• The Measure of our Society.

    Date: 2013.02.06 | Category: Adoption | Tags:

    The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. ~ Ghandi

    I apologize ahead of time for the length of this blog.  It is long.  I know it will turn a few away, but there was just too much information.  I guess I could have made it a 4 part series or something.  🙂

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about orphans and orphanages. I know you are all shocked by this statement.  🙂  I’ve been thinking about ways to spread the word.  You’ve heard me say I feel like I’m preaching to the choir because I know you guys know where I am coming from.  I read many, many blogs about others who feel as passionately as I do about adoption and orphans, but there are still so many people who just don’t know what it is truly like to be raised in an orphanage. Even if it’s a beautiful, well-equipped building, it isn’t a family.  Every child deserves the love of a family.  Could you look at any child’s face and say they don’t deserve love or a family?

    I believe people need information. I know 3 years ago I had no idea that there were that many orphans or that the need was so great.  Which is why I believe people don’t understand.  I believe people just don’t know.  I believe they need pictures to go with the stories.   Everyone can tell you about the commercials for abandoned dogs, how it pulls at their heartstrings.  Well, what if those, that are abandoned, were children?  Because the truth is, there are millions of them waiting for a family.  I truly believe people want to help.  We’ve all seen people come forward to help someone in need, once they knew the need was there. We’ve all heard those stories where we were just blown away by the money people raised for a cause that touched their heart.  I truly believe that if people only knew, they would make a difference.  “Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” – (David Platt)

    Here is one of those orphans faces that have touched my heart.  I have watched person after come forward with help for this little boy.  I seen people around the world say they will pray for him and try to get him help.  This is what I am talking about.  People care, people will help, they just need the information.   LWB – Yong 

    We can’t just say we take care of our own.  We can’t say that all is fine in the U.S., let’s let them take care of their own.  I know you think it is not your problem, but it is if you are a Christian.  You do not get to say, “My little corner is fine so I don’t have to pay attention to the hurting 1/2 way around the world.”.    But just for the sake of talking figures, let’s discuss the U.S. – there are ~104,000 children waiting to be adopted and ~374,000 Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches (google search).  Seems pretty simple to solve that problem, 1 child adopted for every 3 churches.  That seems like an easily fixable problem.  So why are there still children waiting?  Because it is not a priority in most churches.   Now let’s look at the world – ~147 million orphans and ~ 2.18 Billion Christians (google search).  That is one orphan for every 15 Christians.  Seems somewhat doable.  Do you know how many children were adopted last year? 8,668. ABC News – Foreign Adoptions – Decline   So that is .0051%.  Even if the number of orphans is much smaller than what others project, that percentage is still appalling.

    This is hard for me.  Honestly it is. I don’t want to feel like I’m preaching.  I don’t want to go out and tell my story.  It took me years to talk about Hope’s story because I didn’t want people to think I was bragging about saving a child’s life.  But Hope’s story is a miracle.  It is a wonderful story of how God touches hearts and changes the lives of people.  By worrying about what others might think about me, I was hiding God’s glory and light.  I once sat on a bench at the Iowa State Fair and was talking to a stranger.  We discussed many things and she actually knew Hope’s story.  That was a huge turning point for me.  God graciously showed me that her story was being told whether I chose to be a part of it or not.

    The truth of the matter is people will judge, people will talk, people will think what they wish.  I only have to worry about what God thinks.  It took me years to get to that point.  What I do is between God and I.  He is my judge.  Only He knows what is truly in my heart.  Which is why I feel like I need to speak out for these orphans.  I spent years in church and never heard anyone say anything about adoption or orphans.  James 1:27 commands us and yet I never heard anything spoken about orphans in my 45 years in church.  Why are our churches not spreading the word?  Where is the cause for the orphan?  There are a few big churches that are trying to spread the word, Saddlebrook for one. Orphans and the Church  But where are the rest?  We send out missionaries but what better way to reach others with Christ-like love than to take in the least of these.  Nothing shows God’s love and His accepting us into His family as much as adoption does.

    I know that everyone has a passion and a heart for different things.  I get that.  I know not everyone is called to adopt, but does that let someone off the hook because they weren’t “called”?  What about the commandments of helping the destitute, the fatherless, the widow?  There are many ways to help.  There are many organizations that are trying their hardest to take care of these children.  You can feed children.  You can pay for surgery.  You can sponsor children.  You can help educate children.  The opportunities to help are numerous.  Some of the organizations I believe in, are on the links part of my homepage, but there are many, many ways to help.

    Recently I came across a magazine called “Earthen Vessels”.   The bible verse that goes along with this is  2 Corinthians 4:7 (NASB)   But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…     That is how I feel. It is not of me.  It’s not that I’m special or I’m strong or I have it all together – it is all because of God.  God doesn’t call the qualified.  He qualifies the called.  If you think I don’t get nervous when I consider what we are trying to accomplish, you’d be wrong.  I’m trusting God to get through this.   I can’t let my fear stop me from going and getting my children.   I have had people say to me, “You are never going to go on vacation again.  You are never going to be able to enjoy coffee with friends.  Your life is just going to be crazy busy.”   I listen to those things and I think “What would you have me do?”.  Would you rather I took a vacation than went to China and got my children? Would you rather I left Ben to die alone in an orphanage?  Would you rather I left Min to fend for herself?   I’m not sure what they are truly trying to say or if they are just trying to make themselves feel better.  I understand when people joke about it because I joke about it too.   But people have to know that I do realize life is going to be really, really busy.  I do realize this, but I am so excited to start this journey.  I know it is going to be unbelievably hard.  I know that, truly I do, but I have watched Ben and Maisey this past year and seen first hand what lots of love and some food will do for a little soul.  It is an unbelievably amazing thing.   So when people say “I’m not willing to give up my coffee or my meeting with friends or my eating out, I have to wonder what they are truly saying?

    Back to the magazine,  I loved the stories I read in there.  Two of the stories are blogs that I already read.  Jenny’s Updates  and The Blessings of Verity   The Blessings of Verity is the blog that tells the story about Katie.  The magazine article, Miracle of Katie, really touched my heart.  I’ve read her mama’s blog, but I read some things in that article that I didn’t know and it was heart breaking.  She talks about Serbian Institutions and talked about a segment from back in 2008 showing what these mental institutions are really like. We know there are still children coming out of those institutions looking like this.  If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, at least start at the 1:30 mark.  I’m telling you we can’t pretend that this isn’t happening.

    Serbian mental institutes

    I have never been so thankful for Codey being born here in the United States.  If you don’t know, Codey has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus.  I know what his life would have been like had he been born anywhere else.  I love my son and his spirit.  I can’t imagine him living in conditions such as those.  I cried and cried watching this video.  But I can’t be content and say “Thank God its not my son and do nothing.”   These children need their stories told.  These children need people to act.

    Back in 1995 there was a video made about China’s dying rooms.   There is a you tube video depicting this.  I can’t watch it.  Dan has watched the video but I can’t bring myself to do it.  Why?  Because Maisey weighed 6 pounds at 6 months.  I know Maisey would have died if she had been left in an orphanage.  She was rescued but so many more never make it out.  As a Christian, I believe that babies go to heaven, so I can find some comfort in that fact, but that doesn’t allow me to sit back and say “It’s okay for babies to die.  It’s okay to not pay attention. It’s okay to let God handle this.”   God created us to do something.

    I pray that your heart will be opened to help someone.  I pray that those videos move your heart.  It truly is torture.  It truly is as bad as the holocaust.  Do you really want to be the person who does nothing? Do you want to be the person who couldn’t give up eating out just once a month.  Do you want to stand before God and say my house was really, really nice though as God shows you the picture of those children lying in an orphanage slowly, slowly, slowly dying.   What purpose did God design you for?  Where is He leading you?  BIG, BIG questions.  Don’t go through life pretending that all is right with the world.  Open your eyes and truly see what God wants you to see and then, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

    The truth of the matter is we all need to pay attention . We need to open our eyes and our hearts.  We can’t be content to just sit comfortably in our easy chairs with our remotes watching hours of worthless t.v.  We can NOT do this anymore.  When did we get to the point when it was all about me, me, me?  When did we stop caring for the least of these?  What if God was watching?  Because the truth is – HE is.  What is your life saying?  Truly think about that because I didn’t for a long, long time.  What is your life saying?  We all like nice things.  We all like vacations and spa days and nice new toys.  We all do.  It is human nature.  But is that what you want them to say about you when you are gone?  Truly?  She always had the nicest nails.  She always wore the prettiest clothes.  What do you really want them to say?  What more could you do?  What are your gifts?  Whatever your gift is – use it!    Romans 12:6-8    Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

    We need people to pay attention.  We need to open our hearts, our eyes, our pocketbooks, our homes.  We need to help those in need.  Don’t be afraid.  Here’s another mother’s blog saying the same type of thing.  Was God Just Kidding?    Honestly,  my assumption is that you aren’t a bad person.  My assumption is you are where I was 3 years ago, unknowing.  My assumption is that if you knew children were weighing 26 pounds at the age of 14 – you’d do something.  My assumption is if you knew  how many children were without a family – you’d do something.   My assumption is if you knew that children needed clean water – you’d do something.   Well, now you know so “do something”!!!!   Do anything!  Really think long and hard about this.  Don’t just say “Really? There are 147 million orphans? Wow!” and go about your day.  Really stop and take in that number.  That is more than the population of Texas, California, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio & Georgia combined.  (Wikipedia -population of states in the US)  Do something!  Anything!! Are you following where God is leading or are you still dragging your feet?   I believe in you. I believe that once you knew something you would truly set out to do something.  May God bless you and lead you.  May He open your eyes to the pain in this world.  May He fill your heart with the passion to make a change.  May God truly, truly give you a heart that is after His own heart.  May He lead you where you need to go so that one day you will hear those words that every Christian should be striving to hear – “Well done my good and faithful servant!  Well done!!!!”