Ted: Ted was only back from the States briefly before heading out on vacation with Bev and their daughter and grandchildren. He did devotions for the older kids on one night. He was sitting among them all — not at front behind a podium. He had a baby on his lap, a 5-year-old with her hands on his knee, and his hands were outstretched in teaching. I couldn’t help but remember the very similar classic image of Jesus. It was a touching sight.
Court dates: Yesterday, three families of three babies saw them for the first time since they were born. They aren’t required to, but they are allowed to, on the day the give up their rights to the babies in court. I get emotional seeing adoptive families see their baby for the first time. This also made me emotional, though. The girl I’m volunteering with, Beth, has a niece waiting to go home from here. Today was her court date, so Mira’s (the baby) 19-year-old mom and grandma came. Mira’s mom didn’t really hold her — just looked on solemnly. The grandma did hold her, with tears in her eyes, and Mira fell asleep in her arms. I imagine it’s hard to know you’re giving up what it probably your first grandbaby. I bet, too, that it brought back memories of her own daughter when she was a baby. Such a weird mix of sadness and closure for the birth family — and joy and hope of the future for the adoptive family — on these court dates.
Abortion: Ray of Hope is a faith-based crisis pregnancy center where a lot of the HoGL babies come from. Samantha, who worked at Ray of Hope for 8 months, has been at the Home a lot in the past week. I talked with her today about abortion rates, as I’ve felt a great need to pray for the women of Taiwan lately. In Taiwan, 20 years old is considered “underage.” Of all the 20-year-old and younger women who become pregnant, 85% will have an abortion. Here, it is legal to abort quite late in the pregnancy. (Need to find out exactly how late… Can’t remember.) Many of the women who give up their babies didn’t find out they were pregnant and planned to do this for 6 months or so. They just didn’t know they were pregnant until it’s too late to abort. It’s fascinating to hear Sam talk about the various situations of the birthmothers of the babies at the Home. She has talked with many of them extensively. And she said that in the 8 months she worked at Ray of Hope, she’s only been able to talk one woman on the crisis phone line out of aborting her baby. She calls the babies miracles… and I understand now how true that is.
Food: Guess who now eats broccoli and fish. I was getting tired of eating so little of what was served at meal times. And, Eli (the boy with the Iowa shirt) started putting fish in my bowl to try it. So I did. And it doesn’t taste fishy at all… Not sure if it’s the quality of the fish, or the way they cook it, but it’s pretty good! I’m still not confident in picking it off the bone without getting any bone bits down my throat, so one of the older kids usually helps me once they see me struggling to grab fish meat with my chopsticks.
Shopping: Since Jen Jen was able to come help out at the Home today, we were able to go shopping again! We had quite a long time and covered a lot of ground. I was able to get gifts for my family, as well as some things I had been wanting. For Tyler, Ryan and Dad: t-shirts with poorly translated English and lots of candy. For Mom: a tablecloth to use as scrap fabric and cute pens. I got a small vase, a set of wooden chopsticks, and a rice scooper for myself. It is really such a blessing to be able to leave the Home for a while. We had a great time together eating McDonald’s and hanging out in a two-story pagoda while it rained.
Gratitude: While at the top of the pagoda, looking out at the park and nearby shops, I was struck by such deep gratitude to God for this opportunity. Yes, it’s hard and the days are long. But the love I feel for these babies, these people, and this country is more than I expected. I am following a dream halfway across the world. Seriously.
I’ll say it again: I am so blessed to be at a place in life where I can go and do this. And really, to think that only a bit over a year ago I sat on the steps of an orphanage in Jamaica and felt a tugging on my heart is amazing. I’m brought to tears with thankfulness for a passion God has entrusted to me. It is nothing for my own praise. It’s all for Him, birthed out of a greater understanding of a deep need.