Category Archives: Letters

Dear Pastors… {a letter as you prepare for Mother’s Day}

church pewsThis Sunday is Mother’s Day. I know you know that. It’s kind of a big deal, and it’s been on your calendar all year.

Moms are going to fill your pews this Sunday wearing pretty dresses. Some will have been served breakfast in bed. Some will have received bouquets of flowers, roses or buttercups, already that morning. Some will be looking forward to children coming home that day to take them out for lunch. Some will be anticipating phone calls, hugs, kisses, crayon portraits, and homemade cards.

But, Mother’s Day isn’t always that pretty.

There will be women sitting before you this Sunday who are aching to become mothers. Some of those women are struggling to make it through each day as they have yet to conceive or endure painful infertility treatment. Some of those women are single and long to be married and wonder if they will ever have the joy of being a mother.

There will be some women sitting before you this Sunday who are mothers but not parents, women who have placed children in other families to be raised by other mothers. They may not look or feel like mothers; they may struggle to define who they are.

There will be some women sitting before you this Sunday who were mothers for a short time and didn’t consider themselves that at all, women who ended their pregnancies and motherhood through an abortion and now wonder what life would have been like had they made another choice and chosen life for their child.

There will be some women sitting before you this Sunday who are broken mothers, mothers whose relationships with their children are strained at best, mothers who haven’t spoken to their grown children in months or even years, mothers whose children are in rehab or prison or who knows where.

There will be some mothers sitting before you this Sunday who are divorced from their children’s father and who are tired, so very tired, whose little ones may not even know it’s Mother’s Day at all.

There will be people sitting before you this Sunday who have lost their mothers and people who still have their mothers but have been hurt by them.

And, all those people? They’ve had Mother’s Day on their calendars all year too. But, they aren’t coming to church dressed in their prettiest clothes ready to stand to be recognized. Instead, they wonder if they should come at all. Some are ashamed. Some are resentful. Some are full of grief. Some are angry at the mothers around them, you for pointing them out, and God Himself. Some are simply sad and have already put tissues in their purses in anticipation of the day. Some feel numb.

The ones coming to church in their best with smiles on their faces really don’t need to stand for recognition or be publicly thanked. They’ll get all that elsewhere. It’s the others who need you this Sunday. Speak for them.

To the women who are celebrating this Mother’s Day as mothers for the first time, know that we celebrate with you. 

To the women who serve day in and day out to little ones, cleaning noses and bottoms and sippy cups and car seats, know that we applaud you and support you.

To the women who work outside the home to provide for their families, know that we honor you for all that you carry.

To the women who have been celebrated by their families already today or will be later today, know that we take joy in that with you.

To the women who are not yet mothers and who long to be, whose hearts are heavy with that desire today, know that we walk with you through whatever God calls you to today and for the days to come.

To the women who wonder what life would be like if they were mothering now the child who could have been theirs, know that we want to hold your hand and encourage you.

To the women who are separated relationally with painful distance between you and your children, know that we hurt with you and pray for reconciliation and trust for you that there is hope for that.

To the women who are mothers here who haven’t had the recognition from their children and feel forgotten, know that we remember you.

To those who have been hurt by their mothers in some way, who find this day a painful reminder of that hurt, know that we acknowledge your pain and want to come alongside you and offer hope for restoration.

To those who are watching their mothers grow older and change or who are grieving the loss of their mothers, know that we grieve with you and pray for comfort for you.

As significant as all that is, as much as we want to honor you today, know that He wants to bless and honor you more. Wherever you are, whatever you are facing, wherever your heart is this day, He’s right there with you—right now—and wants you to know Him deeper however you view Mother’s Day.

It’s a big day. It’s your challenge…and your privilege…to communicate God’s love to everyone in your church this Sunday as is your call every Sunday. As you do that with passion and cross-shaped compassion, I trust that He will speak the words they need to hear.

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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 on Kelly’s blog.

From an Adoptive Mom to God {Letters}

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Dear God,

I’m thinking you laugh.  That you smile.  That you are so creative, all knowing, and sovereign that we messy, tremble prone humans must make you giggle.  I’m hoping so anyway.

You are love in its purest form.   The ultimate Father.  So I don’t imagine your laugh to be mocking or your smile to be mean.

I imagine you smiling at me the way I grin at my growing, desperate to be independent kids.  The way I chuckle as I stand beside them through their anxious, untrained attempts at bike riding, diving board jumping, and chapter book reading.  I beam knowing they’ll get it.  Their doubts are raging and knees shaking.  But I know what they don’t, so I can’t help but smile.   I grin knowing the joy that is ahead if they will just trust my leading.

It’s that kind of joy that I imagine you having over me.  For me.  With me.

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Did you laugh when adolescent me attended to the seed of adoption you planted in my heart and started dreaming of an Asian baby?  I bet you pictured almond-eyed Claire, Eli and Evelyn around my future dinner table and smiled big.

Did you laugh when love struck, totally naive, college student Mark and I sat across from each other at Applebees on our first date and I mentioned adoption?  You knew how deeply and beautifully it would complicate our uncomplicated lives, so I imagine you had a good laugh at wide eyed us.

Did you belly laugh when newlywed us mapped out our life plan?  When we decided on one bio birth and one adoption?  We thought ourselves so wise and so adventurous. We loved our slightly risky plan.  We couldn’t see then how you’d teach us to release our grip, open our hands and accept the grand adventure you had planned. How you’d wring out our control issues like a wet cloth, soaking it full again with your grace, mercy and a better vision for our lives.

Did you chuckle when we filled out that first adoption application and checked “non-special needs”?  You knew.  You knew that in fact all of our children would have “special needs” that would press into our parenting limits.  And that each adopted child would have greater needs requiring a special love much bigger than their cleft palates, cleft lip and urological needs.  That emotions and behaviors and loss and living in a broken world would require parenting beyond our capabilities.

Did you grin when, at the end of ourselves in the five year wait to bring home our long dreamed of daughter, we finally realized that the whole pursuit was more about journeying to you than journeying to our baby?  That though you dearly loved our daughter, that more than anything you wanted hearts tethered to you?  That though the timing seemed so off to our weary selves, that it was just the right time?  Your timing ensured that OUR girl, our Claire Liu Wusha, was placed in our (more faith filled) arms in a stark conference room in Chengdu, China, two decades after the seed of adoption was placed in her momma’s teenage heart.

Did you smile when we filled out our special needs checklist for our second adoption and marked yes to all the most minor and easily correctable special needs?  You pictured us holding Evelyn, didn’t you? And I bet you beamed knowing that we faced chronic challenges, regular infections, multiple surgeries and a lifetime of care.  I think you beamed not because you were right, but because you knew how she’d bless our socks off.  That despite having to stand waiting outside operating rooms, that she’d bring us life.  How we wouldn’t trade medical supplies, specialist appointments and hospital stays for the easier days before her soul was woven into ours.

Did you giggle when we filed a petition for the adoption of Evelyn, knowing that a trip to adopt one more child, would end up being a trip to adopt TWO more children?  If any of our bends in the road made you smile, I bet it was that surprise late night phone call with a match “in case we also wanted a boy”.  How you must have giggled later when the unexpected gift of a son came around the corner of the orphanage office door.  You knew how Elijah LanChang would smile and giggle.  How he’d bring lightness, laughter and joy to the hardest year of our lives.

…………………………………………………

I like to hope that our lives, all these years of growing and stretching, of both tiptoeing and leaping outside our comfort zone have brought you joy.  I know that givers love to give, and that you’ve given us much.  You bestowed adoption on us like a miraculous offering that was ours for the taking.  And because we said yes, it’s blessed and bent us in ways we never could have dreamed of.  I think you must smile when we step out of our plans and into yours.

I know our story has your glory written all into it.   Not because of our strength, but yours.  Not because of our abilities, but yours.  Not because of our plans, but yours.  I can look back on it now and smile along with you.   Now, I can count it all joy.  All the waiting, all the doubts, all the surprises, all the hurt, all the life deconstruction, all the heart widening, and the faith deepening.

You dropped a seed into my heart and then stood back and watched tender roots shoot forth, bloom and multiply.  And I bet there is more to come. That’s gotta make you smile.

With much gratitude and a smile,

Rebecca

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Rebecca Radicchi

Rebecca Radicchi

Rebecca Radicchi is a homeschooling, tea sipping, mother of four. Already moved well outside her comfort zone by motherhood, missions, orphan care and adoption, the Lord keeps taking new ground in her heart. Only able to offer a “yes” when the Lord calls, God’s been blessing, refining and stretching her. With the hope that others might be encouraged, her humble response is to share the stories. You can find her recording the wonder, struggles and graces of everyday family life at La Dolce Vita and as a contributor at No Hands But Ours and Ungrind Webzine.

From One Mother to a Grieving Mother {Letters}

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Dear friend,
We know what today is. Your baby would have celebrated her first birthday today. We can’t know how you feel today and for the last month leading up to today since the Lord took her home. We can’t know how you will feel moving forward from today and everyday after. We can’t relate on that level. Our vain attempts to imagine being your position fall so obviously short. Even still, though we do not know the loss you know, we know the God you know.

He is present, never distant.
He is active, never still.
His vision is way bigger than the small glimpses we are able to see.
He is the only author of peace.
He loves you.
He loves your marriage.
He loves your family.
You are His.
He is good–but not only good–He is good in you, for you, and to you.

In those times when you may find yourselves looking at each other and unable to even speak, unable to put words to your hearts, may the Holy Spirit who is in you preach those truths and others to you. May they take solid root in your hearts, and may they fill you even in the depths of your being that seem unfillable.

We are trusting in the God we know to provide healing to all of you in a way that only He can. It may look very different that you may expect or even want right now, but we trust that He will build you up in time as you press on and that in so doing, you will see Him in ways others never will.

We have not forgotten your sweet daughter on her birthday today. We have not forgotten you. But, more importantly, He has not forgotten you and will not for a single moment. We pray that the impact of Avery’s life would go on and on and that you’d experience those blessings personally and see glimpses of ongoing blessings of her life to others all of your days.

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Kelly has a passion for supporting adoptive families, specifically to encourage parents to be intentional and understand their own hearts more clearly as they seek to care for their hearts of their children. Kelly cofounded The Sparrow Fund with her husband Mark in 2011 to serve adoptive families. After a long time using her Master’s degree in counseling informally, Kelly recently joined the team at the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA as a cotherapist. Married to Mark since 1998, they have 3 biological children and 1 daughter who was adopted as a toddler from China in 2010. You can learn more about their adoption story, how they’ve been changed by the experience of adoption, and what life for them looks like on Kelly’s personal blog, My Overthinking.

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On Saturday, February 28, 2015, 11-month-old Avery Madison of Fulton, Maryland passed away unexpectedly of SIDS. Avery was the beloved daughter of Shaena and Jeff and cherished little sister to Caitlyn.

Shaena and Jeff requested that donations be given in Avery’s honor to a special Avery Fund in lieu of flowers. The Sparrow Fund will be working closely with the family going forward so that whatever funds come in are used in a specific way to support adoption and honor their precious daughter who joined their family via adoption.

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To donate by check, please make payable to The Sparrow Fund, note Avery Fund in the memo line, and mail it to:

The Sparrow Fund
124 3rd Ave
Phoenixville, PA 19460