BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

BEFORE WE WERE YOURS

by Lisa Wingate

This is a novel of intrigue and heartbreaking injustice, based on the real-life scandal of a Memphis, TN adoption organization that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the United States. It involves a family of wealth and privilege coming to terms with a buried secret that is revealed when the daughter of a US Senator has a chance encounter with an elderly woman she’s never met before. This encounter leaves her deeply shaken and takes her on a journey through a history of stolen children and illegal adoptions. This is both a sad and uplifting tale that reminds us that the heart never forgets where we belong.

See also: STORY OF LOST FRIENDS

Disclaimer: I have taken the time to read both these books as far as was possible online. The first book does expose a particularly evil adoption scheme out of Knoxville, Tennessee, and I would agree that those children would have memories that make them love and want to reunite with biological family.

However, there are other ways of adopting children. About a year and a half into our marriage, we adopted Denise, a young Native American girl, when she was almost ten.  Because of the filth and disease found where she lived, Government welfare officials had raided the family home and actually burned it to the ground while a fire marshal and the police chief watched. Our son Brett was just six months old at that time. The welfare representative who asked for help with Denise said she must live separately from her siblings because of her cruelty to and domination of them.  She was third in line of seven. Did we or DSS even consider that she might also be cruel to Brett? We had asked to adopt at least one other sibling to make her adjustment to our family easier.  Being almost ten that summer, she had learned many things from the “streets.” Besides having a severe personality disorder and low IQ, she and several siblings tested positive for TB and more than one STD.  She gave us joy at times, but also made our lives miserable at other times. We endured because we wanted to fulfil our part of helping her to grow and change if we could. We were young and naïve back then.

Other children came to us via the Welfare system— several hundred different ones over the years, as I remember.  We never took money to take care of them.  What we did, we did for the love of children.  Some stayed two or three days until they could find a mother or someone else in charge, while others stayed longer. We got along well with all of them. We even kept a teen-aged boy named Harley, who was convicted of attempted murder of his father and uncle. The welfare system wanted him to stay until he graduated from 12th grade so he could have “good school memories.” Because he was an Episcopal child, he would later go from us to another state to live with an Episcopal Priest. That was a while before there was much controversy about such arrangements.

Then after our daughter Ferah was born, I miscarried four babies during my third month of pregnancy. One doctor counseled us to wait for seven years and then perhaps my body would have recovered enough to carry another child.  Meantime a doctor friend of ours in India, P.J. Alexander, said that a baby boy had been born in his hospital and was available for adoption. He asked if we wanted him. His mother was a friend of their family and had become pregnant while she was away in college. The family was RCC, so there was no thought of abortion like Hindu families do. He became our Matthew of course. We accepted him sight unseen, knowing that we would trust God to give us a child that would be for our good and his. Courts in India approved the adoption and a Texas Senator helped us to secure a visa for your entry into the United States.  I was already a few months pregnant with Isharah when we agreed to adopt him, but that did not deter our resolve to continue. Several tried to discourage us in that decision, but my answer was always, “How would I be different than the first mother who rejected him?” We have never been sorry for that decision.

Can you see why I would be so opposed to having any child read only one side of the adoption story?  Nevertheless, there are those who will whisper in an adopted child’s ear and say, “They really are not your people.”

Even though some may have said that to our Matthew, I think he knew he belonged forever. Colin Kaepernick is an example of an adopted child who rejected his Caucasian parents for fame and for “the current cause.”

The second book, STORY OF LOST FRIENDS, fosters hatred and prejudice against one ethnic group in particular like nothing else I have seen. It also encourages the uneducated and ignorant woke culture and their mentors today to keep on beating that same drum. Humanist authors are chosen well and are great at presenting one side of a story in order to convert—much like the liberal media does.

No matter what the topic, there are always at least two sides. My Facebook entry about slavery (https://helpmeettohim.org/2017/01/28/slavery/) shows that there were other nations and other ethnic groups that endured unmerciful treatment as slaves at the hands of evil men.

It would be good to research Texas history and a man named Colin McKinney (see also that Colin McKinney is listed in Restoration Leaders) as a possible slave owner. There seems to be ample proof that his slaves begged to come back to his home place to live and work for wages, after the war (testimony that he was not a brutal boss). There were others in Texas who related accounts of the same arrangement.  You might research poverty in general, after the Civil War. In addition, there is plenty of history to say the South withdrew from the Union, NOT because of slavery, but because of States Rights.  Study about Fort Sumter in South Carolina and the first shots fired there. Slavery was really not the issue as many in the Union army owned slaves.

Child labor laws were not a southern issue. Those laws were passed for two primary reasons:

  1. Manufacturing companies in the North offered cheap labor for immigrants and their families, but most Americans considered long hours of child labor abusive.
  2. John Dewey wanted kids in public schools all day for their humanist indoctrination.

Study the inventions of Eli Whitney and see how the form (dye) for making guns in assembly line fashion plus his invention of the cotton gin really set up the country for a Civil War.

So much more could be said about all this, but I’m working on ADOPTION (part two), which is based in scripture.

Beth

HELP FOR OUR HUMAN FRAILTIES

In Mark 9:14-29, we read of the boy that Jesus healed, who had a deaf and dumb spirit and who often had fits.  Jesus asked the father whether he believed the boy could be healed and the father cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Words could not express that piercing emotion—that deep-seated need for help to overcome his human frailties.

I have often thought of the pitiful concubine in Judges 19 whose frailties caused her to run away from her husband and back to her home.  In her father’s house she had affection and familiar things that made life easier, but the Lord says she was unfaithful.

Did she make vows when her father sold her?

What happened that caused her to run away?

We are not told those things, but we know she was at least “unfaithful” to the covenant her father made with her new owner.

She did not run off with a lover.

She ran home!

Not only did she lack faith, but she also was not submissive.   Judges 19:2 says, “And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehemjudah and was there four whole months.”

Those strong words define the frailties that made up her character.

On the other hand, Sarah was blessed to have a “familiar friend” and a brother who became her husband. The new land and the people were strange to her, but her husband was the solid rock that brought her through it all.

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12).

THIS is yet another reason why one’s life companion must be chosen carefully and must be a disciple of Christ (2 Cor. 6:4). Many young people find someone who is “in the church,” but fail to realize that not all church members are children of God (Matt. 13:38-40).

WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” (Eph. 5:8).

Light is the opposite of darkness. The Bible speaks of light as the symbol of God’s presence and righteous works. “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:16). Physical light has been associated with God’s presence, while spiritual light is associated with His knowledge, truth, and righteousness since creation. Darkness, on the other hand, symbolizes ignorance, error, evil, and the works of Satan.

God and His Word are frequently pictured as lights or lamps to enlighten and guide the believer down the dark roads of life. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” (1 John 1:5-6). “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). The Psalmist also declared, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psa. 27:1). Light is also used as a symbol of holiness and purity. Paul counseled the Christians at Rome to “put on the armour of light” (Rom. 13:12).

The New Testament presents Jesus as the personification of light or divine illumination: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). He is the one who brought the truth and knowledge of God into the world (John 1:18). Jesus plainly stated that those who rejected this divine light would bring judgment upon themselves. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:19-21). Jesus and the New Testament writers extended the figure of light to include faithful Christians, who were called “children of light” (Eph 5:8).

Hating the light will bring condemnation. Turning to the light brings salvation, as He said: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Col. 1:13-14). Walking in the light is not just believing a certain doctrine. Walking in the light, which is God’s word, is walking according to God’s direction for us””doing what He says. That light, when it enters our hearts, gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).

Jesus not only brought the light, but He walked according to the light and therefore is our example of what it means to be light. We need to grow in that light, both in knowing the light as well as becoming a light to others. God’s prophesy (the word of God) is that light which shines and needs to grow brighter and brighter until the day star rises in our hearts! (2 Pet. 1:19). The more of God’s truth and word we understand the brighter the light. Paul prayed that the Colossians would be filled with all knowledge and spiritual understanding, which would mean all light (Col. 1:9-10). Truly the day star comes closer and closer the more knowledge and understanding we add. When we live according to that light we do many good deeds which glorify the Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Our obedience glorifies our Father. We are admonished to walk as children of light (Eph 5:8), which we do when we obey more and more of His commands.

QUESTIONS:

1. RESEARCH QUESTION: Many ancient cultures were fascinated with light and its implications. Using a concordance or a Bible dictionary, find as many examples as possible of ancient people whose religions called for the worship of light or the sources of light (stars, moon or the sun). As much as possible, give examples from scripture of what God thought of these people.

2. Who were the people who sat in darkness, and what “great light” did they see (Matt. 4:16; Luke 1:79)?

3. What is the light of the body? What happens to people whose “eye is evil” (Matt. 6:22-23: Luke 11:34-36)?

4. Why did men love the darkness (John 3:19)? Did they comprehend the light (John 1:5)?

5. What was Jesus called (John 8:12; John 12:35)?

6. What was the purpose of “the light” (John 12:46; Acts 26:18)?

7. DISCUSSION QUESTION: If we hate our brother for any reason, where are we dwelling (1 John 2:8-9)? Can we be saved in that condition? Please also consider 1 John 4:20.

8. If we walk in the light, what do men in the world see (Matt. 5:16)?

9. What does it mean that the day star can rise in our hearts (2 Pet. 1:19)?

10. How can the light of God shine more and more in our hearts and actions (Col. 1:9-10; Matt. 5:16)?

GOD’S CHILDREN WILL BE LIKE HIM

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

When 1 John 3:2 says we are the sons of God, John appears to be speaking of the resurrection. The only indication of being like Him was something John had never seen. John had seen the heart of Christ and therefore the Father (John 14:1-8), so he is not talking about growing in the heart of Christ in this verse. We must settle on the alternative idea of being like Him in the resurrection.

Paul had his hope set on the resurrection. He first described the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:37-44, and then he made the contrast between Adam and Christ very clear. We have been born in the image of the earthly in the fact that we are in Adam’s physical image (1 Cor. 15:49). We are in the form of man (Phil. 2:6-8). Paul then noted there will come a time when we will be in the image of the heavenly (1 Cor 15:49). The image of the heavenly was in full context of the resurrection. Paul also noted that Christ was the first fruits of our resurrection (1 Cor. 15:19, 23).

Jesus’ resurrected body is glorious (Phil. 3:21). On the road to Damascus, Paul saw the resurrected Christ in a marvelously glorious body that was so magnificent that he was totally blinded by it. Moses saw God’s glory when he saw the back of God, making his face to shine. The children of Israel could not look on Moses’ face because it was so bright. However, when Paul saw the resurrected Christ, it must not have been the eternal body of Christ, since John says it does not yet appear what we shall be (1 John 3:2). If Paul had already seen what we shall be, then John would not have said it is unknown what we shall be.

Jesus asked the Father to give Him the glory He had before the foundation of the world. In the book of Revelation, we may have a picture of the kind of glory God has. “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them” (Rev. 20:11).

When Christ returns, we shall see Him as he is; however, just seeing Him is not our only hope. We also have the hope of being like Him (1 John 3:2). The Holy Spirit testified through Paul that in the resurrection our physical bodies will be transformed to be like His glorious body (Phil. 3:21). All of God’s children, from the least to the greatest have this hope of being resurrected in the image of His glorious body. John said that it does not yet appear what we shall be. However, he further testified that when we see Him we will be like Him. What a marvelous hope we have in Christ””not only to inherit an eternal home in heaven with Him, but to have a body like His as well.

QUESTIONS: 1. In the resurrection, what body will Christians have? (1 Cor. 15:42-44)

2. Are the first fruits of the cotton crop the same as the rest of the crop? What about a wheat crop? What is the meaning of the term “first fruits”?

3. Explain how Jesus was the first fruits of our resurrection.

4. Romans 8:18 speaks of a stark contrast between the glory that shall be revealed in us and something we have to endure. What is that? (Acts 14:22)

5. What was David prophesying about in Psalm 17:15?

6. What was the image of the earthy in 1 Corinthians 15:49?

7. What two kinds of bodies are described in Philippians 3:21?

8. According to Matthew 22:30-32, what will we be like in the resurrection?

9. Luke 20:36-38 also talks about the resurrection. How is that described?

10. Can we go to heaven in flesh and blood as we are today (1 Cor. 15:50-58)? Describe what will take place that day.