Archive for April, 2010

I Would Make a Good Atheist

I came to a new conclusion today – I think I would make a good atheist.

This afternoon we had our first meeting with the social worker from the adoption agency who is responsible for conducting our “home study” and approving us for adoption. It’s basically your pass ticket into the entire adoption process. Without a home study approval, you will never adopt a child.

So, seeing as this person was to dig into the finest details of our home, family, and life history, what a relief to meet her and find out she is also a Christian with a vibrant faith! I was a little bit uneasy about this process. I mean, how could I explain to someone why I want to adopt a child, apart from my belief in God? If I was talking to an atheist, I would have a hard time sounding rational. Allow me to explain.

Lets face it, for all the blessings and wonders of raising children, at the end of the day it does not come with a guarantee of reward, success, or self-gratification within your lifetime. In fact, you may spend years of your life and untold thousands of dollars only to have a child that grows up to reject your beliefs, say they hate you, or die of a horrible and untimely accident or disease. We don’t raise our kids believing or planning for this, but hey, it’s a risk and reality.

In the context of my Christian worldview, this is not a problem. No matter what hardships, obstacles, or outright disasters I encounter, I can rest at peace knowing that God has led me to where I am, “works all things for good”, rewards those who diligently seek and obey Him, and will one day will make all things right when He comes to establish His Kingdom and righteousness on the earth. And on the flipside, the payoff is eternal. I’ve brought forth a human being who will worship and serve the Lord for all eternity!

With regards to the orphan, He has spoken to me both in His word and by His Spirit that He is asking me to adopt and care for the fatherless, just as He has done for me. My life is simply one of joyful obedience, abiding in Him, and hopeful expectation of His returning.

For the Atheist, there is a different worldview, and one that would radically alter my thoughts concerning adoption. To be honest, I’ve actually been somewhat surprised by the reactions I’ve received from both atheist and non-believing friends. My attempt to adopt has been called “noble” and “wonderful”, and it was not at all what I expected. In fact, I’m not sure it makes sense in light of the worldview they purport to hold.

First off, for the record, let’s acknowledge that an Atheist would say they don’t care how much “peace” I have with my Christian worldview, it’s a nonsensical fairy tale and what’s the point in living out a life based in non-reality!? That aside, as I understand the worldview, atheistic motivations for adoption would need to come through the filters of personal utility and reciprocity.

If you only have 72+ years to live and that’s it, then your ultimate goal is to live those years as best you can to bring yourself the most joy, happiness, fulfillment, and “good” (however you choose to define it).  Doing “good” becomes an issue primarily of reciprocity; that is, as I “do good unto others” they will hopefully treat me the same.  Never mind the fact that history seems to clearly illustrate that “doing good” is as likely to get you a bullet in the head as it is to get “good done unto you”. But I digress…

Furthermore, the secondary issue is personal utility. Will doing this action bring me more happiness, fulfillment, & joy, or will it not?

Now like I said, child-rearing has it’s blessings. Does your heart melt when they say “I love you daddy!” Absolutely. Do they do cute stuff, make you laugh and brighten many of your days? Yup. Will they bring you joy and fulfillment as they go on and succeed for themselves? Possibly. Still, I think if you weighed it all out the tough days and potential losses would most certainly outweigh the self-gratification; the sacrifice far outweigh the return (in this life). Certainly if there is no loving father-God, no eternal life or reward, you would have an uphill argument to say that parenting brings more happiness in this life than spending all that time and money on pampering yourself with travel, luxury, and indulging in every dream and fantasy you can afford!

So in regards to adoption, why would I further complicate one of life’s most challenging and consuming undertakings by adding the obstacles of race, genetics, culture, and financial pressure to parenting? It makes no sense! Again, If there is no loving father-God who desires to reconcile all men to himself, no accounting of my life, and no eternal life together, the only reasons I could think of to adopt would be:  A)  a God complex (I need more little people running around my house worshiping and a being controlled by me),  or  B)  I’m a little nuts.

Now, to be fair, perhaps there’s an atheist or two out there who gains so much pleasure from the difficulties, rigor,and challenges of spending the best years of your life raising another human being, that adoption would be attractive to them. But for me, heck no! If I’ve got one life to live and no one to give an account to for it, I can’t conceive of how parenting would be my best route to self-gratification.

This carries over into other areas, of course. Take for example the environmental issue. I mean, sure it sounds great to “take care of mother nature” in order to leave a legacy and future for coming generations. But I guess I’m just not that nice. When there’s no accounting to God or eternal life on earth, why do I care what happens to the coming generations!?! I won’t even ever find out if it was worth the effort of wasting my one “go ’round” in order to give it to them! Did I waste my life rescuing the earth only to have an asteroid slam into it 20 years later?

Furthermore, if there is any Atheist who is thinking this way I would highly recommend reading books like “Hurtling Towards Oblivion” that demonstrate the mathematical and statistical certainty that the modern world will end in famine, nuclear holocaust, cosmic disaster or other calamity.  If there’s no divine mandate of “creation care” and Jesus is not coming back to establish righteousness and bring renewal to the earth, then our environmental efforts amount to nothing more than slapping a new coat of paint on the Titanic.

Thus I believe I would make a great Atheist. I know I would really be consistent with my worldview and go for self-gratification with gusto. I would obey the law, cause hey, we can all agree that being in prison is “not good”, right? Beyond that all bets are off. I’m living my 72 years to the fullest, and however I damned well please! All decisions – 100% utilitarian. If it makes me feel good and will bring me benefit, I’m in. If not, it’s out. Adoption? You must be kidding! Environmentalism? Why should I care? Maybe reducing your carbon footprint would bring pleasure to some Atheists, but in the light of the cold, merciless  realities of the universe, I think you’re an idiot. You’ve got one very short life to live, so live it up!

So how did I get on this?…… Oh yeah, the home study meeting. Yes indeed, I sure am glad that when asked the questions concerning “why I want to adopt” I get to talk to someone who understands the only rational answer I can conceive of – God.


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In the Waiting

They say the waiting is the hardest part about adoption. Add to that the uncertainty of dealing with foreign governments and forces outside of your control and it makes for an unnerving process. Take for example the situation this week with the family that “returned” their adopted child to Russia which led to the Russian government indefinitely suspending all adoptions out of their country. My heart breaks for all the families who were in the final stages of bringing home children.

I’ve felt as though we as a couple are pretty fortunate in that we already have several children and are not waiting on our first child, dealing with infertility, or any of the other common dynamics that add to the anxiousness. As a result I’ve been pretty relaxed and patient concerning what will likely be a 12-14month process. But recently a reality dawned on us that could be a game changer – we know what orphanage our daughter (or possibly son) is coming from. As a result we’ve started reading accounts of people’s visits there and seeing pictures taken from the “Home of Hope” orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda. Furthermore (and this is the real kicker)… it’s a near certainty that our daughter is now there. It’s one thing to read about the poverty and difficulties of third world living, it’s another to imagine your own child there. I’ve found myself forcing my mind not to think about it.

Here’s an account from a recent adoptive parent at the “Home of Hope”:

Ever since Peter and I left the Home of Hope the last day with our precious Myles Mugisha , we have been haunted by the images of the children we had to walk away from. To finalize our adoption, we were in Rwanda seven days. Three of those days we had to return Myles to the orphanage by 5pm every evening. Peter encouraged me not to enter the orphanage until the final day that we had our son and could take him home.

The last day came, and we carried Myles down to the orphanage room where he spent about 5 months of his life, to say “goodbye.” As soon as we entered the hallway that led to the different rooms of age-grouped children, I was hit with a smell-mix of dampness, wet diapers, and musty unopened windows. There really is no explaining it. When I entered Myles’ room, I saw dark aqua walls, the smell of urine-soaked mattresses, rows and rows of tiny basinets, each one holding a child, an orphan with a story, a child who needed/s a home. Most of these tiny beds had a string across the top with dangling toys for the babies to look at. The only empty basinet was the one that had held Myles for those months of waiting. It was the length of his little body, no wonder he still, at 7 months, had no idea how to turn on his side. After spending some time visiting with the babies in the room, and trying to control the depth of anguish I felt for the orphaned children in the room and for the 2-3 care takers who were trying their hardest to feed, clothe, bathe, change, and care for the 35 infants in the room, we left to look into the other rooms of the orphanage. Next we walked into the 12-24 month room. Oddly enough-and I’ve never experienced anything else like this in my life, but I have NO memory of this room. I believe that it was too hard to see these children and my memory is blocked. The other room that I remember was full of 2-5 year olds (I think) and there were many rows of cribs, 2 children to a crib. It was 11am when we were there and you could have heard a pin drop in the room. It was nap time, in the morning. I took in the room for a moment: nothing on the walls, not toys to be seen, nothing. Nothing. A few children saw a visitor standing in the doorway (me) and peaked up without moving their precious heads, smiled, and did mini-waves.

There is so much more to write, but the end result is how we felt when we left. As we backed out of the Home of Hope driveway, I vividly remember waving to a small group of 2-4 year olds–and remember especially a bright-eyed little girl in a worn yellow dress, smiling and waving to us as we left. While we were so happy to be leaving with Myles, we were leaving many many more.

I know that the Catholic sisters and brothers who are giving themselves to the work at the orphanage are doing all they can, but conditions are tough and resources thin. I’ve read elsewhere that many days the most they have is one meal and maybe a snack for the kids.
We’ve begun sending money and resources over with other families who are traveling to the Home of Hope and are able to help supply the orphanage. But still, there’s only so much you can do and control. It’s the worst possible scenario for a parent. To have a child in need, and nothing you can do to fix it.
You can’t help but start to picture your future little girl lying there and wonder; are you hungry? Are you lonely? Does your heart long to be held, played with, and cherished by a mommy and daddy?
“It’s just a little while longer and we’ll see you.
It’s just a little while longer and we’ll know you.
It’s just a little while longer and we’ll be…together.”

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This Suburban Life

I had never imagined myself living in the suburbs. I liked the action, diversity, and vibe of living closer to the city core. However, kids, commute times, and desire for space  eventually drew us out to “the ‘burbs”. I’m sure no matter where you raise your family the environment has an effect on their development. Parents really must make a focused effort to teach the values of the kingdom (which are at odds with our culture in every neighborhood) to their children. This week I found out just how much life in the cities outer rings are affecting my children’s development. I’m raising hillbillies.

Exhibit “A”

Grandma and Grampa are in town visiting and wanted to take us out to dinner. A very nice gesture. We decided to go to TGIFridiays which is a close and family friendly restaurant. My daughter insisted on wearing her favorite fancy frock complete with high heels. Apparently, as she describes it, TGI Fridays is “fancy cafe with a fashionable interior”.

Oh boy…

Exhibit “B”

Jude’s new Nerf rifle is likely his favorite toy. Last night he thought it would make a great game if Delaney and I ran around in the yard while he stood on the deck and shot at us. After he loaded the gun magazine with the spongy Nerf bullets he popped up over the top of the railing and yelled “come get your medicine, daddy!!”

Welcome to the Willcock redneck kingdom. Apparently I have some work to do.

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I Recant…

While I did not necessarily overtly disparage it, in my last post I certainly implied that Richard Perry’s “Complete Idiots Guide to the Last Days” was not to be taken seriously. I hadn’t actually read it, of course… Due to the nature of the book series I just naturally assumed it would be full of theological gobble-d-goop.

Well in a moment of blissful downtime (which I’ll leave to your imagination) I had the opportunity to briefly flip through Mr. Perry’s book. I was so intrigued by it that I’ve since read most of the book. Turns out Richard Perry believes all the same things I do related to the end times (Post-tribulational, Historic Premillenialist Chiliasm). Not only that but he does an excellent job of putting forth the material in a simple, straightforward and understandable way. A simple read (as it was designed to be).

Certainly Mr. Perry delves into a fair bit of unnecessary (and mostly inaccurate, in my humble opinion) speculation related to Babylon, the number of the Beast, and the Anti-Christ. But who can blame him for presenting his own theories!

Furthermore, in classic fashion, Mr. Perry has his own website that is totally cheesy but  packed full of end-times articles and speculation. You are truly an “end times crazy” Mr. Perry, and we salute you!

Here’s a clip of Richard Perry on the History Channel discussing his belief (contrary to much of the western church) that the bible does not support the popular pre-tribulation Rapture theory.

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