The Drop Box: A Movie for Lent!

TheDropBox_SlideThe story is told of a small boy who walks along the beach, tossing starfish that have washed up on shore back into the great expanse of blue. “What are you doing?” demands a stranger walking by. “Don’t you see how many there are? What does it matter if you save just a few?”

Bending down to retrieve another sea creature, the boy responds, “It matters to this one.”

Korea has always had a special place in my heart. For about a year in my twenties I studied the language and cultivated a taste for kim chi, having been invited to work at a blind mission in Seoul. In the end, I did not go — I was unable to get the needed visa to work as a short-term missionary. But I had heard about the sad fate that awaited even young children who are disabled. Many are abandoned by their families, who cannot or will not care for them. Many are turned out or abandoned on the streets.

It is this sad fact that makes this remarkable documentary doubly inspiring. The Drop Box, a limited engagement documentary about Korean pastor Lee Jong-rak, tells the story of a man who has dedicated his life to saving children, many of them with special needs, who were abandoned by their parents who were unwilling or unable to care for them. He created a special “box” outside his church, where desperate women could leave their infants rather than expose them to die on the streets. Over time, Pastor Lee adopted a dozen such children, and found homes for hundreds more.

And each one has touched his heart.

You would think a movie like this would be depressing. Thousands of children without parents, many of them destined to live out their short lives separated from their families, never able to know where they came from or to whom they belonged.

But watching this movie, you can’t help but be moved by the joy. The joy of the children. The joy of the pastor and the “God’s Love Community.” Although the joy is often through tears. “My heart drops,” says Pastor Lee. “When I hear that sound [of the drop box], . .We installed the baby box with God’s heart. At the top of the box, it reads, ‘For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.’ (Ps 27:10). God loves life more than the world. He sent life to the earth for his glory.”

Go and see this movie. Click here for viewing locations and times.

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The Book Whisperer: Two Special Books on Adoption

Book WhispererTo kick off my first “Book Whisperer” column, I thought I would share some wonderful adoption resources. If you have other recommendations, why not send me a note?

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When Do I Know It’s REALLY God’s Will, Not Mine?

shadowToday I came across this fascinating discussion over at Jen’s “Conversion Diary,” about a mother of three who was about to adopt a child with special needs . . . and is wondering if she was making a mistake. And if so, what to do now?

Read all about it here.

When we step out prayerfully, wanting nothing more than to do the right thing, what happens if we make a mis-step? Do we retrace our steps . . . or take the next one, trusting God to bring something good out of our own mistakes?

A dear friend of mine is struggling with this dilemma right now. Adopted child with severe emotional problems, hurting her and his younger siblings. She loves him. But the child outweighs her by 40 pounds, and is intent on hurting everyone and everything in his path . . . how long can this go on?

When I was a kid, I knew a family that had a troubled teen with a drug problem. Ultimately, theygave the child a choice: stop, or leave. He wound up in Teen Challenge, and was positively transformed by the experience.

Every day parents are brought up short with the poor choices of their teenage (and younger) children. The volitional component varies — some choices are “freer” than others, but the consequences remain. And when this happens, to “love” that child is not a warm and fuzzy feeling. To “love” in these cases is to want what is in the child’s best interest. In this case, to get him the help he needs to keep him from destroying himself and others.

This is God’s will: to love the child, for as long as we have him (or her). And to help that child become the best and truest version of himself — the masterpiece of God’s (and not our own) design.

EMN Mailbag: Adoptive Mom of Romanian Special Needs Child Seeks Support

Hello, I am Lori Lesko, mom to Michael Marius Lesko, 10, whom we adopted from Romania in 2000. Our son has been diagnosed with autism and verbal apraxia so we have had our share of ups and downs.

I am interested in keeping touch with other parents of kids from international adoptions, and would like to get your email and be allowed to post comments.

Thank you,

Lori Lesko
Mom of Michael

You can contact Lori through her e-mail: mike.lesco@sbcglobal.net.

Miracle Monday: The Blessing of Adoption by Judy Miller

At one time or other, all adoptive parents wonder (sometimes only to themselves) whether the love they feel for the child they’ve adopted is the same kind of love other parents feel for their (biological) children. According to Judy … it is! I was delighted that she was willing to share her first impressions of her international adoption experience with us. Thanks, Judy!

I am one of those – one of the thousands, perhaps tens or hundred of thousands of parents, who feel that their child was destined to be with them.

In the deepest recesses of my being I am convinced that my children chose us. It may not mean much to anyone other than my husband Mark, my kids, and me. And that’s fine, but, here’s the thing, three of my four are adopted. Their stories of how they came to be our children often leave people scratching their heads in wonderment.

My family is highly visible, encompassing three races, three countries, and three cultures. We have seen that how we are a family inspires others to consider adoption as a means of becoming a parent or adding to theirs.

Mark and I hit the secondary infertility roadblock after having our first child. The fertility treadmill was emotionally taxing, financially draining, and  affected our relationship. Intimacy became duty. My body, mind and sprit were tired and sore. We conceived once more and lost the baby. I was done. All I wanted was another child. It was that simple – and that difficult. Fortunately, Mark felt the same. Through grief we came to terms with our loss and realized that dream of having more children was going to happen. Through adoption.

For whatever reason, I felt drawn to China. The sensation was overwhelming. In the process of narrowing agencies down from an original list of seventy (this is not a typo), I tried to consider adopting from another country, but for whatever reason it didn’t feel right. Mark and I went with my gut feeling and in doing so were able to reduce the list of agencies to three. But, we were still on the fence; none of the three stood out for us.

Funny things happen. I was going through the mail during a drive up to Chicago; in it was a packet from an agency I had contacted via email earlier in the week. Upon opening and reading through the packet of information, I began to cry. This was our agency. I knew it. I read the entire packet to him as he drove and we called the agency from the car to get the process rolling.

Eleven months later we were in China, and as the elevator doors to the seventh floor opened, I set eyes on my beautiful daughter for the first time. I was engulfed in raw love for my daughter. It was akin to what I had experienced as I gave birth to Holden.

Josi was handed to me.  I held her close, taking in her scent, tasting her as I kissed her, and whispered into her ear, “Hello, Love. I’m your mommy. I have been waiting for you. I will keep you safe and love you forever.”

An Adoption Story: Guest Post from “JoJo”

Today I received a comment from JoJo, an adult South Korean adoptee. JoJo sent me a link to this beautiful tribute, written to honor both his families.

What struck me most was the warmth and acceptance that JoJo expresses for the Korean woman who was his first mother — and the gratitude for BOTH his families who sacrificed to give JoJo a good life.

If you’ve ever considered international adoption, be sure to check it out.

20/20 Russian Adoption Special: Carrie Craft Follows Up with the Mulligans

mulliganToday I received this link to Carrie Craft’s interview with Mike and Tanya Mulligan, who adopted three special needs children from Russia. Their adoption experiences were featured on an hour-long 20/20 special that drew a strong response (Tanya says it was 80%  positive, despite the obvious difficulties the family was having).

If you are considering international adoption, please take some time to read this!