Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On My Adoption Play List..."When Love Takes You In" By Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman's "When Love Takes You In" is a classic adoption song, so I couldn't skip it on my list of adoption songs! When my husband and I were first thinking about adoption and sending out applications to agencies, I would listen to this song and tear up - I still tear up every time I hear it!

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Week: Welcome the McRoberts Family

It is Monday! How was your weekend? Great I hope! Since it is a new week, I have a new family of the week to share with you!

Welcome the McRoberts to Give1Save1! Jewel and Claude have 3 sons and 2 daughters through birth and adoption. Soon, Claude and Jewel will be welcoming another son, 15 year-old Edgars from Latvia, into their family! This is Edgars' last chance to have a family because he will soon age out of Latvia's adoption program. You can follow their adoption journey at their blog. Don't you want to meet the McRoberts crew? Watch the video below to be introduced to their family and to learn all about their amazing adoption journey!

The McRoberts hope to travel for their 1st of 3 trips to Latvia in June! They will be able to bring Edgars home on this trip! How you can help:
  • PRAY for the McRoberts' adoption.
  • WATCH their video.
  • GIVE $1…. or more if you feel led. You can give your tax deductible donation at Ordinary Hero by clicking the donate button below or you can donate through PayPal on the McRoberts blog.
  • SHARE the McRoberts video and this post via Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter etc. Please help us spread the word!  McRoberts need to raise $3,222 this week to complete their Ordinary Hero funding goal. Every dollar counts!
Update: You gave $257 to help bring Edgars home!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Country Shout Out: Bulgaria

This week's shout out goes to The Republic of Bulgaria! In 2011, 75 children were adopted from Bulgaria by American Parents.

In case you are wondering, The Republic of Bulgaria is located right here:

Now for a little bit of Bulgarian culture, brought to you by Rick Steves:

For more information about adopting from Bulgaria, visit the Department of State's Website on Intracountry Adoption.

The following adoption agencies have Bulgaria adoption programs. (There may be other agencies with 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.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Photo Ideas: Announcing Plans to Adopt

When Andrew and I decided we were going to adopt, we wanted to have a fun, cute, and exciting way to share our news with our family and friends. Most of them lived a distance away. Since we couldn't share the news with everyone in person we opted for a video. I searched the internet for ideas.... There were tons of cute ways to announce a pregnancy, but not so many to announce an adoption. I finally came up with this idea, which we sent to our parents and siblings on Father's Day!

When we were ready to make the news public information we posted this picture on Facebook:

Since that time I have found more cute ideas to sharing the exciting news with family and friends!

Idea 1. For Sale or Trade for Crib....
This has a lot of cute possibilities for an adoption or pregnancy announcement!

Isn't Having Babies the Best?

Idea 2: Due Date TBD

Guess What?! We're having a baby....
through Adoption!!! Due Date: TBD

 Idea 3. Balloon Message!
Noelle&Adam FB banner

Idea 4. Only Child, Expiring.....
Have your child were this to the next summer picnic or BBQ! See who notices first! Have more than 1 child? Have all the children wear big brother or big sister shirts (including your youngest child)! Or try a T-shirt that says "Youngest Child, Expiring Soon"...

6. Signs, Banners, Chalk Boards, Etc.

7. Our Family is Growing by 2 Feet!
For more fun adoption photography ideas click here to check out our Pinterest board.

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Week: Welcome the Seier Family

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was great! It is a new week and we are featuring a new family. Please welcome the Seiers - Melanie and Eric and their son Isaiah. The Seiers family are adopting two children from Ukraine! You can follow their blog here.

The Seiers have travel dates to Ukraine to pick up their children in July. They only need $5,000 more to have the complete amount of funds needed for the adoption and travel expenses! Please give $1 (or more!). The Seiers have a donation account with You Caring!

Update: Thank you for your support! With your help, we raised $1,191 to help the Seiers adopt 2 children from Ukraine!

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On My Adoption Playlist... "One Less" by Matthew West

One of my favorite adoption songs is "One Less" by Matthew West! I can imagine it making a great sound track Gotcha Day video when we bring our kids home. I also think it is perfect for Give1Save1 because it is what we are all about - giving $1 to help bring 1 child home so there will be 1 less orphan in the world!

(Note: I am not endorsing All God's Children, I just think the video collage they made with this song is super cute!)

Matthew West explains the story behind One Less:

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Week: Welcome the Jensen Family!

Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was awesome! This week I am super excited to introduce you to our new family of the week! Please welcome Stuart and Tracy Jensen and their five fantastic boys: Keoni, Kekoa, Kalani, Kawika, and Kumaka. The Jensen family is adopting Sofi Rose from Eastern Europe. Follow their adoption journey at their blog. Watch their video! Your going to love this family!

You can help the Jensen family bring Sofi Rose home! Here is how: 
1. Share this with all your friends! Make this go viral!
2. Donate $1 (or more). The Jensens have a donation account with You Caring! Just click the link below to give!

UPDATE: You gave $754 to help the Jensen family bring home Sofi Rose!

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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Great Reads: Adoption Books for Kids

I love kids books! Reading books about adoption to my children will be one way I help them understand their story and normalize adoption. I have been working hard (really hard) at compiling a list of adoption books for kids on Pinterest. I started with one Pinterest board with adoption books for kids. But my list ended up so long - I had to start categorizing it! So now I have 10 (yes, your read that correctly 10!) Pinterest boards of adoption books for kids! I thought you might be interested in adoption books for kids too, so I am sharing here!

Know someone who is adopting? One of these books might just be the perfect gift!

Board 1: Adoption Books for Kids

This board is aimed at younger children and contains mostly picture books and fiction stories, but a few appropriate nonfiction/informational books too! A few of my favorites on this Pinterest board are:

Board 2: Adoption Books for School Age Kids and Teens

This board contains 23 pins. Some books are fiction chapter books others are nonfiction/informational books. I like:


Board 3: Adoption Books for Older Child Adoption

This board has books for children who were not adopted as an infant. It has 10 books pinned to it so far. You might like:

Board 4: International Adoption Books for Kids

This board contains 47 pins! A book pinned here that may interest you is:

Board 5: Foster Care Books for Kids

This board has 12 books pinned to it. You might like:

Board 6: Embryo Adoption Books for Kids

This board only has 2 books pinned to it so far, but I will keep adding books as I find them! This book looks like a good one:

Board 7: Domestic Infant Adoption Books for Kids

Right now this board has only 4 pins, but I will keep adding to it! My favorite is:

Board 8: Transracial Adoption Books for Kids

This board has 21 books pinned to it that are either about transracial adoption, race in general, or transracial families. I love:

Board 9: Open Adoption Books for Kids

This board has 6 books pinned to it. This one looks good:

Board 10: Adoption Books for Siblings

This board contains 15 books for children already in the family who will gain a new sibling through adoption. You might like:


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Guest Post by the Farmer's Wife - Rethinking Adoption: On Counting the Cost

Thanks to Lara (a.k.a. the Farmer's Wife) for letting us guest post this for all our Give1Save1 readers! A few weeks ago Lara posted this on her blog and I knew I wanted to share it with you. This isn't a light, happy, rainbows and butterfly type of a blog post - but I think it is a needed post. For those of us who adopt, we need to think through issues like this. For those of us with friends who adopt, we need to be supportive in every way possible, even in the case where an adoption may need to be disrupted. Enough said. Here is Lara's guest post:

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? – Luke 14:28

Lately I’ve heard story after story of failed adoptions. Stories of parents bringing kids home and the needs being far more than expected and having to seek a different home from the child. Other times the combination of a child and a particular family is toxic from the get-go. This process is called a disruption. Sometimes the child goes to another home in a private family to family adoption and sometimes the child goes into the foster care system. Rarely, the child is returned to their sending country.  These situations are not easy for anyone and there is heartbreak all around.

Before I go on, there are those freak cases of totally nutso adoptive families being approved to adopt who never should have been and ruining a kid’s life. I’m not talking about those cases in this post. I’m talking about decent, well-meaning families being in crisis. I have nothing but compassion for parents in these situations. A few weeks ago I spent an hour on the phone with a mom at the end of her rope, looking to place her son in a different home. No one plans to do this when they adopt. I don’t believe anything is gained by throwing stones at adoptive families in desperate situations. My purpose here is a frank and open discussion about how these situations can potentially be prevented from escalating to the point where a disruption occurs.

I’m not an expert here, and I can only say what things my family has done to make sure we could meet the needs of our children. I realize it might seem like we’ve had it pretty easy with our kids. We are incredibly blessed by all of our children, but it hasn’t been a cake walk. There have been challenges along the way. I’ve chosen not to share the specifics of them here because I don’t think that’s fair to my kids.  Basically, what I am sharing here is the sum of conversations with parents on the verge of disruption. When I considered what possibly could have stopped this from happening, this is what I’ve come up with.

I think these situations should make all prospective parents pause and ask, “What if my kid does that?” Before you bring that child home, run through the worst case scenarios in your mind and decide what your level of commitment to that child is. I know it’s human nature to think “it will never happen to me.” Remove the pre-adoptive rose colored glasses and ask yourself – how long and at what cost are you willing to love that child even if they don’t particularly want to be on the receiving end of your love?

This is something I thought long and hard about before bringing our children home. What if the worst happened? What if the child was aggressive or a danger to others? What if they lied, stole, or broke the law? Clearly, that would be a symptom of some pretty deep turmoil, right? Those behaviors would be a sign that all was not well within the child.

I decided I would do what I do when my other kids are sick: I get them the medical care they need to get better. But I also don’t leave that sick kid right next to the healthy ones while they get well. Keeping everyone safe is absolutely a priority, and I understand there are times when a child needs to be removed from the home for a period of time for their own safety and that of others. There are ways of doing this productively. There are places that offer therapeutic, inpatient help. There are mental health respite services available. There are therapists and counselors and even in some cases medications.

What if your child needed those kinds of interventions? Most are quite expensive. I made myself consider this before adopting and decided we would sell our car, house, move into an apartment, and do whatever we had to do to get our kid help. I would call up everyone I knew and say, “I’ve got this kid who is sick and needs to get better. Can you help?” Because that’s what you do when your kid is sick. You fight for them to get well. I was deeply moved reading this account of an adoptive mom fighting tooth and nail to help her child.

I’ve not been in that kind of a position, but I can surmise it is a very hard spot to be in. Loving someone who is unable to love you back sounds unspeakably hard. But the needs of the child MUST, I repeat, MUST come before the needs and feelings of the adoptive parent. You might not feel warm and fuzzy and that’s okay. It’s not about you. Adoption is about dying to self and laying down your own desires to be a part of God’s redemptive work. I was so touched today when a fellow adoptive mom candidly shared about the tough season she’s  in with  her child. She said she’s been having to work really hard to love this child. But she’s doing it. She’s laying down her own feelings and consciously choosing to love her child, even in the really difficult moments. She’s not wallowing that the child isn’t loving her back. This mom has learned that it might take years for that to happen.
Let’s consider now in practical terms what adoptive parents can do to equip themselves for the potential of these situations:
  • Go into adoption unafraid, but with eyes wide open. Face all the possibilities.
  • I think prior to adopting a child over about 2, it is wise to meet the child and observe the child and spend time with them. I mean, before a court appearance and anything is legal. Before you go and promise a child “forever,” if at all possible, I think meeting them is wise. We never thought we would adopt out of birth order and displace our eldest child. I honestly would not have been comfortable doing so without meeting our daughter first. When I met her, I knew by seeing her interact with other kids that we would be a good family for her and we could meet her needs. Will you be able to see all of the potential issues by a short meeting with a child? Of course not. But you might get a sense of who the child is and if you can effectively meet their needs. If this can’t happen, I would ask for multiple opinions about the child from orphanage staff and anyone you might know who has visited him.
  • Decide ahead of time what you will do if                                          happens. Where will you seek help? What resources are available? Who will you turn to?
  • Consider how you will structure your home to ensure the safety of everyone before completing an adoption of an older child. Tragically, most older children coming from institutional care have seen or experienced inappropriate things. If you are adopting out of birth order, how will you make sure everyone is kept safe? In our home, I have a camera in our upstairs hallway area. If I send my kids up to get their pajamas on, I can hear what’s happening. We also have an open door rule where no two children are ever behind a closed door together.
  • Force yourself to ponder what would justify disrupting your adoption. Talk about that ahead of time. As much as we’d all love to think nothing could ever cause us to disrupt our adoptions, what if you spent every dime you had and exhausted every resource and still found your child had needs you could not meet? What if those needs caused the child to be a danger to himself or others? I don’t have an answer here. I’ve never been in that situation. I do know there are times disruptions are necessary. I know there are some times adoptive parents give everything they have and it’s just not enough.
Can we safeguard ourselves against trauma and hurt when adopting? No! That’s not the point. I just beg pre-adoptive families to think these things through first.

The point here is adoptive parents must count the cost before making lifelong promises they may or may not be able to keep. We all must do our due diligence.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: I am full of compassion for families in these crisis situations. Please, before you make any comments about not judging the adoptive families, remember the child. That is my concern. None of us want to see more kids stuck in these situations.

Wow! Thanks Lara! I told you it wasn't all butterflies and rainbows. But I think it needed to be said!

Originally posted by Lara at The Farmer's Wife Tells All on April 25, 2013. Reposted with permission.

Lara Added this to the bottom of her post - it applies here too! "Mean comments about adoptive parents faced with disruption will be deleted. I will not be party to bashing anyone. This is meant to be a productive discussion about how to prevent disruptions from happening."

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Week: Welcome the Jacobs Family

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Great I hope! Please welcome Heather and Nathan Jacobs and their children, Anastasia, Karis, David, and Verity to Give1Save1 Europe! The Jacobs family are adopting a waiting little boy from Eastern Europe. Their son Hamilton is six years old and has hydrocephalus. You can follow the Jacobs' adoption journey at their blog. Enjoy watching their video!

Can you give $1 or more to help the Jacobs family bring Hami home? If so, click the link below! Also, you can help by sharing this post with your family and friends!

UPDATE: You have given $500 so far to bring Hamilton home!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Empowered to Connect Adoption and Foster Parenting Conference

Last weekend, my husband Andrew and I attended Empowered to Connect Adoption/Foster Parenting Conference sponsored by Show Hope. We had a long drive to Chicago Illinois to get there. Chicago was much colder than where we live. In fact, on Friday it was snowing! We had a wonderful time!

I highly recommend Empowered to Connect to adoptive and foster parents or to prospective parents! We learned so much this weekend about parenting kids who come from hard places, such as prenatal stress, difficult birth, early hospitalization, trauma, neglect, and abuse. Mostly, we learned how much we don't know! But we also came away with powerful resources and information about where to go for help if we need it! Want to attend? The next conference will be in Texas! Better hurry and buy your tickets because the Chicogo conference was sold out and had a long waiting list.

Dr. Karyn Purvis, Amy and Micheal Monroe in a Q&A Session
We figured a trip to Chicago wouldn't be complete without trying some Chicago style, deep dish pizza!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Give1Save1 + Pure Charity

From Beth, who started Give1Save1 and blogs on the Africa page:

Sooo... in case you haven't figured it out yet, we've teamed up with Pure Charity to make fundraising more transparent, easier to share, and well... also cooler looking. Here's what sold me on it, and I'm hoping you're going to fall in love with it too. I mean, it's your dollars we're using here, so I want you to love it.

  • Money donated through Pure Charity is tax deductible. 
  • Money donated goes directly to the agency of the adopting family. 
  • The fundraising family gets to keep more of the funds. Paypal takes quite the little chunk. 
  • The WIDGET! Ok, this is the total geek in me here, but I LOVE the widget like a spaz. Each family gets a widget that can be embedded on this blog, (but here's my favorite part) and also YOUR blog. That's right! You get to play a bigger part in this by smacking that widget in your  post each week. Any time any donation is made it's updated and you get to watch this little bar go higher and higher. I think this is really going to equal more sharing and giving and that's what we're all about, right? 
  • You can also donate to your favorite adoption just like you would your favorite charity, by shopping. I'm sure you can guess how I feel about that. 

So, this week on the Africa page we're going to test drive our first family with Pure Charity. I bet you might be able to figure out who they are if you head on over and create your account.... :)

And, by the way, you'll want to do that. Your going to need to make an account to give or receive funds, but it's easy peasy and looks super classy. Also, if you're hoping to apply to be a Give1 family, just look for our tab on there. You'll be able to send us an application straight from the site. It'll be our first week, so be patient and definitely let us know if there are any kinks, but the Pure Charity folks are pros and I think it's going to be smooth as silk. So what are you waiting for?! If you plan on supporting adoptions and are a regular Give1... um, giver (?) just head over the Pure Charity and make sure you have an account. If you plan on setting up your own fundraiser or applying to be a Give1 featured family, head this way. And that's it.

Originally Posted on the Africa page here.