It’s been a year since The Sparrow Fund officially launched. A challenging year of figuring this non-profit thing out.
But, all the late nights, computer time, and paperwork get chalked up to “oh, it’s not that big of deal,” when we see pictures like this.
That’s Mazie. And, we got to play a small part of her coming on home to her family.
She’s one of 11 children whose families we helped through a grant in 2011.
11 children who were alone who are now sons and daughters.
That’s something to celebrate right there.
Her mom just emailed me with this–
We wouldn’t have adopted this sweet amazing beloved child without the medical review that Sparrow’s Fund assisted with. There were just too many unknowns in her medical reports for us to feel comfortable proceeding with her adoption without a professional interpreting them for us. The medical evaluation that Sparrow’s Fund paid for couldn’t answer all our questions, but it did help us understand the reports that we were given, consider things that we hadn’t even thought about before, and helped give us peace about proceeding with her adoption and the unknowns that remained. Thank you so very much Sparrow’s Fund for being the Lord’s hands here on Earth! Thank you for lifting the financial burden of the medical review and helping make the adoption of our Mazie Jade possible!
And, you know how we were able to be a part of this miracle? In large part because 33 businesses last May partnered with us, giving us 10% of their total sales in May.
It’s the end of April, 4 months into 2012, and we’ve had the joy of awarding 8 grants already.
As applications have come in, I confess that I got a bit concerned—Can we get all 33 businesses on board again this year? Will that 10% be enough? We’re going to need more.
There aren’t 33 businesses to Build the Nest this May.
There are only 58.
And, each one has said, “We want to do what we can to support adoptive families!” And, they have chosen to do that in a significant way this month, giving 10% (or in some cases more) of their total sales to The Sparrow Fund so that we can give grants to adoptive families so that they can get the help and support they need in every season of their adoption journey.
Check these places out—find some new fave shops. Schedule a portrait session. Buy your mom a gift. Or, buy yourself a gift, why don’t you. Share your favorite items on your online spaces, and get the word out that these places support adoption. And, thank them for stepping out to do that in such a significant way. It’s a pretty big deal. I’m a bit wowed by it all—and can’t wait to see how God multiplies that 10%, ‘cause I know He will.Email me. I’d be glad to add you to this post. That would pretty much rock.
Forever changed by our experience of being adopted and adopting, Kelly is a stay-at-home mom/manager to 4 children and a professional juggler, juggling her calling as wife and mother with a small online store (Jiayin Designs), editing, administrating this site, and serving adoptive families through 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.
I love dark chocolate covered raspberries. I love the slight bitterness of dark chocolate mixed with the sweetness of fruit. I love the magic of dark chocolate and raspberries melting in my mouth.
I love refridgerated homemade chocolate chip cookie dough. I love the chips and the smooth creaminess of the dough. I love the ridiculously large amounts of sugar and butter. I love the magic of spoonful after spoonful melting in my mouth.
If you gave me a choice between the two, I would pick both. If I really really had to, put a gun to my head, pick one, I would five times out of 10 pick cookie dough and five times out of 10 pick the dark chocolate covered raspberries.
If you told me I could never have cookie dough again, and my dessert for the rest of my life was solely going to be dark chocolate covered raspberries, I would love it. I certainly wouldn’t care much. However, there would be times I would think, boy cookie dough sounds good right now.
Or, while I love my dark chocolate covered raspberries, I would like just a taste of the cookie dough. And then if you said no, absolutely not, no cookie dough. Then I would be fine. And in fact, I would rejoice in the fact that I get to have my dark chocolate covered raspberries. Because I love them.
Can anyone see where this is going?
Can you figure out the analogy?
If you can, let me know because you are awesome and have figured out what’s in my head and that’s freaky.
I love adoption and I think we’ve esablished that I would like to adopt a million kids. I love my girls more than anything on this planet (other than my hubs). As I snuggled with Hannah tonight in her bed and stared at her sweet little hand resting on her tummy and her adorable skinny legs propped up on the duvet, I felt such an amazing and overwhelming feeling of love for this girl (let’s not leave Olivia out, I love her too:)). I love these girls so much, in fact, that sometimes I’m amazed that people love their biological children. I’m serious.
And I would still like to be pregnant. I don’t necessarily want to reproduce my DNA. In fact, I kind of don’t want to because (just thinking ahead), if s/he would look anything like me, I really would cringe every single time someone would say that “s/he looks just like you” in front of my girls. Who will never hear that. But I want to experience pregnancy. And I want to give birth. If I could could give birth to an adopted baby, that would be perfect (we’ve already discussed embryo adoption, that’s off the table for us for now (but never say never, right?)).
Anyway, adoption has not squelched the desire to do what my body was created to do. I still track things. I still know where I am in my cycle. I still care. I still get jealous. I still sin.
But, if what I get for the rest of my life is dark chocolate covered raspberries and no chocolate chip cookie dough, I rejoice for the Lord’s plan for my life and I will fully, with all my being, embrace eating my dark chocolate covered raspberries. Because I love them
- 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 right in the middle of their third adoption journey and are excited to see how God adds to their family. Abby welcomes you to follow along at Our Little Hope.
you seriously put me through the ringer today.
you made me question everything i thought i knew about parenting.
you are one determined boy, and i know that will serve you well later in life,
that you will accomplish great things because you do not give up.
like with the easter candy, for example.
by golly, you wanted that chocolate bunny, and that chocolate bunny you were gonna get.
you have this uncanny sense of hearing… you announce every passing motorcycle,
the arrival of every garbage and delivery truck, an airplane flying overhead.
none of it is by sight, all by sound.
and yet. i can tell you 412 times to come to me, to stop climbing or jumping or running
and it is as though i haven’t uttered a single syllable.
but in spite of all of your crazy antics,
you have an unfathomable capacity to love.
you want to snuggle every night before bed, and first thing every morning.
you nestle into “mama’s bed” (it’s daddy’s, too, just so you know), rest your head right next to mine and are quiet and still and content.
i look at you in wonder, my heart full and achy,
and very aware of this precious time.
i’m not ignorant to the fact that someday… maybe soon… you will understand you’re adopted.
there may be a day when you question if we’re as close as we’d be if i’d had you myself.
if i could, i would take all those questions away in a heartbeat.
i’d tell you that i can’t imagine loving anyone more than i love you,
that our lives would have a gaping hole without you in it,
that tears well and overflow at the thought of you ever experiencing any heartache
from the undeserved gift we’ve been given of calling you ours.
i look at you in those quiet moments and i drink it in.
your tender heart and your boundless love.
i pray almost every day that you will know in the depth of your being that you are more than we could’ve ever hoped for,
that you will be confident in our love for you, and even more,
in God’s love for you.
you are a most precious gift, my sweet, wild Eddie.
i hope you will know that in your heart every day, forever.
We are a family of 5 1/2: 3 kids – 2 biological, 1 adopted, and waiting to be chosen for our next adopted baby. Adoption has always been on our hearts, hopeful that it’d be part of our story. We’re so blessed to say that it is, and has changed us forever. We love our three boys more than we’d imagined possible and can’t wait to see what is in store for the future! We welcome you to join us on our journey at a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut.
From March 18, 2012…
There is a woman out there somewhere who is still grieving.
She is grieving because one year ago she gave birth to a tiny, beautiful little girl. A little girl she didn’t keep.
Did this woman give her daughter a name?
Did she trace the delicate, fair skin of her daughter’s face, and does she still dream of her daughter’s round cheeks and button nose?
How many days did it take to sleep through the night without waking up to feed her little one, the one who wasn’t there anymore?
Does she know that her daughter was loved? That her daughter found a home and arms and comfort?
And does she know that her daughter is in heaven?
I ache for Paige’s birthmother. I’m sure that she thinks of her little child today and every day, wondering if her baby got the help that she desperately needed. This woman must have been desperate. I think she knew that Paige needed more than a poor worker’s salary could provide. So she gave her up. She abandoned Paige to the life of an orphan because life as an orphan was better than death. And Paige’s mama loved Paige so much, that she was willing to break her own heart to give Paige a chance at life.
Because, you see, Paige had a very complex and serious heart disease.
Giving Paige up, leaving her alone, tore something sacred out of this mother’s heart. But she loved her baby and she knew that she was not able to provide adequately for her. She hoped that someone else might.
Did we provide adequately?
We were waiting until she was stronger before putting her body through the risky surgery that she would need. She was never too cold. She was never too hot. She got to go outside to breathe fresh air. She was given the chance to learn new things, like rolling over. Paige had just learned to roll over, and as I watched her balancing her chest, I dared to hope that the heart inside was being supernaturally healed.
Paige was prayed for. Paige was sung to. Paige was doted upon.
But the question that wracks my heart is, “why didn’t God allow for Paige to spend those 6 months in her mother’s arms, if she was just to die anyways.”
Because just as my heart is right now breaking, remembering Paige, the mama’s heart is surely cracking too.
I know that she remembers.
I hope that somewhere, deep inside her heart, she knows and has peace about her little pixie. I hope that she feels rest and comfort in her soul, knowing that Paige is in the one and only place where there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more desperate abandonments and no more orphans.
Especially today, on what would have been her first birthday.
In honor – in celebration – of Paige’s life, I am raising money to provide another little angel with the heart surgery she so desperately needs. Go to www.forliuyiandpaige.blogspot.com to find out how you can get involved.
When Hannah traveled to China in 2002 with her parents to adopt her sister Elisabeth, she fell in love with the country and people. In 2004, when her other sister Naomi was adopted, she started dreaming of going back. It took 5 years for that dream to come true. She now serves in a foster home for special needs orphans in China. Hannah spends her days studying, writing for the foster home and on her personal blog, Loving Dangerously, and most importantly, holding babies. Hannah loves the adventure of living overseas with her family. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.
Congrats to Cydil Waggoner who won the giveaway for the book A Cord of Three Strands!
Today, out of nowhere, while my students were standing in a quiet line waiting to walk into the gym, one of my favorite students came up to me with a question. This just so happens to be one of my favorite students this year. She’s a Hispanic child who is so incredibly sweet. Since English is this student’s second language (like many of my students) and since she is a lower performing student, she often repeats the things that I say to clarify for herself. This is one of my favorite things about her. Whenever she has a question, she basically just says whatever it is that I said but raises her voice at the end to make it a question, then she follows that with, “do you mean like…?” and pretty much just says it again. This happens several times throughout the day. With some kids, that would drive you nuts. But, coming from an incredibly sweet child with a wonderful personality, I love it.
She came up to me, out of nowhere, and said, “Mrs. __, you know how you said your baby was in another mom’s belly then she gave him to you when he was borned?” Since this was literally out of no where and, honestly, other than telling little stories about my little guy in class, I honestly don’t talk about adoption much at all with my students, my students only know that he was adopted because many of them have siblings who were in my class the year LM was born. I don’t mind talking about it; its just not something that comes up. But, since it was so out of the blue, I actually said “what?” and she repeated about how another mom had LM in her belly but gave him to me when he was born. So, I said, “yeah,” wondering where this was coming from and where it could possibly be going.
She said, “I’m glad she did that. That is really neat.”
With that, she got back in line and went on to her gym class. I was left with tears in my eyes and a little smile.
I couldn’t help but think about the “other mom” who held my baby in her tummy then lovingly gave him to me.
It is really neat.
Amanda and her best friend (aka husband) Adam travelled through the long road of recurrent pregnancy loss before being blessed through domestic newborn adoption. Along with chasing a [soon to be] two-year-old around, Amanda occasionally blogs about life as an elementary school teacher, parenting, maintaining an open adoption, feelings on infertility/miscarriages, and of course the joys of adoption.
A couple of weekends ago, I got to spend the weekend at the Created for Care retreat with some of my best friends. It was so nice to have a weekend away and to get to spend it with over 400 other adoptive mommas.
I loved getting to hear from some of my favorite speakers from last year’s retreat. I’m so blessed by these women who chose to spend their weekend sharing their wisdom and experience with all of us younger moms. This year there was a new speaker, Carissa Woodwyk, who spoke about her experience as a Korean adoptee. I’m always hungry to hear from grown adoptees. I guess part of this stems from my anxiety as an adoptive momma. Am I doing things right? Am I loving them enough? Am I respecting their past, acknowledging their pain, giving them what they need to heal?
Carissa reminded me of the importance of letting my kids have their own story. Their lives didn’t begin when they came to our home. They have a past before us. All kids who have been adopted have a past; even babies who are adopted at birth have a past before their adoptive parents. To tell their story as if it started with us is not only selfish, it’s damaging. So I was inspired by Carissa to write down all the details of Josiah’s and Evelyn’s stories before they joined our family. No, I don’t know every detail, but I know a lot.
I thought I would share with you the opening I wrote for Evy. I’m not sharing the details because those are for her only, to share if and when she wants to. But I hope that this will maybe inspire other adoptive moms (and bio moms – everyone would love to have their story written down!).
For the last two years, I’ve been piecing together your past, trying to fit the people and events together to write your story before you came to us. I want you to have this to reflect on. I hope that reading this will show you, not only how loved you have been by your birth family and by your forever family, but that God has held you in the palm of His hand since the moment of your conception. He has loved you more than words can explain.
I don’t understand why your birth family has suffered so much, but I know that God loves them. Our world is broken. And ever since Adam and Eve first sinned, that pain and brokenness has rippled throughout creation. It affects our health, our families, our environments, our ability to provide for ourselves and our children, our social systems, our governments, and every other aspect of our lives. I believe that God is in control, but, as I said, I don’t understand why He has allowed these things to happen to your family. But I also believe that He makes all things beautiful. I know that He can and will redeem and restore all things, and this includes your family and your relationship with them. Whether we experience it in this life or not, He will redeem and restore even this.
I want you to know that your daddy and I consider your birth family to be our family. We pray for them, we love them, and we will be forever grateful to them. They have given us the most amazing gift . . . YOU. I will forever cherish the moments we have spent with your birth mother. They are so precious to me. She and I have a strong bond, and that bond is you.
I want you to know that this was not an easy decision for your birth mother. She loves you with all of her heart. She will never forget you. You will always be her daughter. And I feel so blessed to share the role of mother with her. You have two mothers . . . you always will. I cannot replace her, and I don’t want to. I want you to know that I am not threatened by her, and I will always respect the role that she plays in who you are. You have my full blessing to love her as her daughter should love her.
So here is your story, though it’s only the beginning. As I write this, you are three and a half years old, and yet you already have such a deep history. But your future is so much wider. I can’t wait to see the plans that God has in store for you . . .
Have you ever had a really, really big problem? I have. Frankly, it seems like Dan and I deal with them all the time.
We have two adopted children. They came to us from unbelievably harsh circumstances and have many demons in their closets. There are days that I fear they’ll never fully recover… and there’s really “nothing” I can do about it.
Our ministry serves imprisoned children. Imprisoned. Children. It’s a problem so big and so complicated that there’s really “nothing” I can do about it.
Really big problems tend to make me feel… really helpless. Can you relate? Have you ever faced a mountain so big that you knew you couldn’t scale it? Or perhaps you’ve heard these words from a doctor… “I’m sorry. There’s ‘nothing’ we can do.”
This week, I was blessed and encouraged by these words from my morning Bible study…
There is rarely nothing you can do.
Being still and knowing He is God a long shot from nothing.
Trusting in a God you cannot see is a long shot from nothing.
Holding your tongue is a long shot from nothing.
Counting it all joy is a long shot from nothing.
Submitting is a long shot from nothing.
Confessing sin is a long shot from nothing.
Resting in Christ is a long shot from nothing.
And hear this one really loudly: praying is a long shot from nothing.”
— Beth Moore, Mercy Triumphs
No matter how bleak the circumstances, no matter how high the walls… we serve a God who’s bigger than all of our problems combined. There’s rarely “nothing” we can do. And I will rejoice and rest in that.
Dan and Shelly live in Atlanta, Georgia with their five children. Dan is the CEO of SixtyFeet, a ministry serving the imprisoned children of Africa. Shelly is a stay-at-home-mom who does volunteer work for SixtyFeet and delights in homeschooling her crew.