Here are The Christian Post's "Top 10" politics stories for 2013:
10. "Unstuck Movement" Highlights Broken International Adoption System
Problems have plagued the system of international adoption at least since 2009, after the U.S. State Department began encouraging developing nations to adopt the U.N.'s Hague Treaty. The problems became so acute that international adoption advocates and adoptive parents began fighting back. more >>
A coalition of advocacy groups, including Saddleback Church, sent a letter to Sec. of State John Kerry asking him to put a stop to U.S. Department of State actions that are preventing orphans from being united with adoptive families in the United States.
The State Department, through the Office of Children's Issues, the letter claims, has done more "to prevent rather than promote progress" on ensuring an effective and secure international adoption system.
The State Department has sought to work through the Hague Convention of the United Nations to ensure that all international adoptions are conducted fairly for legitimate orphans. Since adopting the Hague Convention, however, international adoptions have plummeted, leaving tens of thousands of orphans that could have been adopted by American families stuck in orphanages, the letter points out. more >>
Editor's Note: An op-ed by Richard Land, executive editor at the The Christian Post, on adoption as a choice in a crisis pregnancy, has produced a flood of comments, two subsequent letters to the editor, which can be read here and here, and elicited many moving personal stories. Here is one such story, provided by Joi Wasall, teen pregnancy counselor, from Christine Baxter, a married woman who decided to give up her baby for adoption after getting pregnant as a high school senior. The story, offered unedited, is intended to shed a personal light on the difficult choices moms make on a subject where no answer seems completely right, yet the grace of God abounds.
Two little pink lines on December 26th, Merry Christmas everyone. I'm a senior in high school and pregnant. My boyfriend and I immediately decided to parent the child. We were going to get married and be parents. . . Fast forward 2 weeks, we had broken up and I was back at home with my grandparents. What now? I know that I don't believe in abortion so we can eliminate that option. What else? My mom got pregnant with my oldest brother when she was 18 . . . 5 years and 3 kids later she and my dad were divorce and my brothers and I were being raised by my grandparents. So having actually walked in the shoes of a CHILD born before my parents were ready, I knew that was not the life I wanted for my child. So I ruled out parenting and was left with adoption.
One of the hardest parts of choosing adoption was the lack of education in the community – at my school, my local CPC, among my friends and family, and even at my church. People in general didn't understand that I was choosing adoption not because I didn't love my child, but because I loved him so much I couldn't bear the thought of forcing him into the same broken home lifestyle that I had. NO!! My child deserved to have more. He deserved a mommy and a daddy! Parents that loved each other and believed in the grace of Jesus Christ and could teach my child to have the same love and respect for God. more >>
After reading Dr. Land's article "Adoption: The Best Option," I was reminded of a recent television show produced by the Oprah Winfrey network titled "Fatherless Sons" Lifeclass. On that show, about 150 men were part of the television audience, ranging in ages from 12 to over 70 years old. Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant held a very frank discussion of the impact fatherlessness has on our nation and our children. When asked by Oprah to define what a father is, Iyanla said "Protector, provider, to be a model, a demonstration of what it means to be a man." Oprah then stated that fatherlessness in our nation is "an epidemic." According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 41% of all babies born in the U.S. are to unmarried women. In some communities, it is almost double that amount.
One of the many professionals participating in the program, Roland Warren, the former president of The National Fatherhood Initiative, stated that "kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad" and that there are "consequences to father-absence." From the 12-year-old boy to the 70+ year old man, heartbreaking stories were shared about the deep hurt, rejection, and aching that exists within these men for a Daddy. Statistics and data were shared on the outcomes for men who are raised in fatherless homes: twice as likely to go to jail, less likely to graduate college, earn less money, more likely to father a child out of wedlock, and so on.
A series followed the "Fatherless Sons" class that was aimed at women, "Daddyless Daughters." It was the same format and basically similar outcomes for the women. Audience members shared their deep ache to have a man, a father, to love and protect them. Promiscuity among fatherless girls was one of the outcomes that Iyanla discussed in depth. Statistics for the women were not any better than for the men. more >>
Two young foster children living in Knox County, Tenn., have been granted an early Christmas wish after they sent a prayer balloon into the sky this past summer asking God to give them adoptive parents and a forever home by the end of December.
The girls, Eva, 6, and Jasmine, 8, were attending Vacation Bible School at their east Tennessee church over the summer when they decided to send their prayer request up in a balloon along with 30 other balloons carrying the prayers of other students at the Bible camp. Eva and Jasmine had been living with their foster parents, Lynn and Dennis, for only two months when they decided they wanted to be officially adopted by them, and their prayer request to God was asking Him to grant the wish by Christmas.
"Eva 6, Jasmine 8, we want to be adopted by our new mother and father this Christmas," the note, which was written on an index card and sealed in a zip lock bag, read. more >>
Melissa Ohden has been a survivor since before she was born. She was left to die in the womb by her mother who had a late term abortion is her 8th month using a saline infusion to burn the baby to death in the embryonic fluid.
Five days later when Melissa's birth mother went to deliver a dead baby, that little premature life was still alive and fighting. At the hospital the doctors and nurses took care of her until a family found her and adopted her as their own.
Hear Melissa's powerful and amazing testimony of survival and second chances as she has grown into a beautiful woman both inside and out. more >>