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Happy Birthday to YOU…

Happy birthday to you…
Happy birthday to you…
Happy birthday to Richard…
Happy birthday to YOU!Happy birthday to my love!!! Hope you have an AMAZING day!!!

Your FIRST birthday as a daddy of 4! Here Rico is with baby #4…who he adores–and insists on getting up with almost EVERY night!!!

Here’s to another year of your life…we are so thankful for you and how you encourage ALL of us through the love of Christ. Love you and thankful to do life with you!!! SOOO…who do you think of our kids looks like Rico Suave in these pictures?!?!?

P.S. (Warning…after the “light” birthday post–the P.S. is heavy…so if you like to keep things light–stop reading now and go enjoy a crossword puzzle.) My posts have been a little “light” lately because a storm is a brewin’ in this moms heart. Daily, I receive emails from families who are struggling with issues as they persue serving orphans and following God in adoption. One thing all of these families seem to come in contact with are other believers discouraging them (YES–I said BELIEVERS…you read that right). Apparently, there is an “anti-adoption movement” among the world that orphans are better served in their cultures and countries…in institutions and boarding schools in their “natural” environment…and there are groups of believers that not only BELIEVE this but are also PASSIONATE about this. I. KID. YOU. NOT. I have been the recepient of many just seeking my 2 cents on the subject–and let me preface what I’m about to say with this: I feel fortunate to be involved in BOTH orphan ministry where we have made sacrifices to serve hundreds—and in a calling where we made just as many if not more sacrifices to serve one. AND–I do have a belief on the subject–and I don’t think it’s an opinion because I’m basing my belief on scripture–which I believe is TRUE. I would encourage anyone in this “anti-adoption movement” to join me in seeking truth and not what YOU believe–but based on scripture—what is true (If you are not a believer–then I’m not speaking to you…I do pray you KNOW Him and His love some day though…and that your life will be transformed by His greatness…and that you will know the glory and beauty of being adopted by God as a daughter and son–IF YOU ARE a believer…then brothers and sister in Christ–we have to base what we do on scripture!). We can all have our opinions of course–but when we are ready to have our opinions transformed to truth–as believers, we need to line up with Biblical truth.

While my flesh wants to immediately respond to believers that are passionately saying the things “Shame on anyone who thinks orphans are better served in institutions and it’s better to send our money over to help them surivive in their own country and culture”–that is my flesh speaking out of the pain and hurt I have seen in children as they go through the healing process once they were brought into a family. THAT is what my heart feels–but it is NOT the right thing to say to brothers and sisters who have been misled. We must love them as He loves them–and point them back to scripture. Praise Jesus that He does not give up on us! Praise Jesus that He sets the lonely in families!!! Praise Jesus that He heals our hearts and minds–and that He is the father to the fatherless!!! It may be a few more days–but a post in a comin’ in response to the “anti-adoption movement”. If you are a believer–then you ARE adopted by God as a son or daughter through Christ…aren’t you glad He didn’t just leave you in your “natural” environment and claimed you as HIS! Can I get an Amen?! Adoption was God’s idea in the first place. And not only in the heavenly realm–but here on Earth too. He promises to set the lonely in families. He declares that He will be the father to the fatherless…and I believe He wants us to love these children like He does. He wants us to die to ourselves in serving them…in helping these little ones heal…in giving them a family’s love…a mommy’s love…becoming a father to the fatherless just like our Heavenly Father!!!

Before an anti-adoption person who just happens to be reading this P.S. today gets all worked up–don’t worry…I totally get you. I really do. You and I—we used to be like peas and carrots. (This same post will also apply to those who believe strongly we should help those in our own country FIRST before another…AS IF one deserves our help more or first…AS IF we are given the option to even choose who and where God leads us…now that might seem like a post for another day BUT REALLY it is really the same thing…coming from the same spirit and the same heart…and being misled in the same way–and we must be very careful as believers to not let opinions be more important than His truth—and to line what we do with His truth in His Word). And I wish I could say I don’t understand how anyone could think orphans are best served in their “natural” environment… BUT there was a time that silently—I kind of thought the way you might though. I didn’t know. When we got involved in our ministry in Africa serving 450 orphans–I thought the best way to serve orphans was to pour into them from across the world. I really did. I thought “Why would I adopt for $$$$, when JUST THINK what $$$$ could do for HUNDREDS…”. Yes, I REALLY thought that way. I just didn’t know. I wasn’t speaking from experience…but opinion—well, because doesn’t that make sense if you look at it from a worldly/financial perspective?!?! BUT–it was much easier for me to have an opinion before I set down my opinion–set out to seek truth in scripture and get my hands dirty following Him and desiring to love DEEPLY as He loves. It was much easier to have an opinion before I had been called to both serving orphans AND growing my family through adoption. I mean, doesn’t it just make sense that if I could feed 450 with this or 1 with that–that more just makes sense? Maybe–from a world perspective. BUT I am thankful that the Lord is teaching me what it means to love deeply. I believe it is God’s heart to do more than just have us fed physically. I believe He loves each orphan SO MUCH that it really is His desire for them to have a mother’s love—a family’s love—a father’s love…to be rocked at night…to have someone kiss their booboos and tell them it’s going to be okay…to protect them…to guide them…and to ultimately lead them to know their ULTIMATE FATHER. I know every orphan having a family is impossible as the problem is too big…but last time I checked–we serve a God that is rather big Himself. I believe strongly we desperately need believers to follow God in both adoption and orphan serving ministries…as believers–to be ANTI to either…is to be anti-the Gospel. Period.

This “P.S.” is not my response to the anti-adoption movement…it just my heads up–the storm is brewing and I have something to say…but I need to continue to seek Him in how to say what is on my heart. More than anything–I wanted to give the anti-adoption brothers and sisters in Christ the challenge—and to ask you, if this is your opinion, to seek scripture with me…and join me in letting Him transform our opinions to His Truth, His heartbeat…His desire. Let me finish with this…

I am so thankful that He opened my eyes!!! For those of you on either side–if you are a believer–take a few days to pray that God take YOUR ideas and opinions away and replace them with TRUTH through His Word. And I want to answer some of the questions I get weekly…from a mother’s heart—one that has stayed awake at night thinking about our children in Zambia getting malaria and how’d we get them all mosquito nets AND one that has stayed up at night with a baby night—unable to sleep because her baby is clinging both hands to her cheeks in fear that he will be left alone…praying for healing and that as a teen that he will be okay and healed from the trauma he has endured. When you are on this end–at some point…you hear it all–from truth and gloryifing–to shock that a believer…even those who are seen as “leaders” in the body of Christ…would discourage some from loving a child with the ultimate love…the love of a father. I have something to say…and I want to get the rest of my thoughts together before I do…

Amy @ Filled With Praise - October 28, 2010 - 9:23 am

Today is Cade’s b-day too. A great day 🙂

Love the PS and your heart.

Faith - October 28, 2010 - 9:59 am

I believe that our ideas of finances and “running the numbers” do NOT count. Jesus fed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish.
And He is still multiplying food today
We can not use our finite brains to solve these problems. Just because something makes sense to us does not mean that it is God’s perfect will. In fact, I’d go so far as to say He goes against those things that seem to make sense.
1 Cor. 1:27 “…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong…”

Tiffany - October 28, 2010 - 10:15 am

Love your fire Andrea…truly amazing. I also love that you so eloquently capture issues that we are all thinking about. I just finished reading Radical and I am in the middle of Adopted for Life…and I am probably feeling more convicted than I ever have been about adoption. Interesting, because I’ve had this discussion many times with other adoptive moms – about how to respond to this issue, etc. Really, it boils down to the story of God’s adopted of us…there are so many parallels. And…families are always better than institutions…little souls cannot be loved, cherished and shepherded in institutions. Can’t wait to hear more from you on this topic…

Hannah - October 28, 2010 - 11:32 am

Amen, amen. I did not realize this issue was even out there, it is hard for me to believe some even feel that way. A wonderful answer to a sensitive subject, an answer based on Scripture, which is never wrong or outdated.

Asher Collie - October 28, 2010 - 11:35 am

Preach it girlfriend! I’m 100% on board with you!

Kristy Filbrun - October 28, 2010 - 1:03 pm

We have so much “family” that is against our adoption. After hearing negative for the past year I need to be reminded that I need to just Love them. God is not just calling me to just Love the orphans but the anti-adoption people also. I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say! Thank you for your words! I always appreciate them! Blessings~

Elle J - October 28, 2010 - 2:47 pm

YES!! Keep sharing, Andrea! Love your heart, your voice, your knowledge and truth. Hugs to a beautiful day to celebrate your best friend.

Meghan - October 28, 2010 - 3:28 pm

Amen. I think you may have just written one of your talks for the conference (assuming you will be presenting 🙂

Suzanne - October 28, 2010 - 5:09 pm

Oh my goodness, my brother said those exact words to me recently when I asked him if he’d consider being the guardian for our adoption. He told me, “It is great that you feel sorry for those people, but deep in my heart I feel that you would be doing yourself and that child a disserve by taking him away from his culture and country. In the long run, I don’t think either of you would be happy.” Really? Are you kidding me? It would be better for a child to grow up alone in an institution without the love of a family?

Breaks my heart that this person I grew up with, in the same home, going to church, feels this way.


Makenzie - October 28, 2010 - 7:21 pm

Amen, Andrea! I have been thinking about this a lot lately too. Thank you for putting my muddled thoughts into encouraging words… again!

Becca Harley - October 28, 2010 - 8:15 pm

love it!!! Cannot wait to give you a huge hug! Love your heart, my friend

Kelly - October 28, 2010 - 8:48 pm

Love this post! I agree 100%… and I think you are right on, it really is about what the WORD says not what we think is most acceptable. Besides the fact that it is pretty clear in Scripture that God is all about adoption, have these people ever simply asked a child in the instituion…”would you rather stay in your own country, have your needs met, but no one to call mom and dad, and no one to call you “son/daughter”??? or would you rather move to another place and have a Daddy and a Mommy… a family and a place to call home. I wonder what those children would say… I bet I know.

cris - October 28, 2010 - 8:52 pm

Seems to me your heart has changed. Somehow when you are the adoptive mother…God works in a way to allow you to see first hand the healing that takes place in a family. I believe that ADOPTION is GOD’s idea and HIS heart. I am grateful to be part of HIS family because of it.

Kristin - October 28, 2010 - 10:14 pm

Oh Andrea. All day long I have been singing these lyrics, “EMPTY my hands, FILL UP my heart, CAPTURE my mind with You.” (10th Avenue North, Empty My Hands). That’s where I want to be on this and ALL issues…

Vanessa - October 28, 2010 - 10:33 pm

AMEN!!! Sweet Sister!!!! Love your words!!!!

april - October 28, 2010 - 11:33 pm

i loved reading this tonight andrea b/c i just heard about my grandmother in law not understanding why we want to adopt internationally from Uganda for our second child instead of domestic again and the things she said…well urked me…so it was great to read your post! love ya!

Shannon - October 29, 2010 - 2:29 am

Amen!! Looking forward to reading more!!!

kristi johnson - October 29, 2010 - 2:38 am

amen , sister friend….wow….if i could write that well…i’d never stop…amazing and so TRUTHFUL…I dare someone to say that LL deserved to live in an orphanage the rest of her life…Shame on them…and well…i REALLY don’t DARE them…i just want scary, mean people like that, that have been deceived, to stay away!! 🙂 Don’t even come near my blog…cause we love children at my spot…all children!! 🙂 great post, kj

WendyLou - October 29, 2010 - 7:57 pm

I agree. ‘Culture’ does not trump the Gospel.

Val in MD - October 30, 2010 - 9:26 am

I’m anxious for your rant. :o) I’ve felt this undercurrent for the last several years, and it needs to be addressed. It’s being fueled and pushed by UNICEF, and I see it popping up here and there in the blogosphere even more frequently.

There’s a fine line between adoption & rescue that needs to be tread softly–in my opinion. I think we should be very careful not to project or intend to be RESCUERS, as our motivation to adopt. We’re mommies, first and foremost–we adopt because we want to grow our families. That we happen to be following a mandate of “pure religion and undefiled” is important, but I see so much trouble in the future for our children if “rescue” is our focus. I hope I’m not making a complete mish-mash of what is in my heart.

I’ve been reading spatterings of growing resistance toward evangelical families adopting, by those who seem to really resent the Church’s rather open push toward adoption. I think we must be very careful to not give them fodder. To be circumspect. To be well-read on post-institutional issues. To keep it real. But on the other hand, we must not be cowed into accepting their worldview, simply because it’s more strident. I’ll be praying for you as you formulate your storm. We NEED to see it addressed and hit head-on. <3