Monday, March 18, 2013

Thank you, Jesus, for blue

Every morning I take my (almost) 2 year old to his grandfather's ("Ho-Ho") house where he goes for childcare (have I expressed how blessed we are to get to do this?). We have about a 15 minute drive and during this time we usually sing songs and talk to Jesus.  Of course, my son is very young but one of our desires is to show him that God isn't this far away being that has nothing to do with us but that we can have a personal relationship with him and that he loves us very much.  With us, having a relationship means talking like normal people do to each other.

This morning as we're driving to Ho-ho's, I said "do you want to talk to Jesus?" to which he replied "yeah" (don't be impressed, he'd tell you he likes to eat elephant poop if you frame it correctly).  So we start talking with a "Hey God, hope you are well today."  I then went through a few things I was thankful for, prayed for our friend with leukemia, and asked him what he was thankful for, to which he emphatically replied "BLUE!"  I laughed out loud.  But then I stopped and thought about his answer.  My son, my amazing little boy, is thankful for the color blue.  So many times I am overwhelmed with things going on with life...especially right now.  Work is crazy, our adoption feels like it's stagnant, I'm getting ready to travel, going out of town this weekend for a wedding, life is just happening.

And yet, in the midst of it all, my son reminded me of why Jesus loved the little children so much.  Why he chose to be around them any chance he got.  He knew that those little children had a perspective on life that we adults forget quite often.  What if we didn't have the color blue?  What if we didn't have any colors at all?  What would my world look like without it?  My son's beautiful eyes, the sky on a sunny day, my favorite color in the world...everything would be different.  So thank you, Jack, for reminding me that no matter what's going on and how crazy things may seem, I can always find something to be thankful for.  Today, it's the color blue.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This water is fertile - and what's going on in Uganda?

When I started writing this it was only going to be about the first part of the blog but boy did it take a turn - hence the two names.  Sorry it's so long but it really is some vital information!!!
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There are pregnant women coming out of the woodwork!!  I can think of at least seven ELEVEN people just off the top of my head that are expecting all due between June and October.  Babies, babies everywhere!!  Except here.  Ugh, I have seen so many people get pregnant and have babies in the time that we have been through this wait...and there's no certainty on the length to come.  Please don't hear this as a complaint.  We are so extremely ecstatic at our friends who are having babies!  We love these people and their families and love to see God blessing them with beautiful children.  But that doesn't make the wait any easier.  And sometimes I question just expanding our family that way which is completely feasible.

We know we are supposed to be adopting in Uganda.  That is clear.  And for us to rush anything or get pregnant would just be selfish at this point in time.  Please keep us in your hearts and prayers as we do make some big decisions about the details of our adoption.  Please know that as soon as we can share any details with you we will!!

In the meantime, let me talk about a few things that are on our hearts right now.  I know I have said it before but I want to reiterate it here:

Our number one goal for the orphaned children of Uganda (and really every country) is that, if possible, they would be reunified with their family.  We would not go to poverty stricken rural America or the inner cities and say "you are so poor you do not deserve to have children."  Poverty should NOT be a reason for these international adoptions.  If we really want to help the poverty stricken, we should be engaging in the communities to help the families find ways to generate income to be able to keep their families together.  There are some great organizations in Uganda attempting to do as such and help rebuild lives and families.  There may be a (temporary) time when these families need others to care for and educate their children while they get back on their feet however, international adoption should not be the answer for these children.

Our second goal for the orphaned children of Uganda (and every country) is that, if possible, they stay in Uganda.  While there is much poverty and high birth rates to families, there are still opportunities for children to be in foster homes and families (their own extended family or otherwise) who will ultimately love and care for these children in their country of origin.

Finally, and only after these other two options have been fully exhausted, should international adoption be considered.  Of course there are needs for children in Uganda and elsewhere in the world (including the US) to be in families because no one else can or will take them.  These children should absolutely be allowed to be placed with families who love them and want them as their own.

It is imperative to us that we make these things known in our community and in that of the international adoption communities.  Far too often parents set out with good intentions but also some selfish ambition.  We were very naive when we started this process because we always hear about how many orphans are in the world.  And there are!!!  Please don't hear me say there isn't a need and a place for adoption (international or otherwise).  But we have been charged with the knowledge that human trafficking can be conducted under the auspice of international adoption.  And some times without the adoptive parents even knowing it.  There are so many stories I could tell you about these types of situations but they are not my stories to tell.  Yet the more we sit idle or turn a blind eye to these situations, the more it will continue to happen.

If you have any questions regarding anything I've said here, please feel free to contact me offline.  I'd love to talk more about any aspect of this.  And if you're reading this and just wading in the waters of international adoption, please look at this with open eyes and hearts and ASK QUESTIONS!!!

There are also organizations focused on the things I discussed above that would love to have the assistance of those outside of Uganda.  One that we have started to learn about recently is called Arise and Shine Uganda.  The founder of this is a Uganda woman whose goals are very much in alignment with the things I mentioned above.  You should check it out (www.ariseandshineuganda.com)!

What this has done for us is made us realize one thing.  Adoption is very important (we kinda already knew that).  But adoption is only treating a symptom of the bigger problem.  We are called not only to help the widows and orphans but also to build strong families and better communities.  So it is our intention to not only adopt in Uganda but also to come alongside those who are doing the work in building families and communities to help treat the real problem.  And ultimately, the better we get with that, the less need for adoption there will be, and that, my friends, is really our hope.