November 7, 2011
A New Ballou (Date TBD)
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here! One big reason is that a lot of what’s been on my heart lately has been related to some big news we weren’t quite ready to announce publicly – but now we feel like it’s time for that, so I want to share with you blog readers the letter we’re sending out to friends and family to share our news
Matt and I have been talking about the possibility of adoption for years, since before we were married. We both love children and feel a great deal of compassion for those little ones who are left without families, and beyond that, as we’ve read our Bibles, we’ve seen what God has to say about adoption – first, that Ephesians 1 talks about how as Jesus redeems us, we are adopted into His family. There are also a number of passages in which God talks about how He treats orphans – Hosea 14:3 says that in God, “the orphan finds mercy,” and Psalm 68:5 refers to God as the, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows.” We’re told that, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,” (James 1:27a) and that what God requires of us is to, “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8b).
While we’ve been committed to the idea of adoption for a while, it’s within the last few months that we’ve felt like God has been calling us to actually move toward beginning the process to adopt a child into our family. As we’ve done some reading and research, we’ve felt specifically called to international adoption – we’re feeling drawn to China in particular – and what we’d really like to do is adopt a child with special needs. There is a bible passage in which Jesus speaks of righteousness as caring for those most in need, “the least of these” (Matthew 25:31-40). China’s One-Child Policy, coupled with the culture’s strong preference for sons over daughters, has resulted in the abandonment of many baby girls over the last 30 years or so, though the numbers of healthy babies being abandoned thankfully seem to be declining. What has received less attention, though, is that many children with special needs continue to be abandoned – there are thousands of children with special needs sitting in orphanages in China right now waiting for families. Their needs can range from mild to severe – a child may be labeled as having special needs because of a cleft lip, a positive Hepatitis B or HIV test result, cerebral palsy, a missing (or extra) finger or toe, a congenital heart defect, or even just a birthmark. Who could fit into the category of “the least of these” more than one of these children? Regardless of their gender or special needs, each of these little ones was created by God in His image. There are 147 million orphans in the world today, 147 million children who, just as much as our precious little Miranda, were designed to live in families, to have loving parents, to be given not only food and medical care but also hugs and love and attention from an adoring parent, and we want to be part of providing that.
We’re writing to tell you about this primarily because we love you, and this step we’re taking is a big deal to us, and we want to include you in it. We would love to talk with you more about it or answer questions any time. We also wanted to let you know of ways you could walk with us and support us in this journey if you would like – we know that we cannot do anything of this
magnitude on our own. First, we would be honored if you would participate with us in this process by praying for us. We anticipate facing many challenges in the coming months, and we would appreciate your presence with us as we encounter them. The first challenge we face is financial – we’re estimating that this entire process will cost something like $30,000, an amount we certainly do not have on hand at the moment. If you would like to consider helping us in that area, we would also be incredibly thankful. We would certainly accept donations to our adoption fund (there will be a link here on my blog to make donations via paypal), but it would actually be a great financial blessing for us for people to consider purchasing artwork – to that end, Matt has set up an etsy shop that offers a selection of his works for sale, which you can see at: www.etsy.com/people/eikonktizo (and his main website at www.eikonktizo.com gives a more comprehensive picture of his work). Purchasing artwork is helpful in that it provides us with needed funds but also assists us in establishing the value of other artworks and documenting our net worth, which is one of China’s requirements. Ultimately, we believe that God is leading us into this process, and He will provide whatever we need, and we expect He will do so in part through some of you. We hope you’ll consider joining us in some way – we couldn’t imagine a more exciting journey to be embarking on. We’ll keep you informed!
Matt, Alison, and Miranda Ballou