Monthly Archives: June 2011

Honor NOT Sacrifice

If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?
-David Livingstone

I just stumbled on this quote on a website. I fell in love. It SO spoke to my heart. It was the balm God had intended to soothe this soul.

You see, yesterday we were given a little peek into an opposing view. It seems that at least one person out there believes we are “ruining Raegan’s and Alex’s lives” by adopting our littles. I probably don’t have to tell you that this Momma-Bear got hot in a hurry! Thankfully, my awesome husband broke this news to me when we were tucked safely in our home alone.

It’s not that I expect the whole world to agree with us, hardly. I know there will be those who think we’ve lost it, and I am fine with that. These words though, these words hurt. Deep. They hurt because our littles may not be ours legally yet, but they are ours in our hearts. You don’t mess with my babies and this felt like an attack not on me or us, but on my babies. Even typing this out my blood starts pumping faster within these veins of mine.

We’ve heard other lunacy of course as we’ve been on this journey. Satan has effectively put the blinders on many people, which is a huge part of the reason there continues to be an orphan crisis around the world if you ask me.

Alright, this all brings me back to the Livingstone quote above. Why is it that this is EXACTLY how so many consider serving the God of the Universe? Begrudgingly. Sacrificially. Moaning and groaning and sad faces. Yes, the Lord calls us to hard places sometimes. Yes, He calls us to leave things behind. Yes, He changes the landscape of our lives. Yes, He grows us and nurtures us and loves us. He disciplines us and disciples us. Sometimes change, growth, discipline is painful. None of it happens out of anything other than His LOVE for us. None of it.

Please don’t ever look on anything our family is doing as sacrifice to God. It is privilege. It is our honor to serve alongside our Jesus. It is our awesome privilege to walk this path of faith with God. Do me a favor and look on our journey with awe, but not sympathy. Regardless of the road ahead it is all because of LOVE. His love for us and our love for Him and His…and the ones He entrusts to our care whether by biological means, legal means, or just pure and simple heartstrings.

________________________________________

 

Chasity Cole

Chasity is a daughter of the Father, a wife to her soulmate, and mother to 2 children by birth and 2 by heart strings whom they are in the process of adopting very soon. She blogs about life, faith, adoption, orphans, and the occasional random rambling at All Things His.

Pin It

Beauty From Ashes

On Friday, we took a little trip to the mall (the most glorious mall in NC, by the way). There was a really cool toy shop there that my kids were dying to destroy check out. As soon as we walked in the door, I spotted the most adorable little Asian girl standing at one of the play areas. She was playing with who I assumed was her father and older brother. All of a sudden, the father quickly escorted the boy out of the store, leaving the little girl behind playing. I kind of stood there frozen, wondering why he left her. It took her about 2 seconds to realize they had left. She started hysterically crying – bless her heart. You could tell she was terrified. As soon as I snapped out of it, I started toward her. About the same time, I see her mom come flying over from the other side of the store. She scooped her up and was loving on her. She looked at me, and just gave me this, “It’s okay, I am her mom” kind of look. I couldn’t stop staring. I know she probably thought I was some crazy stalker or something, but I my heart was breaking for that baby. I wanted to snatch her out of her mommy’s arms and comfort her myself! LOL. Anyway, it took her a minute to calm down and even minutes later, she still had these big tears just hanging on her bottom eye lashes. Heart. Breaking.

I know this is silly, but I thought about that little girl all weekend. It just made me think. Obviously, I have no idea why the father left so abruptly, but he came back. Her mom was just a few feet from her. She was okay the whole time, but she didn’t know that. In her little heart, everything she knew ran out of that store in an instant. Her little heart was breaking. It just made me think about Willa. Not only will she experience this – she will have to experience it twice.

Her mom or dad left her somewhere. She could have been that 2 year old. The 2 year old whose world, in an instant, came to an end. Abandoned. Her mom didn’t rush to her to comfort her and tell her that it’s going to be okay. She was just left. Then she was taken to an orphanage. She once again had to learn to trust and find comfort in her surroundings. Then one day, in the not so distant future, she will be left again. She will be put in the arms of strangers and her world as she knows it will come to an end.

Now, in her little mind, she doesn’t know that it will be the very last time. She doesn’t know that she will finally be coming home, never to be abandoned again. All she will know is everything and everyone familiar will be gone.

It is a wonder that these children ever overcome their abandonments. How resilient there little hearts must be. Even though I know that we will be giving Willa a good life, it still breaks my heart at what she will be leaving behind. Her family. Her country. Her culture. She will experience such a loss in such a little amount of time. No one should ever have to endure what these children endure.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it…then something else happened…it was like the Lord was showing me a story in stages this weekend. I was sitting at the kids’ flag football game on Saturday. I was just people watching when I saw my friends’ little girl (4 years old, adopted from China) running in my direction with a huge smile on her face. Then, I saw her daddy going toward her. He scooped her up in his arms, and she beamed. She laid her head on his shoulders and just smiled, absorbing his love and comfort.

So, yeah, these kids do lose everything they know; their worlds are turned upside down. But, we serve a redeeming God! He gives us beauty from ashes!

Isaiah 61:3

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

He redeems them! He gives them hope for a future! You know, honestly, how many times does he do the same for us? Praise Jesus for his mercies!

________________________________________

Michele Cordray

My name is Michele. I am mommy to three kids – Jackson, 8; Julianna, 6; and Jameson, 4. I spend my days homeschooling my children, worshiping my Savior, and fretting over our never-ending adoption journey. I have been married to my best friend for almost 11 years. Our family lives in the mountains of North Carolina, but we are native to the coast! One day, we hope to be back there. We are hopeful that 2011 is the year we finally get to bring our daughter home from China. You can follow or journey to Willa on our blog.

Amelia’s Rest

It is Saturday night.

I am rocking Amelia in the dark, trying to listen to the crickets outside rather than my own sharp and raspy lullaby. Amelia touches my lips and “sings” along, and I can tell that she thinks my off-key song is beautiful. I think she’s beautiful. We trace each other’s faces and fingers as we hum.

My mind wanders back several days, to when I showed Amelia a picture of Mama Sarah. Sarah was Amelia’s favorite caretaker in the orphanage. I cannot overstate how much they loved each other. For weeks after Amelia came home to us, we would get Amelia to smile for photos by yelling “Sarah” in a Ugandan accent.

I always want Amelia to know Sarah’s face, the first face that she knew as love…

And so last week, I showed Amelia a picture of herself with Mama Sarah.

Amelia laughed, grabbing for the laptop and yelling her baby-talk version of “Sarah.” She stared for a long time. Then Amelia turned to me, cried, and slapped me in the face.

My baby slapped me in the face. She hasn’t done that since Africa.

I know, baby. You miss Sarah, and you’re mad that I’m not her.

I think about this as I sing to sleepy Amelia in the dark…about my baby slapping my face, and how she both loves me and resists me…how she has bonded to us more quickly than we ever imagined, and how there is still so much bonding to be done.

Before long, Amelia is deep asleep in my arms, body limp and breath deep. I linger in her room for a long time, relishing this rare moment when I as an adoptive mother am recognized by my baby as her safety; her comfort; her rest. This isn’t the daily norm for Amelia. It is different for her than it was for our biological daughter Caroline. Even at the age of three, Caroline’s instinct is still to yell “mama” when she is hurt or scared. But Amelia is having to learn what comes naturally to other children: She is having to learn what it means to have a mom.

I just want to be a place of rest for Amelia.

Rest.

The thought hits me like a wave, and I laugh out loud. The word “rest” has been jumping out of Scripture during my quiet times lately. I have stared at the word curiously. I have turned it over and over in my mind, and I have prayed for God to show me what it means to “enter His rest.”

And once again, this tiny brown toddler sleeping in my arms has unknowingly opened my mind to some of the mysteries of God. She has cracked the window of heaven just a bit more for me. I feel the warmth of eternal beams shining around our rocking chair and I know:

REST means knowing who our Father is.

Just as I want Amelia to rest with me as her mother, God wants us to rest with Him as our Father. Rest means trusting that He loves us. Enjoying that He is in control. Ceasing to resist Him.

Rest means learning that His arms are a safe place… And sometimes, as Amelia is teaching me, a place to curl up and sing to Him as He sings over us.

________________________________________

Rachel Goode

Rachel has been married to her husband Brad for 5 years. They have a 3 year old named Caroline and a 1 year old named Amelia, whom they recently brought home from Uganda. God has used Amelia and adoption to show His love and glory to the Goode family. You can follow their story on their blog.

Wondering…

I am ashamed to admit this, but I think there is truth and growth in it, so here goes.

Etienne

Before we brought the boys home, I used to say that an advantage to international adoption was that we wouldn’t have to “share” our children. I had this silly notion that a birth mom was some kind of threat.

Now, if I think of Etienne and Zeke’s birth mothers, I tear up. I long to know something of their story, to have a piece of my sons’ beginnings.

Was Etienne born with those long, thick eye lashes that everyone talks about? Was he always rolly-polly? When Zeke entered the world, did he just want to nestle into your neck, the way he still does now? Did your labor for hours in the rainy season? Were you alone or surrounded by other brave women? Was adoption always your plan or did life not give you a choice?

I think about what I would tell them if I could meet them face to face. I would say that I can never, ever begin to thank them for the gift that they gave me in trusting me to mother their children. The bravery, the love, the courage.

Zeke

I would tell Etienne’s birth mom that he is so full of love and that there isn’t anything he can’t take apart, fix, or reinvent. His curiosity reflects his intelligence that maybe she passed onto him. I would thank Zeke’s mom for his sparkly eyes and silly demeanor. I would share with her his love for reading and how reflective he is of the world around him. I would promise both women that although my love for my sons is was heart born and not organic, the depths are immeasurable and constant. I would share with them that there was a time, a dark and lonely place, when I told my husband that I just wanted to be able to someday say I would die for my boys. Now that someday is here.

These are older pictures, but Etienne’s face is so reflective, which is how I see him when he doesn’t know anyone is watching. This is also Zeke’s true grin.

________________________________________

Kara Higgins

My house is cluttered, my brain is scattered, and my heart is full. I am the mother to Molly (8), Blake (5), Etienne (4), and Ezekiel (3), the younger two adopted from Rwanda. I have a passion for mothers and a heart for adoption. Since coming home with our boys, I have found a calling to combine the two by reaching out to adoptive moms. When not with my entourage, I catch babies as a CNM and blog about our adventures, struggles, and prayers.

Mommy.

Izabella is starting to figure out babies come from a Mommy’s tummy. She first started noticing this when we were at church during Christmas–she calls her “Mommy Mary.” Then she’s says, “You Mommy Lisa.” Pretty precious.

But, the other day, she came upstairs holding her baby oh-so-tenderly and with the sweetest, soft little voice, she began this conversation with me.

I: Mommy. I had a baby. My baby come from my tummy. Isn’t she beautiful!

M: Oh yes! She’s very pretty Izabella.

I: Mommy you have baby in your tummy?

M: No. I didn’t grow any babies in my tummy.

I: Izabella in your tummy.

M: No. You grew in your China Mommy’s tummy.

I: Oh. I grew in your heart. China Mommy tummy.

I have never felt a “void” for not having bio children. Never even a pinge of disappointment. It’s not that I didn’t want to have children. I wanted a family. I just never thought that meant giving birth to a child. I always wanted to adopt, and that was as exciting to me as anything, if not more. I will say, the roller coaster ride we were on when we tried to get pregnant early in our marriage was not fun. But that wasn’t disappointment about not being pregnant each month as much as it was the thought of not being a mom at all. As Dan was so opposed to adoption at that time.

BUT, for some reason, this question, coming from this precious little girl–looking up at me with those dreamy brown eyes, holding her little beautiful baby doll I got her for Christmas touched me in a very deep way. It was as if I was hit with a JOLT of reality, as the words poured out in answer, “No. I didn’t grow any babies in my tummy.” Brings a tear to my eye now just writing this. Oh goodness!! I thought to myself, “Wow. I never grew a baby in my tummy. AND I never will.” Good thing Izabella was sitting next to me, or I might have melted into a complete emotional wreck right then and there. Good thing the question came from the lips of the most precious thing I’ve ever met–even if I didn’t grow her in my tummy. God is good to have delivered this jolt of reality from such a beautiful source of love–His gift to us–her.

Deep breath, exhale, and on with our evening. In the coming days, she started asking at least once a day, usually at bedtime. “Mommy, did you ever hold me like this?” As she cradles her arms together as if to cradle a tiny baby. This conversation is equally as difficult…although I think for me more than her.

Then a few days ago, I was cradling her in my arms, like “my baby.” And I realized I do this a lot. And often when I do it, she will talk and act like a baby. And, I have to admit, I love her complete submission to me in those moments as I look in her eyes and tell her how very much I love her and kiss her forehead sweetly. She coos like a baby then is up and off doing her toddler thing.

Recently, we were doing this and instead of running off–she locked eyes with me. She stared at me for what seemed an hour but was probably more like 15 minutes. All the while, I watched her scan my face with the most blank look. As if she was taking in every detail of my face. I couldn’t look away. It was as if I was hypnotized by her face, her look.

She’s done this before for brief moments–always memorable, but this one will remain so clear in my heart.

Next time she asks me if I cradled her like a baby. I will tell her, “Yes, and I will do so until you’re a very old woman if I can.”

________________________________________

Lisa Arndt

Lisa had the spirit of adoption laid on her heart the young age of 13 and longed to be a mom all her life. After meeting Dan at age 39, they married and began life as a couple in 1999. In 2007, with no children yet, a desire to have a family and the dream to be an adoptive mom to fulfill–they started their journey to grow a family–through international adoption. And God delivered their dream in the sweetest, most joyfully spirited, compassionate, and courageous little girl from Shaanxi, China they named Izabella Daniellei. Lisa feels passionately about following God’s plan for her, her family, her friends, and the miracle of adoption. She is a freelance graphic designer with an in-home design studio that has blessed her with the ability to be a stay-at-home mom. Dan is a big hearted, Harley riding, heavy equipment operator who’s completely in love with his new family of 3. Izabella rocks their world to levels they never knew possible–as evidenced in their family blog.

The Waiting Game {Maintaining Your Sanity During the Wait}

During our paperwork phase, I learned that adoption can really turn you into a loon.

I think this is especially true when the waiting starts.

For you non-adoption folks, you should know adoption is one wait after another. Waiting for a referral. Waiting for a court date. Waiting to travel. Waiting for an embassy date. Waiting, waiting, waiting. It’s just the way it goes. Some of my friends that are starting to understand this will ask me, “So what are you waiting on now?”

I’ve compiled this little list of ways to remain sane when the wait starts to get intense. I am not saying there is anything wrong with thinking about adoption or the baby coming home, but I often see mommies get downright obsessive over it, and that’s just not healthy! So, after nearly losing my mind a time or two, these are my ideas on (hopefully) not going nuts during the wait:

1.) Get off the internet. Now. Stop reading blogs about adoption. Stop reading Yahoo and Facebook adoption groups. Stop checking your e-mail all day long to see if there is any news. To keep this simple, I have a little rule for myself that I never get online when my children are in the room. Some days I do a better job of this than others, but it’s something to shoot for anyway.

2.) Try having conversations without using the words, “adoption,” “referral,” or “travel.”

3.) Go on a diet. Yea. I know that sounds strange, but it really is helpful to have a non-adoption goal you are working toward. Taking advantage of this time to take care of your body before your child comes home just makes sense.

4.) Pick a project (preferrably a non-baby related one) to occupy your mind. I am redecorating my kids’ play area in the least expensive way possible. I find that sewing – even though I’m not great at it – is very therapeutic.

5.) Find exercise you enjoy and do it. What does exercise have to do with adoption? I don’t know, but I do know that my daily Jazzercise class releases some endorphins and helps me clear my head. It gets me out of the house, forces me to girate my hips at 9:30 AM in a church sanctuary, a win-win situation all around.

6.) Focus on the kids you have now (assuming you have kids.) A friend gave me some great advice about taking the time before the baby comes home to give your other children some extra attention, or just to enjoy them before the family goes through the transition period of bringing a new sibling home. I did this with Cade before having Ellie, and we had some really special times together during his last few weeks as an only child.

7.) Consider revising some of your routines so there is less of a shock when babe comes home. I started thinking about the things our family normally does that we will need to change before our child comes home. For example, I am guilty of leaving the TV on as background noise while I go about my day. I switched this to the soft piano music of David Nevue, and I can’t explain what a difference it has made!

8.) Research. If being proactive helps, try spending some time researching good sensory toys (as many children from orphanages suffer from sensory deprivation) or even make some sensory kits of your own. Filling a tub with dried rice and beans and hiding small toys in it is an inexpensive and fun sensory building activity.

9.) Stay connected with your real life friends. In the throes of adoption, it becomes all too easy to seclude yourself to the world of adoption blogs and groups. It is so important to continue to nurture relationships with your real life friends though. Even if it feels like they don’t understand what you’re going through, focus on all of the things you do have in common rather than the things you don’t. And just a hint, don’t talk about adoption all the time. It gets old for other people.

10.) See the unique beauty of this time and seize it. At the end of each pregnancy, I would find myself thinking of how soon life would never be the same. Rather than wishing this time away, cherish it as a season of life that will not come again. Rest, get healthy and energized, so that you can do the work of parenting that God has called you to.

Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
– Psalm 27:14

________________________________________

Lara

Lara is a Jesus-loving, book-reading, coffee-drinking, kid-chasing farmer’s wife of 5 years. She and her beloved farmer, Jon, have two kids, Cade (4) and Ellie (20 months). They are waiting, waiting, and waiting to adopt from Uganda.

On Fatherhood: Jaydn’s First Words

I don’t know anything about Jaydn’s biological father. The only information we have about her first 5 months of life (aka pre-orphanage) involve her biological mom alone. I don’t know if her bio father was a presence or a stranger, and I don’t think Jaydn will ever remember either. That is just one of the mysteries we have to learn to live with the tension of when you adopt a child. There are just some questions that will never be answered.

But as Father’s Day approaches, my attention doesn’t turn in the direction of Jaydn’s biological father but to the Father to the Fatherless. He has been providing for her needs long before she could ever know she needed it. As far as she knew, there was no male role model in her life. No one was there to show her respect and authority in a loving manner. She didn’t have a male presence that represented honor and strength combined with tenderness and support. But, behind the scenes of her precious little life, God was grooming a man to fill that void in her future world. He knew that eventually she would need a hand to hold and a lap to crawl into that represented all God was to her. So for years, even before she was born, God began growing a love for Jaydn in the heart of a small-town Kentucky boy who would one day have the courage to get on a plane and change both of their lives forever.

The grimace on Jaydn’s face when we saw her for the first time was so harsh. Her eyes avoided contact while her hand reached out for a comforting touch. “Who are these Mzungus [white people] and why are they here to see me?” she must have thought. It was clear the idea of us being her parents was far from her comprehension or desire in that moment. As the day continued on, she would let us hold her but any facial expression other than that original of complete anger was not being shown to us. We shared a meal with the mamas and other children and talked for hours but then it was nap time. I use that term loosely b/c my version of nap time is much stricter than the orphanage’s version was. Basically, it was just time for the kids to stay in the building for a while. Something in Nathan “clicked” during that section of time, and he sought Jaydn out. He went into her room and to the side of her bed and started tickling her. After a few times, the sweetest sound I had ever heard came to kiss my ears… laughter.

Our daughter was laughing!!! Nathan, being the comedian that he is, made silly faces and played peek a boo and did everything he could to keep this once angry, eye-contact-avoiding little girl laughing! Soon the whole room was erupting in playful noises and chuckles-it was such a joyful scene to observe from the lens of my video camera. But, then…it happened. Nathan ducked out of the room and hid from Jaydn’s sight and she called out for him, “DADDY??!” The tears poured from my eyes as I witnessed my daughter identifying the man in front of her, making her laugh as the man who would provide for her, lead her, and comfort her in the days ahead. Nathan came around the corner, “Did you hear that!? She called me Daddy!!” I couldn’t speak I was in such awe of the moment. It was as if God’s strategic intersecting of her need for a Father and Nathan’s desire to represent the Gospel message to the world could finally be heard through those 5 little letters D-A-D-D-Y. My daughter’s first word was “daddy.” Nathan represented everything that term of endearment was meant to imply, and she knew it!

So, I don’t know anything about Jaydn’s biological father, but I know a lot about her heavenly one and even more about her earthly one in Nathan. God handpicked Nathan to be Jaydn’s daddy. I know that she couldn’t have had a better man appointed to teach her leadership through sacrifice and obedience through love. This Father’s Day, we celebrate the remarkable example God gives us of unconditional love as our own personal Abba and also Jaydn’s first year of knowing, through tangible experience, how loved she has always been by her Daddy’s. Happy Father’s Day!

________________________________________

Bethany Gaddis

I have been married going on 8 years to a worship pastor, a rock star, and the most involved and intentional dad I have ever seen! Together, we have the privilege of parenting three amazing children (Jaxon- 5 1/2, Jovie, 2 1/2, and Jaydn 2). Jaydn recently came to us through adoption from Uganda, Africa. We just moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, but I am a west-coast girl at heart. I enjoy photography, adventure recreation, and teaching high-school students about the most important decision they could ever make: to follow Jesus. I enjoy writing as a way to learn life lessons out loud because, most of the time, the right (wise) answers are in me somewhere; I just have to dig to find them. I am a firm believer that this life is not my own, so I try my best to respond to every opportunity that crosses my path to give of my life, my love, and my resources.

On Fatherhood: A Story of Two Fathers

I guess since it is getting pretty close to Fathers Day, it would be a great time to reminisce and pontificate over the roles and impact fathers can have on their family. It would also be a great time to dig out a dictionary and look up what the word pontificate really means. Because really, I just used it ‘cuz it sounded good.

There was once a young man standing in a SuperStore store pacing nervously back and forth just outside of the dirty grungy washroom. He looked to be the age of 16, but in truth was probably closer to 20. His distant stare shifted back between the $4.95 Timex SPORT watch on his wrist and the light green door with peeling paint and a slightly off centered iconic woman embossed in white, against a plastic background.

Elsewhere, a slightly older gentleman was sitting in an office, staring at a pile of paper. Government stamps abounded on the paperwork and his hand was slightly tired from signing so many pieces of paper covered in words to which he was still trying to come to terms with. His focused gaze calmed moved from paper to wife sitting beside him – staring at the same stack of papers, with the same questions racing through her head as his.

Slowly the peeling green door started to open. A slightly older woman a little heavy set begins to step out and is startled by the wild eyed young man who instinctively moved towards the door when it opened. As his face fell from the disapproving eyes of the older woman, he noticed a slight figure slip out from behind her. His face lifted as the slight figure was the very reason he had been pacing for the last 20 minutes, as if waiting for the world to change. Her green eyes met his, and in a fluster she grabbed his hand and started walking out from the washroom area as fast as she could without breaking into a sprint.

The slightly older gentleman reached across the table to hold the hand of his wife reassuringly. She smiled slightly and shook her head as if to say “We are crazy for even trying this. Everyone thinks so.” With a confident smile he reassures her that this is the right decision, and that despite what friends, family, and even their own doubts think, this is the right decision.

Racing for the doors, the young disheveled man finally plants his feet as asks the only question which can quell his racing mind. “Are you pregnant?” he asks. The young girl nods her head as they stand staring at each other knowing their whole world has changed…hopefully, for the better. “Only thing we can do now, is wait,” the young man offers as if to provide a small measure of reassurance to a terrified young woman.

The social worker interrupts the silent conversation the gentleman was having with his wife. The type of conversation which can only be had by two people who had been married for over 15 years and gone though life together as if they truly were but one person. “All done, you are ready to adopt! All that is left now is to wait,” the social worker offers, as if to provide a small measure of reassurance to a hopeful couple, wanting desperately to hold onto an old dream, almost forgotten, and almost given up on.

Time passes for both couples. Both men struggle to come to terms with what it means to be a father and husband. One young and full of blind optimism and confidence that all things can be overcome, lacking in wisdom or any real parenting skills of which to speak. The older gentleman, well versed in parenting theology, having consumed many books on the subject matter, yet lacking in wisdom or any real parenting skills of which so speak.

However, as time marches on, both fathers can be found each night walking their new baby girls.

A tiny blond girl in the arms of her young father, feeling safe in his strong arms as he sings Aerosmith rock ballads to her before laying her down in their bed by her exhausted mother. Praying over his new baby girl, she drifts of to sleep.

In the aged arms of the other father rests a slightly larger daughter with black hair, brown eyes, and a very different complexion. While she begins to come to terms with her new life, and leaving everything she once knew a half world away, she finds peace in the strong arms of her newly found father who gently sings Steven Curtis Chapman to her and lays her down with a prayer and a kiss as she drifts off to sleep.

Now, it may be shocking… okay, not really, I’m sure you’ve figured out the story by now… but, just so the younger readers can follow along, I am both Dads.

Our first pregnancy was not exactly planned. I mean, we were married already, had a 700-square-foot apartment which we paid $419 a month for – but had just bought a one-bedroom condo and a two-door car. I wasn’t even in school and had no real education to speak of. We had just decided to wait 3 to 5 years before having children. And, yes, we really did run to the closest SuperStore and bought a pregnancy test. The wife ran into the Women’s Washroom (she wasn’t gonna wait for us to walk ALL the way home) and peed on the stick while I paced back and forth for what seemed like an eternity.

Three biological children later, we started adopting. Our first child is home from China, and our second is still waiting for us, hopefully coming home this fall. Getting these children into the family was a little more…deliberate. Adoption dosn’t seem to happen by “accident.” I have not run across anyone who said to me, “I don’t know what happened. My wife and I were at home just filling out paper work and BAM! 27 Months later, a kid showed up! Dang, I should have used a pencil!”

In the end though, all my children know they are loved, growing, bright, confident and exactly where God wants them to be. Which means, I must be the father God had chosen for them…for some reason…I don’t always see that reason though. But, if I follow Gods leading in this journey of parenthood…then I can be a good father.

There is no wrong time to become a father, nor is there right or wrong way to become a father…if you are called to be a father, then you know what, be a father. Don’t worry about being a perfect father…just be a good father.

So, to all you Fathers out there (or soon to be)…good on ya! Cherish every moment you have with your children, however they came into your life, because they will be gone far too soon.

How a father is made is not nearly as important as what the father is made of.

Keep your sticks on the ice, and go hug a child… hopefully, one of yours. If not one of yours, ask permission first.

________________________________________

Adrian Berzenji

Adrian and Roberta have been married for over 13 years. They were married for 1 year when they decided to “wait 3 to 5 years” before having children. They bought a 1-bedroom condo and a 2-door car and were pregnant 2 weeks later. Nine months later, Kole was born (who is currently 12 going on 30). Shortly thereafter, their second son Dawson was born (10, going on, well . . . 10). Gemma came 4 years later (she is 6, going on 16). They were pregnant with Ping for about 2 years, but she came to them in November 2009 from Guangdong, China and is currently 4 1/2 years old. They are currently waiting to bring another one home, hopefully this fall. Adrian blogs about their family story and daily life here. Visit and be impacted…and amused by his wit.

On Fatherhood: He Loves Me

He loves me.

He loves me not.

He loves me.

He loves me not.

He loves me.

He loves me not.

He loves me.

He loves me.

He loves me!

It’s just so much fun being one of Daddy’s girls.

Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn’t grow under my heart,
But in it.

Author unknown

________________________________________

Adeye Salem

Adeye is a mom to seven children, three biological sons and four adopted daughters, all whom have special needs. She fills her days with homeschooling her children, blogging, decorating her home, trying new recipes, and being an advocate for children around the world who wait for families. She is passionate about adoption and believes that there is a family for every child, no matter what their needs may be.

On Fatherhood: Our Father and the Fatherless

Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son

Father’s Day.

Today is a day for which I have very mixed feelings. On the one hand, I have been blessed to have a wonderful, loving and supporting father. My brother, a new father himself, is clearly devoted to my nephew in every way. Even my father-in-law is an exemplary Dad who has always supported his kids (and me) in every way (though as an Australian, he won’t be celebrating Father’s Day for several months yet). In no way do I want to take away from the honor these men and others deserve.

However, I have to admit that this day leaves me unsettled. Of course, part of that is selfish. I so desperately want to be a father myself, yet face hurdle after hurdle in seeing that happen. I see people in our community who manage to have children so easily, all too often unexpected and even unwanted. Most of all I remember the loss of our first child during pregnancy, imagining what she or he might look like today. I grieve that, because they did not survive to birth that we are often expected to act as though they never were- nameless, forgotten. Never forgotten by Kim & I.

Beyond my own personal reasons, I also see how many people around me either do not have their fathers in their lives, whether through death, abandonment or estrangement. For a church where the median age in the mid-20’s, the number of people whose fathers are no longer part of their lives is heart breaking. And then there are those whose father are part of their lives, but are relationships defined by disappointment, abuse, rejection and disinterest. For all of these, this day can be salt in an ever open wound.

Part of me- the cynical, wounded part- wants to reject this day altogether, but I cannot. For all the brokenness that I see related to fathers, I am also convinced that this very brokenness cuts so deep precisely because of the importance of fatherhood. While not to be confused with some kind of statement on the gender identity of God, that He so significantly identifies as Father also reinforces the importance of fatherhood to our own identity and wholeness.

It is with this significance in mind that we must understand our call, as the Church, to be fathers to the fatherless. This is not a poetic way of saying that we need to fund orphanages and combat divorce trends. Both of these things are good, but when God calls us to be a father to the fatherless, He calls us to follow His example of genuine relationship and sacrificial love. He calls us to an active love that blasts through the boundaries of cultural propriety and familial loyalties- not the detriment or neglect of our own families, but through the conviction that God is calling us to a devotion to Him and others that must rival all others.

Our world is filled with the fatherless- and in more than just the literal meaning. This is call to extend the Father’s love to others is not some project or program that interested Christian might get involved with, but rather it is a defining characteristic of what it means to follow Jesus Christ. And it is a commitment that should not be driven by guilt (though conviction for our failing to do so is surely important), but driven by the same thing that drove Christ to pay the highest price for us:

Love.

________________________________________

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Greetings from the inner city neighbourhood of Winnipeg’s West End! My wife (Kim) & I have been living and serving here as inner city Christian workers for nearly 10 years. With many Ethiopian neighbours, it was especially exciting for us to begin the adoption process from Ethiopia in late 2007. Since then, the process has been long and challenging, as many complications (common to adoption in Canada) have slowed the process down. However, we are hopeful as we await a referral which should be coming in the near future. You can read more about our ministry on my blog.

Archives

  • 2013 (76)
  • 2012 (168)
  • 2011 (220)
  • 2010 (80)

We invite you to explore…

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Join our FB Community

CLICK HERE to find us on Facebook
Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs