Sunday, December 27, 2009

I am sorry if I had some of you worried. I would appreciate your prayers for peace to reign in my heart and love to be poured out of this "cracked vessel."

I read this Word in the book of Jeremiah and it spoke deeply into my wounds,

"Have any of these prophets been in the Lord's presence to hear what He is really saying? Has even one of them cared enought to listen?...But stop using this phrase, 'prophecy from the Lord.' For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas." Jeremiah 23

How careful we all must be as we speak into people's lives, especially claiming that it is of the Lord.

P.S. The children are ALL doing well--God has a mighty hedge surrounding each one of them!

30 comments:

Robin said...

WOW.....that's a pretty powerful scripture! And very sad that people DO use their own words and say they are from God. So glad the kids are doing well!!

Christy said...

My husband and I are really struggling with this whole disruption issue. I have some serious questions that maybe you would have some insight on. I hope that this in no way comes across as an attack because I in no way mean it to be. I was previously accused of attacking someone over this issue when all meant to do was ask questions and have a rational discussion.

My question is that just because we know that God CAN redeem and heal how do we know that he WILL? We have an adopted son who has struggled with some very serious issues over the past 2 years. By God's grace he has gotten better but there have been some very dark times and I wondered to myself what we would have done had he done something horrific to one of the other children or us as I have heard some very sad stories from other adoptive parents. We can claim that God can heal and redeem and always keeps his promisses but if the child doesn't want to be healed and redeemed what are we to do? I guess it really all boils down to your theological persuassion, calvinist or armenian. I beleive that God does not force himself upon anyone but deisires us to choose him so that we might have a relationship with him. I am reading through Hebrews in chapters 3 and 4 and I see God's warning to Israel about how they need to be careful that they do not have an evil unbelieving heart because they risk not entering his rest. Especially in chapter 4 verse 1 where it says that we need to fear of coming short of the promise. Do these scriptures not apply to our adopted children? I know what you mean about making a promise and needing to keep it however adoption is different in that we chose them and they did not choose us. They didn't even know us when they came to us so it really isn't a perfect picture of salvation.
Please please please don't take this as an attack. I really admire what you are doing. I understand that missionaries put themselves and their children in harms way when they go to third world countries to evangelize the lost and I do not look down on them or think them foolish for doing so just as I do not think that of you or your family. I know Jim Elliot's story and Amy Charmichael and all those other missionaries who lived radical lives for God. I am just really struggling with these questions and you seemed like someone who could talk about the issue without getting offended.
Blessings to your family.

Christy said...

Just two more thoughts. Just because God desires none should perish but all would come to repentance does not mean that all will do just that.
And as to the promise keeping. Would it be wrong of me to tell someone that I would support them financially and then after seeing that they mishandled the funds stop giving to them even though I had promissed before and said yes?
Also, I am not expecting you to publish my comments and won't be offended if you don't but I don't know how else to get ahold of you.
Thank you.

Mama in Uganda said...

Thanks Christy. I do not feel that your questions are an attack, quite the contrary. I believe you are searching the ONLY place that has the answers, God's Word!

First off, we DO NOT know, for the Lord alone searches the deep things of the heart. I do not believe, however, that we ever give up hope--praying, pleading and interceding for the redemption of our children.

Secondly, earthly adoption is a beautiful picture of our heavenly adoption. Just as we did not choose God, "He chose us from the foundations of the world," so our children did not choose us--not even our bio children.

The love we show our children should be the same unconditional love that our Lord shows us--"that while we were yet sinners He died for us." We too, as parents, MUST choose to love our children, despite the fact that they live in sin/bondage.

As for theology, I lean towards neither extreme. I do believe that we have a free will but that before the beginning of time God knew who would choose Him. We do not adopt because we expect redemption--for God died for every man's sins knowing full well that not all men would choose to accept His sacrifice. We adopt out of obedience. I have heard of missionaires that have labored for 30 years only to see just one or two come to salvation. What mattered was that they obeyed the call of God to go!

One day, while crying out to the Lord for the redemption/salvation of one of my children, the Lord spoke loud and clearly this,

"Even if no fruit is on the vine, will you continue to trust in Me?"

Of course it is my hearts desire to see my children set free, however, the Lord was asking me, "if this child never chooses Me (no fruit on the vine) will you continue to obey (trust) Me?"

I had to ask myself a serious question....Will I continue to raise these children, and each one that the Lord places in our home, even if they never choose to follow Jesus? Even if I never see any fruit in their lives? I finally answered my Lord, YES!

Look at the life of Jesus....He knew that Judas would betray him, and yet He continued to pour into his life for three years. Believe me, there are days that I want to give up on a few of my children, their behavior, despite consistant discipline, continues to keep them in bondage--they are disrepectful, willfull and unkind. But how could I give up, my Lord promises to NEVER give up on me, depsite my sin and shortcomings.

Christy, God desires that none should perish, however, every day 1000's of people do. It is a choice. Do not carry the load of your child's redemption, that is God's "job," our's is to love them to the cros--at which point they can choose to cling to it or turn and forsake it.

Christy, you are more than welcome to email me (mccourtney3@yahoo.com). A question I would like you to ponder is, why are you adopting?

Love from Uganda,
Summer

Mama in Uganda said...

I believe my first response answers one of your new questions. As for the second question, "make your yes, yes and your no, no," there is a big difference between money and a child's soul.

PLEASE, read Ephesians chapter 1, adoption was God's plan all along.

Mama in Uganda said...

P.S. It is a tactic of the enemy to twist earlthy adoption--look at the evil movie recently out in theaters called "Orphan." That was a work of satan.

"There are no unwanted children in the world, satan wants them all."

Jim and April said...

Praying for you! Sorry for people like that...thankful though that God knows your heart, your ministry, what your doing and what He has planned for you! :0)

Christy said...

I do know Ephesians 1. I have read the Bible multiple times and am not ignorant of it's truths although I may forget them sometimes and need to be reminded. Epesians 1 does talk about adoption but speaks of God's adoption of those who have believed and have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Earthly adoption, while similar is not the same. Adopted children are not believing anything or exercising faith in any way.
O.K. so the financial analogy was not a good one. :) What about marriage? Earthly marriage is supposed to be a picture of the churches heavenly marriage to Christ. However just because I made a promise and covenant before God to my husband does not mean that I would not pick up my children and run if he ever were to become abusive (God forbid). Earthly marriage is a picture and a type but my husband is not Christ and I don't think that God expects me to stick with him in that situation because of my previous promise. Do you?

Thanks again for allowing this discussion on your blog. I really appreciate your insight.

Also I want to make clear to anyone reading this that I am only questioning disruption in the most severe cases. I wrote this privately to Summer but just wanted to make that clear here as well. I admire this family and their mission and am in no way whatsoever saying that what they are doing is wrong or foolish. Each one of us is responsible to God for our actions and God calls some of us to do things that others would consider foolish. Christianity calls for radical living and radical faith. Most christians don't even come close to living this way and I greatly admire it when I do see it because it it so rare.

Shauna said...

Great discussion girls!! So great to be able to talk about these hard topics. I have really enjoyed reading it, as I have struggled with all of those things (not w/ my own situation, but looking at others).

Mama in Uganda said...

Christy,

In no way was I implying that you are ignorant of the scriptures. I desire, as I am sure you do, to search out the Word for "all things pertaining to life and godliness."

Mama in Uganda said...

Another point, although it is not a Perfect picture, God does use many, many earthly illustrations to make a spiritual point.

Christy said...

No offense taken. Unfortunately you can not convey tone in writing although I try. I am actually very happy that we can have this discussion without getting offended with one another.

Mama in Uganda said...

Part of an email I sent Christy.

"COUNT THE COST. In all things, count the cost, These words were spoken to us before entering the mission field. It applies to adoption, and all minstry for that matter, too. Secondly, I am in no position to say that a person/family is living in sin for "disrupting" an adoption. The Lord is the judge and ultimitely they will give an account to Him. I like what you said concering people making the decision out of foolishness or because of emotion. As for what we would do if one of our children becomes violent or severly abusive....I believe we would do all that we could to keep that child in our home but not at the expense of our's or our others children's safety. If need be, my husband and I have agreed that one of us would go back to America for a season and get support from friends and family for a child of this nature.

Hope said...

What seems vital to me is that we are careful not to judge the heart of another person. Its one thing to grieve the affects of disruption for a child, its a completely different matter to condemn adoptive parents feel there is no other choice but to disrupt. We must remember that there are those that choose adoption for all the wrong reasons and were never called in the first place. As Summer and I have already discussed, in the US, sometimes the foster agency makes the choice to disrupt. That was our case but due to privacy issues, I was unable to tell anyone and was subjected to some very cruel comments from those around us without being able to defend ourselves. There I was, grieving the loss of my children without the benefit of emotional support from other Christ followers who only saw it as a shortcoming on our part.
With that said, those who are truly called to parent certain children should be ready to accept them as they would a bio child. When a child we gave birth to misbehaves, has serious medical issues or falls into rebellion, we exhaust every resource to help them through. (As we know, in adoption, the older a child gets, there is higher chance of behavioral issues stemming from emotional scarring.) In both bio and adoptive children, they are born with a sin nature. Its our calling as parents to lead them to our redeemer and savior.
I am sure all of these thoughts are disjointed and may not make sense but my main point is that our job is to lead these sweet souls as a shepherd would and to speak to their heart as our loving Saviour would knowing all the time that the Lord had a destiny for each and every one of these children. Just as Joseph was thrown in the pit by his brothers, the Lord used their human nature, their jealousy and shortcomings to eventually save His people. That is true redemption.
Summer, you have a true heart of ministry. Like a pastor who loves his sheep, you don't want any to be led astray. Thank you for showing your merciful heart in what could be an emotional discussion.

Hope said...

I love your "count the cost" comment. I honestly believe that our pride keeps us from believing that we can find ourselves in that situation. "It won't happen to me" gets uttered in the adoption process more than people realize. I love that you have a plan of action should the most painful of situations arise. I am convinced you would do the same for your bio children. Many adoptive parents have a narrow and unrealistic view of adoption especially when it comes to adopting older children and those with special needs.
Again, with any big decision in life (and many small), counting the cost cannot be overstated. There are potential trust issues, emotional and of course, spiritual issues. Thankfully, God can heal every portion of their beings and give us the wisdom to walk them through the darkest of times.
Summer my friend, you are a blessing to more than just these kiddos, you are speaking to so many of us who have a heart for adoption.

Mama in Uganda said...

Hope,

You have the gift of encouragement, thanks for sharing it with me :-)

Christy said...

I guess what I am most concerned about is exactly what Hope said and that is not condeming or judging the family that felt they had no other choice but to disrupt. Just because they chose to disrupt does not mean that they didn't love their child or have hope for their redemption. It also doesn't mean that they didn't exhaust all of their possible resources to help that child just as you would and were left feeling like they had no other option. And like I wrote to Summer, just like we would not condemn a mother who gave her bio baby up for adoption but praise her for being so "brave" so we should not in the same way condemn or judge a family for choosing to find a new family for their adopted child that they love dearly but feel they do not have the resources to parents. Yes, many do adopt for the "wrong" reasons but they should not be made to feel worse for it by those on the outside who did not have to experience the heartwrenching situations that they have. Some adopted for the "right" reasons but are still left battered bruised and confused.

This is not clearly spelled out in scripture as some would have us think. Yes it is a picture of God's adoption of us but so is marriage and we all know that marriage is not perfect either and may at times require separation or divorce for biblical reasons. There are many more comparisons of earthly marriage to the spiritual marriage of Christ and the church then there are of earthly adoption to spiritual adoption (I would actually beg to say there are none except for the word usage). "Husbands love your wives and Christ loved the church" is there but not "parents adopt children as God adopts people". It just is not there. Principles are there about love, persevearence, joy in trials etc. but not outright biblical commands regarding adoption. If we are going to condemn people then we should codemn people for NOT adopting because the bible does say to "look after orphans...." (Of course I don't mean that, I am just trying to make a point)

I would just like people to give more understanding and support to those who have had to make the hard decision to disrupt. They are already beating themselves up enough for what they felt like they had to do and having other christian's condemn them can only sink them in to further dispair. "If I had only been an better christian", "if only I had prayed more", "I guess I didn't trust God enough", "I should have persevered under trial longer", "I didn't love the child enough" etc. I do not sense condemnation coming from this blog because Summer is allowing open discussion which I so appreciate but I did want to let those know who have had to make that decision that God does not codemn you and neither should we.


Thanks again Summer and sorry you e-mail "book" got lost before you sent it to me. :( So frustrating.

Mama in Uganda said...

Christy,

Bottom line, we both know, there is not a scripture that speaks directly concerning a "disrupted adoption," and with that said, there are a lot of other life issues/questions that are not perfectly answered in the Word. We must cling to what we know and more importantly WHO we know!

Jesus desires to give wisdom, when we ask. Not when me ask the world, the professionals, the specialists, etc. but HIM! Again, we must count the cost when we walk the path of adoption.

I will say it over and over, it is NOT our place to condemn, the scriptures make that clear. Who are we to throw a stone? However...

I believe that American Christians, if I dare to say, have a tendency to give up without much of a fight. If they saw what Christians all over the world endure I believe they would not loose heart so quickly. We were told by countless Christians that we should have left the mission field years ago. Why? Because I was physically suffering. The local Ugandan Christians knew that we could have left at any moment, and expected us to do just that, but we knew that we knew that the Lord had called us to this place, suffering, hardships and all. In the midst of it all, my husband was approached by his class--he was an instructor at a bible college--and they glorified the Lord because we did not loose heart and stayed. I do not share this for personal glory, but to give glory to God, that he blesses our obedience. My physical suffering lasted nealry five years....Just three months ago the Lord chose to HEAL ME!

Following the Lord's calling is not supposed to be easy. We are promised that we will face all sorts of hardships, sufferings, despairs, etc, but that in it we are to PERSERVERE in CHRIST.

Christy, those who have "disrupted" should not be beating themselves up if they have truly heard from the Lord to "disrupt"--condemnation is not of the Lord, nor is guilt. If anything there may be grief of loss, but anything else in not from Above.

I am sorry for whatever you have seen others go through. I pray that families that obey the Lord's calling to adopt will first COUNT THE COST. Jesus did.

Hope said...

Now that we are comparing marriage to adoption I must weigh in (as if I haven't already ;) ). I honestly believe that one reason God hates divorce is that so many get out instead of sticking in and reaping the benefits of healing together. I will admit that there are things in my marriage that we have both endured that were far more difficult than many things we faced. The joys of commitment have outweighed any trial we faced.
It can be the same with adoption. So many families need only wait on the Lord, endure the difficult times and see the joyous results of trusting the Lord to deliver their family into joy and freedom. Its no different than how they would handle a bio child who deviates from the vision we would have for them.
Like entering marriage, you prepare, you pray, you soul search and you decide to make a commitment. Some take classes and go through extensive counseling. Adoption should be entered the same way whether it be infant adoption or special needs/older child adoption. I honestly believe you should make a covenant before that Lord as you would in marriage. Is this a biblical mandate? I suppose it isn't a direct mandate but it certainly is another endeavor to serve Him.
I suppose it would be helpful to give a little foundation for my statements. We have a ten year old daughter that was born with a rare genetic disorder. We weren't told everything before picking her up but had prayed and firmly believed she was our daughter. We have not only had sleepless nights, we have had sleepless years! Her medical and developmental needs were far beyond anything we could have imagined. What has come with those needs has been an intimacy with the Lord and in our family that we couldn't have made happen if tried. 1 Peter 1:6-7 "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
We also stepped into adoption and had two sets of foster children, one set we knew were only until they were placed for adoption and the other we were told that they were only considering us as adoptive parents. In both cases, there was a deep tearing of the bond that was formed in the time they were with us. I still grieve over the loss. I know the pain of disruption even though it was not our decision. I have also seen the pain it causes the child.
I believe that this is how this discussion began, Summer reflecting on the pain caused to one of her sweet babes that may have been avoided. I don't hear condemnation for the former adoptive parents who chose disruption as much as I hear her Mommy's heart grieving for the wee one. Maybe there is a hint of sadness for what the parents gave up as well.

Mama in Uganda said...

You are right on Hope. My heart breaks for our son, who is so confused and hurt. However, with that said, we are already seeing healing. Thank you Jesus.

Christy said...

Hope,
You are completely right on in everything you said. The ONLY instance that I would have been refering to would be in the extreme cases of abuse to the wife or children. I have a dear friend who has suffered tremendously because he mother, who knew that her father was severely abusing her, would not protect her by leaving this man. Is this they type of suffering we are supposed to endure for the sake of the gospel? I don't think so. She wasn't even a christian at the time so that wouldn't even be relevent.
I agree that most people try to get out too soon, they don't persists in love and hope and self-denial. However, in extreme cases of abuse I believe that God has allowed a way out. I feel like it would more of a sin in that circumstance to not protect my children and stay in a situation that would put them in grave danger. I could never imagine saying, "oh I am so sorry honey that your father keeps molesting you but we need to keep suffering for Christ and hope Daddy gets saved". Sorry to be so blunt but that's the raw truth sometimes and I can not even imagine being in that situation and expecting that Christ would call me to endure that when there was a way out.

You are absolutely right in every other circumstance and I appreciate hearing from other beleivers who have a firm resolve to press on in their marriage covenants no matter the cost but in that one circumstance I will not concede.

Hope said...

Christy, You make an excellent point about not allowing your other children to be harmed by an abuser but what you are referring to is also protected by law. May I suggest that there can be a leaving without divorce?
I was encountered by someone recently who was defending her new marriage by suggesting that it would be dangerous to go back to her first husband. She could still stay at a safe distance without getting remarried and creating a whole new set of problems. I think if Christian couples who consider divorce would follow the mandate to stay unmarried, they would do more to heal their current marriage than see a new mate as a way to escape.
If a bio child was to for whatever reason, have the same problems that you would use as a reason to disrupt an adoption for, disowning your child wouldn't be on the table. Treatment and commitment would be the first steps and usually only steps. When we view the child placed through adoption as ours just as much as one that God placed in our wombs, we most likely will seek out a solution for healing that doesn't include separation.
I appreciate this discussion. Its nice to be able to formulate these thoughts and principles.

Christy said...

Hope,
For me personally I would rather place my child in another loving safe home than in a group home or institution. Children belong in families not in institutions. For those who have disrupted I beleive that they thought that it was the more loving thing for them do to for their child.

With your reasoning then we should be telling mothers who can not keep their babies to put them in orphanages with hopes of reuniting someday when she is ready, rather than giving them up for adoption.

I do not look at adoption the same as marriage because you do not become "one flesh" with your child as you would with your spouse so if another family steps up and says they would like to help by taking that child for you it is not the same as divorce. (By the way I agree with your divorce and re-marriage belief). A lot of the arguments against disruption here seem to imply that the disrupting parents don't love that child anymore or still hold out hope for their redemption. While that may be the case with some you can not assume that for all. We are judging their outward behavior while not knowing at all what is in their heart. I can be sinning more over here while not disrupting but still not loving my child and not having hope for their healing. My outward behavior would paint a very different picture of what was really going on in my heart.

Because it is not clearly spelled out in scripture that adoption disruption is a sin we must realize that we are putting outside pressure on people to conform to "the rules" and risk creating "whitewashed tombs". God desires our hearts first and formost. To love him and love others above everything else.

Christy said...

I also just wanted to thank Summer again for leaving this an open discussion. She certainly doesn't have to. It's her blog and she doesn't have to publish my comments. :) I admire her for it though because it shows her humility. I also believe that it shows he heart not to be condeming or judging.
Thanks again Summer!

Mama in Uganda said...

Christy,

Thanks. Let me please be the first one to say, I have HAD TO BE humbled more times that I would like to count. And I know I will require it in the future. Knowing full well, however, that God disciplines (humbles) me out of love.

"He has shown thee, o' man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. To do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6

This forum is open as long as each and every word is spoken in love.

Summer

His Hands His Feet Today said...

I guess my addition to this discussion would be that in Roman times, adoption was seen as permanent and not able to be broken... and why God most likely used it to illustrate our own adoption into his family. In Roman times you could disown your biological child, but not your adopted one. The other thing that is relavent is that adoption is a covenant and in the Bible, covenants are permanent as demonstrated by God. For myself, we have a child who most people would have disrupted a LONG time ago... and we've also adopted through a disruption. Grace is needed and judgement saved for our Father when we get home.
Love,
K

Mama in Uganda said...

Thanks K for your input--straight from the "meat" of God's word. I love it! May we all have eyes to see ONLY what comes from the Lord and let the world around us fade away more and more.

Hope said...

Christy, I don't see how my example correlates at all with not a birthmother not placing their child in an adoptive home. My marriage example was just in response to your marriage comments. I wasn't putting the two together.
The birthmother doesn't inherently promise to parent her baby when she decides to give birth. However, when an adoptive parent agrees to adopt, there is a commitment being made to that child.
Like I said earlier, if adoptive parents did their preparation and agencies were up front with histories of the children, perhaps there would be less disruption. I don't have all the answers, I am so glad I serve my God who does!

Christy said...

Kim,
We too have one of those children whom many would have disrupted a long time ago. Our agency was not upfront with us about his issues and past and we did our research to the best of our ability but we were new to adoption and of couse did not know everything. I am not wanting to compare "war stories" though about how hard my child was to prove to everyone how great we were to persevere. What I do want to say is that we can not assume that just because we have a "difficult" child who we assume most people would have disrupted does not give us the right to say what we would do if we were in another persons shoes. I don't know what I would have done if I was in "_________'s" shoes.

That was an interesting bit of history about the Roman's views of adoption that you mentioned. Maybe that is why God chose that word to describe his relationship with believers. However, I did say this before but wanted to say one more time that the bible no where relates earthly adoption to our spiritual adoption. It does however compare earthly marriage to Christ and the church. All God does tell us to do is to "look after orphans and widows in their distress" and if one family decides that the child would be better "looked after" in another family then we need to extend grace and realize there is such a thing as christian liberty. When we start making up rules we risk being like the pharises who made up laws on top of God's laws so they could feel more righteous. We also risk becoming a "law unto ourselves" and then risk being judged by the law.

As to the covenant thing. I guess I wasn't aware that I was making a covenant with my child when I adopted. Maybe we were naive. We thought we were just doing our part in caring for orphans. There certainly was no "passing between two pieces of flesh". We never even stood before God and made a solemn vow. I am thinking this all boils down to your theological stance on how convenants are formed, the different types of covenants and our responsibility in them. This could get pretty deep........

I am going to let this go now after this post because I am assuming that Summer may be getting weary of this conversation as I am and I certainly don't want to discourage her to do what God is calling her and her husband to do.

Even though we have not disrupted and I have no plans to, many times I still feel judged by those around me who do not understand life with a special needs adopted child with severe emotional issues. I feel like I can't even talk about how hard it is to raise a child such as ours without hearing how we should have counted the costs or how maybe I just was too idealistic and want to give up too easily. No one can ever understand what is going on in your heart or your home but you and the Lord. Mercy is preached for the children but not for the families who felt they had no other choice but to disrupt and ended up being judged and rejected by their family, church and friends. I have heard this story repeated quite a number of times and it is disgraceful that christian's could act in such a way when they have received so much grace and mercy themselves.

I just pray that for these families "mercy would triumph over judgment" for them as well and I know that in the end it will because it is what He promises.

"So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." ~James 2:12-13

His Hands His Feet Today said...

Hey Christy :)
We've talked before and you know you have my prayers. I think this is where we, as believers, help stand in the gap for eachother.

I don't know if you read my post the other day, but the book Sacred Parenting is excellent! It may be that God has asked us to do this ... and all we'll "get" is a our reward in heaven.... which needs to be okay! :)

Also know, I do not, nor will I ever, judge a parent who has disrupted. Grace is what's needed (like I said before).

I think I gave you my number... if you ever need to vent, please call and know that I've been where you are (and sometimes still) and there will be nothing but a shoulder to snot on and a listening ear :). This is where "the body" comes in!
Love,
K