Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Well, I'm currently in a seminary class where we've been talking a lot about the Resurrection.  While my writing a blog post after a year and a half doesn't quite compare, it does have a few similarities.  Part of my problem when I haven't written for so long is trying to figure out what is poignant enough to write.  I'm done trying to figure that out, so here I am writing again.

So much of the time I feel like I don't have anything of real value to add to this discussion on adoption...other than agreeing that it is a beautifully painful state of mind.

Last summer I did a research paper in a Biblical worldview class on adoption and the orphan crisis.  I thought that perhaps I should share some pieces of it over the next several days.  Hopefully someone will find it helpful.  The paper was titled "Adopted by God:  The Church's Response to the Orphan Crisis."  I'm still wrestling with God about my findings and how He may be calling our family to become painfully uncomfortable again.  My apologies for the formal, academic language....

Here's Part 1 of the paper....more to come in later posts.
As an adoptive parent, researching the implications of adoption is of high importance.  Many aspects of adoption have been debated, and with the rise of infertility as well as the current situation regarding orphans globally, understanding adoption and the call God has given the church from a biblical perspective is imperative.  Biblical Christianity offers unique opportunities for adoption that act as a solution to the present-day, global orphan crisis, including those that will address the potential psychological and social issues of the adoptee. 

                James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.The number of orphans continues to rise. 
More than 13.4 million children have lost one or both parents to the AIDS epidemic in the three regions studied, a number that will increase to 25 million by 2010. In 2001, a total of 34 million children in sub-Saharan Africa were orphans, one-third of them due to AIDS. By 2010, the total number of orphans in the region will top 42 million. Twenty million of these children–or almost 6 percent of all children in Africa–will be orphaned due to AIDS.[1]

AIDS has left millions of children as orphans, but the statistics beyond the AIDS crisis are staggering as well and show the need for a change in the way orphan care is viewed.  According to John M. Yeats, there are several facts that demonstrate a desperate need of a new approach. 
Consider the following facts: 
·      There are 3.5 million orphans in Asia. 
·      1.5 million orphans in Eastern Europe are without a home.
·      Over 400,000 orphans in Latin America overwhelm their social services.
·      135,000 children are available for adoption in the United States foster care system.  The methamphetamine crisis is flooding many states with even more children on a daily basis. 
·      In the state where I live, a social worker stated that there are over 5,000 kids whose parental rights have been terminated by the courts and are awaiting adoption.[2]

According to James 1:27, the religion that God accepts is to look after orphans “in their distress.”  The current situation for orphans certainly can be categorized as such. 
                Even though God has charged the church with the care of orphans, in its lack of response, others take action.  The media attention from the AIDS orphan crisis has brought adoption, both international and domestic, to the forefront of American culture. 
In many respects, adoption went mainstream in 2002 as Hollywood brought attention to the growing need for action on behalf of children worldwide.  Actresses like [Angelina] Jolie and [Rosie] O’Donnell are applying their money and demonstrating with their lives that if people become intimately involved in a dire situation, real change can occur.  Their high-profile adoptions created new interest in the plight of children worldwide and led to further adoptions by other stars like Madonna as well as raising awareness for the need of families to become involved in adoption.[3]

While the attention these individuals bring to the orphan crisis proves positive for the adoption of children, the church must consider the types of families these children enter.  According to a report compiled by the Urban Institute and the Williams Institute at University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, “65,000 adopted children are being raised by same-sex parents in the United States.”[4]  In addition to same-sex couples adopting, many single people are pursuing adoption.  “More and more single people are choosing to adopt.  While in the past some adoptions agencies have been wary of single parents, they have come to realize that what’s important is not the number of parents a child has, but the quality of parenting.”[5]  Although these children are being adopted into loving homes, the beliefs and family structure they encounter differ from those rooted in a biblical worldview.  While the church sleeps concerning this issue, the world takes notice of suffering children, choosing to remedy the situation.  Common grace tells them children need loving homes, so action is required.  The church cannot afford to turn its head or simply throw funds toward orphan programs.  More is required and clear knowledge of adoption and a biblical worldview is the first brick in the foundation of understanding the need for change. 

     [1] US Government Info.  “AIDS Worsens Global Orphan Crisis:  US Leads World in Funding Assistance to Impacted Areas.” (accessed July 2, 2010).
     [2] John M. Yeats, “The Biblical Model of Adoption,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 49, no. 1 (Fall, 2006):  74.

     [3] Yeats, “The Biblical Model of Adoption,” 65. 

     [4] Corrie Lynn Player, Brette McWhorter Sember, and Mary C. Owen, The Everything Parent’s
Guide to Raising Your Adopted Child:  A Complete Handbook to welcoming Your Adopted Child into Your Heart and Home.  (Avon, MA:  Adams Media, 2008), 26.

     [5] Ibid., 22. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Surprise Moment of Grief

Last week I had a doctor's appointment that resulted in a blood test and an ultrasound that would determine whether or not I would need to have a hysterectomy. I'm only 35 years old, so that was a little bit of a shock to me. Needless to say, the tests results were good and at this time, no surgery is necessary.

The part that bothered me, however, was the reaction I had to the possibility of losing my uterus. We've struggled with infertility for several years. I know and understand the probability of us getting pregnant is next to impossible. I also would be lying if I said that every month when the reality of my non-pregnant state is apparent that I don't feel a little twinge (sometimes a lot) of grief.

Even though, I know that it is seemingly impossible for us to get pregnant, I also know that God is capable of whatever He chooses. Luke 1:37 says that "nothing is impossible with God." I know, though, that He cannot do that if I don't have a uterus. All of these feelings hit me as a complete surprise. I wasn't anticipating the depth at which I would feel grief about the permanent state of that surgery. It seems like my grief is below the surface most of the time anymore. This situation definitely made it rise very quickly. I guess this is just unfortunately the evidence that the pain of infertility is always present.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Isn't that weird?

I get this question all the time when people find out that I talk to Abby, our daughter's birthmom, frequently or that we see her on a fairly regular basis. I can remember when Matt and I first were thinking about adoption. We were very fearful of an open adoption. When we would talk about it, the fears were all over the place and honestly somewhat irrational. What if she likes her birthparents more than us? What if they try to take her back? What if they are always around? What if they try to take over? What if....? What if....?

Most of those questions, in retrospect, were a little strange, perhaps, but they were very real fears, nonetheless. I think it was easy for us to dream up scenarios when we were still thinking about adoption and what avenue we were going to pursue to start our family.

But then we met Abby.

I cannot tell you the place this young lady has in my heart. She is like the little sister that I never had. She is like a daughter and a friend. I feel incredibly protective of her and want everything wonderful for her in her life. It's funny because people will ask me, "Isn't that weird? Isn't is strange for you to spend time with her? Isn't it weird for you to have her as a part of your life?" My thoughts are always the same. Why wouldn't we have her in our life? She gave us the greatest gift that anyone could ever give. She allowed us the privilege of being parents. She brought joy and laughter to our home after a period of incredible sadness.

We didn't have a traditional match through the adoption agency. Abby went to the high school where I used to teach and the woman who took my position knew about our situation and our desire to adopt. She happened to be one of the people Abby confided in about her pregnancy. When she heard about our situation, she contacted us and asked if we would consider adopting her baby.

I remember meeting with her and her father. I think we were all petrified. I know we were. We had been so hurt by the initial infertility diagnosis and then the horrible adoption fraud. It had not even been a year since all of our pain began and we weren't ready to endure any more. Along the way, Abby reassured us that she was not going to change her mind. As much as we wanted to believe her, that thought didn't ever leave us until we had Abigail in our arms with papers signed.

We were able to spend a lot of time with Abby before Abigail was born. We went to doctor's appointments with her, went to the movies, took her to dinner...all kinds of things. It was so wonderful to really get to know her before this enormous event took place in both of our lives.

So much more to tell about this wonderful lady. I'll save the hospital stories for another day... I'm just amazed, though, at the incredible love that God has placed in my heart for Abby. The unbelievable, selfless sacrifice she made allowed me to be a mommy. We have talked many times about what Abigail would be like, how she would be different, if she wouldn't have made an adoption plan. We've also talked about how her life would be different if she would have made a different decision. I am very grateful she made the decision she did. She certainly holds a very special piece of me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

God Knit You Together

Welcome to my first post on "God Knit You Together". I wanted to start by explaining the title of the blog itself and what to expect from the posts here.

I am a wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, teacher, musician, artist, lover of all things creative, worshiper of Jesus who has, over the last five years, endured and survived the pain of infertility, adoption fraud and loss, a massive job change that redirected my entire career, the birth of our first child through open adoption, and what seems like so much more that I cannot seem to put into words at this point.

When we had our Entrustment Ceremony, (a ceremony where the birthparents "entrust" or give over the child to the adoptive parents) we lit a candle--much like a marriage ceremony--and Psalm 139:13-14 was on the candles.

For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

I marvel at the creation of the life that Abby delivered to us. I am still astounded by the many small things Abigail does or says that remind me of my husband, Matt, or her birthmom. My mom has said she cannot believe how amazingly similar she is to me at that age. I cannot help but believe that as God was knitting Abigail in Abby's womb and in my heart at the same time, he reached down and in his inifinite wisdom, took pieces of Matt, Abby, Abigail's birthfather, and myself, and wove them all together to create our beautiful, darling, little girl.

He's just that kind of God.

So, the postings on this site will be about lots of different topics, but I will have to take my time telling our story. I plan to give an overview first and then just write about specific incidences that have shaped who were are as an adoptive family.

How do you summarize a journey like this?

Abigail, our wonderful adopted daughter, is three years old now. I am a recent discoverer of the world that exists in this blogging universe. It is quite overwhelming. A good friend of mine is going through the adoption process and began blogging and as I read the comments, I was amazed by the instant support and encouragement she was receiving. "If only I had know about this all this time", I thought! With her permission (and help in navigating), I'm jumping into this.

Our story is wrought with pain, as all infertility journeys, but I am continually amazed by the healing that God has brought through it all. How do you summarize the last 6 years of your life in a blog entry? Even knowing where to start is difficult to decide. So, let's start....

At the very beginning....(someone wise once sang these words, I believe...)

My husband, Matt, and I were very cautious in the early years of our marriage about preventing pregnancy. I remember my mother telling me when I was growing up how she didn't have to really every try to get pregnant, so I should always be cautious. In looking back, I'm not sure how much of this was a true statement of fact and how much was just to scare me into not having sex before marriage. I had a wonderful career teaching high school music and was very successful in that endeavor and we were just not interested in having a family early in our marriage. I have honestly thought at times that perhaps God punished us for our selfishness and for trying to "control" the circumstances under which our family would begin, but I know how ridiculous that truly is. God's not in the punishing business. He's about redeeming. Thankfully.

So, ironically, when we decided to officially start a family, it didn't happen. I had quit my job to take a part-time position in worship ministry so that I would be home more when we had a baby. We had already been actively trying to get pregnant for over a year, so the summer after I finished teaching, we decided to go in for official testing. We thought it would be easier to have Matt tested first and then, depending on the results, I could follow. We had several conversations about whether or not we were going to pursue any testing if the results indicated any problems. Our decision was that we wanted to adopt instead of going through any invasive procedures of any kind. I can't explain why this was our choice--other than the fact that God really knew what our future held. Needless to say, the results were not good. We received the results of my husband's tests and decided to consider our other options.

Our knowledge of adoption at the time was very limited. We didn't have relationships with anyone who had adopted--well enough to really ask them about it. An opportunity arose that looked as though it was an incredible answer to our prayers to start a family. It resulted in a fraudulent federal case....(another entry for this story to come!). We grieved as all who have experienced adoption loss or miscarriage do. We had decided that we were pretty much going to buy a condo on the beach somewhere (with what, I don't know...we're hardly the independently wealthy type...), buy a corvette (for my husband), and travel as much as possible for the remainder of our existence on this earth.

God had another plan.


Several months passed and we had begun to talk about maybe talking with an adoption attorney to see what kind of options we had, but we were not making any kinds of decisions. at all...

Then we got a call that changed our lives...

In March of 2006, we received a phone call from a gentlemen whose daughter was pregnant and had heard we were considering adoption. After our initial shock and the knowledge they were actually working with the attorneys we had looked into using, we met and were officially "matched" with a birthmom.

There is too much to write in one entry about the months that led up to Abigail's birth and the three years since then. She is now three years old (as of June 20th!) and is a vibrantly whimsical princess. We have an very open adoption where we see and talk to Abby (Abigail's birthmom--a very interesting story about how Abigail was named--she wasn't actually named after her, but God has a real sense of humor!) very regularly and see her about 4 times a year or so depending on our schedules. I actually spoke with her this afternoon and asked her permission to share parts of our story that truly intertwine with hers and she was quick to say yes. She and I are both interested in just about anything that can help people breed hope in their circumstances.

My prayer is that our story will bring hope to others. One of my favorite songs is "He's Always Been Faithful" by Sara Groves. My favorite stanza in the song is

"I can't remember a trial or a pain,
He did not recycle to bring me gain.

I can't remember one single regret
in serving God only and trusting His hand.

All I have need of, His hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me."

I can't say it any better.