Monthly Archives: March 2011

Considering the Cost

The #1 thing I hear from people in response to our adoption is: “Isn’t it really expensive?” I want to step up on a soapbox every time and remind them that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and what He promises He provides and all that Truth! But, lately, I have started to see that common question in a whole new way. Truth is, adoption is very expensive. It costs a lot more than just dollars and cents though. So if just the money thing scares you, then you probably aren’t ready for adoption.

Dan Cathy said, “A God inspired dream will never fit in your checkbook or calendar.” That is so true. Adoption is a God-inspired dream for us. We were not qualified by the size of our savings account, for sure! We weren’t qualified by how practical it seemed to add another 2-year-old into our lives a few weeks after moving, changing jobs, leaving family, etc., etc., etc. Adoption can cost a lot more than money. It has cost us our comfort, our “normal”, our sense of control, our plans, our understanding, our pride…and the list goes on.

I can remember placing all my focus on ways to come up with the money when we started this ride. But, honestly, getting donations and applying for grants was the easiest and most joy-filled part of the journey for us. The process of hearing people’s hearts and stories and watching them be obedient to the call to give towards our family was humbling and amazing! It wasn’t just a few checks from a few rich people that helped us reach the financial end. It was the many drops in the bucket from a faithful group of people all over the world who are passionate about Gods love for orphans, some of which we have never met.

So, to answer your question, folks: YES! Adoption is VERY expensive. But, the trade off is complete reliance on the Holy Spirit to weave together a story so much bigger than you. You just have to decide for yourselves if its worth it.

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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.

Veronica Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Every family has their own thoughts/beliefs regarding whether or not they will change their child’s name upon adoption. Some do. Some don’t. Everyone has their reasons.

Our kids came to us through foster care, and foster care rules specify that foster families cannot change a child’s name during the time they are in foster care. That only makes sense. It’s hard enough having to bounce from foster home to foster home, let alone having to learn to answer to a new name at each home. We also learned that even children who are in an adoptive placement can’t have their names changed UNTIL the adoption is final. Since we were in adoptive placement for 2 years, we didn’t change our girls’ names . . . very much.

Veronica was the oldest of the sibling set of three we adopted last year. She was nearly 6 when we got her and 8 by the time the adoption finalized. “Veronica” has never been on my top list of names I would choose for a child of mine, and I asked her if I could call her “Nikki.” She agreed.

It’s been 3 years since the girls moved in with us — 3 years of changing, adjusting, and growing. And Nikki has, without a doubt, blossomed. She came to us as a tantrum-throwing jekyll-and-hyde. Her cute face belied an angry spirit. When things went her way, her eyes sparkled and her smile lit up the room. She was an absolute joy.

Should we dare ask her to complete a chore or deny a request, her angelic demeanor immediately morphed into white-hot rage. She threw herself to the floor, kicking and screaming and striking out at anything or anyone who was in the near vicinity. Blessed with vocal chords that surpass normal volume capabilities, her tirades could be heard by neighbors across the street and down the road.

Usually, her tantrums lasted until she would finally collapse hoarse and exhausted, physically unable to continue. She would literally wear herself out. Minimum tantrum time was 2 hours. Daily.

Once she slipped into tantrum mode, reasoning with her was impossible. All we could do was let her fight it out on her own, make sure she didn’t harm herself or anyone else, and endure. When it was all over we’d pick up the pieces with her, go over what had led up to the tantrum, reassure her of our continuing love for her, pray with her, and move on.

Over time (a lot of time, actually!), as she began using the managing tools we were teaching her, the tantrums waned. We weren’t so aware of it at first, but those outside our family began commenting. “She’s so sweet!” someone said. “She’s a new girl!” my mom exclaimed. “She looks happier.” a friend observed.

Most importantly, Nikki noticed. The other day, she sat down next to me and said, “Mom, remember how I used to be called Veronica?” I nodded. “I’m glad I’m not called that anymore.” Curious, I asked her to explain. “Well,” she began, “Veronica used to be really bad. She threw tantrums and got in lots of trouble. That’s the old me and she doesn’t live here anymore. Now, I’m Nikki!” I understood perfectly. She associated her old self with her old name. She wanted a new start and a new identity.

Our conversation made me think of a verse in Revelation 2. Here Jesus promises to give all who overcome a new name. What a wonderful hope we have! Someday, when Jesus takes us home, we will also be able to say, “That old, sinful me doesn’t live here anymore. I am a new person!”

“I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:17

“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Margie Seely

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Margie “inherited” her passion for adoption from her foster grandmother. Today, Margie and her husband Shawn are blessed with five incredible kids, all adopted from the foster care system, plus four others who are unofficially official members of their family. They are also the proud grandparents of one very special little boy. Teaching full-time, running a home business, and learning all the ropes of their first international adoption keeps Margie hopping. She enjoys blogging about it all and connecting with equally busy moms.

What Would Have Been Our Referral Day

Originally posted on their blog on February 2, 2o11…

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5 1/2 years ago, Jon and I made the decision to adopt a little girl from China. We requested a healthy infant thinking we would see her sweet face in about 1 year. If you have been following our story you would know that that one year stretched into 5 long years.

Several years ago, Jon and I started talking about switching to special needs. It never seemed right at the time. Our motive seemed to be to just speed along the process. Special needs seemed like such a scary thing to bring into our home. Each time we looked into it we stepped back and decided to wait it out.

Then, in October of 2009, I saw a picture of a little girl who shared my birthday. God broke my heart over this girl. I knew our family was not capable of taking care of this little one, but God showed me that we could venture out into special needs. I remember sitting on the counter in the kitchen crying over this little one and trying to explain to Jon the depth of my feelings. It was time to make the change. God had worked in our hearts.

We sent in our medical checklist and prepared our hearts. To be honest, I was terrified. Were we doing the right thing? Would I regret switching to special needs when the time came when we would have gotten a referral for a healthy child? These fears would creep up over the next few months.

Then, we got an email. The day that our lives changed. The day we saw our daughter for the first time. We claimed her immediately and prepared to bring her into our lives.

Do I have regrets?

Today would have been the day I would have seen the face of that healthy infant. As I sit and contemplate that fact I know in the depths of my being that I have NO regrets. Lily is a blessing from God that I could have never imagined. She is joy, love, happiness, and the one who holds me and says, “my mama.”

I am her mama.

There are no regrets.

Praise God!

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Liz Grabowski

Liz has been married for 15 years to her best friend. She has two bio sons, one adopted daughter, and a son and daughter waiting in China. Her days are filled by home schooling and loving on her kids. God has been so faithful during their adoptions. They are continually blessed. You can follow their current adoptions on her blog.

True Religion

If you are a blog reader of mine, you know I process through writing what God is teaching me–and you also know any time I take a few days off from writing its usually not because I”m busy (because writing is HOW this momma unwinds from her busy)…it”s usually because He”s teaching me and it”s hard to process. I haven”t blogged since Sunday publically–but I did write on Monday, Tuesday and today…very long posts—prayed over them…processed them…and then stowed them away in my heart–and for now that is where they will stay.

The Lord is really teaching me a lot right now–through walking with others in their hardship (their distress) and pain…orphans and widows…choosing to do life together and saying, “We are in this together—for the long haul…and we will look for God and His faithfulness through it.”

While some of my readers may come to my blog and feel “moved” to consider adoption after hearing our experience…or after seeing a sweet coming home video–that, my sweet sisters and brothers, is not really what James 1:27 is about at all—or else anyone not called to adopt wouldn”t be offered a part in true religion–right? Adoption is growing my family–it”s choosing to follow God in growing my family in a different way…and to be willing to do for my newest son what I would and will do for all of my children to be there for them and when need be–walk through times of hardship, healing and pain with them. I can some what guess that it may be more often, however, for the children God brings to me through adoption–but that of course is no promise. We are NOT all called to adopt…any more than we are not all called to have more children biologically–but adoption IS one of the many ways God can use us to change orphans to sons and daughters…and this is GOOD…it is a CALLING…and discerning that calling over emotion is very important.

SO…what about James 1:27? How do we LIVE true religion? Because this–as believers we are all called to–if we want to experience Him fully and live true religion (James 1:27). How do we care for, visit and look after orphans and widows in their distress? How can we help walk with orphans and widows during their time of pain? This verse isn”t about changing orphans to sons and daughters or finding the widow a new spouse–but about going there with them in their distress—and THIS is what true religion is. While only 1% of the estimated 140 million orphans worldwide are considered eligible for adoption, and 90% still have one living parent–or you could say 90% have a widow as a parent. How can we live James 1:27 to these? How can we look after, care for and visit them…and really begin going there in their distress with them? The Lord has been showing me more and more about the answers to these questions–and while my home right now is pretty crazy and may not be the best fit right now to add another one of the precious 1% to come join our crazy–how can God use me right where I am for the other 99%? To really LOOK AFTER these in their time of DISTRESS…oh–I think I”m ready to go there.

When I think about visiting orphans and widows–the first place my heart naturally goes is to our “other family”…my son”s first family. There is a widow and single orphans across the world. Then I think about our next closest–those already around us. Our church alone has countless single orphans whose mom or dad is no longer with them–and essentially in many ways single moms are modern day widows in our culture. How can I live James 1:27–pure and faultless religion? While we follow where the Lord leads in these ways and choose not to always share the ins and outs here–God sees our hearts and our hands–and that is enough. And it is good.

And while most times my tendency is to start at home and move outward–I want to also remember where the places are where the forgotten live? I think about our ministry in Zambia/Africa–where adoption is closed yet more than 1/3 of their children are orphans. WOW. Our eyes are opened when we VISIT them (James 1:27) but naturally more people visit the countries they adopt from. SO–what about these countries that some times fly under the radar? Use us Lord to live James 1:27–to YES serve in our neighborhoods and to live true religion here–but to also some times leave where we are comfortable or feel personally connected to and visit, look after and love widows and orphans in places that aren”t as convenient or as attractive…meeting someone in their distress will never look fun–it”s not a brownie sale and the pain through it is not “blogable” and thankfully so…because there are some things so sacred where true religion resides that should be treasured in our hearts and leave us in worship as we see Him working through us. Following the Lord in the way of James 1:27 will not be easy–but I can promise it will refine and change…and you will be amazed when you see Christ come through. You WILL see His glory. He will be faithful with His presence. And it will be SO SACRED that you won”t publically share it with others…because you will know–it is HOLY…you won”t be able to write about it because you can”t even express it”s power. It is TRUE RELIGION…it is beautifully painful, yet good—and you will want to follow Him again and again in true religion to see Him over and over…and over again. And it makes sense why He calls us to serve and be His hands in this way.

And speaking of visiting orphans and widows in their distress–if you would be interested in joining us on our next trip to Zambia this June–please contact me. We have just a few spots–but we”d love to take you with us! There”s no building. There”s no painting. But there is sitting. We sit and we listen…and we love. As simple as that. And you probably not be able to find the words to write about it either…or words to express how YOU were changed in the process. But James 1:27 doesn”t have to just be around the world…it can be as close as next door. It probably won”t knock on our doors–but when you are ready ask Him to take you there and begin leading you to true religion and worship in this way. I never want to lose sight of what this verse means and what through it we are being asked to do.

As believers, let”s pray how He can use us to live James 1:27 fully and to be used for His great glory and good…

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Andrea Young

I”m a momma of 4–one of whom joined our family in June of 2010 through the miracle of adoption. Our family has been on the board with Wiphan Care Ministries since February 2007 where we help run two schools ministering to 450 orphans and 150 widows daily. We have also recently been led to get our nonprofit for a new ministry Created for Care whose heart is to serve and minister to families in the pre, during, and post-adoption process. I am a writer at heart, a stay-at-home mommy who loves crafts, and I love nothing more than staying “yes” to Jesus…which usually makes for an adventureous life. That”s me in a nutshell.