Posted 12/3/13 at 11:30 AM | Bill Blacquiere
What if you adopted an orphan from another country and later discovered your new family member wasn’t really an orphan after all? Unfortunately, it happens, which is why the organization I lead, Bethany Christian Services, goes to great lengths to ensure that the entire adoption process is carried out with the highest ethical standards.
Adoption is one of those wonderful services that you would hope would be free of corruption or abuse, and in the majority of cases it is. Sadly, however, the temptation to exploit children for money— especially in developing countries—is high, leading some unscrupulous agencies to recruit children from intact families. For example, adoptions from Guatemala were banned in 2007 due to allegations of widespread corruption. In China, some orphanages reportedly buy babies who are then offered for adoption.
At Bethany, we have united thousands of international children with loving, forever families, always aware that as a Christian organization our actions speak volumes about the Lord we serve. Our first line of defense against unethical international adoptions is the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. In 1994, the United States signed this treaty, which requires that agencies such as ours be accredited to provide services with other countries who are parties to the Convention. In other words, we work only in countries committed to ensuring that adoptions are carried out in the best interests of children. FULL POST
Posted 11/26/13 at 10:59 AM | Bill Blacquiere
Guest post by Mark Schultz, one of Christian music’s most beloved recording artists, was adopted as a child and currently is in the process of adopting.
I'm excited to celebrate National Adoption Month with all of you. For me, though, I don't just think about adoption for one month a year. I think about adoption every single day. You see, I was adopted when I was two weeks old, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about my life as a gift and thank God for the path that He allowed for me through adoption.
One of my songs, called "Everything to Me," is the story of my adoption and a tribute to my birthmother who made a decision for me before I was even born. The song talks about all of the amazing experiences I've had in life—including my marriage and now having my own son—because of her brave choice and the love of my adoptive parents.
Living this story of adoption has given me a passion for orphans and adoption, and my wife and I decided last year to pursue our own path of adoption. We are now waiting for our baby girl to come home. FULL POST
Posted 11/21/13 at 3:27 PM | Bill Blacquiere |
Guest post by Michele Bachmann, Representative from Minnesota’s Sixth District and co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.
One of the ways every individual can help support children in need of families is by bringing their voice to bear in the public sphere. That’s what National Adoption Month is all about.
While November gets special attention, the plight of millions of orphans and vulnerable children here in the United States and around the world is on our hearts all throughout the year.
Of the nearly 400,000 children in foster care in the United States, more than 100,000 of them are eligible for adoptions. Additionally, UNICEF estimates that approximately 18 million children in the world have lost both parents due to war, disease, and famine. Millions more have lost one parent, been abandoned, live on the streets, or are displaced by war or political conflict, forcing them to struggle to survive outside the care of a family.
While government policies cannot always prevent children from being abused, neglected, or orphaned, it is important to recognize that well-meaning legislation can often create unnecessary obstacles that prevent vulnerable children from being placed in the care of a safe, loving, and permanent family. FULL POST
Posted 11/19/13 at 9:58 AM | Bill Blacquiere
We are honored today to have a guest post by Hank Fortener, Founder, AdoptTogether.org.
I was twelve when I realized I was a part of something really special. Not all the other kids in my community had siblings from other countries (China, among others, in my case). Not every 4th grader had twelve brothers and sisters. Oh, and of course, not everyone in our primarily white neighborhood was learning Spanish so they could speak to their new Bolivian sister.
My family is different. Unique. One-of-a kind. A lot like yours, maybe just bigger, with slightly more color. People aren't used to that. Every time my family and I go out in public, heads turn, people stare, and traffic stops. Kids at the mall would tap their mother's side and ask if that family stole that baby. Shoppers in line at Wal-Mart don't even try to hide their stares.
"Some sort of social program", they'd guess. Actually, it's my family.
On vacation in Florida one year, I just smiled as a tourist snapped photos of the fourteen of us walking the beach. She probably had never seen a family with so many different color faces in her life: Chinese, Bolivian, African, Indian, Guatemalan, Anglo, and Islander. Like the UN or the Olympics. Everyone has a seat. FULL POST
Posted 11/14/13 at 9:26 AM | Bill Blacquiere
We are privileged today to hear from Taylor Bashta. Taylor and Daniel Bashta are the proud parents of Phoenix, age 3, adopted as an infant, and of Bravery, 16 months old. The couple is currently in the process of adopting a second child through Bethany.
"Let hope arise and make the darkness hide. My faith is dead, I need a resurrection somehow."
This has been a very controversial line in "Like a Lion," a song written and performed by my husband, Daniel. David Crowder sang the line at Passion, but several other worship guys have asked if they could change the line from "my faith is dead" to "my faith is cold." Daniel said, yes, of course, if they felt like that line was better for where they were playing, then that is what is most important.
But I've been thinking about this very thing lately—hope and faith.
Hope has become Daniel's anthem. It is written on his guitar. It is written on his arm. It's the cry of our heart that through his music hope will spring up!
There is something that I am hoping for in my life right now. And I honestly struggle with letting hope in, because I fear disappointment. I fear pain.
When I start to feel the little flutters of hope, I shut them down, preferring to think, "It probably won't happen," because then I'll be surprised if it does. That feels safe. But is that right? Sometimes my faith does feel dead. FULL POST
Posted 11/12/13 at 9:56 AM | Bill Blacquiere
Guest post by Kathleen Strottman, executive director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
As most of you reading this are already aware, November is National Adoption Month. It is a time we set aside each year to both celebrate the many times that adoption has had a transformative effect on the life of a child and be reminded of the continued need to fight for the millions of children around the word who so desperately want a family to call their own. Each year, for the past several, I have used this very special month to focus my own heart on one policy barrier, one specific change that I want to spend extra time advocating for in the year to come. This year, my heart has settled on raising awareness of one of life’s absolute truths: that a child is never too old to need a family.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, that is so obvious, who in the world could think otherwise? But the fact remains that the current U.S. foster care system has very much been built to support the false premise that the older a child gets, the less they need a family. As a result, last year approximately 23,000 children were dispatched into the world to live an “independent” life. Not surprisingly, without the love, support, and guidance that a family provides, these young people do not fare well, with a significant number falling victim to homelessness, crime, substance abuse, and suicide. Tens of thousands more teens are living out their critical development years in congregate care, which even in the best cases does not provide the guidance and support adolescent youth need to become stable, productive adults. And perhaps the saddest statistic of all: children over the age of nine are half as likely as their younger counterparts to be adopted. FULL POST
Posted 11/7/13 at 12:44 PM | Bill Blacquiere
Guest post by Adam Pertman and David Brodzinsky, Ph.D.
At a recent adoption conference, about 80 attendees – a diverse group of adoptive parents, adult adoptees, birthparents and adoption professionals – were asked how many of them, their family members, or their clients had sought the help of a mental health professional during the last few years regarding an adoption-related concern. Roughly 60 percent raised their hands. In response to follow-up questions, easily two-thirds of those with raised hands said their therapists had lacked a solid understanding about adoption or its impact, and roughly half agreed they had received advice or counseling that “did more harm than good.”
This isn’t meant in any way to denigrate psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers or others who, with their experience and expertise, help people every day. It does underscore the point, however, that mental health professionals do not routinely receive training on adoption issues during their undergraduate or graduate educations – and because those issues can be specialized and complex, the resulting lack of knowledge can have serious consequences.
The good news is that there are a growing number of programs across the U.S. designed to change this unfortunate reality; the major ones are highlighted in a new report by the Donaldson Adoption Institute, titled “A Need to Know: Enhancing Adoption Competence among Mental Health Professionals.” FULL POST
Posted 11/5/13 at 9:30 AM | Bill Blacquiere
As we celebrate National Adoption Monday in November, Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), shares with us the birth of Orphan Sunday and challenges each of us to consider how we can care for the orphans.
Orphan Sunday is one of those things that make you scratch your head and wonder. Really? How in the world did this happen?
That’s how God always seems to work, using the most unlikely materials—stables and shepherds, tax collectors and little baskets of loaves and fish—to do the most amazing things. FULL POST
Posted 11/4/13 at 12:09 PM | Bill Blacquiere
My friend Jonathan Merritt has a gift for saying things we don’t always want to hear.
As evangelical influence in politics appears to be waning, causing many conservative pundits to wring their hands and blame secular forces, Jonathan wonders if it might be a blessing in disguise. Losing political influence a blessing? Who’s going to lobby for God?
Jonathan represents a new generation of thoughtful young Christians who worry less about partisan politics as they look for ways to work with those with whom they disagree. Or to quote from USA Today, Jonathan “represents a hopeful new current in evangelical America.”
As a respected Christian voice, Jonathan, author of the book,A Faith of Our Own, has been interviewed by ABC World News, NPR, CNN, PBS, Fox News, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, and has published more than 500 articles in respected media such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Christianity Today, and National Journal. And while he has chided his fellow Christians from time to time, he doesn’t back down from our detractors. FULL POST