So John recently read a book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, that was on Walt Mueller's, the president of CPYU (Center for Parents/Youth Understanding), top reading list. He was so encouraged and challenged by it that he recommend I at the very least read the last couple of chapters. The author, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, is a tenured English professor at Syracuse University. DUring her professional years, she was a feminist in every sense of the word, not only an advocate for the gay and lesbian movement, but a lesbian herself, and not a big fan of this religion called Christianity. She was highly educated, successful in every worldly sense of the word and committed.... until the Lord gripped her heart. 'Until, in her late 30s, she encountered something that turned her world upside down- the idea that Christianity, a religion that she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was, an idea that flew in the face of the people and causes that she most loved.'
She is now married to a man who has pursued pastorship, she has four adopted children, she is a foster care parent, and she homeschools while doing minsitry at church, in her neighborhood and amongst those the Lord places in her path. John thought her section on homeschooling and adoption would be very impactful if I read it... so I started with the last two chapters of the book.
Let me just tell you, this is a book about a women's journey in her relationship with the Lord and a testimony to what God can do and does in the lives of people, but out of all the homeschooling and adoption books I have read in the last 3 years, this is now by far my favorite. She is an excellent writer- not a surprise being that she was a tenured English professor, and she puts the Gospel into words so uniquely in the context of normal day busy life, that it has allowed God to stir in my heart a whole host of emotions and has encouraged and challenged me not only where I am at right now in my journey of adoption, homeschooling, parenting and minsitry, but where I want to be... and How much I really want the Lord's plan for my life... no matter how challenging the task may be.
With that being said, I wanted to share a few of the quotes that I feel really made me think... maybe they will make you think too! Would love to hear any thoughts, comments or responses you have as you read below... better yet, read the book, and then let me know what you think? I have decided after reading the final 2 chapters, this book is worth the time and I have started from the beginning.
"A family that never opens its heart never feels
heartbroken. A family that never welcomes in others never misses them when they leave. A family that never embraces life's risks, never really live."
"When God brings children out of neglect, abuse,
dysfunction, gangs, drugs, and hate, and places them in a covenant home, he has just moved a mouton in the hearts and families of men. When God gives a childless couple a child of any age using
the means of his powerful will, he has just moved a mouton in the hearts and families of men. When mountains move, the earth shakes. When you stand as close as we have to real life
miracles, you will get roughed up. Mountains are big and we are small. A moving mountain can crush us. Splinters fall from the cross. They travel a long distance and they pierce the skin - maybe
even the heart. And wrapped in this risk and danger is God's embrace and promise to work all things (even evil ones) to the good of those who love him."
'Because we are Christ's we know that children are not
grafted into a family to resolve our fertility problems or to boost our egos or to complete our family pictures or because we match color or race or nation- status. We know, because we are
Christ's, that adoption is a miracle. In a spiritual sense, it is a miracle at the center of the Christian life. We who are adopted by God are those given a new heart, a
"Anything worth doing will take time and cost you
something...We have decided that we are not inconvenience by the inconvenience... our plans are not sacred."
"But adoption is a complex paradoxical event that combines
loss, brokenness, and rejection with gain, connection and embrace. No child asks to be adopted. No child asks for incompetent or rejecting birth parents. No child asks to be constantly told how
'lucky' he is to be adopted. Wanted or not, adoption always starts with loss. Adoption always combines ambiguous loss with unrequested gain. An adopted child faces this paradox - this ambiguous grief- at
each developmental stage. His or her family must choose to either welcome the complexity or make the child go it alone. We choose to walk alongside our children, even as we don't always
understand how deep or how raw the complexity rests. This journey is frightful."
"Adoption is not just a Christian metaphor or the process by which we become parents: adoption into Christianity is the process by which we claim our heritage."
"Learning to be refreshed in the context of intense labor is important spiritual work."
"God truly gave us what we needed. When Christ was at the center, we learned to draft' off of the word the way cyclist draft off of another cyclist during a long race."
"When Christ is at the center of our marriage, we have been able to maintain a Christ household that ministers to others."
"Desiring children can be a noble pursuit, if it's not God's will then it is simply a more sanctified form of covetousness."
Birth parents that gravitate toward private adoption generally relinguish their own parental rights. Birth parents that choose private adoption usually know their limits and receive the counsel and support that they need to come to this painful and sacrificial decision. Chidlren in the fost care system have birth parents who do not know their limits. They try to parent beyond their means. Some are criminally neglectful and abusive; others are mentally ill or themselves victims of prisons of poverty, abuse, neglect, drugs, and dysfunction. The parental rights of birth parents whose children end up in foster care are usually terminated by a judge, a process that requires documentation over time of abuse or neglect. This lengthy and invasive process can eat up whole childhoods. It costs a lot of money to adopt a child through a private agency and it is 'free' to adopt a child from the public welfare system. At the same time, the moral and fiscal cost of retaining a person in the fost care system for a lifetime is enormous. The question isn't if any of us pays for the cost of orphanhood but when and with what kind of hope left over at the end."
"It is times like this that I am grateful that I am a reformed Christian. I know that I don't choose. God chooses. He rules and he overrules. We walk in faith and (at times) terror, but we walk nonetheless."
"We reminded ourselves that we are not called to covet other people's children."
"Betrayal and risk are at the heart of the gospel life."
Oh... I could go on and on... there are so many more great, thought provoking quotes. I highly recommend this book!