Saturday, June 30, 2012

Perfect in Weakness

I used to hold babies all day and stay up with sick children and feel useful and needed. Now I’m filling out paperwork and running errands and sitting in meetings repeating the same thing over and over again. I used to want to live in this country more than anything in the world but now that the big move is a mere 12 months away I’m not sure how I feel.

I kind of love my comfortable life in America. I kind of love the kids I get to babysit. And I love my family with a fierceness I didn’t know until I faced leaving them for good. And I like my jobs. And I like my friends. And I think I could be happy in the United States.

And some days I let myself daydream what my life could be like if I just stayed there. Seeing my siblings grow up- getting to attend soccer games and school graduations and birthday parties. And babysitting awesome kids and working as a teacher in a classroom that I’m comfortable with- free of all the cultural barriers I know I’m going to have to face here. And I could apply to be a temporary foster parent and maybe get my Masters degree. I could do anything I wanted and the future seems endless.

But instead i’m on this path that could most certainly end in massive failure. I have a budget that is screaming for $115,000 to be raised. I’m involved in a program model that has never been attempted before… and before that used to be exciting… and now all I think about is the fact that that means we may be heading straight for disaster.

And maybe I don’t want to be on a path that might be heading for disaster… maybe I don’t want to trust God with just about every aspect of my life… maybe all those Christian things I’ve repeated before in perfect cliché fashion aren’t so easy when you realize you actually have to live them.

I’ve said before that the hard is good… because the hard brings Christ’s beauty and personal growth and closeness to God. But even though God has been faithful time and time again to prove that, the truth is that my humanity still seems to doubt it.

Because I am blessed… or maybe not?... with a life in America that offers comfort and security. And maybe giving that up is not as easy as I thought.

$115,000. I cannot even wrap my head around that kind of money. Cannot even begin to form a plan within the realm of possibility that ends with us having that money by next June. For the first time I have to face the terrifying truth that Abide will only happen if God performs a miracle… and I thought I believed in miracles… but when it holds my future in its hands I realize that I doubt.

The world is filling my head, demanding ownership over ever empty space- you are way too young, you thought enough people would care?, you’re not Ugandan, you don’t know what you’re doing- But when I open myself up to God he pushes all those things aside and I can see a small seed of hope growing in unqualified soil.


My faith might be smaller than a mustard seed… But His grace is made perfect in weakness.

And maybe, just maybe, he will move mountains to prove it. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I've Been Up To

House hunters Uganda version. We (maybe) found a house for Abide! 

Once upon a time we lived in a dull and tasteless world. Then we discovered Pinterest. Pad thai in our Ugandan kitchen????

Paper work is so much fun (not)! Did our budget yesterday.... yikes! Definitely going to be a real lesson in trusting God for all that money. (you can donate to Abide here)

Home visits to this precious girl are always a joy. Just look at that smile!!!! Someone sure is happy to be HOME!

Love seeing re-settled kids that refuse to let go of their grandpa's legs when we try to greet them!

Meetings. Lots of Meetings. And then some more meetings. Getting to know some awesome people doing incredible work though!

Some light reading for our pool days (that so far has not happened ONCE... Ugandan weather has it in for us)

Missing this baby girl and all the other kiddos back home :( Why does she have to be so cute????

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Easy to Ignore

David Platt wrote “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.

It’s true. Once you know an orphan’s name, see their faces, and hold them in your arms it’s easy to fall in love. To passionately fight for their rights to a family. It becomes even easier because “orphan care” is so in right now. You can buy a trendy t-shirt and donate to someone’s adoption and write a fancy blog decorated with cute baby pictures. You can move to Africa and open an orphanage. Fill your home with cute and cuddly kids and fulfill your dream of being a mother, all while claiming you are simply fulfilling God’s call to care for the orphans.

When we hear about a baby being abandoned in a sugar cane field we grieve.

When we learn about conditions at an orphanage we get angry.

When we hear about an adoption we rejoice.

But what about the families? Where are our tears of grief, our angry rants, and our joy for them?

When we hear about a family putting their child in an orphanage because no one offered them any other option we should grieve.

When we learn about children being taken from parents to be trafficked for international adoption we should get angry.

When we hear about a parent and child being reunited we should rejoice.

But instead people are flocking to this country, stealing children away from families, lying on paperwork, bribing officials, and trafficking kids out of this country. And the sickest part of it all is that they justify it all by saying they are obeying God’s command to care for the orphan.

Are we as the church partially to blame for this? When we responded to God’s command to care for the orphan did we focus too heavily on the adoption aspect? Has adoption become too cool and driven people to adopt for the wrong reasons? Have we neglected the widows God also commanded us to care for? Have we simply thrown ethics out the window in our attempt to adopt all those poor African babies?

My time in Uganda this summer has made me angry at my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Hearing horrific stories of birth mothers being lied to, children being stolen, and mothers signing their rights over because no one offered them any other options. And then meeting awesome adoptive parents who are adopting children who truly need it and are doing everything ethically and legally. Seeing how their adoptions are taking three times as long because they refuse to bribe and lie and how they are stuck achingly waiting for their children because of all the others who are not following the laws. It makes me so angry.

So tonight I’m going to grieve, and get angry, and rejoice for the orphans AND the families that are in this mess.

I am going to continue speaking out against the people trafficking children and speak up for the families involved. And I’m going to stand in awe of the patient families doing it the legal and ethical way, no matter how difficult that makes their adoptions. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blog Block

I have blog block. Like writers block but I can write plenty, it’s the blogging that makes it hard. The more I understand this blogging world, this country, and the more I grow and learn the harder it is to sit down and write a blog post.

Because I want to write truth. I want people to enjoy the beauty I see and get mad at the injustice here.

But I don’t want to write stories that are not mine to tell
I don’t want to exploit the pain and suffering here.

I don’t want you to read a story and respond only in pity. I want to write well enough to communicate the beauty and joy hidden in the sorrow.

How do I share these experiences in a way that honors these people? In a way that does not take ownership over children and situations that are not mine?

And then there is the ugly. Children being trafficked for international adoption, “orphanages” collecting children with families to make money off of them, and families being ripped apart in the name of “orphan care”.

How do you speak into these situations in a way that does not offend so much that people refuse to listen?

Be patient with me as I try and find the answer these questions. As I pray and try to find creative ways to share that honors these people and communicated beauty.