Adoption / Life with Jesus / Social Justice

Mama Bear

The end of the semester at my ESL school is like Christmas. I am showered in dollar store jewelry, a plant that I’ve already killed and it’s only been three weeks, beautiful scarves, keychains, postcards, and…

The only thing that would make it better would be a wolf howling at the moon.

The student who gave this to me was one of my first “friends” at my work- a sweet lady from Burma. I’m going to track her down and ask her when the world is going to end because the girl is prophetic. She gave this to me when I was still mucking around in “no kids” land but she must have seen something…or she couldn’t read the cursive writing and just happens to like airbrushed animal t-shirts (who doesn’t?) or… maybe she’s referencing my tendency to try to  control every little aspect of our ESL program like a hormonal female grizzly. But we’ll go with prophetic.

My mom has always impressed me with her “aggressiveness” about finding out things. Of course, by aggressive, I mean she would call the movie theater to listen for the movie times instead of winging it like I wanted her to.  When we were planning my wedding, my mom got all my dirty work- “Will you please call the caterer and fire her? Will you find out if we can bring monkeys into our historical venue?” While my sister and I were sitting around saying, “Hmmm, I wonder how much table linens will cost? Why doesn’t this old lady seamstress have a website?”, good ole’ Betsy had already contacted 33 linen-iers within a 200 mile radius.

It’s no secret that I’ve gotten more crotchety in my old age. Where I used to zip my lips and say nothing, I now have no problem telling other peoples’ children that they shouldn’t lick the toothpicks for pineapple samples at Kroger and put them back in the box.  I’m a bit feistier than I used to be, which is both a good and a bad thing. I think it’s because I hang out with my grandmother. It’s also because I’ve become more comfortable with who I am in Christ so what other people think of me matters less and less.

Ya’ll, this adoption is going to turn me into one of those moms- a feisty mom who (lovingly) fights for the best for her child. In my thirst for finding someone ANYONE who has adopted an older child/Thai child/HIV+child, I’ve scoured the internet, emailing random people just hoping someone will email me back. It’s embarrassingly awesome. I actually spoke on the phone with Lisa over at One Thankful Mom, who was able to step away from her, ahem, 12 children and she was OH so helpful and willing to discuss adopting older kids. Thank you, internet, for being so awesome at connecting like-minded people over great distances.

I’ve even joined…yahoo groups (which are a bit like awkward family reunions but in a 1980s beginning-of-the-internet format). While not super user-friendly, they’ve gotten the job done.  I connected with Nicole (see her blog here), who has gotten me all intertwined in the Thai adoption community and feeling like we have people on our side. She’s also been in the process of adopting from Thailand for THREE YEARS, but sounds like there might be good news for her family in 2012.  What an amazing story of perseverance and deep love for her son. She posted a picture on facebook of a Christmas card he wrote to their family and he says, “We can walk to school together and hold hands”.

I didn’t cry at all when I read that.

I’m lying.

It takes alot less to make me cry, like someone saying the word “adoption” or “daughter”.

It’s great to be able to pray and walk with other people on their journey because some day, they might return the favor. (PS- Three years? THREE YEARS?  That is forever and ever, amen. I might be dead in three years.)

I’m in the process of joining a Texas adopt yahoo group and I fully intend on becoming the social director for adoptive families in the DFW area. Or…if there’s already a social director, I’ll be her bossy assistant. I’m so excited to start meeting with families who have already been through the fire, so to speak, and are living lives with their beautiful babies already (more on adoption resources later!)

To be honest, I’m kind of relishing this new role of aggressive, bowl-you-over mom. It’s not as embarrassing as I thought it would be and I feel like I’m arming myself with valuable information that will educate our loved ones and edify my daughter.

One of my favorite biblical chapters has always been Isaiah 1. Using Isaiah as a mouthpiece, God is sticking it to the Israelites for their rebellious nature and he’s pleading with them to be righteous.

Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!

Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.

Defend the cause of the fatherless and plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)

All of those action verbs take some gumption. In order to encourage the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead the case of the widow, you have to be educated about their issues and you have to be a little bit feisty. You’ll encounter misinformation, selfish people who don’t want to hear the truth, ignorance, and prejudice. Standing up for people has never been easy.  I love that this is God’s heart and you can see it in the way that Jesus talked to the religious leaders of His day. They needed a little shaking up and Jesus had no problem jumping to the defense of the poor and downtrodden. I’m comforted that Jesus was a little sassy when it came to defending those who needed it. I just hope that I can be sassy for the right reasons and in the right way.

Someday when we have to stand in front of the Thai adoption board and they ask if we are prepared to take care of this child and all of her “special needs”, I’ll be able to confidently say, “We’ve done everything that we possibly could do.”

From now on, you may call me, “Mama Bear”.

One thought on “Mama Bear

  1. You have always had gumption Beth when it came to something you are passionate about. That is something I truely admire about you. A wedding??? Where is the passion in that. Defending the weak and oppressed, now that’s my girl. I love yours and Alex’s fighting spirit.

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