Saturday, October 09, 2010

Adoption - is it for me?

This is a question I think many people ask (if they even consider adoption at all).  This is a question I used to ask myself, and quickly followed it up with, "No.  That's for other people. And that's wonderful what they're doing but it's just not for me."  And if I thought about it much, my reasons for saying this really came down to fear.  Fear of the unknown. Fear of the "what if."  Fear of a million other things.

Thankfully, the Lord changed my heart on this subject, a total 180 degree turn within a few weeks.  Yes, Lord, THANK YOU for changing my heart!!

Of course, all my fears didn't dissipate the moment we decided to adopt.  Sometimes it was an hourly prayer that the Lord would take away my fear, that I would rest in His peace about the unknown.  

The following is an article by Russell Moore on this very subject.  And it hits the nail on the head.  Read on...

Is the Orphan My Neighbor?
— Thursday, October 7th, 2010 —
Posted originally at Q Ideas.

I will never forget seeing her pull the measuring tape out of her purse as she talked about the skull of her child.

The woman, standing in an airport in Russia with my wife and me, was, like us, an American. She, like us, was in the former Soviet Union to pursue adoption. But she was worried. She had heard “horror stories” about fetal alcohol syndrome and various other nightmares. She said that the measuring tape was for gauging the size of the craniums of her potential children, to “make sure there’s nothing wrong with them.”

The reason I think about this conversation so much these days is because I am finding—more and more often—that one of the primary obstacles for Christians in advocating for the fatherless can be summed up right there in that measuring tape: the issue of fear. As much as we might not want to admit it, many of us don’t think much about orphans because, frankly, we’re scared of them.

Orphans are unpredictable. Often we don’t know where they’ve come from, what kind of genetic maladies and urges lie dormant somewhere in those genes. Moreover, in virtually every situation of fatherlessness, there is some kind of tragedy: a divorce, a suicide, a rape, a drug overdose, a disease, a drought, a civil war, and on and on. We’d rather not think about such things, and we’re afraid often of what kind of lasting mark they leave on their victims.

Those of us who know Christ ought to recognize that fear is often a deterrent to justice, a deterrent that has been indicted, crucified, and buried in the triumph of Jesus. In Jesus’ story of the so-called “good Samaritan,” after all, Jesus presents us with a man who “fell among robbers” and was beaten, nearly to death (Lk. 10:30). With little commentary on why, Jesus tells us, simply, that two passers-by, both religious officials, moved on to the other side, to avoid the wounded man (Lk. 10:31-32).

While many have speculated that there might have been theological reasons behind their neglect (the fear of becoming ceremonially unclean from touching a corpse), the most compelling reason I’ve ever heard was from Martin Luther King, Jr., who wondered whether the passers-by were simply afraid.
After all, there were no streetlights on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho—the setting of this story. There was no police force. A man beaten by terrorists is a good signal that the evildoers are still about, perhaps hiding in the caves along the roadside, lying in wait for their next victim. Moving on along, quickly and quietly, probably just seemed like prudence.

But Jesus never was one for justification by prudence alone. He praised a Samaritan—a reviled outcast from the official religious structures—for the compassion he demonstrated toward this man. And the compassion Jesus commended—and commanded from us in imitation—wasn’t mere charity. The Samaritan didn’t simply help the beaten man; he gave him his own animal, set him up in an inn, and paid for all his expenses for his ongoing care (Lk. 10:34-35). Any Israelite hearing this account would have seen immediately what was going on. The Samaritan was treating the beaten man like family.

Right now, there is a crisis of fatherlessness all around the world. Chances are, in your community, the foster care system is bulging with children, moving from home to home to home, with no rootedness or permanence in sight. Right now, as you read this, children are “aging out” of orphanages around the world. Many of them will spiral downward into the hopelessness of drug addiction, prostitution, or suicide. Children in the Third World are languishing in group-homes, because both parents have died from disease or have been slaughtered in war. The curse is afoot, and it leaves orphans in its wake.

Not every Christian is called to adopt or to foster children. And not every family is equipped to serve every possible scenario of special needs that come along with particular children. Orphan care isn’t easy. Families who care for the least of these must count the cost, and be willing to offer up whatever sacrifice is needed to carry through with their commitments to the children who enter into their lives.

But, while not all of us are called to adopt, the Christian Scriptures tell us that all of us are called to care “widows and orphans in their distress” (Jas. 1:27). All of us are to be conformed to the mission of our Father God, a mission that includes justice for the fatherless (Exod. 22:22; Deut. 10:18; Ps. 10:18; Prov. 23:10-11; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 7:6; Zech. 7:10). As we are conformed to the image of Christ, we share with him his welcoming of the oppressed, the abandoned, the marginalized; we recognize his face in the “least of these,” his little brother and sisters (Matt. 25:40).

The followers of Jesus should fill in the gap left by a contemporary Western consumer culture that extends even to the conception and adoption of children. Who better than those who have been welcomed by Christ to care for the most feared and least sought after of the world’s orphans? After all, who are we, as those who are the invited to Jesus’ wedding feast? We are “the poor and the crippled and the blind and the lame” (Lk. 14:21). Since that is the case, Jesus tells us, we are to model the same kind of risk-taking, unconditional love (Lk. 14:12), the kind that casts out fear.

Yes, orphan care can be risky. Justice for the fatherless will sap far more from us than just the time it takes to advocate. These kids need to be reared, to be taught, to be hugged, to be heard. Children who have been traumatized often need more than we ever expect to give. It is easier to ignore those cries. But love of any kind is risky.

The Gospel means it’s worth it to love, even to the point of shedding your own blood. After all, that’s what made a family for ex-orphans like us.
Posted originally at 
Q Ideas.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dinner with Smitty

Well technically I didn't eat with Michael W Smith, but he did eat just 8 or so feet away from my table!  Last night, Jason and I had the unique opportunity to attend a private (only 100 people) Michael W Smith mini-concert at a local Dallas area restaurant.    

We arrived at the restaurant and were seated right in FRONT of the stage!  So cool!  Soon after we were seated, another couple came in and were seated at our table.  They were a really nice, friendly couple, Zach & Jen.  We spent a lovely dinner getting to know them.  Turns out, Zach is one of the worship pastors at Gateway Church in Southlake.  Gateway Church is just across the highway from our church, Countryside Bible.  So we had much to talk about and found several other similarities...more about this couple later.

So, we got to know our table-mates over a wonderful dinner.  Jason had the prime rib, I had the prime sirloin.  Delectable!

About the time dinner was over, Michael took the stage to start the mini-concert.  This was my view the entire show (no zoom lens needed or used ;-):

Michael performed a variety of songs -old and new.  So much fun to hear the songs that have really been a soundtrack to my life - sung live by Michael himself!  Interspersed between groupings of songs, there was a question & answer time.  Guests could write questions on little index cards and Tony Lopez of KLTY (the radio station that sponsored this event) read some and Michael answered!

Towards the end of the concert, Michael started off a song stating this was one of his new favorites and the first time he heard it, he just wept through the whole song because it so perfectly expressed how he felt towards the Lord.  And then he played this song (the video below wasn't taken last night (obviously) but sounds pretty close to what it was like and similar comments he made)

You could tell it meant a lot to him personally and it is a beautiful song.  The evening ended shortly thereafter, (Michael gave some closing comments)...

...and then he started to go around the room from table to table, meeting and greeting, signing autographs, talking with the guests, etc.  When he came to our table, we found out something pretty cool and amazing!  Zach, our "tablemate" wrote the last song, "The More I Seek You" (this song was actually recorded by Kari Jobe originally - Michael hasn't recorded it yet). Jen told Michael that Zach would never tell this to him, but she wanted him to know - so we got to listen in on a huge singer/songwriter profusely thank and commend the songwriter for a song that has touched him!  Pretty cool and I can't imagine how that felt for Zach to hear Michael say that from the stage, then sing HIS song!  Amazing!  We felt like we had 'celebrities' at the table with us all of a sudden because we know and love that song as well (I think we've even sung that at church!).  

So then, we had our little chat with Michael and got a picture with him too.  I had Michael sign the picture I took with him when I first met him back in 1997 on his Christmas Tour with Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Faith Hill & Gary Chapman.  I had won another contest then and was flown to Nashville to attend the first concert of the tour/season and passes to the VIP reception afterwards.  Great memories!  And don't be shocked by my blonde hair - it was a short phase, believe me!

Here's the current shot...I guess we both look a little older (although Michael has fared better - did you know he turned 53 today, has 3 grandchildren and 2 more on the way!?) My little bit of 'news' from the night though is that Michael and Amy are planning to tour again together either late 2011 or 2012.  This has not been announced yet but you heard it first here, folks!  Who knows, maybe I'll have another opportunity to have Michael sign the picture taken last night!

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Update on Belle

We had a little scare with Belle yesterday.  I went up to the barn in the morning and she was fine.  Had a lesson on Tommy and she still seemed fine.  Went down to the house for about 20 minutes and when I came back, she had slipped her halter off and looked as though she had rolled in her stall (which is very bad with her fractured tibia).  I put the halter back on after making sure her leg didn't seem worse.  She seemed fine so I got her grain and supplements ready and put it in her trough.  She didn't touch it.  That was when I become concerned.  Belle never leaves her grain. I hand walked her outside for awhile.  She put her nose to the grass and smelled but wouldn't eat. She tried to lay down while we were outside and I was becoming increasingly worried.  

I took her temp (96.5 degrees - low for horses) and checked her respiratory rate (25 breaths per minute - on the high side of normal) and decided to call the vet.  He felt concerned and that she was probably trying to colic.  No surprise based on how she was acting.  He told me to give her 10 cc's of banamine, take her outside in the sun to hand walk her, and make sure there was water nearby if she wanted to drink.  

After giving her the banamine, I hand walked her about 2 hours total.  (1 hour at first, another hour later in the day).  She drank a little but by 5 pm, still no bowel movements and she wasn't drinking much.  Called the vet again and he said to give her a dose of electrolytes that come in a syringe.  If she hadn't gone to the bathroom by 8, give her another 10 cc's of banamine.  Ran to the feed store and came back.  Gave her the dose at 6 pm, by 8 pm she had gone to the bathroom!  Success!  

So, I felt a little bit better about going to bed last night!  Although I did wake up at 2:30 and go up to check on her again.  She's still doing well this morning so she's on limited hay today and if everything is still going well, back to regular feeding tomorrow.  

As my vet said, the actual fracture isn't our biggest concern in a horse of Belle's age.  Founder and colic are big risks.  Being that we're only 1 week into her 6 week stall rest, I'm hoping the rest of the time is uneventful!!

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Video of the Week (Week 38)

All that I can say about this is you will get more info next week (on Sunday to be exact).  Enjoy for now!  Ava is in the far left group wearing the green shirt and green skirt.

Until next time...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Project 365 - Days 270-276

Well, I was right - it has been a crazy busy week but a lot of fun too!  This next week promises more of the same but at least I'll have some good pictures, right?

Day 270/365 - September 26

I've been driving by a place several times a week that is advertising bags of shavings for $3.50.  For those that don't know, this is a great deal.  To buy a bag of shavings at the feed store it costs $6-7 so this is a great savings.  I never saw anyone out front or a store to go into but they did have a phone number.  So I called and the man instructed me there was a lock box sitting on one of the bags of shavings where I could put my money.  Total honor system.  And the lock box wasn't even secured to anything.  Again, honor system.  I love the country!  So we loaded up with as much as we could and dropped our money in the box.  I need to get back there and load up with more as soon as possible!

Day 271/365 - September 27

I blogged about this earlier in the week but here was Belle getting her x-rays that confirmed the fractured tibia.

Day 272/365 - September 28

Here's another shot of Belle in her home for the next 6 weeks.  She's still pulling the cable down so today I'm off to buy a stronger cable and attach it a bit differently...

Day 273/365 - September 29

This picture was taken earlier in the week when Ava had set up a restaurant upstairs complete with a special menu (or "menou" as the case may be ;-)  What an imagination this girl has!

Day 274/365 - September 30

My parents are in town for Amelia's dedication later in the week.  Ava was so excited to see her Grandpa and Grandma when school let out!

Day 275/365 - October 1

My Dad was getting bored and wanted to be put to work!  So, I gave him the paint can and some paint brushes and set him to work painting the miles of fencing we have!  He's doing a great job!

Day 276/365 - October 2

My cousin Joni and my Aunt Dorothy drove into Dallas on Friday so Joni could check out some possible programs for her post graduate work.  They rolled up to our place Saturday afternoon and left a short 21 hours later.  We had a great time while they were here and as you can see, the girls quickly warmed up to them!

Until next time...

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