Monthly Archives: May 2011

Big Talks

I’ve been wondering when it would happen. I think it is starting now. I think I have seen the very tippy top of the iceberg of Therese’s grieving.

Last night my sweet Therese poured forth story after story about her life in Yako. These were not pleasant stories. These are the rip your heart out, no child should have witnessed, or seen stories like this. Three hours worth of stories, and I got the impression there are so many more.

Therese told me that she is tired of feeling sad all the time (you would never know she feels sad at all from how she behaves). She knows that here, in America, we “talk talk talk and cry” when we are sad, but not in Yako. She said she wants to cry, but she “doesn’t can’t” (I love that phrase of hers!).

I reassured her that she will cry when she is ready. I told her that God gave us a way to get the sad out of our hearts, namely crying, and retelling our story. I told her that God will do amazingly wonderful things with those sad stories of hers.

Therese told me it is better to adopt a baby, because babies do not have so many sad stories as a girl who is ten. I told her that I wanted a 10-year-old girl, and I am here to listen to her stories. I find her stories, even the sad ones, to be precious. I treasure her stories, and I will help her remember the ones she wants to remember and to use the difficult ones for good. I want my 10-year-old girl, hard stories included, because she would not be Therese without those hard stories.

More importantly, I know a Savior who specializes in hard stories, and He redeems them all if you let Him. Therese knows Him too, and many of her stories include God saving her from harm or revealing something to her that helped her save some one else.

I admit I woke up this morning feeling a little sick and incredibly daunted by the task of raising this sweet girl with too many hard stories. Lord, can I do this? His answer to me was a gentle, “No, you can’t, but I CAN. Come to me and I will pour out wisdom straight from my heart.”

Okay, Lord, we will do this together. You lead. I will follow.

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Erika Solgos

Erika has been married to Casey for 11 crazy beautiful years. Erika is mom to two 10 year olds and two 6 year olds who aren’t twins! Therese (10), newly adopted from Burkina Faso, is awaiting heart surgery. Evelea (10) willingly gave up her position as oldest child so we could add Therese to our family. Sitota (6) was adopted from Ethiopia and brings a lot of fun to the family. Carter (6) has had six heart surgeries and gave us the courage to adopt a child with a heart defect. They are astounded that as our family doubled in size, our love quadrupled. You can learn more about their family on their blog.

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Don’t forget to go back and read this post to enter our giveaway from The Invision Project

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What if…

What if by some cruel twist of fate I woke up one morning to find that the tables were turned, and my beautiful and perfect Lily were lying in an orphanage, somewhere in Eastern Europe?

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What if she had lived out the past 16 months of her life with no mommy and daddy to love her, no brothers and sisters to dote on her every day?

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What if instead, she spent most of her waking hours in a crib, staring at the slats of the bars and playing with only her fingers or feet for comfort? What if she cried herself to sleep at night, because there was nobody who cared or had the time to attend to her when she woke up scared or lonely or sad?

What if she didn’t eat when she was hungry, go to sleep with a full belly, or have her basic needs met with loving care?

What if my Lily stayed in that orphanage for many years, never leaving it to see the world around her? What if the only connection she had to the outside world was an occasional trip to the playground on the orphanage grounds…but for the most part she was locked away, an outcast of society?

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What if she never received the help she needed through therapy, never had the opportunity to develop skills, to grow, to learn.

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What if she never got the medical attention she needed when she was first born, had attention given to that tiny hole in her heart that doctors watched so carefully. What if she survived simply because she existed, devoid of any quality of life?

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What if she were never celebrated for the treasure that she is, never nurtured or praised or adored? What if there were no parties or gifts or songs to commemorate that beautiful day she made her entrance into the world, nothing that distinguished that day from any other day of her secluded and monotonous life?

What if, after being shut away in that orphanage for five years, she woke one morning to find herself being whisked away from the only home she’d ever known- however stark or isolated- to the horror that is the Institution? What if, because of the inability of any 5 year old, let alone one with cognitive delays, she could not comprehend what had happened to her? What if there were no one to explain to her why her head was being shaved, her tiny arms tied to a crib, or where her friends had gone, and why no one was coming back for her to save her from the nightmare that was now her life?

What if that were my Lily’s fate?

What would I do?

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In the words of a dear friend

I would beg, borrow, and obsess myself to make sure she knew love and felt valued and wanted. If Lily were alone on the other side of the ocean, I would find her and rescue her no matter what the cost or how much dignity needed to be compromised.

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Albina is my Lily.

She’s no more deserving of the fate that awaits her than my child.

Or yours.

She is a beautiful and precious treasure, waiting for someone to recognize her value.

Albina is an orphan in Eastern Europe. Because she was born with Down syndrome, she is considered a burden to her society, an outcast to be hidden away.

An anonymous family has committed to matching dollar-for-dollar donations for her up to $5,000. So far, through the generosity of so many like-minded people, she now has $5,332.50 in her grant fund on Reece’s Rainbow; with the matching funds, her grant fund for her adoption is over $10,000.

I have a feeling her sweet little face is enough. But, due to the nature of international adoptions, it’s going to take a pile of money for someone to rescue her. And, I don’t want money to be the thing that stands in the way of Albina being given a chance at a normal life.

I truly believe it’s just a matter of time until Albina’s family comes forward for her–and we’re praying that time is short. Maybe they’re willing but not sure they can commit without a large grant fund to help them. Maybe you’re that family and reading these words and looking at her beautiful face is all the convincing you need.

But, we want to make it easy as possible for that family to take the step of faith and say, “Yes, she is our daughter.” And, so we’re raising money for her grant fund. We want to overwhelm that family with this grant fund, as we know God is able to do.

And, we’re giving an extra incentive for donors to be a part of this. Donate a minimum of $10 to Albina’s fund at Reece’s Rainbow and leave a comment on this post at A Perfect Lily saying you did so. And, we’re going to bless one donor with an amazing prize, a Canon EOS Rebel T2i worth $800.

The giveaway ends June 1st at midnight, so you only have a few more days to give for this sweet girl’s adoption fund. We will announce the winner June 2nd. And, then we will watch to see what God does for this little girl and for the family fortunate enough to make her their daughter and call her their own. Don’t miss being a part of it.

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Patti Rice

I’m a stay at home mama of 10, the youngest of whom has Down syndrome. I began a blog for Lily during my pregnancy when a few markers for Ds showed up on a routine ultrasound. What began as letters to her journaling my emotions, blossomed into a venue to advocate for children who share her diagnosis. I am forever grateful to God for giving us our daughter, and opening our eyes to the orphan crisis. We will never be the same.

Giveaway From The Invision Project: So This is What Happens When Dreams Come True

About 9 months ago, I returned home from a trip to Mexico that confirmed my desire to get cameras into the hands of orphans. Some of the girls at the Door of Faith Orphanage in La Mision had borrowed my SLR, and I could not get over the images they captured.

So not long after, I started brainstorming an idea I believe the Lord planted in my heart – The Invision Project.

What happens if I collect digital cameras and get them in the hands of orphans in China? What if I teach them the basics of photography and see what they capture? What if they are challenged to see the world outside of what they know?

Ideas for the project hit me as I was ran, read, or talked with the Lord. And many of you donated cameras or cards. I had lots of support and felt really encouraged.

Then I came to China and discouragement set in. I was being tested in all things photography. My camera broke, all of the Invision Project cameras did not make it to China, a friend’s lens cap went missing when I had their camera in my possession, another friend’s camera was stolen under my care, and one of my “replacement” cameras for the kids didn’t work.

That was my starting point. You probably wouldn’t have wanted to be in my shoes, am I right?

BUT the story isn’t over!

As soon as we kicked the project off, orphans were approved to spend the week with us, the cameras arrived in the mail 1 day before The Invision Project started, friends (one American and several Chinese) volunteered to help, and a Chinese professional photographer even wanted to lend a hand! Talk about a turn around!

Our week together was flawless, and that’s kind of incredible seeing that I’ve never done anything like this before! It was all the Lord’s favor on us, really.

The six girls I spent the week with soaked in the opportunity to learn photography beyond what I could imagine. And their photos were INCREDIBLE! Seriously. I would be glad to call some of their pictures of my own.

We spent the week talking about technique and what to think about when taking pictures. I also had daily questions for them to be thinking about, with the goal being to encourage them to think beyond what they know and how they see things.

By the end of the week, we were talking about God (after a conversation about boys, of course). I asked the girls if they believed in God and why or why not. They had interesting answers and one even told me, “maybe I’ll believe in God when I’m grown up.” I encouraged them to keep asking questions and seeking truth, along with sharing my own story of coming to believe in God.

The girls wrote us meaningful notes, and one of them in particular told me how much this week impacted her life. “Every time I pick up the camera and take a picture, I’m so proud of myself!” she told me on the last day.

What the Lord did during and through this week continues to blow me away. I experienced God’s faithfulness and blessing in such a deep and individual way – it was such a beautiful time.

And this is just the beginning. I anticipate more wonderful things to come. Stay tuned.

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Enter a giveaway for this amazing package of cards–all pictures taken by the orphan girls Kristen worked with as part of The Invision Project in 2010.

You can enter by leaving a comment here sharing

(1) some encouragement for Kristen or (2) which picture from her site is your favorite.

You can get a second entry by “liking” The Invision Project on Facebook by clicking here. Leave a comment here telling us you did so we make sure you get your extra entry.

Enter up until midnight on Saturday, June 4th after which a winner from the comments here will be chosen randomly.

And, in case you don’t win, these cards and others are available for purchase here.

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Kristen Chase

Kristen is a life-loving, orphan-advocating, Jesus-following girl. She loves working for Bring Me Hope from South-Eastern PA, though her weathered passport and camera often accompany her on many adventures. Kristen will be heading to China for her 6th trip this summer and feels utterly blessed for that opportunity.

Adoption Will Affect Your Biological Children

I have heard it said by others that they would never adopt for fear of how it will affect their biological children.

Since adopting,
our children now:

Love deeper.

Think of others more.

Pray for orphans across the world.

Pray for families adopting by name.

Pray for our sponsored children by name.

Will not let anyone refer to Elijah as their adopted brother,
he is their brother (period).

Save their money to help adoptive families and orphan care ministries.

Share the beauty of adoption.

Share that we were all orphans, adopted through Christ.

I would say they have been affected alright.

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Amy

Amy is the mother of four blessings. She and her husband, Paul, have three biological children and one beautiful blessing from Ethiopia, adopted July 2010. They would love for you to follow their adventures at Filled With Praise.

Living Out James 1:27 From My Dining Room

I was simply searching for an African doll. That’s all. I emailed a missionary who our church supports, knowing she works with village women who do crafts. Maybe one of them could make a doll. The missionary told me she no longer worked with those women but gave me an email to get in touch with one, Mary Magdalene.

All I did was send her a simple email asking if she or one of the women she works with could make a doll.

But, her response left me stunned. She told me that only 4 days earlier–she gave me even the exact time of day–she had cried out to the Lord asking him to bring someone to buy her crafts.

She had been widowed twice, both husbands had been killed in war, leaving her with 9 children to raise on her own. But, what we would see as a desperate situation did not stop her from bringing 7 orphaned children into her home. One of the children she now cares for was abandoned at the age of 6 because it was discovered that she is HIV+, which she contracted from her parents, the ones who abandoned her. Mary is a strong and faithful woman who trained women in her village to make beads and helped them learn how to sell them in the marketplace. They pool the money made and split it between them so that all are provided for.

But, here she was, crying out for provision, desperate to see God at work. 4 days later, she received my email. I encouraged her to send me what she had–I will find people to buy it, I told her. Just send it, I said. And, she did. She sent jewelry and more jewelry and handmade animals and more jewelry…and two little dolls. The dolls that started it all.

So, here I am with a dining room full of what some may see as paper beads and small animals but what I see as precious jewels and treasures, created by women sitting together in community, caring for the least of these, in faith that He will provide.

Join me in being part of God’s promise to them.

Email me or contact me via Facebook where pictures will be posted for purchase. Or, visit the dedicated page I just created here on We Are Grafted In with pictures and prices for some of the pieces as well.

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Kelly Raudenbush

Forever changed by our experience of being adopted and adopting, Kelly is a stay-at-home mom/manager to 4 children–the youngest of whom is from Baoji, Shaanxi, China–who is a professional juggler, juggling her calling as wife and mother with a small online store (Jiayin Designs), editing, administrating this site, and, now, joining the efforts with The Sparrow Fund. You can learn more about their adoption story, how they’ve been changed, and what life for them looks like on their personal blog.

Measuring

Measuring.
We do it all the time.
I could go on a tear about how we as Americans do it, with everything, but that might be a whole ‘nother post…and the point is that we do it consciously or unconsciously…ALL THE TIME.

But, let’s stay focused: as parents we measure…what? Everything, right? Right!
And no matter how you became a parent, you still measure everything…right?
Hmmm. Think maybe not? Consider.

If you are having a baby (meaning you are pregnant and are gonna literally give birth to a child), from the very moment you find out you are pregnant, there you are: measuring.

You count the days since your last period; you measure how many weeks along you are; you count how many months ahead til your due date. Then, you go to the doctor, and they too immediately start measuring: they measure your belly for the first time (and they will keep that up until it just alarms you); they measure your weight (again, this continues to a shocking gain – unless you tell them to ‘quit that’ as I did when I just couldn’t take the numbers on that scale anymore). They measure, and they measure. Thus, it’s no surprise that you are unwittingly indoctrinated into this habit of measuring. By the time that baby pops out – or, if you’re measuring, is pushed out after 21 hours of labor that felt like 45, taking what must be 3 years off your life with the effort – you are measuring without even realizing you’re doing it. And of course, they whisk the baby away and do all sort of measuring with fancy names like APGAR and fill in fancy charts and graphs with the incessant measuring.

It doesn’t end there, once you are home, you measure the amount the baby sleeps or doesn’t, how much they eat or don’t, or if you’re nursing, how often and how long, you measure their hair with your fingertips and count their toes again and again just to be sure they are all there and as cute as you remembered 5 minutes ago. Then, you start the next phase of measuring which is only slightly less number based: the developmental milestones. As you can see, it just goes on and on and on, in one form or another…the rest of their measured little lives!

Now, it’s easy to think, “Aha, but I’m adopting, that doesn’t even apply to me.”

Well, it does.

Because, if you’re adopting an infant, you get ALL the infant measuring from the moment of birth onward and then some. Yeah, you’re gonna get those APGARS and count those toes; don’t think you’ll skip that part. But you get the added perk, to make up for the personal belly measuring, of measuring Your. Entire. Life. in order to see if it measures up to the standards of your social worker, the agency, the judges, the police FBI feds government, Homeland Security if you’re adopting internationally. Nope, you don’t get a “pass” on measuring in the adoption lanes.

So, yeah, you’ll be measuring your weight after all, and your spouse’s, your other kids, even your dog’s weight (Think I’m kidding about the dog? Check out our dossier, I kid you not). You’ll measure your finances and traffic fines, your health and your fitness to parent, and on and on. Let’s not even get started on measuring and counting the wait!

Finally, when that happy day comes and you are holding that little one in your arms, well, you will sob with amazement and then you’ll go right back to the measuring game like the rest of the parents.

And, in the zone of Older Child Adoption, in that world, that lane of family building, the measuring takes on all new meaning and form.

And, it’s not good.

The measuring that is done in Older Child Adoption is not nearly so factual or innocuous. This measuring is more insidious and unconscious and, frankly, is a big huge bear trap.

Because what they don’t tell you in the adoption books is that we moms, we measure us. We measure ourselves against the first mom, against our ideas of what a perfect mom is supposed to be do or how they should appear (…again, like in the fashion ads, it’s always the Benetton mom..but I don’t have a stylist following me around every day..I know you thought I did, lots of folks make that mistake…but I don’t). But even all that, that’s not the worst of it. The measuring that is killing us, we moms who have adopted older children, and/or children from the hard places, is the measuring of our feelings.

Our FEEEEEELINGS.

Hear that screeching just saying it? Yeah, my voice goes up an octave or two, on the hard days, when I even say that word out loud. But taking our emotional temperature, checking in with our feelings (love, like, affection, annoyance, disdain, dislike) most of the time, is a trap. I’m not saying never do it. But, I’m saying you need to do it far, far, far less often that you think.

In fact, I would like to point out that I believe we moms, in this circumstance of Older Child Adoption, tend to take our emotional temperature…constantly. I think we, without even realizing it, are always having it on our radar scroll, just like our own personal emotional CNN. It’s our ENN (Emotional News Network).

But this is one of the huge differences in older versus younger or infant adoption. These feelings take longer. There is more to build to learn to absorb to work through…for all parties. In older child adoption, the primal human process of bonding is skewed and twisted all around. The trauma that is inherent in older child adoption (and it is, always, to varying degrees) and/or the prior family experience all influence the new bonding, and it’s efforts; what it looks like, how it plays, how it stalls, what form it eventually takes.
For all involved, all of it, every bit of it, takes time. Unknowable, unmapped time. These older children come to us as whole persons, with personalities and traits and hearts already formed and molded to a very very large degree. And so, if any or all of you are taking that emotional temperature, if you’re measuring constantly or even daily (much less hourly or minutely)…you will lose your mind. You’re setting the stage for crazy.

So stop it.
Yup, stop it.
Stop the measuring!
I might tattoo that, too, on my forehead so I can look at it every time I brush my teeth.
Stop the measuring!
Measuring implies a mark that must be reached.
There is no mark.
A dear friend told me, at the very start of this last adoption, “Don’t take your emotional temperature every day. Just don’t.”
She’s right.
Another dear friend told me recently, “Stop being so hard on yourself and measuring to what you think it’s supposed to be. What if this, right now, is ALL it’s supposed to be? This. This IS good enough.”

I think we mom’s, me, need permission to accept that we don’t have to measure every moment, every day, every thing. We can stop the ENN scroll bar. We don’t have to even know our emotional temperature. We don’t have to feel our emotional temperature. Once more: Love is not about the feelings. So, let’s stop scanning our feeeeelinnngs. And let’s kick that bit of crazy right out of our days.

With older child adoption, we are here. We are in place. We are doing it, all of it.

And that’s good enough.
By any measure.

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Michele Gautsch

Mom to eight; two in college, the rest at home. A family formed through birth and adoption – domestic and international in Ethiopia – a big busy household. Catholic, married for 24 years, happy and busy and drinking way too much coffee. Go read about all the hub bub at Another Espresso Please.

Orphans on the Brain

I can’t get last night and this morning out of my mind.

Last night, Mia cried all the way home and probably cried herself to sleep. She wasn’t pouting or tantruming. She was grieving. You see, last night was our last official group event for Welcoming Angels, the orphan hosting program sponsored by America World Adoption Agency. It was the last time (at least for a long time) we would see the 5 precious children who wiggled and giggled their way into our hearts in just a few short weeks.

It’s really amazing how quickly one can become attached to someone in such a short period of time. We are not hosting but all of the host families are friends of ours and we have been at every event. Mia became particularly attached to one of the little girls.

“My friend is an orphan,” she said suddenly through tears. “They are all orphans. We have to pray that God finds them families close to us.”

That sparked a conversation about how God answers prayers, about how to handle it when He doesn’t answer them the way we want, and why everyone needs a family.

Fast foward to this morning.

We’re driving up the school driveway when PJ says, “Mom, have you ever heard of an 8 passenger minivan?”
“Yes,” I reply, “I think it has 3 seats in the middle row.”
“Yeah,” he says, “my friend has one. I’d rather have a 15 passenger van though.”
“Me too.”
He continues, “If we had a 15 passenger van, we could adopt 10 more kids.”

I swear I don’t script these things. It’s evidence to me that our kids are watching our every move. What is important to us becomes important to them. Quite frankly, I can’t think of a better thing for my kids to have on their minds.

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Melissa Corkum

Patrick and Melissa, who was adopted from Korea as an infant, have two biological children and a son adopted at age 2 1/2 from Korea. They reside in Maryland where they started a ministry called Grafted Families. Its goal is to serve Gospel-centered churches as they care for orphans and vulnerable children. You can get to know Melissa better on her personal blog and Patrick on his personal blog.

Love is…

This post is a reminder to myself. Because I’m not loving anyone well right now.

And, I am not so lovable or fun to be around.

You see, I am struggling greatly with how to really love.

Love that is absent of jealousy.

Like when I hear how smooth another person’s bonding/attachment is going with their newly adopted child.

Yea, I am jealous like that.

And, yet ,that isn’t love!

It isn’t loving my family or loving the way God brought our family together.

So, instead of seeing the growth and the lessons our Lord is teaching me through hard times,

I get jealous,

and then I start complaining,

about how it was SOOOO much harder for us than them,

and I blind myself to the goodness of my Savior.

I want a love that is does not take into account a wrong suffered.

Where I can walk through a time when I was hurt, deeply, by someone who said they loved me

and forgive them,

and hug them when I see them,

pray for them when they need prayer,

or hurt when they hurt.

Without holding it over their head how much I was hurt,

because that’s not forgiveness, nor is it love.

Am I the only one who feels like this sometimes?

When I should be loving and kind with my child who has been oh.so.difficult

ALL.DAY.LONG.

And I am not.

And I hurt them with my words out of my frustration.

And I ask for their forgiveness, because I was the one who was unkind.

Why is this so hard?

To love others well. To love them like Christ calls us to?

I want to be more than I am now.

Not in a wordly sense like having more money, greater status, or more things to have around my home.

I want to be filled and overflowing with love,

for my family, my friends,

and the stranger I meet in the store.

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” Psalm 103:8

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Branda McEwen

I am a mother to three (soon to be four) children, 6 chickens, 3 gerbils, 2 cats, 1 dog and a multitude of birds. I am married to my sweet & amazing hunk of a hubby, Michael, for the past 12 years. In addition to being a stay-at-home mom, I am honored to be a part of An Orphan’s Wish as their Human Resources Director and serve the children still waiting for families. Come check out the fundraising raffle we have going on right now on our blog as we try to raise the remaining money we need in order to bring our new 8-year-old daughter Gabriella home from China. Please consider donating and entering to win some great prizes from Fosterkade designs, Starbucks, Wild Olive Tees, and Jiayin Designs or a Kindle!

Hannah’s Hair

One thing I prepared myself for when we started the adoption process was the possibility of a transracial family. Remember, we did not request a race or a gender, so we weren’t really sure what we would end up with. One of the thoughts that scared me was the possibility of having to do black-girl hair. Of course deep down inside, I was assuming we would have all boys (and we would shave their heads).

I have read enough about adoption to make sure that I respect Hannah and Olivia’s culture (by that I don’t mean their roots, like whatever country their ancestry is from, but I mean the importance of respecting that their skin and hair are different than mine and have different needs), I watched Chris Rock’s Good Hair, I read I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World (which I *highly* recommend to anyone interested in adopting a black or biracial child, or is related to one, or is a teacher, or social worker, or just someone who likes a good read), so I am well aware of the importance of doing Hannah and Olivia’s hair. Out of respect for them, I do their hair (as well as I am able, again, I am still learning) far more than I do my own. Sometimes I get . . . impatient. Annoyed and frustrated are not the words I want to use, so it’s more like an impatient feeling, kind of like, “Dang, I don’t even have time to do my hair, much less my 2 year old’s hair!” But, I make time because I don’t want to embarrass my girls when they look back at their pictures. Sure, embarrassment is not the worst thing in the world, but I want them to look back and see that I made the time and effort to help them embrace who they are.

I have read that it’s typical in black communities that hair is a mother-daughter event–the washing, combing, and styling. That’s what I want for my girls too. I want them to have the memories of their mom spending time on their hair, just like their classmates. My prayer for my girls is that they understand they were created by God and put in our family. I’m sure at some point Hannah and Olivia will wish they had straight hair. I myself have wished for curly hair, and I certainly wish I didn’t have to wash my hair every day. But, I want to invest enough respect into who they are that they can embrace the family that we are.

Every morning, during devotions, I ask my girls, “Who loves you?” and Hannah is finally saying “Jesus loves Hannah” and then I say “Hannah, who has a plan for your life?” and Hannah says “God.”

God put Hannah and Olivia into our family; they are part of His plan for our lives. That’s why I am doing the best I can to fully embrace who my children are.

The main way I get hairstyles (which I will repeat, I am still learning here) is shopping. I spend my time grocery shopping and hairstyle shopping. I study styles that I think I can repeat and then I try it at home. Of course, Hannah’s hair is uniquely her own so there are lots of styles I can’t remake (at least by myself). Also, her hair is getting thicker as she is growing up and the only way to get thicker hair is for more hair to start growing. We are at a stage right now where her hairline is starting to fill in and get thicker so I am having to wrestle with short baby hairs around her entire head. You can imagine that if I don’t pull those back or straighten them, she kind of ends up looking like a mess. Add that to a naptime and a little 2-year-old who doesn’t respect her own hair and rubs it on the couch, or messes it up doing summersaults, or pulls out the round brush and tries to comb it herself, or sneaks a bristle brush to bed with her and ends up with a lion’s mane. So, her hair is not perfect all the time.

But trust me, if you saw her by herself somewhere, you wouldn’t know she was being raised by a crazy white lady.

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Abby Brandenberger

Abby is a stay-at-home mom, married to her college sweetheart Matt. Matt is an elementary school teacher, a coach, driver’s ed instructor, tutor, and sports fanatic. Abby just tries to keep up with him and the two little ones they adopted domestically (15 months apart). They are trying to figure out when to start the adoption process again. Keep up with the nonsense at Our Little Hope.

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We’re half way through May! Don’t forget the 30+ businesses supporting adoption, adoptive families, and the work of The Sparrow Fund by giving 10% of their total sales this month. Clicking on the button below to see them all, and start shopping if you haven’t already!

TSF

Musings of an Adoptive Dad – Part 4

Concluding this series today, I thought I’d post about why we’d do adoption again, particularly international adoption, if God let us. Of course, He just might. But, that’s really up to Him and a discussion to be had later.

First comes the question about money. Money wasn’t an issue when we adopted our little peanut. For our part, I’ll say that we had a few people contribute to the cause, but we also worked really hard on saving for it. It was an expensive process, well over $20,000. That’s a lot of dough. But, God provided. My lovely wife worked some extra, we cut back some, and it came together. Amen. We’re also seeing some of that come back now through the adoption tax credit. Amen to that too. I know others who have struggled significantly. I don’t want to deny that or denigrate them. I will tell you that God provides. Faithful is He who calls you, and He will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5.24). We held tightly to that Truth for so many things through this process.

Second, we’d do it again because through adoption, we changed the world. I don’t mean that in some triumphal, conquering, slam-dunk sort of way. We’re way more humbled by the process than I imagined. But, I also know with great confidence that there’s a little girl sitting in the next room who’s eating breakfast with her brother that this same morning would’ve woken up next to another kid, been untied from her crib, fed porridge because she couldn’t have fed herself, and played the day away with 20 others in a room supervised by 2 nannies. Just now, she walked in having gone to the potty and letting me know that she pulled her big girl undies up “all by myshelf.” It’s not that we changed the entire world. But, we changed it for her and for us and for our sons, our extended family, our church family, our neighbors, and, Lord willing, our grandkids and generations of Hendersons to come.

Third, the need isn’t going away. According to my cool friend, Jon Singletary, there are 120,000 adoptable kids in the U.S. How about this one: 3,000,000 kids in the world ready to adopt. The need isn’t going away. We chose China because it seems about 1,000,000 of those are in China.

Lastly, our family is better because of it. I know some of you walked through the adoption with us, and you saw the sanctifying process that we went through and, hopefully, are seeing its fruit in our lives. I know I can. Perspective. Patience (?). Trust. Compassion. Gospel. Selflessness (?). Love.

I don’t know if God will let us adopt again. I don’t know if He’ll let you adopt. But, it’s amazing.

But that’s just me thinking thoughts…

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Trent Henderson

Trent is the husband of the amazing Ginny and father to the thoughtful Jack, adventurous Sam, and hilarious Ruthie Mei. He also serves as pastor to the saints of Heritage Park Baptist Church near NASA in Houston. He tries to say something worthwhile in his preaching and at his blog. Feel free to go check it out.

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