Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I love to see Justus' skin against my skin. He has the perfect colored, cafe mocha skin. As you can see by our family picture, Justus has a little more pigment in his skin than the rest of us. How I envy him.
For some people, this is a major issue. Pigment. We get the occasional stare, and even some hurtful comments have been made. But for the most part, our friends, families, and churches have been awesome. We'd like to think that racism no longer lives in our churches. Sadly, the Bacaks know differently. Since adopting a baby who is 1/2 African American, a quarter Korean, and quarter Caucasian, our eyes have been opened to many things.
First our eyes had to be opened to any prejudice that was hiding in us. Before we got Justus, God took us through an introspective process, where we examined every racist influence we'd ever had in our lives. These influences, especially as children, taint our thinking. Racism is a perfect example of generational sin, that until you allow the Spirit to come in and do a work, will continue to be passed on for generations to come. Sin is our legacy.
I remember when I was a little girl, I went shopping at an antique store with my Mom. I fell in love with this doll. I thought she was so beautiful! My Mom surprised me with her on Christmas morning. I'll never forget my great-grandmother's response. She was a woman who loved God, and read her bible. But she used the n-word freely, and she was appalled that I wanted a n-word doll! I didn't understand racism until then. That left a mark on me.
God is so good to root out the ugliness in us when we ask Him to. As the Bride of Christ, it is time to ask Him. We need to admit to the racial attitudes hiding in the deep, dark places in us. It's not okay. James 2:1 says "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others?" How can we?
White skin is considered more precious than brown skin. I know this because our trans-racial adoption cost less than a third of what it costs to adopt a white baby. There is a long list of Christian people waiting for white babies, and a precious handful of those willing to accept a baby of African American descent. The adoption agencies lose money on these adoptions because there just aren't enough families. This hurts me as a Mom, because I look at my three little gifts from God, and I wonder how anyone could not want my little "brown bear", as we call him. He is the equal blessing of my blonde-haired, blue-eyed gifts. This is something I am continuing to learn to deal with, and process. The day is coming when Justus himself will feel the stares, and the insensitive comments and questions. I need to be prepared for that day.
My heart's desire is to see Christians talk about this topic, and break the cycle of the generational sin of racism. I would love your thoughts and comments on how to make this happen.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
This is an article I wrote for the New Life newsletter last fall. (New Life is the pregnancy Crisis Center and adoption agency my Mom works for, and we adopted our son Justus through.) If you are interested in becoming a Shepherding Home for pregnant women, please let us know.
The “Other Side”
I am Cindy Seay’s daughter. Her life work of ministering to pregnant women and placing babies for adoption in loving, Christian homes has permeated my whole family‘s life. After my husband, Rusty, and I had two biological children, we heard a clear call from the Lord to grow our family again through adoption. Working with my Mom in the adoption of our sweet baby boy, Justus, over a year ago was amazing! Getting to see firsthand what New Life means to pregnant women, their families, and to adoptive families touched Rusty and I so much. Rusty, who is a medical doctor, became the medical director for New Life. We wonder how anyone who has experienced the miracle of adoption could remove themselves from this ministry? God’s hand is truly in it.
When my Mom mentioned she was unsuccessfully looking for a Shepherding Home for a pregnant woman, the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear “Why not you?” I had to answer that question, why not me? We have plenty to share, and the scriptures are clear, what we’ve done for those in need, we have done, or NOT done for Christ himself. Rusty and I took a few hours to pray about it. You see, this woman had just been released the day before from the State Jail. This seems like quite a risk to take with three small children in the house. But despite the risk, we felt like God was saying “This is your chance to live your faith, not just talk about it.” So we told my Mom that day that we would take her in. I am so glad we were listening to Him that day! What a life-changing experience this has been for my family! Robin came to live with us almost two months ago, and she has forever changed the lens through which I see life. I have experienced adoption from the “other side”, and every adoptive family should! Robin has become like a member of our family. She has been delivered from her past mistakes by accepting Christ as her Savior. I was able to pray with her for salvation, and spend time in the Word with her almost everyday. I have the privelege of watching her grow in her faith and knowledge of Christ week by week. As a stay-home-Mom, it is ideal. I can’t get out to do many types of ministry outside of the home, but she came to me, where I live in the day-to-day, and by walking together, I am able to minister to her and serve her. I have seen everything through her eyes now, and it has changed me. I was in the birthing room with her, holding her hand, when her beautiful boy Jacob was born. It was a bittersweet moment. What a precious moment, when we lay eyes on the little one who’s been in the warm, hiding place of the womb. But our joy was with quiet tears, knowing that we would only have him for two short days before he joined his sweet family. I empathetically, felt the love and agony of a birth mom in the moment Jacob was born. I also had the joy of announcing his birth to two very proud adoptive parents, and seeing them hold him for the first time with tears in their eyes. I remembered living it from their side, but I was on the “other side” this time, and my heart was full of joy, but heavy at the same time for Robin. I spent those last hours with her holding Jacob for the last time before the placement. I cried with Robin as she signed the papers, and as she handed him to his parents. The finality of it weighed on me, and the peace and sorrow that co-exist in that moment can hardly be described in words. Making an adoption plan for Jacob was undoubtedly the right thing for her to do. Before then, I could only imagine how hard it was. Now I know. I drove her home from the hospital without a baby. We sobbed all the way home. That’s the reality of adoption from the other side.
My love and respect for our birthmother has only intensified. See, our birth mom chose us from the inside of a State Jail as well. She gave birth there, and signed the papers in a jail visit with my mother. When she was released, there was no Shepherding home available. Of course, it was Christmas time, and that is a difficult time to impose on families. She hated to impose on anyone during the holidays. But I can’t help but wonder how her life might have been changed had she had someone there for her to take her in and love her. My Mom picked her up from Jail, took her shopping for clothes and necessities (as they are only released with the state-issued clothes on their backs), and put her up in a motel. New Life bought her a bus ticket home weeks later to join family. They did everything they could to meet her needs and support her. But they are only three women! Three super-women, I admit, but human just the same. They are everything to these women in crisis. Their life-lines. But how drastically different might it have been if someone had taken her in, and lived out Christ’s love in serving her, despite where she’d been, 24/7? Might she know Him as her Savior today?
Some of you may not be sure you want to experience the “other side”. It scares us to feel the emotions of the birthmother too much. I promise you I was scared. But I assure you, as adoptive parents, it will only enrich and deepen the spiritual experience of adoption for you and your family. What New Life has tried to teach us is that you cannot love your child, and not love his/ her birth mother. Having the opportunity to wholeheartedly love and serve Robin has been a gift to our family. She will be staying with us for two more months as she re-builds her life. It is our joy to be used by God to His purpose in her life, and we are humbled by this experience. We have so much to share, and to give. Why not us? Maybe He’s asking you, Why not you?
Monday, June 26, 2006
Wanted to let you all know our exciting news! Emma accepted Christ on Father's Day! Of course, this is the most wonderful Father's Day gift for Rusty ever! (Your child's eternity) She and Rusty have these long talks on the weekends during nap time when all the other kids are sleeping. They have been talking seriously for about 9 months now. I knew she was getting close. Sunday, she and her Daddy were heading off to hang out together and she said "I want to talk about Jesus, Dad." So they did. For a long time. And when they came back, the three of us prayed together. Emma directed the prayer time, as only Emma would. Then when we were done, she hugged us and said "Good job, guys!" I think she thought we were all praying to accept Jesus for the first time! But Rusty and I felt like it was the best job of anything we've done as a parent. How precious to know your child's heart belongs to Him!!!
Since that day, God has 100% confirmed in us that the Holy Spirit takes residence immediately in our hearts. She has a passion to tell others about Jesus. She told us tonight, she just wants to know more about Jesus! She talks about praying on her own, while she's playing, and praying for other people to know Him. God is good, and He lives in my little girl.
I have something I need to get off my chest.
I hate Forwards. You know the little stories that are supposed
to bring a tear to your eye.
Or a goofy picture of a cat reading the newspaper.
Or even the heartfelt, compelling appeals to boycott all the companies
who worship the Devil.
No matter what it is, if it is being sent to numerous people, and passed around,
I don't want it.
If it's a message that you MUST send on, or something bad is going to
happen, definitely do NOT send it to me. I am not afraid to break the chain.
If it is a chain recipe exchange, I will be the person who fails you miserably.
If it's an e-mail about how just simply passing an e-mail around will somehow
get you a new car, or thousands of dollars, I need to break some bad news to you...
It's okay if you like Forwards. We can still be friends.
I think the world is divided into two groups. People who like Forwards,
and people who talk about people who like Forwards.
But some of the people I love most in this world are in that group,
and to you I say "it's okay!"
Just please don't send them to me.
Screech, from the late 80's show Saved By the Bell, needs some help saving his house. It seems that Screech has some bad credit, poor luck with a money guy in New York, and less than a month to pay off $250,000 on his house in Wisconsin.He is selling Screech t shirts to raise the money. For an extra $5 he will autograph it for you.
For those of you who have spent countless hours eating your after-school snack watching this show, and I think you know who you are, I think you owe it to this guy.
Just thought you should know.
A Day at the Ocean
I love the ocean. As I’m walking, holding my little one, and singing to him as we walk along the ocean’s edge, I think to myself ‘It doesn’t get much better than this.’ But it’s more than just paradise, our favorite vacation spot. It’s a spiritual experience. Looking out at the vastness of the ocean, I realize what a picture it is of God. How do people come to the ocean, and not believe in our magnificent Creator? Nature is not this clever. The brilliancy of Creation could only belong to the Almighty.
But beyond that, the ocean speaks to me of our God in elementary, but eloquent terms. As I look out at it, it is boundless. I can’t see where it ends and begins. I stand on a tiny, miniscule piece of it’s edge…so I know it has edges, but they aren’t visible to me, no matter how I look at it. Occasionally, a sailboat, or even a giant cruise ship will meander by, but it seems fairly untouched and untainted by humanity. The deep blue meets only the sky. It’s depths are unknown to me. I’ll never touch the deepest part of it with my toes. I’ll never know the intricacy and beauty of life under the water, even if I swam in it for as many days as David Blain soaked in it. But I revel in the baby pool of ocean I’m on, soaking up the details, marveling at the gift of it.
Walking along our tiny inlet, the further I get to the drop-off, the angrier the waves become. The waves that lap upon our shore are subdued and steady. The sound hypnotic, and beautiful. I would be pleased to just lay in the safety of the inlet and listen to it. But I have to explore closer to the open sea. The waves come harder, and I realize the power and mystery of the ocean I didn’t appreciate further back. It’s something to revere and fear. It’s not as benign as we make it out to be.
The parallels are clear. God even used the imagery of the ocean several times in scripture. But this reminds me so much of my relationship with Him. I could sit on my tiny inlet beach, sip pina coladas, and enjoy a miniscule part of Him, thinking all along this is the whole of Him, the entire ocean. But thankfully, something draws me magnetically closer to Him. I have to go deeper. I have to know more of Him. The more I know, the more I fear and adore Him. His power and mystery are boundless. The waves are at times as smooth as glass, and other times are tumultuous and furious. God is a combination of love and mercy, as well as wrath and justice. Standing in this place, I am all too aware that I can only see a millionth of a fraction of who He is. I trust, that in the life, I will never touch the top of Him with my fingertips, nor the depths of Him with my toes, but I have to try. He’s more majestic than the ocean, which He crafted single-handedly. How long did I sit on my tiny piece of the beach, thinking I had the whole picture? I don’t know, but I’m grateful to know the vast, boundless Creator if it all.
Rusty and I teach a class called Countdown for engaged couples. This is a branch of legacy family ministries led by Bryon and Carla Weathersbee. (legacyfamily.org) The purpose of Countdown is to teach couples what it means to build their marriage on Christ, and make him the rock solid foundation. (Luke 6:48) The topics covered are God's Purpose for Marriage, Roles and Responsibilities, Money Matters, Leaving and Cleaving, Sexual Intimacy, Spiritual Growth, Commitment, and Communication and Conflict Resolution. It is a 9 week class offered every Fall and Spring, and sometimes the summer. If you're interested, or know someone who is engaged and would like more info., let us know!