The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Is It Ethical To Pay Up To $40,000 For An International Adoption: The ABBA Fund

We have a friend down in the States who works for an organization that offers interest-free loans (did you know there was such a thing?!) for adoptions. He also writes a blog called The ABBA Fund blog. It is really informative and I love that it is frequently updated.

The current topic (a 4 part entry/debate) addresses the topic of whether it is ethical to pay large sums of money for international adoptions. Jason says that a year ago he would have argued that no, we should adopt within our own country as there are so many kids in "the system" right now. However, his heart has been changed as of late and I think his arguments are extremelly thought-provoking...not to mention informative.

Here are a few lines from Part 4 of his argument:

"But $40,000 could save an entire village! Wouldn’t that be what Jesus would do, rather than take one child out of his family and culture?

If a child is in an orphanage his family is not willing or capable of taking care of him. He could remain where he is at and stay within his culture but we need to look at what the implications of that would be. The first thing I think of is the personal story of Solomon that I posted here. Solomon is an orphan in the Kolfe Boys orphanage in Ethiopia. Within the next year he will turn 18 and will be let out of the orphanage with $400. He will be alone with no one to care for him and no one to help him. His culture will provide barely any benefit to him outside those orphanage walls. In many countries orphans are seen as members of the lowest social class (along with beggars, prostitutes, the homeless, crippled, etc) and therefore face many hostilities the rest of their lives. A friend of mine said, by adopting these orphans, “We are not just helping one child. We are breaking a cycle of GENERATIONS of poverty, girls have no choice but prostitution, boys having to live a life of crime on the streets, having no chance at education and therefore an “out” to poverty, more orphans resulting from that poverty, and on and on.”"

I would really encourage you to read Parts 1-3 and also to visit his blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Brotherly Love. Growing Up Together

I love watching the boys become closer and closer friends as they grow up.
Here are a few recent shots.

Fun at the camp

They've started sharing a room...
some nights it works well...
and other nights...well...
it's cramped.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Racism Prevalence...The Silent Truth

As I read more and more on transracial (or inter-racial) adoption, I come across many articles discussing the "unspoken racism" around North America, specifically. While we wish to teach our children that everyone is equal and no one is "better" than anyone else, our actions of course speak louder than our words. I am constantly surprised to listen as Noah mimicks a gesture or repeats a phrase I recently mumbled. His eyes roll back in his head when Tait's done something he is not supposed to, as if to say "oh no, not again"! Or, "you're not getting down 'till you're done Mister"! Yikes! What else is he picking up from us.

We talk about our "baby sister" who is coming from far away. We talk about how it will take a long time to get her here. Last night Ben and I went out on a date and when I told Noah we would be going out and he and Tait would stay home w/ friends he asked me, "to have a meeting about our baby seester?". Wow.

So now my question is, what will the boys think when she finally arrives and her skin is different. We do our best to teach them that just because someone is smaller, bigger, has different colour hair (or skin!) they are our friend. But how are we, as parents modeling this? Our boys do not play with dolls and their cars are all different colours but somehow I don't think this counts. How are we modeling the acceptance, appreciation, and respect for people who do not look exactly the same as us? Something to think about. Something to work on.

I just read an article from a site/blog I have been frequenting called "Anti-Racist Parent". Enjoy some excerpts from the article below, written by Natasha Sky.

"Here’s a real-life parallel example: a site that hosts pre-adoptive parent profiles*, families waiting for domestic–usually infant–adoption (NOTE: this site only accepts heterosexual, married couples–and most are Christian as well). Of the hundreds of currently listed waiting families:
  • 88% would ‘accept’ a White baby
  • 33% would ‘accept’ a South American or Hispanic baby
  • 28% would ‘accept’ an Asian baby
  • 26% would ‘accept’ a Native American baby
  • 14% would ‘accept’ a Black baby

I ran these same stats for an article I wrote two years ago, and the numbers were just about the same. For biracial babies (White/____) the numbers of families willing to ‘accept’ a child rises. Adoptive parents still think raising a part-White biracial child will be easier, less complicated, than raising a ‘full’ (for example) African American child. (Ha!)

There are also the corollary international adoption statistics. The top 10 ’sending’ countries for 2006 provided U.S. families with 18,290 new children through international adoption. By region of the world, these children are from:

  • 43% from Asia (China, Korea, India)
  • 26% from Eastern Europe (Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine)
  • 24% from Central and South America (Guatemala, Colombia)
  • 7% from Africa (Ethiopia, Liberia)
* NOTE: Finding accurate statistics for domestic adoption is impossible. Statistics are collected for almost all states for foster care adoption, but infant adoption is regulated by individual states, and neither states nor the federal government collect these statistics."

The blog and it's stats and info are American but you get the point.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Privilege & Responsibility

Courtesy of Natasha Sky:

I do not want my kids to grow up thinking they are simply ‘lucky’ and other kids are ‘unlucky’. It’s definitely not that simple. There are individual and institutional daily choices being made (as they have been for hundreds of years) that consistently privilege certain groups of people above others. People are privileged based on race (both perceived and actual), skin tone, gender, sexuality, religion, income, education, marital status, and physical ability, to name some of the most common factors.

I believe those of us who find ourselves more privileged in this world do owe something to those who are less privileged. I often wonder what would happen if we each did all we could for those who–for whatever reasons–have less privilege today than we do. What does true activism look like? Is it enough to speak out against offensive jokes and comments, to be an anti-racist parent, and to purchase a cartful of groceries for the food-shelf once a month? Can I expect the world to change if I am not working towards that change myself? Can I expect someone else to step up and do something I myself am unwilling to do?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday Noah

Well, there it is. My youngest is 3. He gets more and more thoughtful everyday...and he mimicks me more and more everyday...this is not always a good thing. Overall, Noah has the sweetest disposition I think a toddler could have...biased maybe?

We were shoveling bark mulch yesterday, me with the big shovel and Noah with his tiny hand held "tonka" shovel. "Tanx for helping, Mama. You're doing good work," he would say, periodically. No problem, bud.

The theme this year was Cars.
Noah is slightly obsessed (as I hear many boys his age are,)
with tiny cars. I would say he cashed in. Our friend,
Tracy created the most incredible of cakes and the look on Noah's face when he saw the "Mator" that he would soon be allowed to eat was priceless.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Open House 2008

Yesterday was a big day in the Keizer household. I gave Tait his first haircut...bye bye curls...and...

Qwanoes had it's annual Open House. Typically the weather is inclement but yesterday was the exception! It was incredible. Attendance around 1200, people were spread out as far as we could see. In a way it reminded me of Disneyland w/ the happy "kiddies noises". One friend bravely brought her 3 kids (around 5yrs and under) by herself and her eldest, when he found out it was time to leave, started running away from her yelling, "I'm never going home!" I think that's hilarious.

The boys had a great time running around, playing with staff (a definite bonus in the summer!) and the 3 of us got our faces painted...ironically with a sun.

On the adoption front, I have my homestudy meeting w/ our social worker alone on Monday...and it will be our 6th one! Yay!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


"We don't regret what we do in our life.
We regret what we don't do."
-Randy Pausch

So live your dreams, people.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Photos For African Orphans

My Dad was telling me about this photographer he read about lately, Grant Faint. Faint was originally recruited by the reknown company, Geddes Images. I believe he still works for them, however, he has another mission in mind.

Faint takes incredible (!!) photos of people, animals, scenery from the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia and he has posted the best and his favourites on his site. Here is what seals the deal: the cost is $49 for 1 photo (it's a huge photo), plus postage. But, the photos are sold by donation. The $49 is a guideline so you know the minimum cost of "production". If you want to pay more for a photo you can (and should!). And, while he does not state the cost of postage he does say that it is not included in the $49. He will actually eat the cost of postage if you do not pay it!!!

So, why not barely pay for the cost of the photo and then skip paying for postage. YOUR CONSCIENCE for one. The second reason is that 100% (yes people, 100%!) of the proceeds from each photo sold goes to Orphan Children in Tanzania. Now who does that nowadays? When everyone is out there to make an extra buck or two, this guy is giving it all back, (and then some) to these african children (who are likely happy spirited kids) who have lost their parents to aids.

I guess you don't have to actually be living in Africa to be an African Missionary.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Inspiration Through Tragedy

Ben just told me that since the death of Stephen Curtis Chapman's youngest adopted daughter, 5 year old Maria Sue, Shaohannah's Hope (the foundation established with the adoption of his first daughter) has raised $310,000. This money goes to families who are seeking the journey of adoption but cannot financially afford it. Thus far about 1,700 families have been given grants! How inspiring that such an overwhelmingly tragic event can bless others in such a life changing way. She passed away less than two weeks ago.

I would encourage you to visit Shaohannah's Hope (site). I would encourage you to listen to Stephen Curtis' newly released song, Cinderella Man (the extended version was released only a few days after Maria Sue's death). And, I would encourage you to give. In some small way, in whatever form it might take. Give.

Remembering Maria
"Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight, and she'll be gone."

Maria Sue Chapman, adopted and youngest daughter to Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, was killed in a tragic accident in the family driveway. She was LifeFlighted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, but for only reasons God can explain, she went home to Him on May 21, 2008. The Chapmans have set up Maria's Miracle Fund in memory and honor of little Maria Sue.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sharing Our Story So Far

"We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying god in all spheres of life"
- John Piper

We had the privilege of sharing our Adoption Journey thus far with our Warmland Church family and friends on Sunday. As Ben and I were preparing our short slideshow (which I hope to post soon!) as well as some "hard facts" and other tidbits about us and Ethiopia, we came across many adoption advocates. Isn't it interesting how there are things we want to say but it often seems we cannot find the "right" words. Then, we find a quote and everything seems so simple.

Please visit the link below and understand some of the joy that many families have's what makes it all worth it!

PS: 4th Home Study Session completed yesterday...only 4 or 5 to go!