Nesel Pack Sensory-Friendly Backpack {GIVEAWAY}

There are some words to describe our kids that seem to pop up often among our families: wiggle worm, jumping bean, monkey, crazy man, wild lady. You get the idea. We’re the parents sitting down in tiny plastic chairs at a conference who hears from the teacher that she feels like she has to take dramamine in order to teach our child.

Here’s the thing: it may not simply be disobedience (or to aggravate you). Simply put, all our thoughts and actions are traced to sensations that we transmit and make sense of within our brains. Our brains are always working to process internal and external stimuli and then tell our bodies how to respond. The way each of our brains are uniquely wired drives what this looks like for each one of us. When children experience hard starts and trauma that affect their developing brains, their responses might look a bit different than what we’d call typical. What all that means in very simple terms is that all that fidgeting and bouncing around and hyperactivity might not be resolved with typical correction. Instead, we need to study our kiddos and seek to provide them with the right balance of sensory tools and strategies to help them regulate and help us tolerate their need for it as well as connecting correction.

We’re always looking for good tools for our toolboxes–fidget foot bands, chewy jewelry, wiggle seats, and all sorts of fidgets. We discovered a tool recently that quickly has become one of our favorites–the Nesel Pack. It’s a backpack specifically designed for kiddos with sensory processing difficulties. It has several features such as clips on the straps to attach your favorite tools, specially designed straps to mimic a compression vest and a hip belt that offers more compression, a security strap, pouches on the inside to add weight if desired, and an ID tag in the front to let your child customize the bag in one of five fun colors. We think it’s pretty awesome outfitted with some of those favorite fidgets from our favorite sensory store with the best service from folks who are on the same team–as you can see.

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And, because we love it so much and want to introduce it to as many people as we can, we are offering a giveaway for one Nesel Pack of your very own (valued at $99!) to put under your Christmas tree this year. Enter through one or all of the ways in the Rafflecopter giveaway below and we’ll announce a winner next week. And, if you don’t win, just order one of these bags and stuff your kiddos stocking with all the fidgets to go with them for a Merry Christmas for your kiddo and you both.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Gospel in My Living Room

In her book Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis wrote, “Adoption is the gospel in my living room.”  I know I have posted that before, but I’m realizing how wrong it feels out of context.  The full quote doesn’t sound as nice, but there’s a reason Katie wrote every word of:

In an effort to be real, I will tell you: It was hard. . .  [Adoption is] the greatest blessing I have ever experienced.  Adoption is also difficult and painful.  Adoption is the gospel in my living room.  And sometimes, it’s just hard. (72)

I haven’t talked about the hard side of adoption here that much, mostly because I want to protect my siblings.  I don’t want others, people who can’t understand how hard their road to family was, to judge them.  Because of that I’m not sharing specifics.  But I’ve been avoiding posting about the grit of adoption, and I feel like I need to face it.

Adoption is like the gospel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean what we want it to.  When we think of the gospel, we like to think of nice things–forgiveness, healing, life.  Crowds of people with enough bread and fish to eat, men raised from the dead, women healed, children sitting happily in Jesus’ lap.

And that’s all very cozy, but there’s more to it than that.  Some parts of the gospel are not so pleasant, and some parts are downright nasty.  The gospel is rough; it is blood, and sweat, and tears.

The gospel is stains, and scars, and grime under my finger nails.  Redemption is my lungs constricted with sobs, and dust clinging to my sweaty palms.  Adoption is jumping ship and walking on the water, and realizing the waves are tall and the wind is strong, and feeling my faith flicker like a candle caught in a draft.

Adoption is not running to the pain–adoption is bringing the pain home with me, into the stronghold that was my only safe place.

It took me so long to fully understand how every adoption has and always will start with tragedy and heart-tearing sacrifice.  I can look into a child’s eyes–wrap my fingers around five smaller ones–and whisper yes, because someone looked into the same wounded face, answered no, and opened her hands.  My joy and my gain is, and must be, tainted by their grief and loss.

Adoption is a kind of warfare; against pain and shame, and injustice and abandonment.

“Adoption is redemption.  It is costly, exhausting, expensive and outrageous.  Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed him.”  –Derek Loux

Adoption will cost you.  It will hurt you.  In a way, it will kill you.

Adoption will leave you on your knees, breathless; staring into Jesus’ face, that shines with radiant light.

___________________________

Hanna Rothfuss

Hanna Rothfuss

My name is Hanna Rothfuss.  I am 14 and in eighth grade.  I have lived in the suburbs of Omaha, Nebraska for my whole life.  My interests are reading and writing, mainly about fantasy and orphan care–often adoption.  I have four siblings, two of which are adopted.  I’m a homeschooler and a child of God.  I pray that all my writing is encouraging, empowering, and brings glory to Him.

You can read more of Hanna’s writing on her blog: Taking My Time.

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OH HAPPY DAY {holiday edition}

 

picmonkey-collage-3-2Our most perfect design ever.

Inspired by the Chinese boys hosted in the Philadelphia area who sang this song over and over everyday after hearing it on their first Sunday in America.

They sang the words. Now, we’re wearing them.
Remembering the boys and all the boys and girls they represent as we do.

 All proceeds from sales of this shirt will go towards funding our orphan care initiatives.
our orphanage trips. supplies and gifts. new programs.

Details:

Shirts come in adult and youth sizes. The adult shirts are our favorite shirt ever— a super, super soft tri-blend. The youth sizes are a cotton/poly blend that is really comfy for even the most sensitive kiddos. We are currently offering soft holly berry red, evergreen, snowflake blue, and silver bells grey. Youth sizes are currently offered in holly berry red, evergreen, and silver bells grey.

How to get some for yourself:

  • Complete the short form HERE with your name, mailing address, how many shirts you want in what sizes/colors, and all that good stuff.
  • Pay for them ($20 per shirt plus shipping) via sending money to mraudenbush@sparrow-fund.org through your PayPal account (FYI – it’s the account for The Sparrow Fund, not a personal account…promise) or by donating via clicking the donate button on this website.
  • Share, tweet, and text using hashtag #ohhappyday to help us spread the word about these super cute first day of school or birthday or adoption day or casual Friday shirts (this one is optional, of course, but most appreciated).
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A Beautiful Girl

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They told me she was introverted, easygoing, compliant. They told me that she gets sad sometimes but that she is easily comforted when her nanny, who clearly cares for her well, explains right and wrong. They told me that she can write her Chinese characters quite well, that her receptive knowledge is good, that her expression is okay. They told me she is good at math compared to other children in her class. And, they told me she really likes music and dancing and that she is remarkably talented.

I nodded my head and smiled. I believed them. Sure, I’m sure she enjoys music and likes to dance. And, it was endearing to hear her nanny say that she was talented in dancing…so sweet.

And, then they asked if I’d like her to show us.

This little girl hasn’t had her papers submitted yet. She has Down Syndrome, they told me, as if when I heard the words I’d agree that she would not be wanted.

She has Down Syndrome. And, she is beautiful and marvelous in every way. And, oh, how I hope that someone has room in their family for her. If you think you might, let us know. We’d love to talk to you about how to make that happen.

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Kelly founded The Sparrow Fund along with her husband Mark in 2011. She works alongside Mark in his full-time purposeful work in China and works part time as a therapist at the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA, Kelly has a particular interest in (a) encouraging parents who are struggling to attach with their children, (b) helping parents walk with their children in understanding their own stories, (c) helping couples continue to pursue each other and grow together while they parent their children as a team, and (d) training and supporting orphanage staff in China to build relationships with children and each other. Kelly and Mark have been married since 1998 and have 3 biological children and 1 daughter who was adopted as a toddler from China in 2010. You can learn more about their journey and the October orphanage trip on Kelly’s blog.

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Serving the Servants

We didn’t come simply to hold babies.

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We didn’t come simply to play with cute toddlers with pigtails.

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We didn’t come simply to pat older children on the back and sing EIEIO.

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We didn’t come simply to assess waiting children so that when their papers pop up somewhere, we’re ready to help find families for them. All of that is good, very good.

We desired to do even more. We came for this. We came to serve those who serve. everyday. those who are paid little to do the most significant work. who are simply called “working staff” and are often criticized for not doing enough while they work in a system that often doesn’t support much more. We came to bless them.

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It took much less time than we anticipated for curiosity and uncertainty to become eagerness to be vulnerable and pleasure to become honored guests of ours.

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As children toddled around us and looked on, we washed the hands that serve. We spoke to each woman as we did, in words many of them did not understand and yet somehow understood.

You work so hard at what you do. You are so good with the children. Look how much she wants to be close to you. You are so important to her and to this place. We are so thankful for you. 

We saw a lot of smiles, more than we had ever seen there before. And, everything just seemed somehow brighter and lighter. What had felt like them and us just felt more like we, all women honoring each other and serving together for big big things…a spirit that was contagious.

Their smiles and sense of honor must be contagious too because all of us can’t stop smiling and feel like we were the ones served.

____________________________________
Kelly-NHBO1-150x150

Kelly founded The Sparrow Fund along with her husband Mark in 2011. She works alongside Mark in his full-time purposeful work in China and works part time as a therapist at the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA, Kelly has a particular interest in (a) encouraging parents who are struggling to attach with their children, (b) helping parents walk with their children in understanding their own stories, (c) helping couples continue to pursue each other and grow together while they parent their children as a team, and (d) training and supporting orphanage staff in China to build relationships with children and each other. Kelly and Mark have been married since 1998 and have 3 biological children and 1 daughter who was adopted as a toddler from China in 2010. You can learn more about their journey and the October orphanage trip on Kelly’s blog.

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