Saturday, March 29, 2014

on opening ourselves up to pain and possibility


If you are adopting and you are given the opportunity to meet the family of the child you are adopting, there are so many good reasons to do it. 

(This entry is an addendum to Part I.   This article talks about open adoption from a country that does not typically do open adoptions. Still working on Part II and III.)

I started to write these entries about open adoption and quickly realized the pain part is what many adoptive parents hope to avoid.  We don't like unknowns and when the unknowns could be painful, we usually choose to bypass them.  Just yesterday I caught myself doing it.  My son Isaac's first parents were waiting outside the Maternity Center to talk to me and I did not want to face it because it is hard. I did not want to feel the way it feels to stand face to face with the incongruity of our lives. I did not want to hear what they needed because hearing what they need hurts. Not being able to fix things hurts. 

In the original post I said: 


I think it is our job as people of love to uplift the marginalized and to be more than fair. If we are honest we know that we hold the power. We (adoptive parents) have the passports and the money and the ability to be connected and jet around the world. With great power comes great responsibility. We made a decision many years back that no matter how intimidated we might be by entering into an open adoption relationship, it was the correct thing to do and a way we could tip the scales of injustice back the other way.


I realized that I need to further qualify what I said there. By saying it is our job, I did not mean to imply that it would be all sunshine and roses. This is painful stuff. When it comes to knowing first families, it will involve some pain. 

Any child that has been placed for adoption will come to you with their own pain and history of loss. No matter how hard we try to frame it or tell it in a fairy-tale way, we cannot make adoption into a pain-free endeavor. It is not pain-free for them, it is not likely to be pain-free for adoptive parents either. 

Some of the most painful things in life are the things that give us the greatest opportunities to grow (change) and become more loving and gracious. 


*******

In 2009 we returned a little boy named Renald to his family after fostering him for a handful of months. Our daughter Paige often says this was one of the hardest days she ever faced in Haiti. We learned so much about ourselves and our attitudes toward "the poor" during and after our time caring for Renald - I am linking to this story today because it is easy to get in a place of superiority as adoptive (or foster) parents (with the power) where we think that we are better suited and therefore doing a big favor by adopting - maybe that leads us to think we don't need to worry about knowing the first family. Sometimes we think that our material blessing automatically makes us a better candidate for the job and causes us to decide (unfair) things about first families. I think that is a trap, one I hope many can avoid. 

Find Renald's return story here. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

...Some pain, joy, suffering, and much triumph


Miguelita gave birth to beautiful 6 pound baby guy, Dudley, on Wednesday afternoon.  She made a decision that she COULD do it, then we watched her do it.  It was quite lovely for all that were lucky enough to see it happen.

Miguelita's husband and his brother celebrated after the safe arrival of Dudley. 
We ooohed and aaahed at their sweet moment of joy.

My friend (and preceptor) and I celebrated after the safe delivery. Every safe and happy birth is a reason to celebrate.



This family supported Miguelita through a couple of long days. They took turns being at the Maternity Center to love and encourage her. Sisters and brothers arrived with food, a kind word, a massage, their love for her encouraged her and us.


baby boy for Baleline this afternoon 


Today another first-time Mom named Baleline labored bravely. While there wasn't all the fanfare of a large supportive family unit, Jenny, her doula, was working to encourage and support her. Chandler, who works with her as she creates beautiful jewlery, came to help and love and step into the gap. Her second cousin came and helped her get her tiny son latched and nursing.  Nurses, Wini and Nirva stepped in often. 

"You.did.it." "YOU.DID.IT!"  We said.
Baleline finally smiled as she said, "Wi". 




Some women lack a system of support, when that happens others step in. In an insufficient way they try to fill the space that a dad or grandma or aunt should fill.  It is in those moments prayers are uttered even more frequently and desperately. "Lord, be near." "Please God, fill this space with your mercy and love." "Father, we ask for a quicker than normal labor, make this suffering end and give this dear one the gift of her child quickly."  On this Thursday God showed up and answered specific prayers. Sweet young Baleline had a quick labor that ended well. 


~ ~ ~


On Tuesday Carline went home. A big family waited to greet her. We all prayed together for protection and thanked God for this new life.  



Life is precious.  
Celebrate it with us.





All Photos (except for the one she is in) courtesy of Jenny Duhm, Doula/Photographer

Post Script:
I have not forgotten the Open (Int'l) Adoption post(s), I just need the time to write them and have not had that yet. I'll try to finish soon. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

when babies are not at all babies anymore and when moms miss their grown babies and wish that they could be with them for all big celebrations

1990

2013

That's what is happening today. 
The child that made me a mother is 24.  
She is in Texas. I am not.

Happy golden Birthday to Brittany Rachelle!

Britt, we miss you.
Britt, we love you.
So proud.
Excited for your next adventure to begin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Open International Adoption, is that a thing?

Part I 

I want to begin this group of posts with a few caveats.

We are acknowledging that the suggestions and things shared here will not apply to everyone nor will they be possible for every international adoption situation.  I am not talking to the adoptive parents of a child that came out of intense abuse or neglect or danger. I am not talking to the adoptive parents that literally have zero ability to locate the first family of the child they adopted.

I have met multiple people that think this is the most ridiculous thing to suggest. They would NEVER consider sending updates or remaining in contact "with some poor family" on the other side of the globe. That grieves me, but I know that is how some folks see it. I don't assume I can change them.

The two Dads that love Isaac
It is probably also important for you to know that I care as much or more about first families than I do adoptive families.  I care deeply about the rights and respect owed to a birth-mother. In my opinion protecting them and helping to make the weight of their pain and load lighter should be a high priority.

We can honor them best by acknowledging frequently how important their role is and by giving back to them by offering updates and contact with the children they have placed for adoption. We honor them by never labeling them as uncaring or incapable or reducing them to small definitions because we don't understand them or their lives.

We all need to work much harder at family preservation before and while we do adoptions of children from materially poor countries. Wealth does not equal happiness. I do not think that growing up with electricity and toys is automatically or unquestionably better than growing up without both. I don't believe that the chance at proper nutrition and education equates to international adoption automatically being the better plan for a child than staying in his or her first family without those things. (I digress, and that is not what this post is about.)

If knowing all that makes it too hard for you to read and consider the following thoughts, I am sorry-not-sorry - thanks for stopping by.

This post is about considering the opportunity for beauty and relationship by having contact with the first family of your adopted child. 

There are many reasons I have landed where I have on this topic.
I have a best-friend/sister that placed a child for adoption 21 years ago. I have watched closely the roller coaster of things a first mother faces between the pregnancy and placement and the multiple years without contact. I have also watched a successful reunion between my sister and my niece. I am related to adult adoptees and have listened closely to their feelings and thoughts.  I am an adoptive mother of three.

I have lived in a materially poor country as a guest and a learner for eight years. In these eight years we have talked to multiple families that have placed children for international adoption.  We have spoken at length with the two (close and extended) first families of our three Haitian children and have earnestly sought to understand their thoughts and feelings about adoption.
We work with Haitian women every week that are parenting their children without the benefit of a bank account, car, electricity, or fancy toys and vacations and their children are well loved and thriving. Some of these women have previously placed children for adoption and are now parenting subsequent children successfully.

Hope & Phoebe's two Moms
I have seen adoptees reunite with birth families and find peace and I believe in the rights of adoptees to have as much information as possible. I don't think secrets or unanswered questions are easy things for most of us. Many adult adoptees want to know more about their biological family, but cannot get the information. In the age of Internet communication, adoptive parents can now play a role in helping their child find wholeness by helping them stay connected to their biology.

I think it is safe to say that many times the first family and the adoptive family are not entering into the adoption under the same preconceived ideas, hopes, or expectations.

Speaking specifically of our own adoptions, we entered into them naive, dumb, and selfish and we were thinking along these lines: 'They are poor, they just want us to take their kids and feed and educate them. They will be thrilled with that alone.'

Not true.

Yes, the are materially poor, however, they entered into the adoption thinking that their children's adoptive family (us) would remain in contact via photos or written updates. They did not have a time-line in mind, but they did hope that the kids would come back to Haiti and visit them.  They grieved their decision to place the child due to finances and they did not stop thinking about or caring about their kids.  Some family members even hoped that one day a successful adult child might return to Haiti to support them financially and live in Haiti or maybe help them get to America, too.

We have been seated across from mothers and grandmothers of other children that have left Haiti that say, "We never got a photo." "We have not heard from them since 2001." "We thought we would get to say goodbye." "I write to them but never hear anything back." "He is 18 now and I want to know if he is still living and okay."  "They promised (fill in the blank) but have never done it." (I am not talking about giving gifts or any form of payment during an adoption process. That is illegal for good reason.) We have not yet personally interacted with a birth parent that did not want photos or word of their child's well-being.  Perhaps there are exceptions, those that don't want or desire updates; we just haven't met those birth-parents.

I think it is our job as people of love to uplift the marginalized and to be more than fair. If we are honest we know that we hold the power. We (adoptive parents) have the passports and the money and the ability to be connected and jet around the world. With great power comes great responsibility. We made a decision many years back that no matter how intimidated we might be by entering into an open adoption relationship, it was the correct thing to do and a way we could tip the scales of injustice back the other way.

I understand that adoptive parents are afraid of contact in many cases.  I don't know what each individual couple or prospective parent fears, but I know that I feared the uncomfortable relationship fraught with difficulty due to cultural and language issues. I feared it being hard on us and hard on the kids.  I feared not having a guarantee about how it might play out once we entered into it.  I thought it would be too hard to be asked for things.

Twelve years after those fears were born, we are in open-adoption relationships with two first families.  The relationships began over seven years ago. We see them fairly regularly, amounting to two or three times a year minimum.  Currently I see my son's first father every single Friday. We have met all the biological siblings of our son, and all but one of the biological siblings of our daughters.

Our three adopted children know the names and faces and homes of their first families. They have photos with siblings and photos with their Mother.  Two out of three of our children have met their first fathers as well. (At the time of the adoption, we were told the fathers were unknown. This was the orphanage giving advice to the birth-mother to exclude that information.) We have been blessed to know about births, deaths, hardship, and joys in their lives. We (the team at Heartline) even got to deliver the baby of our daughter's older biological sister at the Maternity Center. After the birth, our daughter came over to meet her biological newborn niece.

These relationships are not easy, nor are they super comfortable all the time ... But they are good and necessary. There are cultural challenges and difficulty in communication even with language skills. There are times that it is heavy and difficult to process things. There are times when we need to say "no" and there are times when we need to say, "yes". There are times that being in relationship feels hard.

We believe that the joys outweigh the awkward and that the very least we can do to thank these families is to grant their wish for contact and give them some power and opportunity for relationship.

Without a doubt this decision has been better for our children, better for their first families. Our two twelve-year-old kids are much more able to process this. Our seven-year-old is not ready but knows that when she is, this is open to her as well.  (I don't know your kids. There are kids that might resist this, I don't at all suggest forcing a meeting.) Obviously, it is easy for us to build relationship living back in the country of our children's births.  I understand that this is not possible for most adoptive parents. For some, only photos are possible, for others, a visit someday might be a consideration.

For future or current adoptive parents that are reading, sending photos might feel scary.  For others, that is already happening and only face to face meetings sound scary. We all fear things that are unknown, different or uncomfortable. We had our first two Haitian kids "home" with us in Minnesota for three years before we moved our family to Haiti in 2006. We never sent our first families photos in those three years.  I wish I would not have allowed three years to go by without contact. Living here has opened my eyes and heart. I used to believe very simplistic and unfair things about 'the poor' that I no longer believe.

Photos and updates are a gift. One that I hope every adoptive parent will consider.The birth families we know have saved every single shred of information and every photo they have been given.  More importantly, the only way for your adult kids to find their birth family 15 or 20 years from now if they want or need to, is (if at all possible) to make these connections now.

If you are considering a reunion in the immediate or distant future, let me assure you, sitting in an awkward situation speaking choppy language to folks that you don't really know how to relate to never killed anyone.

Coming soonish - some or maybe all of this ...

In Part II - 
Prepping the kids:
-Is it feasible to visit with formerly adopted kids? -Who decides when to come? If we are not ready to come, how can we send photos and an update? -How do we prep the kids for experiencing Haiti? The kids are really worried about the poverty, how do we prepare them for that? How do we portray Haiti (any country) factually, but positively, so that they understand that people may not have *things*, but that they are proud and strong?

Practical considerations:
-How easy/hard is it to find birth families if it has been a while since we've had contact?
-When visiting Haiti, where do you recommend families stay? -How would we do things like: hire someone to translate, get around, etc? -Do you recommend that we have the birth families visit us at a guest house, etc?  Do you recommend that we visit the families at their home, if invited?  
-Are there safety considerations we should keep in mind?
-Would you recommend taking the birth families to a nicer place to eat and spend the day, or is it better to "keep it simple?"

Cultural considerations when interacting with families:
-What expectations might birth families have of us?  (financial or otherwise)
-How do you navigate a level of openness that you feel comfortable with?  For example, if they want to call, and we are not comfortable with that, but would be comfortable with pictures and/or updates. -What expectations might birth families have of the kids?  What about helping birth families long after the adoption is done.  Should we?

Part III -
Where I share more about the things it has meant to our children and their first families with the two oldest (both 12 now) helping me write about the two most recent visits and how they felt.  Also, some stories birth families have shared about their pain over not knowing. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

on light


We are going through some discomfort, mess, and emptiness and it is making it difficult to write or stay focused on any one thing for long. We have been doing our best in this time to grab onto the joy and hope that is all around us and to notice the beautiful things while we lean into the uncomfortable and scary stuff. 

I generally fear writing when troubles pile up - It is not out of dishonesty or shame, but it is out of a desire for there to be light in the things I write. 

Sometimes the hardest task or assignment of our days is to choose one loving thought over one angry, hurt, or fearful thought, and to choose it over and over as much as possible minute by minute and hour by hour and day by day. Because: Love wins.  

Today we are starting our day reminding ourselves that we don't need to see the end of the path, we don't need to know how every last thing will play out, we just need to choose love while we wait for the light to return.


Friday, March 14, 2014

10 days in Photos

March 5 through 14 at a quick glance ...

  •  Noah, upon opening this Lego gift at the end of the day on his 10th Birthday said, "I am SO impressed with you." He then did a wicked awesome break dance for us to show his appreciation. I mean. Really. That is what all parents are ultimately aiming for, amIright?  We have impressed a ten year old. Go us. 
  • We manage to stay plenty busy with program and regular things that are always going on, but the Maternity Center is experiencing another lull in births. We were slammed in late January and early/mid February. Now we have been waiting on a delivery for three weeks. The last birth we had was an intense shoulder dystocia (stuck shoulder) that turned out well.  We are really hoping for some easy, drama-free March babies.  The prayer page (tab above) has new photos of ladies in the program if you would like to pray for them. 


  •  Paige arrived March 7 for Spring Break - we went straight to two nights at the beach and had breakfast in our jammies and lots of fun.



On March 11 Matt and Annie arrived.  Matt ^ is our brother in law. Troy and Matt went to high school together and in college they did dumb things and wasted brain cells and money together. Now they are brothers and everyone is mature and wise. Gah.  (as if!) Annie was adopted by Matt and my little sister, Tina. Annie lived with us for two years and is visiting Haiti for the first time since she left in 2010. We forced the girls to sit for re-do photos.  Below you will see today vs. late 2008. Let it be said, life has mainly been easier since oh-eight and oh-nine.  (Except sometimes when it hasn't been.)


Matt ran some intense workouts to help spring break lards get off their butts. We didn't intend on having Matt take care of kids but it has been so great that he has been here while we are at work. Tomorrow Matt and Annie get their turn at the beach.

We went to spend time with birth/first-families at their homes this week. I haven't had time to process it all and think about which parts to write about but we are going to write a few posts about open international adoption and try to address the things we have learned talking to many birth families (not just our own) here over the years. If you are adopting from Haiti, I can tell you that most birth parents we have talked with really want to see photos and get updates. In our experience if it is possible, it is a good choice to connect with them annually. Our kids benefit from this as much or more than the first families but I think everyone wins when honesty and openness are employed.

The single biggest finding on that day was that Isaac has been celebrating his birthday eleven days late for the last twelve years.  (We had never questioned his birthday and just went with what the paperwork said. There was 100% certainty on his birth date and we got to hear the story of his birth too!) Isaac is GIDDY about EVERYTHING and this is no different. He gets to celebrate SOONER from now on. When I asked him, "Buddy, are you at all sad that we had the wrong date for so many years?" He said, "Well, NO, I have enjoyed EVERY birthday I've had so it has been wonderful!" Then he added,  "I do want to switch to the right date now."  More on all of it soon.

I said this the other day, until I get the time to write it all out, this is still true-
Open International Adoption - one of the most complicated AND one of the best decisions we've made since moving here. Visiting the kids' first families today. The most complex things are filled with opportunities to grow and see clearer.

on love


************
By Shane Claiborne
"The most remarkable thing about the pope is that what he is doing should not be remarkable. He is simply doing what popes and Christians should do – care for the poor, critique inequity, interrupt injustice, surprise the world with grace, include the excluded and challenge the entitled. 
Pope Francis is leaving off the fragrance of Jesus, and he is fascinating the world with Christ. Maybe his witness will invite more folks to give Jesus a chance despite the embarrassing things we Christians have done in his name. I hope so. I want the world to see a Christianity that looks like Jesus again, a Christianity that is not just known for who we have excluded but for who we have embraced. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christians were known for our love again… not for our picket signs, or our bumper stickers, or t-shirts, or dogma… but for our love."
************
New photos and ladies to pray for at Heartline's Prenatal Program HERE.

New post by Beth Johnson about the Prenatal Program.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

From Haiti to Heartbreak Hill


By Beth McHoul

I grew up in Boston. We call it Bahhhst-inn, which is the official pronunciation, by the way. Life called us away from Boston to a resource-poor island in the Caribbean many years ago. Although I haven’t lived there in 25 years, my husband and I still carry our accents and our Bostonian pride with us. We don’t pronounce our ‘R’s and Boston is still home.
The Boston Marathon bombings rendered me senseless last year. I anxiously waited until the news came that my running sister, who had been a mile from the finish, was safe.  My team of co-workers and midwives here in Haiti, a world away from Boston, worried with me. We prayed and stalked Internet news, sitting on the edge of our chairs as each new piece of information was released.  I am no stranger to upheaval; my own world here in Haiti is often volatile and full of chaos.
Read the rest of Beth's post at The Daily Runner - HERE


To read more about Beth McHoul, see this post at Rachel Held Evans' site - HERE

Monday, March 10, 2014

On Compassion and the Long Defeat

A young woman laid on the bed writhing and crying out in unbearable pain.
She had been coming to classes at our Maternity Center for many months. She had been given sufficient time to know us, but had never really come to trust us.
Her baby had been born. She had spent some time recovering and being encouraged as she began this new important role, being a mother. She was doing well, or as well as a 17-year-old mother with little emotional support at home can do. We drove her to her home – made of tin and tarps and plywood – once she felt ready to go.
On the day she returned to us, a little more than a week later, her thighs were covered in large second degree burns. A common practice after giving birth in Haiti had not turned out so well for her.  Boiling hot water had scalded her legs and rear end.  ”My aunt forced me to do it”, she shared.
Read the entire post at - A Life Overseas, find it here. 

Thursday, March 06, 2014

A Tale of Roast-beef and Defeat

We were saving money to pay for our wedding. The hotel that employed me as a catering sales manager was selling everything to me at cost, but still, we needed a few thousand dollars in order to host a classy reception after the wedding ceremony.

It was coincidental that I did not like motorcycles. (I am named after an uncle that lost his life on one.) It was coincidental that Troy (my groom to be) happened to own one. It only made sense to sell that death machine in exchange for dozens and dozens stuffed mushrooms, prosciutto wrapped anythings, and a handsome man in a white coat and tall hat ready to carve roast beef on demand.


People die on motorcycles. Nobody ever died from too much roast beef.


Whatever.

Hardly anybody.

Two birds. One stone. No more scary form of transportation available to my fiancĂ© and money for upitty Hors d'oeuvres. Clearly a Win - Win. 


At that time we had no earthy idea what lay ahead. Maybe we knew we needed some cash, but little did we know that a motorcycle that carries only two butts would be the last thing we would need. Had someone said "Uh, little morons, the day will come when a basic mini-van will not even carry your family", we would certainly have laughed in their face.

Fast forward six years. We are now the proud parents of five children.  My precious husband began saying he really wanted to get another motorcycle to go to and from work and save gas money.  I threw an ever-livin fit.  No way. Not on my watch. Will.Not.Happen, I said.  "Do you want me to leave you to raise five kids on your own?"  No?  I didn't think so.  Case closed.


Sometime in the following year we moved far away from Minnesota and its entire three month motorcycle season. Discussion forever closed. Or so I thought.


Fast forward two more years. We are now the frazzled parents of seven children. We live in the land of unlimited and impossible traffic. "A motorcycle would get me places quicker and I would end up being home more", he said.


"Hmmm. Let me think. No. Not really. That would be true right up until you were not home at all-EVER - because you were dead," I replied.


We made an agreement.  When our youngest daughter, Lydia, is 15 years old - a motorcycle could once again be an option for transportation. Our kids would be mainly grown. It would be okay to drive around on a death machine at that point. We shook on it.


Fast forward to early summer of last year. There were so many things going on in our lives. Reviewing them would exhaust us all. I won't review.  Suffice it to say, Troy and his friends in Haiti sensed my fatigue and weakness.  They preyed upon a distracted, beaten down, stressed-out mother and midwifery student.


One day I woke up and we owned a motorcycle. I could barely recall agreeing to it, but somewhere deep in the dusty and cobweb-filled corners of my atrophied mind I recalled that I had sort of agreed to the purchase.


I "learned to ride it".  In fact I demanded that it be called my motorcycle. I figured, if we own this thing, I will be the one driving it. Things went really well in the driveway and up and down the paved street in front of our house. I was learning.


One morning after Troy had left with our kids, I felt pompy (read: overly confident) and started it up to head to the Maternity Center. The distance between my house and the Maternity Center is certainly not more than 1/3 of a mile, probably less. I exited the neighborhood we live in, grinning broadly at the gate man's surprise at seeing me on a motorcycle.  I rounded the first right turn, no trouble.  I took the first left turn with equal excellence and precision.  Just as I was about to make my last turn, the turn that brings the Maternity Center into sight, I heard the sound of a truck.  Because I could not see the truck, but knew it was coming, I panicked and over compensated by jerking the handle-bars too quickly.  The loose gravel beneath the tires didn't accommodate my herky-jerky movement and the back tire came around and out from underneath me.  Down in the dirt I went.  Exactly two people saw this happen.  I jumped up, pretended that wiping out on a motorcycle was my job and said "Bon jour - tout bagay anfom?" (Good morning - everything is in order?)  That is how you act uber cool to people that just saw you wipe out. Just like in Junior High when you tripped up the steps...as if they don't notice that your life is not in order, because of the crashing to the ground.


My shaking legs and bloody arm hidden from their view, I hopped back on the moto and took it the extra block to the Maternity Center.  Nothing to see here. Nothing to see here.


Living that down was not fun. My maiden voyage on 'my moto', a failure.  When Noah saw my hacked up arm, he threatened to "take that thing apart piece by piece if Mom ever rides it again."


We left the motorcycle behind when we spent those multiple months in the USA.  Now we are back in Haiti and I am still not really sure how we ended up owning this thing. Lydia is six years old. She is not fifteen.


I suppose I feel that this massive compromise on my part has gone unnoticed. Shouldn't there be a ceremony, some sort of commemoration, awarding me an awesome-compromising-wife medal? Something?


Since we returned to Haiti, there have been no new dramatic incidents to report on the moto. The other night, we took off to dinner and our daughter, Hope, snapped this photo.  It shocked me to see that I was groping (hard-core clutching) Troy. If this is how I grab him when I ride with him, maybe I misunderstood the reason he wanted this dumb thing all along.




I figure if nobody else is going to award me, I will just have to self-award.


Until the next time we need a giant quantity of Roast Beef, you may see one of us around Port au Prince on these two fancy wheels; I call her Defeat.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ash Wednesday


We know grace and beauty well. We know it well because we have been given it in the form of friends and family that model it with their lives.


We are grateful for friends that are safe to share the things that swirl in our heads, the things that threaten to drag us down if we don't let them out. I am grateful to have people in my life that can handle a faith crisis or a meltdown or a combination of the two. It is good to chat with loved ones that can live in the incongruity and utter chaos and tension of this life without trying to explain it away with religious platitudes.  We have those people. People that sit with us in the discomfort and in the mess. Just sit.with.us.   

This Ash Wednesday ( a day traditionally set aside to contemplate, pray, repent, abstain)we want to pause to express our gratitude to our people.We also want to be this kind of people - the kind that sit together in brokenness, feel the pain, and with undying hope, wait for the healing to come. 

We are all waiting.

Monday, March 03, 2014

And He consoles them



Our friends Danielle and Krispin are always working at loving people and asking tough questions. Fellow wrestlers, they are.

I think this piece at A Deeper Church is something worth your time. Read it when you have time to sit with it.

*****
Lord, Lord, I know what you told me to do: aspire to be righteous, know all the right answers, speak with a surety in your voice and heart. Seek after happiness, an American birthright. Pursue positions of power and importance, for that is where you will effect the most good. Be satisfied with where you are, with what you know to be true for you and yours. Work hard and you will be rewarded, everyone is responsible for themselves. Punish the evildoers, set right what is wrong (and use force, if necessary).
Make sure you are well-liked, adored, that you get the accolades you deserve. Be the toast of the town, the poster boy or girl for your particular brand of religion. Be easy, safe, accessible to all, the person everyone wants at their parties, full of small talk and pleasantries.
Be palatable, honey. Tone it down, blend in.
CLICK HERE to read Danielle's full re-write of the Sermon on the Mount.
Beware, it is difficult.

*******
On her own site, she wrote these words... 
He painted Christ, in the center, and around him he filled in the broken-hearted.  A woman kneeling with her dead baby clutched in her hands. A refugee with a walking stick. A man lost at sea, a man who killed himself with his own dagger. A poet imprisoned as a madman, three generations of women, all abused. The oppressed throughout the ages–a Polish independence fighter, a Greek warrior, a Roman slave, an African slave. A dying man, with Jesus taking off his shackles. Mary Magdalene, the famously forgiven, kneeling at his feet. Everyone is pleading, stretching, shackled, in agony–and everyone leaning into the Christ. 
And he consoles them. 
It’s what he came to do. like he always has done, throughout the centuries. He comforts the imprisoned, the sick, the sad, the dying, the lonely. The burnt-out, the lost at sea, those floating out ever farther from the land they staked their lives on, adrift and unmoored by the suffering and pain of the world. 
And we who are lost are brought back by one person alone, and that person is the Christ. The one who suffered like us, with us, for us. Who promises to break all the chains, to bring his new kingdom here in this earth. Who hangs out with the outsiders, the ones the world forget. Who sees us for who we are, as the bringers of his kingdom.
~   ~   ~

The past weekend was an unusually quiet one - no births at Heartline - it seems like most babies come on the weekends.  (Well, quiet is a relative term. Quiet save the little concussion Lydia suffered Saturday. Slightly scary, some puking and small d drama - but she's 100% fine now!) 

We are thankful for the pocket of peace this weekend and the time to reflect and talk and pray and read and run and be. 

This week in Haiti is a big deal (it is Karnaval week). - Schools are closed at least 3 days this week, some all week and tomorrow is the gwo fet (big-par-tay) before we all repent on Ash Wednesday. I'm gonna skip Fat Tuesday and start repenting early. Seems like a better way to go. This week is a big deal for us because Noah turns ten on Wednesday. I don't know that I am a spokesperson for all moms -- but having the babies turn five, ten, thirteen, sixteen, and twenty-one all feel like really big ones to me.  We are looking forward to celebrating the life of our family comedian.