Tuesday, April 24, 2012

USCIS & bystanders.

Another strange title to convey very different information!

For starters, yesterday we received our appointment notification for fingerprinting for our I 800 A application!  I had prayed the letter would come this week and we were blessed that it was yesterday.  As discussed by others, we made arrangements to get our fingerprints taken early.  Jon walked in to the USCIS office and was done in less than 30 minutes as a walk in. It looks like I will go tomorrow, so we will be finished long before our May 16th scheduled time. We'll make a call to our case worker at USCIS to inform him or her and then continue to wait. 

This is an exciting development.  For those following our timeline, our application for our I 800 A was registered 2 weeks ago on Monday, April 9th.  We received our fingerprint appointment in 2 weeks from that date.  Things appear to be moving. 

I've been overwhelmed with college classes.  I have seven classes remaining before I complete my bachelor's degree in Psychology and Human Services (Social Work).  These weeks are the last two I have before I get a two week break.  Then, I must plan carefully, because there is a good chance I will be traveling during Bulgaria during my online semester!

I've learned so much in my education; so much more than I ever thought I would, and so much that helps me with Chelsea's needs and things I know will help our future son.  Human behavior is fascinating, and learning how and why people think what they do is so interesting to me. 

I read so many people's blogs and stories about their adoptions; about adoptions from The Bad Place, or other special needs adoptions, or domestic adoptions.  The common theme from all of them is that, in most cases, these families need help to complete their adoptions and they are asking for it.  Whether they are doing fundraisers, giveaways, or simply asking for donations, these families are asking for help.

Often, no matter how many page views they have, or how many followers care, their pleas are ignored.  It's probably because there are just so many people out there asking.  It becomes overwhelming to some, I'm sure.  Others feel that they can't make a difference.  Still others feel pressured to help, but tell themselves that "someone else will help.  I'm not in a position to do it because..."

Scriptural references aside, it reminded me of the case study I learned in my Social Psychology class about the Bystander Effect.  (If you are really, really interested in hearing about this, you can look here:  Wikipedia isn't really a scholarly reference, but you'll get the idea).

One of the famous experiments about the Bystander Effect was studied as a result of a woman in the city of New York who was killed.  Her name was Kitty Genovese.  She was in a heavily populated area and screamed for help.  Dozens of people heard her cries, yet no one called the police.  Why?

There are many reasons why; many clinical, scholarly reasons why that are studied and proven. Things about cognitive dissonance and intepreting social cues, and so on.  But one of the reasons - an easy reason, really - was that the people who heard her HEARD her, but thought, "I'm sure someone else will take care of that.  I don't want to get involved because [insert reason here]." 

Everyone thought that someone else would help Kitty Genovese, and the net result was that no one helped. 

Are you still with me, or did I cause your eyes to glaze over with my scholarly stuff? :)

I'll bet you see my point.

We read blogs and stories of families who choose to adopt, who support special needs adoptions or foster children, or raise money for good causes (like funds for medical care to The Bad Place), and perhaps we get stuck in our thinking of, "I can't do anything. Someone else will do it."

This may surprise you, but our family - in spite of our need, which is very real - continues to support others who are adopting, and other children in need.

In spite of our need, we continue to sponsor not one, not two, but THREE children in foreign countries (two of them through Compassion International, one through a private orphanage in Honduras).  In spite of our need, we make donations to Reece's Rainbow accounts, medical fundraising for The Bad Place, and even sometimes giveaways.  We take the attitude that as we give out of our need, God will bless our family too.  We take the attitude that it does not fall on "others" to help.  We must help. 

Every single one of us is equipped to help in some way.  I see so many families (ours included) who find unique and different ways to help.  Some are doing giveaways of various things.  Others sell t-shirts (we just bought one today from here:  We are selling Avon, bracelets, tshirts, a downloadable song.  There are people doing virtual yard sales with all kinds of things.  The excuse cannot be that there is nothing that interests you.  Because if you don't want to win a Kindle, someone will be giving away an Ipad.  If you don't want an Ipad, you might want something from a yard sale.  If you don't want anything there, you might want to buy coffee (may I suggest  And if you don't want anything, collect your loose change for a week and contribute to a family from Reece's Rainbow! 

Do you really have nothing to give?  Share a family's story - share links to their fundraisers and blogs.  Maybe you really can't help, but maybe you are connected to someone who can. Pray.  Don't just say you are praying - really take two minutes to pray.  Lift a family up in prayer; God is powerful.  Sometimes, I pray while I am doing something else.  Washing bottles is a good time for me.  It's somewhat mindless and a bit time consuming; a great time to bring my mind elsewhere and present my needs and a Godly family's needs to the feet of the Throne. 

Don't suffer as a Bystander.  We are not called to be Bystanders.

What is so wonderful is that I know most of you are NOT Bystanders.  That is why I thank you; for sharing our story, for praying for us, and for helping.  For praying about children who are orphans and without families and care.  For contributing to our causes, and encouraging others to as well.  For thinking of us, for our little boy, and for the millions of little boys who need families. 

Thank you.  You are a blessing. 

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