Monday, November 19, 2007

And now for something completely different...

This is Mr. Adventure Guy. He was a gift to TM for his birthday. Mr. Adventure Guy came equipped with two outfits, an ATV, and a bicycle. TM loves Mr. Adventure Guy very much, and wouldn't let anyone touch him for the first couple of days. But, then, after the newness wore off, I started finding Mr. Adventure Guy in unexpected places. The first time, I looked into the front hall and discovered Mr. Adventure Guy riding his ATV across the carpet, without any clothes, but, since he is a responsible adventurer, he was wearing his helmet. It became seriously amusing to me as to where he would turn up next, and I started taking pictures of him.



The next time, I found Mr. Adventure Guy, was when I was walking down the upstairs hallway. A hot tub of sorts had been thoughtfully made for him and he was relaxing after his hard day of ATV riding. Now for those of you who may wonder at the explicit photos of Mr. Adventure Guy, I want to reassure you that he is also modest. No skinny dipping for him; he sports subtle, flesh colored underwear.

Refreshed from his dip in the pool, Mr. Adventure Guy must have decided to go
Multi-cultural, because this is the charming ensemble in which I found him. Somewhere in A and P's room is a doll in need of pants. I am unclear how Mr. Adventure Guy obtained the pants and the Vietnamese hat (a non la); perhaps they were a gift.
By this time, the exploits of Mr. Adventure Guy became broadly known. At least I assume that's what happened, because the tableaux are more intricate. I am informed that Mr. Adventure Guy is trying out the role of caveman (with pet dinosaur at his side) in this photo.
I'm thinking that Mr. Adventure Guy really needs to go take a rest somewhere, as he is beginning to become a nuisance. It is difficult to open kitchen cabinets when Mr. Adventure Guy is pretending it is Mt. Everest. All I can say is that it's a good thing that we have no Barbies in the house.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Compliance or Obedience?

A couple of weeks ago, while watching us have a short battle with TM about him wearing his coat, a friend made the comment about how this must be shock because all of our other children are so compliant. This has started me thinking about the meanings of compliance and obedience and why, as a society, we rarely ever talk about child rearing and obedience in the same breath.

To start, some definitions...

compliance n. 1. the act or process of complying to a desire, demand, or proposal or to coercion 2. a disposition to yield to others

obedience n. submissive to the restraint or command of authority

As a parent, I would much rather have an obedient child than a compliant child. Why? It is because obedience involves a conscious decision, while compliance is an unconscience character trait. To me, a compliant child is one who has no inner strength; a child who is so used to giving in to others that it is not a decision, but a habit; a child who has no sense of what true authority is, and is in danger of led astray.

An obedient child, on the other hand, is a full participant in what is asked of him or her. Obedience involves a choice; it is active, not passive. Obedience also recognizes authority. Only true authority requires obedience. Obedience does not require giving in to just anyone with a demand, but requires knowledge of who deserves to be obeyed.

So why don't we hear about obedience with regard to modern child-rearing? We hear about self-esteem, independence, child identity, and spirited children, but when was the last time you picked-up a parenting magazine (I spend a lot of time waiting in the orthodontist's office) and saw a big headline: "Create an Obedient Child" ? I believe it's because obedience isn't just for children, but adults also have areas where they should be obedient. We should be obedient to the laws of our country, to supervisors and bosses, and, for believers, to God. But it makes us squirm a bit, this idea of being obedient, with its implied definition of submission, to another person. We want to jump to those exceptional circumstances, that more likely than not will never happen, to explain why we can't do this obedience-thing. We have trouble with absolutes, and obedience sounds pretty, well, absolute.

I think there is another side to obedience, though. And I believe when God speaks of obedience in the Bible, this is what is meant. Requiring obedience is a form of love. God knows what is best for us; if we listen to Him and obey Him, we will avoid a lot things that could make us miserable. It is the same with a child to a parent. The parent (usually) has the best interests of the child at heart. We ask things of our children because we believe that it is best for the child. We ask our children to obey us because we love them and want what's best for them. Please note, I'm not saying by obeying God, we will avoid all unpleasantness in life, this isn't true. A child who obeys a parent is not spared pain, either. The pet will still die, other children can still be cruel, mistakes will still be made; we live in a fallen world.

It may not be popular, but we, as a family, will continue to work on obedience. It is something we practice. The children practice first-time obedience to J and I, and J and I practice first-time obedience to God. It is not always easy, and often what is asked of us is difficult. It is a discipline. A discipline through which God shows His love to us and through which we show our love to our children.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. If you are considering adoption, the Cry of the Orphan website, put together by Family Life Today, Focus on the Family, and Shaohannah's Hope is a good place to get started. But as much as I like these organizations and pray that all children who genuinely need homes will find them, I believe there is a glaring omission. The subject of ethics in adoption and the need to do research on an agency is either non-existent or too minimal. Here is the letter I wrote to the above organizations:

To Whom It May Concern,

I am an adoptive parent and strongly support your efforts on behalf of the orphans of the world. I am writing because of what I see as a glaring omission in your campaign. That is the issue of ethics in adoption. I am sure you are not unaware of the crimes committed against children and families in the name of adoption. Cambodia has closed because of it and Guatemala is well on the way. Vietnam was closed for 2 ½ years, but has reopened, though it doesn’t seem as though the problems with child trafficking have gone away. As Christians, I believe we should be the first in line to object to these practices. In an effort to supply the demand for healthy, young infants that prospective parents in the West desire, children are being ‘procured’. Biological parents are either being paid outright for their children or are being lied to with promises of education. Either way, the child’s history is erased and his or her past becomes a black hole with no hope of finding the truth. We cannot allow this to continue and one of the only ways to stop it is to educate the public in general and prospective adoptive parents in particular that these practices occur.

It seems that many prospective adoptive parents are unaware that adoption is more than rosy pictures of children and parents being joined to create a family. They are unaware that many agencies sound good but are really only in adoption for the money. Unfortunately, prospective parents sign with these agencies and it is not until they have lost thousands of dollars and still do not have a child or they do have a child but find out what they thought was the child’s history is all a lie that they realize they should have done some research before choosing an agency. Sadly, even some agencies with the title “Christian” in their name put the money before the child.

Please as you continue to encourage families to consider adoption, be sure to tell them to do their research. There are ethical agencies out there. But it is too important a decision to make without knowing exactly to whom a family is giving money. We are called to be wise stewards of our money and to stand for what is right. Encouraging families to do their research before signing with an agency would seem to be in keeping with the dictates of Scripture.

Thank you for your time,
E.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Peace

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippian 4: 6-7

On the whole, I have been quite peaceful (especially for me) about K's whole adoption. There have been bumps along the way...last Friday for instance...but they have been rare. This process has taken at least twice as long as TM's, but I was far more anxious during TM's shorter process. Since I am a world-class worrier by nature (my personal motto seems to be "Jump to the worst-case senario first"), I have surprised myself by my reletive equilibrium. This sense of peace I can attribute only to God. All along I have felt this adoption orchestrated by Him; it is in His control.

It doesn't hurt, that 6 children keep me pretty busy and leave not so much time for obsessing. Plus, there are other outside distractions, such as having a family of 10 as houseguests for two days. Last night we said good-bye to our new "real life" friends, the Greens. Kim and I knew each other through blogs and emails, but had never really met. Another real life friend of mine also knew Kim, but only through the computer as well. We all decided it was time to meet face to face. So the Greens drove in, and the three families spent two days getting to know each other. Between us we have 20 children, but we managed to feed and house everyone. The children all made friends and had a ball playing together and the adults all made some new "real" friends.

One of the highlights of the visit was taking everyone to visit the Museum of Science and Industry. We were joined by a fourth family which made the child tally jump to 25...and we didn't lose anyone. (Well, at least not for long.) We did have to spend time explaining to more than one person, that, no, we were not a school group, but just a group of friends. Travelling with 25 children, does make one stand out a bit.

Now, all this is not to imply I wouldn't like the phone to ring RIGHT NOW, but I continue to remind myself that God's timing is perfect. God's timing and my timing are not always the same thing, but since God knows better than I, I will wait for His.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Tired

I'm tired. Tired of waiting for some government official in a country halfway around the world to finally push K's file around and approve it. We've been waiting for 8 months and I'm done. I want to bring my baby home.
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