Wednesday Wisdom 28/10/2015

“The peace of God is first and foremost peace with God; it is the state of affairs in which God, instead of being against us, is for us.”

J.I. Packer

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Wednesday Wisdom 21/10/2015

“So be encouraged that not only is it [adopting a child] a beautiful thing to imitate, but that your own experience of it is the guarantee that God your Father will be there for you in every single challenge you face in adoption. There is the connection from the vertical and the horizontal. Because of our experience of the vertical, we can now take the massive risks of the horizontal knowing that he is going to be there for us in every way.”

John Piper

Can You Love a Child?

Beautiful and well written!

 

Can you Love a Child?

We complete our evening ritual as usual; a family hug, prayers, a short story and a goodnight kiss. The bottle is handed over and the night light is switched on to illuminate theWonderland scene that my wife has painted on the nursery wall. We creep slowly out of the room and before we even reach the door we hear the contented sounds of a baby already deep in sleep.

This evening is no different to last evening except for one important detail. Last evening the little baby girl gurgling away peacefully was not officially our daughter. Tonight she is.

One year ago to the day, a tiny four-month-old arrived at our home for abandoned babies. She had legs like little pins and a smile that could put an end to wars. Her mum had done her very best, but in the end had been unable to cope.

The day she arrived I knew. My wife had been to collect our new arrival from the Durban Children’s Court and within minutes of having completed the paperwork, a picture of the baby was sent to my phone accompanied by the somewhat unsettling words: “This is the most beautiful child I have ever seen…” Oh boy! Our contented little family of two was soon to have its numbers swollen.

Over the next eight months we watched her little legs fill out and the energy begin to bubble within, as she started to develop and come out of her shell. And as she grew so did our love for her.

In the end the question is a simple one: Can you love a child?

This question often gets too complicated; can you love someone else’s child? Can you love this child as much as your biological child? Can you love a child with different coloured skin? These questions are all superseded by the one simple question: Can you love a child?

For those that have heard that adoption is an arduous process, our experience is that if you are eligible to adopt and you work through the correct channels, it should be fairly straightforward and even pleasant.

Our adoption – in fact our entire experience of running The Baby House – has introduced us to many exceptional people. In this case the social workers, auxiliary social workers and support staff at Durban Child Welfare deserve our highest praise. Their jobs are unimaginably hard, their case loads enormous and they do not receive the pay or recognition commensurate with the vital role they play in our society. Yet from the point of deciding to adopt, this team processed our case in just five months.

Adoption – one of the most powerful, yet underused institutions

I am aware that this is a very personal piece and I do not share it lightly. However, I believe that adoption is one of the most powerful yet underused institutions that we have at our disposal. Adoption takes a young life out of a rubbish bin, off a sidewalk, away from the grief of parents lost to crime or disease, out of the clutches of criminals or away from the evils of abuse, and gives that life a hope and a future.

Adoption creates happy families

At the same time, adoption creates happy families. Maybe I’m just a new dad blinded by love and delusional from too little sleep, but as things stand, our daughter gives us way more than we give her. She has given us hope and a future too.

Adoption must no longer be seen as ‘plan B’ for those who can’t have biological children. Like many others, we have decided to adopt before – or perhaps rather – than procreating ourselves. During the two years that we have been involved with The Baby House, we have handled adoptions to parents without kids, parents with one biological child who wish for a second, parents with two wishing for a third. Adoption is becoming an integral part of family planning.

Apart from the impact on the child and her new family, adoption is also part of the solution to many of our country’s most intractable problems. Adoption creates permanence and stability for uncared-for children. These factors are critical in terms of them growing up to be functional members of society.

Adoption radically alters the trajectory of the children’s lives, and is hence integral to our nation’s strategies to end poverty, unemployment, homelessness, disease, abuse and crime.
You may argue that it will make no difference to adopt one child when there are approximately 1,8 million South African children who would benefit from adoption. I beg to differ.

Recently deceased Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was adopted. Former President Nelson Mandela was adopted. Jesus Christ was adopted. Writer Charles Dickens was adopted. The list is endless.

And the only question that their parents needed to answer was: Can you love a child? They said ‘Yes’ – and the world has never been the same since.

For more information on adoption visit http://www.adoption.org.za.

This article first appeared in The Mercury: 27 September 2012

Celebrating 5 Years of Being Family!

It is October in Pretoria – the most beautiful month in our beautiful city! I never get tired of seeing the streets of our city lined with the most vibrant green and of course purple trumpet flowers of the Jacaranda trees. We have also been in the grip of a heat wave, with temperatures soaring above 33 degrees for nearly two weeks now and it seems that spring was just a rumour. With the high temperatures we have had to make plans for the children to cool down as we do not have a swimming pool. Buckets, hoses, sprayers and even a big crate do the trick so that they spend hours entertaining themselves and cooling down.

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Watching my two kids play in the water, fills my heart with joy and gratefulness. They splash, laugh, tease each other and of course fight with each other like any other set of siblings do. And that is what makes me happy – they are just like any other siblings, regardless of the fact that they don’t look like each other or like us. We are family!

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So many days I am aware of how God created each child uniquely and specifically for our family. Nina is a strong willed girl, not really phased by other’s opinions with an imagination that may have her end up on stage. Siya on the other hand is a people-pleaser. Enjoying attention and wanting people to like him – and of course he succeeds in this wherever we go. These unique traits of them have already helped them in handling situations. Siya recently started school and having Nina as his big-sister has helped a lot. She protects him like a tiger and handles all the “Is he really your brother?” questions without blinking an eye. Of course we have to help her and teach her the correct words to say, but she isn’t offended by anyone trying to tell her he cannot be her brother.

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In the past few weeks we have celebrated both their birthdays. Siya turned two end of August and Nina turned 5 a few days ago. Birthdays especially are a time when I am reminded of this wonderful and precious blessing that we have experienced with the adoption of our two children. In the normal day to day life of being family we tend to forget how we became family. We are a normal family with the normal ups and downs of parenthood. Days are filled with instructing and disciplining our children, breaking up fights, nagging them to eat their food and clean up their rooms. Mornings filled with the rush to get everyone on time for work and school. Bedtime routines that can sometime go on much longer than hoped for.

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This week, 5 years after becoming parents for the first time, I have been thinking so much about this road that we have been on. I have been thinking about our struggle with infertility and what an incredible heavy burden it was at the time to carry, not really believing that there will be a time where I am completely at peace with the fact that I will never conceive. I have been thinking about how we wondered and prayed about how our family wlll handle adoption, and how we were blessed with a loving, open-armed family welcoming both our children. I have been thinking about the moments I first met each baby – Nina as a newborn giving her first cry and Siya when he was 7 weeks old. And then of course I have been thinking a lot about our childrens’s brave tummy mommies. Always grateful, always humbled beyond words for their selfless act of love and gift of life to us!

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I have also been wondering lately what our lives would have been like if we didn’t go through these trials and things happened the way we thought and hoped that it would. If I had a choice, what would it be? And then I can say with a certain heart – I will not choose a thing different than how it happened! The trial of infertility brought to me a new understanding of what it means to live with my eyes fixed on Jesus and hoping and longing for an Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father. Adoption taught me a deep gospel truth of how God adopted us into His family (Eph 1:3-10), and I truly believe that I would never have understood this completely if it weren’t for experiencing this personally.

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Looking back on our journey I can echo Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Wednesday Wisdom 23/9/2015

“For me, adoption has helped me both as an individual Christian and as a pastor. Until I became a father to adopted children and was able to look at my children and know these are as much my children as those children who are related to me biologically, until that moment I wasn’t able to fully understand and grasp what it means to be a child of God, because we are his children by adoption. When you understand adoption, you get that. We are his children. And he is not going anywhere. Adoption is about the gospel.”

Voddie Baucham