We’re still here

Well, the world didn’t end so I’m back to buying toilet paper in bulk.

BB, just in case, worked until midnight to make sure those last few things were finished!  Gotta love that spirit.  I went promptly to bed because it’s my favorite thing to do.  As I was going to bed, I told BB two things in case the world ended.  First, that I loved him dearly and enjoyed every minute of our life together and second, that I had no desire whatsoever to survive the end of the world so not to try and save me should the opportunity arise.  Seriously, I’ve seen the movies.  Who wants to survive that?  Do you honestly want to live in a world with no running water or electricity, eating beans out of a can and running from bands of crazed cannibals?  No thanks.  I’ll go out with the nuke please.

I did spend some time thinking about the end of the world as I was going to sleep.  I don’t get into the predictions, but I do believe that God wants us to live as if every day was our last.  I was thinking through my life and contemplating any unfinished business I may have. 

Ultimately, I fell asleep.  But in the middle of the night I awoke in the middle of a vivid dream about confronting our adoption agency.  Then I spent about 30 minutes going over the dream and coming up with more things I would say to them if given another opportunity.  Apparently this is my unfinished business. 

I think the latest obsession comes from some phone conversations with another mom about her families’ issues with One World and then also I’ve started organizing all the photos of the children to put in storage.  I am sad because I so want to be over it.  I desperately want to forgive and move on.  I don’t want this bitterness to take root.   At the same time, it’s necessary to stay in the fight.  I truly think God is uniquely using me to advocate for other families and children, to educate people and to encourage change.  I love it, and I’m grateful for the privilege.  But it’s hard to re-live the drama over and over again.

I ended up being able to sleep once I started praying.  I may not be able to quite reach forgiveness and freedom yet, but I can pray for it.  God has his work cut out in softening my heart.

While it would have been nice to wake up this morning in the presence of Jesus, the Lord has other plans.  There’s still work to be done and so we are still here.

Unto Us a Child is Born

I finally figured it out.  Apparently I must have eaten some sort of small alien super-mouse, who is now grown to be about 6 pounds and is trying to claw his way out.  This makes a lot more sense than me being pregnant and explains a lot of what’s been going on.  I’ll let you know when he escapes.

Who’s ready for Christmas?  We watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation last week so I am.  Since we are going gift-free, this is basically a stress-free holiday full of lots of cookies and Christmas music.  Highly recommended.

Speaking of Christmas music, apparently BB was not actually born in this country or somehow grew up somewhere Christmas music is hated.  He’s supposed to sing Christmas music at an event on Saturday, and this morning he asked me to teach him the melody of the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”  I am still flabbergasted.  Whoever is waging that War on Christmas must be quite proud of himself!

I’m looking forward to the holiday distraction myself.  Getting a little restless over here.  In some ways, I’m in the home stretch of meeting this little peanut and yet at the same time, it is still a far way away.  I need a deadline to work.  Not that I want him to come any sooner because we all know what happens when a baby comes – everything is awful.  There’s crying and pooping and crying and no sleeping.  Lord help me.  This baby better be darn cute.  I’m really counting on being able to keep my daily nap schedule and to watch The Wire.  Apparently this makes me mildly delusional.

Thus, I have started my “to do before baby” list, which so far includes:  hair cut, be extra nice to BB, pedicure, see Les Mis, clean apartment.  To be fair, clean apartment has been on every to do list I’ve ever made. 

I need a few good fiction books to read during this last push, so feel free to send me your recommendations.  I just returned “Lionheart” by Sharon Kay Penman to the library having only read 2/3 of it over the past month and a half.  I usually devour her books, but this one just didn’t capture my attention.  I have a number of non-fiction books on adoption, sex trafficking, the Holy Spirit, and marriage on my shelf, but none of those are drawing me in at the moment either.  I need fiction.  Yummy, colorful, fanciful fiction.

Leaving you with my Advent meditation verse for the day:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince Of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with Judgment and with Justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Love that it’s “unto US.”  Jesus is God’s gift to us.

Also love that Jesus came to establish judgment and justice.  Feeling a real need for that in 2012.  I keep hearing more stories from other One World Adoption families about trials they are facing in their adoptions, and it just makes me so angry.  It’s so heart-breaking for the children and families.  God’s justice will be done, and I have to take comfort in that.  No one gets away with anything even if we don’t see the justice done.

Hope your holiday preparations are going well.

 

 

 

Adoption Agency Accountability

I’m still pondering what we’ve learned.  I’m dabbling in a few different online groups and reading lots of stories of adoption that involve ethical disasters.  How I wished I would have read (or paid attention) to these things years ago!  But, like many things in life, I often have to learn the hard way.

I feel for adoptive parents out there.  You have this strong calling on your heart, and you are answering it.  You hear Russell Moore and the Warrens speak so passionately, and you refuse to ignore it.  You see the beautiful pictures and hear the stories of abandoned orphans now being part of a family.  We all want that to be our story.  None of us got into this to traffic children or to coerce children away from their families.  There are easier, more fun ways to spend your time and money than adoption.

What can we do?  I think we must must must demand accountability from adoption agencies.  Just as I am reading more about demanding accountability from chocolate, clothing and coffee manufacturers to ensure they aren’t using slave labor, so we must do the same with adoption agencies to make sure their children are legitimate, legal orphans who actually need to be adopted.

The first thing we must realize is that international adoptions in America is a business.  These agencies are out to make money.  Yes, they may have chosen this industry because they want to help orphans, just as Steve Jobs started Apple probably in part because he just liked computers and technology.  At the end of the day, money is why we do business.  Most of us would not go to work if they stopped paying us even if we really liked what we did.

We cannot be naive and accept that these agencies are full of good-hearted people who can do no wrong.  They may be good-hearted, well-intentioned people, but sometimes those people can do the most harm because they lack a certain cynicism necessary to do business.  At One World Adoption Services, Inc., for example, the director and staff were nice.  They cared about the children and the families.  But unfortunately, they have blinders on when it comes to doing business in the DRC.  They trusted the wrong people and refused to see their mistakes (and still refuse).  Are they kind?  Yes.  Are they Christians?  Probably.  But that is not enough to operate an adoption agency.

Follow the money.  We live in a time where the term non-profit has basically become meaningless except for tax purposes, yet we all believe that if we are using a non-profit adoption agency, then we are in the clear.  Wrong.  So wrong.  The agency directors and staff are making money off of these adoptions.  How else could they afford to do business?  They might not be getting mega-millions, but they are bringing home a paycheck.

It’s time we demand to know what these agencies are charging for.  What’s a referral fee?  To me, that sounds an awful lot like paying for the agency to find you a referral.  We shouldn’t need to find referrals.  There are either kids in orphanages who need to be adopted, or there aren’t.  Agencies should not have an incentive to “find” a child to fit the profile so they can collect the fee.

Agencies must investigate referrals independently of their in-country staff.   This is a no brainer.  One World told us that they do not ever investigate or verify any information they receive from the DRC.  This is appalling.

Agencies must have a presence on the ground on a very regular basis.  How can you oversee something but never see it?  How do you hire staff you’ve never met?  One World refuses to travel to visit the orphanage or check up on things, even after a large-scale scandal.

These issues are not limited to One World or DRC.  I have connected with many other families who have struggled with ethical adoptions from other countries with other agencies.  We cannot afford to turn a blind eye.  That would be a disservice to the orphans and widows we desire to serve.