Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It Ain't Over 'til It's Over

I wrote this a few days ago and have been waiting to post it . . . because there is good news at the end.
A few days ago we were visited by our foster son's adoptive mother. You might recall that I said it was "all but a done deal." No such joy now. Yesterday we got a call from the adoption agency rep. She said, "Brace yourself. You're not going to believe this." The adoption was off. Why was it off? Because the adoptive mother's parents threatened to disown her and her family if she adopted an African-American child.

I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. Here was a family who had pursued an international adoption for four or five years. They had a heart for adoption. The mother came and visited with us and absolutely fell in love with R. The children in the family had already made signs to welcome their new brother home. And then the grandparents threatened them because R is black.

I have no criticism for the family who wanted to adopt him. I do not know the dynamics of their extended family. I only know that they are heartbroken. Some might say they should just go ahead with the adoption and let the grandparents disown them. I can't make that call from the information I have. There is too much I don't know. Certainly, the relationship with parents and grandparents is important. And also certainly, the coldness R would feel over the years from those grandparents would be a burden to him, and to the family.

I can only say that it takes a small, crabbed person to despise a child because of the color of his skin.

Think what that means to their grandchildren. "Sorry, kids. But we won't speak to you again if you allow a black child into your family. No, we've never met him. We just don't like the color of his skin." This coercion, this emotional blackmail, will poison that relationship. What a legacy to leave your grandkids.

Nobody with an ounce of humanity could look at R, spend half a day with him, and see him as anything other than a beautiful, loving, bright child who needs only a good home to help him grow into a man. But, of course, they don't want to see him as a child. They don't want to see him at all.

So, now the agency starts over, looking for another permanent family for R. Fortunately, he is too young to know what has been happening. He only knows that he is with people who love him right now. I pray he is much older before he learns how small some people are.

We ask your prayers. Please pray that a family is found soon for him. Pray also for those who thought he was going to be part of their family, and those who have denied him that blessing. And pray for me. I am having a hard time letting go of my anger. And that is not how it should be.

And now for the good news. There is another family who wants to adopt R. They have been waiting over a year for a child, and will be making a trip here the week after Christmas. So the roller coaster clanks its way back to the top of the hill. Pray that this ride ends successfully.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All but a Done Deal

This weekend we met our foster son’s adoptive mother. I previously said “prospective adoptive mother,” but I don’t think that applies anymore. After just a few hours with R, we knew that this was going to happen.

She came in from the east coast on Sunday, and her first exposure to R was seeing him throw a little fit about having to leave the church nursery, where he was having a lovely time playing in the cars. She also saw how quickly his little meltdowns end, and what a loving, happy child he is. We got to spend some time with her and find out about her family, and everything we learned just made us love her more. There are already two children in their family, and they just have a heart for adoption. She told us they have been trying to adopt a child from China for several years, and she just “happened” to go online and saw R’s profile. She sent in their profile and they were contacted within two days.

God is really taking a hand in this adoption. Right now, the only difficulty is the last of the paperwork. The social worker in their area is leaving for vacation on Friday. If she gets the final home study and paperwork done by then, the new family will come out next week (they have to spend four days here in town), and will take R home with them for Christmas. If not, it will definitely happen after the New Year.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers for us and for R and for his adoptive family. Your prayers have been powerfully effective. It will definitely leave a hole in our hearts to see R go, but we know he is going to his forever family, and that it will be a blessed place for him.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A New Family?

We were contacted this week by a potential adoptive mother for our foster son, R. They already have two children, a boy and a girl, and have been wanting to adopt for over a year. They are a Christian family on the east coast. Initially they were pursuing an overseas adoption, but have turned their sights to the U.S. now. And the potential mother is coming here this weekend to meet us and R! This is very exciting for us. We're eager for R to get a new start with his permanent family, and everything we've heard so far leads us to believe this is a great one. She is coming in on Sunday. Pray that all goes well.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Another Foster Care Update

Thanks for all your prayers. The hearing about relinquishment of parental rights for our foster son, R, went through without a snag. The agency called us the other day and told us they had a potential family on the East coast who had been waiting for a child for about a year. They thought they could get this done in time to have R in his new home by Christmas. That has been our hope and prayer, too. Then, about an hour later, the same agency rep called us again. Apparently, the state case-worker has to do a new home study, and she "will not let her social life be dictated by an adoptive family." She isn't going to do a thing until after Christmas. Wonderful response from someone who is supposed to work for the health and welfare of children, don't you agree?

So . . . we will have R through Christmas. That's no real hardship for us, but it's obviously not the best thing for him. It would have been so good for him to make his Christmas memories with his new family. Keep praying for him. He is making great progress on his speech and social skills. It's as if he has turned a corner in the past two weeks. When he came to us he had about a 5 word vocabulary. Now he uses many words, and is stringing them together into sentences. He loves his little cars, and the other day he asked "Where cars, please?" We were overjoyed! He is also (slowly) learning to share and take turns. It's something he has never had to do before.

On Myth . . . and Jesus

I am very moved by myth. In our current age, the term is often used in a derogatory fashion. "That's just a myth," is used as an insult, usually against beliefs or ideas that are not ostensibly based in science. This is a commentary more on the thought of our times than on what myth really is. Myth is story that conveys truth. Myths persevere because of the truths they contain.

I have long been convinced that the reason stories speak to us so deeply, the reason myth moves us so much, is that all stories, certainly all myths, are reflections of the Great Story. The stories we love reflect the story of God, of Satan, of man, of the fall, of Jesus. This is not a new idea with me. John Eldredge illuminated this in his book Epic. Others have said it before him. But when you grasp this, it will help you see the Great Story in the small stories of life.

John Mark Reynolds says this very well in a recent essay in Scriptorium:

"Knowing Jesus must have been hard in this way. He was a walking myth . . . all the stories come true . . . once He was, the Lord of time, happy, and forever alive: the factual basis of every fairy tale. It is no wonder that people who knew Him either converted or wanted to kill Him. The symbolism of His every move could have provoked Socratic discourse to discover the deeper meaning. The gospel writer says that the world could not contain the books that could be written about His life and this is not hard to believe in a man who threatened to make every cup He used a Holy Grail."

You can (and should) read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Seeking Prayers

This is just a quick update. I ask for your prayers for two things today. First, my aunt Virginia has been hospitalized with a collapsed lung. She is fighting cancer, and this occurred last night. Please pray for her health and for a cessation of pain.

Second, today is the formal hearing for the relinquishment of parental rights for our foster son. Pray that there are no snags, and that the agencies can aggressively pursue an adoptive family for him. We are praying that he is in his new home by Christmas. What better way to start a new life!