Christina Martin

Dreams live on: A couple’s dreams for adoption carry on after husband’s death

Christina Martin
By Christina Martin
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May 4, 2012 (LiveActionNews.com) - Renee Loux is a dreamer. Since the age of 7, Renee has had a desire in her heart to care for orphans. She shared those desires with her husband, Derek Loux. Derek was a gifted musician whose passion for adoption began as a young boy. Together, the Louxs set out to make their dreams come true.

Renee’s parents brought her to the Marshall Islands when she was nine months old. A daughter of missionaries, she spent the first ten years of her life stationed there. In that environment, her young heart became burdened for children. Years later, while teaching in the U.S., she revisited the Marshall Islands for a short mission trip that changed her life forever. During the trip she met Derek for the first time. He fell head-over-heels for Renee and asked her to marry him after only 8 days together. In 1992 the couple wed, and their adventure began.

Renee gave birth to her first child two years later. Josiah was a beautiful boy born with a severe case of spina bifida. Renee and Derek had two and a half years with him before he passed away. Enduring the pain together, they found strength and comfort in God’s love. In 1997 they had a girl named Sophia, and three years later another daughter named Michaela.

For most Americans, two children make for the average size of a family. Yet the Louxs never wanted to be average. They longed to obey the biblical command found in the book of James (chapter 1, verse 27): “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.”

Seeking to live out that verse, they adopted twin girls Teyolla and Keyolla from the Marshall Islands in 2002. Less than a year later they took in Telma, another girl from the Islands. Born with severe scoliosis, Telma was abandoned by her father and neglected by her mother. She ended up alone, fighting to survive on the streets. Renee promised to get her the help she needed. She kept that promise by welcoming Telma into the family.

In December of 2008, Derek and Renee traveled to the Ukraine to adopt three boys with special needs: Sasha, an energetic child with spina bifida, and Ethan and Silas, who both suffered from Down syndrome. The journey had its difficulties. Derek’s journal entry displays his precious humanity: “I was thinking, this is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes?

In that moment, Derek heard God speaking to his heart: “Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.

That experience marked his heart with a powerful revelation that adoption is a form of redemption. Derek believed that God was removing a selfish human love and replacing it with an “agape” love that cares for others even when love isn’t reciprocated. The Louxs wanted to make sacrifices for love. They successfully brought home the boys, who were sick and worn down from their stay in the orphanage. In a short time and with much medical care and attention, they were noticeably healthier and happy. The story of their adoption was later told in a beautiful children’s book called Redemption. In addition to their boys, the Rouxs continued on by adding two more girls, Leeann and Sana from the Marshall Islands.

Derek once said, “I wanted something to live and die for, to breathe and bleed for. I’m not interested in trying to figure out ways to make my life safe and preserve my comfort. That’s one of the reasons why we adopt in a radical way. On purpose, I set myself up to where I’ve got so much pressure I gotta run after Jesus…”

In the midst of their journey Derek, at 37, lost his life in a tragic car accident, just days before Christmas 2009. He was traveling back from a conference focused on rescuing girls from sex slavery. His death was a great loss to both those who knew him personally and those who connected with him through his beloved music and teachings. He left behind his beautiful wife and ten children. The family bravely forged ahead through deep pain and sorrow.

After Derek’s death, Renee courageously continued to bring home children. Though some would think it crazy to do so after such a loss, Renee knew that she was being led to continue adopting. She welcomed Judah, the family’s first boy from the Marshall Islands. She also began caring for Joanna, a girl from the Islands who is completely blind and non-verbal. Though Joanna came into their family as a 13-year-old, she had the body size of a 5-year-old. Renee received no financial aid for Joanna’s medical and dental needs, instead depending on the generosity of donors to cover the expenses. Joanna is continuing to grow and respond in new ways. She loves to joyfully sing her own little songs, and she is a delight to her family.

Derek’s and Renee’s life together has inspired many people to adopt and care for children. Renee is the founder of the Orphan Justice Center, an organization whose mission is to help rescue, adopt, and restore orphans across the globe. They do a number of things, from bringing resources to pre-adoptive, adoptive, and foster care families to working with children in their community who are recently adopted or are in foster care. Renee travels and shares hopeful truths about adoption. She is a strong voice for justice as well as a loving mother. She recently had the great pleasure of seeing her oldest adopted twins girls marry a set of twin boys. It was a proud moment for her, though she earnestly wished Derek could have been there to share it.

Though it’s difficult raising her children without a father, Renee carries on with grace and strength. As she remarked in her family’s blog, “I will never understand this side of heaven, why Derek had to die, but, I know my God is sovereign and I can trust him. Even without an answer to the ‘why’, I can see the fruit of his beautiful life. I see it in the eyes of our amazing children. I hear it in the voices of those who share with me how their own lives were impacted by Derek’s passion and vision for loving, caring for, and restoring orphans. I see it as I remember what was once just a dream in our hearts, taking root and becoming reality as we rescued 10 children, teaching them along with our biological children, to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ Jesus, which would help restore them all.”

This life will end for all of us. The dreams that we fight for now can impact generations to come. A life devoted to caring for weak, vulnerable, and voiceless children is a life well spent. May we all learn from Derek’s and Renee’s example and open our hearts to the children of the world.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.com

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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