Adoption: A Beginning 1978

Adoption has been part of our lives for more than 40 years. We first considered in 1976, while I was stationed in San Diego. We knew little about adoption, except our pastor and his wife had adopted two girls from Korea. They were in their late teens by that time. 

We had considered adopting an infant, but we were told that the wait in the U.S. for infants would be 5-7 years, with no guarantees. So we considered international adoption, contacting Holt Adoption Agency in Eugene, OR. We began preliminary home study, but by that summer we moved to another naval station. A lot of uncertainty whether we should or could move forward. After much discussion with the local California Child Care agent, we decided to try the international adoption route (Korea as 1st choice).

Final Process Begins

That was in September 1977. Holt asked whether we would consider siblings. After much prayer, we said yes. In late April 1978 we received photos of two brothers: Ille (8 years old, weight 38 lbs.) and Joon (6 years old, weight 33 lbs.). Would we be willing to adopt? The answer was Yes!

The next four months were times of nervous energy, worry, questions, etc. We lived 280 miles from LAX where the boys would fly into. But we could not leave until we got the call that the boys had boarded the plane in Korea. Faster than we expected, anticipated, Holt called us on  Sep 12 to be at LAX the morning of Sep. 13, 1978.

Not so fast

We left early, arriving at LAX at 10 AM. The plane was due in at noon. A representative from Holt was to meet us to prepare us for each step. No Holt rep ever showed up. The plane was delayed 3-4 hours. But because we had not officially adopted the boys, the airlines would not tell us whether they were even on the plane, nor when they would be expected. And with no rep from Holt, we were left wondering, concerned, fearful that we had missed the boys.

So, my wife stayed at the international terminal, and I began running back and forth to the baggage claim. I did that for 3 ½ hours. On one of my runs from the international terminal, a guy was going in the opposite direction, holding an adorable Korean girl. He stopped and called me by name! Who in LAX would know my name??

I asked him that question, and he said I had the two most adorable little boys. How did you know it was me? The boys each had a photo of both of us, and the man recognized me from the photo. So I asked where they were. He said at baggage claim, but we should hurry (???) because the escorts were so late they had to get another flight and would be leaving soon.

We meet the boys

So we both made the dash (well, not that fast!). We saw the escorts and two little boys in the jam packed baggage claim area. The woman handed us a little carry-pack for each boy, told us their names, and added that one was taking medicine. That was it, they turned and boarded their plane. 

By this time it was nearly 7 PM. Hmmm, two boys who speak no English, and we speak no Korean and now we are on our own. So I took the boys to the restroom, ya know, just in case. Good thing I did! Then we brought them to our car and strapped them into the backseat. And headed for home.

It was 7:30 PM

But that is not how the day ended….

Advertisements

When Winning Isn’t

Part 1

My father died in 1991. We had never been close. A family friend who had known my father from 1931 to 1991 said in 1993, “Your father was a hard man.” I knew that from a lifetime living with my father.

From my earliest recollections of my father, I never would describe our relationship in loving terms. I was in my early 20’s before he ever quietly said, “I love you.” Not much ever said after that. He was indeed a hard man. I respected him. But I have many memories of his volatile outbursts of anger. Thankfully, he never hit us boys. But fear was our common response to his anger.

Through the years of school, I did relatively well, consistently an honor student. My father never said a word of appreciation or congratulations. In sports I was far from a good athlete, but did well enough. Not a word from my father. That pattern continued through college, Naval service, commissioning, graduating from Naval Postgraduate School, and early selection to LCDR.

In 1961 I began learning to play guitar. My father had a 1934 Montgomery Ward guitar but never played it. That was my first guitar. Finger action was so bad that my fingers bled consistently for the first few months of playing. But I stuck it out. My father passively supported my attempt at playing.

Two brothers, my mother’s age, were superb guitar, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin players. They began to invite me to sit in with them. I learned much about music and complementary styles blending with all instruments, and each session was a joy. My father and mother would drive me there every week. He seemed to enjoy, but he never said a word.

The lack of acknowledgement was discouraging, but I grew to expect nothing. By 1971 my wife and I began our moves as adults as I found work away from that part of the state. But each year we would drive home and get together with the two brothers, and often others joined us. It was always a highlight, and my parents were always there.

My father never said a word about whether he enjoyed it, but his expressions seemed to indicate he did.

Then 1983

In 1982 I entered seminary. My time was consumed with seminary studies, part time job, and raising two boys entering their teens, one of whom was beginning to cause major problems for us. Meaning, I had little time to keep up with my guitar playing, much to my dismay because I loved playing. I missed it.

In 1983 we went back home at the end of summer Hebrew. So we managed to contact the brothers and set a date to play. My parents also came. After an hour of playing, my lack of practice over the previous two years was evident, certainly to me and the brothers. But nothing was said, we were enjoying and reminiscing, and I was able to keep up with all of it. We still had fun.

That was when my father made his only comment ever on my playing. “Boy, you really are rusty, aren’t you?”

I was so stunned, I didn’t know what to say. So I didn’t say anything. For 33 years he had never said a positive word about anything I had done, especially my guitar playing. And now in one night he mentions my failure to play well in front of about 15 people, close friends. I swore that I would never let that happen again. For the next 8 years (until he died) I wasn’t going to risk another public humiliation. Hence I never played guitar in front of him. I wasn’t going to let him “win” this.

And I became the hard man.

So who won?

My father never mentioned my lack of playing again. Years after he died, my mother said he noticed that I never played. I began to tell my mother… and she stopped me, saying that she knew exactly when I stopped playing because she had heard my father as well. She cried that night (I didn’t know that).

So who won? Certainly not me. In the short run, I “won” because I never faced his public disapproval again. But my mother did not win because she loved my playing and missed it. And my father did not win, because he did like my playing but he could never say the words.

Part 2

From 1983 to 1989, our older son was getting into further trouble: drugs, stealing, etc. By spring 1988 we had asked him to leave the house (he had just turned 18). He was then arrested, and he spiraled out of control.
In 1989 my father and I began to have an uneasy but unspoken truce; we spoke politely, but nothing serious. My parents came to visit that summer. They had taken a day to travel to a larger city in that area to shop, etc. When they came home, my father was very different. They had seen and met our older son in that city.

In previous years, he had made comments about how disruptive teenagers could be. One time when I was about 11 years old, we had seen teenagers causing a few problems, but nothing out of hand. My father commented, “If you ever see kids acting that way, you can definitely blame the parents.” That assessment hung over my head when we adopted the boys in 1978. As it got worse, my memories of that comment intensified, causing me guilt and shame.

I had never seen my father shook up, raging anger, yes, but never this way. He spoke first: “I never realized how bad it has been for you these past years. I am so sorry.” And he had tears in his eyes, something I had never seen. He apologized, which I also had never experienced.

They visited two years later for our younger son’s high school graduation. They usually stayed two days because the altitude affected his breathing. But after two days he talked to my mother then asked me if they could stay another day or two because they enjoyed our time. We gladly agreed. And we did have a good time.

Three weeks later my father died. I am so thankful that our last time together was not clouded by all the distance, lack of words, lack of showing affection. When they left, he hugged me seriously and thanked me and said he loved me. How could I not also say the same thing? That’s all I wanted.

Who won then?

I think finally we all did: my father, my mother, me.
My only regret is that I didn’t play guitar for him and my mother. But we did mend a rift that had festered for 42 years. For that we all won.

I learned to say many things to my sons. No matter how bad our older son got, sometimes behind prison bars, I always, always told him I loved him. So also with our younger son when he deployed and was in combat, the last words he heard from me were “I love you.” So also my words to his wife and our grandchildren. There is no doubt that such will be the last words they hear me say: “I love you.”

And we all win!

I am sorry

Over the past five months I have offered prayers for those who had been sexually abused in the MSU/USAG/USOC scandals. My intent was to daily remember them before God.

Yet, I was just made aware that I had spelled the abuser’s last name incorrectly during that entire time. I have since corrected that error. I ask those who were affected for your forgiveness.

Prayer for Survivors —Part 9

As time passes, it is easy for many of us to think that the effects of abuse have disappeared. But we are reminded that each day these women face new challenges, grow beyond where they had been. But their pain is real, the consequences significant. This is a small reminder that not one is forgotten.

==============

Heavenly Father, You know the challenges and attacks that each of these people have faced. Reassure them of Your presence in Jesus Christ. Grant them strength, wisdom, and insight on how best to proceed, especially in the coming days. Refresh, restore, and renew them according to Your mercy in Jesus Christ. May they continue to be a voice for the broken, the forgotten, the voiceless. Protect their hearts when attacked, and sustain them with Your Word.

===============

Day 124 Whitney Burns #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we lift up Whitney today as she lives in light of but beyond the trauma of abuse. Bring healing, hope, & growth. In the dark days reassure her of Your love. Bless her family as well as they provide care & support. IJN Amen

Day 125 Isabell Hutchins #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we pray for Isabell in all her needs, challenges, hurts. Bring grace to her in all relationships, strengthen her when she is weakest, love her when she might feel unlovable. May she speak & respond w/grace influenced by Your Word. IJN. Amen

Day 126 Meaghan Ashcraft #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors God, You invite us to bring our prayers before You. Today we ask for Your special love, support, mercy on Meaghan. Whatever is of greatest concern bring help and healing to her. Reassure her of Your love. Bless her family. IJN Amen

Day 127 Natalie Woodland #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors LordGod, grant Your blessings for Natalie as she copes w/ & grows through the abuse. Give her wise counselors, strong friends, intentional caregivers to supply all that she needs. Reaffirm Your love for in Jesus. IJN Amen

Day 128 Jillian Swinehart #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Gracious Lord, look w/favor on Jillian. You know her needs, hurts, desires. Grant her wisdom, strength, & mercy as she continues face the past, even more as she looks to the future. Heal her heart & grant her grace for all situations. IJN Amen

Day 129 Allison Chauvette #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, as Allison moves forward in life, grant her healing, strength, wisdom, & hope. Raise up people who can understand, care for, & speak into her life words of truth, courage, & love in Jesus. We pray for her family as well. IJN Amen

Day 130 Anna Dayton #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, may Your mercy be evident to Anna. Strengthen her for each task & challenge. Be her Rock in all situations. Teach her even more about true love, true life, true friendship. Guide her steps, teach her Your ways in Jesus. IJN Amen

Our prayers continue
Psalm for the broken but not destroyed

Prayers for Survivors — Part 8

As time passes, it is easy for many of us to think that the effects of abuse have disappeared. But we are reminded that each day these women face new challenges, grow beyond where they had been. But their pain is real, the consequences significant. This is a small reminder that not one is forgotten.

==============

Heavenly Father, You know the challenges and attacks that each of these people have faced. Reassure them of Your presence in Jesus Christ. Grant them strength, wisdom, and insight on how best to proceed, especially in the coming days. Refresh, restore, and renew them according to Your mercy in Jesus Christ. May they continue to be a voice for the broken, the forgotten, the voiceless. Protect their hearts when attacked, and sustain them with Your Word. 

===============

Day 108 Lauren Michalak #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Yourname. You invite us to pray for those in need. Today we pray for Lauren & her many needs. Altho we don’t know them You do. May You strengthen, comfort her, & guide her & her family. IJN Amen

Day 109 Vanasia Bradley #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Loving God, we bring Vanasia before Your throne of mercy. In the midst of her coping/healing grant her strength, courage, and focus. Bless her & her family w/love in all her needs. Give wisdom to those helping & loving her. IJN Amen

Day 110 Breanne Rata #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, may Your blessings rest upon Breanne today. Surround her w/people who can support, love, and guide her. Give her wisdom as she moves forward. Strengthen her to meet all challenges w/grace and compassion. IJN Amen

Day 111 Erin McCann #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Look w/favor on Erin. You have given her voice to speak about & against abuse. Heal & protect her. Help her family stand strong w/her. May they all know love, compassion, & joy. Whatever her hurts, bring wholeness. IJN Amen

Day 112 Catherine Hannum #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, today Catherine needs Your love and reassurance. Strengthen, comfort, & encourage her. Raise up people to speak words of hope. We pray for her family as well, and their many needs, for wisdom, & strength. IJN Amen

Day 113 Victim 170 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we turn to You in behalf of Victim 170. You know her needs, hurts, concerns, challenges. You can more than meet them because of Your great love. Surround her w/people of love and compassion. Bless her family as they walk w/her. IJN Amen

Day 114 Jessica Chedler Rodriquez #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Loving God, may You bless, comfort, & heal Jessica. While time passes some issues remain. Bring this to closure for her. Give her family strength, compassion, & encouragement. Whatever he needs may You more than meet them. IJN Amen

Day 115 Victim 138 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Gracious Lord, look with favor upon Victim 138. Whatever her needs & her family’s needs, may You more than meet them. Protect her from further attacks, and from indifference by others. Heal, strengthen, & comfort her & her family. IJN Amen

Day 116 Morgan Margraves #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we approach Your throne of mercy in behalf of Morgan. Grant her comfort, healing, strength. Enable her to grow in knowledge thru all that she has endured. Raise up people to love, encourage, & protect her. IJN Amen

Day 117 Victim 127 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, our hearts are touched by the needs, hopes, fears, and joys of Victim 127. Grant her full healing, live in peace, and strive for that which is good. Encourage, comfort, sustain her by raising up people to walk alongside her. IJN Amen

Day 118 Victim 142 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we trust that You have Victim 142 in Your loving care. All that she has been thru, You have seen, & You raise up people to care for & love. Continue to heal her. Grant her strength, confidence, & passion as she speaks & lives forward. IJN Amen

Day 119 Victim 162 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, our hearts ache for this victim of sexual abuse. Altho unnamed, she is known to You. Grant a special measure of Your mercy, compassion, & love. Bring people alongside her to help, encourage, & comfort her. IJN Amen

Day 120 Victim 186 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Gracious God, our hearts ache with the abuse that so many have endured. May You continue to bless Victim 186 in the healing process. On the difficult days give her strength, comfort, & encouragement. Raise up people to walk w/her. IJN Amen

Day 121 Victim 185 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, may You bless Victim 185 in all ways necessary. When she is weak, be her strength; when hurting, be her healer; when discouraged, be her encouragement; when needing a friend, may she know You are a perfect friend. IJN Amen

Day 122 Victim 73 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, pray for Victim 73. Where there are hurts bring healing. When comfort is needed equip people to do so. Most importantly bring the good news of Jesus Christ, who took all sins upon Himself & gives life, hope, & love. IJN Amen

Day 123 Victim 165 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we bring another unnamed, but well known person to You for all Your help in her life. Whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual may You more than satisfy them. Grant her strength, wisdom, compassion, & joy in life. IJN Amen

Our prayers continue
Psalm for the broken but not destroyed

The Liturgy of S(p)orts

The Liturgy of S(p)orts

© 1989, 2010

Psalm 122:1 “I rejoiced with those who said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’”

What an interesting insight the psalmist gives to worship. He rejoices to go to Yahweh’s (the LORD’s) house! Is that true today? Perhaps some of us quietly admit that worship is less than thrilling, less than exciting. In fact, it might be a rare occasion when we could admit that we rejoiced about worshiping. An interesting parallel with basketball will help us better understand what happens in liturgy, and why we can join the Psalmist.

For a basketball game people gather to be ready for the game. They (usually!) stand for the national anthem. So at worship we gather together standing for the opening hymn in worship.

At the basketball game, the players are introduced. So, too, in worship. One side in this game is: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit = God” and the other side is: “I, a poor, miserable sinner = us sinners.” At this point, God stops the game and declares, “You can’t play in My game. I am pure, holy, and righteous. You are sinners, deserving my full punishment.”

Then comes the surprise. Like in basketball, the jump ball starts the game. Usually the taller player can tip the ball to his or her team. In worship, this is a game between God and us. Who will the tipoff? Even the tallest basketball players are not able to compete with God. So to start the game, God wins the tip off.

In worship, since it is God’s game, He grabs the ball first and rushes down the court to tell us of His love and forgiveness. God says, “I forgive you all your sins for the sake of My Son, who is the Star of the game.” With that, we are invited to play in God’s game with God’s rules— with God’s victory already assured! We rush down the other way, scoring with our praise. We don’t shout “Yeah, God,” but we use appropriate terms such as “Praise the Lord!” or “Hallelujah.”

You keep track of who has the liturgical ball by watching the pastor. When he faces the congregation, God has the ball, speaking to the people. When the pastor faces the altar, the people have the ball—they are speaking/singing to God.

As in a basketball game with four quarters, in worship we have four quarters. When the basketball game is on the line, everyone stands in anticipation of victory. So, too, in worship, when the Gospel is read, we stand, because in effect, God says, “Right here, this is My Star, and this is how He won the game.”

When the pastor says, “The Lord be with you,” that marks a quarter break.

First quarter: Invocation, confession/absolution, and praise.

Second quarter: Scripture readings, sermon, and creed.

Third quarter: Lord’s Supper (Christ’s body and blood for you).

Fourth quarter: Final prayer and benediction/blessing.

In a basketball game, each player can commit five fouls (in high school and college) before leaving the game. But in worship, five times we hear the words “your sins are forgiven.” God doesn’t want anyone to foul out of the game! Notice the focus of each declaration:

1) Confession/Absolution (general),

2) Scripture readings (how God achieved forgiveness),

3) Sermon (application),

4) Creed (joining the Church Catholic everywhere at all times proclaiming forgiveness of sins),

5) Lord’s Supper (forgiveness of sins —specifically “for you individually”).

Years ago on Monday night football, Don Meredith had a way of signaling the essential end of the football game. He would sing, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over…” Many people think that the benediction/blessing at the end of the service functions the same way: “It’s over, finally.” But not so!

Notice throughout the liturgy, God provides the words through His Word. He gifts the Church with musicians and servants to help in worship, Our highest form of worship is receiving His gifts and praising Him with His words. Music and art enhance our worship, not to entertain us, but to point to Jesus and His saving work.

To this game God invites the bruised, broken, abandoned, abused, forgotten to gather together, to join with others. After all, if we are honest, we fit one or more of those descriptions as well. There is only one star—Jesus

The star and center of worship
is Jesus: who invites you!

Unlike a basketball game in which the thrill of victory fades, in worship God declares that the victory celebrated during worship will continue with us during the week — daily. Therefore, we leave not looking for a let down, but having been built up by playing in God’s game according God’s rules—winning with Him. In other words, the benediction declares that what God has done for us continues to be for us, in us, with us, and through us.

Guess what? Next week the game is repeated. Basketball fans do not complain that “we have to go to the game next week!” Nor as worshippers do we complain about worshipping next week. What an exciting event! Ultimately we look forward to the greatest day — when we will be with the Lord forever, rejoicing at the final victory won and celebrated permanently in heaven. Therefore, we join the psalmist and say,

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go up to the house of the LORD.’ ”

Prayers for Survivors — Part 7

As time passes, it is easy for many of us to think that the effects of abuse have disappeared. But we are reminded that each day these women face new challenges, grow beyond where they had been. But their pain is real, the consequences significant. This is a small reminder that not one is forgotten.

==============

Heavenly Father, You know the challenges and attacks that each of these people have faced. Reassure them of Your presence in Jesus Christ. Grant them strength, wisdom, and insight on how best to proceed, especially in the coming days. Refresh, restore, and renew them according to Your mercy in Jesus Christ. May they continue to be a voice for the broken, the forgotten, the voiceless. Protect their hearts when attacked, and sustain them with Your Word. 

Day 95 Taylor Livingston #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord Jesus, grant Your mercy & blessing on Taylor. Bring healing, help, strength, & comfort. In all of her work & activities may You be evident, guiding each step. Raise up people to care for her each day. IJN Amen

Day 96 Victim 163 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, while we do not know her name, You know her fully, her needs, her hurts, her desires. Grant her healing of mind, body, and soul. May she not be defined by what happened to her, but how she is growing, responding. Grant her love. IJN Amen

Day 97 Victim 183 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, a person unknown to us has faced known predators. Sustain her in healing & recovery. Grant her friends who show her kindness, listen to her, & walk w/her. May she always be welcomed in Your name & places. IJN Amen.

Day 98 Presley Allison #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Gracious Lord, we pray for Presley in all her needs. Where there is hurt, comfort her; where challenges, strengthen her. Grant her a clear vision as she moves forward. Open opportunities for her to serve, grow, and lead. IJN Amen

Day 99 Kamerin Moore #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Faithful God, may she see Your hand guiding her, may she know Your love in Jesus. Grant her peace that passes understanding, strength from You, & a loving heart as she grows & serves regardless of circumstances. IJN Amen

Day 100 Krista Wakeman #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord God, may You loving and healing touch be upon Krista. On the difficult days be her Rock. Grant her days of recovery, strength, patience, and love. Surround her & her family with people who can love, comfort, & encourage. IJN Amen

Day 101 Samantha Daniels #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, today our prayers are focused on Samantha. You know all her needs, weaknesses, strengths, & areas in which she needs special help. Raise up the right people to care for, encourage, & comfort her. Grant her peace and strength. IJN Amen

Day 102 Victim 159 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, our hearts ache for Victim 159. Nameless to us, You know here well. Grant her mercy in all phases of her life. May her voice be strong, her courage sufficient. May You continue to bless her w/those who encourage & comfort. IJN Amen

Day 103 Alliree Gingerich #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, may Your blessing be upon Alliree today & each day. You know the places of hurt, concern, & fear. Bring her peace, hope, strength in all areas of her life. Bring into her life people of love, hope, & encouragement. IJN Amen

Day 104 Megan Farnsworth #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, our hearts ache for all who have been abused. Today we pray for Megan and her needs. Whatever the situation, bless her work, activities, and healing. Raise up people to walk with and encourage Megan. IJN Amen

Day 105 Kourtney Weidner #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Gracious Lord, may You continue to strengthen Kourtney each day. In loneliness be her Rock, in sadness bring gladness, in despair, bring hope & joy. May she be loved, comforted, & encouraged by those around her. IJN Amen

Day 106 A. N. #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, You know the needs for A. N., her hurts, concerns about the future, her need for love. May You more than meet them. Raise up people to care for and minister to her. Bless her family as well as they live in light of all she has been thru. IJN Amen

Day 107 Charla Burill #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Gracious God, look with favor upon Charla in the days/years ahead. Guide her, provide people to love & care for her. Heal the wounds, comfort her & reassure her of Your love in Jesus. Bless her family as well. IJN Amen

Our prayers continue