Recently I was asked to take down a post I made that pointed people to my Facebook page and a fundraising site I put together to raise money so I could officially adopt two young ladies who have been apart of our lives for many years. The objection to the materials and request for assistance stemmed from a miss-understanding by the person I offended as well as why I would ever want to adopt a person.
I am going to address this issue but before I do, I want to say that this is kind of a teachable moment that really needs to be looked at. It is from Gods Holy Word and is kind of at the core of everything that the Bible has to teach us.
You see, way back when, God chose a people that he wanted to call his own. There were many possibilities, but God chose who he chose. the Hebrew nation was to be the one that God would convey the honor of being his people. If they would simply follow a few simple rules, God promised them a home in heaven, riches and rewards, fellowship and belonging.
Well, we all know that while some made it, many did not. God sent his son, in order than the sacrifice of his blood would be the key to the inheritance that he promised to the Hebrew people. Guess what, they rejected the whole thing and so God opened the way to a people who previously did not have the opportunity to inherit the promise of God.
In Romans 8:17, we are told that we are joint heirs with Christ. In order to be an heir, we have to belong to a family, and since we were not originally a part of the original plan, we had to be adopted into the family of God through the payment that Jesus provided which was his sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
So, we owe our chance at eternal life to the act of adoption. Ok, so it is a bit more than that but the fact that we who believe the Gospel of Christ, who believe in his life, his death, and his resurrection, And if we have claimed this personally and applied it to our lives, then we have been adopted into the family of God.
So why adopt at all. At the heart of everyone is the desire to belong. We join groups, gather at lunch time with others, we add friends to Facebook, we write letters, we tweet, and make videos, just to belong to a group where others can hear our voice and know we exist. We crave the desire to surround ourselves with people who have similar goals, dreams, and desires.
It is seen in family life where a man and a woman join their lives and then birth children. They instill in their children their beliefs and values and pass on a legacy to them. This is a big part of a family life.
Sadly some parents are unable to take care of their kids, some because of medical reason, some because of age or environmental reasons, some due to drugs and crime, and some just give up. What ever the reason, it leaves some children with no mother or father to care for them. no inheritance, no place to belong.
These children sometimes get adopted, so never do. Some are adopted and then given up on by their new family and either abandoned or given back. Again the child involved has no family to belong to, no legacy other than defeat to pass along.
My wife and I were blessed to have 4 children of our own. each are as different as they can be, they have their own friends, their own likes and dislikes, but they each have a few things in common. they have the same parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. They have the same love shown to each and they each know where they call home. they know love and the security of that love.
A child with no mother or father, has no common belonging with others. They have no grandparents, no aunts and uncles, no cousins, and if they did have a brother or sister, they are often not kept together so they end up not even having that. The thing they do have in common however is often no or little love, managed care through drugs,(sadly this is a truth that many foster care, CPS and other organizations will deny but every CPS child will tell you is true), increase in chance of sexual assault or physical assault or both, as well as more restrictions than children with a loving home to live in.
The two girls We want to adopt both had their parents give up parental rights when they were young children. Both were in CPS, both were put on serious meds to manage their behaviors. Both have suffered different forms of abuse, and both ran away often because they did not feel they belonged and never considered anyone they knew to be their mom or dad.
The first young lady came to us when she was 16. My youngest daughter knew we were the kind of people who were able to help and could show love to another without any strings attached. When she came to us close to 6 years ago, she had only the cloths on her back and a few personal belongings. She was being searched for by CPS and had no intentions of returning. She had not finished high school, and had no thoughts of ever doing so. Today, she has her GED, was placed by CPS into our care, calls us mom and dad, and considers our other kids to be her brothers and sisters. Just recently she was married and has 2 children, both boys, and she is in college to become a nuclear medicine technician or doctor.
The other young lady was introduced to our family 2 years ago when she was 17 through my oldest son who knew we would help her. She was living in the back yard of someone who technically is her aunt except that her mom and dad both gave up rights to her when she was young. Oh, did I seam to gloss over the fact that she was living in a tent, with only a sleeping bag for warmth and that the night I told her she could live with us, she was in the ER sick from sleeping in the cold in a tent that was full of holes, and the person who said she was her mother did not care enough to pick her up from the ER to provide her a ride home, so she moved in with us. She too calls us mom and dad, and is also married.
Some people have asked us why we want them to be our daughters, and how can we afford the responsibility. The first is easy.Everyone deserves a mom and a dad, even when they are an adult. If I should ever get a job that I can have insurance with, my children can be covered till age 26 under said insurance and that would mean they would as well. If I get life insurance, often times payouts only go to family. they would be covered. They would also have a family to belong to legally with all the full benefits that comes along with it.
Remember the story about Jesus dying for us and providing a way for us to be joint heirs with him in heaven?
Well simply saying we are a christian is not enough, the price was paid and must be accepted and once accepted then the Holy Spirit seals us to that commitment. The seal is important. it makes the union binding and God cannot turn against it. no one else can make a claim against it. It is legal and binding. An adoption of another person is the same thing.
It is not enough that I say they are my daughters, because right now, that can be challenged in court, and they can be ripped from the commitment we made to them because it is not legally binding. It is our desire to make it legally binding so that no man can say it is not true.
Even more than that is is because we love them so much that we want to finally be able to say without qualifiers, that they are our children. They have our heart, and always will, now they can have what they have been denied for so long.
Now for the financial part. My wife and I worked hard in our life. We got to a point 15 years ago where we could no longer work. We were both disabled by the job we loved, which was caring for others. My wife got disability right away, I was not so lucky. in fact, the SSA messed up with the mail and told me a fib for long enough that I finally timed out of my chance to receive disability.
Over the past 15 years, we have lived on an income of less than 1600 a moth. in the beginning it was less than 1400. We had 4 children and our hands were full. We learned quickly to do without many of the things you feel are needed items. We eat out only 1 time a month and get our cloths, shoes and sometimes groceries from food banks and clothing banks. The generosity of strangers provides us with the things we need. Each moth more than half our income goes to rent and bills, laundry soap, and cleaning supplies along with extra food items needed. We do not have cable or satellite, we cannot afford a cell phone, and do not own a car. We live on a shoestring and a prayer.
Despite this, we have taken in a family of 4 in the past, and once my oldest was married and had her own children, that is 2 daughters, we even had them living with us. I have had as many as 13 in my home being taken care of on just the small disability income my wife receives, along with the ever shrinking food stamp allotment we get each month. At one time we could purchase enough food for 3 meals a day along with fun extras to eat, now we can barely afford enough for 1 meal a day for 15 days with no extras. We do not complain because at least for a short time each month we can eat.
Through it all however we are blessed. My oldest lives outside the home and when she and her husband can afford it, we get wonderful gifts life a big flat screen that has sadly been hit by lightning, indirectly, but is still working. We try to recycle and reuse technology as much we can. We shop with the mindset of if we do not actually need it, we can do without, and when a windfall comes our way, we make the most of it.
We have learned to live way below our means and make every penny count. We are not ashamed to accept help or a handout. We have learned what is most important in life and that is family, friends, and helping others. If you were to look at our possessions we would look like we are financially sound, but everything has a story. So, can we afford to add two more to the family? No we cannot, but neither can we afford not to. they are already in our hearts our children and as such we are already doing what we can to provide for them the things they need. They in turn provide us with joy and laughter, fun and excitement. They are as different from our other kids and each other as they can be but they too know that we love them and would do anything for them.
I ask that if this story has touched your heart, please donate to our efforts to adopt these two beautiful girls.http://www.gofundme.com/I-want-to-adopt
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Recently I was told that someone I love cannot be my family because they were not born into my family. Further I could face legal charges for considering her a part of my family. I find that odd since CPS placed her with my family because she had no one in her life that was her family, ( her mother and father gave her up for adoption and signed away all legal rights to her).
When she came to us, she was homeless, and had no person that fit the legal definition of “family”. So I feel it may be important to talk about what and who family is. Merrian-Webster says that family as: 1. A group of people who are related to each other. 2. A persons children. 3. A group of related people including who lived in the past. By this set the young lady I call my daughter is not family, but the definition of family is not finished yet ( Marrian-Webster online dictionary).
Under the heading “Full Definition of FAMILY” the very first statement is A group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head. (Marrian-Webster online dictionary).
This one definition is key, it transcends the common definition of family to include others who live inside of a group that considers themselves a family. Now for the next part, by legal definitions held up in a court of law, a family can be considered a collection of persons who live in one house and under one head. This is from the following web site. Family.
According to studies that I did in my most recent college class, a family is designed in certain ways to provide legal accountability for the children inside that union. That is the “parents” are legally obligated to the children to provide for them. That is the entire reason for adoptions. It binds the parents legally to the children and is done to protect the interests of the child so that the parents cannot decide to just stop caring for the child.
In our case, we took in a homeless girl with no parents that were legally bound to her and once in our home sought out the legal advice of CPS who legally placed her into our care. While living with us under our care she agreed to follow or try to follow any and all rules that the head of the house set up. While in our home, I took care of the feeding and clothing and medical care that any parent is responsible for taking care of with their own blood children. If I had the money to go through the courts and legally make her a part of my family by the courts standard of family then I would have done so.
Now for the spiritual part of this lesson, all of my life I have grown up being told I was a part of the family of believers who were under the headship of Jesus. As a believer in Jesus, I am his child. I am a part of a family that is not made up of blood bonds passed on by mother and father. This is very important as it is also supported scripturally.
In Matthew 12: 46-50 Jesus was speaking to a crowd and was interrupted to be told his mother and brothers wanted to talk to him. He pointed to people not related to him, and said these are my mother and my brothers, who ever does the will of my father, is my mother and my brother and my sister.
Jesus changed the definition of family to include those who were not born into it. This means that when I call a fellow Christian “brother”, then he is my brother according to the definition set by my savior. This is special and powerful. It gives me a family to belong to. The young lady in question is in fact a Christian which means she is not a stranger but by the words of Jesus, she is a part of my family.
It was implied that I was lying because I say she is my daughter. The legal minded religious types of the time tried to trick Jesus similarly when he healed on the Sabbath day. Mark 3:1-6 tells a wonderful story of Jesus healing on a day that the law said not to work, and the law types felt that healing and saving a life was work. Jesus healed any way. My point is that there is the legal thing to do, and there is the right thing to do.
I felt that at the time, it was right to include her into my family. It was right to assume the responsibility of a parent for a child that had no mother of father. It was right for me to call her my daughter simply because I was acting in the interest of a parent and was in face and am still in fact acting in that capacity. If this is wrong, then Jesus was wrong to include those not related to him by blood as a part of his family, and if Jesus is wrong, then the entire world is doomed for hell.
I hereby proclaim to the entire world or those reading this that for me, Amy Marie Baize who was born Jasmine Robb, and is now Amy Marie Davis (due to her recent marriage), as well as Ashley Nicole Timmons (who was also abandoned by her family and was introduced into my family and to whom we have sworn the same love and support), to be my daughters. When my will is written and executed at my death, they will have equal share in my estate. They are my children not by blood, but by the very fact that they are both Christians, and by the fact that I claim them as my daughters. I love you both very much and will not back down from this commitment.