• Engage

    Adoption: Dispelling Four Common Myths

    November is National Adoption Month—a month for focusing on how ministries and organizations can best seek to care for waiting and vulnerable children locally and around the world. It’s also a month for focusing on how we can best support families who have answered the call of adoption or foster care. But in order to understand how to best serve these families, we need to dispel a few common myths so that we can to gain greater comprehension and awareness.   Myth #1: Agencies find children for families. Truth: Agencies find families for children. When we view adoption as finding families for children, we create a major mindset shift—a shift…

  • Engage

    Surviving Abortion: An Interview

    “One out of every four women has had an abortion,” Jane* explained to me.[1] She sat across the table looking down at the coffee cup between her nervous hands as she shared her heart and the heavy burden she’d carried for a number of years—she was a survivor of abortion.  No, her birth mother had not tried to abort her. She, rather, had aborted two babies many years ago.  She explained the circumstances, the scenarios, and her guilt. I listened and cried with her, saying little. I gave her space to tell me the details of her story. And then I told her that I loved her and that Jesus…

  • Engage

    Don’t Believe My Newsfeed

    I see you. I see your newsfeed with smiling photos, happy videos, and the latest accomplishments. When someone asks, “How are you doing?” what do you say in response? “We’re hanging in there.” “We’re taking one day at a time.” “It’s harder than we expected, but we’re still standing.” “I showered today, so it’s a good day.” These responses hint at the real truth. But perhaps you’re not that honest and instead respond, “We’re great! Adoption (or foster care) rocks.” Indeed it does. Adoption and foster care does rock. But it’s not a fairytale. It’s the redemptive work of God in the midst of much brokenness and trauma. It’s redemptive…

  • Engage

    What Parents of Special Needs Kids Wish You Knew

    Hard is hard, period. “We are not competing in the ‘Suffering Olympics,’” seminary professor, author, and mother to a special needs child, Dr. Sandra Glahn, often remarks. What she means is that in terms of trials, hardship, and heartache, we are not in a competition attempting to win the medal of “Life’s Worst Circumstance.”  But life as a parent of a special needs child is unique. It contains daily nuances, challenges, and worries that are far from normal.  My husband and I recently adopted our son from China. He has both medical and emotional special needs. I often find it hard to explain why my son needs this or that…

  • Engage

    Adoption—Not Plan B

    All major life decisions should be made on a beach in Mexico. It was November 2015 and my husband and I finally had a few days alone after attending a family wedding. Unplugged from ministry, work, and everything else that competes for our time, we discussed our plans for family. I had finished seminary the year prior, he was partway through his doctoral degree, and we’d been married for four years. The timing seemed perfect. Neither of us, though, were what we would call, “spring chickens.” Having married later in life we were both over forty years old and, at that point, unsure of our options. But we talked and…

  • Engage

    The Cost of Our Spiritual Adoption

    Stacks of notarized documents, contracts, home inspections, social worker interviews, fire extinguisher requirements, bank statements, medical exams, blood tests, and more…these are just a few of the many customary items required to receive approval to adopt a child. The process is tedious, time-consuming, exhausting, frustrating, and…expensive. The average cost to adopt a child is $35,000 USD. That is the average cost for just one child. (It takes a village of lawyers, social workers, and adoption professionals.) The cost alone scares many families away from adoption. According to Hank Fortener, founder of the crowd-funding platform, AdoptTogether, 70% of couples considering adoption are deterred because of the costs. In the end, only…

  • Engage

    Adoption: Ten Course Corrections for Everyone

    I am an adoptive parent. I believe in the institution of adoption, and I thank God we have our daughter. That said, I’ve noticed some serious dysfunction with how evangelicals sometimes approach and/or think about adoption, mostly international. It’s time for some course corrections. 1.     We should be able to assume that Christians have the highest standards of ethics and justice. If we believe Jesus is the truth, we should be zealous about truth telling. Believers have often been so focused on rescuing that we've bent the rules, justifying our behavior by pointing to the kids’ desperation. Consequently, we’ve hurt our testimony and provided incentives for corruption. We’ve exaggerated the…

  • Engage

    What Not to Say: Adoption

    The power of words to hurt and offend seems limitless, as Sandra Glahn and I have learned both in life and in the comments from our blogs about “what not to say.” [See Infertility: People Say the Dumbest Things and What Not to Say When Someone is Grieving.] I came across a new list of What Not to Say About Adoption from a single dad blogger. With some editing, here is his contribution: Single Dad Laughing’s Guide to Adoption Etiquette. 1. Never, ever, ever, ask how much a child costs. This includes the phrase, “How much did you pay for him?” First of all, it’s none of your business. Second…

  • Engage

    Use Positive Adoption Language

    Nearly fourteen years ago, my husband, Gary, celebrated his first Father’s Day with the arrival of our eight-month-old, dark-haired, blue-eyed baby girl. Her adoption is a fact of our lives together that we have, from the beginning, all discussed openly and with enthusiasm. So I held my breath one afternoon when our daughter arrived home from school and declared that a classmate didn’t “get” adoption. Apparently this student asked with an edge, “Why don’t you go back to your old parents?” Sadly, when our girl tried to explain, she didn’t get far. When I asked how that made her feel, she blew it off cheerfully with an exaggerated drawl: “Aw, she’s…