Photo courtesy of: Chris Moncus Photography
ADOPTIONSHARE April 2014
A word from our founder
By Anthea Ramirez, Chief Sharer Recently, I have been wrestling with the notion of abandonment in international adoption. Abandonment is a cold and dark word. It evokes images of neglect and paints brutal pictures of the harsh realities many live with each day. My issue with abandonment however, has not been confined to its effect on the abandoned. Rather, I have been preoccupied with the notion of abandonment and its implication of those who have “abandoned.” This struggle emerged on a recent meeting with adoptive parents who had adopted a child who had been “abandoned” at a hospital; dropped off in a blanket and left in the middle of a filthy lobby. LayLa was 6 months old and had been born with some physical deformities that required extensive surgery. Hearing this story made my stomach turn in giant knots. How could anyone just leave their baby on the lobby floor of a dirty hospital? My question begged me to dig beneath the surface and get to the why behind this woman’s actions. Shortly into my search for answers, the truth began to emerge. I thought about the country that precluded LayLa’s mother in caring for more than one child. I considered her status as a poor field hand that would make paying for the medical care her child needed virtually
impossible. I reflected on her decision of leaving her baby at a hospital, a place where the kindness of a nurse or doctor would prove to be life giving to her child. Despite my reflections, I found myself in a quandary, torn between passing judgment and being overwhelmed with this act of selfless sacrifice. I found myself moving from, how could she to why wouldn’t she? From how horrific to how moving. And this is the crux of my dilemma, trying to make sense of the tension that exists within the constructs of abandonment. Can abandonment be sacred? After a lot of thought, I have come to believe it could be. Abandonment is not a thoughtless, cold, or unloving act, rather I am finding that in many cases, abandonment is the calculated answer to an equation that cannot be solved without making an immeasurable sacrifice. For me, the weight of this tension comes at a time that is significant. This month, I am called to reflect on an abandonment so deep and so great, that it paved the way for my eternal rescue and has shown me time and again, how much God loves each one of us. If we could begin to see another perspective of abandonment, and begin to understand the depths of sacrifice required to commit such an act, we might be compelled to respond with great love and perhaps in the process, also learn how great we have been loved.
ADOPTIONSHARE April 2014
A ‘Magnificent Blessing’ Bubba and Angie Watson share their adoption story
Bubba Watson. Respected golfer, beloved husband, adoptive father, and committed Christian. In the history of golf, there has never been anyone quite like Bubba. Since showing up on the PGA scene, golf arguably has never been the same. With a youthful, laid back, persona, Bubba has taken his knack at golf and turned it into one more way he can live out his faith, steward his gift, love his wife Angie, and be an example to his son Caleb. Just one week after meeting his adopted son for the first time, Bubba Watson won the 2012 Masters Tournament. In honor of the 2014 Masters Tournament this month and in commemoration of Bubba’s 2012 Masters win, we are privileged to introduce Bubba and Angie Watson. Listen in as they disclose what adoption has meant to them, their thoughts about the process, and their hopes for the future. A big thank you to Bubba and Angie for taking the time to answer our questions and to Pro Sport Management for making this possible!
Our Interview with the Watson’s: Adoption-Share: What brought you and Angie to deciding on adoption? Angie Watson: “We went to a couple of infertility specialists and we really weren’t upset about the decision to adopt and not going forward on spending thousands and thousands of dollars. We really felt that this was the hand that the lord had handed us. We never really saw it as a disappointment; it was more of an opportunity to give a child a good home. And obviously being blessed by the gift to give Caleb a home.” Adoption-Share: We understand your adoption process took about 4 years. How was that 4 years for you and do you have any advice for couples who are waiting now?
ADOPTIONSHARE April 2014
A ‘Magnificent Blessing’ contd... Angie Watson: “I’m not going to say that the process is easy because its not easy in this country. There are a lot of things in this country that need to change about adoption that makes the process a lot harder than it needs to be. In the end, the reward is so great that we would do it all over again even if it was a lot worse than what we went through. Adoption-Share: If you could pick one word to sum up the road to adopting what would it be and why?
we’re probably going to change his life. He’s doing more changing in mine and Angie’s heart than we are in his… that is where the magnificent part comes in.” Angie Watson: “what’s so magnificent too is that I feel like the Lord has knitted and created another perfect little human, and knitted him in our likeness in someone else’s womb. He’s conformed to our personality, he loves the things we love and he acts like us so I think that the Lord just works that out for couples that truly want to adopt for the right reasons.”
Angie Watson: “Blessing. Simply because everyone thinks that adoption is so much about giving a child a good home. But really what Caleb has done for my life personally and how much he has changed me and how much I have learned about myself as a mom and as a wife, I think it’s been the biggest blessing. It’s almost like Caleb is giving me the gift.” Bubba Watson: “Magnificent, because of everything that you learn. You learn it’s the gift of not being able to have a child. For our situation we couldn’t have a child, as a couple, naturally. So for us to be able to get this angel (we see him as an angel), this mother allowed us to get this great gift. When you put it all together it’s just a magnificent, magical, whatever word you want to use... It’s a dream come true! We have this beautiful baby boy that we couldn’t have but now he’s us. He’s a part us, he’s part of our family, he’s our son. What we’ve learned from him, what I’ve learned about myself, what we’ve learned as a couple. He’s changed our life more than Continued on page 6
ADOPTIONSHARE April 2014
ReMoved: An Interview with Nathanael Matanick If you’re like me, you may have stumbled across this film while checking Facebook. Scrolling down the page, my eyes became captivated by a little girl who looked scared, helpless, and alone. Along with the link to watch the video, my friend who had shared ReMoved on her Facebook page, posted a warning to potential viewers, “well worth the 9 minutes it takes to view.” I glanced again at the picture of the little girl. 9 minutes, I can spare 9 minutes. ReMoved began as an idea young film makers, Nathanael Matanick and his wife Christina conceived to address a central theme they encountered when telling people they had enrolled in classes to become foster parents. “A lot of people, upon learning Christina and I felt called to become foster parents, would say things like, ‘wow, that is really noble, but it is a lot of work’; ‘think about your own kids, do you really want to subject yourself and your family to taking on the issues that confront children in foster care?,’” explained Nathanael. “We were really surprised that virtually no one seemed to know how the children in foster care feel about being foster kids; the perspective was too adult oriented.” In the midst of their foster parent training, Nathanael and Christina began to think about how they could shift the perspective and tell a story from the foster child’s perspective. Their conversations continued, and Nathanael and Christina continued to dream about how they could tell this story. “So one day, unbeknownst to me at the time, my wife signed me up for a film competition. It is called 168 Film Festival. There are 168 hours in a week, or so they say and the competition is to create a film from start to finish in 1 week,” Nathanael explains. “When Christina told me what she had done, the idea to make a film about a child in foster care became a reality.” “It was really the Lord who put all this together. All the people involved in this film volunteered their time to help us produce ReMoved. When they heard about what we were doing and why we were doing it, they saw the true impact such a film could have to start a different conversation when it comes to foster care.” Oh yeah, and the impact? Nathanael and Christina had hoped their film would reach 1,000 people. Not only did their film win 168 Film Festival, but their combined total of viewers has reached 1.5 million people. “It’s truly remarkable,” said Nathanael. “It’s currently being translated into different languages, and we keep getting calls from different adoption agencies and child welfare organizations that are telling us they are using our film to educate staff and prospective adoptive parents.” If you haven’t yet, might I suggest you take the 9 minutes and watch ReMoved. Follow their new projects here: http://heschle.com/
ADOPTIONSHARE April 2014
A ‘Magnificent Blessing’ contd... Adoption-Share: One of the things that really resonate with your fans is that you are not only an adoptive parent but that your son's adoption has unfolded almost simultaneously as one of the biggest achievements of your career, winning the Masters. What have been some of the pros and cons to having such a public adoption? Bubba Watson: “ I don’t see that there are any cons. I don’t think there are any cons that people know that we’ve adopted. I think it’s all positive. For our life, I think it’s positive because we just wanted a child. We wanted to help raise a child and we wanted to be parents. The other positive is that it shows that there is nothing wrong with adopting a child, why not help somebody. I’ve seen a lot more people have a child naturally but also now I know a lot more people that have adopted. There is not one negative to adopting a child. I would never say there is a negative. Adopting Caleb on the golf side, who cares about the golf? It’s all about our son and us being a family. I
would easily say that the tournament means nothing to me compared to my son. My son means more to me than anything, besides my wife. My wife comes first and then my son.” Angie Watson: “The only negative about the adoption taking place on such a public stage is the possible negative effect that it could have on him later in life. I would never want the focus of Bubba winning the Masters and us adopting affect his questions that he is going to have in a few years about being adopted. Those are going to be some tough conversations that we have coming up in the next couple of years and I want those moments to be just between us and not between the rest of the world and Bubba winning the Masters. I think it’s the coolest thing in the world that his daddy won the Masters a week after we adopted him but I want those moments to be special between us. And I want him to know that he is loved and he is ours and not that his birth parents didn’t want him. (continued on page 7)
Cosmo, yes that’s right as in C-O-S-M-O-P-O-L-I-T-A-N included a story on their website in March about adoption! A BIG thank you to Liz Welch for be willing to write such a story and to Jessa Speight who agreed to be part of it! We were privileged to have played a part in seeing this article come to life. Stay tuned for more stories on adoption to be featured in more popular media outlets! Find out how you can support the Jessa and her work hosting retreats for birthmothers!
ADOPTIONSHARE April 2014
A ‘Magnificent Blessing’ contd... Adoption-Share: When you got the call about Caleb, how did you and your wife know this was it, the baby you had been waiting for? Bubba Watson: “Everything about Caleb made sense to us because we happened to be in Florida at a golf tournament. We were getting ready to play Bay Hill in Orlando. It came up that a child was available and they asked how soon we could pick him up. We were like “well it’s Wednesday, we could be there on Monday.” Everything worked out perfectly according to God’s plan as we see it. Our son’s name is Caleb which is a great story in the bible. When we put everything together, from being turned down a couple of times already that year, to being in Florida, to his name, everything just kept adding up to basically trusting the Lord and knowing that this was the right thing to do. The Lord giving us this beautiful baby boy that was right down the street from us at the time, everything fit perfectly. That’s how we knew that Caleb was our son. Angie Watson: “We just knew. We talked about it the whole day and we prayed about it the whole day but when I hung up the phone with the adoption facilitator, we just knew this was it. The Lord just gave us an immediate peace about it.” Adoption-Share: Will there be more little Watsons in the future? Bubba Watson: “YES!” Angie Watson: “Yes, if it’s in God’s plan that is the desire of our hearts.” Adoption-Share: How hard was it to concentrate on The Masters when you just welcomed your son into your family? Bubba Watson: “It really wasn’t about golf that week. It was about me going out and enjoying myself and I was just on high. I was so excited. My wife was at home, my mother-in-law was there and we were all on a high. We finally became parents and golf just happened to get in the way. I never had stress about golf. I was like, “whatever” if I make the cut that means I have to stay 2 more days, if I miss the cut I get to go home a little earlier. I never really focused on bad putting or bad shots or good putting, I just played golf. When I got home I got to see new pictures of my baby boy. Angie kept sending me pictures and notes. That was the thing, I wasn’t focused on golf or the Masters, I was focused on, “I can’t wait to get home.” So I was just trying to do my job and then move on and somehow I did my job really well.”
ADOPTIONSHARE April 2014
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Our big interview with Bubba and Angie Watson, a chat with the director behind ReMoved, and thoughts, encouragement, and support for the ado...