Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweeter than candy

On Face-book tonight I read a discussion thread that related to the idea of asking for help in raising funds for adoption, and it depicted a spectrum of viewpoints.  One argument ran along the lines that if you can't afford to pay the fees related to adoption, you shouldn't do it.  The line of logic carried on by questioning whether the family would have to fund-raise to pay the expenses associated with raising the child too.  I hear the argument and live by the principle behind it largely in my life...we are a pay as you go, live within our means, practice contentment sort of family.  We are children of the King of all kings, not beggars.  But here is a question for us to consider:  Is presenting an opportunity for the body of Christ to work together, where you're offering to do the lion's share of the work, the same as begging?

I admit that I've seen pleas from Christians who have set their heart on something, be it adoption or a mission trip or some other ministry based thing that come across manipulative and desperate and do not reflect the goodness of God very well at all.  These leave a bad taste in my mouth, frankly.  I wholeheartedly believe that God will provide for what He calls His people to do, in His time, according to His wise and loving plans.  But us kids need to remember He is the One setting the agenda and making provision, and we are to walk with a child-like trust in Him, following His lead.  But when we try to set the agenda and then demand He fork over the needed resources for our plans, a good ole-fashion spanking is perhaps what we need.   We're acting like beggars at that point and making our Father look like He's holding good things back from us.  That just plain isn't true!  Aren't we glad that He's a faithful Father who disciplines those He loves?   

With that said, sometimes we have to spit the bad taste of the beggarly approach out of our mouth to make room for the beautiful fruit of working together as the body of Christ.  We have to step back from our individualistic mindsets to see the bigger picture of Christ at work through His people to preach the gospel, to set captives free, to minister to orphans and widows, and all the other wonderful redemptive works He is doing in this world as He makes His bride ready for His coming.  This is the mission of the body of Christ, not lone maverick adventures.  Adoption is one of those beautiful opportunities to work together to make the glories of Christ known.  Sure some families can figure out how to pay all the expenses...we did it twice, but even then it was by God's grace and provision, not something for us to boast in.  Sometimes God provides through many people coming alongside you in the journey and they're happy to play a part...we traveled that road to our third adoption, only being able to come up with half the expenses ourselves.  We know from being on the receiving end that we were not aiming to mooch off of others, but that truly it was an opportunity we were presenting for others to work with us to make one less orphan in the world.  I don't know of anybody who helped us that has any regret, and I know we don't, and our son Paul seems pretty happy to have a mom and dad who loves him...our prayer was that God would be glorified, not belittled, in the process.  I believe He answered our prayers.

Sometimes people are moochers and if you bite, the taste left in your mouth is less than desirable.  Sometimes people understand God is at work in ways that are bigger than themselves and they're ready to follow Him, roll up their sleeves and do the lion's share of the work, but they understand if the job is going to get done that others are going to have to come alongside and assist... and they pray for God's provision and make the opportunity known and wait upon the Lord to orchestrate it according to His good pleasure, trusting Him.  I'm finding that assisting these folks is sweeter than candy.

Here's a thought:  If you hold really tightly to the principle that people shouldn't do anything they can't afford upfront to do, you might want to step back and ask if God may be up to something big and glorious...and if He is, maybe, just maybe you might want to accept the privilege of being a part of it. 

We were glad, with the help of friends, to have the privilege of hosting another fund-raising garage sale this weekend for the Shubins, Shubins, Masers, and Walsers who are all in various stages of the adoption process.  These are folks who understand God is at work in ways bigger than themselves...sweet  family members in the body of Christ.  Here are a few pics from the event:
This is me, my daughter MJ, and my niece Leah wearing our somewhat matching "Simply Love" shirts...we have Africa and America represented, but since my two other children are from Korea we think we need to figure out how to get one with Asia represented on the front...any of you t-shirt people know how to do that?

Isn't this a cool perambulator?  Doesn't it scream the stories of Babar?  In the background, you see some of the other friends who came over to help...I would have been sunk without them.  We set up 12 tables around the front and side of our house and had OODLES of donated items...thank you to all the cheerful givers who provided items to sell, and to all who came to make purchases.  We prayed for at least $500 and in dollar form we raised $499 along with a wee bit of change to push us over the top.   Thank you Jesus.
I didn't get a picture of the side of the yard that housed the bulk of the items for sale (sorry Erica).  This last pic was towards the end of the day during a customer-less moment...We were nearly pooped by then and happy to sit for a bit.  The very blond gal is affectionately known to my family as Aunt Angie and we're so excited to see her and her husband Steve begin the process of adoption (their blog is highlighted as the first "Shubin" above). 

Our contribution to their adoptions is only a drop in the bucket, but each drop adds up whereas no drops do not.  We're happy to do what we can and thank the Lord for letting us be a part of these amazing stories.  We're not made to be mavericks.  Throughout the creation account, God kept saying how what He had made was good, until He stopped between Adam and Eve to note it was not good for man to be alone.  Our God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit...until Adam was created there had NEVER been aloneness and God made it a point to make sure we knew we were made in His image, which in part means we were made to live in loving community, not as independent mavericks.  There is application to marriage, but broadly we are all made to live connected to one another, married or single, giving and receiving in community as the Spirit leads and empowers for the glory of our great God who made us in His image.


  1. So blessed to know you. Thrilled to see these pictures. Honored to have you humbly serving along side us ALL for the glory of our King. Love you, love the shirts, love the people in the shirts even more and I will find out about an Asia shirt to represent! :)

  2. I too love God and believe very much that only by His grace and blessing did I achieve the Happiness in my life with my children and my husband, and affording to pay for what I believe in and for what are hearts were set out to do: adoption! But this was a family choice and I'm not going to go out and ask the world to give me the money so that I can adopt. I'm a rational person: everybody around us and everybody who cared to listen knew we were adopting. If they wanted to help, fine but if not I wasn't asking them for money or donations or showers ... If they would've wanted to do it they could've but they didn't. It wasn't their responsibility! Also, there is at least 3 times during the process that u have to prove u can pay for the adoption: application, home study and the immigration form right before u travel. So I'm asking myself: how were some people approved to adopt if they don't have the money? That the essence of my point and the only reasonable explanation I know is: they have the money otherwise they wouldn't have been able to adopt, but choose to sit on it and ask the world to pay for it because they are doing a noble thing, adoption, and everybody should contribute "because God has told us to care for orphans". That's what I have a problem with, using God and adoption as an excuse to go out and beg while sitting on our wealth and possessions. It's an integrity issue! And that's why I would never feel confortable or right asking other people to pay for our adoption. Little funf raisers here and there to off set cost is ok, but asking right from the beggining "hey people we're adopting and need 30000 dollars so why don't u all donate b/c God said we all should care for orphans" just doesn't seem right to me. Do I donate? Yes, I do because I give people the benefit of the doubt that they really need it and let God handle the rest. That's just my opinion and it is not meant to hurt anyone ... :)

  3. Hi Connie! What a fun day you all had; wishing again I could have gone shopping in your yard! "hat ever you do, do all to the glory of God..."

  4. Alida I totally get what you're saying. Did you know that in order to adopt immigration only requires that you make 125% above poverty level? Most agencies require that you make $40,000 or $10,000 per person in your family depending on the agency. US law and the Ethiopian government only require what I stated above. To put that in perspective that means only $33,500 for a family of 6. That's not much extra even for the most frugal of people.

    That said I completely get what you're saying. I do. Hence why I love the Radical book. People that "fund raise" while they are off doing big vacations or have lavish homes or drive new cars every other year - yes it seems crazy that they would fund raise.

    For us we were "chastised" by friends that we didn't share the details of our first adoption and let them know because they would have wanted to help had they been asked. I thought that was odd because like you I knew that they were aware and could give if they wanted. Instead they felt the need should be put out there. I was flustered by that but I took it to the Lord and that was the beginning of His breaking of me and my outlook on "asking for money" or as I prefer to say it "laying it all out there" which is more difficult for me then if I just had the money to pay for the adoption ourselves.

    Not hurt here - I am glad we can talk about it and hear one anothers hearts.

    Also - when proving income for immigration its the year priors tax returns and as long as they match the home study within a reasonable amount thats all they look at. Plus there is a difference in being able to provide for a child and being able to come up with $30k almost instantly. When I had babies I had insurance or if we had bills there were payment plans. There aren't payment plans in adoption.

    I do still believe that we're called to care for orphans and widows. What that looks like for each person is between them and God. :)

  5. Hey Erica .... I get you! I wasn't talking about you or thinking of your family with my opinion - I hope u know that, which based on our convo here (sorry Connie, it seems our discussion switched from facebook to your blog - hope it's ok) and on facebook I think you know. Ultimately, it's between each individual and God - and if those families would use God, adoption and the giving hearts of other people in such a way then it's on them and they'll have to one day stand in front of Him and answer to Him. Who am I or we to judge? I stay firm though on my opinion about this and we all have one ... Right! .... Just like we all have our values and beliefs. Last note: wasn't aware that the financial req's for adoption are so low ... Well, in either case, I'm thrilled for you that you guys are venturing down this road again to bring a daughter home and please know, and I mean it from my heart that if there's anything I can do and contribute in whatever small way I will. We're all in this together .... I just don't like - as Connie so eloquently put it - moochers! :-) .... Love ya' ... Good luck and I'll be following y'all's new journey to Ethiopia!!!!!!

  6. I'm loving the discussion...bring it on. As we hear each other on this with humble and teachable hearts, we can all learn how to better live to the glory of God, individually and in community. Each of us should remember we are in the process of being sanctified and made more and more like Jesus...let's be patient and gracious with one another and see how God might grow us. I am really appreciating the different angles ya'll are bringing together here ;-)