a sense of the scale. then we step into one tent and hear one story. as we exit the tent city we end with another wide shot of rows and rows of tents... hopefully, through that one small interaction, we begin to sense the enormity of the situation.  a massive tragedy made up of regular people just trying to find a place to sleep and some food to eat.

Please Don't Forget Haiti


"The one thing, on which we can all agree, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor. God is in the slums and in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."
~Bono~


Saturday, July 17, 2010

wondersoftheworldwideweb



The way the internet has changed mission work cannot be quantified.  Fifty years ago anyone working abroad that wanted to tell the donor/support team about a special need had to write a letter and wait weeks for it to be delivered. Sometimes they could choose to make a very expensive phone call.  
Today, a tweet is tweeted (?) a blog post is published, a facebook status pleads: "Please pray for X Y and Z" - and within minutes the request is zinging all over the internet and everyone is in the know.  Sometimes it kind of freaks me out to think about the number of people all over the world that can plug into a single persons prayer need and know specifically of a situation thousands of miles away.  If one thing blew our minds after the earthquake - it was the connectedness we felt to the prayers of the world. A few years ago we shared a need for a hip surgery for a woman that had fallen in the village we were living. Ten hours later the surgery was covered. The donors were able to follow the story of the woman having surgery and see her walking a few months later.  In the past few months you guys have given to real needs that are now being met and we'll be able to show you many more finished projects before too long. It is all so very good. We desire accountability and thank you for caring to see your gifts put to good use.  An updates on the 20+ houses that are in process and the 20 still to be designated/assigned is coming soon.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: Matt Cleary

This is the last of our guest bloggers on the topic of adoption.  Matt is our friend and brother-in-law. He was adopted as an infant. He is married to Tara's little sister Tina and they have two sons and recently their daughter joined them through adoption.

The Cleary Family of five have experienced all three parts of the adoption triangle. Matt is adopted.  Tina lovingly placed a baby for adoption many years ago.  Matt and Tina have adopted transracially/internationally.  It has been helpful to Troy and I to have them to check our thoughts with and talk through things.  We are incredibly concerned that we treat our children's first-mothers with respect. Because of things we learned from Matt and Tina we have always made photos and contact an option for the birth-moms. (And yes I know some birth-moms are not safe enough to share info with but respecting them is still a loving thing to do.) We asked Matt to speak honestly about his thoughts on adoption.

For the sake of back-ground, Matt was adopted by a same-race family in the 70's and it was a closed adoption. It is good for those of us that have adopted or are considering it to hear the voices and experiences of others, the more we understand the experiences of others, the more sensitive we become.

WRITTEN BY MATT:

Adoption is a challenging concept that has evolved over the years.  For the most part, I like where the evolution has taken us.  We have gone from a culture that was hush-hush about adoption to one that writes books (and blogs) about the topic hoping to make all sides more comfortable with the process. 

I was adopted.  I was "given up" for adoption when I was a baby and adopted into my "adoptive" family when I was about a month old.  I put those words in quotes because they are words that are thrown around a lot, but they also have a tremendous psychological impact on the adopted child.   We need to carefully choose our words.  Given up, real family, adoptive family, etc all have an impact on a young child.  Is this not my real family?  If not, then who is?  These are questions that young children will ask themselves.

I think one of the most challenging concepts of adoption is the explaining to a child why they were given away.  We give old clothes away, we give to charity, and we give advice.  The concept of being given up or given away was always a challenging one for me.  Was something wrong with me?  Can I be given back if this family doesn't like me or if I do something wrong?  The challenge is for the adoptive parents.  Saying 'it was for the best' does not make it so.  Saying that 'your mom loved you so much she wanted something better for you' is better, but still difficult for a child to understand.  This is probably the most vital thing a parent can do for their adoptive child:  Learn and talk about why they are in that family.  ('BTW, God wanted us to adopt' doesn't work either).  Remember, you're explaining it to a child, not your friends at work.

There is a lot that I have to say about adoption, but I really want to focus on the concept of abandonment. Abandonment is a powerful feeling that needs to be dealt with.  The feeling of being abandoned is a feeling I had as long as I can remember.  It is a horrible feeling.  It is a feeling of worthlessness.  It is a feeling of being unwanted.  It is a feeling of being lost, even though you are in the midst of your family.  Nothing looks familiar as you look around.  When the going gets tough, you're left to wonder what another life would have been like.  Its always wondering if you're being treated differently because you aren't their "real" kids.  I always felt as if there was something missing in my life. (The long version of the story would include a not so pleasant reunion with my birth-mom and the realization that what I was missing was Jesus). 

As an adopted child, we hear the comments, "you look so much like your dad" or "you have your mom's smile."  We nod our heads not knowing what to say.  When I was a little bit older and unruly, I would sometimes counter with, "well, that's odd -because I was adopted."  Sometimes I got satisfaction in making others squirm.  Adopted children need to be emotionally equipped to deal with comments like this.  The best way I can describe the feeling of the way an adopted child feels is that of an identity crisis.  Who do I look like?  Why am I good at sports?  I so wanted to identify with someone.  This is where families can create identities.  I loved Tara and Troy's 'gotcha day/adoption day parties' for Isaac and Hope and Phoebe.  What a tremendous way to identify with the situation. 

I'm sure there are other people who were adopted that have a different story, but this is some of my story.  Identity and abandonment are two major issues that need to be addressed as children are growing up.  This will help and equip them to deal with the emotions involved in being an adopted child.


"Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance." -Samuel Johnson
 
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." -Ghandi




Prayers today for perseverance and indomitable will for the Haitian people and all those attempting to help there. Nou sonje ou Ayiti cheri e' n'ap priye nou pral wè ou byento.






Amie posted part three of her thoughts on interracial adoption on her site. Please check it out.




(Photo - Isaac 2006)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

birds & bees

Try as I might I cannot remember how the topic came up. I think it may have been a discussion about baby whales.

We were walking across the unending parking expanse at Sea World San Antonio last week at the end of a very, very, fun day with the middle three kids. Troy was carrying a tired and slightly whiny Noah.  I was walking arm in arm with Isaac. Hope was very close at my other side.

Making babies was suddenly our topic.  Isaac acted like an authority on the subject. I said, "How do you know where babies come from Isaac?"  Troy rather conveniently found new energy and picked up his pace - leaving me in his dust with Isaac and Hope.

Isaac said, "Ma. You know this."  I said, "No, I don't.  Please -tell me."  He said, "Ma. You gotta sex. That is it."   I inquired further.  He said, "You just gotta sex to get a baby. Ma, you have had a kid so you know this."

I asked what it means to "sex".  Isaac very matter-of-factly informed me that:

1. A  man 'joins' a woman - you get a baby boy.
2. A woman 'joins' a man - you get a baby girl.
3. Obviously because I have boys and girls by birth both things have occurred in my life.
4. He knows these things from a book he found and read in our Baptist missionary housing house (what tha?)
5. According to Isaac, 'joining' can be like shoulder to shoulder, or kissing, or any sort of joining ... it matters not as long as the people are grown-ups.

When I said,  "So wait. Dad and I just kissed and pretty much joined shoulder to shoulder all day. Are we going to have a baby?"   Exasperated, he said, "Well not today!!! It takes a long time. But that is how God made it!"

After listening to all of this Hope said, "Mom.  We don't know this for sure. We are just taking pretty good guesses at it."

When we got home from San Antonio they produced 'The Body Book' and sure enough, the word "join" is used.  They overlooked all the scientific drawings and explanations and the majority of the facts presented and then took some creative license with the section on X and Y chromosomes and - voila - they came up with their fabulous baby-making theory.

Our 36 hour trip with just the middle three kids was such a blast. It was so fun to focus on them without any diapers or baby-fights.  We had dinner at 10pm and they thought they had officially become grown-ups to be doing an insane thing like ordering enchiladas at such a late hour and walking through the streets of downtown San Antonio. Isaac declared that "no babies" are allowed on any sort of fun trip ever again.  Noah chimed in,  "yeah, you have to be five years old or you are not invited."  Troy and I think they are onto something. 


For so many reasons, I don't think we will ever forget summer 2010. 

(Thank you ASCC for the passes to SW!)

By John McHoul

SIX MONTHS LATER

It has been six months to the day that the earth shook and in that 35-43 seconds of time it is estimated that three hundred thousand people died, hundreds of thousands were injured, tens of thousands of homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed and over a million people were left homeless.  All in less that one minute of shaking.


Can any nation be truly prepared for such a cataclysmic event?  I suspect not, and Haiti a nation with little infrastructure  and unable before the earthquake to meet even the basic needs of its people was rendered stunned and helpless by this catastrophe.  Even as the international community rushed to give assistance,  they encountered a government that was largely broken and unable to help facilitate the enormous amount of aid and aid workers being held back by a lack of infrastructure and a working government.   And now six months later the struggle continues as humanitarian aid is being held at the ports while exorbitant customs fees must be paid before the containers can be released and the supplies made available to assist people who otherwise would not be able to secure help.

I have copied some links below that may help you understand some of what is happening here

LINKS

THE LOST CHILDREN OF HAITI

HAITI'S CAMPS OF DESPAIR

NO JUSTICE FOR HAITI'S WOMEN INMATES


Progress is being made albeit slowly and seemingly without a plan.  Yet volumes could not contain the heroic acts of kindness and bravery of the Haitian people and the international community as they worked to rescue those still trapped alive under falling buildings and to treat the injured.

It is not by intent to criticize the cleanup and rebuilding efforts that are slowly coming into play.  The task of just cleanup alone is enormous.  I want to tell a bit of what Heartline has been doing.

LOOKING BACK A BIT (THE BLINK OF AN EYE VERSION)

A few days after the earthquake the Heartline people here in Haiti met and talked and prayed to see if there was a need for us to open an emergency clinic.  We also went into the inner city to see if there were still people who had been injured and had not been treated.  Little did we know that we would still find such people even weeks after the earthquake.   It was clear that there was still a  need for an emergency clinic and in what I can only attribute to God, Heartline four days later opened its clinic with a group of docs and nurses that came in from the States and Canada and we started seeing people with horrific injuries and in the primitive settings the docs performed some pretty amazing procedures.  This clinic continued for about 3 weeks where we saw hundreds and hundred and people that were injured in the earthquake.  And with the tremendous support of the Heartline people in the States, medical personnel and supplies just kept coming during this remarkable, amazing, hectic time.

After about three weeks we were no longer seeing as many patients with severe injuries due to the earthquake and now we faced some hard questions. What do we do with the patients that need aftercare?  Can we really send some of them back to their inner cities homes in such fragile conditions?  What about those that no longer have homes?  Should we open up a field hospital where we can offer aftercare?  It was ultimately my decision and yet I was probably the one who understood the least what that would mean.  And yet there was no other choice.  We had to see this through to the end for each patient.  And that decision has brought us to places and relationships and struggles that we could never had imagined. 

Some nights we would have up to 100 people sleeping at what once was the girl's house and now it became our field hospital.  Most people would not sleep inside due to the fear of aftershocks and so the yard would be full of patients on mattresses that we rounded up and then on cots that we had brought in.  We still needed a steady supply of docs and nurses and physical therapists and supplies and the Heartline people in the States worked tirelessly.  We estimated that we would keep the Heartline Field Hospital open until March 1st.  Well it is July 12th and we are still open with several patients still with us.  We of course had to feed and care for the patients and so we needed a lot of help and resources and wow did people who heard the cry of a nation respond with finances and by coming and giving of their love and hearts to the broken, crushed and wounded.

We as well developed relationships with other organizations that would take some of our severely injured patients and from whom we would take from them patients that needed aftercare.  There were several articles written in which Heartline was mentioned as a place where the patients received loving quality care.  God was doing some super stuff and was honoring our effort to do the best that we could, relying on Him and honoring Him by caring and loving those that He entrusted to us.  These were uncharted waters for us and we clearly knew that we had to trust in God.

Probably the most rewarding things is the relationships that we have developed with the patients.   And the Heartline Field Hospital truly became a community.  We are still open as we have patients with lingering infections, others who are getting used to their prosthetic limbs, and other that will leave us after we put up a new home for them and then there will be a few that have become a part of our community and will be with us for years to come.


HIGHLIGHTING

Amanda

We have often written about Amanda who suffered severe injuries to her leg and left arm when the three story house next to her one room cement house fell on it while Amanda was inside.  She was dug out by neighbors and brought to several hospitals until she found a home at the Heartline Field Hospital.  It is Amanda that we are working and praying to get into the Mayo clinic for the specialized surgery and care that she needs for her arm.  We are still working at it and very much need your prayers and support.

Patrick



Patrick pictured above with Dr. Jen is the 14 year-old boy who was hit by an out of control truck during the earthquake. He suffered a severe fracture and even with several procedures on his leg, he has had a lingering infection that won't go away.  We were concerned that he could lose his leg if he was not able to get treatment that is not available in Haiti. And so through the combined efforts of several people, the organizations Healing the Children and Heartline, Patrick this past week left Haiti for the Shriner's Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts where he will get the care that he could not get here in Haiti. 

Healing the Children paid for the travel for Patrick and a 10 year old boy named Emmanuel who is also being treated at the Shriner's and Heartline paid for the ticket for the escort to travel to Haiti and bring the boys to Shriners.  Heartline will also help pay the expenses of the host family as they graciously take him into their home where he will stay when not in the hospital.   All medical costs are being donated by the Shriner's and the doctors.

I know that many of you have taken interest in our patients and have tracked their progress.  Some reading this blog have been to Heartline and have personally met Amanda and Patrick and know what wonderful people they are and how they demonstrate their trust in God in spite of their injuries.  Heartline for Amanda will pay for airfare to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and the ticket for her escort and help the host family will her expenses.  Her medical care will be donated the the Mayo clinic and by the doctors.  Your help with the ongoing costs of helping Amanda and Patrick would be greatly appreciated.  It is such a wonderful thing to be able to help those that can't help themselves.  I often sit alone in the yard of the field hospital and feel overwhelmed that God has given us the privilege of caring for some who were injured when the earth shook on January 12, 2010.  You can help by praying for Patrick and by praying for Amanda's approval by the Mayo Clinic and by giving to help with their expenses.  Click here to give and thank you for caring!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sis Mwa



Six months have passed. I was going to try to avoid doing the obligatory six-months-after post.  But all day long I thought about people I love in Haiti.  I thought about their situation. I thought about their pain. And I changed my mind.

I know the problems are endless and the needs are great.  I know the mountains are large.  People are suffering.  Things seem not to improve. It feels almost insurmountable.


But I also know ...


As the love of Christ compels us, we must recognize that He gave us all hands, hearts, and gifts that are even more endless.  We must believe that our ability to advocate for others is great. We cannot turn away from what hurts us to see. We cannot give up on things that frustrate us. He is bigger and more able than we know - if we all respond with His generous love - things will change.  I believe it.

Please pray for Haiti today. 



Tap-Tap reads: Christ est la response - Christ is the answer

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hindsight, by Amie Sexton

I asked Amie to write specifically about transracial adoption.  She graciously agreed. We truly appreciate the things Tim and Amie have taught us over the years and were excited to pass along some of their thoughts. PART II from Amie is below, if you've not yet read Amie's first installment, please find it here.  To visit Amie and Tim's blog go HERE. More photos of the Sextons being used in this post without ever asking permission - we anxiously await possible legal action due to our malfeasance - that way we'd get to see and squeeze them. :)




“How does the world’s view of race affect our children?”

I’ve written and backspaced a gazillion opening lines.  Turns out there is no perfect segue into a post about race and racism.  It’s a very touchy subject.  And the sheer weight of controversy surrounding it should be counted as proof positive that –despite the opinion of many- it still exists.  As Angie commented in the previous post, it is perhaps less overt but no doubt alive and well.

Much like the misguided “colorblind” references we’ve already discussed is the equally misguided belief that racism is a thing of the past and as long as a person works hard they have completely fair and level opportunity to live the American dream.  And just as it is foolish to disregard our physical differences, it is incredibly short-sighted to dismiss hundreds of years of history and its residual effects.  Years of abusive, destructive and oppressive history—and I’m not merely talking about slavery.  But since you mentioned it…;-)

One of the most disheartening attitudes we frequently encounter is the “It’s been 200 years, get over it already” mentality.  Sigh.  Consider this.  Just a week ago our nation celebrated is 234th year of independence.  Celebrated it.  Because what happened over 200 years ago set into motion the wave of events that continue to define our country today.  What if I propose that we should all just “get over it”?  I’m willing to bet that I would be verbally destroyed by masses of intensely patriotic people.  People who have an emotional, almost spiritual connection to the history of the US would come out in droves to put me in my place.

Likewise, in less than a generation we will be 100 years beyond the Holocaust.  Which of us would dare to say, “It’s been almost a hundred years; can’t we move on already?”  It’s just plain crazy to even imagine such a notion.  Yet we expect the entire population of African Americans to blink away their suffered past and relegate it to a once a year educational emphasis.  Really?  But for the sake of this post, let’s assume that most people are at least willing to acknowledge the travesty of slavery.  Even so, it is the years that followed and their continued impact which are too often discounted. 

I hold the belief that what slavery did to the black man’s physical being; Jim Crow tried to do to his spirit.  Shackle.  Degrade.  Devalue.  And in many ways it worked.  Whites have often scoffed at the depth of involvement played by black churches in the Civil Rights movement.  It makes perfect sense to me.  Even though it was wrapped in legislation, this was a battle to dignify the soul of a people.  The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 elevated the enslaved communities to something more than household goods and furniture but it did little to improve their standing among their fellow man.  The Civil Right Act of 1964 was another step in the right direction but no…they are not over it because no law enacted by Congress a hundred years ago or forty years ago can change the hearts of men.  And what’s more, if you’ve adopted a child with brown skin…he/she will experience both the best and the worst of what this nation’s tense racial history affords.

The world sees color.  Sometimes it is for the good.  But this is hardly the rule.  And we needed to examine the ripples in the waters of history if we want to help the next generation ride the swells of the present currents.  As we acknowledge our children’s differences, we would also do well to prepare them for the reality of racism. 

My daughter may one day be followed through a department store under suspicious eyes, not because she has done anything wrong but because the world sees her through sin-tainted lenses and responds in kind.  My son may be pulled over by the police for no apparent reason or someday be heartbroken because the girl he’s fallen for has a daddy with no intention of letting a “colored boy” date his daughter.  My bi-racial babies may spend much of their lives torn between being “too black” or “too white” even though they know that who they are is defined by Christ.  I don’t want any of my kids to become cynical and grow up expecting the worst but God forbid that they should ever come home asking “why didn’t you tell me?

Well, I had hoped to cover a third aspect of race –God’s view—but do not wish to overstay my welcome on Tara’s blog.  =)  So…for anyone who is interested, I will post the third and Lord willing final portion on our family’s ministry blog

Thank you Tara & Troy for letting me share what God continues to reveal to us.  I love you so much!  
And thanks to you guys for reading.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

green that is not green

For several years we've lived where there is not money or a marketplace in which to promote "green" living.  That is not to say that people don't reuse and recycle in Haiti  - they do.  It is just to say that there are not gazillions of dollars being spent to promote green living. It is not hip there.  It is not cool there.  It is not marketed to that population.  That population is trying to survive.

Being in the marketing-mecca of the universe after being in Haiti makes all marketing stand out to us, but especially the ridiculous campaigns. It is highly entertaining, totally laughable, and maybe a little annoying to step back and realize the amount of marketing and money that goes into these silly campaigns that are actually not preserving the earth in any way - shape - or form.

Case in point - This sticker sign -
In a shower at a hotel in Orange, CA :


This shower head:

That's right - the shower you take with only one shower-head suddenly restores the worldAwesome.  

Also, false.

Friday, July 09, 2010

A Vision Test

By Amie Sexton

Love is colorblind.

Do I hear a resounding “AMEN!”??? You might regret it. There are two things you should know before jumping on this bandwagon.

1.) 99.9% of the time this statement is made by white people. If you hear an African American use this comment (without an excessive sarcastic drawl and much rolling of their eyes) you are the exception to the rule.

2.) It is one of the most misguided statements commonly made by white people, many of them adoptive parents.

Let me quickly point out that I have spoken these words myself in times past. So has Tara. (Yes, Mrs. Livesay- I’m dragging you under the bus with me. =)) It is based on this personal experience and the outgrowth of it that I am willing to share my thoughts with you now. Let’s delve into the phrase more deeply.

Is love colorblind? I believe what we have here is a classic picture of good motivation followed by crappy methodology. Good intention meets bad interpretation. The notion behind colorblindness is just as simple as you might expect: to be blind to color. But one trip to Wal-Mart with your Haitian, Ethiopian, Ugandan, African American child yields extreme evidence through bulging eyes and double-takes that your and your child’s color difference is easily identifiable.

It is only convenient for a majority race member to flippantly (no matter how well-meaning) discount color in this way. White people don’t have to think about being white…it is what it is. Unless they happen into a room, party, neighborhood, or country in which they are the minority. The average white American will never walk into a department store and wonder “will I be followed around and accused of shoplifting today?” You assume this will not happen to you. No, no, wait. It’s worse than that. You don’t have to assume it won’t happen. You don’t have to even waste half a second considering it. It never has to enter your consciousness.

Hispanics and African Americans do not share this luxury of NOT considering it. I have witnessed blatant and abusive racism first hand. And at the Goodwill for crying out loud! I get that stealing is stealing but seriously? Is it really worth it to let your stereotype destroy another human being over a $3 pair of used jeans? Anyway. Without arguing through 200 years of history, the simple reality is that whiteness has natural benefits. Benefits that no one had to march for, beg for, or be lynched for. The freedom not to think about race if we don’t want to being numero uno on the list of benefits.

Furthermore, to say that love does not “see color” is as ridiculous as saying that because I love dogs they are all exactly the same to me. Suppose you stood before me with a Great Dane and a Chihuahua and I insisted that there is no difference between them –that I am blind to their genetic traits. Any one of you would argue my insanity in a court of law because clearly one of these dogs is a 210 lb. mini-horse and the other could be mistaken for a rat. My love for dogs does not change my ability to recognize their distinct attributes. My love may allow me to impart affection to both critters equally regardless of their size but it will not cause me to ignore what is obvious. And taking it even further –if I insist these two creatures are practically the same in every way and therefore I cram my Great Dane into a crate made for a toy breed I’m no longer just ignoring the difference but overlooking their specific needs and inadvertently causing damage.

Have you seen Avatar? The Na’vi tribe greets each other with the phrase “I see you.” Simple but heavily loaded with meaning. New Age nuances aside, it is explained in the movie as deeply significant and referring to the very essence of the person. I see who you are and all there is to know and love about you. We could take a lesson from the overgrown blue people.

When your adopted minority child looks in the mirror he/she sees black, brown, peach, yellow, tan, etc. skin looking back. For that child to hear us say that our love is “colorblind” can be far more hurtful than any of us would dream. What we mean is that our love for them transcends color and ethnicity. But what they often hear is “I don’t see part of you.” We so desperately want to affirm our children in the security of our unconditional love that we miss the point. What if Tara came to me tomorrow and said, “Amie, I’m going to overlook the fact that you are a red-headed freckle factory and continue loving you anyway”? Besides how completely ironic that would be given our shared features, it would also hurt me deeply because the very nature of such a statement implies that my traits are unbecoming and undesirable and something to be overlooked in order to find me acceptable. Our children want to be accepted because of who they are –inside and out- not in spite of it.


Love that overlooks is belittling. Love that acknowledges is accepting.

Bottom line: love is not colorblind. In fact, God (who is love) is not colorblind. And now the bigger questions are: How does God see color? Does the world see it the same way? Do we? And how do our, the world’s, and God’s views of race affect our adopted children?



Part 2 on the way…


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Paige's Pics ~ Haiti

All photos by Paige ~ July 2010

Adoption Links

Tomorrow and throughout the next few days we have a few more guest voices lined up to share thoughts on adoption. Tomorrow we'll hear from adoptive parents of five asking the question, "Is love colorblind?" Next week we hope to hear from an adult adoptee and a first-mother/birth-mother.

Our intention is never to put anyone on the defensive.  We're hoping to challenge ourselves and others to think about things from the perspectives of our children. While I often think my Haitian children might be "better off" (relative to a few things)  with Troy and I  -- I also know there is a deep, deep bond to their heritage and their roots and if I walk around telling them how much better off they are I might be making it difficult for them to feel safe feeling things for their first family and their birth-country.

The new Toy Story movie (Toy Story 3) has very interesting story lines for kids that have been placed in orphanages and have abandonment issues.  We saw it last weekend.  Last night Isaac and Hope talked a bit about it and shared some of their thoughts.  It led to Isaac asking why his birth family kept some of their children but not him.  That is the first time he has asked us that. If I had spent the last 7+ years telling Isaac how blessed/lucky he is to have us would he feel safe to process these things out loud with us?  I am not so sure.

If we, as adoptive parents, are secure and work at not allowing ourselves to be threatened by our childrens first-families, our kids will feel safe being real with us and allowing true feelings to surface.  I pray my children can tell me anything without fear of making me feel jealous or insecure.   I also know that Isaac has recently hit an age where he is beginning to question new things.  He is not unhappy - the kid is maybe one of the happiest you'll ever meet -- but he does feel these things.  Hope is not yet questioning things.  It is possible that she may have these questions in her teens or even later. It is possible she is thinking about it and not willing to talk yet. Our goal is always to make it as safe as we can for them to process any of it with us - to say exactly what they're thinking. I love adoption.  I love the ways it has stretched us as a family.  We're praying for those of you considering it.

Some links:

Fall Conference  "Together for Adoption" in Austin, TX.

Documentary Schedule on PBS here at Rage Against the Minivan.

A post about the number of children adopted vs. those institutionalized and remaining in-country.

Brain Child Magazine ~ article dealing openly with adoptions that fall apart.

Russell Moore calls Christians to rescue orphans in an article titled Abba Changes Everything


tara