• Erica Rosi Tham

The Waiting Child List: Sad Reality or Great Potential?

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

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This morning I decided to look again at the waiting child list.

We wish to adopt one or two children around 8 years old, less if possible, though the youngest children on the list right now are 10. This means that as I scroll down a list of pictures, my eyes are glancing at the dates of birth written under each name, and for every one young child that I see, I scroll past fifteen or twenty older children, barely looking at their names, because their dates of birth are 2007 or earlier.

I do pity these kids who are getting close to aging out of the system. What will the oldest do when they leave the institution during the economically hard times likely to come?

And this morning, I also took my first long look at the special needs children. My husband and I cannot afford an extreme special needs child, but we’re open to minor special needs, such as missing digits or partial vision or hearing issues. Most children had needs that were well beyond our means, and I could not help feeling stunned to realize how much I have always taken for granted. These children not only have serious health issues such as heart disease, sickle cell or severe facial deformities; they do not have a family to call their own.

As the feelings of pity rushed from my heart, I had to remind myself that they are in God’s hands and ultimately safe in His care. I only have to stay on my own course to find the one or two children that are meant for us and do my best with them.

Years ago, when my mother was visiting our home in Seattle, we attended our Presbyterian church, UPC, together. Being a devout woman, she often takes notes in her bible or using a bulletin. That day, she noted and drew my attention to something the minister said which went about like this: Evil doesn’t exist without good. It has no substance on its own, and for that reason, evil never comes into being on its own. It takes the good in someone and twists it.

I have never forgotten that, and I believe God was speaking to me by inspiring my mother to write down the words, nod at me saying that’s true, and to bring it up again as we sat down to lunch.

I mention this because I believe that pity can be twisted to harm the souls of people. Pity is one of the fundamental qualities of our humanity. It helps us give to needy people of all kinds from the chronically homeless to those who have lost their property during natural disasters. It helps us sympathize and give our time to friends who receive difficult medical diagnoses. Of course, it helps us choose adoption.

And yet we have to realize that this good quality is getting twisted if it causes us to doubt, even for a moment, the magic of God; God’s ability to transform all of these lives in all kinds of ways. Our pity is also twisted toward evil if it causes us to doubt that these kids have profound inner strength, the bright seed that God plants in all of us. They can find friends and find ways to live out their purposes. It is important to remember that we are not just bleeding-hearts diving in to save the orphans of the world. Rather, the truth is that we need these children as much as they need us.

I am grateful that God gave me the wisdom to change my thoughts before I wasted too much time in unhealthy pity. And I am also grateful to have realized how easily and subtly a simple virtue can be twisted to steer a person toward a false road.

Next time I look at the waiting child list, I will look with fresh eyes and see the many stories of becoming that have so recently begun.

Reclaiming 2020 as Christians

Along the same lines, I’d like to share two videos with Carol Swain. The first is an interview with her take on the black lives matter movement. If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I have felt disturbed by this movement from the beginning, though, like many, I have struggled with feelings of guilt and uncertainty. Swain does an excellent job of showing how this movement is the exact opposite of what it appears to be. Swain speaks clearly and simply, and she was brave enough to do this interview back in July. The second is a one-hour interview in which she shares more detail on her views and ultimately discusses how many churches have adopted the social critical theory of the far left and blm. I think the young man interviewing her is exceptional as well.

I was pleasantly surprised to feel inspired by that second video. For months now, I have struggled with the many shocks of 2020, and a part of me has just wished we could sweep away the issues and return to the lives we had nine months ago. But now God is opening my eyes to see the potential before us. God transforms our difficulties into opportunities, and while the black lives movement has caused much damage, we can learn from it, especially the power of seizing the moment. We as Christians can seize this time too.

In the past, I wrote about uniting under the banner of true peace, but after listening to Swain’s ideas on how our institutions and churches have been corrupted, I feel convinced that we need to unite as Christians.

Last summer, my sister often said, where is Martin Luther King when you need him?

So true! We do need a Christian leader to lead a national revival, and by revival, I am not referring to dancing in the streets. Rather, I hope for a return to the fundamentals of Christianity, the healthy morals of our faith such as the institution of marriage and the choice to love thy neighbor that can extend to those who are not yet believers by improving their everyday lives. Some have already started movements, but I do not think we have found the leader who can capture the hearts of the nation as of yet.

Step one is to find the leader that we need. I plan to start doing research in my extra time. Why not enjoy some healing words while also striving to benefit society?

Step two is to convince this person to step up. Do great leaders necessarily want to lead? I have read so many stories in which people were pushed to become leaders. I believe that the person who is loving and wise enough to reverse many of the toxic ideas toward Christianity that have flooded the media for years may also be someone too humble to assume that such a task could be his or hers. I know I am not this leader, but that does not mean God is calling me to do nothing. The simple answer is: I can try to find this person. Maybe it’s a husband and wife team. Time to start the research and thank God for YouTube!

In my next blog, I will share some thoughts from this research with you. And if you are so inclined, I encourage you to search as well. The media would lead us to believe we are helpless during this year of disease and social unrest. The truth is that we are anything but helpless. Let’s believe that the great teacher of our era, the one who can win back this generation and heal our country, is alive and well. Let’s start looking!

Here's an additional thought from my husband: to unite as Christians, we have a great opportunity only 3 months away--Christmas. This is the perfect time for the Christians of the U.S. to come out of the closet of secular living and show ourselves as unapologetically Christian. Rather than decorate our yards with only lights and wreaths, decorations accepted by the secular tradition, we can unite under the symbol of the fish or the nativity.

Erica Rosi Tham

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