For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."

Romans 8:14-16

Sunday, January 27, 2013

(un)adopted

Adoption is an amazing thing!  I am so blessed to have been able to adopt Grace.  I have many friends who have adopted children into their forever families.  I believe that if God calls you to adopt he will provide a way.  It takes great faith and lots of patience but the blessing is incredible.  Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to adopt internationally.  It takes much longer and many countries are closing to international adoption.  Hopefully this is a trend that will turn around.  The latest news regarding Russian adoption is another tragic setback for millions of orphans.
The bottom line is we are still called to care for orphans.  Adoption and Foster care are two amazing ways to do that.  Unfortunately, statistics reveal that there are currently approx. 150 million orphans worldwide.  90% of these orphans will never be adopted.  90%!!   There are many reasons for this.  They may live in a country where adoption is not socially accepted.  The government may not allow international adoption.  The children may be deemed un-adoptable due to medical or cognitive issues.  They may have a living birth parent which will not relinquish rights even if unable to care for them.   I am more convinced than ever that global orphan care is so important.  For a few dollars a month we can sponsor a child living on the street and give them hope and opportunity.  There are amazing organizations like Children's Hope Chest, Hope for Haiti and Mercy and Sharing which are saving childrens lives around the world.   I will be taking part in a fund raising event on Feb. 8 for Mercy and Sharing.  This organization takes in children in Haiti with special needs who would otherwise die.  They provide a home, food, clothing, education and therapy to give these kids a future.
There are so many ways that we can make a difference for orphans.  It is easy to get frustrated by the setbacks and give up but these kids need us, now more than ever.  We are so blessed to live where we live.  Money is tight but most of us have something to eat and a roof over our heads.  Many of us have more stuff than we know what to do with.  We can sponsor a child for 35$ month.  We can volunteer our time.  We can raise awareness.  We can pray.   We can all do something for these precious kids!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Things People Say

This video was produced by another blogger, Kristen.  Although I did not adopt a child who is obviously transracial I have heard many of these comments.  Some are just plain mean while others are more subtle.  I believe that most people who make these comments are not being mean, they are just curious and uneducated about adoption.  Yes,  She is my "real" daughter!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

She is beloved


You can deal with an enormous amount of success as well as an enormous amount of failure without losing your identity, because your identity is that you are the beloved. Long before your father and mother, your brothers and sisters, your teachers, your church, or any people touched you in a loving as well as in a wounding way-long before you were rejected by some person or praised by somebody else-that voice has been there always. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” That love is there before you were born and will be there after you die.
(Nouwen)
I love this little girl!  She is stretching and growing me like nothing else.  She has the biggest heart and the sweetest smile.  She loves life and is not afraid to live it.   The last few months have been challenging since Grace has started kindergarten.  I have suspected for awhile that she has some sensory issues, likely as a result of spending the first two years of her life in an orphanage. 
I, like most parents, have an idea of how our children will behave/be/act/respond.  Good grades are important, stars for good behavior, sitting quietly, following all the rules.   The kind of child that makes their parents proud.  I have parented children who fit the role pretty well.  Although it made my role as a parent easier,  I love them for who God has made them to be, not for their good behavior.  
Don't get me wrong, Grace does not have "bad" behavior she just has her behavior.  She is the kind of child who questions the rules,  wants to explore her world, has energy and fire for life.  She doesn't feel the need to conform just because I ask her to.  She is a loving sister,  a sweet and generous daughter, a good friend.  She was created by God to be Grace.  I am learning how awesome it can be to love a child for exactly who she is.  It is tempting sometimes to let our children define us.  "My son gets straight A's, I must be a great mom"  or " My daughter broke a rule today, I must have done something wrong"  I don't ever want to put that kind of pressure on my children.  I want them all to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.  They are all different yet amazing.  They will all make mistakes and they will all stumble.  Just like I do. Just like we all do.  I don't ever want them to question my love or acceptance based on good vs. "bad" behavior.   She is teaching me compassion, patience, unconditional love and acceptance.  I love this child.  Just exactly how she is!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend in the Mountains

I had a chance to escape the heat and humidity of Florida for a long weekend in the mountains of North Carolina.  It was crisp and clear with highs in the lower 70s and lows in the 50s!  Beautiful!









Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rest and Time to Reflect


It has been a quiet, peaceful, relaxing three weeks!  My children have spent the last three weeks in Minnesota fishing, playing volleyball, spending time with extended family and staying up late.  I will admit, I was not excited about them being gone for so long.  I haven't been away from the boys for this long since I was in Russia and I've never spent weeks away from Grace.  They had a blast and will cherish memories that were made.  For that I am happy!  It has also allowed me time to take a deep breath.  I was able to clean and organize things that really needed cleaning and organizing.  I spent a lot of time reading, praying and reflecting.  I have more clarity on what is really important and what is not.  I was able to focus on my friends and be available for them.  I worked extra and made some decisions about my job.  The kids come home tomorrow and I can't wait for the noise, mess, bickering and huge grocery bill!  Life is good and I am incredibly blessed!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Morning Reminder

I walked into the office this morning, a typical Monday morning, to pick up paperwork.  I work for multiple companies so I don't spend much time getting to know the people at each office.  I'm usually rushing in and out, patients to see, paperwork to complete.  This morning a girl stopped me on my way out.  I had never met her but she knew who I was.  She told me that her and her husband had been feeling God calling them to adopt for a few years.  She was nervous about the entire process.  She told me that this morning they had had a discussion and felt very strongly that they needed to take a leap of faith and learn more about the process.  She was sharing that with someone else at the office who mentioned that I had adopted and volunteered for an adoption agency.  An hour later I walked in.  We spent some time talking about adoption, foster care, costs, risks, challenges and the amazing joy that an adopted child brings.  She cried and thanked me for taking the time to talk to her about her fears.  When I left she was online researching agencies and countries and feeling confident in their decision.   God works in some really cool ways.  I just need to remember to slow down and be available!

I Love Summer

 Summer vacation is about sleeping in, staying up late, afternoon rain showers, bright sunshine, beach frisbee, pool noodles, cookouts, time with friends and family, wet swimming suits, aloe vera and salty water.  It is time to recharge and relax.  I love summer!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mommy Wars


I was reading this post from an awesome adoptive mom.  Her blog is called Rage Against the MiniVan.   She talks about how Mommy wars are played out in our society.  Everyone has an opinion about what it means to be a good mother.  To work or not to work.  Full time or part time.  Breastfeed or bottle.  When to ween.   Co-sleeping or Ferber method.  What we need to be fighting for is the hundreds of millions of children who have no Mommy.  The countless number of children in foster care in our country.  The millions of children aging out of orphanages around the world.  The Mothers who because of extreme poverty are forced to give their children away.  When I was in Ethiopia I met Mothers who lived on the street and with a little help could provide a home for their children.  I met Mothers with HIV who with education and medication could stay alive and be the Mother they were struggling to be.  This Mothers Day lets step up for the kids that don't have one!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Little Artist

                                 Then                                    
                                                                 
                     And Now


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Cross is Enough!

“And Grace calls out, 'You are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted.' Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.” 
 Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out


I love Easter!  We have been studying the book of Galatians for the past several months at Summit.   Jesus + nothing = Everything.  We are justified through what Jesus did on the cross.  Nothing more.  We didn't earn it.  We can spend our entire lives trying to balance the scale.  Our good deeds… church attendance, mission trips, kind acts, service,  bible reading….on one side.  Our mess ups… unforgiveness,  short temper,  wanting more stuff, harsh words, divorce.  The scale will never balance and we will always deserve death.  We are accepted and dearly loved by God!   We strive to live a life that is pleasing to him because he loves us not to gain his love.   The perceptions of others or of myself does not define me.  The Cross is enough. That is some good news!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hope



This little girl is named Hope. She was rescued last year by Mercy and Sharing.  She was less than two pounds at birth but with love and care has grown and gotten much stronger.   Over the weekend, she became sick and was hospitalized.  Please keep her in your prayers. Her caregivers miss her and hope to bring her home soon!


 Update: Hope is home and doing well!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Making a Difference


I miss traveling to third world countries.  I miss the smiling little faces and pure joy coming from children who have nothing but the clothes on their backs and hopefully, their next meal.
Mercy and Sharing is a Haitian-registered, non-profit organization that provides care, education and rehabilitation to abandoned, orphaned and disabled children in Haiti.  
My friend, the director of development, with Mercy and Sharing, is in Haiti this week.  He spent the day at the Paulette and Phaeton Feeding Centers. 
They operate a daily feeding program in two very poor communities in the northern Haiti region of Cap-Hatien. Children, elderly and disabled residents of Paulette and Phaeton gather everyday at noon for a hot meal consisting of vegetables, dry fish, corn, rice and beans. The cooks serve over 1300 people each day who have traveled on foot from 10 local districts. When I hear the stories and see the pictures from Haiti I need to stop and pray.  For the children… For the people making a difference in their lives…That God loves each one of them.  I will be grateful for my dinner tonight. Grateful for clean water.  Grateful that my children are able to go to school.  I do not know when I will have the opportunity to go back;  but I will choose to be grateful,  and determined to make a difference in the lives of my children and those smiling little faces so far away.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Love Me Anyway


It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air.  This song from Sidewalk Prophets says it best!

The question was raised
As my conscience fell
A silly, little lie
It didn’t mean much
But it lingers still
In the corners of my mind
Still you call me to walk
On the edge of this world
To spread my dreams and fly
But the future’s so far
My heart is so frail
I think I’d rather stay inside
But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
Yes You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
It took more than my strength
To simply be still
To seek but never find
All the reasons we change
The reasons I doubt
And why do loved ones have to die?
But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
Yes You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking 
ground
Yes then, I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life
But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
Yes,You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
You love me, yes You love me
How You love me