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Archive for the ‘Adoption’ Category


This week’s text in Galatians focuses on adoption, God’s adoption of sinners as His sons as a result of Jesus’ work of redemption for us.  J.I. Packer comments that you can’t really understand Christianity unless you understand adoption.  John Calvin says you aren’t really a Christian unless, by the work of the Spirit, you call God your Father.

There are not many books on this topic.  It is a much neglected topic- but there are a few great books just the same.

Great Books I’ve Read:

Children of the Living God: Delighting in the Father’s Love by Sinclair Ferguson.  It is not a big book, but it is a great book.  Ferguson does what Ferguson does best, put the cookies on the shelf so lesser beings can enjoy them.  I can’t recommend this book enough.

Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children by Robert Peterson.  It comes recommended by Packer, Ferguson, and Steve Brown among others.  It is a very good book.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer.  Though not on the topic of adoption, there is a great chapter on the topic.  This is one of the great books which influenced me as a young Christian.  That chapter is just one of the reasons.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray.  He includes a chapter on adoption as one aspect of the application of our redemption.

Books I’d Like to Read:

Adopted into God’s Family: Exploring a Pauline Metaphor by Trevor Burke.  Part of the New Studies in Biblical Theology Series, this is a more academic look at this topic (which exceeds use by Paul).

Heirs with Christ: Puritans on Adoption by Joel Beeke.  That should be an interesting read.

John Calvin and the Good News of Adoption by Timothy Trumper.  It is 2 CDs with lectures by Trumper.  Interesting…

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My, he's a squirmy one!

My, he is a squirmy one!

It was long overdue.  This is what happens when you don’t have a call and you are a Presbyterian.  My membership is with my Presbytery, not a local church.  This complicated & delayed the process of baptizing CavSon.  [I have a few posts on the Reformed position on baptizing infants- not all views on infant baptism are the same.  I forgot to put a post up about mode of baptism.  This week, Lord willing.]

Amie has now joined the local PCA church in which we worship.  Yesterday morning we had him baptized.  Our friend Danny, who is the Associate Pastor, handled the explanation and vows.  I handled the squirming son, and the actual baptism.  It took quite some time as Danny kept losing his place due to the side show going on around him.  CavSon kept wanting to play with the ear piece from the wireless system I had on since I was preaching.

May blessings break upon his head.

May blessings break upon his head.

He did much better when I actually poured water on his head.  He seemed to like that.  Of course, he had been working up a sweat.  Afterward he wanted to play with the rest of the water, which was not a surprise to either of us.  It was great for CavDaughter to watch this.  She was up there with us initially, but she was quite antsy too, so we had her sit with friends.  She’s on the video.  We talked with her a little bit about it the previous day or two.  She knows she has been baptized, and we should show her that video.  She’s fascinated by pictures of herself when she was a baby.

We received word while we were in Jacksonville that his new birth certificates had arrived at the lawyer’s office.  I picked them up this morning.  Now we can work toward his U.S. citizenship.  But he is now part of the visible church, which is great news in my book.  May his adoption into our family eventually result in his being adopted into God’s family.

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I watched a fair amount of the Presidential Nominees’ Forum hosted by Saddleback Church.  I both liked it, and didn’t like it.

What I liked was that both candidates answered the same questions, and didn’t interact with each other’s answers.  They were able to stay on task and not get caught up in attacking one another.  I also liked that the audience was well prepped.  They applauded both nominees, and did not boo them.  They were respectful.  Their reactions will be reserved for the voting booth, which is great.

What I didn’t like is the notion that they were somehow trying to win the “evangelical vote”.  I don’t care if either of them can share the right terminology to explain their understanding of Jesus.  I’m not looking for them to be my pastor, but to be our President.  That has a very different set of criteria.

Both candidates playfully pandered to Rick Warren.  I have no problem with that- it helped set people at ease and it was for show.  They knew they weren’t pulling something over on people, nor were they trying to.

For me, the big differences between two candidates was the Obama certainly came across as more personable.  But McCain’s answers (whether or not you agree with him) were more clear and decisive.  Obama sounded thoughtful, but that doesn’t help me know how he’s going to lead us as a nation.  For a candidate proposing change, the notion that Edward Kennedy will be one of his most trusted advisors is shocking.  He is the ultimate insider, and stands behind some of the most messed up moments in American politics in recent memory.  Not a good move by Barak.  Nor was hemming & hawing about abortion.  Women don’t get abortions because they have inadequate healthcare or don’t know they can easily and quickly find someone to adopt the child.

I thought McCain had a better grasp of economics.  I also thought Obama doesn’t get that people don’t mind taxes for roads and schools (unless they fail).  It’s all the entitlements and earmarks that people are frustrated with and don’t want to see their taxes raised to continue.

Obama also didn’t seem balanced his view of America, or other nations.  Yes, we are FAR from perfect.  We are not the only nation to deal with racism- it is a problem in every nation in which people of different ethnicities live.  But I’d take our track record with the poor and disadvantaged than any other nations’.  Are we jailing and murdering political dissidents?  No.  Religious people?  No.  This is, by and large, a generous nation.  Think of all the humanitarian aid we provide each year- even to nations that don’t like us.  Think of the numerous people, mostly Christians, who’ve given their time and money to rebuild New Orleans and other areas devastated by Katrina.  Just one of my pet peeves- only mentioning the bad we do, and never acknowledging or downplaying the good we’ve done.  Yes, we have some really dark marks on our record, but also some good ones.

I thought the forum was helpful, mostly.  Any thoughts?

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There has been plenty going on to occupy the CavFamily.  For one thing, we have put our home on the market.  We did this to preserve our equity since the prices are only going down, and we probably won’t get this much for at least a few years.  We hope to be moving elsewhere soon.  If I receive a new call, we’ll have a headstart on selling the house.

This means lots of work.  We have been “de-cluttering”, which mostly means packing up unnecessary items to create the perception of more space in the home.  The real estate agent is hopeful; our home is priced competetively and the market for smaller homes is better than for larger homes.  I got plenty of work done Friday and Saturday- to which CavGirl commented “You’re a workhorse, daddy.”  She picked this phrase up from Jon & Kate Plus 8.   The excess stuff is gone and the home is ready for the virtual tour photos.

With a vacation coming up, we also had to “de-dog” the home.  He is a shedding machine.  As a result, the prospect of asking our neighbors to not only let him out, but being able to vacuum the home on a moment’s notice if an agent wants to show it and how he might respond to strangers means he needs to go on vacation.  Just not with us.  Former neighbors agreed to watch him while we are away.  But, they now live a few hours away.  So, on a trip to visit family they stopped by last night to pick him up.  CavGirl was not quite down with that.  Tired and hungry, she had a mini-meltdown because the dog is gone, temporarily.

It was a good thing the dog is gone.  Shortly after putting the kids to bed, CavWife realized it was getting warm in the house.  The A/C was not working, period.  Not even the fan or heat.  I think the lightening storm must of wiped out the thermostat and a nearby fan used to create white noise for sleeping children.  It was a long, warm, sticky night in the house.  We had some doors and windows open.  No telling how the dog would react to the various noises and critters outside.  I didn’t get much sleep, crashing in the living room since it had better airflow.  Thankfully, the forecast says that it is only supposed to get to around 88 today.  Much better than 95+.  But I passed on the shower in the hopes that the A/C guy has it up and running around lunch time.  Then I take CavBoy to his re-evaluation for his hearing.  They wanted to see how the better tubes affected his hearing.

Saturday was a long, tiring day.  We had the joy of going to another wedding.  We sat with a friend and her 3 year-old.  CavGirl, CavBoy and their friend had too much fun.  We should have gotten a babysitter since I got so stressed out at the noise and endless questions.  I found them a huge distraction but the people around us didn’t seem too put off.  At the reception, I was able to spend time with a guy I rented a room from while getting my 2nd degree from RTS.  He also rented a room to the groom.  Like CavSon, he was born with a cleft-plate, so we spent time comparing notes as it were.

We left the reception around 2, after CavBoy’s diaper seems to have sprung a leak.  Too much to drink for that boy.  So we had to slip out the back quietly.  He crashed on the short ride home, but CavGirl was another story.  Her whining was a preview for the evening.  All my parenting tricks failed.  Nothing seemed to get through to her and grew increasingly exasperated.  It was a good prelude to my sermon on Sunday on how God loves us enough to discipline us.

This morning, our speech therapist called to say he wasn’t coming.  We requested a new speech therapist, but wanted the transition to take place when we went on vacation.  He decided “what’s the point”- ah, our son’s well-being…  We don’t want him to go 5 weeks without speech therapy.  This therapist seems to have little experience with cleft-palate kids (though he talked like an expert).  His recommendations were about 180 degrees different from everyone else’s.  He also refused to take his personal history as a recently adopted kid into account and determined his progress in 4 sessions was insignificant.  I’m not sure why he was informed of this change now, but I’m not liking how he bailed on CavSon today.  So now we are looking for a new therapist with experience working cleft-palate kids locally.  As if we didn’t have enough happening.

So, I have now escaped to my ‘office’ for cooler air and a quiet atmosphere.  Much needed for my sanity.  My stay here will be much too short.

Update: The A/C repair cost about $160.  It didn’t look good at first, but it turned out that the transformer and relay had been blown out by a power surge.  Had it taken a direct hit by lightening, the whole shebang would have to be repaired costing about $1,600.  So we are thankful!

CavSon’s hearing exam came back as borderline normal, which is great news.  He’s had a rough day since he didn’t sleep well.  He was crying most of the way home, even when I held his hand he was not comforted.  Not the best thing for my shoulder.

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While CavWife helped a friend pack for a cross-town move into their new home, I took the kids to the playground.  I hadn’t been there with them since March or April.  I was joyfully amazed at the progress CavGirl has made.  He was climbing the various ladders, without help, and going down the slides alone.  She even had me teach her how to climb the “rock” wall.  She did pretty well for a first timer.

CavSon did okay.  He’s still not excited about slides or swings.  They’ll grow on him.

They both enjoyed the deck that goes over the lake.  We saw plenty of fishes among the junk that had been tossed in.  You can’t swim at the beach anymore.  It is covered over with weeds on land and in the water.  Probably too hard to keep the gators away.  The beach was probably victim of a previous budget crunch.

The victims of the next budget crunch were sitting there the entire time we were there.  There were 3 emplyees from Leisure Services sitting, talking and reading.  Their job would be to play with neighborhood kids.  But there were no kids there.  Which is unfortunate- it was an overcast day so it wasn’t mind-numbingly hot, and we saw a bunch of kids down the street.

CavGirl has experienced a number of falls off her bike lately.  Tumbles in general.  She’s got a cut on her big toe that keeps opening up.  She did a good job banging up a finger.  She rides too fast and tries to turn.  We are still working on actually stopping to look both ways before entering the road.

She is currently engrossed in Jon & Kate Plus 8 while CavWife taught aerobics.  She loves watching all the kids.  She just calls it watching the kids.  We now have a video tape dedicated to the show.

His speech therapy is going okay.  He’s trying.  He can make the ‘p’ sound, but has not yet integrated it into actual words.  But the therapist isn’t happy.  He disagrees with the surgeon regarding the need to repair the fistula.  We have decided: 1. he has little experience with cleft palate kids, 2. he is not taking CavSon’s speech in context (here 6 months, this is his 2nd language, undergoing major surgery…).  So, when we return from vacation, we should have a new speech therapist to work with him.

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Apparently CavBoy’s eardrums were rejecting his ear tubes.  They were the “old school” kind.  It was time to insert the ‘high tech’ kind (yeah, I have no idea what all that means).  Today was the day, and it started very early.  At 5 am the sounds of Charlie Peacock’s West Coast Diaries Vol. 1 woke me far earlier than I want to be awakened.  But we had to be in Orlando by 6:30, so I had to roll out of bed and stumble into the shower.  Yes, the no-longer-dripping shower.

At 5:30 we were out the door, CavBoy and me.  Early morning did not help me when it came to reading the directions later on.  This meant I went in circles for awhile, growing more frustrated by the moment.  In the hospital complex, they had less than adequate signage.  As a result, I ended up missing the reserved parking (thanks in part to a big truck blocking my view).

Paperwork was sure to follow, and it was.  In the paperwork I brought with me, I did not have all the answers I needed.  But, after a few quick calls home the preliminary round of paperwork was done.  Out to move the car and place the parking permit on the dash.  Since I had to drag CavSon with me … I was irritated.  The fact that I’m not a morning person didn’t help.

Next we went into a minuscule office so I could sign the release forms.  CavBoy has now perked up and it into just about everything in the tiny office.  I’m sure she had heard my “I think you need a bigger office” comment a few times.  Wrongly suspecting he’d made ‘boom-boom’ (as a friend says) I was looking for a bathroom to change him.  No need, I was escorted to his room for pre-op.  He was not happy to see the little heart rate monitor they attach to digits.  He hated having it attached to his thumb for his major surgery.  They put it on his toe this time to change it up.  But it was only on for a few moments.

The anesthesiologist came in to prep me.  They have him a valium-type liquid, turning him into a sloppy-drunk sailor.  He couldn’t stand or walk.  It was mildly amusing to me, but certainly not to him.  Time passed quickly in the private room as the surgeon showed up and soon he was off to have the procedure done.  It took about 15 minutes, of that.  They waited for him to wake up before bringing him back.

They should have kept him longer, but I don’t blame them.  He was like a raging drunk.  He was quite angry- like the return of the terror of the first 6 weeks or so.  He still couldn’t stand, but fought off a diaper change and change of clothes.  He repeatedly pushed me away and, of course, was screaming most of the time.

He seemed to keep the juice down, and totally pounded the second cup.  Still screaming and squirming, they escorted me out the door.  I wish they would have let us stay so he could calm down since it is a one hour drive with a screaming child.  But they wanted this to be a private nightmare.  I tossed him into the car seat and refilled his cup.  Since he then tried to rip it apart, I took it away which prompted more anger.  I think he started to turn green at one point.  This prompted me to call CavWife to ask for prayer.

Back on the highway, still screaming, I soon heard the juice come back up.  Big decision…. pull over and prolong the nightmare or keep going to minimize this visit to Hades.  I took the Bad Parent Award and pressed on.  It was just juice folks.

At the 40-45 minute mark he finally stopped screaming and crying.  When we got him we was nearly himself.  Still wobbly, he was more interested in being comforted.  Then the ‘boom-boom’ came.  I didn’t care, I’d survived my visit to Hades, I mean Orlando, … and CavWife took care of this one.

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Although it has only been just over 5 months since CavWife brought CavBoy home from China, we just had our 6 month post-placement appointment with the social worker. It was a good time to remember how far he has come, and how far we have come as a family.
The first month was incredibly difficult on the whole family as he adjusted to everything and we adjusted to him. As I type, the kids are playing “going to the wedding”, a result of going to “Uncle” Morgan’s wedding last weekend. They packed their bags for the hotel room. The 2 of them usually play very well together as CavGirl revels in being the ring leader, I mean older sister. She has all the makings of a Red Leader 1.
Last night on the short ride home from a friend’s they were serenading us from the back seat. It was mostly nonsense. Last weekend, CavGirl was shouting song lyrics like “your love is better than life” (Newsboys) and “I am a friend of God” (from a worship CD CavWife plays often). CavBoy can’t quite do that yet, so it is interesting to hear them ‘sing’ together like some childish opera in a strange tongue.
CavBoy has grown 2 1/2 inches and gained 4 pounds in his 5+ months with us. This despite his liquid diet post-surgery. This is still a fistula in his palate which the surgeon thinks isn’t a major problem, but the speech therapist thinks is. They can duke it out … the surgeon is one of the most respected surgeons for this in Orlando so what do I know.
Speech therapy is going slowly. But this morning he was doing more of the noises in Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?. That is good news. He’s starting to try, which is a start. It takes him time to start trying something- climbing into his car seat, into his booster seat for meals, etc. I realized the other day that I tended to pull him out of his car seat. I thought, “Dude, the kid can climb out on his own!” and now he does. Now, if he can just start using those expulsive consonants…
That is the main area of improvement- trying things. He still seems overwhelmed with new experiences (he was utterly traumatized by the merry go round at Cypress Gardens) and places. But he’s beginning to try more things like climbing up a playset and going down the slide last night.
Another area of improvement is handling his anger. He had horrible tantrums at first. But his trantrums are now pretty sedate for a 2 year-old. We are so thankful since those tantrums made meal time in particular quite difficult. Now meal time is stressful because it takes forever for him to eat as he plays and procrastinates. At least he isn’t eating us out of house and home anymore (that’s now CavGirl’s job).
We have some concerns about his hearing. He tested with some minor hearing loss, but that might have been related to the fluid in his ear. The ear, throat & nose specialist wants to put in larger tubes. These tubes would not fall out, but would have to be removed. However, they should aid in relieving pressure on his ear drum and preserve his hearing (but probably not his singing).
When I think of all the doctor’s appointments and bills I can become overwhelmed at times. But I wouldn’t trade the time and money back. He’s our son and an important part of our family. The boy stays!

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