Posts Tagged children

Reduced to Tears – Bishop Stacy Sauls

Reduced to Tears Used by permission of Bishop Sauls

Posted: 07/14/2014 2:39 pm EDT Updated: 07/14/2014 2:59 pm EDT


“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.” (Rom. 8:15)

At the moment hundreds of children from Central America are risking a long, dangerous trip without adults to come to the United States to escape oppressive poverty, violence, and exploitation. They are receiving a mixed welcome, sometimes with compassion and sometimes with hostility. St. Paul’s words seem relevant to me.

The spirit of adoption is something I know a little bit about. Here’s how I learned.

Thirty-one years ago my wife Ginger and I were in the process of completing the home study process for the adoption of our first child. We had had all the interviews. The social worker had come to visit our house. (It was, by the way, one of only three times in my adult life that I’ve cleaned the oven. I don’t know why I thought our case worker would be checking to see if our oven was clean, but that is what the words “home study” conjured up in my mind anyway.)

The final interviews had come. These were to be with Ginger and me separately. I assume the reason for that is that if one of us had not really wanted to go through with the adoption we could bring a halt to the process without having to reveal the complete truth to our spouse. In our case, we were both as committed, and anxious in every sense, as ever.

I was to have my interview first, and I promised to stop at a pay phone (before the days of cell phones) to call Ginger and tell her what the social worker had asked on my way back to the office. I did. Ginger, in turn, was to call me when her interview, scheduled late in the afternoon, was complete.

The time of Ginger’s interview came and went. There was no call. I waited and waited. No word. I began to get concerned. My anxieties ran rampant. I feared that the social worker had completed Ginger’s interview and said something like Ginger would make a wonderful parent but that I was a complete Bozo who had tried to trick her into thinking we had a clean oven. I imagined Ginger crying because of the disappointment and too upset to call me.

Finally at about 5:30 Ginger arrived at my office door. She had red, puffy eyes. She had clearly been crying. I thought my worst fears were confirmed. Instead, however, she stepped in and said, “You have a son.” And she pulled out a picture of a Korean baby boy. We know him as Andrew. At that point I started to cry. It was all I could do. People from the office came in to see if I was alright. It was very embarrassing.

It turns out that the social worker’s last question to Ginger, as it had been to me, was, “So, are you ready for a baby?” When Ginger responded, “Yes,” the social worker had said, “Good, because I have a referral for you,” at which point she pulled out a file and a picture. Ginger had, of course, met this news with tears of joy, and in all the excitement she couldn’t remember exactly how to get to my office. She had been driving around a long time hoping to recognize something and be able to find the way.

Now, here’s the rest of the story. Ginger is the emotional one in our family. She could cry at the drop of hat. Happy or sad made no difference. Tears were appropriate for any occasion. Not so for me. Up until that point in our lives together, I had never cried. Not once. I didn’t think I had it in me. But when the news of Andrew came, the floodgates broke open. I started to cry, and try as I might, I couldn’t stop. I would think I had myself under control, and we would try to call someone to tell them the news. I would be prepared to speak, but when someone answered the phone, I would start again. I would have to hand the phone back to Ginger. I was reduced to nothing but tears.

People come to the United States from faraway places for many reasons. Some come to escape persecution. Others come in search of freedom. Many come in search of a better life. Some are oppressed. Some are displaced by war. Our son Andrew, and later his brother Matthew, came to complete a family.

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What I Learned from a Rehearsal of the Children’s Choir at FBC

Last night I was given a glimpse into the future of First Baptist Church of Charleston. I am sure that every generation that has worshiped in  this 332 year old church has had doubts about its future. The children’s  choir was rehearsing and then were joined by the Sanctuary Choir. The children paid attention to its director and then to the Minister of Music and Worship.  They followed his every gesture.

As the children sang, “In My Father’s House,” my apprehensions about the future faded. As their young voices joined with the older voices in singing, “This Is My Father’s World,” I was thrilled.  I know that worship styles will change in the years ahead and that culture will continue to influence the programs of the church, but that has been true of the previous 300 years. What I gained from being present for this rehearsal was a real sense of security about the future. These young people are the future and they are getting the grounding that will serve them well as they deal with the challenges that they will encounter in their future.

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Thankful Thursday – Emory Bull Hiott

On this Thankful Thursday I am thankful for Emory Bull Hiott. Emory, known as Sally by her Columbia, SC area friends, is the vivacious, enthusiastic, dedicated Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Charleston. She graduated from Clemson University and had staked out a career in business. She was attracted to FBC during the “40 Days at FBC program,” several years ago. As a result of the Hamrick Lectures bringing Tony Campolo to speak, she volunteered to spend a year in New Orleans to help with Katrina relief. That mission changed her life and her career. In addition to all of her work at the church she is a reader for the children enrolled in the Metanoia program in North Charleston. Emory married Trey soon after her return from the Big Easy. Trey is a big time fisherman. Prior to the big wedding, Emory hung out with a bunch of us older folks at lunch after church on Sundays which is unusual for such a delightful younger person, but it gave us an opportunity to get to know her. Emory is a radiant, compassionate, gifted Christian who fills one with confidence about the future. She is constantly striving for better ways to reach and teach young children. She has developed a very successful Vacation Bible School involving children from all over the area. She serves on the Say Something Nice Sunday Committee while continuing to pursue her Master’s degree. On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful that Emory Hiott is a part of my life.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the importance of someone to our lives. Let her or him know of your gratitude. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice: Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.

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