Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 56: ADOPTION

Dear brothers and sisters: Good morning and thank you for attending our weekly Awakened Living Study Program. My name is Alaye Soteme and I will be your host. Our topic for today’s Study is ADOPTION. May we focus our full attention on this study for the lessons of life because knowledge is POWER, knowledge is SUCCESS, knowledge is FORGIVENESS, knowledge is WISDOM, knowledge is ENLIGHTENMENT and knowledge is AWAKENED LIVING.

All quotes relating to GOD are interpreted in a Universal sense; in other words our use of the word GOD does not refer to any religion, cultural Gods, saviors, or created Gods. GOD is the underlying ESSENCE of the Universe. GOD has no chosen people, GOD has no Sacred Text and GOD has no Sacred Place! The Universe is the Sacred Text, the Universe is the Sacred Place and all creatures are Testaments of GOD! 

Further you are here to look at life from a different angle. You are not here to follow what others have put in place be it their religion, their Gods, their sacred texts, their beliefs or their way of thinking. You are here to share your LIGHT with the world.  The beliefs of our ancestors are our liabilities. Our challenge is to look at life in ways that promote interdependence and destroy all forms of discrimination including racism, tribalism, nationalism, nepotism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, favoritism, exclusivism, chosen people and racial superiority. 

Lastly, none of the quotes here is absolute or written in blood. They are all human thoughts and ideas based on their experiences and according to their levels of consciousness. The Awakened Living Study Program is a platform to study what others have said and improve on them. Do not for any reason use the quotes as mantra for life because you are the LIGHT!

Opening Meditation
You may offer an appropriate prayer before reading, discussing and reflecting on the famous quotes and the Sacred Texts verses. You may use the following prayer:

O LOVE who pervades the universe, we thank you for this opportunity to learn. We pray for LOVE to manifest amongst us to guide our readings, discussions and reflections. We specially pray for peace of mind and save us from all distractions and concerns of mind and body so that we may learn the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.

The Study Leader may make announcements at this time. Welcome new members, recognize birthdays or anniversaries; make an award or recognize a contribution; announce Circle of Life successes. This is also an opportunity for anyone to share an experience, give thanks or make a request for special prayers.

Opening Thoughts
The leader or an appointed person will stand and read the opening thoughts. The opening thoughts explain the topic of discussion. You may use the information below or explain it in your own words.

Adoption is a legal process in which children are permanently placed in the care and nurturing of people who are not their biological parents. The importance of adoption is the fact that it helps children to have families when they have none. For instance when both parents are dead or when both parents are not fit to care for the children.  Adoption also provides opportunities for needy children to meet their needs.  Children with physical challenges could benefit from adoption in the sense that the family could provide a loving environment for the child and meet their physical needs. Children born into poverty could also benefit from adoption more so when they are matched with a rich family. There is no doubt that adoption does a lot of good but this presentation is more concerned with encouraging you to adopt. So join us as we explore the faces of adoption.

Famous Quotes
Take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote.  Please give credit to the author of the quote and as an assignment for presentations each person may choose an author and find out more about the author to share with the group during the next session.

1 "They may not have my eyes, they may not have my smile, but they have all my heart." Unknown
2 "Adopting one child won’t change the world: but for that child, the world will change." Unknown
“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.” Unknown
4 “It has been said that adoption is more like a marriage than a birth: two (or more) individuals, each with their own unique mix of needs, patterns, and genetic history, coming together with love, hope, and commitment for a joint future. You become a family not because you share the same genes, but because you share love for each other.” Joan McNamara
5 “Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” Oprah Winfrey
6 My birth mother brought me into this world, but it was my adoptive parents who gave me life.” Christina Romo
7 Adoption is not the call to have the perfect, rosy family. It is the call to give love, mercy, and patience.” Hope for Orphans
8 We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell
9 Motherhood is about celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you’d have.” Joan Ryan
10 “I have four children. two are adopted. I forget which two.” Bob Constantine

Sacred Texts Quotes
Take turns to read all the sacred text quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. In your discussion compare and contrast the quotes. What did you learn from the similarities and differences? What quote inspires you? What life lessons did you learn from the quote? Please give credit to the sacred text during your reading by mentioning the name of the text and where the quote could be found. 

1 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Judaism. Tanakh: Proverbs 22.6
2. He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Judaism. Tanakh: Proverbs 13.24
3. You can only coil a fish when it is fresh. African Traditional Religion. Nupe Proverb (Nigeria)
4. As the child, according to its natural disposition, commits thousands of faults,
The father instructs and slights, but again hugs him to his bosom. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Sorath, M.5
5 In the Kingdom of Heaven, true love is fulfilled centered on parental love.... The family is the original base [of true love] and the foundation of eternity. Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 9-30-69
6 Attend strictly to the commands of your parents and the instructions of your teachers. Serve your leader with diligence; be upright of heart; eschew falsehood; and be diligent in study; that you may conform to the wishes of the heavenly spirit. Shinto. Oracle of Temmangu
7 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Christianity, New Testament: Acts 7:21
8  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Christianity, New Testament: Matthew 18:5
9 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Christianity, New Testament: 1 John 4:18
10 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Teaching Story
The teaching story is a story, a parable or thoughts related to the topic of discussion. An appointed person will read each story and the group will take turns and discuss. What does the story mean to you? What did you learn from the story? Did the story add anything new to the topic of discussion? How has this study enriched your life?

Our teaching story is the story of a mother who adopted two Chinese children: “Adoption has blessed me with two of the most wonderful children.” Taken from Buzzfeed

“It was Mother’s Day in the United States, but I was halfway around the world, in blazing hot China, sitting in a hotel conference room about to become a mother for the very first time. “Finally, they called my name from the doorway and I stumbled, as if in a dream, across the hot, humid room. I reached out and grabbed the tiniest, most perfect dark-haired baby girl, and I became a Mama. I had seen her face eight months before on my computer screen and I had fallen in love with her then, but those feelings were nothing compared to what hit me the moment I took her into my arms. She was everything I ever dreamed of, that little girl from a faraway land. Every second of all that waiting was worth it. She was with us for about six years before she started insisting on a sibling, so it wasn’t too long before we obliged and I found myself back in China, in another room, waiting to meet another child, this time a son. Adoption has blessed me with two of the most wonderful children.”

Closing Meditation
The closing meditation presents the highlights of the Study.  The highlights should include among others what you have learned and what aspects of the study are worth noting. The leader or an appointed person may share the closing meditation. You may use the thoughts and information provided below but I encourage you to use the contributions of the participants and current relevant information.

Our closing meditation is about who is qualified to adopt. Any adult (21 years or older) could adopt whether single or married but the person needs to be employed, has no serious medical issues and needs to pass a criminal background check. Further you should be able to provide a nurturing and stable family environment. If you are one who could place the needs of your children above your own needs, you are a candidate for adoption.

 Adoption takes time so start early and register with an adoption agency. You may register with more than one agency if you prefer. And to speed up your adoption process, make preparations for the children immediately after registration. You can furnish the child’s room for example and do all the things parents do when they are expecting a baby. This I believe will help to speed up the adoption process. Thank you for adopting!

You may accept gifts and donations at this time for the work you are doing. It takes effort, time and money to put the Study Program together so I encourage attendants to give. An appointed person may now pass the donation bag. The leader may bless the gifts after the donations.

Closing Prayer
Always close your Study Program with a prayer or an affirmation. Pray for guidance and direction during the week. Pray for everyone present. The leader or an appointed person may offer the closing prayer.

You may serve refreshments after the Study. This is a time to relax and socialize. Get to know the people in the Program with you and I mean really know them well. One of the secrets of success is connection so I encourage you to know the people around you. The host may decide what to serve or he or she may ask the attendants what they want for refreshments before each Study Program.

Talent Contribution
You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a good time to share some confident living tips for the benefit of the group. 

Circle of Life
The Circle of Life depicts different aspects of your life. You are at the center and the different aspects radiate outwards to form a circle as long as they are in harmony. You can pinpoint an aspect of your life at any given time and find out if you are in harmony with the rest of the circle. If an aspect needs improvement you may have an uneven circle. Your challenge then is to work on the area that needs improvement in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the circle.

There are 12 aspects in this version of the Wheel of Life including Health, Spirituality, Family, Relationships, Education, Mission, Finances, Work, Play, Personal Development, Environment, and creativity. Take time to answer the following questions and begin to work on the areas that need improvement.

1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods, etc?

1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?

1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?

1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?

1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?

1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?

1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?

1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?

1. Do you play regularly?
2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?

Personal Development
1. Do you lose your temper often?
2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?

1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?

1. Are you sharing your creativity?
2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?

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