Saturday, January 23, 2010

In Response...

First, to all of you who have been praying for us, thank you. The visit went very well.

Now to the subject of today's blog:

To my knowledge, I've never deleted a blog comment before. At least, never because the comment was completely hurtful. There's a first for everything. Last night I got home and had a gaggle of new comments, most of them on yesterday's post. There was one that was posted on Matthew's Story: Nutshell Version. It was posted anonymously so I couldn't leave it there and respond directly to the person. It was clear that the writer hadn't spent a great deal of time on this blog but, in the wake of an evening with BF, it was like a knife being twisted into my soul. The sentence that really got to me began with the phrase, "If, God forbid, you do win in court..." and the rest of the comment was riddled with accusations.

And I deleted it.

I'm sitting in the window of our living room. The Rock Star is bundled up in snow clothes and he's playing in the yard with a handful of other children. I just heard him ask an older boy if he'd ever been to the North Pole. His sweet voice was dripping with innocence. I silently begged the older boy not to tell. I smiled as the boy said something about polar bears living there and left it at that. Don't take my son's innocence. Don't make him jaded. Don't let on that there is a world out there--a world where people use anonymous comments to wound people.

I didn't delete the nasty comment that I received today. I was in a better mood. Truthfully, instead of sending me into tears, it made me laugh out loud. There are a lot of things I don't post on my blog. I haven't given any details about Matthew's birth father because it isn't fair. It isn't fair to Matthew to list all of the reasons why we think he's better off here. It also isn't fair to bash somebody in a situation where he is unable to defend himself. It's kind of like leaving anonymous accusations on a personal blog. Sure, I can type out a long rebuttal but I can't directly address the person who hides behind the power of "anonymous". I digress. Oh how I'd love to list the reasons for my own selfish gain. I'd love to stand up for myself but I'm not going to.

What I will say is that my "white" child (although, to be truthful, he's really more of a peachy color) has spent plenty of time with Matthew's birth father. Not seeing him this weekend had nothing to do with whatever color he may or may not be. I would never think of skin color as the factor that makes a custody dispute emotional and potentially tense. Second, I rarely carry a purse. Third, it is not my desire to keep my child away from his FATHER. His MOTHER placed him with us, begged us to fight for him and, without going into detail, we have since had that decision more than validated by other reputable sources. And still, we have initiated visits where we are trying to respect the birth father, where we are trying to go beyond what we are required to do in favor of what we think we ought to do.

Who do I think I am? I'm a mother who has been praying every single day for nearly eleven months that God's will would prevail, that the judge would rule in Matthew's very best interest, that every decision I make is honoring and glorifying to my personal Lord and Savior. I'm a Christian who has dedicated my life to my husband, my children, my ministry. I fail. Every. Single. Day. I am forgiven. Every. Single. Day. That's who I think I am. I'm incredibly sorry that I've somehow made you ashamed to have adopted.

As for yesterday's deleted comment, the only thing I can offer in response is that you don't know even a fraction of the details of this situation. Yes, I am sure that Matthew would have bonded to you or to a social worker or to a mama bear in the wilderness. Babies bond to their primary care giver. I understand that. That's really neither here nor there. Matthew bonded to us. He bonded to us because we are who his MOTHER wants him with. We've found ourselves caught between the strong desires of his biological parents--and only careful consideration of the facts in this case has led us to our course of action (facts that we will not fully divulge even if we think it might make us look better).

That being said, we care a great deal about both of his biological parents and that is why we ask for prayer. We have agonized over our decisions knowing that one parent will be hurt by whatever we do. We did not choose to get stuck between a rock and a hard place. Since we ended up here anyway, the best we can do is wrap our arms around the baby who got wedged there as well. At the end of the day the only side we can choose is Matthew's. My husband has actually said he welcomes the court case because he wants someone impartial to render the final verdict. We want what's best for Matthew even more than we want what's best for his father, or mother, or for US. Though we think we have been fair in our assessment of all the relevant and unshared details of this case, we realize it is impossible to be impartial after nearly eleven months of having bonded with Matthew. The best we can do is love and protect him until a court decides which birth parent will have their wishes honored.

I don't know what our anonymous accusers would have had us do. Do they wish we had walked away when this suddenly and surprisingly became a contested adoption? Should we have washed our hands of this and allowed him to be placed in foster care while the two sides fought over his future? I know you can't please everyone, so we're just trying to do what's right by Matthew.

Which is why we ask for regular prayer. FOR MATTHEW. This week's special request was for peace, respect, and everyone putting aside their differences for him. That request was definitely granted. As for his future, we're not asking God to rubber stamp our wishes but to move His sovereign hand for Matthew's best regardless of what that does to us or anyone else.


  1. You have our support, love, and prayers. It's a good thing that what God thinks is the only thing that matters, not what others think. Many blessings to you and your precious family. You are a wonderful mommy.


  2. People only whittle you down because they're trying to reduce you to their own size. Some people only have the goal of causing hurt and pain. Sometimes as nice as it would be to just "tell them off" there is no point. The important thing is, God knows your thoughts hearts and minds. You can't convince every person out there your opinions on the situation. It's ok though. God knows! And you sure have a lot of support! Hmm whoever came up with the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" was pretty dense.

  3. A very wise woman once told me there are only two emotions in the world, love and fear, and every action is a reaction to one of those two emotions. That anonymous person is afraid. It's their issue. You have demonstrated time and time again that you act out of love. So often, in fact, that I admire you and sometimes walk away from your posts thinking, "Gosh, I wish I was more like her."

    Hang in there.

  4. sorry you had that happen. Glad the weekend turned out ok

  5. Thank you for being as transparent as you can. We are still praying for you - glad that the meeting went well even if the blogging front was a nastier battle.

  6. Matthew's UncleJanuary 23, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    Comments like those from adoptive parent (from Ethiopia) are based completely in ignorance. They have no idea of your situation. Do not let them rattle your cage, as that is what they want. That person obviously has some very big insecurities that are dealt with by tearing others down. Hey adoptive parent from I don't care where, if you're reading this: that's my sister you said that to. And MY NEPHEW you're talking about. I don't take it lightly when people try to hurt MY family. It's times like these that I wish people like you couldn't hide behind the anonymity of the internet. I wish I could look you in your hateful face and tell you how I really feel. People like my sister make you ashamed? People like you make me ashamed.

  7. Lori,
    Just in case you don't know it, you're an amazing person. You have an amazing family that you would do anything for. Obviously, adoptive parent (Ethiopia) doesn't have a clue as to what the facts are and what you've gone through. This isn't about who has what skin color. It takes more than biology to make a FATHER. If she knew you, she would know that when (and if) she grows up some day, she will want to be just like you. I love you and pray for you, Troy, Garrett, and especially Matthew. May God give you continued strength.
    Love, Aunt Vicki

  8. I'm proud to be able to take credit for the Anonoymous comment written the other day. I had to open a google account to be able to comment at all and just was so anxious to post at all I clicked on what was most likely to reach you. My name is Clare and hopefully this time you will be able to contact me if you want.

  9. also here is a direct email

  10. Lori, I am sorry you have received these hurtful comments. Those people have obviously not read the whole story. You and your husband are doing the right thing for Matthew. Keep doing what you're doing. Caring for that little boy.

  11. Oh Lori, I'm sorry about the comment. I saw one of them yesterday and read it out loud to my partner - we both got so angry and here you sit, giving "them" the time of day by responding like the wonderful person you are. I admit, I'm a deleter. You're a much bigger person than I. But they don't know you. They don't know the BF. They don't deserve your attention - let alone, your pain.
    Big love to your family from ours.

  12. The term you're looking for is "attached." The boy you've named Matthew (such a culturally sensitive name) "bonded" to his first mother during the 9 1/2 months inside her body, plus any moments he was allowed to have with her before being taken away. He can form attachments to other people -- hopefully healthy ones -- but bonding is different.

    Another point I would like to make is that fathers are parents too. The original father's family made it clear to you that they want to parent their own flesh and blood. If you knew much of anything about the African-American culture, you would know how important this is: for the child, the family, and the community.

    It seems to me that you've tricked yourself into believing that your God wants exactly what you want. Please consider the possibility that He has sent others who have walked Matthew's path to tell you His true thoughts on the matter. Consider the responses you DON'T like to be loving warnings.

  13. stay strong, troy and lori. stay focused on God and don't allow the enemy to worm his way into your hearts via hurtful words. obviously a lot of people have their own opinions on this matter, but please know that the people who love you and pray for you and care about you are here to tell you that you are doing the right thing. (((BIG VIRTUAL HUGS!)))

  14. This is getting ridiculous. I read this blog because it gives me almost daily updates about my family who I don’t get to see very often as we live twelve hours apart. I read it so I can watch my nephews grow up, and hear about their accomplishments and challenges. I read it so I can know what to pray for regarding Matthew’s situation. I read it because it’s personal to me. What I can’t understand, is why people who either don’t know Lori or her family, or who haven’t become invested in her family or in Matthew’s story in some way through her blogging, bother to read or leave comments. More than that, where do these people get the time to do so? Please, enlighten me, because I never seem to have enough time in a day to take care of what needs to be done, let alone what I want to do, and I certainly don’t have enough time to go around reading and commenting on people’s blogs of whom I don’t know or don’t care about. We’ve all considered the possibility that Matthew will have to leave one day, and I know no one has thought longer or harder about that than Lori and Troy, so don’t flatter yourself by thinking it is your responsibility, or anyone else's for that matter, to give “loving warnings”.

  15. I'm so sorry that people wrote anonymously and only wish that they had the guts to post with their real names. The part that struck me in your note today is that you are caught between a rock and a hard place. And, the only thing to do now is do your best for the child.

    Some people WOULD rather have Matthew in foster care rather than be cared for by any one who is not African-American.

    I'm so sorry that people are reducing Matthew (a lovely name from the Bible) to his race rather than the wonderful, lovely little boy that he is. He is much, much more.

    Many blessings to you, your family, the BM and the BF (who are hurting too) for the courts to look impartially at this situation.

  16. You're awesome. You're not letting the enemy tear apart the works God is doing in your heart. Keep loving, keep praying, and keep sharing.

  17. I follow your blog and pray for your family every time I think of you. I always walk away from reading a post in awe of your trust and your daily discarded fear about the future for your family. In response to the comment "you've tricked yourself into believing that your God wants exactly what you want."- I just am in awe that this person can't see your clearly stated idea that you DON'T know what God's will is (yet), that you HOPE it will be what you want, but you TRUST it is what is best for Matthew. Just keep hitting delete!

  18. Lori, I would like to tell you how upset I am with those nasty comments. You have more class in your little finger than others have in their entire body. It is not like you went for or after Matthew, the BM CHOSE you. I believe you have the spiritual strength of a saint to be able to overlook those hurtful comments. If you would have responded, you would have given them exactly what they were after - a confrontation.

    I love you guys and will continue to pray for you.

    Chris :)

  19. Oh, Lori, I'm so sorry that there are people who are saying such hurtful things to you. I hope you know that all of the people who actually KNOW you (and know more about the situation than you've been able to say on your blog) fully support you. You are absolutely doing the right thing, and not just for yourself or Matthew, but also for the birth mother.

    From my own perspective, it is extremely important to honor the wishes of the birth mother. Since it is a woman’s legal right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, it should at least be equally possible for her to choose adoption. Otherwise, she really doesn’t have much of a choice at all. Therefore, not only do I support Lori and Troy on a personal level, but on a political level I also see this as a fight for the reproductive rights of women. For women to be truly in control of their own reproduction, they must be able to choose not only whether or not to have children, but also who will raise the children they do have. Without going into any details that shouldn't be made public, I think that “VHM” should be corrected: Matthew was not "taken away" from his mother—the adoption was HER decision, and, as far as I know, continues to be her decision. So, by supporting Lori and Troy, I choose to stand in solidarity with the birth mother, who I do not personally know, but whose rights I respect.

    I had a lot of angry things to say to your detractors, Lori, but I'll follow your good example and not say them. Suffice to say that I think every one of them has revealed in their comments how little they know or understand about your case. Please be assured that you are doing the right thing. And you are very, very loved!

  20. Lori,

    I was very tempted to go into a long-winded response to VHM, but I realize it does nothing but fuel the fire. I have a very difficult time not getting nasty right back. These sorts of comments are not only hurtful and hateful, but also completely USELESS. I personally would not view it as weak or scared of them if you just deleted them. You have the support of hundreds of people who love you, respect you, and admire you. Thank you for your example of faith that we are able to see daily through your words. If others cannot see that, please, just delete them. Click them back into the anonymous holes they climbed out of. Don't even dignify them with their comments being allowed to be viewed by anyone. Stay strong and stay faithful.



  21. Obviously VHM is as uninformed as the last nasty commenter. Matthew, (the name his birth mother put on his birth certificate), was NEVER taken from his birth mother. She chose Lori and Troy and continues to choose them today. The comment about not understanding the African-American culture and their desire to raise their children was ridiculous. This is not about color. This is about whether or not Matthew is in the BEST place he can be to insure he grows up to be a good MAN. Not a black man or a white man, but a MAN. Without knowing any facts about the case VHM is the one who made it about race. Don't even get me started about the comment that states that Lori and Troy have tricked themselves into believing that God wants exactly what they want, because NOTHING could be further from the truth. Our entire family is painfully aware that we have absolutely no idea how this case will turn out. I have never even heard Lori or Troy ask for people to pray for anything other then what is in Matthew's best interest.

    Lori, delete, delete, delete. The enemy is loving all the wasted energy that we are all putting into commenting on the two negative posts instead of turning our focus to praying about God's perfect will and Matthew's future.

    Give my precious little grandson a kiss for me!


  22. I don't recall how I found your blog, but yours is one of my favorites. You inspire me with your faith, taking joy in the simple things in life, honest parenting and especially your integrity. I commend you on taking the high road and writing openly about those comments. I hope you can brush them off and feel the warmth from all us who think so much of you. Your boys are truly blessed!

  23. There are no words that can describe the admiration I have for you and your family. Your faith is amazing and you are a great example of what it means to be a Christian.

  24. I'll start by saying that I don't know you personally, but I have been following your blog, and was struggling about whether to post a comment or not, but I couldn't stop thinking about what I would say to you if we knew each other personally.
    What struck me the most is what my reaction would have been. What would have been going through my mind. First I wouldn't want to tell you to notice the amount of comments of support and love that you are receiving. Of the people who are coming to your defense. And then look at the one in a thousand comments you receive in opposition to you. I personally would loose sleep over the one in a thousand comments...because those words would stay with me, but do you want to know what those comments are...they are words from the enemy trying to tear you down and make you doubt that what you are doing and where you are is exactly where the Lord wants you to be. So call on the name of the Lord for your strength and don't allow the enemy room in your thoughts. Put on your armor girl...God will take care of the rest.

  25. Cling to the truth, my friend. You handle things with so much grace...

  26. Lori,
    You are doing exacty what "your God" wants you to do. That is to take care of Matthew and love him everyday. He is your son and you are amazing parents. I admire your strength and pray for you everyday. Stay strong!!!

  27. Lori, you are a wonderful mother...and just an incredible person in general. God has a plan...and we will continue to pray for Matthew and your entire family!

  28. Totally off subject here... Lori, even though you know who "J" is, no one else does. I don't want to be lumped into the detested "anonymous poster" category :) so I'm going to have to brave the Google world and see if I can post that way. Joanna

    (I'll have to brave it another day, I need to track down my password!)

  29. Stay strong and know that there are far more positive people out there that know and love and admire you. I taught day care for 25 plus years and am a firm believer that nuture plays a far larger part in a childs live than nature does. And I know the kind of nuturing that sweet child is receiving from you and Troy, Garrett, your family and your extended church family. Your are in my prayers. Sally

  30. A mothers love knows no color or culture!!!
    Matthews birth mother chose YOU ANT TROY, to love and raise him. I dont know how this will all end, and I pray for you daily, but the adoption should never be based on race. No matter the culture (and I have both in my family) a child needs love, family, faith, and a place to fall, something I know will be provided for him.

  31. I have been reading your blog for some time from the perspective of an adoptive mom, having over the last nine years adopted domestically, transracially, now internationally from Haiti, and having experienced failed adopted plans and an adoption reclaim along the way. I am also a ministry wife and mother. All this to say that you are in my thoughts and prayers and I am so very sorry you've had to experience such an unkind attack in the midst of it all. May God protect, bless, guide and comfort your family as you seek His will.