Walking for Life!

DSC_0087I’m so excited to participate in the Santa Clarita Valley Pregnancy Center’s Walk for Life in just a few weeks! I’ve loved everything I’ve heard about this organization, and I am so thankful for the hard work they put in on the front lines of this important issue. They show the love of Christ and advocate for unborn children in a special way.

Will you consider sponsoring me for this walk? The money donated will go toward saving babies and coming alongside needy moms.

Below is the link, thank you so much in advance! =)

My Fundraising Page

But Adoption’s Not For Us, Is It?

DSC_0104As I shared in my most recent blog post, God has used the recent Planned Parenthood “scandal” to awaken my heart to the plight of unborn children in our nation.

But it’s neat to see how, previous to these videos being released and my awareness of abortion being heightened, God was already stirring within me a desire to help needy children.

Around February, I began giving thought to orphans. When I saw firsthand how dependent our own baby was on us for all his needs, and how he responded to the simplest gestures of affection and tenderness, it broke my heart to consider kids who don’t experience even the most basic love and care.

It’s great to be a pro-life, pro-adoption Christian, but how could I act on those convictions? I had never “felt called” to adopt, although I loved seeing adoptive families in action. I wondered to myself, What if “being called” to adopt is nothing more than simply seeing the need and our obligation to help orphans, recognizing that I am equipped to fill the need, and taking the step to do so?

Well, as soon as I thought that, suddenly my heart became very drawn to the idea of adoption and I could hardly get it off my mind. God was definitely at work!

So about this time (March?), I casually raised the topic with Andrew. I wanted to let him know that it was something I’d started thinking about, and hear his thoughts. He shared that while he had never considered adopting, he was definitely open to it, but figured during seminary was probably not workable timing. I agreed.

But over the following weeks, we discussed adoption more and more. I began looking into the various avenues for adopting children and was staggered by 1) the huge need for adoptive families and 2) the astronomical costs for both international and domestic adoptions. Then I began researching adoption through foster care. I learned that while there are huge “risks” and major challenges to this route, it is also affordable…actually, free!

By this time, Andrew and I were talking and praying more and more seriously about pursuing adoption while still in seminary. We had begun reading Adopted for Life together, which approaches the theological, gospel-centered reasons to adopt. The Lord had now clearly laid the same burden for orphans on Andrew’s heart, and we were very much “in this” together, which excited me to no end!

I looked into a local Christian foster agency and made contact. We got more questions answered and sought some trusted friends for counsel. Finally, we pulled the first of many triggers…we filled out the application and scheduled a meeting in August with the agency!

Some of the “downsides” to foster care adoption are…

  • There is no guarantee that the child placed in your home will be adoptable, even after months or years of being part of your family. He/she is likely to be reunited with their parents or relatives, which is the first goal of foster care.
  • Many foster placements require regular visits with the biological family, which can be time-consuming and emotionally draining.
  • Foster children are extremely likely to have mild-to-extreme physical, emotional, developmental, or psychological damage, even when placed as newborns.
  • The process to adopt a child from foster care can drag on for years.

While much of what we learned in our meeting with the agency made us all-the-more passionate about fostering, we learned some new information that seemed to be direction from God that continuing to pursue adoption while in seminary was not wise. We were already “running out of time” anyway due to the fact that Andrew will, Lord-willing, graduate in spring 2017, and the additional details and rules regarding the process just did not mesh well with our current situation.

All of this was extremely disappointing. I had already begun to experience maternal emotions as I prepared my heart to welcome a new child into our home, and it was difficult to have that desire denied for the time being. At the same time, it was encouraging to have clear direction, and Andrew and I were thankful that we were 100% agreed about pressing the “pause” button.

All that said, we are very hopeful and excited that the Lord may allow us to seriously pursue adoption in the future! We don’t know exactly what that will look like, as there are many factors at play, but we are eager to see what child(ren) God might choose to gift us as we follow His leading! Even if adoption is not in our own future, we desire to be more involved in promoting it and supporting others who do take this step. We’ve come to realize that as Christians, we should all love and be involved in the care of orphans, but what that looks like will be different for every family.

I wanted to share all this to hopefully encourage anyone else whose hearts might be stirred toward taking an orphan into their family. It is a huge step, but God will enable and provide if adoption is in His plan for you. I’ve seen him do it for many wonderful families I know. If you begin considering adoption, it is crucial to be unified and communicative as a couple. It has been a wonderful thing to work through and talk about with Andrew! We’ve obviously only begun to scratch the surface of all that God might desire to teach us through this, but I am excited and thankful for where the discussion has taken us so far.

In the meantime, since we will not be pouring hours into getting certified, preparing our home, etc., as we had thought we would, I am finding other ways to be involved in the care of orphans and the defense of life. Stay tuned for some updates on doors God is opening in that area!

Also, if you’re looking for an inspiring, convicting, true story of sacrificial love for orphans, go watch The Dropbox!

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him. A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation.” (Ps. 68:4-5)

“How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble.” (Ps. 41:1)

My Wakeup Call: Planned Parenthood’s Undercover Footage

Caleb2“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

By now, I hope you’ve become aware of the extensive footage released so far, depicting Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices, specifically the sale of baby body parts and intact aborted baby cadavers for profit. I trust you haven’t bought Planned Parenthood’s pathetic attempts to discredit the footage. The gruesome details released, both in the form of graphic conversation and graphic footage, has nauseated me plenty of times over the past weeks since the movies surfaced.

In the coming months, I’d like to continue posting about this issue, so for now I’d just like to make two simple points to “begin the conversation” and offer some practical ways to get involved.

Turning a Blind Eye

I confess that I have been turning a blind eye to the horrific abortion industry for my whole life. I’ve financially supported a pregnancy clinic once in awhile, Walked for Life, and prayed at the Life Chain, and that’s exactly where my defense of the defenseless ends. I am ashamed of my apathy. I’d like to be clear that it is not the fact that Planned Parenthood is selling their aborted babies that has suddenly filled me with what I believe is righteous indignation; rather, God has used these videos to shake me. Babies are being murdered in cold blood, every day, right in my city, and on top of that, they are being sold. I am compelled to be a part of abolishing abortion and protecting life.

I believe that burying our heads in the sand and ignoring what’s going on with Planned Parenthood (and other abortion clinics) is selfish and cowardly. It’s what I’ve been doing for years, but suddenly I can see in living (dead) color the horror that is abortion and I will no longer turn a blind eye. I understand that the videos are brutally graphic and might bring on nightmares; but in my case, having my stomach churn at the site of dead baby organs is what was needed for my wakeup call. So if you’ve been avoiding the movies and articles, and you’re simultaneously doing nothing to oppose abortion and stand up for life, maybe it’s time to sit down and take an honest look at what’s happening.

Planned Parenthood is Evil, Not Good

Planned Parenthood should not be receiving even one bit of support or defense from anyone with any sense of morality. The fact that they provide free HIV testing and contraceptives (which some PP clinics significantly profit from anyway) is a pathetic reason to defend them. If you knew of a group of people that were slaughtering 2-year-olds by dismemberment, but served free lunch to the homeless every day, would you call that group “good”? Planned Parenthood is slaughtering unborn babies that feel pain and are every bit as human as 2-year-olds. So we really shouldn’t even take into consideration anything “good” that they’re doing. It’s 100% irrelevant.

What Can You Do?

  • Pray, pray, pray. When you think of this situation, pray. When you see another article on Facebook, pray. When you spot a pro-choice bumper sticker, pray.
  • Raise awareness. Stay informed and share credible articles about this crucial issue on social media. Talk about it with your friends. The mainstream media is downplaying or ignoring it, so it’s up to us to keep spreading the truth about abortion. A social media war has erupted in response to these videos, and we need to participate.
  • Support your local pregnancy clinic, financially and/or with your time. There are many needs and ways to get involved.
  • Find a way to mentor a single mom or parents who really weren’t ready for the responsibility. Help these needy people who have bravely chosen to protect life!
  • Teach your children about the sanctity of human life and God’s incredible design that begins at conception. Ensure that these important values are being passed down to the next generation.
  • Join public rallies, walks, or respectful protests. Look into 40 Days for Life, the Life Chain, or find out what events your local crisis pregnancy clinic recommends.
  • Share the gospel with the unbelievers in your life. Not only should we desire that they be saved, but a regenerated heart can go from being staunchly pro-choice, to seeing human life through a biblical lens.
  • Consider adoption or support others who are adopting. Mothers who choose life often are unable to care for their babies, which means that adoptive parents are needed!
  • Get behind politicians who are defending the unborn. Vote for them and pray for them. Sign petitions and/or call your state representatives/senators/governor when a bill pertaining to abortion is being introduced.

Hopefully there’s more to come, but these are just a few initial thoughts. God is using very sad news to stir me to action, and I hope He’s doing the same in you!

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

{My Photography} Jon, Jessica, & Baby Matthew

It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged, I know. I’ve got about five different posts bouncing around in my brain, but life has been really crazy! For now I just wanted to quickly share a few photos I was privileged to capture of this sweet couple last weekend. Jon and Jessica are expecting Matthew, a sweet baby boy who has Trisomy 18. I would like to encourage you to read their story on Jessica’s blog and lift them up in prayer as they approach their due date!