Thursday, May 20, 2010

700 Club Controversy Over Christians and Adoption

Click this to see the video:

700 Club Controversy Over Christians and Adoption

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Wow. Just wow. Count the cost? I counted the cost when I decided to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, knowing that there would be hard times, ridicule, and that I may be led to do things that were out of my comfort zone or maybe even seemed unreasonable. I am so glad that when God kept pressing adoption-specifically China adoption-on my heart that I didn't say to Him, 'You know, God, I realize that you've done a lot for me and I really appreciate it but I just feel the emotional cost of adopting an orphan is too much for my family.' Yeah right. And there IS cost. Bringing home a child who has been neglected, or bounced around from place to place, possibly's HARD. Life changing hard. But it is worth every tear and all the hard work. The families in the video were a great example of how out family feels adoption has blessed us. The teenager talking about how having adopted siblings has enriched his life and the mom saying that she is the lucky one...they are telling our story. The story of so many families who took that leap of faith and were blessed by adoption. I have a long way to go in my walk, but I am confident that when I get to heaven that God isn't going to chastise me for not counting the cost as we chose to go where he led our family.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chrissie is with Jesus

About a month ago I asked for prayers for Chrissie, an adorable little 4 year old adopted from Serbia who had a heart condition. Chrissie fought like a warrior but her Father called her home. She has touched more lives in her short time on earth than most of us could ever dream of. Her mother's faith is awesome and we could all learn from her. Grab your tissues and read today's post...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Definitely not how I expected it to play out but I got an email at 5:10 yesterday telling me we had LOA. Since we had only been logged in for 27 days, it didn't seem real. I didn't jump up and down or get all scatterbrained like I did with the girls' referrals or Brady's TA. It was just 'really? oh, okay'. Part of my attitude is based on the fact that I just sent in a Supplement 3 on Thursday to get a new approval because of Jeff's job change. The forms say that I can't send in my I800 application until I get that approval but Marci at my agency says it's no problem to go ahead and send it in. We pay them the big bucks to walk us through this so I am trusting that she knows what she's talking about. I really hope that we aren't held up too much because of the Supplement 3. ASIA is now only sending travel groups once a month with families arriving in province the last Sunday of each month. You must get TA 2 weeks prior or you are bumped to the next month. With that in mind I am expecting to travel either August 27 or September 17 (the September group will travel a week early due to the October holidays) but you never know, it could be later. So far, we've been incredibly blessed with the timing of this adoption. I can only thank God for that. I pray that He continues to bless us and gets our girl home as soon as possible.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

"Imperfect moms: Give yourself a break"

Happy Mother's Day! A friend shared this on Facebook and I wanted to pass it along. :)

I have a confession to make: I forgot my son’s birthday one year. Ben was turning 14, and while no excuse in the universe will ever suffice, his birthday does land at the worst possible time, in the middle of harvest, at the end of July. Also, that summer, my sister and her family were visiting, and when I am with Rebecca I forget that the rest of the world exists.

She and I were sitting in the kitchen that day drinking coffee and talking obsessively in Pennsylvania Dutch, and in the living room I heard one of my nephews softly singing “Happy Birthday.”

The words didn’t penetrate until the second line, and then the terrible, crushing truth closed in — I had completely forgotten Ben’s birthday.

I screamed in horror, hugged him, begged his forgiveness, all but groveled at his feet. He was obviously hurt but graciously forgave me. Now, almost three years later, he laughs about it, but I am convinced there’s still a festering wound deep in his heart that will erupt in quiet sadness the rest of his life, and when his son turns 14 someday, Ben will remember his own pain and rejection and quietly wipe away a tear.

I was going to be the perfect mom, really I was. I was not going to repeat what I saw as my mom’s shortcomings, and I for sure wasn’t going to copy the playground moms who yelled terrible threats when their kids didn’t want to get off the swings. I looked down on acquaintances who didn’t read Dr. Seuss to their toddlers or who made their 10-year-olds take way too much responsibility with the babies.

True, I didn’t repeat the mistakes I observed; I just invented a whole new set of my own. I punished unjustly. I got sucked into talking on the phone with a possessive friend and brushed off my frantic 5-year-old until she burst into frustrated tears. I bought too few Christmas gifts that the children wanted and too many that I thought they ought to want. I didn’t put sunscreen on the children that time they went swimming at a family reunion in the Midwest and fried their little shoulders in the hot sun.

Then, of course, there was the forgotten birthday, and many more dark examples that I can’t bring myself to confess.

So Mother’s Day comes and among the pastel cards and lush bouquets and appreciative words, I feel the gnawing teeth of Regret and the sense that maybe I don’t deserve the gratitude because of everything I got wrong.

That’s when I know I need to remember Kenya.

We spent 3½ months there, six years ago, helping at a school and orphanage for boys. Most had been orphaned by AIDS and suffered worsening circumstances until finally they gravitated to the city and survived on the streets, eating what they could, sleeping on feed sacks, and sniffing chemicals that deluded them into feeling warm and well fed.

Whenever we went downtown, the street kids clustered us with their colorless, torn clothes and their dusty hair and their open, begging hands and their lifeless eyes. The lack of a mother in their lives was like a tangible force around them, and their pain clawed at my own mother-heart with an intensity that took my breath away and still does now, six years later.

The boys who had left the streets and lived at the orphanage seemed happy, most of the time. They were fed well and educated and kept busy. They slept on clean beds and were supervised by young dorm “dads” in their 20s. But sometimes, such as when their eyes filled with years of grief or they scraped their knees or they had a wonderful discovery to share, what they really needed was a mom, and they didn’t have one.

I slowly came to realize, as I watched these boys, that not only did they all need mothers, most of them would have done or given anything to get one.

Furthermore, none of them would have been been picky about what sort they got. She could work too hard, or she could sit around and let the house fall apart. She could be patient or lose her temper. She could be stern and silent or full of fun. Any mom who was there and cared even a little would be an astronomical improvement over what they had.

My accumulation of mistakes was smaller then than it is now, but I was just as hard on myself, and it was when I looked at the eyes of boys on the street and compared them with my children’s eyes — bright, curious, secure, confident — that I first began to give myself some grace. An imperfect mom, I realized, is infinitely, indescribably better than no mom at all.

If not having a mother is like being at sea level, and having a perfect, smiling, patient mom who never forgets to notify the tooth fairy is like being at the top of Mount Hood, then a flawed and scatterbrained mom who makes the kids pack their own lunches and punishes the wrong child now and then is actually about at Timberline Lodge.

I have told myself this many times since and shared it with other moms who feel they never quite get it right: an imperfect mother is really pretty good. Give yourself credit for showing up every day and loving your children and doing the best you can, I tell them, because that in itself makes a huge difference to a child. And, I add, give yourself some grace: We are allowed to make mistakes.

I will always feel sad about the missed birthday, but when I see my son’s eyes and think of the eyes of the orphan boys, I know that I was here, and I did the best I could, and it made all the difference in the world.

Dorcas Smucker is a homemaker and mother of six. She can be reached at