Susan VanSyckle

Who is called to adoption?

Susan VanSyckle
By Susan VanSyckle
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October 17, 2012 (Bound4Life.com) - Here’s my short answer: EVERYONE.

But not how you might think.

James 1:27 is pretty clear: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

There are orphans all around us. I talk to families often who assume that the only need for orphan care is across the world. Although this is true and a desperate need, most people don’t know there are orphans across their street. I get calls often about babies born and if an adoptive family isn’t found in the next 24 hours, they will go into foster care.

We’re all called to care for the orphan, but that looks different for different people.

Are you single? You don’t have an easy out. 

Ask any child stuck in the foster care system or an orphanage if they would rather stay where they are or come home to a single parent who’s going to love them like crazy.  Read this young girl’s story and you’ll believe that God can use you in a powerful way to live the gospel out to children.

Think you can’t afford it?  Sorry, that’s not legit either. 

More often than not families who share this with me really mean they have better things to do with their money than rescue a child: the annual family vacation, or boat, or [fill in the blank].  Friends,  the gospel is clear in where our treasure should lie – in things of eternal value.  I can think of nothing more valuable than stepping into a child’s eternal destiny.

Although I would never counsel a family who is financially unstable to begin the process of adoption, there is the other side where families don’t feel like they have the resources it takes. I love this recent series of posts by an adoptive mom who points out that our Heavenly father isn’t a deadbeat dad.  The bottom line: if He has called you to adoption He will provide the funds and the abilities needed. Do we really believe this?

Is your sedan full?  Get a minivan (or better yet, the big white 15 passenger van). 

I have friends who have a big white van and have made it their mantra that there is always more room at their dining room table.  Now they tell other families to “scootch over” and make room at their tables and in their homes.

Are your hands already full?  God provides the grace.

Richy and Jess already had their hands full with full time ministry, three kids (the acceptable norm for the “average” American family) and one with special needs.  But they felt the clear call to live out their convictions for life in their living room.

Afraid you can’t handle the heartbreak and chaos?  There’s nothing on this earth more worth it.

My dear friends John and Tracie thought they were done with three kids. Then they adopted and it forever changed the trajectory of their family. They adopted domestically. Then they went to the Ukraine to adopt one and came home with two. And then they did it again. They have a crazy house but it’s full of love.

Not in the season to adopt?  Make it your season to serve.

That’s what Joanna and Tyler do. A few years married and just beginning their family, they’ve decided to serve in the midst of it. They are often found babysitting, cooking, cleaning, and running errands for those in their community who have adopted or are providing foster care. They are in the thick of it loving those around them well.

Is adoption or foster care not for you? Not possible. There is always something you can do even if you’re not called to bring kids into your home.  Each of these families literally couldn’t do what they’re doing without the tangible support from their community: providing child care so they get an occasional break, offering mentoring to their kids as “aunties” or big brothers, cooking meals, praying, offering financial assistance, and the list goes on and on.

Notice I don’t think everyone is called to adopt, but every one of us, if we are true Christ followers, are called to have some active part in adoption and caring for the orphan.

Each of these families have started their own adoption revolution.  There isn’t a person who meets them that can’t see the redemptive path they’re on and their hearts for the orphan.  And because of that they’re starting something right where they are and inspiring others to do the same.

Practical ways you can care for the orphan

- Pray for them – keep children who need homes at the forefront of your prayers
- Give to them – give out of the abundance that God has given you
- Support them – find a foster or adoptive family to love on
- Protect them – become a foster family or safe family
- Care for them – open your home and become a forever family

If you’ve ever been on the front lines of the life movement, you’ve heard firsthand what pro-choice advocates shout: “You don’t want the children either!”  Our initial reaction is, but of course we do!  But do we? Are our lives, homes, bank accounts, and free time too comfortable? Are we willing to give up our cozy lives to step into the movement and say we want the babies? We need to start making a statement that we want the children.

What will you do to look after the orphan in distress?

This post originally appeared here and is reprinted with permission.  Susan says , “I am an adoption consultant, unofficially but more importantly I’m a wife and a mama and a lover of Jesus.” Please visit Susan’s blog for more posts on LIFE and adoption.

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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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