The Perfect Little Family

This guest post is from Regent Law 2L Matthew Davis and current Family Law student:

     The Bauchams were told they had “the perfect little family.” But God had other plans — that eventually involved seven more children through adoption. Today the Bauchams are approaching fifty, and their youngest is two years old. This is how their adoption journey began, and what God has been teaching them through it.

     Voddie Baucham, was raised by a single teenage mother and by all accounts had the stereotypical impoverished, struggling, troubled upbringing that many say can and should be avoided by terminating unplanned pregnancies in certain circumstances. In fact, there is a large and growing voice in America today that claims that the poverty, pain, struggle and difficulties of being a single teen mother raising an unplanned baby should be remedied by aborting that unplanned pregnancy, somehow a more humane option.  Voddie Baucham says that those who promulgate those ideas actually regard lives like his, and his adopted children, as unimportant and unworthy of even existing. Voddie’s mom struggled, but never gave up. At age 49 she finally graduated from college, and  Voddie remembers contemplating all she had been through, all she worked for, all she sacrificed and gave up for him to live and have life.  But he will be forever grateful that his mother put her life on hold to care for him and give him a chance, even if it had seasons of difficulties.

     Voddie took these life lessons with him as he grew up and determined to make his life count for something.  He went to college, got married, and eventually became the pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. After having two children early in their marriage, Voddie and his wife soon realized that what looked like the ‘perfect little family’ was actually only a partial family.  Although physically unable to have any more children, they began to discuss their desire to enlarge their family by considering adoption.  Soon the couple found an adoption agency and encountered what many involved in adoptions already knew - that African American families interested in adopting were few and far between.  The Baucham’s saw this as a confirmation from God and immediately began the arduous task of filling out the adoption paperwork. In a mere two months they were matched with a child in need.

Voddie and Bridget Baucham
     The Bauchams first adoption is one that they will never forget.  It was the adoption of an unwanted child from a drug-addicted victim of rape.  Soon after the terrifying and traumatic experience, the pregnant teen mom felt completely helpless and had no idea what to do or where to go.  She eventually found herself at a local Planned Parenthood clinic thinking her only option was to end her pregnancy.  After sitting in that Planned Parenthood waiting room for what seemed like an eternity, she began to seriously think about the life inside of her and how that little precious life had done nothing wrong.  Although scared, addicted, and a victim the pregnant woman believed that the life inside of her deserved a chance. She quietly contemplated in that Planned Parenthood waiting room that somewhere someone would love this baby, and she got up and left the clinic.
She soon found a crisis pregnancy center that helped care for her needs and connected her with an adoption agency who connected with the Bauchams. Courageously giving birth and making an adoption plan for her child, the woman placed her child with agency and the Bauchams adopted the newborn, giving that child a good chance at life.  They also had a chance to pray with this courageous woman and continue to minister to her through her deepest, darkest pains.  The impact of that first adoption soon led to six more.

     The Bauchams describe how these adoptions have radically changed the way they understand their faith and relationship with God the Father. Until he was able to look into the eyes of his adopted children and love them the very same way that he loves and cares for his biological children, Voddie explains that he was never able to fully understand and grasp what it means to be a child of God.  Because we are God’s children by adoption, Voddie explains, “when you understand adoption, you get that, that we are his children, and he [God] is not going anywhere….“Adoption is about the gospel, I mean what else are we going to do with our lives that would be more important than what we are doing right now… I can’t think of anything.”

Read more about Voddie Baucham’s Story here


Practice-Ready Regent Law Training

This guest post is by Regent Law 3L, Michael Castillon, current Clinic student:

This fall I have had the privilege of participating in the Civil Litigation Clinic at Regent University School of Law.  Throughout the semester, I was given several responsibilities, ranging from conducting client interviews, to representing clients in court and administrative hearings. 

While working in the clinic, I was given the unique opportunity to represent a client in an unemployment compensation case, which spanned the length of three full hours.  During the hearing, I was tasked with cross examining five witnesses as well as conducting a closing argument.  We worked to help a client provide and care for his family.  The practical experience gained from working in the clinic is unmatched, and it is something that I strongly recommend to anyone who is interested in legal aid work and litigation.

Mr. Castillon gained the kind of experiential training in this course that many law students never receive, and some attorneys do not get in years of practice.  Practice-ready training makes a difference for law students and in families for whom those students advocate.


Consistency is Key


     Last week in Family Law we covered the case of Adoption of Baby Girl, the 2013 South Carolina case that pitted the tribal rights of Native Americans to restore their families against adoptive parents.  In an opinion returning the 4 year old back to the adoptive parents after living for 2 years with her father on his tribe's reservation, Justice Sonya Sotomayor dissented to that ruling with a thorough analysis of why children need to be connected to their natural parents. 
     This summer in Obergefell v. Hodges, however, Justice Sotomayor found with the majority that natural parents of a child are not as important as she so eloquently stated in 2013, but that rights of individual parents seem to trump a child's best interests in having a relationship with her biological parents.  This week, Professor Adam MacLeod discussed this at Public Discourse. Prof. MacLeod recently published an article on Obergefell v. Hodges with the Regent University Law Review and has recorded a Video Law Review on that piece.
     Justice Sotomayor understands the importance of the best interests of the child in one context, but not necessarily in the context of marriage expansion.  There she seems to prefer what’s best for adults’ individual choices in marriage, and the kids will be better for that.  Children thrive when they are raised by their mom and dad. This concrete foundation for children restores families.  Will the real Justice Sotomayor please stand up?


Could Submission Restore a Family?

This provocative guest post is from Natasha Johnson, 2L at Regent Univ. School of Law and current Family Law student:

     In a world of feminism and freedom, a woman’s desire to submit to a man, even if she is married to him and sees marriage as a spiritual connection, is somehow worthy of death threats and ugly Twitter posts. Just ask Candace Cameron Bure. In 2014, the Hollywood star, wife, mother, and devout Christian publicly announced that in her marriage, she submits to her husband: “My husband is not a dictator . . . [w]e work together . . . [w]e are two equal people but I love my husband and I want him to lead. I trust that my husband has our family’s best interests at heart, so I wouldn’t fight him on that.” (Christian Post, Jan. 13, 2015). But, why is one woman’s marriage of such interest to the rest of the world? I believe it is because her attitude of submission, like most Christian attitudes, causes others to stop and self-assess; and many times, we may not like what we see.
     To submit means “to defer to another’s judgment, opinion, decision, etc.; to give over or yield to the power or authority of another; to stop trying to fight or resist something; to agree to do or accept something that you have been resisting or opposing; to surrender.” Eww, who wants to do that, right? As a law student and employee, submitting to my professors and boss is hard enough; but, to think about submitting to my husband for the rest of my life? No thanks! However, that is exactly what God has called me to do – submit. There is a disconnect between what God means by submission and how the world views submission (imagine that–a disconnect between the world and God!)
     The principle verse that many think of when they hear “submit” is Ephesians 5:22-23, which says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which He is the Savior . . .” However, there is more to that scripture. It starts at verse 21, which says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Then, goes on in verse 25 to say, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by washing with water through the word . . . In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Emphasis added).It seems clear that submission is an act of worship and reverence to God, and that by following His formula for family, starting with both husband and wife, further invites God and His blessings into your marriage. But, equally important, husbands are also called to “love [their] wives” just as Christ loves each of us! (More on that a little!)
     The Bible is explicit that submission is always about honoring and following God, not man. God called the new generation of Israelites to “not be stiff-necked” but rather to “submit to the Lord,” (2 Chronicles 30:8), that by submitting to God, we will be “at peace with him,” allowing God’s prosperity to come into our lives (Job 22:21). God also warns that refusing to follow His command to submit to the authority He places in our lives leads to the destruction of our land, famine, and plagues (Jeremiah 27:8, 11-13; Romans 13:1). Could this be a reason why some marriages are “destroyed?”
     So, why is submission such a hard thing for women, especially Christian women, to accept? I think it is partially due to the fall of man with Adam and Eve, and partially because of what occurs when we submit. Beginning with Adam and Eve: Adam was given headship–not to abuse or dictate over Eve, but to protect her. We often use their story to analogize disobedience, lack of faith, and sin. But, what if their story was really discussing the breakdown of marriage? Adam was given the command to not eat from the tree; that command was not given to Eve (Genesis 2:15-17).  Adam was responsible for protecting his wife from the very thing that could harm her. It is obvious that Adam and Eve talked about the tree and he told her about the command (Genesis 3:1-3), but she failed to submit to his warning, coming to the conclusion that what Adam and God said may not be right. Adam stood by and watched his wife eat of the very thing God warned him about. What would have happened if Adam had sacrificed himself – by stepping up as the head and saying “Don’t eat it!”– to protect his wife? His lack of sacrificial love for her as for his own body, and her failure to submit, indeed led mankind to its present state of falleness.
     Some may disagree with this premise, but I believe it is adequately supported by Christ himself. Remember, we are called to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. How did Christ show His love for the church? He sacrificed His life on a cross! Whoa, husbands! That is definitely a high standard; yet, women become the focus of submission in this passage.  And in truth, both spouses are held to this high standard of submission. How much better would married life be if we followed God’s instructions, rather than the model seen in Adam and Eve?
     Now, for what is most important - when we, as women, submit to our husbands, who are living in submission to Christ, we are submitting to God.  But, you say, “What happens if my husband’s choice is not my way, and it goes wrong? Why let him choose a path that I can clearly see leads nowhere in order to validate his manhood?” The answer: because in submitting, you are honoring the authority God placed in your life (Romans 13:1), and, in turn, you are opening up your heart to be loved by your husband in a way that shows him he can trust you with his own vulnerabilities.
     If marriages returned to the model that God designed–submissive wives and Christ-like loving husbands–then there is no doubt in my mind that marriages and families across the world would be restored. Candace Cameron Bure understands that God’s word cannot fail, and His ways are timeless. Spouses who honor Him in this way open their marriage to blessings that only God can bestow, and reap rewards, such as breaking generational curses, rehabilitating broken homes, and curbing the rate of divorce.
     Who wouldn’t want to increase their chances at “happily ever after” while simultaneously honoring God and providing a beautiful example of love to their children and the world?  Family restoration begins with submission to the author of marriage who loved to the point of ultimate self-sacrifice.