Friday, September 10, 2010

Flashback Friday: Fast

***Originally posted on March 25, 2010. This has been heavy on my heart lately, stirred by Andrea Stasyszen's post last week. The couple mentioned below has another hearing on the 18th. We pray it is the last. The couple mentioned later that adopted embryos just had a baby boy, 100% naturally, a week ago.***

I fasted yesterday. I don’t say that to boast, but rather to note that I don’t do it often. Maybe not often enough. But yesterday was too important not to. Some friends of ours had a court date over the custody of their adopted nine month-old daughter.

Since she was only two days old, this couple with two older boys, also adopted, has been the only family she’s known. Her birth mother had no objection to giving her up for adoption (having lost custody before to other children). And the birth father was unaware the mother was even pregnant. But that was then. Once the father did find out, he wanted to be involved, and has been fighting ever since. I don’t know anything about either parent other than that. But I do know the family that is on the verge of being ripped apart.

There’s nothing special about this court date. They’ve had others and they’ll likely have more. But our friends are tired. The weight of legal fees is multiplied by the economy reducing his hours and cutting her job. Tuesday they put their house on the market, unable to bear that additional weight. So my wife and I fasted yesterday. Only God knows what is best for this precious girl. But the prayer is for this just to be over.

My wife and I are especially sensitive to this. Both of us were adopted. Both under very different circumstances. In addition to these friends of ours, other couples we’re close to have adopted from China and have even adopted embryos. One of our good friends is a social worker for the Department of Child and Family Services. My wife teaches half-time [now back to full time] in an “alternative” school, a PC way of saying her school is one step away from Juvie. She teaches the other half at an “urban” school (inner-city wouldn’t accurately describe it because of geography, but urban certainly describes its demographics) that will permanently close its doors at the end of the school year. [side note: a 14 year-old would-be freshman girl and student at this school last year was just killed in a drive-by early Sunday morning, right around the corner from a park my church met at to reach out two weeks ago] So you might say we’re on the front lines of this battle for the health and welfare of these children.

It is the children who are at stake. I pray this baby girl has no recollection of this tug-of-war ever happening. I pray she never has to know. But I also pray that the bonding that has happened over the past year, that is so important developmentally, is not all for naught.

It is the children who are at stake. Tuesday I wrote about the faithfulness of God in context of the infidelity we see too frequently in our headlines. In each of these cases, Jesse James, Tiger Woods, John Edwards, children are sired and then transformed into gotcha headlines or publicity stunts. The media creates permanent memorials that will haunt these children the rest of their lives.

It is the children who are at stake. Every day a child is given up, either with the hope of a better life or out of despair of present circumstance, opposite sides to the same coin. Every day a child is born into a single-parent home. Boys raised without any father figures other than elder leadership in the neighborhood gang. Girls raised without the bonding they need to value their bodies so they spend the rest of their lives seeking that affirmation in any and every way.

It is the children who are at stake. The decisions we make. The relationships we have. The love we either share or willfully withhold. Abuse, either physical or verbal, and neglect or unavailability leave scars that do not heal.

It is the children who are at stake. Thank you JoAnne Bennett and Jeff Jordon [and also Andrea Stasyszen] for your battles to remind us. Thank you Lord for hearing our prayers. Thank you El Roi for seeing the need and answering our prayers by giving us clear instruction of what we must do to stop this cycle from repeating as it has for countless generations.

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)


Michael Perkins said...


Anonymous said...

Excellent post - I am glad you reposted it!

Anonymous said...

it is the children.