Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Guest Posty by Zoe Saint-Paul: When You Meet Newly Adopted Children

Hi! This week I am so excited to share another guest post with you! Zoe Saint-Paul wrote a fabulous post about what family and friends should do when meeting newly adopted children. Parents you may want to share this post with your family and friends. Enjoy!

Girls at Play

A good friend recently admitted that she’s a bit nervous to come and meet the girls. She’s aware that, especially in these early weeks, we’re advised to keep their world small and not allow anyone else to feed, clothe, clean, or comfort them, and that we should limit their social time with new people and refrain from bringing them into new environments for a while. So all this has made her a tad nervous about what to do — and not to do — when she visits.
She may be over-thinking it a bit, but there are some helpful guidelines to consider when meeting or spending time with families who have newly adopted children. Here is my advice:
  • When a family first comes home, don’t assume that you should rush over — or that you should stay away. Ask the parents if and when they’d like visitors. I know that, for us, short visits with helpful friends right from the beginning have made a tremendous difference. But other families may not want visitors until everyone is more settled.
  • Be as friendly as you want with the children: greet them, talk with them, even play with them. But leave the primary care-giving — like feeding, holding, carrying, comforting, dressing, etc. — to the parents.
  • If the child is over-friendly with you, wants to sit on your lap, or be held by you, redirect them to the parents as much as possible — but don’t fret about it. When in doubt, follow the lead of the parents.
  • Your main job as a friend is to support the parents. Believe me, they need it! Practical support is a lifesaver at the beginning — bringing meals, offering to run errands, picking up groceries, etc. But moral/emotional support is just as important; a listening ear can be a godsend. One friend has checked in with me pretty much every day since we got home, by phone or text, and it has been so helpful.
  • Be sensitive when it comes to asking questions about adoptive children’s backgrounds. Be aware that information about their birth family, or how they came to be relinquished for adoption, may be something the family would like to keep private. If you are curious about something, simply ask the parents whether they can share it. For example, you might say, “Are you sharing anything about what you learned about the girls’ background?”
  • Before bringing gifts or giving candy to adopted children, be sure to ask the parents. Newly adopted children can be overwhelmed by lots of toys, clothes, etc., and not every parent (like me!) wants their child to have candy. The gestures are always appreciated, but it’s best to check in first and see what would be most helpful.
  • Be positive. In the early days, adoptive parents often feel overwhelmed by their new lives and may even be questioning their decision to embark on the adoption journey. It really helps if friends and family are positive and supportive.
  • At the same time, don’t try and make everything rosy. The children may be adorable, but behind closed doors, they may be tantruming a lot and displaying challenging behaviors (ahem). Parents may need to vent or talk about how hard things are. Telling a parent when they’re stressed, “Well, you asked for this!” isn’t at all helpful. Take it from me.
When meeting newly adopted children, just remember that anything done in the spirit of wanting to be supportive and caring will be appreciated, no matter what. When in doubt, just ask!
Adoptive parents: What else would you add to the list?

Image: Zoe Saint-Paul

Reposted with Permission. Originally Posted on October 24, 2012 by Zoe Saint-Paul on her blog, Slow Mama. You can view the original post here:

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Week: Welcome the Moss Family

Meet Craig and Amy Moss, and their two children, Nathan and Alexandra. The Mosses are adopting a sweet, 7 year old girl, Maia Faith, from Bulgaria. You can follow their adoption journey on their blog.

The Mosses will be traveling to bring Maia Faith home in about 4 months! They need to raise $3,500 to be fully funded for their adoption! The Moss family will be giving away a $25 iTunes gift card to one donor. For more info, check their blog.

Let's welcome the Moss Family to Give1Save1 Europe by giving and sharing this page! You are making a difference in their adoption journey and in the life of their little girl!! Are you ready to donate?  Click the link below.

UPDATE: You gave $755 to help the Moss family adopt their daughter Maia Faith! Thank you!

Amy is also making the cute little owls. All the profit from sales goes to help adoptive families bring their children home! Check out Owls for Orphans on Amy's blog!

Click here to check out the world map that will take you to the other Give1Save1 pages: US, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia.

Adopting from Europe and want to be a family of the week? Send me an email at give1save1europe (at) and I'll send you an application!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guest Post by Karla Williams: What is An Adoptive/Foster Friendly Church?

Hello! I am excited to share a guest post with you today! A friend shared this article a week ago with me and I loved it! In fact, I loved it so much I contacted Karla Williams, the author, and asked her permission to share it with you on Give1Save1! Karla is the mother of six children through adoption, an author, and a radio host. Find out more about Karla at her website Family By Design. And now, I will quit typing and let you read her post!

This article has been months in the making. Last fall, I dabbled around with how I wanted to shed light on this subject in light of my own experience. At the time, I decided to hold off until I got the perspective of others, their experiences and the needs they feel are being met and those that are not. So I set off to gather information from several in-person and on-line groups of foster and adoptive families across the U.S. and came up with some of the most pressing needs of their families as part of a body of believers. First I will share my experience and then I will share what my research revealed is taking place in a lot of churches across our country regarding foster care and adoption.

If you follow my blog and radio program, you know much of my story, so I will not burden you with all of the details. For my new readers/listeners, I will share just enough for you to know my back ground. 

After several miscarriages, my husband and I realized that our goal was to be parents and that pregnancy was only one of the ways we could accomplish this. We set out on the road toward adoption and our immediate family and friends were thrilled to see our dreams of parenthood coming to past. We had celebrations & showers to commemorate the upcoming occasion after we were matched with 2 beautiful children and later that year, their infant brother. We were now parents of 3 children! WOW! 

At the time we had been part of a church for many years and had lots of people around us cheering us on.....until the children came home (cue the mystery music). Most people bring home one baby at once. We had 3 in a matter of months....2 walking (or should I say running) and a newborn. We were both elated and exhausted at the same time. Imagine my horror when I am told that my family does not qualify for the service extended to new biological mom's after birth. Our church had a department that focused on providing meals for moms a few weeks following birth. I was a proud part of this department. I LOVED doing this for new families! I DID NOT QUALIFY! No, I did not have to recover physically from labor, but should that have been the criteria? I never made a noise about it, but I must admit it hurt deeper than they ever could have realized. I had not 1, not 2 but 3 new kids in my home and I did not qualify because I did not give birth to them. I took it VERY personal. I continued to serve in this department and let it go. After a few more families in the church adopted, I began to notice that it was not personal at all. They did not qualify either. Rather than being a personal issue against me, I began to see it was more a perspective on adoption being a 2nd rate choice or a sub-family option. I also noticed that key leaders in the church that adopted were not even celebrated but other leaders who gave birth had the red carpet rolled out for them. I personally took on the role of celebrating these families because I knew what it felt like. 

We remained in this church far more years than we should have simply because there were many good things about it. Over the years similar things happened that showed me that I was surrounded by people that did not get adoptive/foster family dynamics. They had no clue what made our family tick or operate differently than others. I remember taking my infant son to church for the first time and trying to find someone to take my place in a department so I could be with him. I had blank stares and confusion as to why I could not perform my duties that day. He was 2 months old, on a heart monitor and I had him in my care for 3 days at that point. I became irate with the person I was speaking with and said, "If you gave birth to a newborn 3 days ago, I would not expect you to be away from him." Light bulbs simply did not go off!  I let it go and continued to serve. See a pattern here? The more and more I was involved the more and more difficult it became to juggle my previous commitments in the church. I was a minister and I was expected to have a higher level of involvement. Although other moms who had given birth were cleared to take as much time off as they needed, I was not. I took it anyway and the results became clear. I was not considered "reliable" anymore.  This grew into resentment, depression and a host of other feelings. On top of these issues were the expectations that my children that have experienced trauma should develop and be perfect like everyone else's (no one is perfect). When an issue arrived that was related to their background, there was little compassion or understanding. This hurt immensely! 

We are no longer at that church or even in the same city any more. I am thankful that I am a part of an awesome body of believers that value, support and nurture my family! 

From my research and polls, there are different kinds of churches when it comes to the acceptance and support of foster/adoptive families.

"See, We are Saving the World" Congregation
You have the church that focuses their entire vision on missions and adoption. On Sunday it looks like a UN Summit as you glance across the congregation. Is there anything wrong with that? Not totally. At a desperate point in your life when you need help, the last thing you want to be is the "one who needed saving" unless we are talking about salvation through Jesus Christ.  Everything is so focused on how wonderful these parents are for saving these poor, destitute children from all over the world that the actual needs and identity of the children is compromised. I call them the James 1:27 church. Though this scripture clearly states what we should do to support and visit the orphans & widows, this becomes a complete doctrine in this church. If you are not a foster or adoptive family in this church, you may feel a bit uncomfortable because they feel EVERYONE should do it.

"Indifferent" Congregation
This church could take or leave foster care or adoption. They have too many other things to focus on. If you are a member and you decide to do it, you may or may not have support. There are no special groups or supports built into the ministry so you will need to seek that outside of the church. There may be myths fostered by the congregation that children in foster care are damaged or somehow not as good as other children. This is not the kind of church that you need if you are looking for community, support and someone to understand the unique needs of an adoptive family.

"Open" Congregation
I love this church! This church is open. They don't have a lot of experience with this sort of thing but are open to it. Willing to explore and provide what is needed as the growing need arises. They want to service the needs of their members in any way possible even if it has not been done there before.

"Supportive" Congregation
This is the well balanced congregation. Not only do they recognize that adoptive families have needs, they recognize seniors, special needs families, business professionals and more. They thrive off of supporting a wide variety of needs for their congregation. I am proud to say that I attend a church such as this.

Myself and other adoptive families are not saying that every church should stop what they are doing and put all their money and efforts into foster care and adoption. I am saying that a balanced church recognizes the needs of their congregation, educates themselves on things that are unfamiliar such as adoption to better serve their people. Below are the TOP 5 things that adoptive families surveyed felt a supportive church has.

1 An adoption/foster friendly church has leaders that understand that adoptive families have unique needs and are willing to help support them. They may not have adopted or fostered themselves but they recognize that these families need to be nurtured in ways that biological families may not need.

2 An adoption/foster friendly church is a diverse body of believers that welcome families of other ethnic groups as part of their church family.

3 An adoption/foster friendly church educates children's workers and leaders on handling unique situations dealing with children who have experienced trauma so that the families are not left feeling misunderstood or alienated due to a child's struggles.

4 An adoption/foster friendly church recognizes adoptive families in the same way as they do biological families and extends the same love, nurturing and privileges to them as well. Families are not made to feel like their children are not good enough or "different" because they are adopted.

5 An adoption/foster friendly church supports adoptive families emotionally as they parent their children who are hurting and healing for years to come. This could be done through a church support group, materials or referrals. 

The church has spoken! Or should I say the adoptive/foster families in our churches have spoken. Let the church say AMEN! If you want more information on starting an adoption & foster care group in your church (with the blessing & support of your pastor), here are a few resources!

"Launching an Orphans Ministry in Your Church" by Jason Weber
"Your Church and the Orphan" by Hope for Orphans
Originally posted on Family by Design with Karla Marie Williams on February 23, 2012. Reposted with permission. View Original Post Here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Like Us on Facebook!

Guess What? Give1Save1 Europe has it's own Facebook page where you can keep up to date about what is going on with us! You can like us here!

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Week, Welcome the Sponseller Family!

Good Morning! Hope you had a fabulous weekend! This week I am so excited to introduce you to the Sponseller family! Please meet Garth and Crystal, and their children Grace, Claire, and Wyatt!

The Sponsellers are adopting a little boy between the ages of 6 and 11 from Ukraine. You can follow their adoption journey at their blog. They started the process to adopt in January and should be traveling in 9 weeks! That is not much time to do fundraising so we need your help! Let's shower the Sponsellers with blessings! Get your $1 ready, donate and share!

UPDATE: You gave $1,383 to help the Sponsellers adopt their son! Thank you!

Crystal also makes lotion bars and bracelets and sells them on Etsy as an adoption fundraiser! I really want to try the lotion bars! They are all natural and organic. I love the heart shape and the cute little tins they come in.

Home-made, all natural lotion bar

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Favorite Adoption Resource

The transition period after any international adoption is finalized can be hard, especially for the children - adjusting to a new family member, new customs, new foods, a whole new way of life. On top of all that change is often a language barrier.

I came across this resource a few months back. I had to share it with you all - introducing Phrases for Children! Language CDs with over 100 phrases especially for adopting families to smooth out the communication in those first few had weeks. I ordered the Bulgarian CD and I love, love, love it! I listen to it in my car to and from work all the time. I am learning to say "I love you," "Are you hungry?", "Time to go to bed," and so much more in Bulgarian. You should have heard me trying to pronounce the words at first...but I am getting much better!

This would also make a great gift for a family you know who is adopting!

Available languages include:


Ukrainian (Plus Russian)


For more information and to here samples visit Phrases for Children's website.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Boswell Family Bloopers!

The Boswell family created a blooper video! (If you haven't seen their first video, you can watch it here.)

Would you like a little update on our first featured family, the Boswells? So far they have raised $1375! I am so thrilled we could all help them! If you haven't given a dollar to help bring home sweet Edna from Eastern Europe, please do! Every dollar counts!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Country Shout Out: Ukraine

Hi, there! Hope your day is going well! It is Monday! We don't have a new family this week. We will continue to feature the Boswell Family. Have you watched their video and donated $1 yet?

I thought I would start a blog series giving a shout out to countries in Europe that people adopt from. This week's country shout out should go to Ukraine!

Fun Fact: In 2011, 640 children were adopted from Ukraine by American parents.

In case you were wondering, Ukraine located right here:

Now, for little bit of Ukrainian culture and history:

For more information about adopting from Ukriane, check the Department of State's website on Intracountry Adoption.

The following adoption agencies have Ukriane adoption programs. (There may be other agencies with Ukraine programs, these are just the ones of which I am aware. I am not endorsing any of these agencies. Please do your own research, ask for references, etc. Ukraine also allows independent adoptions.)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Orphan Justice: Orphan Care Beyond Adoption

I love to read! How about you? On my must read list is a new book that is coming out today!

While I advocate for adoption all the time blog, I also know adoption isn't for everyone. But I believe that some form of orphan care is for every follower of Christ. I am so excited about Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting by Johnny Carr. You can order it on Amazon!

I love this video that explains more about Orphan Justice!

I can't wait to find out more ways that all of us can care for orphans! How about you?  Check out for more resources!