Thursday, August 17, 2006


I read this post on a message board and thought it so worthy to share that I got the author's permission to post:

Tonight my 12 year old daughter and I came up with a good response to the "have you lost your mind?" that some of us hear when we say that we are adopting again. Just smile and say ever so sweetly, "yes I lost my mind - thank God - because along the way I found my heart."

This came after we had the most awesome discussion about the difference between making big decisions with your mind or by following your heart. It is so clear to me that our current North American culture is incredibly un-child friendly AND incredibly self centered.This thread of discussion about people's inability to understand adoptive families has sparked some really great and fruitful conversations at our house. Our 12 year old is our oldest and our only bio - kid and we are constantly asked by others if she is somehow negatively affected/cheated because we have decided to adopt two (and now 3) other children. As if any child has the inalienable right to be an only child and get all the love, time, resources that a family has to give...

I tend to think that she has been incredibly enriched to have seen an orphanage at age 6, to have understood at a tender age that some people hurt and suffer and live without love and to know at an early age that God calls us to lives that matter - to lives of purpose where we find our joy in caring for the deep needs of others. But then again - what do I know? After all, it IS possible that I have lost my mind. My dh and I were talking tonight about all this and we have reasoned that in our culture the problem is that we feel we are entitled to a certain standard of living: that families should have 2500 sq ft homes, two suv's, go on nice vacations, have a closet full of expensive clothes and be able to buy most of the gadgets that most people have, as well as have cell phones, gym memberships, cable tv and eat out frequently. This seems to be what my parents now assume (which is funny because when I was a child we lived more simply.) Their expectations of standards of living have grown along with the rest of our culture! They seem to think we cannot afford another child - that it is wrong for kids to "have" to share a bedroom, or to "have" to work while in college to help pay their way. Thus they think in some way that we are cheating our 12 year old...

But in fact it is possible to live well and happily in a simpler way without anyone being seriously deprived. Even on one pastor's income. Even in Southern California. Even if you have 3, soon to be 4 kids... Adoptive parents = countercultural radicals ????? Why are we so surprised that people don't understand? The culture He lived in crucified Jesus. Maybe seeing that tight little look on my mom's face every time I mention adoption isn't so bad. So press on toward the goal my brothers and sisters - your Father in Heaven sees what you do and smiles - after all, He is the one who helped you find your HEART!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Now I know how an amoeba feels

By John Vogel:

Yesterday our homestudy started; the paperwork started weeks ago, but it did not 'feel' real for me until yesterday.

Let me start by stating that our assigned social worker is very nice, and I could tell that she was working hard to put us at ease (I am not just saying that because she might be monitoring this blog). She spent a lot of time explaining the details, making sure we understood, and never rushed us.

But that did not stop me from scrutinizing myself to the Nth degree.

I know someone who has, what I call, a super-mirror. When she uses this mirror, every tiny speck shows up 20 times larger than life! Imagine every pimple, every freckle, every rogue hair amplified to make your face look like a grotesque side-show freak. I don't know how she does it (and no- I am not referring to my wife). I rather be oblivious to the minor imperfections and satisfied that my skin is generally clean and well kept.

But I digress.

Some of the questions were easy:
"Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" - No
"Have you ever been divorced?" - No
"When was your last traffic violation?" - 2001 (speeding) :^)

Then the questions got tougher:
"Have you ever perpetrated drug abuse?"
"Have you ever perpetrated molestation?"
"Have you ever perpetrated sexual abuse?"

Now, even though the answer were all "No", the idea of being asked is awkward to say the least. (I was wondering if anyone had answered "why, yes- I would get high and abuse my kids all the time. Is that wrong? Should I have not done that?") -ok, back to serious...

Then it got very personal:
"Have you ever gone to therapy?"
"What religion are you?"
"What denomination is that?"
"How much money do you make?"

I wonder if the Chinese government uses this data to develop a plan for world domination. (that's for another blog)

The next part is what made me feel like I was on the wrong end of a super-mirror.

Write an autobigraphy. And not a 1 page, double spaced, large font paper describing summer vacation and what my favorite sandwich is.

I had in my hands 5 pages of the most in-depth question I have ever seen! (and I once filled out an application for secret clearance to work in Moscow- true story)
Here are some of the questions I need to elaborate on:
How did your parents issue discipline?
What made you happy/angry?
Describe your significant relationships growing up.
What was your family environment growing up?
Describe changes in your marraige after the honeymoon period ended.
What are some failures that you had?
How long did you date before you were married?
What are your spouses strengths and weaknesses? (does she get to read it afterward?)

So maybe I am over-reacting. But I get the feeling like Ward and June Cleaver are thrilled for the opportunity to share their perfect life experiences, and I would rather keep my history private.

So is my background that bad? I know people with more problems, and people with fewer problems.

I know my skin has blemishes, but I don't need people I have never met writing 10 page reports on each one.

I pray that this process is not as bad as I am making it out to be.