Hello, today is my birthday, yay!
In honor of my life and the joy that I get out of my calling, I want to write and give you all a synopsis of my journey as a social worker in adoptions and my “walking in good works that God prepared beforehand for me to walk in” or something like that 😉 (Ephesians 2:10 is a better translation!)
Outline/Timeline Part 1:
Prior to my birth: Although I was raised by my biological parents, adoption is a big part of my family that I have known about for as long as I can remember.
Elementary school: One of my most favorite TV shows is Punky Brewster, a show about a foster child who gets adopted by her unlikely caregiver, Henry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punky_brewster)
Later elementary school/early middle school: I love Barbies, and making stories for their lives. I have adult and child barbies. One of my favorite story plots is having a Barbie orphanage and having the children get adopted.
Middle school: I consider I might like to go into psychology (or social sciences) as a field.
High school: I make some bad choices. Other things happened, but the bad choices are relevant 🙂 I also learned that I have a comfort level with/interest in sadness.
College: I get involved in various causes to support others, double major in psychology and English. Also, I become a Christian. I’m sure this wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for some of the pain I had experienced. God used this pain, over time, as well, to help me be sensitive to others’ vulnerability and be able to commiserate with them. By the end of college I wasn’t sure what kind of career I wanted to go into, but I knew it would need to be focused on helping others. Particularly, as we studied what Jesus said about divorce in the bible, I felt a strong pull to help children whose parents had divorced, as I sensed this was a very hard thing for children.
Year after college: I work at a psychology research lab at Syracuse University. I do home visits and work with many families, some middle class and some very poor. I have a sense that while we are researching the families and helping a larger cause, I wish I could offer more help to the families we visit. Also this year, I meet a foster family at my church and their foster son, John. I am really impacted by this family I think this is a sort of job I can pour my heart and gifts into. These experiences, and the thoughts I had at the end of college, make me consider if I could really have what it takes to be a social worker. Although lots of people with experience say it is really hard, I decide it’s worth a try. I move down to Orlando with a close friend from college, my friend Ellen 🙂 (See my previous post about her!)
To be continued…
I will leave you, for now, with a picture of me and Ellen with a few friends in college 😉 In this picture, I think we are doing the cupid shuffle move the ‘Charlie Brown’ and we don’t know what that is!
I spent a lot of time with adoptive families over this past weekend, including:
The Magical Families event at Disney World, an annual get together (at Disney World!) for adoptive families. I volunteered at a movie/crafts night facebpainting kids. (http://www.facebook.com/MagicalFamilies)
I also spoke at a local church (where my coworker’s father is the pastor) where they have some adoptive families and are looking to adopt more.
I have added a picture so you can see because I am about to make a visual point, but also because pictures spice up a blog 🙂
Haha do these look like kids or what? Like none of them are still.
So anyway. It was a busy weekend… but really awesome. I found myself moved and inspired by the many different children (boys and girls, all shapes and sizes and colors) even as the families themselves were fairly homogenous. It is obvious to me (and can be seen in a fairly quick scan of the bible passages relating to orphans and widows and adoption) that adoption is an issue on God’s heart, but what about multicultural, ‘trans-racial’ adoption? I felt a tug here after this weekend but I wasn’t sure what God was trying to tell me.
I was chatting about it with my sweet coworker yesterday who adopted her daughter from Guatemala. She agreed with me about this vision of God’s glory in multiracial families and helped me clarify my theology a little bit. She told me that back in the Old Testament days, at the Tower of Babel, all people of the different cultures were separated. But in Jesus, God is bringing all the cultures and peoples back under Him. I know thats a real simplification, so forgive me, but I think you can get the picture. God is saying people of all races and cultures are precious to him and equally loved. They are all welcome into God’s family, which isn’t reserved for just one group. And also… that all children regardless of where they are from or the color of their skin deserve a family… and that if there aren’t adoptive families of their own race or in their own country, they shouldn’t have to go without.
Now, I’m not saying everything is perfect with transracial adoption… or ANY adoption. It’s hard to grow up in a family that doesn’t look like you or have your same culture… but then again, this happens for many adopted children even of a same or similar-looking race to their adoptive parents. They are still not biologically related and thus will look and feel different in many ways. For many reasons, adoption can just be hard in general. There is a lot of research with differing conclusions on the issue of transracial adoption, but the fact is that there are many children without homes and families who need them and we don’t have enough people adopting of every given race and culture to give them all homes with families at all, let alone by families that look like them. So… conclude what you will. I think it is important to remember that adoption is different than biological parenthood in some ways, and can be more challenging, but it is also uniquely beautiful– and that for each child who gains a loving home and family, the challenges are worth it.
OK so our official Embraced by Grace photo shoot pictures haven’t come back yet, but we got a lady in line at the Tijuana Flats restaurant near us to take this picture yesterday when we went out for lunch! Those who had already voted got a free appetizer so we decided to make an office trip of it 🙂
Left to right in this picture is:
Sara, Dee, Hannah, Me, Josh, Helen, Megan, Leah, and Abbie
We have an awesome team! I ate tacos in case you are wondering and had some amazing cookie dough flautas for dessert. Hey, adoptions is hard work! Sometimes you need a little bonding and deliciousness break 🙂
For our adoptive families… for us single ladies (and men)… for children who need families… waiting is hard! I will be praying for my loved ones and clients who are waiting—and for me!!– that God will use the wait for His glory and our good! I know there is some theological basis for the importance of wait periods, and I’ll try to get back to you on that 🙂