This post is pulled from Megan Hyatt Miller’s blog. You can see it in it’s original state here. I particularly like her 4th and 5th points.
While talking with a friend about our adoption recently, she made a comment that adoption just seemed so trendy—all these upper-middle class families running around with their brown babies talking about hundreds of millions of orphans, minus one.
From the outside looking in, it appeared to be the “new thing.” She wasn’t being critical of my family, just making an observation of something she saw happening in the community where we live.
I started to wonder, is adoption just another trendy way to brand yourself as a cool Christian, or is God moving within his church, calling people to respond to the Gospel in large numbers?
Here are a few reason why I believe adoption isn’t just the latest fad, but points to larger movement:
1. There is a difference between a trend and something that is “trendy.”
To be sure, there is an adoption trend within the Christian community in the sense that a trend is anything that a large number of people do at the same time. But, a “trend” is not the same as “trendy.” Trendy implies something that is the fashion of the moment. Here today, gone tomorrow.
2. Adoption is not a new idea, but Christians are finally starting to take the biblical mandate to care for orphans seriously.
The idea of adopting orphaned children comes directly from our example of our adoption in Christ. It is not a new idea. When we adopt orphans, we are simply imitating Christ, giving a family and a birthright to a child who previously had none, just as Christ did with us.
Thanks to people like Jason Kovacs and Dan Cruver, co-authors of Reclaiming Adoption, the connection between horizontal and vertical adoption is being brought to the forefront in a new way.
Moreover, Christians are taking the biblical mandate to care for orphans to heart.
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.—James 1:27
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come for you.—John 14:18
3. Now, more than ever, Christians place a premium on alleviating the suffering of others.
Christians, conservative and liberal alike, are now more aware of global suffering than ever before, and they are doing something about it. Books like, The Hole in Our Gospel and Radical, have inspired us to enter in to the sufferings of others and give our lives away for the sake of the Kingdom. Whether that means opening our homes or our wallets, we are doing it in large numbers.
4. Transracial adoption reminds us of what the Kingdom of God looks like.
As I wrote here, racial diversity, whether in a family or in a church community, speaks of the way we were meant to live—as one. As my friend, Pastor Chris Williamson says, we are one, but not the same. In other words, diversity is beautiful, diversity points to the restoration of all things. Division, hatred and segregation are plagues of a fallen world.
Reconciliation among nations, tribes, and skin colors is God’s kingdom come (again, Pastor Chris). As recently as 30 or 40 years ago, transracial adoption would have been scandalous. Now, it is one way God is breaking down historic walls of separation.
5. Those interested in being “cool” are quickly weeded out by the process.
Finally, if you want to adopt because it’s the trendy thing to do, you won’t last long. Speaking personally, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. The waiting and uncertainty are excruciating, but our boys are worth it all.
I have yet to meet anyone who completed an adoption for the wrong reasons. I’m sure they are out there, but everyone I have met has been profoundly moved by the Gospel mandate to love in a way that costs them everything.
“With us it rests, either to receive it and be partners in the crime, or to exonerate ourselves from guilt, by spurning from us the temptation. For let us not think, that the crime rests alone with those who conduct the traffic, or the Legislature bywhich it is protected. If we purchase the commodity, we participate in the crime.”—
I appreciate a good deal, and I sure do have some exciting baby bargains to share. Annnd I just lost any male followers. Oh, well. Carry on.
1. Graco Classic Wood High Chair.
Amazon: $139.99 \ Craigslist: $50
Why I love it: I really like wooden high chairs. The price tag? Not so much. This one is perfect and matches our dining room. No stains, in great condition.
2. Graco Little Hoot Stroller.
Amazon: $179.99 | Garage sale: $50
Why I love it: Did you see that pattern?! We didn’t need the car seat, so I just nabbed the stroller — in perfect condition. I am told by my mommy friends that strollers with cup holders are golden, and this guy has two — and one for the kid! Boom.
3. JJ Cole System Bag - Cocoa Ovals
Amazon: $69.90 | Garage sale: $5
Why I love it: This bag is in super great condition, and there are pockets galore! It also comes with a matching pad for on-the-go diaper changes. I like the sling style and it’s adjustable, so Jonny can wear it, too. We’ll be taking this one when we go back to Africa.
This morning during church I began to pray for two of my friends who are in this adoption process. God brought their families to my heart and I think it’s because they are both about to experience one of the most gut-wrenching things anyone can experience. They are both about to live their lives here while their kids are there. It is unexplainable to anyone that hasn’t endured this before. You can not even begin to understand the pain in your heart, chest and stomach each time you leave your babies and come back to what you call home all while leaving them in what they call home. Your two worlds are so separate but yet they are so intertwined.
To my friends Kimberly and Jen (and all you others that will meet your kids and then have to leave them until the time is right for them to come home) I want you to know that I get it. I have felt the pain you are feeling. It might be one of the most hurtful times of my life. My heart may not have hurt as much as it hurt each time I had to kiss my babies goodbye and go back to my “regular” life.
I will tell you that no one will get it, but don’t be mad at them for not getting it. Your friends (that haven’t done this) will nod at your stories and smile, but their hearts have not felt what yours did. Don’t be mad at them. When you get home and life keeps moving past you and all you can think about are your kids, don’t get mad at life. It doesn’t know what you know.
When you talk about your kids to strangers and you talk about a kid that’s never been to your home and they think you are crazy. You aren’t. Keep including “those” kids in with “these” kids. They are all your kids. They are all your own kids.
When you look around your home and plan for where they will sit, sleep, eat ….. you are normal. They will be there one day. They will be home. They will be home. They will be home.
When you try and plan vacations and you can’t because you don’t know what your life will look like, it’s okay. Put off your vacations for them. Vacations can wait.
When you don’t feel as though your heart can stand another day away from them, know that it can. God is able to sustain you. He is able to guide you. He is able to hold your heart when you feel as though it can’t stand one more break.
Friends, I love you. You are strong women and you will make it. It will suck. It will suck more than anything ever in your whole life. You will feel alone, but you are not.
Keep loving your babies from wherever you are.
*I think this was my 3rd time to visit my babies (Sept 2008)
So, question: Have you ever gone through some rough stuff? Like punches in the stomach type of stuff that make you crawl under the covers, leaving your pillow streaked with mascara? Yeah, me neither…
Regardless of circumstances, today I woke up determined to find at least one happy thing. And I thought of five. Victory!
So, here’s a list of five happy things.
1. This bag.
It’s the Fossil Key-Per Retro Utility. It’s huge and pretty and has approximately one billion pockets, including a place for the almighty laptop. I got the bag in the mail last week and I love it. (Annnnd it’s going to turn into the perfet diaper bag someday! Which is why I actually bought it.)
2. This guy.
I am so beyond lucky and blessed to be married to this crazy fool. He is just the tops in every way. I’m so thankful we have that kind of sparkling love that poems, movies and songs can only dream about.
3. This movie.
It’s a little raunchy. It’s a lot ridiculous. It’s Kristen Wiig at her best. I saw Bridesmaids this weekend with some awesome friends after having a really fun dinner. And even though we were late and we had to sit in the front row, we LOLed a lot. It was worth the neck cramp. I also realized that I have more weird + quirky Kristen Wiig mannerisms than I thought. I’m going to take that as a good thing.
4. These shoes.
Yes. Just yes. Say what you will, but sometimes a new pair of shoes is just…needed. I had been dreaming about these beauties for a while, and when a Target sale happens, well, it’s meant. to. be.
5. This art.
Some really awesome friends who are really more like family surprised us with this awesome art, which is now hanging above the couch. They took the tree from our ‘Rooted in Love’ fundraiser shirts and comissioned an artist, who designed it in vinyl between two panes of glass. The artist is also a woodworker, and he made the custom frame. It’s just so awesome and thoughtful. (His other stuff is amazing, too. Go check out his work.)
"I do not mind telling you that within me I find the Easter message and the reality of the Resurrection more beautiful and glorious than the Christmas scene. Christmas tells us that Jesus was born; that He was born for the humiliation of suffering and death and atonement. But Easter is the radiant and glory-filled celebration of Christ’s mighty triumph over the grave and death and hell!
When Easter comes, our voices are raised in the triumphant chorus: The three sad days had quickly sped; He rises glorious from the dead! There is the real beauty! This is more than the beauty of color; more than the beauty of outline or form; more than the beauty of physical proportion. In the living Christ is the perfection of all beauty; and because He lives, we too shall live in the presence of His beauty and the beauties of heaven, forever!”
Mom, via text, 20 minutes later:Dad was explaining a text he got from you..it was a colon..followed by an angle thing. (using two fingers sticking straight out...and the hands pointed next to it at an angle) humorous watching him...was it :/
The blog below about my baby shower decor is courtesy of my amazing friend Ashley. She has two jobs and is in the midst of planning a handmade wedding…and somehow had time to make the cutest DYI baby shower decor, ever.
[My awesome mom + myself at the shower. Let me tell you, that food was a-mazing. The ladies at my church are incredibly talented foodies, no?]
The colors! The pom poms! The mobile! The food! The alphabet banner!
I love it all. The mobile will be going in baby J’s room. Swoon. Check out the link below for the whole post…and to learn how to make your own pom pom mobile. You’ll be smitten, too.
Martin Bashir, a well-known journalist who has done exclusive interviews with everyone from Princess Diana to Michael Jackson, recently interviewed Rob Bell about his new book, “Love Wins.” He asked some tough questions. The video went viral. One side says Bashir was too rough on Bell, the other side vehemently disagrees.
I find this radio interview with Bashir absolutely fascinating. In it, he discusses his interview with Bell, and the expectations of an ethical, trained journalist. As a journalist, it’s compelling to hear Bashir talk about how, at its core, journalism must investigate and uncover the truth. And he brings up some thought-provoking points as to what truth is, and how that intersects with religion, Christianity and theology.
A friend sent me today’s post from A Glad Surrender, a lent blog + devotional by Cornerstone Church in Ames. What a simple + poignant reminder that adoption can reflect the gospel. (Yes, those are the hands of my awesome husband and son.)
"Pure and undefiled religions before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27
Perhaps the most amazing part of the good news of Jesus Christ is that we are not merely forgiven, but we are adopted into the family of God. If we imagine a child in an orphanage who has given up all hope of being adopted by a family and then suddenly finds out that she has been adopted not just by a family, but by a loving father who has a wonderful family and also happens to be the king, we get a partial glimpse of the reality that has happened for each one of us.
A wonderful picture of how we can respond to God’s love is being played out at Cornerstone right now as many families are adopting children both domestically and from abroad. There are many more still in need of homes. Each child is an opportunity for a family to try to reflect the love God has shown us in adopting us. Starter Prayer: Father, thank you for adopting us into your wonderful family. We pray that you would continue to raise up Christian families to adopt children in need of a home. We pray that you would help us, as a church family to support them and all the parents who are trying to raise their children to love and obey you.
I’ve been scoping out the blogosphere lately trying to get some swell ideas for an upcoming couples wedding shower I’m throwing.
I saw these DIY cake stands in ReadyMade recently, and spotted them again tonight. They just look too easy and too cute not to try. Thrifted plates + glue + old vase or candle holder = cutest dessert bar, ever.
Let them eat cake! (This red velvet beauty, perhaps?)
When I think about our little guy making his debut here, I get really excited for a lot of reasons. Obviously. But I’ve only recently gotten excited thinking about his room. Yay!
Decorating and nesting are so trivial when I think of the big picture, but I’m all about creatively repurposing and remixing handmade, vintage, clearanced and thrifted furniture items, art and decor to give all of our kiddos awesome rooms that make them feel like the special and unique rockstars they are. (And I did work at Meredith for two years and I have the decorating bug. Full disclosure.)
So, without further ado…let the brainstorming of Joseph’s nursery commence!
Colors: yellows, browns, teals, greens, maybe a few splashes of orange. No prefab room for this kiddo!
What I’m loving right now: Giraffes, owls, woodland creatures, the alphabet, vintage books, typography, modern fabric.
What I’m not loving: Pastels. Disney characters. Safari-themed rooms. Noah’s Ark-themed rooms. Themed rooms in general.
Soon, my wife and I will be leaving for Nigeria. Soon, we will be meeting our son for the first time. Soon, we’ll understand what it means to be a mommy and a daddy, and not just Kayla and Jonny. It’s all pretty surreal right now, I can’t even really imagine it. To think that I get to experience this gift… I feel unworthy. I have a son. His name is Joseph. And I’m going to meet him soon.
It’s overwhelming to think about. And without getting into a whole speech about adoption, I will say that this will be different than taking my wife to a midwife and holding her hand while she gives birth. It won’t be better, it won’t be worse, it will be different. A different situation that I believe needs a different set of prayers. So this is me selfishly asking for you to pray for us. Pray for me, pray for Kayla, and pray for Joseph. Please join me in praying that Kayla and I will have safe travels to our son and that when we meet him he is as happy and healthy as he appears in all of his pictures. Please pray that in the short time we’ll have with him we can create a bond that will make his eventual transition to the United States easier. Please pray for us to get the most out of every moment and also that we will have strength to leave when that time comes. Pray for safety, pray for joy, and mostly just pray for Joseph.
God has given humanity the beautiful gift of family. Soon, we are going to meet the son that God intended for our family before Kayla and I ever even considered it. I’m pumped, and I hope you’ll consider praying for us as we go.
“When I think about the racial make-up of my own family, I am reminded that it is an affirmation that the gospel is true, not because racial distinctives can or should disappear, but because they can be embraced and celebrated at the same table when we remember that we are one family—the family of God.”— Megan Hyatt Miller in her blog post, "Our Family: Brought to You by MLK."
Familiar with the phrase, “hurry up and wait?” There’s a lot of that when you are adopting. I’m living the "hurry up" part right now. Which means blogging time has decreased, but awesome real-life stuff has increased.
Basically, this is a preview post in which I tell you about all of the cool things I’m going to blog about.
Drum roll, please:
The Giraffe, and Other Things That Made Me Cry: A story of unexpected gifts in unexpected places.
Scaves + Stuff: How knits and purls are bringing our baby home.
Pretty Paper: Check out the fun banner I made for my kitchen, back when I was in the “wait” stage.
Dog Meets Snow: Enjoy cute pictures of a cute dog. In the snow.
The Handyman Husband: The story behind the best-ever birthday present. With pictures!
Meet Oliver: If you like monsters and scary things, you will not like this post. If you like babies and cute things, you will like this post.
On this Cyber Monday, I am super excited to feature a creative and innovative way to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti. All it takes is us + $20 + a computer. :)
One of the most awesome people I know, Natalie, recently shared about the The Adventure Project’s first initiative—selling coal. That’s right—coal! (Below has been lifted from her wonderful blog—she says it better than I can!)
Please consider using $20 or more to buy coal instead of something else on your Christmas list.
There are 10,000 Haitians who we want to help with a new stove.
Invest in people — not things — this Cyber Monday.
Jody and Becky have seen the effectiveness of charcoal-efficient stoves around in the world and especially in Haiti. They have talked to people using the stoves, including a woman in a Haitian tent city who makes and sells coffee using her stove.
Some stats: + 3 billion people are exposed to toxic smoke while cooking each day + cooking on traditional stoves and open fires causes 1.9 million premature deaths each year + acute respiratory infections — often due to breathing in smoke — are the number one cause of death for children under 5 + the smoke from a bad stove is equal to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day
That’s not good, right?
The Adventure Project is using your money to do two things. 1: Give charcoal-efficient stoves to families in Haitian tent cities. 2: Help set up a factory and train micro-entrepreneurs
There are two options available to you. 1: Give coal for Christmas. Each box comes with a piece of coal and a pamphlet explaining the project. Your $20 will buy a family a stove. 2: Donate to support The Coal Project and other future projects.
We are all born orphans. Every person alive was born fatherless, setting out on a journey to find a father whom we were created to know. To make matters worse, we are also all born into slavery. Not a physical bondage, but bondage to sin and despair. This is the sad reality of humanity, and a…
“BT dubs, I gotta leave for my ironic kickball league in about ten. Also, I’m not interested in this position unless I’m going to be constantly praised. And I won’t cut my hair.”— a 20-something guy on ‘30 Rock’ representing what is ‘wrong’ with our generation, according to Jack. I’m not going to say that doesn’t remind me of anyone…
“I was all dressed in green with suspenders and you were in red with suspenders. And basically we were living out the levels of Super Mario as Luigi and Mario. We got to the final level and were about to fight Bowser. But you know how Wario is dressed all in yellow? Mom came in dressed like that and told us that she didn’t think we could beat Bowser, and to stand back because she would beat him. Some things never change.”— My brother, recounting a dream.
Recently, I was able to share some really awesome and amazing big news to people whom I had good reason to believe would be excited—or at least not unhappy—about said news.
Of course, I didn’t expect people to start crying tears of happiness and jumping for joy. But cryptic warnings of everything that can go wrong, snarky quips, rude unsolicited advice and blank stares can really burst a girl’s bubble.
I have a friend who recently got engaged, and people whom he had considered to be supportive and encouraging quipped things like, “Yeah, marriage is nice, until you get a divorce…" and "Oh, congrats. Marriage is really difficult…" and "More than 50 percent of people get divorced…" and on and on.
Cue the *wompwomp* from the Debbie Downer SNL skit.
I had to speak with a lot of Debbie Downers this weekend, and surprise, surprise, I’m feeling a little down. I guess the Debbie Downers of the world aren’t that bad when you expect it. But when the folks who you think are ‘on your side’ are suddenly playing the role of Negative Nancy, the gloominess is contagious. The fear and the ‘what-ifs’ start to seize your thoughts and excitement begins to wane. The bright and cheery news starts to darken, and you’re left with less peace and happiness and more worry and heartache.
The next time someone confides in me a bit of good news, I’m going give them a giant hug and tell him or her how genuinely happy I am about it. No *wompwomp* included.