Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chronology, Process and Timeline-Continued

The last post ended with the question: "What was my problem?"  Well in short my problem was selfishness and laziness.  I am not going to get all spiritual, or go off on some rant: lazy and selfish, no makeup on this one, that is my problem.  Spare me the quasi-uplifting remarks about how hard I work, and how great my kids are, and how God has gifted us, and so on, just keep them to yourself because I know the sin in my heart: Lazy and Selfish.  Pray for me and those who live with me.

In some sense I have bought in to the American ideal of "sacrificing" 18-20 years of your life to raise some kids, have them move out, so we can enjoy our golden years.  Really isn't that the way we do it, rear-raise-retire?  It's like we subliminally try to assuage the guilt we will have later by raising some kids now.  Think about it, how many times have you heard people say "well I've raised mine, time to enjoy life"  is that the same as "well I've had my cancer, time to enjoy life." I will let this article speak for me so I can actually write about adoption.

There is a fairly large gap of time between the initial discussion about adoption and where we are now.  The gap is mostly me wrestling with my selfish, lazy attitude and hashing this out with my wife while getting counsel from friends.  As is true most of the time I am slow to catch on to what the Spirit is doing and since I am WAY TOO introspective I often find myself trying to find myself, instead of embracing the new creation I am (2 Corinthians 5:17).

My wife was discouraged, (during the gap of time) I think angry and generally sad about my attitude and double talk.  I had said some things simply because I love her and want to please her, things that were not entirely true at the time.  When a leader does and says things simply to please his followers he is no longer leading, rather he is protecting his position (because of pride) and eventually it will lead to resentment or a coup d'état.  Thankfully my wife is honest and blunt with me and we were able to move on.  My wife wants to be lead by a man, and so do most women, yes even the bra-burning, obnoxious, feminazis that don't need no man I am women here me ROAR!  YES those women want lead too, but many men don't lead, or men in their (the women's) past have abused their leadership role for personal gratification, so many women think they need a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

Anyway, instead of moving on with adoption classes and paper work my wife was patient with me and never once did she try to manipulate me, she just prayed that the Spirit of the Sovereign God would work in my heart. Remember the homeschool story, it was the same thing, she prayed, God worked, I changed, life got better.  My wife could have manipulated me in to homeschooling or adoption, but she knew it was not wise and would severely strain our marriage and family.  Women take a lesson from her.  What Connie did not know was that I was busy researching and reading about adoption in our state.  I had even called and left a message with the Family Services folks, but they did not call back. I was thinking,  "Maybe they will never call back and that will be God's way of shutting the door."  However, I didn't leave it at that, I called back and talked to the right person and asked many questions.  Then one day I told my wife what I had been doing, we discussed the issues and she was surprised how much I knew about the process because she thought I was just avoiding the topic, hoping it would go way. After some revealing discussions my wife was able to summarize my problem and it was typical man.
Let me explain: When she was pregnant I didn't care, I mean I was happy we were expecting a child, but honestly it was not real to me.  Sure I could see, and feel, the changes in my wife's body, but I was not the one kept up at night because the baby had the hiccups, or was running hurdles in the womb; it was beyond me, not real to me.  I was disconnected and apathetic towards the pregnancy, not towards her, but the actual pregnancy.  People would ask about my excitement and I was like "nothing happened yet, she just has some bigger body parts, no big deal."  It wasn't real to me, until that child was born then I believed she was pregnant!  It is the same pattern with adoption, even now all the process, the classes, the background checks, references, inspections, blogs, all of it, is like getting my pregnant wife an oyster and peanut butter sandwich.  Hang on until she pops!  And stop cooking eggs they make me SICK! YUCK!!!!!
We started adoption classes on March 15, 2011 at our local social services agency.  It is not accurate to call them adoption classes because even if you have no intention of adopting, but rather fostering, you still have to complete them.  The classes were Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-9:00 for 6 weeks, totaling 36 hours of training.

What a group of folks we have here, I am pretty sure some of them were in a Weird Al Yankovic video or on  Jerry Springer, and I think I saw one of them one the news describing the alien spaceship that landed in their yard . . . again.  WOOOOOO, MY WORD, we were the only normal folks there, or so we thought.  Here was the make up of our class:

Couple 1: co-habitating lesbians with no children
Couple 2: Us co-habitating bff's with 5 or 6 or 7 children. (oh and we are married)
Couple 3: Obnoxious biker dude and soft hearted wife (they showed up once and never returned)
Couple 4: Older black couple
Couple 5: Middle aged, white couple with no children
Couple 6: Late 30's white couple with no children
Single 1: Middle aged, divorced black lady, children older and moved out
Single 2: 23 year old, on welfare, self proclaimed "mechanic chick" reminded me of Darlene from "Rosanne"
she showed up once or twice.
Teacher: Late 60's, Italian women, no kids, never married, she was sort of a toned down Joan rivers infused with a touch of Tina Fey tempered with Snow White. 40 plus years as a social worker.  I wish you could meet her.

I feel the need to pause here for one moment and let you know that as we got to know the folks in our class it became clear that they had a genuine love for children.  These were sweet people that wanted to help hurting kids, nothing more and nothing less.  I would not say we all became friends and now hang out every Monday night at Dave and Buster's, but during those 36 hours we worked together for the good of the children.  Wow that last sentence sounded way too liberal.

The first night of the class we saw a video about a boy in the system in Canada in the late 70's.  Our teacher gave us a warning that we will see a teenager who killed himself by hanging from a tree.  WOW, so that is how this starts, a picture of dead teenager hanging by a rope!  I did not know when that image would show up, so I put my chin in my chest, and shut my eyes. I did not want to see this, I did not want to have that grotesque image in my mind.  However I caught just a small glimpse, it was tough, it is now in there.  Long story short, the video was about how bad the child welfare system was in Canada and how it took the suicide of Richard to change things and that is precisely why the foster parents took the picture: to make a change!  They sent the photo to the newspaper and certain public officials.  It worked, it worked very well and since then thousands of orphaned children have been positively effected and given proper care in Canada.
Theologically I struggled with the story.  I mean really God, this boy was doomed from conception.  Born to a horrible situation totally out of his control.  It was not Richard's fault he was given up, then abused by several foster families for years.  At one point the child carved the words "help me" into his skin, he was desperate, lonely, scared and confused.  God, where were you?  Well once I heard the rest of the story it became evident that because of this child's death HUGE changes were made.  It was then that I remembered what Elie Wiesel said after witnessing the hanging of three Jews:
Elie Wiesel tells of his time in a concentration camp, when he was forced, along with a few others, to witness the hanging of two Jewish men and one Jewish boy. The two men died right away, but the young lad struggled on the gallows. Somebody behind Wiesel muttered, "Where is God? Where is He?" Then the voice ground out the anguish again, "Where is He?" Wiesel felt the same question irrepressibly within him: "Where is God? Where is He?" Then he heard a voice softly within him saying, "He is hanging there on the gallows, where else?"

I ask you, dear friend, can any faith other than Christianity answer that question in its fullest sense? As we see so many atrocities we wonder, "Where is God?" And the answer comes: He is right in the middle—at the receiving end of evil, hanging on the gallows. The Cross invades us as the only reasonable point of definition for a wounded world. God is on the gallows Himself so that we might come near.  (Excerpted from: RZIM)

Just like Richard had no control over his life situation, we too have not control over our spiritual situation, we are conceived in sin, Psalm 51:5, and are estranged from the womb, Psalm 58:3.  But  while we were still sinners Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.  I reconciled Richard's story with these scriptures and remarked to my wife that it was gracious of God to allow Richard to die.  I don't know if he was a believer but I can't help but thinking of John 16:33 and 2 Corinthians 4:17. Richard's death was not in vain, it was never meant to be.

That was the first class stay tuned for more . . .


  1. Very much enjoying this blog, Zeek. I appreciate your candor. It would be quite easy to make a warm and fuzzy adoption blog... after all, who is going to frown upon a healthy couple, wanting to pull a child out of a life "destined" to for trouble and pain? It is, however, very difficult to show your flesh, laid bare and raw, for all of us to gawk at. The latter is what grows us as believers, and the road you're choosing. When we hear of God working miracles, we think of healing, or saving someone from tragedy, etc. We do not, however think of the miracles that make for the best testimonies to the a hurting and lost world. These being, how when life vomited all over a person, they struggled a bit, but God changed their hearts... COMPLETELY, so that by the end, and often in the midst of the storm, the individual began singing God's praise... what is more miraculous than that? What is more life changing? Hearing a story about how God healed a child of cancer, or how God chose not to heal a child from cancer, yet the family of that child lives praising the Lord for His goodness? At any rate, yours and Connie's story is miraculous, and I LOVE reading about it! Gee I hope this posts! =)Peace and blessings, ~Andrea Phillips

  2. P.S. Sorry for the grammatical errors... should have proof read!

  3. no problem, just pretend you are ee cummings i am sure i have my share of bad grammar


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