Archives For Adoption

Can An Orphan Heal?

Chris Heinz —  April 30, 2014 — 6 Comments

Panic crashing down, I awoke when it was still dark outside.

My heartbeats thundered through my veins, I could feel them speeding up and getting heavier: Boom, boom, boom.

No, slow down, breathe, find peace. I practiced the normal tactics in times like this—tried breathing slower, tried to think a happy thought, a kitten, a puppy. I tried to pray. But nothing worked—I was a wreck.

I lumbered downstairs and plopped on the couch in my office. Why was I so anxious?

Then two thoughts came to mind.

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I don’t typically write about adoption on my blog, but I couldn’t resist.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month in the United States and my workplace, EnergyCAP, Inc., was recently recognized as a Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Plus, my wife and I adopted two boys from the Philippines—one in 2009 and one this past August.

We’re part of a growing trend in the Church to be families for orphans. The fact we adopted is not so much a reflection of us, but rather the God we serve. Psalm 68:6 says that God sets the lonely in families and James 1:27 says that pure religion looks after orphans. So before you say how great we are for adopting, first say how great God is—adoption is God’s idea.

According to the Barna Group, adoption is on the rise in the United States, a fact we should celebrate! But as we celebrate, let’s do so with understanding. There were many things I wish I understood about adoption before we received our boys.

Here are ten myths of adoption from our experience:

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Agnes had just returned from the morning prayer meeting when she got my email saying help was on the way. Agnes is Pastor Roy’s administrator.

Hello Pastor Chris, praise God of the help. We’re encouraged to do our mission as we see many people giving donations. Thank God. It’s morning watch prayer meeting. God answers prayer, He’s so good to us.

(I’m wiring the money at 3 PM ET today, so please donate if you’d like to.)

Here’s an excerpt from chapter one in Made To Pray. It seems appropriate in this Philippine typhoon and also because it’s National Adoption Awareness month.

You don’t know when you’ll return to this part of the world, so you walk the streets near your hotel. You watch the people, take in the smells. It’s so different from home. Water has finally receded from the rain. The wet ground is starting to dry. You missed the storm by just days. You wonder how they’ll recover. It seems unfair that so many storms have come.

Different colored trash litters the ground; your eyes are drawn to it. There’s green glass and brown glass and blue glass. There are sheets of tin and wet cardboard, loose paper strewn about. Shoeless and dirty children waddle around. They pick out trash as toys. They find a tire, roll it to each other and laugh. You can’t decide to smile or cry.

What’s that on the ground?

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Dear Family and Friends,

It’s impossible to say this in person to everyone we want to, so we’re saying it here. We apologize if blogging this letter seems impersonal or tacky, but it’s the best means we have right now.

First of all, thank you so much for your support. Adopting Asher has been a dream of ours for three years. After a mountain of paperwork and prayers and payments and waiting, he’s finally with us.

In a way, you have waited with us. And held our hands. And reminded us that one day, we’ll hold his. Thank you for loving us so.

That day is finally here. And although you’ve been waiting along with us, we ask you to wait even longer. We love that you want to see him and hold him and play with him, but it’s not time yet.

This might seem cruel, but we have to ask you to wait.

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When my wife and I got married, we had plans for a big family.

It didn’t take too long and soon she was pregnant. We had Asia nine months later.

But the next child took longer, years in fact. We thought something was wrong with us. We met with a fertility specialist. After a series of tests, she came back with her diagnosis—there was nothing wrong with either of us. The doctor called it “unexplained infertility.”

Unexplained infertility? What were we supposed to do with that? There was no clear problem to solve, and with no clear problem to solve, there was no way to fix it. And with no way to fix it, I had nothing to do. I felt useless.

Our friends were having babies left and right. They didn’t mean to conceive, but oh, it happened again. Teenagers were getting pregnant; delinquents were becoming parents. Why couldn’t we have a baby? We weren’t getting any younger.

We felt hopeless. But then…

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We’re waiting for Asher. We’ve been waiting for three years.

Asher is a boy in the Philippines. He’s our boy, we’re adopting him. In August Asher turns four. We should hear soon that we can schedule our trip. Then we’ll wait another four or five weeks until we can go.

It’s not easy to wait, would you agree?

Asher’s picture is on my phone and when I look at him, my heart hurts. We haven’t met yet, but we love him already. He’ll share a room with Rex, our other son. We just want him here.

Waiting is a fact of life. Sure, none of us wake up and hope to wait today. We don’t pray, “God, let me wait extra long.” If we get into waiting, we look for a way out. Waiting is painful.

But since we can’t avoid waiting, let’s make the best of it.

Here are some thoughts on how to wait well.

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Some very exciting news.

Colette and I have a son. Asia and Rex have a brother. His name is Asher, he’s three, and he’s from the Philippines. Probably in June we’ll go get him, when the process runs its course.

“Ten thousand thousand precious Gifts
My Daily Thanks employ,
Nor is the least a cheerful Heart,
That tastes those Gifts with Joy.” (Joseph Addison, 1712)

You could say it’s been a bit busy in our home.

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God’s At It Again

Chris Heinz —  May 18, 2012 — 7 Comments

cupcake

God is telling another story.

I’ve been especially aware of stories lately. I just finished a memoir by Mark Richard called House of Prayer No. 2, which details his rough upbringing and raw journey to faith. Perhaps no one is more surprised than Mark Richard when he arrives at redemption.

I had dinner last night with an Aussie and a Spanish Austrian on the last day of a marketing conference. The Spanish Austrian had to leave early, but Aussie and I talked for hours about our present stories—life, work, love, and faith. He’s trying to discover the man God made him to be.

And two dinners prior, I reunited with a friend I hadn’t seen in ten years. Some difficult things need to be dealt with, and we began the process. Sometimes to move forward, you have to go back and make amends, the story demands it.

So Story has my attention. And as I said, God’s telling another one.

Colette and I are adopting from the Philippines again. It’ll probably go through in 2013. Some of you know that we adopted our dear son Rex from there. God told a story then, too.

In the course of an adoption, there are certain milestones. Approval of the home study is one of them. The home study is the basis to adopt, and the United States Customs and Immigration Service has to approve it. If they don’t, you can’t adopt. Our home study was approved on October 20.

Another milestone is the Approval to Adopt by the court in the Philippines. This makes the child adoptable. Without it, he or she can’t be adopted. Our Approval to Adopt was signed on the same day a year later—October 20.

October 20 is my birthday.

And there were other milestones that happened on Colette’s birthday and Asia’s birthday. Do you see what God was doing? He was telling the story that Rex belongs in our family by supernaturally grafting him into our family on our birthdays.

And God’s at it again. Our social worker had a meeting with the adoption board in the Philippines to discuss our new adoption. What was the date? April 18, the birthday of my mom, our child’s future grandmother.

One day we’ll lay out the documents on the bed and we’ll show our children the story God’s telling. We’ll point to the dates on the papers and the matching birthdays, and laugh deeply at deep belonging, where no one’s left out. We’ll have a good hug and a good cry.

Then we’ll climb on the bed and jump up and down, all of us together at once.

What a Story when God’s at it again.