Gratitude brackets adoption story
By Marie Bowen, Special to The Layman, November 16, 2012
Ju Er “The time came when we might plan another pregnancy,” Tara said of the summer of 2010. Tara and Daniel Moore were already the parents of two biological daughters (now 6 and 3). They began to pray opening their hearts to considering alternative ways to grow their family. Their adoption story began in August 2010 with “lots of prayer.” Little did they know that as little as one month later, in September 2010, an infant girl in China was born who would become their third daughter in less than two years.
Gratitude started the Moores on a path of research, prayer, and discernment.
Moved by hearts of gratitude toward God that they had been blessed with much, Tara and Danniel wanted to share it with “someone who did not have anything.” Tara began extensive research on adoption as well as foster care. She set up spreadsheets comparing domestic with international adoption. Gradually they realized a desire to reach out to a child from a nation where kids would not be learning the gospel. Adoption was something they were able to do. They turned to looking at places where they had mission friends—Thailand and India—but found that children in those contexts were much older than their daughters. It seemed wise to adopt a child closer to the ages of their biological daughters. As Tara studied the effects of international adoption she learned that children placed in homes where at least one family member could speak their native language seemed to adapt more easily. A social worker also pointed the couple in that direction. Daniel had lived in China for a time and knew some Mandarin.
Tara and Daniel began praying in earnest about whether God was leading them to pursue adoption. They were in touch with Living Hope Adoption, an agency outside Philadelphia, that specializes in adoptions from China and Honduras. The agency joined them in praying for God to lead them as they entered the adoption process.
Several things influenced them about that time. They were impacted by the teaching of Scripture that calls us to care for orphans and widows. Daniel preached an Advent sermon series in 2010 that focused on the process of choosing a child as a metaphor for how God adopts us – choosing and calling us to be his own. “Having hearts for the unborn was a big motivation,” according to Tara. Tara’s mother is strongly pro-life and fasts for the unborn twice each year. Daniel’s family had experienced adoption when his dad legally adopted Daniel’s two half-sisters. The church family was also comfortable and supportive of adoption. Two Korean children had been adopted by a church family in the last generation and raised in the congregation. Early in 2011 they received a grant from Show Hope, a Christian adoption group.
Once matched with a child the process progressed smoothly and quickly.
More quickly than they expected (April 2012) they were matched with Ju Er. They shared the news with their family members and with their church family who joined them in praying for Ju Er and for the process of adoption. They knew that Ju Er had a cleft palate and that her lip had been repaired. That did not deter them at all and they wrote a letter of interest having already been pre-approved for adoption. Several stages of paper work followed, but the process was smooth.
Finally the time came for them to meet Ju Er in Inner Mongolia in China. They were thrilled to meet a cheerful little girl who bonded to them quickly. Ability to bond is a concern for adoptive parents as many children raised in orphanages experience multiple caretakers and have no one person to whom they attach. Ju Er (23 months at the time of adoption) had been contracted out to Christian foster care in a small group home where each caretaker was assigned only 3 children. The home is designed so that each child has one “special grown-up.” This affords a much better opportunity for children to form strongly bonded relationships. Many of the children in this particular home had special needs. The Moores were pleased to learn that Ju Er had learned “Jesus Loves Me” and was surrounded by prayer. God had clearly been preparing the way for Ju Er to be a part of their Christian family!
The transition caused some tantrums and tiffs.
Ju Er with her sisters For a not quite two-year-old little girl, leaving her caretakers and the group home in Beijing and traveling to inner Mongolia to meet her adoptive parents was hard. She had attached in healthy ways to her caretakers and threw tantrums every day of the Moore’s remaining time in China. Tara remembers how Ju Er lay on the floor screaming when it came time for her to go with them and that the caretakers assured her she should just pick her up and go. All the way to the elevators in the building she screamed and cried. In the elevator Tara began to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and Ju Er became quiet at last.
During their two weeks in China the Moore’s took lots of pictures to record Ju Er’s first homeland. After two weeks away from their biological daughters , the Moores came home on August 22 for what Tara describes as “four very rough days.” Ju Er had bonded to Tara by that time and was jealous of the other two girls. The six and three year old girls were eager to get to know their new sister, but she did not want to be touched by them. “There were fights, but sweet moments too,” Tara remembers. Soon they became true sisters as Ju Er became contented, the beloved daughter Tara and Daniel had been praying for even before she was born.
Gratitude expressed to Relief of Conscience Churches
Tara recently wrote a letter to Relief of Conscience (ROC) churches* in the PCUSA. The congregation Daniel pastors will be leaving soon for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, but they will go with the wonderful gift of their daughter and the knowledge that ROC churches paid into the adoption fund from which the Moores received a $3,000 grant to help with adoption expenses. As the wife of a pastor in the PCUSA, Tara did not know about the fund before she and Daniel began researching adoption. In reading about ways to fund adoption, Tara followed up on a suggestion to see if your employer funds adoption expenses. When she called the Board of Pensions, she learned about the adoption fund, sponsored in part by the dues of Relief of Conscience churches who request that their dues be separated from the fund that pays abortion claims. The church in which Tara and Daniel were raised and also the one in which he now serves as pastor are ROC churches. Tara’s letter is below:
Dear Relief of Conscience Churches:
I’m in the habit of thanking people when they give me a gift, and you have blessed our family greatly. I am a member of the PCUSA church my husband pastors. In August we brought our daughter, then twenty-three months old, home from China. She had been living in Beijing in a foster home founded by Christians and supported by a local church. They were thrilled to learn the girl they knew as Ju Er would be coming to a home that honors God. We were so surprised, given China’s government policies, to discover that she had been prayed over and taught songs like “Jesus Loves Me” before we even met her. But we realized that we were just part of God’s plan, and that He had his church working togeth
er to raise this little girl.
Even though you don’t know us, you have joined our efforts as well. Relief of Conscience is the path the PCUSA allows for congregations who prefer that their Board of Pension payments are not used to fund the abortions on demand otherwise covered by the health plan. Thank you for taking this intentional step and identifying as a relief of conscience church. As a result, my family has benefited from $3,000 grant the Board of Pensions pays to covered employees who adopt (it applies to domestic, international, and step-children adoptions). This money will help us to pay down the loan we took out to cover the adoption. Please let former elders who had a hand in your church’s choice know the difference it has made to us.
Our daughter is vibrant, helpful, and sweet. She now knows what it is like to have a mother, father, two sisters, and a loving church family. Our goal is to train her up to be a responsible, educated, Christ-honoring woman. Who knows what she will accomplish. Our church will soon be leaving the PCUSA for the EPC, but I wanted to reach out to thank you. Your Relief of Conscience payments over the years have helped relieve some of the burden of her adoption fees, which added up to nearly $28,000. Thank you so much for taking a stand for life, and for taking a stand, whether you knew it or not, for our daughter.
In Christ, and with Sincere Gratitude,
* The PCUSA medical benefits plan creates a moral problem for church members because the denomination’s medical plan pays for any abortion done for any reason, at any time during pregnancy, for members of the plan and their dependents. This fact is not disputed by plan administrators … It is a mandatory plan. The plan is mandatory as part of the terms of call for all pastors installed in churches. It is a problem that affects every contributing church member, because it is church members’ tithes and offerings that pay the dues that provide the abortion coverage.
The process for requesting Relief of Conscience from the Board of Pensions is just two steps:
1) A session resolution
Your session will need to approve and date a resolution and send it to the presbytery with a request for certification. Although the Board of Pensions has stated that “there is no recommended form or style of the request to the presbytery,” the sample below consists of wording suggested to a church by Board of Pensions staff.
That the Presbytery of [your presbytery’s name] grant Relief of Conscience to [your church’s name, your church’s complete address with zip code, PIN—your church’s PIN number], based on their opposition to the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (USA) making payments for abortions, and hereby requests the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) grant relief.
2) Presbytery action and notification to the Board of Pensions.
After the presbytery has “certified” your session’s resolution, it is then the responsibility of the presbytery to notify the Board of Pensions. The Board of Pensions will acknowledge to the presbytery and session its receipt of the action taken. Until you receive this formal acknowledgement, you should not assume your resolution has been acted on and that your church is protected from contributing to unrestricted abortion coverage.
If you have questions, call the Board of Pensions at 800-773-7752, or contact Presbyterians Pro-Life at 412-487-1990.