Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Friday, March 28, 2014

World Vision - Why I'm Still Not Ok With the Response

This was yesterday.
D was home sick with a cold, so he Skyped his friends back at the orphanage.
With the time difference between UA and the USA, this usually isn't possible since he's in school.

Do you know what its like to see the faces of the kids that you saw every day for 5 1/2 weeks?  The ones that begged your facilitator to "Please find us a family like them."  It was Thursday.  That meant they hadn't had a bath for 6 days.  While my sons have spent the last 4 months learning English, getting dental work, and being loved like crazy, these kids have spent the last 4 months still without a family.

My son's best friend is still there.

To say it breaks my heart to see their faces and hear their voices really isn't enough.

Its heart ripping.

Throat clenching.

Tear swallowing.

Temple pounding.


Now take those emotions, wrap them up and stuff them down deep so you can just TELL SOMEONE what its like over there for those kids.  They just don't know, but once you tell them, they will surely want to help!

And here's where my problem with how people reacted to World Vision's Employment policy change starts.

We set out to adopt M 4 years ago.  After we got back with her, we were so devastated by what we'd seen.  The condition of her orphanage and the kids (babies!) still there just haunted us, so we desperately tried to raise money for them.  Just the condition she was in set us back.  At 4 years old she was 24lbs with a buzzed head that started growing in loads more hair after 4 months of good nutrition.

We've sat in a church full of straight, married, Bible believing, people who had all seen this little girl, and been told "No."  We don't have the budget for that.  Everyone has projects, and they are all great projects, but we can't advertise everyone's pet project or it will be chaos.

We've been told by a church full of straight, married, Bible believing people, "No."

We've been told by a church full of leaders that say they believe the Bible, "No you cannot post fliers in Sunday School rooms asking people to donate towards repairing the orphanage you adopted your daughter from."

We've been told by a pastor, "Having a raffle (in which people donate money in return for a ticket) for a Wii is like gambling.  If we advertise what you are doing to raise money for your daughter's former orphanage, we'd be encouraging people to gamble and THAT is a sin.  We'd rather you just asked people to straight donate." ( but we'd already been told "no" to that too)

Flash forward a few years to when we decided to host V the first time.  This little 7 year old boy walked off a plane and into our lives.  We thought, "WOW!  So this is orphan hosting.  Surely people will see him and realize they can do this too."

We brought him to church.  People saw him.  They saw us have to send him back when summer ended.  I wanted to share more info about orphan hosting, but was actually told by someone in leadership that, "People in this church just aren't ready for something like a hosting program."

As you can probably guess, we left that church.
Not all churches are like that.
Not all Christians are like that.
The church we attend now has welcomed us.

But my point is that when we were fundraising to adopt our boys, it wasn't our church full of heterosexual, married people that jumped in to help us.  We had thousands of dollars donated by people we don't even know.  I know for a fact that some of them were gay.  I know some of them were from our former church.  Some of them were indeed from our current church.  But most of those donations came from people I do not know at all.

I will be perfectly honest here.  We didn't have the money to adopt our boys.  We were desperate.  I mean the kind of desperation that brings to mind illegal activities known to pay well.  It was that kind of desperation.  Our kids were stuck on the other side of the world and we lacked the money to get them.  We didn't care where it came from.  We had hoped our church and our family would see our bleeding hearts and help us, but when we had to turn to publicly fundraising an impossible amount, we didn't care WHO helped us.  We didn't care what sexual orientation a person was that offered to donate items to our online auction.  We didn't care what sin a person had just committed before sharing our fundraising profile on Facebook.  I mean hello!?  I probably committed 20 sins by swearing under my breath at all the people who didn't care enough to help orphans!  We.did.not.care. WHO helped us.

What mattered was that they cared enough about our boys to help us go get them.

I posted this on FB yesterday.  Some agreed with me.  Some did not.

I'm dreaming of a day when Christians get riled up about things that really matter and do something crazy like empty the foster care system or end sex trafficking. Did you see church members refusing to watch the Super Bowl because its the #1 sex trafficking event in North America? Nope. 
So, people don't want to work alongside gay people to help feed children, but its ok to support an event (by watching and having Super Bowl parties) during which its well known that thousands of underage girls are sexually abused?
This is the line of thinking that happened yesterday. Did you know that working with a gay person doesn't make you gay?
If you've ever looked into the eyes of a child begging for a family then you will get why it doesn't matter WHO helps them. It just matters that someone does. People getting angry over WHO helps children instead of how many children there still are left to help are MISSING IT. Leave the changing of hearts to Jesus and just obey James 1:27 if you want to have pure and faultless religion.
We should be known by our love, not by our knee jerk reactions. And before I get flamed, I encourage you to consider how you'd feel if your child was stuck in an orphanage and your church that you had supported with tithes and offerings for years refused to support you in your efforts to get to them, BUT an openly gay person made a large donation to your adoption fund.
It happens.
A lot.
I'm super tired of hearing ultra-religious people drone on about what God says and how they believe ALL of the Bible, and then ignore His command to care for the fatherless. There are better ways to express your disagreement than by punishing a hungry child that you promised to feed. I really can't get over it. 

The reason I still have such a huge problem with how Christians reacted to World Vision's decision is this:

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message)

So when I see kids still sitting in orphanages, still asking for families, and I see Christians bragging on social media about how they can't support an organization that feeds starving kids because they might employ gay people...  well I think they missed the point.  Where is their love?  

I happen to totally support Biblical marriage, but there are other ways to tell an organization that you will be ending your sponsorship due to their policy change AFTER you fulfill your obligation to the child you took on.  

Do people really decide to quit feeding a child OUT OF LOVE?

So my point in all of this really is that I feel Christians have lost their credibility to share what Jesus really represents when they are only known for getting in the news by showing up in droves to eat Chicken Sandwiches and bragging about letting kids starve.  DO YOU SEE THE IRONY HERE?

My plea to the Christian community is to just STOP finding things to be angry at that don't matter.  Go visit an orphanage and be pissed off enough that the kids are hungry and fatherless to work with ANYONE willing to help you help them.  What I have found is that the most generous people are often NOT in a church.  After all, the point of story of The Good Samaritan was that the answer to "Who is my neighbor that I should love as myself?" is whoever stops to help, no matter what lifestyle they live.  Let Jesus be in the business of changing hearts.  



Katee said...

There is a HUGE difference between "not feeding a child out of love" and prayerfully considering a particular charity's work/approach (which includes their HR policies) and concluding that you don't agree with their approach -- and donating to a different charity that is a better "fit" for you. I, personally, had issues with World Vision's discriminatory policies, so chose to donate money elsewhere.

My fave charity happens to be Smile Train - and I'm sure there are folks who prayerfully considered its approach/policies and decided to put their money elsewhere. Yay choice! Yay freedom! Yay, letting a thousand flowers bloom!~

Milena said...

I agree with you fully. Let us show love and be humble and helpful. That is being a Christian to me.

A. Redyns said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head.

I am not gay but Jewish and it is this and other hypocrisies are what often times make me fearful of interacting with people who are very religious.

Who cares if you have to work with people you don't like, as long as the end result is something good why should it matter?

Anna M said...

Good post:)No I take that back, Great post!

KB said...

Love this! I hope your words resonate far and wide.

Penny said...

Oh G-d bless you seven times over for saying this (says this straight, married, Jewish, religious, wanting-to-adopt Mom).

Penny said...

And here's something (that was linked from Jen Hatmaker's blog)that says it all: http://www.registeredrunaway.com/2014/03/25/when-evangelicals-turn-against-children-to-spite-me/

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson