Sunday, November 15, 2009

I've wanted a way to share, especially with Filipino children adopted abroad, just what it means to be a Filipino. It was one of my students' papers that made me think of using iamninoy merchandise, and when I told Rudd and Angelique about it they liked the idea and bought me a couple of t-shirts. I gave the first t-shirt to Richard and Katherine for their little boy, and today I printed up copies of this write-up in booklet form for Rudd and Angelique.

Ninoy Aquino is one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines. He courageously opposed the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, even when his life was at risk. He was arrested and thrown into prison. He was tortured and released after many years, only on condition that he would go to the US and leave Marcos' injustices in silence.

But when the situation in the Philippines deteriorated beyond what anyone could tolerate, he came back to stand up for the suffering masses. When his friends warned him that if he came back he would be killed, he said the most famous line in Philippine history: "The Filipino is worth dying for."

And, sure enough, when he stepped off the plane in Manila, he was shot and killed.

But as with most deaths, that was only the beginning. He came back to stand up for the masses, but when he died millions of people stood up for him. They stood up to Marcos and deposed him from the presidency.

His wife, Cory, was elected to set the country back on the road to democracy, and when she died this last year, the country was flooded with yellow ribbons (her favorite color) and with posters that read: "Tita Cory, you are not alone."

The t-shirts that read i am ninoy show the same pride to be Filipino. Cory and Ninoy are real heroes for not only standing up for their country, but for making all of us stand up for it as well. Just the icon of Ninoy's glasses reminds us to live with an attitude that says, "The Filipino is worth dying for."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In these last two stories we've been focusing on the parenting side of adoption because there's a new memo from Inter-Country Adoption that we're not allowed to post photos or identifying information on babies at the little children's home.

These stories, though, are just as moving and heart-rending as the ones about a child finding a forever-family. The same God who "sets the lonely in families" (Psalm 67:6) also "settles the childless in their home as a happy mother/father of children" (Psalm 113:9).

The story of Hannah in I Samuel has always made a deep impact on me. She didn't have any children and prayed bitterly to the Lord, "If you will give me a child, I will give him to you all the days of his life" (I Samuel 1:11).

Samuel, who was born a year later, became a great leader for his people. And that cycle of sur- render and blessing is repeated in every exper- ience of paren- ting.

Adoption is a long wait -- and more uncer- tainty, more anxiety than you would think a human soul could bear. It's been five long years for Rick and Kath- erine. They have hung on every hope, waited into despair, and persevered on through. They're here now and have their forever-son--finally.

But Kath- erine de- scribes the moment when, like Hannah, she gave in. On her knees before God she prayed, "Lord, if you don't want us to have a child, your will and not ours. I give him to you."

There's a sense in which every child baptism or dedication reenacts that moment of surrender -- and every moment of parenting is the grace of caring for a child of God's. But adoption is special. Because orphaned children are special to God, and because adoptive parents put so much into the years-long prayer to finally have a child of their own. Rick and Katherine, our hats are off to you--and to all adoptive moms and dads. May the Lord make good his promise to you.

Friday, November 06, 2009

There’s a new tlc family today. Rudolf and Angelique are here from the Netherlands to adopt their son. They arrived early this morning and were there when he woke up. Ruud and Angelique are lovely people, and he warmed up to them right away.

It’s been a day of gifts—an adoptive family feels like they’ve just received the most amazing gift ever; and an adopted child receives what they don’t even know they’ve always wanted. But at lunch, Angelique and Ruud explained one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever heard of.

With measured strength Angelique said, “He’s going to grow up knowing that he has a sister.”

They cannot have children because of an infection that occurred 6 years ago when they lost a pregnancy. Loss upon loss—but you hear redemption in every word when they’re telling the story.

“The day we found out about the complications in the pregnancy was a hard day—it was August 1.”

Deborah beams—I don’t get it. Someone has to explain it to me that August 1 is their new son’s birthday.

When their child was born, they knew she could not survive. She lived for 15 minutes.

Ruud said, “That was such a gift.”

“We named her Fay--like faith,” he explained, “because faith is something you receive—but can never achieve.”

I’m being a little bit cheeky with the language here, but the double meaning is built into the name; when his mom says that he will grow up knowing he has an older sister, she also means that he will inherit the gift of FAITH.

What a gift! May your faith redeem every circumstance.