And Other Real Life Happenings

Our life loving others, serving God and selling all we own to move to Africa.

Friday, December 31, 2010

...Greater Than The Universe

Drew and I have received the question a lot, especially at the beginning of the adoption process. "Why are you adopting?" A huge reason for me is I have ALWAYS wanted to just seems like a natural thing to me. Why wouldn't you want to give a child who had no home or family a home? I remember when I was about 10 begging my parents to adopt another brother or sister! But, another reason for Drew and I since we are believers is that we realize it is part of God's design. I know every family is not called to adopt...but I believe that if you follow Christ you are called to do something! Here are just SOME ideas...
Call your local Department of Child and Family Services and see how you can help. Most child protective service branches are overwhelmed with the amount of children in the system. Some counties have an “adopt-a-social-worker” program where individuals act as “finders” to help with family preservation. For example, if a social worker is trying to keep a child in a home where there is inadequate provisions (i.e. a crib, diapers, formula), the “finder” would assist with finding donations that match the family’s need so that the child is not removed. Become a CASA worker - Court Appointed Special Advocates are community volunteers who act as a voice in court for abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers get to know the child and speak to everyone involved in the child’s life, including their family members, teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers, and others. The reality is that social workers do not often have the time to do this, so judges rely heavily on the information they gather. CASA volunteers commit to a child until the case is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home. Become a respite care provider - Respite care is the short-term care of a child which enables foster parents to take a break. Some children's needs require round-the-clock intensive care and parents need some time away to recharge. Sometimes respite is provided so that foster parents can take a vacation (most foster children are wards of the court and cannot leave their state). Foster parents cannot simply leave their children in the care of a babysitter or relative – the caregiver needs to be licensed with the county. Becoming licensed to give respite care offers a huge relief to those in the trenches and allows foster parents to do what they do without burning out. When we had children in foster care living with us, at times this was invaluable! Consider adopting a teen who is aging out – There is something profoundly heartbreaking in reading the photolistings of children who have turned 18 and who, despite being old enough to live independently, place themselves on national photolistings because they desperately want a family. Many of these teenagers have college plans or career aspirations and are really looking for the moral support of a family as they enter adulthoood. Everyone deserves to have a consistent place to land for the holidays, rituals, and celebrations in life. Maybe you have that to give. If you visit and sort by age, you will find many young adults searching for a family to call their own.
Annette and Norma, “18-year-old twin sisters with dreams of having a family of their own and a sense of belonging. Both girls want to attend college and talk of being a lawyer or a doctor down the line. While they have each other, the one thing that is lacking in their lives is a permanent place to call home.” - The Los Angeles Heart Gallery. Get involved with Orphan Sunday at your church. Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan. It is a great opportunity to recruit help and raise awareness for the various relief organizations listed below. Volunteer for a local group home – Group homes are difficult places. There are so many needs that can be filled. You could help raise money for clothes, shoes, backpacks, and other supplies. You could mentor a teen who is aging into adulthood. You could tutor students who are struggling in school, or make regular visits to play with children who are in the difficult season of temporary care. Lend a hand to families who have adopted – Do you know someone who has adopted a child? Chances are, they are exhausted, both mentally and physically. Maybe even barely hanging on. Think about lending them a hand with whatever tasks are overwhelming for them, so that they can get a little break. Sometimes babysitting, folding clothes, bringing over dinner and things like this can mean more than you know! Start a mentoring group for moms with kids in the system – This is one of the most unique ministries I’ve seen: a group of moms (many of them foster moms) started a bible study with the biological mothers of local foster children. They mentored them, prayer for them, and encouraged them in their reunification efforts.


It is the best of our humanity when we acknowledge the suffering of another, and we make the changes necessary to do something about it. But in order to bring about societal change, we need to talk about the realities of poverty. We need to educate others, and motivate those holding the privilege to step up and help those who have nothing.
I know there are many, many more ways that people are mobilizing to care for orphans. If you know of some ideas or organizations, leave them in the comments. I would love to think that our current generation will sacrifice and work together to ensure that every orphan receives his or her basic human rights: food, shelter, clean water, and the love of a family.
Annnnd to answer the questions I've been asked a million times,
“Why do people have to adopt kids from other countries? Why can’t they take care of the kids here in the US?”
This is a question the Howertons answer best...honestly, I could not have said it better!
"This question both angers and amuses me. Amusing because it is so completely petty and almost always posed by people who are doing absolutely nothing about the “kids here in the US” that they are so indignant about. And angering because it is so ridiculous to assume that children born in other countries have less of a right to be adopted into a loving home than those born in the states.

I typically don’t feel defensive by this question (obviously, since we DID adopt a child from the US), but it does irritate me. My friend
Alida commented back and I really appreciate what she said. She is a former foster child herself, an African American/biracial mom of five, and she is in the process of getting her foster care license. So I think she knows a little something something about all that.

“One thing to consider, at least here in the US we have foster care. The government sets aside money for each child to have the basics, food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, developmental services, therapy, etc. In Haiti, Africa, places in S. America, Asia, there is NOTHING! You are a FORTUNATE orphan if you have access to the few poor overcrowded orphanages available. Even still you are probably malnourished. Those not in orphanages are often forced into child traffic, slave labor, criminal activity, abuse, begging, uneducated sick, and expose to the elements. Having been in foster care myself, it wasn't pleasant but my basic needs were met. I have lived in group homes here and they were nice. It wasn't perfect but I never went to bed hungry. There are well over 153,000,000 worldwide and as many as 163,000 right here in the good ole US of A in need of adoption, 500,000 here needing foster homes. If you are concerned with US orphans, I'd encourage you, to sign up today. There is also a special need for domestic adoption of black or biracial infants not in foster care. I hope that the many folks that so quickly ask the "why adopt from there when there are children here " are the same ones I see in my foster/adoption classes. Have you ever tried to adopt from the foster care system? It is difficult, time consuming and a VERY intrusive process. I should read you some of the homestudy questions! You'd blush! There are SO MANY REQUIREMENTS. You may or may not meet the requirements based on your family size, home size, views on birth control, parenting style etc. You could have a child or children in your home for YEARS and never be able to adopt that child and call them your own. You may have a child or sibling set that you have tenderly loved and cared for and have to return them (yes even years later) to the SAME drug addicted people that abused or neglected that child in the first place! We are trying to adopt a sibling set from foster care and the hoops I have to jump through to do it make international adoption look oh so appealing. It works for many and I hope we are successful. I pray each US child finds a forever family, but I can easily see why others chose international.”"
And, if you are wondering about adopting from a theological standpoint listen to John Piper on adoption and why it IS biblical.
*Special thanks to


  1. Wow! What post! Thanks for sharing! Great information!

  2. Thanks for sharing this beautiful video about adoption being God's idea. We are in the process of adopting siblings from Hungary. Many blessings to you and your family!