Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer begins and an update!

We start school early each year so we get half days by May.   The weather is so beautiful and the beach so empty that we head down almost every afternoon.  The kids are into Boogie Boarding this year, which stresses my poor car to its cargo limit.  Note the limited visibility out the back window...

We were missing one kiddo here (still in school) and trying to figure out how to afford a new minivan - when I remembered that hubby's car has a lot more cargo space and one more seat!  So we switched cars, I fired up the big diesel, and we fit just fine.  His car is at 199,000+ miles - but keeps on going!  I don't have to stress about kids getting surf and sand all over "new car seats" - this car is an oldie but goodie. :) I feel somewhat "manly" driving a big Ford diesel - but the price is right!

My high zoot Bed Bath and Beyond Plastic toy Bag

The girls stay busy with their construction projects - in between riding waves and eating snacks.  Each day we truck down buggies, chairs, coolers, boards, and enough food for an army - and that makes us hungry!  When we get home, it's parties around the clock with all the graduates, summer socials, and baby showers.  I'm looking forward to a slower paced June!

My view most days

The girls have enjoyed our homeschool soccer league.  The young moms and dads do a great job coaching, while the old moms and dads watch. ;)  The kids get a lollipop at the end if they memorize their Bible verse -  I get the dental bill - but who's counting after 4 adoptions and all kinds of dental adventures...

After our first year of school, Jenny is now solidly on a 2nd grade reading level (out loud) and reading some 2nd-3rd grade easy chapter books.  She particularly likes the Journeyforth books (BJU Press) I am so proud of her efforts!  Sarah is moving into 2nd grade reading beautifully - thanks to her school's "Reading Recovery" program, and is reading Cam Jansen easy chapter books. Her out loud reading is beautiful - Jenny struggles with articulation due to her paralyzed face.  We are hoping to start speech therapy soon - now that she is comfortable with her new braces.

I am thanking God that I am able to walk, drive, go to the beach, and do all the things I missed last summer while laid up for 12 weeks and all of vacation.  Having your health is a gift.  I'm thankful that I'm able to walk, take care of my family, and cook for myself.  (although that has consequences!)

We have greatly reduced our scheduled activities, and are spending time with neighbors and family.  Thanking God for this rest in Him and this opportunity to enjoy my children and husband.  Praying for the children left behind who yearn for the security, love, and the comfort of belonging, and hoping to welcome more home in the future.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Questioning Adoption: an Answer

Many in the adoption community have begun to focus on the plight of the unadopted orphan in the hope that the lives of the many children left behind can be protected and nurtured in their own countries.  This is sorely needed as most orphans will never find homes - there will never be enough willing families for the overwhelming numbers of children who languish in orphanages, institutions, and on the streets.  I applaud those who engage in orphan care worldwide.  But with this movement, a growing evaluation of adoption as the fuel for trafficking and corruption has begun.  I believe that corruption should be addressed and rooted out, but I also believe that this movement has taken a harmful turn in questioning the validity of international adoption as a whole.

There have been instances of infant acquisition and kidnapping, and even older child relinquishment by living relatives over the years, but this has been rare in the adoption community compared to the large numbers of children adopted throughout the world.  The number of children trafficked for non-adoption related purposes, however, is horrifyingly large and growing, and the trade is much more lucrative for sellers.  Traffickers can sell a child or young adult for $10,000, and buyers can hope to earn $250,000 over the short lifetime of that child through prostitution, pornography, organ sales, and slavery.  But the recent focus is adoption, where the roughly $5,000 orphanage donation – a pittance compared to the offerings of traffickers, is exacted for a child who has often spent 10 or more years in an institution responsible for feeding, clothing, medically caring for, and educating a child.  While not minimizing the pain and suffering of both children and parents who are separated wherever they are trafficked, the impetus should be to root out the slavers and sellers - not frighten away willing families with out of proportion claims.  

Potential adoptive parents – now reluctant - should consider the story of “John.”  John was born with deformed ears – a malformed skull, and other visible facial differences.  He was abandoned as a baby 12 years ago, and immediately placed in a loving foster home.  He is talented, smart, and loved by his foster mother.  Because of his great potential and good situation, an adoption agency actually offered to pay the very high cost for the foster family to adopt him.  The foster mother broke down and wept as she turned them down – knowing that “John” had no future in his home country due to cultural norms and discrimination.  Shall we work to change this?  Yes.  Will it happen in time for John?  No.  His foster mother knows it because she lives it – the birth family knew it - but we judge situations from the outside - by our own experiences and idealism, ignorant of the present realities of this child’s situation. 

Ever since the days when the disciples asked of Jesus, “Who sinned – this man or his parents – that he was born blind?” cultural discrimination has existed.  Jesus’ reply instructs those who would listen, “Neither.  He was born blind so that God’s Glory might be displayed in him.”  Special needs and orphaned children may have to endure living on the outskirts of society as we work to change it, but adoption is an answer to – not the cause of their problem.  I fear that the unfounded and growing condemnation of adoption as a cause of trafficking will slow down the few opportunities these children have to escape a life of desolation.  All the money and education available would not have changed the situation for “John” and his birth family – and so many others – until hearts and minds are changed regarding orphaned and special needs children in their respective countries.  Vilifying and questioning adoption is not the answer – turning the hearts of fathers to their children is a start, as well as supporting anti-trafficking organizations who work to stop the horrors of human slavery.