Thursday, February 24, 2011


Please read the following comment a reader left in regards to the post entitled A Plea for Piper, then read my response below the comment.  Leave a comment to let me know your opinion.

Here's the comment:

Hello.  I read your blog daily.  I love this story of the family finding Piper as we hope to adopt an older child as well.  But after two adoptions from China, I find myself very disturbed by some of what you write and I want to tell you because I know your heart is kind and you would not want to inadvertently hurt anyone.

First of all, the term "china doll" can mean different things to different people.   To moms, it can be an endearing term of course.  But to many, especially Asian women, it can be a derogatory term that also serves to sexualize them and objectify them.  It is not something I would want anyone to say about my daughters.

Secondly, with all due respect, it is important for people to understand that adoption is not about being rescued.   We, the fortunate people of the West who have never known hunger, are not swooping in and rescuing forlorn little princesses. 

The truth is, our children are braver and stronger than anyone I know.  They have survived more than I probably could.  And when they are adopted, it is usually done without their consent, and without their knowledge of everything they are losing.

First and foremost, adoption is about loss.   I think it's important that we give that a great deal of respect.  If a beautiful relationship and happiness comes about, if a child goes to bed on soft sheets with a full belly, and if they are afforded medical help and education.......all those things are nice bonuses.  But we should NEVER FORGET all that has been lost.

When a child is adopted internationally, they lose forever, their place in their birth culture, their native tongue, being among people who share their physical features, the ability to fit in naturally, the sights, sounds, and smells of their heritage.

I feel strongly that although children may be living in circumstances we do not think are healthy in their home country, if we perceive ourselves as their rescuers, it creates a relationship that is not healthy in the long run. 

From the  outside, it might look like we are doing a "good thing" for the orphans, but the truth is they are an incredible blessing in our lives.  In fact, I've been known to say that I was the one who needed rescuing, and God sent me this child.   

Maybe it seems like a small thing or that I'm making too much of the words you used, but I think it is terribly important the way in which we pass on information about adoption.  As adoptive parents, we are in a position to help others understand the reality of adoption, and with that position comes the responsibility to use language which presents our children with dignity and humanity.

Here's my response:

Please forgive me for unknowingly using a derogatory term when I was advocating for help in bringing The Cardwell's daughter, Piper, home.  I used the term "China Doll" in my plea, and, in my cultural ignorance, I had NO IDEA that term had a negative connotation.  I changed my wording on the original post, once I received this comment, and I am grateful to know that I should not use that phrase from now on.  (I used it with the positive connotation that I have attached to a china doll, which is a beautiful porcelain doll.  The photo of Piper reminds me of a beautiful porcelain doll, so that's why I used that term, having no idea it would be offensive.  I am ignorant in so many ways, but I never want my ignorance to cause pain to others.)  Anyway, please forgive me if I've offended anyone for using the phrase "china doll".  I never meant it in a derogatory way.

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe all children are a blessing from the Lord.  My children are much more of a blessing to me than I could ever be to them.  I am a mere sinner, unworthy of the blessings God has bestowed upon me, uncapable of redeeming anyone, but my Lord is able, He is worthy, and He is mighty to save.  I do believe He has called us to "rescue" the orphan, not as The Rescuer, but merely as the ones He called and sent as His hands and feet to deliver hope and a future to those without.

I have never been the best model of being politically correct, and perhaps this isn't even a matter of political correctness, but I have a differing opinion with regards to following statements:  " is important for people to understand that adoption is not about being rescued.  First and foremost, adoption is about loss."

While I agree that there is much loss in the life of an orphan, and there are endless challenges to work through when one travels the road of adoption, I believe wholeheartedly that adoption is SO MUCH MORE than what we can even fathom.  Adoption is redemption.  (Read this post on redemption by Derek Loux, who is now in heaven, but was an amazing orphan justice advocate here on earth.)  Adoption is NOT about us, it is about putting aside our selfish desires to meet the needs of a child, putting the child before ourselves. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, who were once orphans, were chosen by our heavenly Father, loved unconditionally, and adopted into His family forever, giving us a whole new heritage, one we never want to leave, one we will treasure forever, no matter how difficult the road was to get there.  We were RESCUED by Jesus.  Yes, RESCUED.  And redeemed.   And we praise Jesus and give all glory to God for our adoptions.  Undeserving, precious redemption.  His adoption of me is the model I want so desperately to live by, particularly as we live out earthly adoptions of those He has called us to.

With regards to adoption terminology, I want to align with His Word, not the world.  I don't want to be politically correct, I want to be biblically correct.  I am living on earth to be the hands and feet of Jesus, as He has commanded me to do.  I fail miserably much of the time, but it is my desire to do as He asks of me.  God asks me to be more like Him.  He asks me to be His hands and feet.  He asks me to live my life in a way that brings honor and glory to Him.  He adopted me.  He rescued me.  Does He ask me to adopt and rescue orphans, just as He did for me?

res·cue  (

verb \ˈres-(ˌ)kyü\
res·cued  res·cu·ing

Definition of RESCUE

transitive verb
: to free from confinement, danger, or evil : save, deliver:

Synonym Discussion of RESCUE

Rescue refers to operations that usually involve the saving of life, or prevention of injury. (Wikipedia)

Here are a few verses that illustrate God's view on the word "rescue" (these verses are not typical adoption scriptures, they are verses that depict being rescued, as I do not need to debate God's view on adoption (see James 1:27):

This verse might apply to millions of AIDS/HIV orphans, particularly those living in oppression and violence in Africa with little hope:  "He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight."  Psalm 72:13-14

This verse might apply orphans living in starvation, poverty, and disease:  "Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."  Psalm 82:3-4

This verse might apply to an orphan who has been enslaved and/or sold into sex trafficking:  "Listen to my cry,  for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me,  for they are too strong for me.  Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name." Psalm 142:6-7

This verse might apply to many special  needs Eastern European orphans who are being transferred to adult mental institutions where they will wither and die:  "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?  Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?"  Proverbs 24:11-12

This verse might apply to orphans who were not in Christian orphanages/foster homes, who were deceived by darkness, but God rescued them through the blessing of adoption:   "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."  Colossians 1:13-14

This verse might apply to families who are called to adopt those who might be viewed as the least of these:  “‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.  As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.  I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land..."  Ezekiel 34:11-13

"He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."
2 Samuel 22:20
(and the same exact words are stated again in Psalm 18:19)

We love because He first loved us. 

We adopt because He first adopted us.

We "rescue" because He first rescued us. 

I happen to delight in a life being saved, delivered, ransomed, redeemed, reclaimed (all synonyms of the word "RESCUED").  Rescued from sex trafficking, rescued from slavery, rescued from oppression, rescued from starvation, rescued from disease, rescued from poverty, rescued from abuse, rescued from neglect, rescued from mistreatment, rescued from darkness, rescued from death.  Rescued from not knowing the love of a forever family.

Rescued from spending the rest of one's life on the street (or locked up in an adult mental institution), sometimes freezing to death after aging out of the orphanage, sometimes being sold into slavery the very day one is turned out on the street, sometimes never believing anyone cares, sometimes believing there is no hope, sometimes believing there cannot possibly be a real God, because no one ever came to show you the hope of Jesus Christ.  Rescued from hopelessness.

We do not rescue for our glory.  We do not rescue to receive praise.  We do not rescue to be the hero.

We rescue because we delight in the one being rescued, we delight in The One who rescued us, we delight in God's heart for the orphan, we delight in every orphan knowing who the true Hero is.

May every orphan be rescued by a forever family who delights in him or her.

May all glory and honor go to Jesus Christ, our One and Only Rescuer.

And may the world not pollute us from living in Truth.  Adoption is redemption.  Redemption comes from being rescued.  May the world know The Rescuer, the One sent to redeem us, the One who modeled adoption and unconditional love, the One who sends us to RESCUE the weak and the needy, so that all may know the love of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me.  Thank you for delighting in me.  I am so unworthy, but I pray that through Your grace, mercy and strength, that I may be a living sacrifice for you always. (Romans 12)

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