10.31.2009

health care...DISASTER

OK, so I don't typically use my blog to discuss public policy/politics, of course unless it directly pertains to orphans. However, this issue it too serious...I am unable to keep quite.

Do we need health care reform?
Absolutely!!

Is socialized health care, national health care, a public-option...or whatever you prefer to call it the best solution?
Not by a long-shot!!

Why, you say?
-It gives gov'mt more control over the free-market. Sadly, our gov'mt is notorious for wasteful spending and inefficiency. I know the gov'mt acts like they had nothing to do with our current recession...better save my thoughts on that for another post. They can't even operate medicare successfully (meaning in-the-black) -- how in the world are they going to run health care for the entire nation. Not to mention, how are they...uh, I mean WE...going to pay for it???

-With a public-option, the long-term effect that you won't see until after 2013 (hmmm, after the next presidential election) is that you will be forced out of your private policy. Why? Either the premiums will become too expensive, or you will be unable to afford the additional tax (applied to your private policy) that you will soon owe the government.

-And, the premiums for the public-option are pretty pricey. You will be taxed an estimated 10-12% per family to paticipate...so if you make $50,000 a year, your premiums could run $850-plus/month. Of course, that's just where it will start. Sky's the limit with big gov'mt. Can you afford that?? Well, you won't have a choice. I think some people think the public-option will be free...uh, noooooooooo!

Be careful!! Everything sounds OK now, but most of the items in the bill aren't scheduled to happened immediately...that's how they can say "of course, you'll get to keep your private insurance".

So what do you need to do??
Contact your senator: click here.
Contact your state rep: click here.

Let them know you support health care reform, but NOT the bill being voted on next week!! Let's not cram a 2000 page bill down congress's throat, giving them only 72 hours to read the final version before voting. This is simply too much, too fast! What's all the rush?? I remember how Congress just had to pass the stimulus package...like right now. But if it was so critical to pass, why has only a fraction of the $$ been distributed?
Yes, let's tackle health care reform! But first stop, tort reform!!

Better yet, accept Michele Bachmann's invitation to the Capitol this Thurs to let Congress know your opinion--face-to-face!! Read more here.

OK. There. I've done my research. I've hopefully caused you to at least consider the topic. By the way, all senators and house reps in AL are opposed to this bill. Kudos, AL!!

Courtesy of Politico.com:
"The House health care bill unveiled Thursday clocks in at 1,990 pages and about 400,000 words. With an estimated 10-year cost of $894 billion, that comes out to about $2.24 million per word."

10.30.2009

2nd Ethiopia Adoption

We're almost on the paper-chase again!

We've been accepted back into AWAA's Ethiopia program, but we must also be re-approved to adopt concurrently. Translation: we need a letter from our social worker, stating she sees no problem with us pursuing an adoption from Ethiopia while remaining on China's waiting list. We had to provide this recommendation when we started our journey to Micah as well...so no biggie.

We can't submit our dossier to Ethiopia until Micah has been home one year (3.28.10), but that will be here before we know it.

As I am prepping myself for the mental anguish (ha ha) of the paper-chase and wait for our referral, I've been reflecting on some of the difficulties of international adoption...at least, for me. Check back over the next several weeks, and I will share them with you.

10.28.2009

what will YOU do with your WATER today?

I just have to share this. A fellow-adoptive parent passed it along. It is WELL worth your time to read...and to ponder.

"Will the beautiful women of the world please stand up. "
an excerpt:
...This is when I met Helen Apio. While most women hung back politely, Helen jumped toward me and screamed two inches from my face. Technically, it was singing. But the high-pitched shrieking was so loud and reverberated with such energy and emotion, I knew I had to talk with her.

She told me about the new freshwater well in her village.

“I am happy now,” Helen beamed. “I have time to eat, my children can go to school. And I can even work in my garden, take a shower and then come back for more water if I want! I am bathing so well.”

A few of the men chuckled to hear a woman talk about bathing. But all I noticed was Helen's glowing face, the fresh flowers in her hair, and the lovely green dress she wore for special occasions. Touching her forearm, I replied, “Well, you look great.”

“Yes,” she paused. Placing both hands on my shoulders and smiling, she said, “Now, I am beautiful.”

That really hit me.

My job is to focus on sustainable development, health, hygiene and sanitation; to make sure charity: water’s projects are working in 20 years. But nowhere on any of my surveys or evaluations was a place to write, “Today we made someone feel beautiful.”

CLICK THE LINK ABOVE TO READ THE FULL STORY!

10.21.2009

ORPHAN SUNDAY: where will you be 11.8.09?

Sunday : November 8 : 2009

Orphan Sunday is the designated Sunday of the year for churches around the world to join voices and forces, raising awareness regarding the need and number of orphans world-wide.

I hope you've found an event to attend in your city, if not click here to find one.

If you're in the Birmingham area, please stop by Hunter Street Baptist Church during the month of November -- you'll be able to see pictures and read stories of adoptive families in our church.


Hunter Street is also hosting this live event, via webcast, on Orphan Sunday at 4pm : featuring Steven Curtis Chapman! Anyone is welcome to join us for this free event!!

10.17.2009

10.14.2009

Which kingdom are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for God's Kingdom...Christ's return? Or, are you waiting for the same kingdom Jesus' disciples where hoping for?

A Heavenly Kingdom...or, an earthly one??

I often get the two confused myself. My focus shifts from the Kingdom the Bible tells us to prepare and look for, to a different kingdom. The one that Jesus enables Christians to set-up on earth -- here and now. You know, the one where we over-throw secular oppression and set-up a Christian theocracy (like in the Old Testament). Although, I'm not sure what benefit we'd actually seek in a Christian theocracy: prayer back in school, 10-commandments displayed in the public square...ho-hum

Hmmm...funny...Scripture doesn't really foretell of a kingdom like that, yet we all keep looking for it. Well, at least I often do. Why else am I glued to Fox News every night? I keep watching for the victory...whatever that is.

In the very same way, Jesus' disciples were sick of Roman oppression. And the Israelites were especially weary of their legacy...misplaced, enslaved... They were ready for Jesus to set-up an earthly kingdom that would finally give them the status and good-life they deserved. Even on the night before his Crucifixion, they still didn't get it. Hadn't they endured enough?...that's all they could worry about.

...Haven't we endured enough?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Hebrews 12:1-4

...or, have we??
The passage above silences my opinions...immediately!

Ahhhh -- Truly, I'm sick of watching Fox News (with all due respect). I'm sick of making God a conservative who can't accomplish His plan. (Dare I say that God is neither liberal or conservation...He is God. What need does He have to take sides!)

Socialized medicine? Bring it on. Iran developing nucs? Who cares. Will either of these events undermine God's sovereignty? No! Would these events prevent me or you from following Jesus? I pray not!

No, I don't really want socialized medicine or Iran stock-piling nucs. But I do need to put both of those possibilities (and many other hypotheticals) back under the umbrella of God's sovereignty!

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:12-14

It's time for me to replace secular propaganda (however accurate it may be) with God's holiness. It's time for me to return to seeking the true Kingdom. It's time for me to be about the business of treasures in Heaven, not treasures on earth. Capitalism is fleeting, and so is this world...but the Word and Will of the Lord will remain forever!

This is what God is calling us to...this is what should be our concern:
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Let brotherly love continue.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 12:28- 13:6


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:12-16


Amen.

10.12.2009

Are ORPHANAGES Godly??

Better take a minute and think about that one.
I had to.

A break-out session at T4A, led by a staff member from Saddleback in CA, caused me to pose this very question to myself.

The speaker noted that institutionalizing children because they don't have parents is bad for them. It damages them mentally, emotionally, physically... She went on to observe that there aren't any orphanages here in US, and haven't been in 200 years. Why? Because orphanages are extremely inferior to families. That's why in the US we instituted the foster care system. Yes, there are types of group homes for children and teens, but it seems they are a last resort.

However, when we attempt to care for third-world orphans, group homes are our first resort-- not the last. It's not good enough for us, but good enough for them?? :again, thoughts from the speaker.

The title of the above break-out session was Wholistic Care for Orphans. Wholistic, meaning meeting more than just the physical needs (food, clothing, shelter) of orphans...but the emotional and spiritual needs as well. God designed the family unit to meet all the needs children have -- therefore orphans deserve to be in families, too!!

A family for every orphan?? A daunting task.
But, we must ask ourselves: what is God's best for the orphan?
And, are we settling for the world's best instead??

10.10.2009

what's new with Micah

  • he has 6 teeth

  • he took his first step this week

  • he can scale the entire house by holding onto walls & furniture

  • he can say quite a few words: mama, dada, apple, duck, baby, football, bye-bye, bo(ok), bir(d) are just a few of his favorites

  • he can make animal sounds for about 10 different animals

  • he can point to his ears, nose, hair, piggies (toes), belly-button

  • he sleeps through the night (7:30pm - 6:00am)

  • he loves big-people food...even black olives (yuck!)

  • he loves to blow kisses & he bats his eyes

  • he's very cuddly...always nestling up against my or Vince's neck

  • he loves football...he watches games on tv & cheers like he knows what's going on

  • he loves Praise Baby dvds (whenever we walk near my laptop he screams 'baabyyy')

  • he'll wag his finger at you & tell you 'no-no'

  • he loves to crawl under chairs/furniture

  • he loves to look at the world map on his bedroom wall; 70% of the time he can find Ethiopia


10.06.2009

still processing from the week-end

we were educated, encouraged, affirmed:

(just a few high-lights)

educated : if a child born with HIV does not receive treatment, they will not live past their 5th birthday : there are powerful drugs available that can reduce HIV-viral load to 'undetectable' levels

encouraged : James 1:27 is not a command, it's a definition : Jesus visited us in our affliction, now we are freed to visit orphans in theirs : transracial adoption puts feet to "...your Kingdom come...your will be done”

affirmed : not purchasing a home continues to be our solid-decision : you cannot only care about 'healthy' orphans and legitimately say you care about orphans : wondering what we can do without so we can give to those without--God's answer is only one-prayer away : social justice and Gospel proclamation are not at odds with each other

10.04.2009

Together For Adoption

Just returned from the Together For Adoption conference in Franklin,
TN --what an encouraging, and challenging, weekend! Wow. And wow,
again. I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you regarding what we
heard and saw...so please check back here...I'll start posting as soon
as I *process* everything!

Sent from my iPhone

10.01.2009

yes THEY do

YES! Orphans do have souls...and that is why we're is headed to Together for Adoption this weekend, in great anticipation that we will learn more about how our family can make a strategic, God-glorifying impact in the lives of orphans!!

We'll also get to connect with some America World families who have also adopted (or, are in the process) from Ethiopia. We love our AWAA family!!!

The Together for Adoption website is FULL of resources for those of you who are interested in orphan care or adoption. Check it out! Maybe your family will even make plans to attend next year!


De 24:21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.
Ps 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
Ps 82:3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Isa 1:17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

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