Monday, December 14, 2015

The Story of One Brave Family


I read this and had to share.

In I am alive today because my Chinese mother broke the law & gave birth to me, Lisa Smiley shares the heartbreaking and heartwarming story of what her family had to do to protect her and her siblings from China's oppressive one-child policy.  She explains how the recent change to a two-child policy will likely not end the abusive treatment of mothers and forced sterilizations and abortions. 

She also links to the story that came out a few years back of Feng Jianmei. When Feng was 7 months pregnant with her second child, she and her husband were unable to pay the $6,300 fine, so she was taken, blindfolded, and forced to abort their child. The photo of her laying on the hospital bed next to her dead child went viral. You can find it here, although I won't be sharing it on my blog because I find it too disturbing. :(  And this is just ONE example, the New York Times elaborated.  

I post this story to open some eyes. Even I, who traveled to China and adopted a precious little boy, was unaware of just how awful the enforcement of the one-child policy could be.

Human rights violations are happening all over the world.  When I taught, I remember being so frustrated, thinking These kids don't know how lucky they are to be born in the US, to be receiving a free education, to have access to food and health care, to enjoy so many freedoms that other countries don't have…  If you're like me, you may find it easier sometimes to just ignore. I know, that doesn't sound nice, but this stuff keeps me up at night.  It makes me feel so heartbroken and helpless...

I wish I could solve it all. But I don't have the answers, folks. Other than prayer. And if you ARE in a position to help or bring about change, please do.

Much Love, -Becky


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thank You and More

It's been quiet on here for a few months…sorry…that happens…a lot… ;)
But I had to say, THANK YOU to everyone after my last post. I've been overwhelmed and humbled by how positive, understanding, supportive everyone has been! I'm seriously shocked at the wonderful response! :)
Since then I've seen so many powerful prolife posts, quotes, and other stories. Today, there are many wonderful resources for women suffering from past abortions. Some are large organizations. Some are individual speakers sharing their personal experiences...


I'm so lucky to live in a time when the prolife movement recognizes the need for compassion, healing, and peaceful change. (And for my pro-choice readers: Before you exclaim, Peaceful, Whaaaa??? Did you not see what happened in Colorado?!?!  Remember, the actions of a few don't define the intentions of all. A few bad teachers make all teachers look bad. A few radicalized Muslims make all Muslims look bad. A few extreme anti-abortionists make all pro-lifers look bad…)

It still makes me so sad when I hear women defend abortion and abortion providers. How can two people look at the same image and each see something totally different? I'm reminded of the dress drama a while back. Remember that? White and gold? Or blue and black? Unfortunately, this time the issue is a little more serious…

I look at the ultrasound picture on the left and see a baby, while others see a "clump of cells," "products of conception," or "pregnancy tissue." I'm truly amazed at how perspectives can differ so greatly. I wonder how this is possible, especially for women who have carried a child until birth?  How can one feel the kicks, flips, and hiccups, and not think this is a live human being?  How can one see the face, arms, legs, fingers, and toes, and still deny the child's existence?  And what happens when we hear the thump, thump of the heart beat and the whoosh of the amniotic fluid?  How can we still refuse to believe?  Sometimes differences of perspective can create a more colorful world, but sometimes they can be deadly. At one point in history, blacks weren't considered deserving of human rights.  At one point, Jews weren't considered deserving of human rights…

The cynical side of me thinks it may be intentional blindness: If I refuse to admit that this is a real-life child, then I don't have to feel guilty when I get rid of it. I understand this because I felt this way after I had Blake. Giving birth to him didn't automatically make me prolife.  I mentioned before that I stubbornly clung to the belief that since it's legal, it's cool.  If we just refuse to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn, then it's no big deal to get rid of them, right?  Thankfully, my heart softened and I accepted the truth. I pray that others can eventually understand this, too.  There seems to be so much anger and defensiveness on the pro-choice side.  I wish everyone can feel the peace and hope on "the other side."

I try to focus on the positive side of this issue, but every so often I'll come across a prochoice argument that breaks my heart…
"My body, my choice" - Actually, the mother is the vehicle by which a child enters the world.  The unborn child is a separate individual with his/her own unique set of DNA. Ever known a women with two sets of DNA? Two hearts? Two brains? Two livers?
"The fetus can't remember anything from 'it's' time in the womb. Plus, 'it's' just a parasite, completely dependent on the mom." - Yikes, if we follow this logic, we open the door up to much more killing! I don't know about you, but I can't remember anything from, like, the first 4 years of my life. And I was completely dependent on my parents at that time too, so I guess we're all fair game until elementary school, eh?  Plus, have you ever been unconscious? Under general anesthesia? Asleep??? Can you remember everything from when you were out?  And what about those dealing with disabilities and dependent on others for basic care? Should we be able to off them too? What if it's only temporary? For, say, like 9 months?
" 'It's' not a baby! 'It's' a fetus!" - I never really cared much for the name game. Call him a fetus. Call him a baby. Call him a potato, for all I care! What's in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet…. ;)  It doesn't change the fact that his life has value. I mean, if his tissue does, shouldn't his life??? Can I get an AMEN!!! ;) ;) ;)

The sad truth is ABORTION KILLS ONE, HURTS ANOTHER.  In fact, it probably hurts more than just one other, too.  What about the father? The grandparents? Too many have been fooled into thinking that having an abortion is a part of women's health.  But there's nothing "healthy"about having an abortion - physically or mentally. There is plenty of medical and psychological evidence that reveals the short-term and long-term risks. Kristi Burton Brown elaborates on this in her 10 Reasons Not to Have an Abortion. (You can also find more here, here, and here.) But it's not just unhealthy for mom and baby, it also hurts the doctors, nurses, and staff who work in the clinics. No one just walks away from this and forgets.  An unplanned pregnancy is a crisis of not one life, but two.  Unfortunately, when a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy enters an abortion facility, they don't see a woman in crisis, they see dollars signs.  For them, she's just a line on a spreadsheet.

I was so disturbed when I saw a recent popular tv show promoting abortion and it's largest provider, Planned Parenthood. I don't get to watch tv that often (thank you, 5 kids. ;) ) But I did hear about it and saw a few stills online and I wondered…So this is what we're taught is a sign of equality and advancement for woman???  The lead character, laying on an exam table, legs up in stirrups - Does she
look strong and empowered to you???  NO. She looks conflicted and sad. And why? If abortion is no big deal, like some would have us believe, then why would anyone have any reservations about having one? I mean, it's not like "it's" a living thing or anything.  "It's" just a clump of cells; she might as well be getting a mole removed, right?

Of course, this is all just pretend. If you want to watch the real thing, you can hop over to YouTube and watch an abortion by the perspective of the doctor or the victim/patient. You can also Google it, if you want to understand the various abortion procedures or see all of the gruesome "products of conception" pictures. But, as for me - I don't need to see the gory details to be prolife. However, if you're prochoice, I encourage you to take a look - After all, you should know what you support.

The Scandal episode is a bit ironic if you know a little about Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Known as a crusader for birth control, but if you dig a little deeper you'll find her intentions were a bit darker.  Sanger embraced the idea of eugenics, saying the genetic makeup of minorities and the poor was inferior. (Pivot of Civilization, by Margaret Sanger, 1922, p. 80) There is a plethora of information, much written in her own words, of her sad, scary views on abortion and forced sterilization. "More children from the fit, less from the unfit -- that is the chief aim of birth control." she said. (Birth Control Review, May 1919, p. 12) She even focused on blacks in particular, stating, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population," she said, "if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." (Woman's Body, Woman's Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon) More info on Sanger and the history of Planned Parenthood can be found herehere, and here.



After the Holocaust, eugenics became widely out of style, so Sanger and Planned Parenthood, originally named Birth Control Federation of America (BCFA), rebranded themselves, instead touting women's rights, women's equality, women's advancement…and sadly many women bought it hook, line, and sinker… And many still do. Which is why today, so many years later, Margaret Sanger would be cheering - not just because the lead character is having an abortion, but also because she's black. 

African Americans continue to be the victims of 
abortion in higher numbers compared to others."In the United States, black children are aborted at nearly four times times the rate as white children..." (Abortion and Race,  2015) According to Pastor Clenard Childress, Jr, "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb." He goes on to say, "Abortion is the greatest deception that has plagued the black church since Lucifer himself."

The reality is, regardless of race, STRONG WOMEN VALUE ALL LIFE, SCARED WOMEN TERMINATE THAT LIFE. All women deserve better.  We deserve quality health care that doesn't involve taking an innocent life. We deserve to know the truth about abortion and its lasting effects.  We deserve safety, compassion, and honesty. We deserve to be educated about wonderful life-affirming options.

"Life offers no guarantees, but abortion offers no chances" - National Right to Life

Many Blessings,  -Becky

Friday, September 25, 2015

#ShoutYourAbortion

#ShoutYourAbortion

So the media wants to de-stigmatize abortion by women sharing their stories, eh? Okay, here's mine… 

When I was 18, a senior in high school, I became pregnant.  This was a bit dramatic because I had been pretty "straight-edge" in high school.  My immediate, knee-jerk reaction was: Abortion. It was the quickest "solution" to this "problem."  I had plans and I refused to let this derail me.  So I called Planned Parenthood and made an appointment. They'd take care of the "tissue" for me. I could forget and go on living my happy normal life.  I had all the "right" reasons to get an abortion:
  • I was too young
  • I was unmarried
  • I was poor
  • I had so much "potential" that would be wasted (over 4.0 GPA, a valedictorian, Lilly Scholar finalist,...)
  • I had plans (a scholarship to Butler University)
  • I would be an embarrassment to my family
  • It was just too inconvenient
  • I would set a bad example
  • I was suffering from HG (another blog for another time...)
My naive teenage mind equated teenage pregnancy with ending up some poor, white-trash, uneducated, welfare mom…a failure forever dependent on someone else. (Good job teen pregnancy prevention programs for beating that into my brain…) 

Thankfully, my family convinced me NOT to proceed with the abortion.  I will be forever grateful to them for that. I realized that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself ("Omg, I'm pregnant! My life is over!!!") and be grateful that God (or fate/nature/dumb luck/whatever you believe in) gave me NEW LIFE.  I could have been dealt much worse cards. This point was driven home later in the school year when a classmate was killed in an automobile accident. It was smack in the face - I was so lucky.

And guess what? My life actually wasn't ruined!  :)  I still went to college and five years later earned my Bachelor's in math with highest honors, plus several math awards. I became a successful professional. I was still able to accomplish my goals - I just took a slightly different path. I look back at this time in my life fondly now. Blake attended the on-campus daycare. During my lunch break I'd take him out and we'd eat together (and he would steal my food! ;) ) Sometimes I'd chase him around the beautiful campus grounds.  And it was on that campus that I met my wonderful husband, who fell in love with BOTH of us!  Had I gotten the abortion and attended a different college, we may have never met...

Now parenting is not for everyone. I would never push a women to parent if she didn't feel ready. It's a life-long, life-changing commitment.  When I turned away from aborting Blake, I knew I could choose to parent or create an adoption plan. I chose to parent, but adoption is a wonderful option. Our family has been blessed by a courageous birth mom who made the brave decision NOT to abort. Adoption is a win-win for all involved.  

There's a reason women don't want to talk about their abortions….A reason post-abortive women get angry…A reason society has "stigmatized" abortion. Because, in our heart-of-hearts, we know we did (or almost did) something very wrong. That uneasy feeling is our conscience. And that's a GOOD thing - it means we know the difference between right and wrong. Though we may try to ignore it, most of us are wise enough to understand that the journey through the birth canal does not magically transform a non-human into a human. We know that we just took the life of our child. We're hiding our guilt. The abortion industry tells us that it's nothing. We'll walk out of there and be fine. We'll forget and move on. BUT THEY'RE WRONG. It's a business, selling abortions, profiting off of vulnerable women. They move on, but we will always remember. Especially when we have a "planned" baby.  All the moments: the kicks, the flutters, the hick-ups, everything that will never be for that first child….

Try as the #ShoutYourAbortion movement might, there is nothing "freeing" or "empowering" about laying on an exam table while a doctor injects poison into your child's amniotic sac, so he or she can drink it and burn from the inside out, or perhaps the doctor decides to cut your child up into small pieces and vacuum him or her out.  No. This is more of a "Misery loves company movement."  As in, I did something bad, but look at all these other women that did it too, so it must not be that bad, right?!?!

It took a solid 10 YEARS before I could talk about this without feeling defensive. I was angry and embarrassed and ashamed and regretful. I even felt uncomfortable when anyone around me mentioned anything abortion-related. I stubbornly clung to the I-have-the-right-to-an-abortion, so-lay-off!!  attitude. But just because something is legal does not make it right. Thankfully, with age came maturity and acceptance.  Plus, it seemed the pro life culture slowly changed from an attitude of condemnation to one of compassion - And that did it - That opened my eyes and made me realize that it was okay to admit I had nearly made an awful mistake. Thankfully, mistakes don't define a person. Good people can make bad decisions. No one is beyond help. The key is to accept, heal, grow, and learn. In fact, I once heard a counselor say that after helping women who faced unplanned pregnancies, those who had chosen to abort definitely need the most healing. 



My "clump of cells" or "pregnancy tissue" will begin driving this winter. I nearly ended his life. But Blake was Blake from the second he was conceived.  Just because he was too small to fight for his life, doesn't mean it was any less valuable than mine.  I can't imagine my life without him.  Blake is the reason I am so pro life…I not only want to save kids like him, but moms like me.  I echo the statement I realized about 16 years ago - I.AM.SO.LUCKY!!  :)  

-Becky
#ShoutYourAbortion #Prolife #Prowomen #Prochild #Profamily #AdoptionNotAbortion #ShoutYourAdoption #CompassionNotCondemnation 

P.S. Yes, I have discussed this with Blake. Yes, I felt like a horrible mom.

P.P.S. I imagine if a post-abortive women were to read this, she may feel the defensiveness and anger welling inside her. I know, had I read this 16 years ago, I would have. And that's okay. But just know, no one is beyond conversion. And there's so much peace on this side. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Parenting bio vs adopted kiddos

I read this from Hope at Home, a Facebook group for foster and adoptive families and it stated it so well…


"I've tried to describe the difference between parenting our adopted children and our birth children over the years. My friends who have not adopted will often say that what we are dealing with is no different than their situations, or of someone that they know. It is hard to explain, because on the surface it doesn't sound that different. But for me it is as if someone has taken a situation and put it down on paper, and then come along with a bright yellow highlighter and colored over the words.
There is something different-- it is highlighted, more intense, more urgent. It stands out and draws my parental attention in a more alarming way. And I realize that my feelings, my reactions, are also highlighted. They are more intense, more loaded with fear for this child's future and a deep awareness of the healing work that has yet to be complete. Maybe it is because I see that my biological children have, underneath the difficult issue we are facing together, a solid foundation of unshakable truth-- they know they are loved, they are safe, they are accepted. But when our adopted children are in the midst of a similar life-issue I sense a vulnerability that simply does not exist in our birth children. A behavior that in one may be simply an immature expression of a desire, or a character trait that needs some direction, or a season of testing, in the other is an expression of the residual fear of being rejected, of being unsafe, or of an illogical drive to remain in survival mode long after the need to do so is over.
Do you know what I am talking about? Does this ring true? {Beth}"

Thank you, Beth, for putting it so well!!

-Becky

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A door closes...



On July 31, 2015, our agency sent out THE email...

The CLOSURE of their Ethiopian program...

Even though we knew this was coming it's still sad. We've waited 4 years. And it's not closing because there's no longer a need.  There are still so many orphans... But corruption is abundant, and Ethiopian government officials are no longer supportive of international adoption. So after examining all possibilities, our agency found no way to ethically conduct adoptions and closed the door.  They will continue their humanitarian efforts, though.

Soooooo now what???

Well, our agency is encouraging all wait list families to switch programs. But, honestly, the thought of creating another dossier make me tired! (This would be our 3rd! One for ET and one for China) Plus the expense - We're talking $30,000+.  And, though I'm still open to adopting again, we really just don't feel "called" to any other country.  I really don't know what to do?? (despite having a long time to think about it, I know...) Are we just done? Is our family complete? Is this God's way of saying, Focus on the 5 you have ? Or is this just a detour? God has definitely done that before! ;)

So, if you read this and have some time, will you say a little prayer for our (and every wait list family's) clarity?

Thanks!
-Becky

Monday, August 3, 2015

1 Yr Home & lots more!

Well...so much for my goal to blog more regularly...
Oh, well...
Here's what we've been up to the last few months! :) 

May
  • A's First Communion - Our sweet girl celebrated her first holy Communion. Congrats, A!!






  • P's PreK Graduation!


  • Becoming a Full-time SAHM!  - Yep...I had taken one year off to stay at home with S and M, but I had to make a decision by May 1st as to whether I would be coming back or not... It was a hard decision. I'm lucky to have a job I love. I'll missing teaching math, but for many reasons, now is the time to stay home.  The whole family helped me clean out my classroom. Goodbye, middle-schoolers! I'll miss my students, co-workers, and perhaps most importantly, my 30 minute, duty-free lunch!! ;)

June
  • Fair Oaks Farm

















  • Indianapolis Children's Museum

















  • Indianapolis Zoo























July
  • One Year Home!


  • South Carolina
       
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
    
  • Art Camp 
 

  • Anniversary! :)

  • Sports begin: Soccer for A and P, Cross Country for B

And coming up in August...
  • School! B is a sophomore, A is in 3rd grade, P starts kindergarten, and S starts PreK!
  • A's 9th Birthday!
  • Dad's Birthday!

So that's what we've been up to.  Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe fall!!
-Becky :)