Part of an unwritten goal of mine was just to build more of a community of friends where I live, through church, along with this blog and on twitter. To do that requires meeting people that I’ve met online.
I’m going to go have coffee with a guy tomorrow. I’ve not met him yet, but he seems to be a pretty cool guy from what I could tell with all of the interactions on twitter, and through comments here and replies on his blog. Keith will not be the first, and he’ll definitely not be the last.
Why else am I meeting up with him? It’s simple, really. He’s adopted a child to grow his family, and we want to adopt a child to grow our family. I want to know him, I want to know why he did what he did and I want to hear it come from his mouth. This will hopefully ease some of the pain I have been feeling, but I doubt it. More on that pain in a bit.
Keith shared an incredible video of the adoption process for Mia, and he sent this to me after a failed meet for coffee due to a breakdown in communication. No big deal. So I get this video during the day while I’m at work, and I think great, I’ll get to watch this at home with the family, this will be all happy and butterflies and double rainbows and I’ll feel great…
…I was completely wrong.
The video was exactly that, but how I viewed it was definitely not how I thought I was going to view it. I sit here with pain in my heart. Unbearable, unspeakable pain and as I’m typing this out, the wife and the kids are all asleep. While I was watching the video of the beautiful young Mia, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the reality of orphans. More specifically, the ones who were given up by choice.
I have an extremely difficult time thinking that anybody could willingly damage or hurt their child, even worse giving them up. This hits me hard because I have 3 amazing children, so of course I internalize it. I also look back to an incident with one of them at a daycare (which maybe I’ll share later) and all I could think about was the hurt adult, hurting their child, who hurt mine. So I just sat there as I watched the video, and wept. Suck. Since at this point I can’t really write anything else coherent, I’ll just share the rest of my random thoughts as they come:
From the awkwardness through puberty, to the teasing in the locker rooms.
From the overworked parent, to the feeling of loneliness and neglect.
From the separation of parents, to the split and somber holidays.
From the fatherless home, to the promiscuity that follows.
From the motherless home, to the abuse that is justified.
From the cigarettes and lighter, to the open bottle of beer on the table.
From the magazines under the counter to the bookmarked sites on the computer.
From the screaming and yelling, to the abuse and unexplained bruises on their back
From the adult who needs satisfy a “need,” to the unwanted acceleration from child to adulthood.
To the child of God who has, was, or is hearing or thinking this all right now.
Oh how I wish someone could have protected you.
*disclaimer: I’ve noticed that I’ve written a lot of the real me, or actually, the real 50% of me. Here’s a glimpse of the other 50%. This is the side I don’t like to let out but I know I need to, so as to be truly authentic and as transparent as I can totally be.
Keith was ever so kind enough to let me share the video with you all here:
Love the rawness of this post Ben. I know it’s tough to write stuff like this, that you feel is unpolished or raw, but when you write from the heart it shows and this was one of those times. Thanks for sharing your heart and your passion tonight. And thanks for sharing the other 50% – I dig it.
To be honest, it’s kind of been tough even reading these comments throughout the day. Thanks for allowing me to share.
Ben, thank you for opening yourself up. It showed in the post man. Hopefully one day I make it on your list.
Absolutely man, it would be an honor. I’d only ask that you write my name on a napkin so I can frame it.
The pain in your heart for orphans is a fraction of the pain God has for all his children. I have great admiration for Jason and others who have adopted children and gave them a family that loves them and teaches them that God created them and loves them.
Your passion reflects the Savior dwellin in you.
I can only hope I can continue reflecting, thanks for your encouragement Allen.
Beautiful stuff man. The orphan issue is breaking me right now. After !C//Orphan, I can’t get stories and stats and faces out of my mind. It’s so heavy. My friend and pastor said it best, “that weight we feel? That’s the Spirit of God and it’s crushing us. Crushing us in the most beautiful of ways.”
>>That’s the Spirit of God and it’s crushing us. Crushing us in the most beautiful of ways.
That is so true, my friend. So true, indeed.
Ben, raw is real. So glad you have that courage and candor. The child who adopts you and Kim will be ever so lucky!
“The child who adopts you.”
Love that Cheryl, I’m keeping it.
I was telling my mom about your adoption posts last night. About how the countries warn you up front that you’re probably not going to get a “perfect” child, but one that already has lots of issues that the adoptive family needs to be prepared in many different ways for that child to come in and rock their world. It’s good that you have time now to prepare for the steps you are taking. It’s good to talk to other people who have forged those paths before you. It’s good to have reality square in your windshield. Thanks for sharing, Ben!
Thanks Sandy, it’s interesting too what these other countries call “issues,” and how Americans in general are so forgiving in that aspect.
Ben thanks for sharing this man. I have a lot of the same feelings you do. As my wife and I talk adaption our eyes are opened more and more to the reality that there are many many kids out there needing and wanting love. We wish that we could help them all, but we cannot. So we pray for them and also that the Lord would use as his tools to change the lives we can.
“Changing the lives you can.” Hold on to that and don’t let fear stop you from trying even though it may not seem to make a dent.
dude, when are we going to grab coffee? that would be sweet!
ben, thanks for this post. I appreciate the transparency right here. It shows for sure. Thanks for sharing your life with us.
Judging by what I think your new commute might be, I’m thinking we’d have to do a weekend get-together. BBQ tri-tip, red velvet, southern mac n cheese, oh man.
Thanks for letting me share, and engaging in this community. It makes it all worth it.
yeah we’ll figure something out for sure. or, i could always do an early morning a’retta coffee stop…
So powerful. My spirit is raging and weeping right now, a steady mixture of God’s love and His anger at our ambivalence to our children.
My God, my God, what have we become? We flush our babies down toilets. We abandon them to the clutches of the orphan spirit. Why? How can You suffer this? Your mercy is limitless, and everything is in Your hands, to be sure. But…show us what to do about this. We need Your wisdom, strength, and favor in making Your Fatherhood matter.
Ben, this is great stuff. Honest and poignant.
Ben, my man. You have shown what it’s like to be a real man. A man after God’s own heart. A man who is not only willing to defend, protect his own family, but who cares for those who are not your own.
I know what is like to not have a father who gave an ounce of love towards me. Guy boogied on me and mom (she was 17). I don’t know what is like to have a dad. Let me tell you, it ain’t cool.
This is why I heart you my buddy. Keep doing what you are doing.
Thanks Moe, you’ve been a huge blessing in email/twitter conversation. I appreciate your honesty and can’t wait to have that cup ‘o joe w/ you in October.
Transparency to the max, son. Thank you for having the courage to share and being soooo sensitive to the Spirit speaking to your heart. Loving it!
Thanks for being my #1 fan, along with moms 🙂
Everyone needs a loving earthly father and mother – this is God’s design. I too Moe had an absent father and God graciously sent me a Godly substitute. I thank Him every day for my step father and pray that more children will experience God’s love the way He designed it. This is why we encourage you Ben to continue in your quest. There is so much love in you to give.
Thanks Mom, being my #1 fan along with Dad and encouraging me to write have been such a blessing.
I can’t wait for you guys to meet your new grandchild!
It’s good to see you wrestling with this. It’s, no doubt, the work of God in your life. It’s part of God’s preparing.
For some parents in the world (primarily among the poorest and oppressed), the most loving, sacrificial act they believe they can commit is giving their child a chance. And that chance means placing their child in another’s care (which tends to be an institution).
This is especially true of the poorest in the world, whose children are born with medical needs. They simply have no possible way to care for their special needs child and survive.
There is a broad spectrum of reasons people choose to place their child in another’s care. Some good. Some bad. We can see the grieving children in the world, but there are a lot of mothers in the world silently grieving, as well.
Our role, no matter the reason for placing a child, is to be an instrument for God to help and heal.
It can be through adoption. Through foster care. Through ministry. Or missions. That’s what we have the ability and responsibility to do.
Hope this helps! Keep wrestling!
PS – You were too kind in your post! Your readers should know that I was the one that completely screwed up our meeting. And I feel like an ass.
LOL Keith, we’re dudes. We don’t communicate but with grunts and head nods. Plus I’ll enjoy a Venti quad pump white chocolate mocha on you, so it’s all good.
Wrestling, indeed. Both my wife and I have been crushed by the weight of this, I’m hoping you’ll hear from her soon on her blog, she’s been writing like crazy.
Also, I’m actually surprised you’re the only one who brought the “circumstances” of why children are given up, which is why I tried to make it point more specifically to the ones who were neglected.
I sob for the silent grieving women, just the same.
This is so awesome bro. I have a heart for adoption as well. As the body of Christ, my prayer is that we would spend more energy on adoption than we do on abortion. Abortion is a symptom of a larger issue, the spirit of adoption is the solution.
Oh and I’m super jealous. I met Keith online awhile back and he’s a great guy with fantastic ideas and a great blog. I’d love to meet him. Maybe one day I’ll be able to connect with both of you guys.
Tony, it would be freakin awesome to meet up with you, you’re not too far just drive down! hah!
The larger issue stems even deeper than that, it’s huge…but not bigger than He. With hearts like yours, and the rest of community we can all go on this journey together, then when it’s your turn, it’ll be yet another journey.
Bro, I think real men are born when they become fathers. I can hardly put into words the fear and strength that simultaneously flowed through me when I held our daughter for the first time. I wasn’t just K.C. anymore. I was Dad. There is defifnitely that protective bear instinct and can’t fathom a parent who would harm a child.
Thank you for being transparent and vulernable. You’re a good man, Ben.
Oh man, the first father-daughter dance when she’s minutes out of the womb. Priceless.
KC, as iron sharpens iron, so your words encourage and motivate me. Thank you for allowing me to share.
Wow. Really appreciate your transparency Ben. Your heart for orphans and children in general is becoming rare these days. I appreciate you man.
Thanks Justin, even though I’m just getting to know you through your writing and on twitter, already I appreciate what you’ve shared in your journey, a definite motivator. Thank you.
That’s beautiful man!!! (sorry for the double comments, this video just touches the heart).
Double comments all the way.
Moe, you can comment as many times as you want man!
KEITH – THANKS FOR SHARING THE AWESOME VIDEO!!! There is so much to look forward to in the whole process, and to think it’s only the beginning. God bless you and your family.
Ben – I understand a little bit of what you mean. I remember going to Beijing and Guangzhou and looking at the masses of people…whoever God has planned for you and your family….it’s all good. To think out of the whole world, God has one just for you and Kim…and Jackson…and Kiersten…and Madison…and the whole family…. can’t wait. 🙂
I am sure I am not the only one that has been moved to tears by this post and beautiful video shared by Keith and his family. Thank you Ben for sharing a side that I don’t get to see often. Proud of you, and this chapter in your life speaks volumes of the work God has done in your life. Love ya dude.
Thanks Cyn, it means a lot. I’m so glad you’re a part of our lives, and we’re able to share this journey with you. God’s done an AMAZING work in my life, amen.
Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it can open you up to thoughts and feelings that you did not have before. Thanks for being real about it.
Matt, thank You for participating in this with me. These thoughts and feelings have been there, but now they’re amplified…to 11.
Powerful stuff. I cried through the whole video. Thanks for sharing this with us. Being someone who is adopted, I thing I think about a lot is not necessarily the orphans (although I do) but the mothers who have actually given up their children voluntarily or not. My heart goes out to the mothers who have to live with the pain and loss of a child. I often wonder about the fathers as well. I never have met my biological dad but I often wonder if he is thinking about me or if he would ever want to meet me? Thanks again for sharing this; especially thanks for sharing ‘you’ with us all.
Like I shared with Keith, I’m right there with you.
Thanks for allowing me to share, and for sharing your story as well.
Awesome man. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. I will say that I’ve seen SO many kids here in detroit destroyed by their parents that I wish they had been given up for adoption. It’s not always the evil choice.
Yeah I’m with you Mo, and I know what you’re talking about. Like I mentioned earlier I was focusing more on the neglected ones, but I do know and feel for the widows/single mothers as well, if not just the same.
Ben, I know I don’t know you that well. But, I really do hear your heart in this post and so appreciate your candor, honesty, and transparency. It’s obvious to me that God is using this adoption process to bring healing in your own life. He’s so good like that, huh?
I once heard that adoption is probably the single greatest way that we can show God’s love to another human being. After all, He adopted us into His family.
Also, I know of a family who has endured a lot of heartache due to their adopted (now grown) child. When asked if they regretted it, the father’s response was: “I never expected anything from this adoption. I only wanted to see this child come to know Christ.” Knowing that he still feels that way after all the hurt and pain he has endured, just breaks my heart because it is such an amazing example of Christ’s love.
Wow that’s awesome, as a family Kim and I can only hope for 3 things: They love God, they love each other, and they love us. Unconditionally.
Thank you for your words Keri 🙂
Ben, I think that when we come from situations (and a lot of us do) where we’ve been mistreated, abandoned, hurt, and failed…we want better for kids. We don’t want them to go through what we had to endure. And orphans go through a lot more than I ever did. It breaks my heart. I can’t adopt, but somehow I still want to help orphans. All I can do right now is pray for them. Sometimes I can give to others who are adopting when we have the funds. But someday, I’d like to help an orphanage first hand. I don’t know if that’s Gods call for me though. So for now, I weep with those who weep. I rejoice with those who rejoice. As a church, we embrace those who are adopting. We reach our hands out and love them and care for them and support those facing adoption. The pain is devastating. I will never be the same after going through adoption classes. I didn’t even see an orphan, but I heard all the stories, read the books, watched the videos and my heart still hurts for them. I can’t go to Haiti, but I can do things for kids in my own neighborhood. I can pray for my kids. I can pray for the school. I can reach out at church. I can help adoptive parents. I wish I could do more…but we can trust that God is able to do more than we could ever hope or imagine. I trust in that. I trust the pain that we see in these little lives are not for nothing. I know God is enough, but I’ll keep on praying and going where He leads me. It’s breaks Gods heart too. The things that we endured as kids broke Gods heart. But He doesn’t just abandon us. He uses our pain for His good purposes. I think He continues to peel away our layers the more we know Him. I have a lot to work through too coming from a jacked up homelife. It sucks, but I’m glad God can still use me. My heart broke but now its broken for what breaks His heart. I feel that in your post too.
by the way, the video isn’t coming up for me. Maybe its because I’m on firefox.
Ok, finally, my second attempt at posting (though several days later)… I’ve never dealt with adoption and the emotional roller coaster I imagine it to be but I have dealt with a step-daughter, the mother that has since abandoned her and that emotional roller coaster. It’s sad to say and admit but, in this case, it’s been a blessing that her mom has more or less disappeared out of her life – she’s been able to grow, experience life in a positive setting and maybe most importantly, receive unconditional love in a safe, loving environment.
Jo, you guys do such an amazing job and our kids LOVE your step-daughter when she babysits. The unconditional love…it definitely shows 🙂