Archive | August 2012

Ministry Begins at Home

In previous blogs, I talked about the fact that God has given the responsibility of passing His legacy to the next generation to the parents. Below are some things that I talked about:

  • Make a list of the qualities that you would like to see your children internalize.
  • Make a list of who (people) and what (technology) are talking to your children throughout the day and what are they saying. Does what they say match the qualities you are trying to instill?
  • Create a team of people and resources that will walk alongside of you to help you pass God’s legacy to your children and instill godly qualities in them.
  • Be an example.
  • Make your home a safe place (physically, emotionally, spiritually, academically, and socially).
  • Pray as a family.

Another extremely important component that is necessary to complete the pass is to minister together as a family. Ministry begins at home. Youth group ends; the family does not. If your children are only reaching out to others through the youth group, chances are when it stops, so will they. If you minister as a family and start when they are young, it becomes a way of life and does not end until the Lord calls your children home. Ministering for Christ as a family is to be done seven days a week.

Ask yourself, “Where did Christ do most of His ministering?” He did it when he was out and about. Look up, Matthew 9:35-38; 14:14; 20:34. There are four key components in these verses that teach us how to minister to a lost and dying world.

  • The Need: Jesus saw a need with the lost, the blind, and the sick. These people did not come to Jesus when He was sitting at home playing cards and watching TV. He was about His Father’s business. The first thing you must do is look around for people who do not know Christ or are hurting in some way. Ask God to bring someone to your attention.
  • Compassion: After Jesus saw a need, He was moved with compassion (sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it). He did not just say, “I feel sorry for that blind man; instead, He did something so the blind man could see. He did not just say, “These people are treating Me horribly, they deserve to go to hell!” No, instead He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He then died on the cross so the lost could have salvation and a way to the Father. If God has brought someone to your attention, do you feel enough to want to see their situation changed?
  • Did something: Christ took action and did something to make a difference. He touched the blind man’s eyes, reached out to the sinner, and died on a cross to save us from hell. People will not grow in the Lord without teachers; they will not get saved without someone sharing the gospel. Now, ask the Lord what you can do to help the person He brought to your mind.
  • There were results: The blind men received sight, the sick were healed, and people accepted Christ as their only way to heaven. If you share the gospel, people will be saved. If you have a Bible study, people will grow in the Lord. The list goes on.

Be on the lookout for ways that you can be God’s hands and feet throughout the day. Listed are some ideas to get you started:

  • When someone new moves into the neighborhood, make cookies or a bread, go over, and introduce yourselves. If your new neighbors have moved from far away, you can familiarize them with the neighborhood (places to shop, activities, and points of interest that are close by).
  • Have an elderly neighbor? Rake her leaves, cut her lawn, shovel her snow, go over just to keep her company, or offer to take her to the doctor or grocery shopping.
  •  A friend or family member has someone close to them pass away. Go as a family to the funeral home. Make food for the family and take it to their home. Have the children make cards of sympathy. As they get older, they will automatically know what to do when someone dies. There was a dead bat in my neighbor’s backyard and the first thing my eight-year-old granddaughter said was, “Let’s have a funeral for it.”
  • A friend just told me that she and her sons helped a family move in. Before the family moved in they went over, cleaned up the yard, and planted flowers in planters. Everyone was blessed and her boys are learning to be on the lookout to be a blessing to others.
  • Your teen can babysit for a young couple so they can go out on a date or be able to just clean the house.
  • If a family is low income, shop together as a family and surprise them with food and extras. Do it when it is not Christmas or Thanksgiving.
  • Let your home be the “hangout” for all the kids in the neighborhood. Don’t forget to have some great life-talks while they are there.

Be creative! The important thing is that you are out there being God’s hands and feet as a family. Start today!!

This is a very small list. I would love to hear some things that you do together as a family. Please leave a comment.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Adoption is an Option ~ Part V ~ Blessed Because of Adoption

Personally, adoption has touched the lives of many friends and family members. In the cases that I know, each child benefited from being adopted into a family better able to take on the responsibilities of child-rearing.

The greatest story is mine. When I got remarried, my ex-husband felt he could not keep up with the financial responsibilities of our three children so he allowed John, my husband, to adopt them. In so many ways that was the best decision for all involved.

I have a number of friends who adopted children who had been abused or neglected. Taking on children with preexisting issues is not an easy task and takes a great deal of sacrifice. I cannot imagine where those children would be today if they stayed with parents who were not even able to take care of themselves let alone their children. My hat goes off to those adoptive parents who were willing to give up a lot so those children could have a good home life. My hat also goes off to the birth parents who did not care what others thought, but admitted that raising children was not a responsibility that they were ready for and allowed their children something more than they could have offered them. Note: If you are thinking of adopting children that have been abused or have mental or physical handicaps, I highly recommend becoming more educated on the issues those children are dealing with. Special needs children require much more skill and attention and you may realize you are not ready to take on the extra responsibility of raising a special needs child.

I have friends who adopted babies that did not have any emotional or physical handicaps and the babies were able to grow up in homes with loving parents. Some of them know their birth parents and have great relationships with both their adoptive and birth parents. In all cases, the now adults consider their adoptive parents their parents, yet because it is safe, some have given their birth parents the gift of being a part of their lives as well. Note: Many times the birth parents are still unable to be a part of the adopted children’s lives, but what a beautiful, unselfish picture to see both sets of parents involved in their adult children’s lives.

One friend I know made a beautiful scrape book of her life and went to meet her birth mother. When she gave her birth mother the book she said, “You gave me life. I want to show you the life you allowed me to have.” It is truly a gift when adopted children contact their birth parents just to let them know that the decision they made was the right decision. Even if nothing more comes from the meeting, the birth parents can rest and not have to wonder what ever happened to their babies.

I have friends, Kristina and Pat, who are amazing. They have adopted over six children and most of them have either physical or mental issues. They have given their lives so children can have better lives. They have taken in and loved children who others thought their lives were not important. They have devoted their lives to stand by these children no matter what, to love them as their own, and be there for them through thick and thin. Love you guys and what you do!

I have friends who were adopted as children. They all had a better home life than they would have had if they stayed with their biological mother. All of them are very thankful for their adoptive parents.

Another wonderful story is when I found out that my mom had to give a daughter up for adoption. My sister was looking for my mom to tell her that she had a very good life. My mom never got to meet her, but I am glad that I now have another sister. She is a wonderful woman. My siblings and I were able to tell her all about the amazing woman that gave her life. There is a bond that has formed and something special knowing that we shared the same womb. It is amazing how much my sister is like our mother and the two of them never met.

When a baby is given up for adoption, it does not always have a fairy tale ending. Children take a lot of work and sacrifice. Children with special needs take even more time and energy. I have friends who adopted children who were abused and were not prepared to handle the emotional scares that came with the trauma of abuse. It caused a lot of problems with the family, but today those children publicly thank God for their adoptive parents. Sometimes it can be very touchy when children are given to family members because the birth parent is still a part of the family. I know of someone who allowed a family member to adopt her child and ended up suffering a lot of pain and rejection due to some misunderstandings. Yes, she suffered for her decision, but she was never sorry for the decision she made because her child had a life that she was unable to give. She wanted her child to grow up knowing the biological family. Today, that child has an amazing family and that would not be the case if the woman would not have realized that she was unable to take care of her child the way a child needs to be taken care of. I know of another person who allowed a family member to adopt his special needs son. Friends and relatives give him a hard time calling him a loser and a no good dad. How sad! He is not a loser and is an amazing dad because he knew and admitted, not caring what others thought, that taking care of his son was too much for him to handle. It was the best decision he could have made. His son is alive today because of his decision. In the end we can see that the children are the ones who benefit the most and that is what it is all about.

As I end this series, I want to say when a baby is conceived outside of God’s design there WILL be pain, sorrow, and heartache. When a life is brought into this world, the responsible adults will say, “Setting aside all emotions, what is the best situation for my baby.” When people are faced with this situation, they may need to go to a number of trusted adults to help them make the decision that is best for the baby involved.

Let’s give three cheers for all involved who put the interest of what was best for their baby ahead of their wants and desires. Let’s give three cheers for the women who chose not to abort their babies, but carried those babies in their wombs for nine months and then had the courage to allow others to take those babies as their own.

Let’s go out and share with others what a wonderful option adoption really is.

I would love to hear your story. Were you adopted as a child? Have you met your birth family? ~ Did you place a child up for adoption? Do you know where that child is today? ~ Are you trying to adopt? Where are you at in the adoption process? Leave a comment below and tell us your story.

By: Linda Svacha:)

Adoption Is an Option ~ Part IV ~ Adoption

Adoption is an amazing option that is so often overlooked. In 2008, there were 135,813 adoptions in the United States United States (http://www.creatingafamily.org). We saw in Part II that there were well over one million abortions performed in the United States. How many of those aborted babies could have been given up for adoption? I would love to see more of the women who are aborting their babies give their babies a chance to live. Adoption offers so many benefits. Some of the benefits are:

  • Young mothers who are not ready to take on the responsibilities of child-rearing can offer their children life instead of ending their lives. These mothers are then able to mature enough and later have more children.
  • Babies do not have to be raised in unstable homes; instead, babies will have parents who are mature and ready to raise children.
  • The adoptive parents who were unable to have children of their own are given the greatest gift ~ a child. Personally, I know some couples who are ready and waiting to adopt a child.

People often look down on people who give their children up for adoption. We need to show those people that adoption is one of the most responsible decisions anyone can make. The parents are humbling themselves, saying, “We are just not mature enough or ready to handle the responsibilities that go along with child-rearing. We want more for our child/children.” The parents are thinking of the good of their baby/babies knowing there is just no way they can provide for them. It is a selfless decision because the parents are thinking of the baby over themselves. It is most girls’ dream to be a mother and have children so to admit that the timing is not right is huge. The parents care more about seeing that their child/children’s needs will be met over caring about how others will talk about them.

There are different adoption options for the parents to choose. Some options allow the parents to be involved in their child/children’s life/lives where other adoptions are closed and the biological parents have no involvement. Parents can play a major part in the selection of the adoptive parents and what kind of adoption option they would like. We need to educate more people on the beauty of adoption so more babies can be given a chance to live.

There may be times when adoption is not the best option for a baby, but those times are rare. There are many more times that adoption has been the very best choice. Personally, I do not know of any adoptions that turned sour for the children; instead, I know of many cases where adoption turned out to be very positive and the best thing that could have ever happened for the children involved. I will share some of those adoption stories in my next blog.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Adoption Is an Option ~ Part III ~ Keeping the Baby

Because the bond between a man and a woman is so strong and very emotional, people get intimate before they are ready to take on the responsibility of raising a family.  I strongly suggest encouraging the youth in your realm of influence on to wait to date until they are ready for marriage. I have talked in a number of blogs how children react on emotional. When the emotions get going, many times they are unable to control them. The end result…children who suffer. If a couple waits to have sexual relations until they are married and ready to support themselves, they benefit, the children benefit, and society benefits.

Today, I will talk about women who decide to keep their babies and are not married. New York Times states that over 50% of all births in the United States are to unwed mothers. Every situation is different, but I’ll give you a couple situations to look at: 1) The couple decides to marry and raise the child together 2) The father steps out of the picture and leaves the mother to raise the child on her own.

First, I will talk about the couple who decides to get married and raise the baby together. This is one of the best choices to make if the couple is ready to take on the responsibility of raising a family. Often, if someone feels he/she “has to get married” but really does not want to, he/she ends up resenting the baby and their spouse; therefore, it is important that the couple is not just getting married because of the baby. If the person is not ready to settle down, he/she most likely will look to the child as the reason he/she no longer can do the things he/she used to. Questions the couple should ask themselves before getting married are:

  • “Are we getting married just because we are having a baby?”
  • “Can we support a family?”
  • “Are we ready to make a lifelong commitment?”
  • “Do we love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together?”

If you are in this situation and are not ready to make the lifelong commitment, remember that adoption is an option. Placing your child up for adoption would give you time to mature and be ready to support a family.

Next, I’ll talk about  the couple who very young and does not want to make a commitment to get married and the girl is left to raise the baby on her own. Frequently, the girl is unable to support herself and her baby so they have to depend on the welfare system and others to meet their financial needs. Currently, government programs that support families with dependent children spend billions of dollars a year. Too often, people do not even think twice about having children and expecting the government (taxpayers) to support them. We have to be careful we are not encouraging irresponsibility. Maybe a better solution is to encourage women who are not ready to support their children to think about placing them up for adoption. Except in extreme circumstances, I believe that couples should be ready to support their own children.  Do not get me wrong, I am all for helping people, but I do not want to encourage single parenthood when statistics show that children suffer.

Research has found that children born outside of marriage have a greater risk of falling into poverty, failing in school, incarceration, and suffering with emotional and behavioral problems such as drug and alcohol use. Do women really want to put their children at a greater risk for things that will harm them?

Many times, women cannot part from their babies and want to raise them on their own (This is why I encourage youth to wait to even date until they are ready to support themselves). Often, women do not realize keeping their children can be a selfish decision and is not what is really best for the children involved. The following are some questions a woman should ask herself when making the decision whether to keep the baby or give it up for adoption:

  • “Will I be able to financially support my child or will I expect someone else to support us?”
  • “If I will be a single parent, who will watch my children while I work?”
  • “Will I live on my own or will I have to live with someone?”
  • “If I live with someone, will I pass responsibilities on to the people I live with (baby’s grandparents, friends)?”
  • “If I live with someone, will they override my decisions?”
  • “Am I ready to give up my life to do whatever I want when I want?” If not, the child will be resented and considered a burden.
  • Realizing all the needs children have (physical, emotional, spiritual, academic, and social) and the amount of time it takes to see that those needs are met, “Do I have someone who will make a commitment to be there to help me raise my children until they are adults?”
  • “If we stay together as a couple, will we live together or get married?”  In a summary of research, Pamela Smock and Fiona Rose Greenland, both from the University of Michigan, reported that two-thirds of couples living together split up by the time their child turned 10.

Note to those who are pregnant and are not married: If you are not mature enough or ready to take on the responsibility of a family, please consider adoption. Do not let anyone condemn you for allowing your baby to have what you are not ready to give him/her.  In the next blog, I will talk about adoption and what a wonderful option it is.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

Adoption is an Option ~ Part II ~ Abortion

In this series, I will do a separate blog for each of the choices women have when they become pregnant in the United States. Each blog will have some facts to get the couple thinking beyond the infant stage. Again, I want to stress that having children out of wedlock is hard and can be very painful which is why we want to share this information with young people even before they start dating. God’s design is always best (sex only after marriage). Before a couple has sex, they should be ready for what might come (children). Even if a couple uses contraceptives, they could very likely have a child.

When a couple becomes pregnant out of wedlock, the issue is not if it will be painful for those involved, because it will; the concern is what is best for the baby. If people wait until they are married and ready to take on the responsibilities of raising children, they do not have to worry about what decision to make. Every circumstance is different and requires careful consideration.

Abortion: The first choice I will talk about is abortion. Before I begin, I want people to know that I do not judge people for the decisions that they make in their lives. The reason I am writing these blogs is to encourage adoption, to get people to think, and have information that will help them make a wise decision.

What is an abortion? An abortion is the induced expulsion of a human fetus.

There are a number of reasons women choose to have an abortion, but I will be discussing the abortions women choose to have when they find out that they are pregnant and do not want a baby.  In 1973, The Roe v Wade decision from the Supreme Court of the Untied States of America allowed women to a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy. The decision whether a woman’s baby would have the chance to live was placed into the hands of the mother. When a woman chooses to end her pregnancy, she is depriving her child an opportunity to live. Webster’s definition of kill is very clear, Kill: to deprive of life: cause the death of. As hard of a fact it is to face, America has allow parents to kill their children. Women who abort their babies are depriving them of life and cause the death of their children. In 2009, 1,350,500 abortions were performed in the United States (nytimes.com). That means in 2009 alone, the United States of America freely allowed over one million babies to be murdered.

The Bible is clear that a baby is someone even before conception. Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-16 show us that God knows us before we are in our mother’s womb. Many say that what is inside of the mother is not a baby. Even if that was true, when a woman has an abortion, she is still depriving someone of life and that is murder.  Every child that is conceived should have the chance to live.

Frequently, numerous women know that they are unable to take on the responsibility of raising children and feel that they have no other option except to abort the baby. Those are the women we want to reach to share with them the wonderful option of adoption. Women need to be commended for knowing that they are unable to raise their children, yet they are willing to give the baby a chance to live.

Other times, people are ashamed and do not want anyone to know that they are pregnant. We need to let people know that we love them no matter what and we will be there for them to help them make a right decision. We want to encourage mothers to think of their children over what others might think about them. They will stand before God one day to give an account, not people.

Often, people use abortion as a means of birth control, simply because they do not want to have a baby. Some of those people do not even realize they are killing their babies. Once they realize what they have done, many emotions take over their thinking: guilt, anxiety, anger, depression, emotional deadening, and even suicide. If you know someone who is thinking of ending their pregnancy, it would be beneficial to have a long talk with that person and give them some information to think about.

If you had an abortion, you cannot go back and change that decision. What you can do is learn from it and help others know there are other options beside abortion. You can even get involved in promoting adoption in memory of your child/children. Feeling the emotions talked about earlier in the blog is normal. God is a forgiving God and is there to help you heal. If you are pregnant or know of someone who is pregnant and considering an abortion, please encourage them to think about allowing their baby to live and place it up for adoption.

In the next blog, I will discuss some things to consider when a woman thinks about keeping her child.

By: Linda Svacha

Adoption is an Option ~ Part I

Children are beautiful miracles. Raising them is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. When children are born, they are totally dependent on others for everything. They have numerous needs. A great amount of time and sacrifice is necessary to make sure that those needs are met. God knew how great a task raising children would be, so he created a team. That team is a married man and woman. A couple should be ready to support a family before they get married and have children. When a couple loves and respects each other, follows God and His ways, and works as a team, the couple can together tackle those responsibilities.

When babies are born outside of God’s plan, it is much more difficult to raise them to become all God created them to be. In the United States, we can see how having children outside of marriage has affected not only the immediate family, but all Americans (I will talk more about this in the blogs to come).

In the United States, when a woman becomes pregnant she has three choices: 1) Keep the baby 2) Abort the baby 😦 or 3) Place the baby up for adoption. All of the previous choices are extremely difficult and bring about pain. Too often, parents are not shown the whole picture when they are deciding what choice to make, resulting in many couples not making a choice that is best for all involved.

Often, you hear talk about mothers keeping their children or the option of ending the pregnancy, but you do not hear much talk about placing children up for adoption. Politicians are always talking about their stand on welfare and abortion, but I never hear them talking about adoption. Even society puts a greater emphasis on welfare and abortion. Regularly, women are looked down on more if they place their children up for adoption than if they end their children’s lives. Many people will say, “How can you give your child away?” People give their babies up for adoption because they love them and want what is best for their children. Frequently, when women feel they cannot raise children on their own, they will abort their children to avoid the shame of giving them away. There are couples out there who are unable to have children together and yearn to take on the responsibility of raising children they can call their own.

Adoption is a great option that needs to be publicized much more than it is. We need to commend couples who realize that they are not mature enough or just do not feel they can handle the responsibility of childrearing and are willing to give their children to someone who is ready. We also need to commend couples who give their children life instead ending their lives. Many couples who place their children up for adoption know that they are giving their children to parents who are much more capable of taking on childrearing responsibilities.

Publicizing adoption can start with you. Become more knowledgeable and pass what you learn to others. Start talking about adoption in a positive way. If you know of people who gave their children up for adoption, let them know how proud you are of them for their decision. Those people already feel bad and could use an encouraging word. Read the upcoming blogs that I will be posting in the near future to get you started in helping you understand what a beautiful option adoption really is.

I will go into more depth about the three options women have when they becomes pregnant. Adoption has been a blessing for my family as well as many of my friends. I will share some of those stories in this series as well.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂