Saturday, December 13, 2014

New View on International Adoption

Since moving here to Haiti, my mind has been stretched in SO many ways. One of those ways deals with International adoption. I never knew how to share my heart on such a passionate topic without coming across as heartless. Before we moved to Haiti, even though we never wanted to adopt internationally, we did feel that God had asked us to be obedient to take steps down that road. Now, I feel like God put those feelings in our hearts and had us take those steps so that we might be able to understand, somewhat, what others are feeling who are in the process of International adoption (on a very small scale) so that we could be empathetic with them. However, I am thankful that God closed that specific door for our family.

Before too many of you get offended, (because I worry (too much) about offending that I actually have blogs written from a year ago that I haven't shared...) I'll let you hear from someone who has been in the International Adoption trenches twice and has come out on the other side and who can share her heart MUCH better than I can.

For those of you who don't know of, or have never read anything by Jen Hatmaker, you're MISSING OUT! Please take a minute and read this. It is everything that I wish I could say, but don't feel like I can because I have never truly been in the situation of an International adoption.

The Adoption Crisis Part 1

I want to let this article speak for itself, but a couple of things that made my heart race and my body practically jump from my chair screaming "YES!"...

If you have made it this far and are still reading...thank you. Like I said, I really don't mean any harm by this blog, but I just pray that it will challenge you to think. For your eyes to be opened like mine were. I have so much more on my heart to say about this and would love to continue this conversation with anyone who wishes. And, please know that I understand that this is NOT true for all orphans, all adoptions, all cases. But we must be careful and be informed.

I LOVE these children who we are working with and definitely want what is BEST for them. Is that to be adopted into a life in a first world country with a new family? For most, I say no. There is a reason that Mme. Soliette has chosen not to get her license for her children to be adopted. I love that she is trying to reunite families, help them to get back on their feet and support them to take care of their own children. She makes very difficult decisions every day when another family comes to her door asking her to take their child because they can not feed or educate them.

Even if you have never felt like God is calling you to adopt, there is something you can do. You can pray. You can pray for the children who have been orphaned. Whether they are true orphans, or financial or abandoned orphans, they need your prayers. And you can pray for those who feel called to adopt. That calling is not light. It is not for everyone. It is heart wrenching. And sometimes God calls us to be obedient to agree to adopt and to listen to Him, but then we need to CONTINUE to listen to Him. Does God sometimes tell us that it's okay to step away from the process? Even though we clearly heard Him say to go down that road another time? Yes. He clearly opened the door and closed the door for us. Was it easy? No. Is it ever easy hearing God's voice and being obedient to what He says? Sometimes. But not always. Please pray for these families.

Jen continues her discussion with The Adoption Crisis Part 2 and Part 3. Feel free to read for more information.

**After Craig read this blog, he said he didn't really feel like he knew what I was trying to say. So, if you feel the same way, my first question is...did you read Jen's article that I linked? (He said no..haha!) So, go back and read it if you didn't. And if you still have questions, please, leave me a comment or feel free to email me! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I have always known that many Haitians practice Voodoo. Even those who go to church. Believe in Jesus. Out of fear, they make sure to cover their bases. In Kreole, God is called "Bon Dye" or "Good God." There are many different gods in the Voodoo religion. The Haitians want to make sure that they are pleasing all of the gods, so they make sure to pray to the "Good God" as well.  My experience with Voodoo was non existent before moving to Haiti. I really didn't understand it, nor do I really understand it now, and had a naive perspective about what it even looked like. While there are stories of humans being changed into animals (I have an American friend who married a Haitian man who says she's personally witnessed this), sacrifices done to the gods and lots of curses being placed over people and families, I wasn't prepared for how Voodoo had really been incorporated into everyday life. I didn't even notice it. I was prepared for crazy ritualistic displays, but what I found was much "simpler."

One day, while visiting with a neighbor, I noticed that one of the ladies had a piece of string tied around her toe. We asked her why and she said that it was because she had a stomach ache. This is a Voodoo practice. Another time, there was a little boy - maybe a year old - who had a string tied around his stomach like a belt. It was the only thing he was wearing. We asked why it was there and were told that it was to protect him from the curses of Voodoo. Many people, when sick, will visit a "witch doctor" and drink many different kids of concoctions given to them and perform other rituals before actually visiting the hospital. Then, as a last resort, pray to "Bondye," God. Often, by the time the person arrives at the hospital, they are more sick from waiting and from doing the rituals that sometimes they end up getting very sick and even dying from a simple sickness. We've heard stories of times when people would be thrashing around on the ground when different curses were put on them, but most of the time, the impacts of Voodoo here are so small and "normal" that they can go unnoticed.

When I was sitting on the porch with my neighbor, I didn't even really think twice about the string tied to her toe until later. It seemed like such a small, harmless thing. I thought it was weird and silly and almost laughed it off, but these small things can open the door for evil to enter and rule their lives.  1 Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." These people are opening the door the the enemy, and out of tradition and fear, giving him space to rule in their lives.

Last week, we were told about another tradition. We were sitting around our dinner table talking with friends when they told us to be very careful about what we were eating and allowing our children to eat outside of our home. They said for now that it was very important to not accept food from anyone and not to pick up any food or money, or anything else for that matter, off the ground. All year long, people have been making deals with the gods. For example, if they are given wealth, or health or protection for their families - in return, they will give a certain number of souls to that god.  Well, their deal has to be met by the end of the year. So people are looking for souls to give. They do this in a number of ways - one would be by poisoning food. People will put poison on candy and crackers and then drop them on the ground for children to find and eat. Or, they'll tamper with motos and vehicles and hope to cause an accident.  

I was not sure I believed that this really happened, so I asked a lot of my Haitian friends and they just confirmed it, telling us to be very careful because this was a dangerous time of year. We are by no means living in fear, but we want to be wise and aware of the reality that is around us.  The other evening, I was reading a book and kept noticing things moving around out of the corner of my eye. I started feeling like there was a presence there. My spirit was alert. I walked through that area of the house and just rebuked the presence over and over in the name of Jesus. I had peace and no longer saw the movement.  Last night, Morgan came into our room crying saying that she had a "really bad dream." She was very scared. I felt my defenses rising. My spirit was ready to fight. We talked about her dream and prayed and I couldn't help but think that the enemy is always roaming...looking for someone to devour. It's hard to explain to kids why God allows them to have bad dreams.

During this time especially, will you pray for us as we feel this very real spiritual warfare? We are so thankful for the body of Christ, who we know supports us in prayer while we are here. There are so many things that we are unaware of. Pray that God will keep us alert. That He will guard our hearts and minds. Every night, as we tuck the kids in for bed, we go through putting on the armor just like it tells us in Ephesians.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

                                                                                               Ephesians 6:11-20