It’s Another Thing To Be Pro-Life

by Benham Brothers | March 11th, 2019

We’ve said for years that it’s one thing to be against abortion, but it’s another thing to be pro-life. One of the best ways to be pro-life is to foster or adopt, like our friend, Peter, out in California.

Peter and his wife have fostered more than 25 children and adopted one. They’re an extraordinary couple, and their story is a beautiful picture of what it looks like to be a bridge between heaven and earth in a child’s life.

Check out some of their story, taken from our book, “Bold and Broken”:

Fostering has been an emotionally hard time for us, but we would never trade it for anything. Since we began, my wife and I have had the pleasure of fostering more than twenty-five children, and we actually adopted one little boy who came into our home at three months old. It took 790 days for his adoption to be final – but we got him. Praise the Lord!

Fear – selfish, protective fear – almost kept us from being a bridge of grace for these kids. Foster care and adoption are scary things because you put all of yourself out there, all your emotions and resources on the line, and to be honest, you get hurt. You get crushed.

One set of kids we fostered was especially hard for us. Foster care forces you into situations where you fall in love with them, see them in your homes, begin to imagine a future with them, and then suddenly they’re torn out of your lives, like the first child we fostered. But despite our hesitation to foster again, we strongly felt God wanted us to help one more time.

Three sisters showed up at our house one day – a twelve-year-old, a four-year-old, and a two-year-old. Beautiful Hispanic girls with long, flowing dark hair. We immediately fell in love with them. The twelve-year-old was tall. The four-year-old was a little chubby, adorable, and always wanting to be picked up and held. The two-year-old had big, beautiful eyes, but she didn’t speak and always cried. We couldn’t imagine the emotional pain she must’ve been experiencing.

So we decided to have a little welcome dinner that night to make them feel comfortable and loved. After dinner, I asked if we could take a picture, and what the little four-year-old girl did next shook me to the core.

She said to me, “Sure – we can take a picture. Gimme one minute.” She then went into the bathroom and came back out in her underwear, saying, “I’m ready for my picture.”

My wife and I were horrified. What on earth has this child been through?!

Then her twelve-year-old sister told us the story of what happened five hours before they arrived: They were rescued out of a child pornography ring. Here was this little twelve-year-old girl, who should’ve been playing with friends and enjoying her childhood, describing to us every gross detail you can think of about what one man was doing to her sisters while she had to watch. It turns out the guy had one of the biggest child pornography rings in our area, selling child pornography out of his home.

The twelve-year-old said, “This is why my sister took off her clothes. She understands pictures as ‘picture time.’” We couldn’t keep the emotions in any longer. We sat there bawling our eyes out. Now we understood why this two-year-old girl didn’t speak. Her little mind was traumatized. We called the social workers, who said they knew about the situation (failing to tell us first), and the authorities had arrested the guy.

Right then I felt the Lord say to me, “I am calling you and your wife to be a father and a mother to those who don’t have fathers and mothers in their lives.” It completely broke me.

If Christians get involved in the foster care and the adoption system, we have a chance to show these kids – these abused, forgotten, discarded kids – a God who will never hurt them, forget them, or forsake them. For me, that’s what being a bridge is all about.

Wow, thank God for all the couples like this out in the world who are connecting heaven to earth for the most vulnerable among us. You can read more of their story in our book.

Original here


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


Hands make heart shape

In Post-Abortion America, Pro-Life Movement Must Change Attitudes toward Adoption

By Dan Hart Managing Editor

Dan Hart is the Managing Editor for Publications at Family Research Council. This article appeared in the National Reviewon June 7, 2019.

With the end of Roe now in sight, we must prepare more urgently for a future America where adoption is seen as both the lawful option and the loving one.

This is a thrilling and encouraging moment for the pro-life movement in the U.S., as American society shifts further away from abortion in both its attitudes and policies. Last month, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed into law the strongest pro-life measure in America, and Louisiana and Missouri recently enacted their strongest-ever pro-life laws, bringing to seven the total number of states that have this year banned abortion after six weeks’ gestation.

But with this shift come new challenges for the pro-life movement. If Roe is overturned soon and states continue to criminalize the killing of unborn children, more unplanned babies will be born in America than ever before. This raises the obvious question: Is America ready to fully embrace adoption as the “loving option” the pro-life movement knows it to be?

Already, pro-choice writers are anticipating an adoption-focused future. The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan has written a mildly slanted, yet factually honest, piece exploring available statistics and anecdotal evidence on how unexpectedly pregnant women feel about adoption and their ultimate decisions about their pregnancies:

But even among American women for whom carrying a child to term would be safe, adoption is a remarkably unpopular course of action. Though exact estimates for all women are hard to come by, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports [sic] that among never-married women, about 9 percent chose adoption before 1973, when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. (The figure was higher for white women: 19 percent.) By the mid-1980s, the figure had dropped to 2 percent, and it was just 1 percent by 2002, the last year the CDC data captured. In 2014, only 18,000 children under the age of 2 were placed with adoption agencies. By comparison, there are about 1 million abortions each year.

Tellingly, Khazan forgoes explaining why the percentage of women who chose adoption dropped so dramatically after Roe v. Wade. The reason is as plain as day: If something that was once scarce suddenly becomes widely available, more people will choose it. After Roe’s blanket legalization of abortion, more women began to choose abortion, which meant that there were fewer babies to adopt. This tendency has remained disturbingly lopsided to this day: There are about 55 abortions for every one adoption of a child under the age of two in America.

But there is hope. There can be little doubt that once legal abortions become increasingly hard to procure, more and more babies who would have otherwise been aborted will be born and placed up for adoption. How many more is hard to say for certain, but if the 9 percent pre-Roe figure referenced by Khazan begins to take shape after a possible future overturn of Roe, there would be (very roughly) 90,000 more babies in need of adoption per year.

Is America ready to adopt this many unplanned babies? Pro-choice activists insist the answer is a resounding “no,” constantly fretting over imagined horrors that inevitably await “unwanted” children if they are born. But numbers are stubborn things. There are an estimated 2 million infertile couples in the U.S. waiting to adopt a baby. In addition, about 10 percent of American women — 6.1 million — “have difficulty getting or staying pregnant.” A CDC study found that over half (57 percent) of these women, and 81.5 million Americans overall, have considered adoption.

Undoubtedly, Americans can find loving homes for tens of thousands more unplanned babies. That being said, there is a real question that must be faced: How do women with unplanned pregnancies actually feel about adoption, and how does it actually affect them?

Khazan’s article depicts the emotional distress that women experience with adoption. Studies have found that many women feel “guilt” at the thought of leaving their child with an adoption agency without knowing “whether it was being taken care of or who was taking care of it.” Studies also show that virtually all birth mothers feel grief after they place their children up for adoption.

Clearly, the pro-life movement must rethink how it promotes adoption to address the real-world concerns of women with unplanned pregnancies. The practice of “open” adoption has proven particularly healthy and beneficial for both the birth mother and the adopted child; it should be widely discussed and encouraged. Another effective strategy is to amplify the voices of those who have been adopted out of difficult circumstances and are now thriving. Ryan BombergerMelissa Ohden, and Gianna Jessen are just a few such people, but a simple YouTube search reveals thousands more “ordinary” adoption stories that are just as beautiful and inspiring.

Khazan’s Atlantic article reveals that there remains a huge and difficult mountain that must be climbed to transform the cultural view of adoption. With the end of Roe now in sight, the pro-life movement must prepare more urgently for a future America where adoption is seen clearly as both the lawful option and the loving one.

Dan Hart is the Managing Editor for Publications at Family Research Council. His writing has appeared in such outlets as National Review, The Federalist, First Things, The Stream

https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=PV19F01


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


Free Adoption Self-Help Manual

https://www.adoptionservices.org/adoption_manual/index.htm


State Adoption Laws

https://www.adoptionservices.org/child_adoption_laws/adoption_laws.htm


Reasons To Yes

Let your prayer be accompanied by faith, and don’t give an ear to doubt.
April 14, 2007

It’s 9 pm, and I’m sitting here at my kitchen table, feeding my 10 month old daughter some peaches. While I contemplate why she doesn’t swallow them, instead chewing on them for a second and then spitting them out, I look straight ahead, and my reflection in the back sliding door catches my eye. It’s a window, not a mirror, so my reflection is dark and faded. You can tell it’s me, but it’s not obviously me. It’s dim. It’s dark. And so I’m reminded of the verse from 1 Corinthians 13:12,

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

We, as humans, base so many decisions on fear. We can’t see the future and we can’t control most of the events that happen outside of our tiny sphere of influence. And even within that tiny bubble, we don’t have as much power as we’d like to believe. And so we make decisions to be as safe as we can and as comfortable as we can, worrying about what might happen in the future in an attempt to hold on to some sort of sanity.

And Christians are not immune to this. We know that Jesus tells us that we should not worry about tomorrow, that God loves us and will provide for us, and that He is working all things for the good of those that love Him. But we see dimly. When we look at the past parts of our lives, we can see God moving and see how he answered our prayers, and how every time we felt like He was far away and didn’t care, He was working in our lives the whole time. It’s obvious. But the future, now that’s another story.

A few months ago, our family hit a crossroads. After adopting our eighth child, we were at the maximum number of children you can have and still do foster care. Once the adoption was final, our license was immediately closed by the state and we were done caring for any more children in the foster system. We were at a loss as to what our next step would be. Were we done taking in children? Eight children is a lot, right? We could be done and just continue our life with the family that God has given us. Nobody would judge us if we stopped, in fact most would encourage us to do so. Surely God wouldn’t have anything ridiculous up his sleeve for us, right?

Adopting children in need and raising them up to follow and love Jesus Christ encompasses pretty much all of Jesus’ teachings. Care for the orphans, Check. Go and make disciples, Check. Love others as you would yourself, Check. This had been our family’s ministry for years, and now it was coming to an end. Or was it?

A few weeks ago, my wife showed me a picture of a child from Eastern Europe that she thought we were supposed to adopt. Usually I would just nod and say, “Maybe,” but in that moment, I knew we were supposed to bring them home. I had a moment of clarity in which I saw clearly the plan that God was setting before us.

But then the fear started to set in. International adoption is complicated, long, and expensive. It can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000. Most countries require that you spend around 3-4 weeks in-country. A dozen different organizations get way more involved in your life and send you mountains of paperwork. You need to take multiple trips to the country and spend weeks there jumping through hoops. Is our house big enough? Will they find a reason to say no? How do we raise the massive amount of money needed to complete such an adoption?

But looking back, this was exactly the way I felt when we started foster care. I looked for all the reasons to say no all along the way. All the “what ifs” floated through my brain until I wanted to run away and hide and not have to make a decision.

God has never promised that living the Christian life would be easy. We know this, and yet we want to believe that God’s good for us, that he promises, is the same as what we believe is good. That’s completely false. Look at the disciples! God worked all things for the good of those who love Him in their lives, and they all lived very difficult and sacrificial lives that mostly ended in imprisonment, physical punishment, and death.

If we are not feeling uncomfortable or stretched, are we really allowing God to move in our lives? We read about people who have done great things and we dream about having faith like they did, but we don’t even open our minds to the possibility. We say no so often that we don’t even hear when God has something for us. We build our comfortable wall of fear and call it safety, and never venture into the great adventure that God has for us.

We need to open ourselves up to the possibility of serving God His way instead of ours. As practice, imagine the most ridiculous things that God might ask of you. If you answer no to any of these questions, then you are not open for God to use you. If God asked you to sell your home and move to another country to spread the Word, would you? If God asked you to go outside and go door to door praying with people, would you? If God asked you to sell all your possessions to help someone in need, would you?

These may seem outside the realm of what God would ask of you, but they are all things clearly laid out in the lives of Christ-followers in the Bible. And if you cannot answer yes, then you are already shutting out God’s voice before you even hear it.

2 Timothy 1:7 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Stop living in fear and begin to live in the power and love of God. Stop making your own plans and ask what plans God has for you. And when there is an opportunity for you to live out the Gospel, look for reasons to say yes. There will always be reasons to say no. The world is full of reasons that you shouldn’t do things. Believe in the promises of God and that if you are pursuing His will, he will uphold you throughout the journey.

If you would like to read more about our story or donate to our adoption story, please visit the links below.
thewegerts.blogspot.com
gofundme.com/save-j

Joseph Wegert

Guest Discerning Dad

 

Guest blog- Joseph Wegert- Reasons to Say Yes


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


Hands make heart shape

How Much Does Your Life Cost?

by Don’t Fear, Only Believe

Worth.

It’s such a powerful thing. The word is used to indicate how valuable something is, usually the value of an expensive car or your dream house. But also, commonly, it is used to describe a person’s life. We are constantly yearning and seeking to be worth something to someone else. In society, we are constantly told to live your life, your way – your worth being meaningful only to yourself. But you are worth more than anything to a guy called Jesus…

One inspirational woman who I have had the honour of seeing her legacy left behind, has been Lilias Falconer. The Falconer home has a special place in my heart and my family’s hearts, and I’m sure I’ve touched on this subject before in a previous blog. I got the amazing opportunity to visit this amazing orphanage a few years ago in Zambia. But this woman clearly showed why Jesus is worth it all! Lilias was born in 1915 in my home town, Manchester, and at the age of 15 she was telling her family that the call on her life was to go to Africa and to look after babies and children. For her to fulfil this mission, she applied for medical training to train as a nurse. All these applications were refused. In 1939, at the start of World War II, she was accepted into nursing training with the Salvation Army, and after a course in tropical medicine she travelled to Africa to a leper hospital in Zambia. There she saw the plight of little babies left to die when their mothers passed during childbirth. From this, she agreed to look after one baby but soon five babies were brought to her and one her own, she went further into the bus, establishing her Children’s home and Orphanage in the small village of Kabulamema. She died in 1998, and her grave is situated behind the house, in a beautiful lone building, signifying a constant connection to her work. This is a woman who gave up her whole life for Jesus.

The “Waste” of Expensive Perfume

The work of missionaries and people who give up their ordinary lives for extraordinary lives reminds me of a story from the Bible that shows us why Jesus is worth it all…

Clutching the jar tightly in her hands, the woman stood in the doorway and looked into the room. Her heart beat intensely. Her eyes darted back and forth. Her anxiety was at its peak. The room was packed with me, most of them who knew her for the job she did. A prostitute. She consider running away. At that moment, she saw Him. Everything else vanished, the world stopped. Nothing mattered anymore. Running into the room, she fell to the ground, tears forming in her eyes. Breaking her jar open, she poured the expensive perfume in it all over the man’s feet. She loved Him. She was a sinner. But this man, this Jesus, had shown her forgiveness. Everyone else stared at this random woman, shocked by her actions.

“Why have you wasted all that? You could have sold it it and given it to the poor,” the disciples shouted. Then Jesus spoke above the fuss, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done something beautiful for me. You won’t always have me, but you’ll always have the poor. This woman is preparing me for my burial. Listen to me, when the gospel is preached, the memory of her will also be told.” (Matthew 26.6-13).

The Reaction

Imagine if you were one of the disciples. Would you have been angry at the woman? She would have wasted perfume that had cost millions of pounds. But then again, much like the woman in the story, how do we respond to the story of Lilias Falconer? Too often we would respond as the disciples did. When we hear about people giving up their lives in rich, western countries to honour and serve God, we question their choices. Too often we see it as a waste of potential. We may never say it in words but in reality, we are asking the same question the disciples asked, “Why this waste?”

As Christians, we are taught to present our lives as living sacrifices, demonstrating God’s perfect will. Many people, and many Christians, would say if you presented your life in such a way, that you would be vulnerable to the devil and forces of evil. But Paul in Philippians 4.19, clearly states:

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

So, in answer to How Much Does Your Life Cost? I think it costs an infinite amount. We have worth because one man spent His worth for our all and so it is never a waste to give Jesus anything. And looking at it this way; it is our only reasonable response.

Thanks for reading.

Don’t Fear, Only Believe

Photo credits – unsplash.com

Original here