Category Archives: Adoption

Call me Crazy or a Fool….

There is a song by the Christian group Avalon that is one of several “theme” songs for my life.  It is called “I Don’t Want to Go” . Here are the lyrics (or you can listen to it here):

You changed my world
When You came to me.
You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

I don’t want to go somewhere
If I know that You’re not there,
‘Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don’t want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don’t want to go.

So come whatever, (whatever may come)
I’ll stick with You (right by your side)
I’ll walk You’ll lead me,
Call me crazy or a fool,
For forever I promise You…

That I don’t want to go somewhere
If I know that You’re not there,
‘Cause I know that me without You is a lie.
And I don’t want to walk that road,
Be a million miles from home,
Cause my heart needs to be where You are.
So I don’t want to go…

I can’t even listen to this song without tears streaming down my face.  You see when the Lord reached down and touched my heart so deeply in the summer of 1979 as a 16 year old girl I was never the same.  He did exactly what this song says…He drove a passion deep down in my soul to follow Him in everything!

And yes that has led to many many times being called…

Crazy or a Fool 

I have a feeling that this blog is going to be another one of those times.  And that is really ok by me…I am simply trying to follow the Lord’s lead.. where ever that is and whatever may come.

You may or may not know that ever since we adopted baby girl in 2009….we have hoped to be able to officially adopt at least two more children. Most doors for that are closed to us for various reasons:

  • Foster adopt in California has strict unbendable rules as to the the number of children per bedroom and with our home we won’t qualify for that until 2021 (didn’t they ever read or watch Little House on the Prairie or The Walton’s who all raised fabulous families with limited bedrooms?)
  • Private Agency Adoption has roadblocks with our ages….hmmmph! 😉
  • International Adoption is not an option because our annual income does not meet the immigration guidelines of $75,000 a year for a family our size (somehow I think orphans living in poverty around the world just hoping for one meal a day and clean drinking water might not mind living at the Lambdin “poverty level”…yes it is true that with our income and family size we are considered poverty level..sheesh…talk about crazy!)

So we have just smiled, told the Lord our desires & prayed knowing that a private independent (not agency) adoption  was really our only option & the likelihood of having a pregnant mom just come to us “out of the blue” and ask us to adopt her baby was very slim.

But God……

Six weeks ago we became aware of a woman who was pregnant with twins at the age of 51 and was going to terminate her pregnancy.  It was one of those facebook posts friend of a friend of a friend type things.  I called her on the phone   We spoke on several occasions but she was hesitant to get together and a bit “cold”.  I just continued to call and text offering any support I could. Then three weeks after our initial contact she called and asked me to come to her house.  She shared with me that it seemed every time she thought about going to get that abortion, she would get a text from me and it would stop her.  She said that my persistence made an impact on her life and that she would like to consider placing her babies with our family.

She has a long complicated life story….with some real sadness, horror and tragedy….that has led her to consider this alternative.  A story that has in its chapters – abuse, abandonment, molestation, rape, murder, prison, drugs, alcohol, rehabilitation, marriages, divorces, many children, a few miscarriages, domestic violence, poverty, restraining orders, government assistance, church attendance, friends, family, mental illness and a measure of faith.  To be candid, the more I learn, the more my mind is overwhelmed by one person having lived and endured such a life.

We have spent the past several weeks getting to know her, assisting her, supporting her and loving on her.  It has been fulfilling, exhausting, energizing, frustrating, exciting, good and crazy!  We have all come to love and care for one another.

And that brings you to today.  The question asked me daily by friends and family:  “How’s the adoption plan coming?” or “What’s the latest on your adoption?” or “Is everything settled with the adoption?”

To which I answer with a combination look of confusion, happiness, sadness and questioning….silence.  I do not know how to answer those questions.  I am dealing with a pretty unstable situation in many ways.  I am walking a road with someone, who in my heart of hearts, I believe simply does not have what it will take to raise those children as their primary caretaker.  It’s not just the lack of resources, reasonable shelter or stable family support relationships that are almost non existent…it goes so much deeper.  There are many complications and there is no clear path to a simple adoption. Perhaps an open adoption will be the answer. Perhaps we will end up somehow with legal guardianship instead. Or perhaps we will be a second family — Auntie Beth and Uncle Dan to these precious twins that are due to be born in just eleven weeks.  I simply do not know how it will all play out….and yes for a recovering control freak….this is bringing me to an even great level of giving over my control and letting God be in complete control of every part of our lives.  I am reminded once again of this scripture in James:

” Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to do this or that  or we have great plans to have this happen”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.”

Yes…my friends (especially those with the same control issues as I) that is what it the Bible says!

So I will say Lord willing….we will be adopting twins into our family.

Or Lord willing….we will be taking them and their Mom into our extended family.

Or how about this Lord willing…we will purchase the house next door that is currently going up on a short sale for a “steal of a deal”.

Wait! What did she just say?!

Yup…I said Lord willing, we could somehow, someway own the house next door.

And what does that have to do with anything? Why do you want to own the house next door?

Oh I am glad you asked!  Call me crazy or a fool…but just in the past few days I had this thought about the house for sale next door. I thought how perfect it would be if we could move our new friend into that house. We could then look after her and help meet her needs from right next door.  And whether we end up adopting, having legal custody or just being an ever present family providing stability and helping to train up those babies with the life skills that are missing from previous generations, taking then to church and teaching them the ways of the Lord…we would be able to do that and be a life giving blessing to the mamma as well.

Yes…that is just how my big vision, big dreaming mind and heart works.  And Lord willing….it could happen!  All we need is $130,000 cash and we could do it. Someone out there may just need a big year end tax deduction, right?!  By the way, have I told you that Inspire Ministries…is now officially incorporated as a non profit with the State of California, IRS paperwork filed to be a 501(c)3, bank account opened and ready for donations, website in process and facebook site posting! Wouldn’t this be an exciting first BIG project…a ministry home to be used to help those in need with the ministers right “on site” to train and support?

Wouldn’t that be amazing?  It could happen…Lord willing!

You drove a passion,
In my soul down deep,
Lord, to follow You in everything.

11 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Callings, Faith, Goals & Dreams, Inspire Ministries, Life at the Lambdins, Lifes Challenges

Fabulous 50: My List for Loving & Living Life

I am one of “those” people.

Those odd people who love their lists

…who live by lists

…who make lists for everything (and even keep files on the computer of “to do lists” for recurring events in my life)

…who start many conversations by saying “Let’s make a list

…who torture their family with their never ending “to do” lists, chore lists, packing lists and “honey do” lists

…who have been known to add things to their list that they have already done just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list <it is a sickness, isn’t it?>

So it shouldn’t shock or surprise you that in honor of my 50th birthday I created a list. It began a week or so ago as I was pondering having lived 50 years of my life and what I would like to share with others who are still in the first half of life! (although they are great reminders for whatever season of life you may be in!)

So….here is my 5oth birthday list (complete with many “Bethisms”) for loving and living life…and of course there are 50 points!

1. Life is short and quickly passing by (was I not just 30 and in a twinkling of an eye be 70?)
2. Life is even shorter when compared to eternity (wisdom & logic would say to invest your self in eternity)
3. Life is an amazing gift – enjoy it!
4. Life is a precious gift – celebrate it!

5. Life is a
beautiful gift – love it!

6. Life is a priceless gift – don’t abuse it
7. Life is a unique gift – don’t waste it
8. Life is a glorious giftSTOP worrying and stressing about it
9. Life is NOT a dress rehearsal! (this is the real performance people!)
10. Life is to be lived on purpose (and the occasional accidents are an exciting and sometimes course changing part of the ride)
11. Life – it’s not what happens to you in life that matters, it’s how you respond!
12. Life is not fair – “you get what you get & you don’t throw a fit!”
13. Life is not fair – if it were fair we would all be headed to hell (for all have sinned and fallen short and the price for sin is eternal death…but thanks be to God for sending us Jesus to pay that price for us! It was not “fair” that he had to pay the price…but I’ll take it!)
14. Life is not fair – it is not a matter of holding good cards in life…but of playing a poor hand well!
15. Life is hard…at times really hard. 
16. Life is not a respector of persons – the sun shines and the rain falls on the good and bad alike (Yes, bad things happen to good people. If you still can’t accept that refer to “Life is not fair”)
17. Life ends in death for everyone: statistics say 10 out of 10 people die  Live like you believe this fact!
18. Life’s ultimate goal and chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!
19. Life without love is nothing
20. Love is the answer ♥
21. Love covers a multitude of sins 
22. Love is not a feeling but an act of our will (we can always act lovingly without feeling the love)
23. Love is patient…enduring long 
24. Love is kind  (so simple yet so very difficult…)
25. Love is unselfish and self sacrificing 
26. Love is life giving 
27. Love bears & endures all things, hopes & believes all things 
28. Love NEVER fails…it never gives up 
29. Love the Lord with ALL your heart, soul, mind & strength 
30. Love your parents and honor them 
31. Love your husband or wife (if you are single love your future bride or groom by waiting just for them and keeping yourself pure and unstained by this world) 
32. Love your children…hug and kiss them often, speak powerful words of life to them & discipline them (yes that is a part of love) 
33. Love your friends through the good, the bad & the ugly 
34Love your neighbors (who is your neighbor? The one in need) 
35. Love your fellow believers – brothers and sisters is what they are called in the Word (even those from different denominations or those who have hurt you or that you vehemently disagree with) 
36. Love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you (this goes against our very nature and yet….)
37. Love and do good to those who hate you  (yes that is oh so very hard)
38. Love your self for you are skillfully & wonderfully made by the Creator 
39. Give generously…even to a fault!
40. Be faithful to your commitments…don’t quit!
41. Discover your passions in life and pursue them whether or not they are practical, financially profitable or held in high esteem by society
42 Build on your strengths…don’t pay too much attention to your weaknesses (not as in weaknesses of sin…but in gifts, talents & abilities)…you can’t put in what God left out!
43. Think outside the box…you don’t have to do it the way it has always been done or the way everyone else does it 
44. Decide how many children you want or that you can handle…and then have one more! (even better yet ask God to give you what He wants)
45. Take full responsibility for your life…don’t blame God, the government or others for your lack of opportunities or failures
46. Regular consistent personal disciplines – prayer, bible reading, exercise, weekly church attendance will pay off in the long run…both in this life and the one to come!
47. “Adoption” (of any type – a baby, foster child, an international orphan, a family in need, a floundering young person, senior citizen, single mom, widow, fatherless/motherless child, foreign exchange student…for any amount of time – short term, long term, permanent or for life) is something everyone should experience!
48. Make memories and take lots of photos (if you are blessed to live to a ripe old age…they will be such a treasure)
49. Done is better than perfect!
50. Give up your control issues as young as possible and let God be in control of everything… (so says this wise recovered control freak)

4 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Marriage, My "take"

I wish I could….

My dear blog readers…today’s post is written for those of you who call yourselves Christians. So, if you are not someone who claims to believe in and follow the teachings of Christ I invite you to “listen in” on the conversation but know that I am directing this post towards believers.

Ok…let’s get right down to it.

As Christians we are commanded and compelled to help orphans and unwanted children. Period. End of story.

I could give you all the scriptures that point to this non negotiable commandment. (for those who may need “proof”Exodus 22:22-23, Psalm 68:5-6, Deuteronomy 14:28-29, Deuteronomy 24:19, Psalm 82:3-4, Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 14:31, Proverbs 31:8-9, Matthew 18:5, Matthew 25:40, James 1:27, James 2:14-17)  

I could tell you about the long history of church tradition of helping orphans & unwanted babies. (Did you know that unwanted infants in ancient Rome were often disposed of via the practice of “exposing.” Whether undesirable because it was malformed, female or simply inconvenient, the child would be left alone, outside the city walls, without defense before glaring sun, icy winds or roving animals. For centuries, a marginalized group gained a reputation for rescuing these children: Christians. The early church was known, even among many who despised it, as a people who defended the orphan. Believers went outside the city to find infants abandoned there, taking them in, and raising them as their own.) 

I could share with you my own story of adopting one of God’s precious children (if you are interested you can read about it here along with several other amazing adoption stories in the comment section – Chosen to Love and Be Loved)

But really I do not think most of you need any of that to convince you that God has a heart for orphans and unwanted babies or that His desire is that we be like Him and have a heart for them as well.   No, I think you are all well aware of these truths. 

What I really want to have you think about is the part you will play in orphan care and adoption.  What are you being asked to do? (and don’t tell me you are not “called” to help orphans…it is NOT a calling it is a commandment – go back and read the scriptures above) Now a few of you may take in a child and raise them as your own….the beautiful miracle of adoption. Others may become foster parents or legal guardians. Some may start local adoption ministries in your church or community. Many will sponsor a child through organizations like World Vision or Compassion International. A handfull will go visit orphans in foreign countries or domestic children’s homes and bring joy and love to them for a bit.

The bottom line as Christians is that we are all asked to do something.  And I know something that we can ALL do!

I can’t begin to tell you how many people have said to me – “I would love to adopt but it is so expensive”. And that is true for all foreign adoptions as well as many domestic adoptions.(you can however adopt in most states through the foster system for little to nothing…if you can get approved, which can be problematic for those with larger than average families, smaller than average homes or a host of other issues…but for those that qualify it is a great option)  But yes, the cost for private adoptions usually starts at $15,000  and can be as high as $50,000 (yikes!) And it is true that most people simply can’t afford that amount of money. And yet I know many who even without the “money in the bank” have stepped out in faith and began the adoption process hoping that somehow the money would come through. In fact this is exactly our story and the money did come through in miraculous ways and mostly from a large network of people who gave “a little”…that added up to “a lot”.

And that is the something we can ALL do…we can all give a little bit to everyone we know who is in need of financial help to adopt a child. Every family who is willing to take in a child and raise them as their own should not be hindered by a financial need….at least not as long as there are Christians around.

The Hoyle family

If you have read this blog for any length of time you are quite aware that we are not well off in the material sense at this season in our lives. In fact our current financial state has reverted back to our 1998 status (and we have been blessed with four more children since then). We live pay check to pay check and often time the money runs out before the month.  I am in no way complaining, as I know who my provider is and He is always faithful. I only share that with you because I know that many of you are already thinking, as we ourselves could easily fall into – “I have nothing left to give….to help anyone with their adoption.”  In fact just recently some newly made friends, the Hoyles, have begun their adoption journey and are trying to raise funds to pay for this adoption.  The other day I was reading over some of the responses to their plea for help. (right away I know some of you are shuddering at the thought of ever having to ask for financial help for anything…and believe me as one who has had to do this to adopt a child…it is humbling and it is hard. It would be so much easier to just be blessed with wealth…or win the lottery…or have someone just walk up and say…”hey, here’s $20,000 to pay for your adoption expenses.” And yet how often do we get the “easy road” in this walk of faith?)

Back to my reading the comments on their fundraising plea – one of their friends said this: “Oh how I wish I could help”. This caused me to stop and give pause to really think about this comment…..

  • I wish I could help.
  • I wish I could help. 
  • I wish I could help. 

How many of us have said that or thought that? And maybe the better question is –> Why can’t we help? If we wish we could….then why “can’t” we? Possibly this friend is like us….living paycheck to paycheck with no readily apparent extra money to help out. Or maybe they don’t even have a paycheck and are a young college student living at home or off the generosity of others. Or perhaps they are on a very strict budget and have a spouse or financial advisor who will not “allow” any deviation. I do not know what this particular friend of the Hoyle’s situation is…however I am going to challenge all of us, who “wish we could help” those who are stepping out in faith to adopt a child…that the fact is every last one of us, no matter what our particular situation is, in reality…we CAN help!

We can ALL do something.  And that is all it takes for the funding of an adoption to happen –  for everyone to simply do something….anything…even if it is as small as a $10 or $20 contribution. (often times those who “wish they could help” think that a small donation won’t help and they could not be more mistaken. Our adoption of baby girl was almost completely financed by small gifts from many people)

But hey….maybe even $10 or $20 is a huge stretch for you right now. And perhaps you have recently given that “extra” money you have to another family needing help to adopt. Or maybe you are like us and receive several invitations to help with adoptions each month. We currently personally know of four families in the process of adoption who need funds…not too mention the many people we “run across” in life through emails, facebook or mutual friends who are looking towards adoption.

I still believe that if we “wish to help”  we can! (and not to be redundant but we as followers of Jesus we should all “wish” to help every adoption that comes to our attention!)

And here is how. We can all pick merely one of the following ways to contribute to those needing help adopting:

1. Collect ALL the loose change around your house and use that to give a gift. I did a quick run around my house and came up with over $12 in loose change from the bottom of purses, in junk drawers, my husbands pants pocket and in a canning jar in the kitchen cabinet.(if I looked under the couch cushions I bet I would have even gotten more!)

These goodies would sell great!

2. Have a bake sale – just make a batch of cookies (say 5 dozen)….go out to a local youth sports league or park on a sunny day or maybe in your church foyer …set up a card table & sell two cookies for $1. Walk away with $30 ….even if you take out your expenses you’ll have $20 to give away. Or you could even not leave your home & sell them all on facebook….taking a few hours to deliver them door to door!

3. Get creative & find a way to work for a few hours & use that $$ to give (host a Moms day out for some of your friends who need a break, deep cleaning a house one time, doing yard work, taking a short term job doing inventory for a store…there are always people looking for very temporary help. My daughter right this minute is doing childcare for a wedding reception making money for her upcoming missions trip to Haiti) Most of us in just an extra 4-5 hours one time could easily make $50 to give away. I would do that to help a child who needs a home….wouldn’t you?

4. Have a yard sale and give away the proceeds. We have done this so many times…all it takes is cleaning out your “stuff”, asking your friends & family to bring their “junk” and setting up shop in your front yard for a day.  Most people make at least $100 in a yard sale and we have made as much as $1500. (you can sell baked goods too and increase your sales)  Wow! With this type of revenue you could help many families with a gift towards their adoption! All it takes is time and effort….we all have that.

5. Sell something that you are not using or no longer need on eBay, Amazon or Craig’s List. We collected all the books we were not interested in keeping that were taking up space in our house one year and put them on Amazon and within a week had made $50 on old books. Easy Peezy.

6. If you want to raise money and have fun at the same time – host a bunco or other game night…charge a small fee to join (example $10 per person to come x 8 friends = $80)…give away a cute “winner prize” ($20) and use the remaining money to give away ($60)

7. Cut off cable TV and you’ll have $40 -$60 EVERY month to give away to families adopting children. (ok Beth…now you’re getting pushy)

8. Have one night a week for a month where you either skip dinner entirely or have only rice and water…The “average” family will save $30-$40 in a month sacrificing this weekly meal. Give that away to those who are raising funds (we do this at Lent season every year). Bonus: you can lose a few pounds while helping a child be placed in a forever family!

9. Ask friends who do have the resources to give! We all have friends who do have extra money…perhaps we could step out of our comfort zone and ask them to consider donating towards that adoption we “wish we could help”. (actually even our friends without extra resources could all donate their loose change, we could collect it and I bet it would be a nice size donation.)

10. You tell me….I could  come up with even more ideas but I would love to hear yours. How could someone come up with just a mere $20 donation to help with an adoption of a precious child everytime they are asked? Please share in the comment section!

So the next time you hear of a family asking for financial help to adopt a child…don’t say “I wish I could….” but rather say “Sure I’d love to!” and pick a way to make it happen. (or you can always give up a coffee a week and donate that money you save…I know, I know don’t mess with my legal stimulant addiction Beth! I’m right there with you….Ouch!)

PS – For those who immediately need to put this into action because the Holy Spirit is doing His thing in your heart – the Hoyles still need $8,000. You can read their blog here –  Hoyles Promise  or donate here – Crowd Tilt

6 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Economics, Faith, Making a Difference, My "take"

I am the 1%

You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard of all of the hullabaloo down on Wall Street with people protesting….oh wait….what are they protesting anyway?  It’s hard to say exactly but it appears, by all the personal signs I have read, to have something to do with being in the 99% and I guess this makes them mad because they want to be in the 1%? (you’ve lost something on me there folks…if we are all in the top 1% then ummmmm…there is no bottom 99% right??? We would all be the exactly the same…which I suppose is what true socialists want…but I digress)

 

Anyhoo….all these signs have got me thinking a lot about what percent I am in?  And darn it, being the driven, overachiever, competitive gal that I am…I want to be in the TOP 1%  Oh wait….but I am!

It’s true!  I am a part of the 1% in each of those categories.  As I began to look up statistics in different areas that I thought, just perhaps, I earned the right to be in the 1%, I wondered if I would be able to come up with more than just a couple.  I was pleasantly surprised (because I like to be #1) and at the same time a little disappointed as well, to find myself easily being in the top 1% in several areas.  Disappointed especially that more people do not adopt children, abandon TV or give away at least 10% of their income to those in need.  Wouldn’t our world be such a better place if even 10, 20 or 30% of our society did some of these things? Of course even if the world did not become a better place, we would become better people:

  • less concerned about the rich on Wall Street and more concerned about the King of Kings
  • less concerned about “getting our fair share” and more concerned about giving away some of our blessings
  • less concerned about our “things” here on this earth and more concerned with storing up treasures in heaven

What about you? What are you the 1% of?  Something to think about….

7 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Economics, Life Lessons

Don’t you know what causes that?

“Don’t you know what causes that?”

It started with my third pregnancy…as we began to share with those around us the news of the anticipated birth of our baby…the smirking and joking from a few friends who assumed that we could not have possibly planned to have a…<gulp>….third child!  I suppose several gave us a “pass” on their comments since we had already birthed two girls and they assumed we were “trying for a boy”.  But when the fourth pregnancy was revealed less than a year later friends, family and even strangers jumped on the band wagon to ask us silly and/or personal questions or make shocking and/or rude statements:

  • Were you trying?  (nope, we were doing and succeeding mind you!)
  • How many more are you going to have? (you’ll have to ask God)
  • Was this an accident?  (Really? Like getting pregnant is being in a car wreck or breaking your leg)
  • Are you going to get fixed after this one? (hmmm…didn’t know I was broken)
  • I am glad it’s you and not me! (I am sure the baby is too and my husband is definitely glad it’s not you)
  • How are you ever gonna pay for college? (I don’t know…how are you?)
  • You’re crazy! (if that was said to my face I can’t imagine what was said behind my back)
  • You’re having another one?  (yes, at least one this time)
  • When are you going to stop? (stop?….stop what?)

And my personal favorite from all the people who think they are “oh so funny”…

  • Don’t you know what causes that? (I have so many great answers in my head for this one that would make most people turn beat red or greatly embarrass my teenage girls…but I was raised to be a dignified lady so I try oh so hard to keep my mouth shut)

Assuming that the readers of this blog have all taken a junior high sex ed class, have been through a “secret weekend” (as they are called in our family) or have had “the talk” with their parents where they learned all about “the facts of life” (otherwise known as human anatomy, sexual relations and how life is conceived)…I do not think that you need a biological play by play on what caused us to conceive seven children during our almost 25 years of marriage.  But perhaps you are curious about what might cause a couple to have such a large family in a society that teaches and embraces a two child…or three at the most…standard philosophy? (and laughs at, sneers or condemns anyone who dares to do otherwise)

What caused us to have so many children?  Well let me tell you it all began 25 years ago this very month and if you are interested or curious, I have finally decided to write out and publish our story. (WARNING: If you have a tendency to feel “judged” simply by the lifestyle and choices others make that are different than yours, you might want to just stop reading now and save yourself the grief.  DISCLAIMER: I am in no way judging anyone for their choices regarding children, reproduction or family size nor am I telling anyone else how they should decide these things.  I am simply sharing our God inspired story for those who are curious, interested or questioning. It may challenge your theology or thinking and… it may not)

I was 24 years old and just a few months away from getting married when the Lord began to work in my heart concerning my ideas about birth control, family planning and being truly open to every life that He wanted to
give to me.

I was a very committed & passionate young woman who was serving as the youth pastor to hundreds of “on fire” teenagers. I had what were called “radical” views on dating and relationships as well as very intensive discipleship programs for our youth.  I considered myself extremely pro-life and wanted to do everything within my power to stop the atrocity of abortion in our country.  In many ways I was  quite different than the average church going evangelical yet I found myself among the norm when it came to buying into the “planned parenthood” mentality of our day.

I was engaged to be married to an awesome godly young man and we both agreed that the plan would be for me to begin taking the birth control pill and then we would wait several years, go off the pill and have perhaps two children, a boy & a girl, and then be done. Perfect, right?

As part of our marriage preparation we attended an Engaged Encounter Weekend Retreat where we were encouraged to take an opportunity to dialogue honestly and intensively about our prospective lives together– our strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, our attitudes about money, sex, children, family, our role in the church and society–in a very comprehensive way. (I highly recommend this type of purposeful marriage preparation and am always shocked when couples have not taken the time to explore these areas and come to an agreement prior to saying “I do”!)   After each topic was introduced, we were given a list of questions to answer privately in a journal and then come together to share our answers with one another. (a great way to have honest communication)

About half way through the weekend the session on family planning, birth control and children was introduced.  As Dan and I each found a private place to write in our journals I began to feel a strong stirring in my heart. I was challenged in my spirit to completely rethink my beliefs in this area.  As I sat on some rocks in the foothills of Copperopolis and tried to write down my well thought out answers (you see I knew exactly what I wanted in this area of life and marriage), the Lord literally threw out questions one after another in my mind, fast and furious –

  • Have you ever considered asking Me what the plan for your family should be? (hadn’t really thought about that, Lord)
  • How about inquiring of Me how many children I want to give you? (Well, I just thought we would just decide what we wanted and you would be fine with it)
  •  Is it birth control or God control that you desire? (ouch…this one stung!)
  • Who is in control of your life anyway? (ummmmm….You are God?? I love you & want your will for my life)
  • Do you believe that children are a blessing from Me?  (of course….I think so)
  • Why do you want to limit my blessings? (well…..I don’t know?)
  • Do you believe that I know you and will give you the very best for your life?  (Yes!)
  • Do you trust me? (I thought I did)

I felt like I was in some type of wrestling match with the Lord as He tried to get me to release control of my life and give my plans over to become His plans. (Thy will be done)  But when I was finally ready to stop arguing with Him and listen He gently reminded me to just relax and trust Him…for He truly had an abundant life for me to live. Better than I could ever ask or think! After that hour with the Lord, and a subsequent long conversation with my soon to be husband (when we got together later to share our journals…and I had written not a thing down), together we gave our plans for family to the Lord and ditched the “planned parenthood” philosophy.

We did not decide to have a “boatload” (or 15 passenger van load) of children.

We did not decide to have one, two or three children for that matter either.

We did not decide to be married for three years and then start our family and we did not decide to get pregnant right away.

We simply decided to give God control of our family dynamics and to ask Him to lead and guide us every step of the way. (not really a complicated decision to merely ask the Lord what He wants and yet so few do ask Him when it comes to this area of life)

A month later I learned quite by happenstance that the birth control pill was an abortifacient. (well documented and researched so no need to argue with me on this point…even if your doctor told you it wasn’t they were using some type of semantics and faulty reasoning…all you have to do is read the insert that is in the pill container) I was appalled that no believer had shared this with me and I got down on my knees and thanked the Lord that I had never “accidentally” aborted a baby by making my womb hostile to implantation of a conceived child.  With my heart & passion for the unborn that would have been difficult for me to live with. During that time I had gotten even more confident in my conviction that we should simply put the control of our family in God’s hands.  After all He was the creator of life (albeit He lets us be a part of that as co-creators) and since His view on children as being a gift from Him and a blessing, we could certainly trust Him. I also realized that the Lord might not bless us with any children by birth and I committed that into His care as well. (something that in this current world of rampant infertility issues one would be best to realize early on — the truth that no one is guaranteed to give birth to a child) We had also already experienced the miracle of adoption through our newly adopted niece who joined our family the same week we got engaged…we knew that adopting a child was not “second best” to having a bio child and we considered that adoption would someday be a part of the plan for our family as well.

On our wedding day we publicly affirmed & committed to raising children to glorify God (to the actual laughter of many of our Christian friends…you can hear it on the video) and throughout our 24+ years of marriage we have continued to trust God in this area.  We have prayed at times asking for the Lord to give us a “breather” (after we had four children in six years and extremely difficult pregnancies) and we along with our daughters have pleaded with the Lord for over three years to bless us with yet another sweet baby to love (#7) and we spent countless hours and persisted through many roadblocks and closed doors as we asked God to let us adopt.  Children came at what others considered “bad times” (one during my husband’s last year in Bible school, several back to back, another when we had taken on a challenge of starting a Christian school, and of course the health risks for myself and baby that many gravely warned us about when I had two babies post 40 years old) but as always in hindsight we see that Gods timing was perfect with each and every child. Through it all we chose God control and ultimately said… “Thy will be done”.

The results….we have been blessed with seven awesome children by birth (six girls – 21, 18, 17, 15, 12, 8 and a boy 4 years old) and so far one girl (age 2) through the miracle of adoption. They have brought more love, joy & peace into our lives than we could have ever imagined. (as well producing other fruit of the spirit – patience & self control – we didn’t start off with these qualities but you better believe we have given ample opportunity to grow!) It would take another long blog entry to tell you about all the blessings and benefits that we have been given through each of our children as well as by having a plus size family. Things we could have never imagined those 25 years ago and yet God knew.  And we are ready, willing & wanting to take any more that the Lord sends our way through birth or adoption. (to the utter shock, amazement & sometimes dismay of most of the people around us.)

So……do I know what causes this?

Yes I do, thank you!

What causes a young soon to be married couple to decide to chuck the current popular world view on birth control, pregnancy, child spacing, family size and children out the window?

It was caused by:

  • the joining together of two hearts that wanted nothing more than to listen to the Lord and follow His plan for their lives.
  • a desire to give Him complete control over their lives and their destinies
  • a hope to come together in marriage to glorify God and be an example of Christ and His unconditional love for His church
  • a belief that all life is a gift to be cherished and that babies are a blessing from God
  • gaining an understanding of how much God loves the orphans, the fatherless and children without forever families that His heart beats for adoption
  • trusting God and saying…Not our will but….Thy will be done!

How about you….Do you know what causes that in your life?

8 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Attitude, Blessings, Faith, Fatherhood, Life Lessons, Marriage, Motherhood, My "take", Pro-life

It couldn’t get any better than that!

Today I participated in the Walk for Life – West Coast in San Francisco to speak for those who cannot speak, to walk for those who cannot walk; to pray for, fight for, stand up for, and love the life of every unborn child!

Today in the year 1973 the landmark decision known as Roe V Wade was handed down by the Supreme Court legalizing abortion in our country resulting in millions of babies being destroyed.

Today is Christiana’s Adoption Day…last year this very day we stood in a courtroom here in San Joaquin County and with a raised hand committed to love our adopted child and give her the same rights and inheritance as our birth children. The gavel fell and she became officially our child. (in our hearts she was already completely ours)

 Everyone who knows me well will tell you that I am passionate about the lives of the unborn. It sickens and saddens me that we allow them to be torn apart and thrown away without even being given the chance at life. It angers me that many women are also the victims of abortion as they are not given the facts about the life growing inside of them and that they are duped into believing that it would be better to destroy the baby than to either parent her or if unable to do that then to place him into the arms of a family willing to love and raise the child. It makes me cry when I look into the face of my own innocent little one, sleeping so peacefully, safe & secure next to her Mommy and knowing that today thousands of babies will never get a chance to sleep in their Momma’s arms, giggle uncontrollably, sing & dance, explore the world and grow up to become anything they desire, find love, experience joy and glorify God. The tears flow when I think of the great loss for those mothers & fathers as well as the rest of the world.

Today I am also in complete awe that the God of this universe cared enough through His divine providential hand to coordinate so many special blessings for me with our own adoption experience:

  1. We could have adopted a child through a multitude of agencies. We had not seriously looked into any in particular when we got the call from a former student and dear friend who had moved thousands of miles away from California to Tennessee. She excitedly shared with me that there was an agency speaking at her MOPS (Mothers of pre-schoolers meeting) that morning about the need for adoptive families and she thought of us. Within minutes I was on the phone with the agency getting all the information needed. To my great joy & surprise this adoption agency was a crisis pregnancy center! Yes, that is right…the agency that the Lord led us to was committed to counseling women and helping them overcome obstacles so they would chose life for their child. They even have all prospective adopting families sign an affidavit proclaiming that they are pro-life! It was as if God just kissed my forward and said “Here Beth, I know how committed you are the pro life cause…letting you adopt through this agency is an extra gift for you!” It couldn’t get any better than that for me…..but it did….
  2. You see our sweet baby’s birthmom was abortion vulnerable. She was young and facing some serious life challenges. The easy thing for her would have been to have an abortion and end her child’s life. She would have had folks supporting her decision and she would have temporarily “solved” her problems and yet she chose life. She chose to not destroy the baby she knew she could not take care of or raise but instead gave her the greatest gift…a chance to live life. She then chose to place her baby in the loving arms of parents and a family who would love, cherish and nurture that baby as their very own. To have my first adopted child be “saved” from abortion…well it just couldn’t get any better than that…and yet…
  3. God gave me yet another amazing gift! Our adoption paperwork was filed with the state of California in November 2009, six months to the day after we brought her home. Our social worker told us that there was a chance that we could finalize before the year’s end or at the latest the first week of January. As I anxiously awaited word of our court date I hoped that it would happen before mid January as my eldest daughter would be home from college and could be a part of the ceremony. I was so disappointed when the time came and went with no word on our court date. The day after Michelle went back to school I received the much desired mail from the San Joaquin Superior Court with our court date. I tore open the envelope and gasped as I saw the date appointed for her to be officially adopted…January 22…the anniversary of what I see as one of the saddest days in our nation’s history, the day we sentenced millions of babies to death. I sat down at my kitchen table, shaking my head and smiling at God’s goodness to me. He took a day that grieves my heart and He redeemed it for me by allowing my precious child who could have been legally killed in our country, yet whose mother chose not to abort her but to give her life, to be adopted into our forever family on that very day.

 For me…it couldn’t get any better than that!

3 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Pro-life

“Cousin Kate”: Welcoming Orphans

I am blessed to be called “Aunt Beth” by fourteen nieces and two nephews (yes the “girl thing” must be genetic on both sides!).  On my branch of the family tree the first babies to make their entrance in this world  were my now 23-year-old twin nieces Kate and Beth.  When I saw them for the first time at six months old, they stole my heart with their cute smiles and precious giggles. They have always been sweet, loving,  “good girls” – wonderful and perfect daughters, grandgirls, nieces, cousins and big sisters. It has been a joy to watch them grow into mature, faithful, smart, talented, giving, beautiful, pure and godly young ladies. They are amazing role models for each cousin that came after them.  They bring life, love and joy to everywhere they go and to everyone who knows them.  I love these girls!

Kate recently sent me an essay she wrote about her summer missions trip to Uganda (not her first missions trip but one of many).  I put it in under the comments from my recent post on adoption –  Chosen to Love & be Loved – but then I decided that it needed to be shared with you all as it is such a beautiful, well written and inspiring look at adoption.  

Her tiny arm was deeply scarred. I held out the bubble wand and she tried to lick the soap as I giggled and tried to show her how to blow. This wisp of girl had more spunk and attitude than I had ever seen in a 2 year-old package, but then she’d always been a fighter. She was birthed into a pit latrine – a hole in ground filled with human excrement over 20 feet below. She was found lying there amid the stench, alone and abandoned. It took hours for a slip-knot in a rope to finally catch around her wrist. She was pulled out, but not without profound damage to her wrist. They thought Zoe would never have use of her arm again.

It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report.) Is that just a statistic? Not to me. I’ve held children in Uganda burning up with fever from Malaria who have no mommy to comfort them. I’ve listened to kids in Romania try without success to play the recorder because they had no daddy who ever taught them to count to 3. I’ve seen the look of belonging on the face of an adopted cousin as she reached for her mommy. She will never know the fear of being alone.

James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Every human heart is an orphaned heart. We are all in that boat together until we are adopted by God the Father into his family. We never have to feel alone again because God care’s deeply about orphans. He has a father’s heart. A heart that is willing to take someone who may look different and have a completely different background then they do, into their family and love them like their own flesh and blood – this is the heart of Christ. This is the heart that is also ready to love people whose souls are in a different place. This is the heart that is willing to love others and bring them to a face-to-face relationship with Jesus Christ. I care about orphans and adoption because I too was a spiritual orphan who was adopted into the family of God.

Nicholas is a precious baby that was discarded into the bush of Africa when he was only hours old. He spent his first months at a baby house at New Hope Uganda. He learned to eat his porridge from a normal cup, not a bottle, because there was nobody to feed him several times a day. I met him when he was 6-months-old. I hugged him and kissed him and tried desperately to somehow convey to him that he was loved and things were going to be okay. When he was 1-year-old, he was adopted by a missionary family in Uganda. I saw him again two years later. He ran into the room in his train pajamas with a big smile and put his little hand out for me to shake. He will never remember what it was like not to have a mommy and a daddy. He knows that he is unconditionally loved and it has made all the difference.

“Mommy?” Zoe said as I walked into that same baby house. It broke my heart. I wanted to say yes. I wanted this little girl to have someone that she knew she belonged to. One day I want to welcome orphans into my home and family. I want to hear little voices say “Mommy?” and I can respond with a nod and a hug of welcome and belonging. One day all of us will stand before God and say “Daddy?” and he will welcome in his adopted children to spend forever with him. Zoe’s arm is completely healed now and one day her heart will be too.

May this essay challenge us all to consider what we may do to be a part of someone’s adoption story…whether that adoption is physical into a family here on this earth or spiritual into the family of God.

4 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Blessings, Faith, Life Lessons