A Final Tally on the Alternative Baby Shower

Posted in all about me, alternative baby shower, God's Kids, Orphan Care with tags , , , on January 9, 2008 by len20

Baby AnnouncementI’m so happy to announce that Madelyn raised $900 for orphaned children!

To all of you who sent gifts, thank you! I’m going to leave the donation link up on my profile page for a little while longer just in case someone wants to put us over $1,000.

The Alternative Baby Shower has been a lot of fun to promote, and as you can see, Maddie is tickled pink by the results.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Charles Taylor is back on trial – the man is pure evil

Posted in Africa, Current events, Media with tags , , on January 7, 2008 by len20

Charles Tayor on trialI noticed that Charles Taylor is back on trial today. If you don’t know his brand of evil you can read about it in this CNN article.

Taylor, who was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, sexual slavery and violence, and enslavement. He also faces five counts of war crimes, including acts of terrorism and torture, and one count of other serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Taylor, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is accused of fueling a bloody civil war in Sierra Leone that led to widespread murder, rape, and mutilation.

The remnants of his brutality are still very plain to see in Liberia. In addition to the bullet holes in buildings, the absence of electricity or running water, and the 80% unemployment, there is no shortage of homeless teenagers and twenty-somethings with missing limbs and appendages from serving as child soldiers in his war.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Is It All About the Money?

Posted in God's Kids, Ministry with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2007 by len20

I don’t know how many email coupons I’ve received this month – somewhere in the neighborhood of 47 gazillion, I think. Half of them were from Barnes and Noble alone. This is an exhausting month to be a consumer.

It’s an equally exhausting month to be a donor. Non-profits look at December with big, hungry eyes too. I know that some ministries get up to 70% of their donations in the last quarter of the year, and a majority of that comes in December. If I’ve been sent 47 gazillion coupons in my in-box, then I know I’ve received at least 64 gazillion emails from other ministries (doing great things, by the way) telling me that now is the time to give. We’re no different.

We’ve been counting on December to be a great month for us, but this has been a tough year for the economy and non-profits like ours are feeling the effects. This USA Today article about charities struggling this year supports what I’m feeling. The bad housing market has cut into our income big time.

I think I’m struggling to balance our fundraising needs with the feeling that sometimes we’re just adding to the noise that everyone else is making about where people should put their money. It’s hard. We sit around in staff meetings looking at the commitments we’ve made in the field and ask ourselves if we’ve done everything we can to bring in donations. The answer is usually, no. We could always send out another email blast, or mail more giving catalogs, or speak in more churches, but when is it too much? When do we reach the point of turning people off because we’re beating them over the head and they’re tired of it?

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Maddie Has Raised $675 For Third World Orphans

Posted in all about me, alternative baby shower, God's Kids, Orphan Care with tags , , , on December 20, 2007 by len20

We’re at $675 for the Alternative Baby Shower. I’m pumped! Lot’s of our family and friends have contributed including Men in the Making, the small group I’m a part of that focuses on our roles as young husbands. Thanks, guys!

The shower will continue through December. I’d love to top $1,000! If you’re interested in helping us get there, check it out.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Stakeholders in the American Adoption System – Identify Yourselves

Posted in Adoption, Orphan Care with tags , , , on December 19, 2007 by len20

I’ve really enjoyed the discussion happening on the “Is the Adoption Discussion One-Sided?” post. Aside from just enjoying a good discussion, I really think that we are all motivated by our compassion for kids and our desire to improve the parts of the system (in this case, the adoption system) that can be improved.

I’d like to propose that we air out some more of our laundry by identifying the stakeholders in the adoption discussion. I’ll make an effort to name the major players and give a brief description of their perspective. Then it’s open season to add, subtract, correct, and criticize. I have not included the ugliest players in the adoption game – those who use the system to exploit and abuse helpless children. I do not consider them to be stakeholders in this discussion; I consider them to be garbage.

Here we go.

1. Generation X Adoptees – adults age 25-40 who were adopted

Perspective: The American adoption system is good, but not great, certainly not perfect. While they may feel that they grew up in a loving home and were a welcome member of the family with brothers, sisters, mom and dad, they acknowledge that being adopted has had an effect on them (for better or for worse) that many would prefer (from their perspective) to glaze over. Being adopted hasn’t made them just like everyone else with a loving family; this part of their identity has made them unique. They are unique emotionally, psychologically, and with regard to developing their family tree. They are ready to embrace this uniqueness.

2. Baby Boomer Adoptive Parents – adults age 41-60 who have adopted children into their family

Perspective: Adoption has changed their lives for the better. The American adoption system is far from perfect primarily because of the expense and bureaucracy that prevents loving, well-intentioned parents from adopting more children. They adopted for a variety of reasons including a sincere desire to have a family of their own and to provide a safe, loving home for children who needed help. They consider their adopted children their own children and would ideally like to believe that their adopted children feel no differently about their membership in the family and self-identity than any biological children. Because adoption has been such a deeply personal and fulfilling part of their lives, criticism of adoption can be hurtful given that they adopted with the best of intentions.

3. Baby Boomer Biological Moms – adults age 41-60 who have given up a child to adoption

Perspective: I think this may be a mix. I know that there are women who are dealing with serious emotional and psychological pain after giving up their child possibly decades ago. They would love to have that decision back, to do it over, to do it better. They either have or would like to reunite with their biological children. They want to talk with them, to tell them who they are and to discover who their children are. On the other hand, I also think there are women who have found peace with their decision knowing that they made the decision in the best interest of the child. I need more help with this one.

4. Generation X Prospective Adoptive Parents – Adults age 25-40 who are considering adopting

Perspective: They are passionate about finding solutions to the great problems in the world – poverty, oppression, injustice. Vulnerable children are a focal point for their compassion. However, they have heard stories of adoptions that have not turned out well, and are more aware of potential negative outcomes than previous generations. They are afraid of doing more harm than good in their own lives and the lives of the children they would adopt.

5. Generation Y Orphans – 143 million orphaned children under age 18.

Perspective: Their perspective is probably still being formed. I believe our responsibility is to figure out how to best serve them.

6. Who Have I Forgotten?

Alright, let’s hear from you. Tear it up.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Nearing the $500 mark with the Alternative Baby Shower

Posted in alternative baby shower, God's Kids, Orphan Care with tags , , , on December 17, 2007 by len20

More family and friends contributed to the Alternative Baby Shower this weekend and we’re close to $500. Madelyn has raised $445 to be exact. The baby shower will continue through this month, I’d love to break $1,000! If you’d like to help us get there, go to my staff page on the God’s Kids website.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Is the Adoption Discussion One-Sided?

Posted in Adoption, family with tags , , , , on December 14, 2007 by len20

I’ve recently been getting the idea that the adoption discussion has more characteristics of a monologue from one set of stakeholders than a dialog between several different perspectives. First, there was Reunionwritings reaction to my previous post, “Study: Adoption Not Harmful to Child’s Self-Esteem” which spun the news article’s idea around on its head to look at it from the biological mom’s perspective rather than the child’s. Second, Sang-Shil’s comments on the same post asks us to seek out the perspectives of those that may not feel that adoption is “the win-win-win solution that many claim it to be.”

Finally, I ran across an article today by Elizabeth Larsen in which she argues that people who are critical of adoption are not given the same opportunity to be heard. She emphasizes the perspectives of adoptees, birth families, and adoptive parents. She writes,

I think when it comes to adoption, American adoptive parents (myself included) steer the discourse. We direct adoption agencies and think tanks. We write the home studies of prospective adoptive parents. We are policy experts and doctors and academics and journalists. We are passionate about adoption—an institution that has given us so much—and therein lies the problem: In our passion, we sometimes shield ourselves from larger discussions about the toll that adoption can take, a discussion that is in fact gaining traction across the globe. And in doing so, we are preventing adoption from evolving.

My question is, why would there be such a disparity in the dialog? Is there a lack of people listening, or a lack of people speaking?

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank