Adopting Outside the Movement - Bob Sullivan
Contributed by Robert Sullivan
While True Father was with us, it was very important for us to establish the new lineage, and as a result, when blessed couples were faced with infertility, they were encouraged to adopt within our Movement through the offering child tradition. This means of adoption is an absolutely beautiful tradition to behold, and I like to think of it as our “internal” tradition.But now that True Father has transitioned to the spiritual world, perhaps it is time to consider establishing a second, “external” tradition where blessed couples could adopt children from around the world and do so with joyful hearts! Too often in the past, if an offering child was not immediately available, such adoptions were either flat out rejected or looked down upon as something that had to be “settled for”. And even if a couple was fortunate enough to receive an offering child, rarely if ever was a second one offered, so
But now that True Father has transitioned to the spiritual world, perhaps it is time to consider establishing a second, “external” tradition where blessed couples could adopt children from around the world and do so with joyful hearts! Too often in the past, if an offering child was not immediately available, such adoptions were either flat out rejected or looked down upon as something that had to be “settled for”. And even if a couple was fortunate enough to receive an offering child, rarely if ever was a second one offered, so the couple was limited to raising just one child.
Between 1990 and 2001, my wife, Debra, and I adopted five children from outside the Movement. We felt called to do so. And we soon realized that there are wonderful blessings to be had for the adoptive family, the Movement, the Providence, and Heaven in so doing. It is something that can be actively and joyfully pursued with great and heavenly purpose. And, for that matter, it might be something that even couples who have already had blessed children might still want to consider and pursue.
What might some of those blessings be?
- To comfort God’s Heart by saving and improving the innocent lives of suffering children. The suffering of orphans in the world today is …….well, there are no words for it. There was a documentary in 1995 on the “dying rooms” in China which shows a little girl in an orphanage who had been left to die of hunger and thirst all alone by herself. She could not even cry because of her dehydration. The orphanage staff let the other kids go into her room each day and report back as to whether she was still alive so they would know when to remove her body. The situation has not improved. It happens all over the world every day, and something has to be done. I cannot imagine the little girl’s suffering and the grief of God’s Heart. I recently reread Father’s sermon “A Return to Tears.” After watching the documentary tears are not even a challenge. The problem is how to stop sobbing. And when I think of our own family, I cannot forget that my youngest son, Adrian, was discovered abandoned outdoors at about four days old, dehydrated and with pneumonia. Then it all hits close to home. Our members could make such a difference and comfort God’s Heart in the process.
- To love the world as True Father taught us and perhaps change the destiny of the world as well. Father always taught us that we have to love the world more than our own family. CSG pp. 549-50, True Father is quoted as saying:
“The way of filial children is to love their family, which channels the life force of love. The way of patriots is to love in conjunction with the life force of the nation. The way of saints is to connect their love to the life force of the world…Loving the world is the way of saints.”
What better way to love the world than by making the world a part of your family so that loving our family and loving the world are one and the same. If every adoption, as discussed below is a change of lineage and a change of destiny, then can’t we, in fact, change the destiny of the world by adopting one-by-one the unwanted children of the world and changing their lineages and destinies by making them apart of our loving families and homes. It would certainly stand to reason. The only thing we need to do is understand this point as a Movement and establish the tradition.
- Restoration through connections made in the spiritual world. My wife, Debra, passed away nearly five years ago, and I have had several readings with her regarding this matter.In the first session, Debra described our family as the “dream team,” put together by “divine providence,” with each member being “right where they belong”. She said that she was traveling through the spirit world working with the tribal ancestries of our children — who are, in fact very tribal — as much as possible.
During the second session, to my question, “Can we still make a difference”, Deb replied “You have no idea the difference we have already made. I will have to go to the spirit world before I will be able to truly understand. The spirit world has been transformed because of our adoptions.” She wears a badge of honor with bright colors representing the colors of each of our children, and she would like me to spread the message that now is the time to establish a second external tradition, parallel to our offering child tradition, of adopting children from throughout the world into our blessed families.
In our most recent reading, Deb also expressed that shortcuts are created in the spiritual world per each adoption in the physical world that can cut generations, millennia off restoration. Generations are leaped over. Even if an adopted child does not join the Movement or is blessed, he or she has been spliced into the new lineage and subsequent generations will join and be blessed. Very high vibration fibers are created per each adoption connecting adoptive parents and children that dissolve the boundaries among generations and even nations.
- To expand our Movement. Adopted physical children can become spiritual children too. They would just be first generations when and if they join the Movement and receive the Marriage Blessing. We are all going to end up in the Kingdom of Heaven anyway so what’s the big deal? And what a great way to grow the Movement in the process!I would like to see the Unification Movement become a leader in both foreign and domestic adoptions so that when the world thinks of us, they think of:
- True Parents and the Divine Principle
- Blessed Couples and Families
- International and domestic adoptions… Amen?
Adoption as a Change of Lineage and Destiny. Whether you are considering an internal or external adoption, many of you may have the question, “If I adopt a child, is the child really going to be mine?“ My answer to that is, “Come on. You’re a Unificationist. You ought to know.“
Whether you are considering an internal or external adoption, many of you may have the question, “If I adopt a child, is the child really going to be mine?“ My answer to that is, “Come on. You’re a Unificationist. You ought to know.“Not only are my children adopted, but I am adopted too. Years ago, True Father sent Dr. Lady Kim to do ancestral readings for the PR team of which I was a member. When she asked me what I would like to know about my ancestors, I told her my situation, and that I would like to know which ancestry I needed to be concerned about, my birth or my adopted ancestry. She smiled like she had been waiting for that question and said, “Your adopted parents are your parents and their lineage is your lineage. The primary connection in
Not only are my children adopted, but I am adopted too. Years ago, True Father sent Dr. Lady Kim to do ancestral readings for the PR team of which I was a member. When she asked me what I would like to know about my ancestors, I told her my situation, and that I would like to know which ancestry I needed to be concerned about, my birth or my adopted ancestry. She smiled like she had been waiting for that question and said, “Your adopted parents are your parents and their lineage is your lineage. The primary connection in the spiritual world is based on love so the people who loved you as their child and you loved as your parents in the physical world become and are your parents in the spiritual world. Adoption is both a change of lineage and a change of destiny.”
Of course, a few days later I realized that the same principle applies to the love True Parents have given us in paying the indemnity for the change of lineage we receive through the Blessing.
But then Dr. Lady Kim went on to say that I did retain a connection with my birth lineage albeit a secondary one. And recently, since I have been looking at ancestral liberation, the word from Korea has been that I will need to liberate my physical lineage before my adopted lineage although they may be liberated at the same time. (I’m guessing the principle here is to liberate my external-Cain lineage before the internal-Abel lineage even though my adopted lineage is the primary one.)
The first photo of all five children at home in Minnesota in 2001. From left to right, Ana Kelsey-Deo (Schuar, Ecuador) , Idemir Reeder Tanu Tuvan, Russia), Carver Morris (French Creole, Texas), Guillermo Chase (Incan, Peru), and Adrian Harman-Cole (Esmeraldan, Ecuador).
Our final family photo, June 1, 2012. Back row, Reeder, Carver, and Chase.
Middle row, Bob and Debra. Front row, Ana and Adrian.
Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for your interest and understanding in this matter. There is, of course, a lot to consider here. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. I do have a Facebook discussion group “Heavenly Adoptions are US”. If you send a friend request to Robert Sullivan, I will respond and invite you to join the group. Otherwise, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Their Names,
Some Practical Considerations From an Offering Mother
Discuss it with God, to see if it is a reasonable request, and try to see if from God’s point of view, not from your personal point of view. Remember all of the fallen natures began with not seeing thing from God’s point of view. Respond form God’s point of view, not your own. If you sincerely feel that God is telling you that your position if correct, than try to share it in a sensitive way, not a way in which the other couple is made to feel guilty for asking.
Testimony of an Offering Mother - Claire Brossmann
Claire Brossmann gave birth on Dec. 7, 1989 for a couple in her trinity. Claire wanted more than anything for the experience to be perfect for the receiving mother and the baby. She took such pains to bond the baby to the receiving parents even before the birth that I thought we could benefit from these beautiful suggestions.
- During the last several months of pregnancy the receiving parents sent tapes of themselves speaking to the child still in the womb. Claire played these often, and they were so full of love and expectation that Claire was often moved to tears. The receiving couple also sent tapes of their favorite music and said they would play the music when they took the baby home so they music would fill the rooms with familiar sounds and their voices would be known to the baby.
- “All during the pregnancy I spoke to the baby in my womb and explained how much I loved her yet through God’s love she was a very special gift to another couple. Through myself and the receiving couple there was a lot of effort made to communicate the baby’s unique situation to her in the womb.”
- “While the receiving couple stayed at our house, our community here helped support the birth through a milk bank for the baby. She was able to receive breast milk from several nursing mothers who lived close by. Because of the bonding that happens during nursing I opted not to nurse the baby myself.”
- Several times during the pregnancy Claire prayed to her ancestors and to her mother (still living), explaining the Principle and why she was doing this. Also asking for their support and permission, in a way, to make this offering freely and therefore free another couple’s lineage.
- “About one week after the birth, when my heart was still very tender, I wrote a letter to the baby explaining my love for her and what a precious experience her birth was for me. When she’s older we’ll give the birth letter to her to read.” Claire explains that this letter meant very much to her and was a great comfort.
Every “team” of couples has their own special course and each couple chooses special ways to help each other during the pregnancy and birth. Claire and Udo and their receiving couple chose these ways to work together. Each NFF newsletter will have different bits of practical advice like this to offer to you. Not all will fit your circumstances and some you will not agree with at all, but that is the beauty and wonder of this kind of offering: there is no law or set way to do it. There couldn’t be. The standard of Shim Jung is the only law at play here. You will find your own ways to love each other and the baby during your own special adventure into the realm of offering.
“Life After the Offering” - Testimony of an Offering Mother
“Life After the Offering”
I wanted to preface my talk. This morning one receiving mother mentioned her offering couple as Mary and John. I am Mary and this is John. There was a reason why we decided to not reveal our real names on this testimony. My husband and I take family restoration very seriously. At one point my husband’s family was so negative about the church that his father actually bought a gun to kill my husband’s spiritual father. We have to take into consideration their feelings and their spiritual growth toward our True Parents, now that we have children, and especially since our children are the only grandchildren on my husband’s side. We felt very strongly pushed by Heavenly Father to offer a child, but the one thing we had to think about was how our parents would react or respond to this, especially because neither side of our family has a grandson, and my husband and I are the only hope for more grandchildren. We had two girls at the time we offered, and we very well could have had a boy for the receiving couple. How could we have explained this to our parents? We decided to take on this responsibility ourselves and spare our parents the pain of not understanding our act of faith. So, in our particular case, we never told our parents. Even our neighbors don’t know I had a child. You can imagine what that entailed to keep this from our neighbors. Luckily it was winter and I had a very big down coat! Because my mother visits me often, I felt I couldn’t tell my neighbors, in case they would ever mention it to my mother when she came to visit. So, no one ever knew, and my parents still don’t know. So, it is possible to offer a child without your parents knowing. Just as we offer our lives in the formula course, many of us can’t really share with our parents how many hours we spend doing the things we do in our church. It is possible to offer a child for God, and let it be within the church community. We are grateful that our receiving couple really respects the choice we made and our concern for our parents.
I want to speak today about life after the child is born. During the pregnancy I was very close to Linda. They didn’t have seminars like this, but you hear things and you don’t want to make any mistakes. So you prepare for the worst. I prepared for the worst of everything to happen. But, my experience was that just through faith and love everything I anticipated or expected to go wrong in our particular situation did not. I felt God was right there. God really directed us and we had such a beautiful, deep and loving experience. Even as I was waiting to speak today, I was thinking about how deep a thing it is to get up and share about the love you have. It’s like giving a testimony at your Golden Wedding Anniversary, and you want to share about how much you love your husband. I feel like sharing about the relationship I have with our receiving couple; it’s like a deep unity and bond that we have established. It came through all of the hard times during the pregnancy, but I’ve found that a lot of the fears you may have while you are pregnant or even while you are anticipating the offering, everything turns out so beautiful when the actual moment comes, if you respond with faith, if you even just respond to your natural intuition. All of the fears disappear in the moment. I feel that the fears come beforehand because Satan wants to block you or stop you.
One example of a fear I had that disappeared is the example my husband spoke about of having the receiving father present at the birth. I was very shy about having the receiving father at the birth. You live a very Victorian lifestyle in our church and when you think about having another man there at the birth, forget it. “I am sorry but you can’t be there, “ and that is what I said. As it turned out at the birth, the receiving father thought that I wanted something to drink, so I heard him say that he would be right back. He didn’t realize that I was ready to push the baby out. It all happened so quickly. So, I told my husband to get the receiving father, and tell him to come because the baby was coming. So he ended up not only being at the birth, but also cutting the umbilical cord. That is something I never dreamed would happen while I was in my pregnancy. In the moment, however, you respond with love, because that is the way, I believe, God makes us.
I also worried that maybe at the moment of birth I would change my mind, and how could I prevent that? All of these questions naturally up in your mind. But we had a very beautiful experience. At the birthing center, the birthing bed is a big double bed. After the baby was born, they put the baby on my tummy and the receiving mother was lying next to me. The baby was on my tummy with a little blanket over it, and we were just hugging and kissing and crying together because everything was beautiful, and we realized after five minutes we had forgotten to see if it was a boy or a girl. That was another one of my fears – how was I going to respond if it was a boy? But it wasn’t even the first thing on my mind after the baby was born. So, then we had the unveiling, and we saw it was a girl. I could never have imagined how beautiful those moments would be. Sometimes we have to just throw away the fears and, as we are taught in our life of faith, just move forward. We need to handle the experiences that come with God’s love.
Another subtle fear I didn’t even realize I had was that maybe the receiving couple was being so nice to me just because I was having a baby for them. It’s such a nice experience to get close to another couple, but maybe after the birth we wouldn’t see each other again. Sometimes you get close to another couple and then their mission changes and you never see them again. In our particular case we were very lucky because our receiving couple continually includes us in their family. My children know them as aunt and uncle, and they always look forward to them coming over. One time they both had to go to Korea for two weeks and I took care of the baby. That was another fear I had. I wondered if I could love this child in a way that I wouldn’t become attached. I found out when I was taking care of the child that the love I had for her was like when my mother comes to take care of my children. My children are her blood, but she would never want to take my baby away. She knows it is mine! I felt the same way. Sure, maybe it is my blood, but it’s not my baby. I loved her as a grandmother would love her granddaughter.
Always the receiving mother includes me in her life. She’ll call and ask the kinds of questions your sister would ask you. “When do you think they need to start wearing shoes?” Things like that. We have that kind of relationship. It feels good. It’s not even because of the baby but because we feel like sisters. I feel blessed because we feel so close and I feel like I have a real sister it he Church. It is something to treasure always. It goes even deeper than having a best friend.
It’s been over a year now since the offering and I have found that during the pregnancy I was very vertical in my attitude. I never thought of the baby being mine. I thought this is Heavenly Father’s baby; Heavenly Father is giving this child to the other couple. When I took care of the baby for those two weeks, however, I couldn’t help but notice how much she looked like my other two daughters. I think, during this time, I needed to experience that I actually did make the offering. I was so vertical during the pregnancy, and that made the offering go smoothly. But I think that in my own heart I needed to understand the depth of the offering that I made. I needed to face it. I needed to confront it, and I needed to accept it and offer it again. It was a deep experience. It helped me to understand God’s heart more deeply and even to understand the relationship we have. It is like a grandmother’s love and it is something that is not threatening. I think that if receiving couples can feel that their offering mother’s love is going to be like a grandmother’s, then it is not threatening. Just for the sake of communicating sometimes it is helpful to understand concepts like that.
The last part of my testimony is about how during my pregnancy I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Mrs. Eu. As far as I know she was the first mother in our movement to offer a child. Whenever I got to meet with her, and we could ask questions, I tried to take advantage of her deep “heartle” understanding of offering a child. She gave me three pieces of advice. To be honest, it hasn’t been until after the offering, and even quite recently, that I have been able to understand the depth of her advice. Her advice was very simple, very concise. I think sometimes if you ask Father or a 36 Blessed Couple a question, you’d like them to give a big dissertation as an answer. If they give a three-word answer you kind of feel cheated, or you feel that maybe they just didn’t have time to give a “deeper” response.
The three pieces of advice were simple. First of all she said that it should be a very natural experience. That gives you a lot to think about. As I’ve been recounting in our experience with our receiving couple, it was very natural. Especially, in the moment, if you didn’t think too much about what is going to happen or how you are going to respond, then what actually transpired was very natural. Just like in the birthing room. It was very natural for my husband to ask the receiving father to cut the umbilical cord. I think that is what Mrs. Eu was trying to say. Just be natural and let God work.
Secondly, I asked her one day, “how will the baby be connected to our lineage?” I was curious. In the spiritual world, here is this child, and how will the baby be connected to us for eternity? She told me that the baby will be connected to us for one generation only (that is to my husband and I) because we gave it physical life. But she said the baby inherits the ancestry of the other couple and will become totally a part of the lineage of the other couple. Just like an apple on a tree, we’re the stem. The baby is just connected to us for one generation because we gave it physical life.
The third piece of advice Mrs. Eu gave me was “just do it.” This sounds like the kind of advice Mrs. Eu would give, and I must admit that it wasn’t until just recently that I understood that depth of that simple advice. Especially on that last two points I recently had deep insight into what Mrs. Eu was trying to say to me. I feel because God knew that I was going to speak today, He opened my mind and heart to a deeper comprehension of Mrs. Eu’s advice. Somehow in the last couple of months I understood what Mrs. Eu was trying to tell me.
Recently I had an experience that taught me this child is not my child; it’s not part of my family. Sometimes it’s confusing because we see each other as extended family, and we raise our children as cousins. But I had an experience where I realized that this child is not part of our lineage. I did a reading for the baby and I got really sick. For those of you who are familiar with Beatriz Steeghs, I am a student of hers and I did a reading on the baby’s health. Beatriz said we should only do readings for our family or we have to pay indemnity for helping other families. When I got sick after doing a reading for the baby I had for the other couple, I realized that I was paying indemnity because my lineage couldn’t support me in doing this reading. Through that experience I understood that, through all of eternity, this child is not ours. We provided, if you can forgive the analogy, a physical shell for this couple’s lineage to bestow their merit and to give their good merit, their bad merit, whatever, through our act of giving a physical child. This other lineage has the ability to multiply all of their merits and everything that they are waiting to give. I deeply understood that Heavenly Father wants every single couple to be able to have their physical shell through which they can create the Four-Position Foundation and learn to love and learn to have all of the experiences that those of us who can have children have.
Recently I began to understand even more than before I made the offering how it grieves Heavenly Father’s heart when couples’ physical bodies don’t work! I think it is painful for Heavenly Father. God wants everyone to have a Four-Position Foundation. Just because I can have children, and maybe some people can’t, it doesn’t make me better. It doesn’t make me any more capable of being a parent than anyone else. Somehow, I don’t have the physical barriers preventing me from having children. I think it is important that we recognize God’s desperation for every person to experience that beautiful love that comes with having children. Certain things motivate you to have a child for someone else.
God wants people to have their own children. I think there was a very subtle part of my heart that I had to change. Now I am having my fourth baby, but actually it is my third baby. When you go to the doctor, they have to know about all of your babies. It becomes confusing because the doctor will ask what child is this, and I say it’s my fourth! Then people ask you, is this your third or your fourth, and you answer, well it’s my third, but really it’s my fourth. Especially now that I am pregnant, and people are constantly asking me, I have to decided how to answer such a simple question. I realize that a part of me started thinking, “Well, I have three children, and they have one of my children.” One day I understood that it is really wrong to have that attitude. I had to let go some more. I had to let go of the feeling that it was even my child. I had to understand that sure, my physical body produced four babies, but that is it. It is a very subtle point. As time goes by we try to purify our love and we try to purify our attitudes and our minds more and more. In my particular case, that’s what I understood: the more I feel that they have one of my children, it is a type of arrogance. Even though it was a subtle point in my own mind, I wasn’t allowing the receiving couple to have the dignity that this is their child, not my child. God wants every couple to have their own child. There needs to be an ultimate offering, the ultimate offering of giving something 100 percent.
I was in Sunday School with my daughter an she put a quarter in the basket and then she went and tried to take it out. I said, “No honey, when you make an offering to Heavenly Father, you can’t take it back.” Somehow the words just rang in my ears. I thought this is such simple advice. You are giving your three-year-old this advice about offering and here we are discussing an offering. It is such a simple piece of advice that you give a three-year-old, but actually that is what Mrs. Eu was telling me when she said, “just do it.” I think she was trying to say, “Don’t think so much about it, just do it.” It is very simple advice, but I realize her advice helped me just to do it. Now, different insights come. Different things come that help me to understand how I need to change or how I need to grow. That’s why I wanted to share with you what she said to me.
Every spiritual discipline talks about “letting go.” In our church we don’t call it “letting go,” which is more of a “spiritual term.” We learn how to offer. We call it sacrificial love, selfless giving, or the terms we hear in lectures. Making certain external offerings like tithing, or setting 40-day conditions to help another couple-these are all relatively clear offerings to make. But, when a woman decides to offer a child, I think that it takes on a little more complexity, because it is not just an external offering that the offering mother has to make. The deepest emotional bond that can develop is between a mother and child. Therefore, I feel that the very first thing you have to offer is that emotional bond. You have to “let go” of the feeling that this is my baby, in any way. That was my experience. I found that I had to be totally vertical and feel that this is God’s child for this other couple. First you give up that feeling and that emotion. What I did was offer it to Heavenly Father, and then I prayed that the receiving mother could feel this instead; that the receiving mother could feel the bonding of the child and the love that you feel. To really offer the child to God we must say, “Please help this receiving mother or receiving father to feel all of the things that you would normally feel when a child is growing in your womb.” Once you’ve done that, you just have to have the baby. Like Mrs. Eu said, “Just do it.”
Another thing I understood is that because you are just offering the physical shell, that the lineage of the other couple is very involved with this child, it is their child. It’s their means of continuing in eternity. The physical child you offer is temporal whereas the lineage of this other couple is eternal. This other lineage is so excited because they have a chance now to move forward. I think that for me this is an important point to understand. I allow you to let the other couple have the dignity of experiencing life with this baby. Someone today mentioned how the offering mother is in the subject position while she is pregnant, that she can pretty much dictate how the pre-birth and birth events are handled. But, as soon as the baby is born, it is the receiving couple’s baby. This is an important thing to realize so that you give the other couple the dignity of working out their problems, of working out anything that can come up in their family situation. This is the course they need to go through with their child, so that their child can grow and so that they can grow in their love. From birth, it is important to realize that this child is the responsibility of the other couple before God, because it is part of their lineage. That was another aspect of realizing what Mrs. Eu said. Sure, we are connected because we gave the child a physical body, but for all of eternity it’s connected to this other lineage. I think that these realizations are important because the offering needs to be selfless, and it is really easy for an offering mom, who has had maybe two or three children, to see how things are done by the receiving couple and criticize them. You can get judgmental. I think it is important for the offering mother to try to separate from those kinds of feelings and to realize that Heavenly Father for each one of us has a course of restoration for our family and we have to be humble to what God is doing with this other couple. For those of us who are offering parents, it’s a good thing that no one was there judging us about how we were taking care of our first child. I was lucky that my mother was very sensitive and she never criticized me. But, we have to give people the dignity of being first-time parents. It’s a very deep experience, and it is something very precious. It’s the kind of thing that you look back on and laugh about with your husband. We have to give them the opportunity to laugh about things, laugh about their mistakes, and not make it a point that we become judgmental about. In this way, God can show His deep love for both couples. I think that the offering mother needs first to offer her emotional bond with the child, as far as letting it stand in the way of anything that the receiving couple may have in mind for their children.
I am grateful for Mrs. Eu’s advice. As simple as it was, sometimes you just have to go through in faith just like in any course we have in the Church. Go through the situation knowing what is right and do it, and then, later on, once the offering is made, once your sacrifice is fulfilled, then God can shower you with many different kinds of insights and understanding.
I would like to close by testifying to the receiving couple that we have. Because of their sensitivity and support, I was able to understand God’s heart in such a sensitive way. They helped it to be an offering that was easily made, and an offering in which the spirit of God could be so close to all of our hearts.
Testimony of an Offering Mother
I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the act of offering. Last year my husband and I offered a child to another couple. It wasn’t until last month, when I had a chance to care for the child for a couple of weeks, that I began to realize what an amazing offering we had made! I almost couldn’t believe I did that, except for the fact that the child looks so much like my own children.
I guess I have the same feeling as when I’m sitting in a fancy restaurant, and I think back to my days of MFT, and how I used to be walking around selling things in restaurants instead of enjoying the cuisine! Somehow it’s hard to believe you actually did that!
What compels us to make offerings like these! Offerings, which, in retrospect, seem almost greater than we are? What compelled Abraham, the father of faith, to offer his only son? Abraham received His message directly from God. This must have given him the power to make such a difficult offering. Likewise, when I contemplate my MFT days, I know that, as hesitant as I was sometimes, the only reason I had the power to do what I did is because I felt God’s desperation for me as I made even a small contribution for His Providence.
As I contemplate the offering of a child which my husband and I made, one of the first things I think about is the couple which we offering our child to. When I think of the spiritual foundation of love for God which they established through their life of faith, I can begin to understand why our offering was so easy and why I always felt that God was close to all of us. I was so moved by the receiving mother’s faith and by her complete trust in God. There were so many testimonies in her life of faith which moved me to tears. (I did not know this sister’s husband at the time, so this is why I only mention her at this point.) God showed me very clearly how deeply moved He was by this sister’s life of faith.
Through my first two pregnancies, I had to pass by this sister’s office every day to get to mine, and I just couldn’t forget how much she loved Heavenly Father. When I felt her suffering as she was having no success in trying to conceive a child, I felt how much Heavenly Father wanted to show her how much He loved her. I felt how desperately Heavenly Father wanted her to experience the Four-Position Foundation. Heavenly Father had no means by which to do that if she couldn’t get pregnant. I knew that some day I would have a child for her, but I felt I couldn’t say anything to her until I was ready to have her baby. I began then to understand how Heavenly Father feels when He has a blessing all prepared for us, but he can’t let us know, until the time is right. We can only persevere and trust that God knows our situation. I could only support this sister and assure her that God knew her situation.
After my second child was born, I felt that I couldn’t have another child for my family until this sister had a child. I felt in my heart, from Heavenly Father that this was the time to make our offering to this other couple. When we told the couple, the sister cried for a long time, almost in disbelief. When she finally stopped, her first words were that all she could feel was how much Heavenly Father loved her. For a while she had thought maybe God had forgotten about her, but that all along He was aware. He was only waiting for the right time to give her the Blessing. This was such a deep confirmation of the love of God for all of us.
I felt that this particular couple never “expected” anything from God. I could only see that they continued giving and serving other Blessed Couples, and Blessed Children with a joyful heart, and when they least expected it the blessing came to them. It’s deep for me to realize that they actually performed a spiritual offering to God first. Witnessing this couple making their offering to God helped me to formulate a meaning for the word offering: a freely given expression of love, which comforts God’s heart.
A freely given expression of love. Meditate on that for awhile. Freely given implies that there is no force, no guilt, no expectation. That’s honestly how I felt making my offering to this couple. The Divine Principle teaches us that our Heavenly Father lives for this alone! Our free expression of love to Him. Father lives for this alone! We are the only level of creation which can be creative in our expression of love. God created us this way so we could manifest our hearts to one another, and to God, and this would bring joy to God and joy to us. An expression of love is meant to be a joyful expression of our heart – the most sensitive, intimate part of our being. This, I feel, is the core of offering. A freely given expression of love – a very sensitive, intimate expression of heart.
Almighty God, our Father, our Parents, alone knows the depth of our heart. Heavenly Father understands our hearts. Heavenly Father is within our hearts! Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that only Heavenly Father can ask us to make an offering. Heavenly Father speaks to our hearts and our heart responds. Our physical being, then, follows our heart. In the ideal sense, I believe this is the way we are meant to function. The spirit is subject over the body which is object. I also believe that this is what makes some offerings easier than others. In the case of the couple whom I made an offering to, they moved God’s heart very deeply by the level of sacrifice they made. To this depth God’s heart was moved. In turn, God could move my heart to that depth! Therefore, the physical offering I made was made possible because of an initial heartistic offering made by the other couple! I believe that everything happens in the realm of spirit and heart first.
When God sees us, he sees us as the culmination of our lineage. We don’t know what the sins or the merits of our ancestors are. We only know our own heart with all of its limitations. Therefore, most important is how we make each offering. Our responsibility is to continue offering, even when we may feel God is far away.
Testimony of Offering a Child
I would like to share briefly some of my insights and experiences which I had in the course of having a child for another couple.
My situation is a little different than the other offering mothers represented, as I will deliver the “love baby” (as we refer to the child) in about four to five weeks.
The act of offering and receiving a child, from the Unification perspective, is the most profound act in heaven, I am beginning to understand. In these days of “Baby M” that act of having a child for another couple has been severely stained, just as the act of love itself was so mercilessly stained by Satan in the Fall. Satan knows what is most precious in God’s mind and heart, and therefore, Satan will always try to destroy God’s will by creating his false way first. This is the way I view what happened in the “Baby M” case, especially that it happened at such a time when God’s providence on this level is just beginning to unfold. For this reason, I am so grateful that we can have workshops to understand the depth of this holy act of establishing a four-position foundation for another couple.
The reason I place so much emphasis on this point at the beginning of my sharing is that I feel that for both the offering ad receiving couple it is important to have a deep grasp of the reality of what is actually transpiring on a spiritual level, before entering into such a sacred covenant with God and True Parents. Also it is important to realize that Satan hates what we are doing. Satan is very happy when he sees that a Blessed couple is not able to establish a four-position foundation. This means that that couple cannot enter the kingdom of heaven and cannot bring more Blessed children into the world. Satan hates the Blessing and Satan doesn’t want to see whole lineages being restored to Heavenly Father through the establishment of the four-position foundation.
So, on a spiritual level, the magnitude of what is happening is something which has never before happened in history. That one couple, through their dedication to God and True Parents are willing to make a commitment to give another Blessed couple the opportunity to enter heaven, by establishing the four-position foundation. I think that for me this has been the guiding understanding of what my offering was and is all about. There are many more practical dynamics which come into play, which will all be discussed, but I feel that these practical dynamics are merely the tools to be used to battle Satan and to make it more difficult for Satan to invade the relationship between the two couples during this most significant and providential journey which you are about to embark on. Because as I said, Satan hates what we are doing and will try every conceivable way to confuse and distract you and to quite frankly make you negative. This is the story of our entire church life, and my feeling is that that has all been practice for this most special time when you need to apply all of the spiritual wisdom and guidance which you have been using until now to live your life of faith, only now it isn’t only you, or your husband, but another couple as well that you need to be concerned with.
I feel that the mother who is receiving this child from my husband and I is so sincere in trying to do everything right. She listened to a couple of testimonies and tried to do just what other offering mothers said made them happy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that is what will work in her relationship with me. Just like things your girlfriend might tell you that she tries to open her husband’s heart, may not work for you in your relationship with your husband. We are all unique beings and only Heavenly Father in our prayers can truly make us spiritually sensitive to the needs of those we are trying to serve. Through prayer God will direct you and help you become very sensitive to the other couple. Just think back to the day when you were trying to go through things with your husband. It helped to receive advice from other people or counselors, but ultimately you needed to go to God to figure out your plan of action, so that it becomes your effort in your unique way.
The final point which I think that we can all relate to is that you don’t walk away from it when or if the times get rough. This just becomes the roots upon which your family tree grows. Father has never condoned walking out, or giving up. Those times are when you need to reach out to God and True Parents and not listen to Satan. If prayer doesn’t work by itself, then turn to your support system. I think that everyone through their course has developed a network of those brothers or sisters you can turn to when you need some guidance or just an ear. This webpage is a way to develop similar relationships which can help you through any rough spots you might have.
An Adoption in Africa
Alan Francis is Celebrating his First Birthday, March 5, 2008 Kinshasa, DRC!
I am Happy to announce that last March Monte and I received a Blessed Child from Tumubie, Kapanga Family, who live in Kinshasa, DRC, Africa. Alan and I are presently living in Africa. I am teaching at the American School of Kinshasa. I enjoy my Fourth Grade Class, and having fun swimming with Alan at the school’s pool.
We live on campus and have a 24 hour baby sitter to help us along. The church here is very large and has over 1,000 members. Unfortunately, the country is very poor. Many of our members eat only one or two meals a day, and live without hot water or electricity. However, God’s spirit is alive!
I hope we can stay in touch. The best form of communication is emailing when the internet is working and there is power. I could only receive letters through a special mail service since there is no real postal service here in the country. Please stay in touch and would love to hear form you.
Frances and Alan Francis Hyo-Sung Vianale
Note: The views stated on the Offering Children Ministry webpage in individual testimonies reflect the writer’s personal experiences and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the official BFM position.