Be Bold {let your light shine}

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I wish I could tell you that it is “easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy” (as my 5-yr-old likes to say) to parent children who have been adopted or to be a foster parent.  I’d love to say that once a child enters your home either for foster care or adoption, all problems go away and it’s just downhill and smooth-sailing from there.  It would be fantastic for me to declare that I never second-guess myself and that we are all about lollipops, rainbows, and laughter.  However, if I were to say any of these things, my words would be false.  They would not bear a truthful witness to what it is to be a parent through adoption.

A few months ago, I started praying/speaking these words to God, “What do you want me to do with my life?”  “What do you want from me?”  One morning while praying, I heard the words, “BE BOLD.”  A little startled at the immediate response, I asked, “What do you mean?”  

“BE BOLD.”  The words were clear, concise and not complicated.

Several months have passed and to be honest, I just kind of ignored this answer.  I know the Lord told me to be bold but it was just too simple of a declaration.  I am a detail-oriented person and the two-word response to my prayer just didn’t cut it.

With the dawning of a New Year, the Lord’s answer of “Be bold” has never strayed too far from my mind.  I wonder, friend, if His words are not only meant for my ears but also for yours.

For prospective foster and adoptive families, you need to know that being bold is imperative.  It’s more than just declaring an injustice in what you are witnessing.  It requires a stillness of faith AND a movement of courage.  

Being bold, in the sight of others who do not understand, is necessary.

When you are asked, “Why in the world would you want to do that?”, be bold.

When people say to you, “I would never subject my own kids to that”, be bold.

When you are quivering in fear over what is going to happen with a child you love, be bold.

When you have the opportunity to love on biological parents, please, by all means, be bold.

Foster parenting and adoption both have this funny way of knocking people to their knees.  We fall down time and again, but we get up.  We wonder what we are doing and why in the heck are we doing it, but we keep on.  In the face of many obstacles and trials, we stand up.  We are bold.

When parenting children who come from extremely difficult situations, we learn of our own blessings and our own stumbling blocks.  Their histories collide with ours and we realize how different life could have been for us if we were handed down the same hardships these children have been dealt.

I know the saying of “What would happen if you weren’t afraid?”  It’s fine and everything but I like this version better:  “What would happen if you were bold?” 

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold… -2nd Corinthians 3:12

How could your courage and boldness literally change the course of a child’s or adult’s life?

What would your boldness show to children who look up to you?

How could you make an eternal difference for someone?

What if you took that darned thing called infertility, grabbed it by the neck and said, “No. I’m not going down that way”?

What if you become a foster parent and take in kiddos that absolutely soak up your love and attention?

What if you step outside of your preconceived comfort zone and foster a large sibling group, older youth or ones with special needs?

What could happen if you decide tomorrow to wake up declaring that boldness is the only way to live?

We are well on our way into 2018.  We don’t know what we will have to face or overcome as the year unfolds but let’s live this year with a boldness that leaves an impression.

Shine your light, friends.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

 

If you are considering foster care or adoption, my wish is that fear would not stop you.  It isn’t easy, but it is so worth.

Goal for 2018:  Let others see that boldly living and courageously loving is a remarkable way to live.

Question:  How are you going to live boldly this year?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

That’s Just Fine with Me {perfection is not a guarantee}

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This past week was parent-teacher conference time at school!  I always look forward to meeting with teachers (not because my kids are perfect angels. Sorry to disappoint).  I look forward to it because teachers are spending nearly all day, five days per week, with my children.  They watch them interact with others, learn their quirks, discipline when required, and encourage when needed.  That’s big, people.

Yesterday’s conference started out like most other ones.  We reviewed grades, etc and then my child’s teacher asked, “How is the school year going?”  My reply went something like this, “(Child) is having a hard time.  Not wanting to do homework, lots of behavior issues, threatened to run away this week, questioned a lot about adoption…”

The teacher shoved the grade card aside and we sat and talked about my child and what is going on.  At one point, the teacher showed me an assignment that my child wrote titled, “My Favorite Person”.  She then read it to me.

Here is some of it:

“My favorite person is my parents.  They protect me.  They make sure I am safe on the streets.  They watch me when I am playing outside.  They are respectful of me.  They have manners.  They listen when I am talking to them.  They forgive me when I say sorry to them.  They don’t let me down.  They adopted me.  As you can see, I have a very good Mom and Dad.”

While the teacher was reading it, I started to cry.  Soon after, she did, too.  She said, “You’re doing a good job, Momma.”  I cannot stress enough the importance of the timing of this.  My child has been questioning a whole lot about our adoption history and I’ve had to answer some pretty tough questions.  This parent-teacher conference was not just about reading, writing, and arithmetics.  It was about life and I needed to read the words: They don’t let me down.

Some people have questioned why we chose to tell our children immediately about adoption.  (Like as soon as they were adopted – age 20 months, 14 months, and 13 months).  We knew they didn’t understand or comprehend it, but the word became a part of our language and adoption, a natural part of the make-up of our family.  My husband and I have come to realize that if we hide or mislead our children about the smallest of details of their adoption stories, then we shouldn’t expect them to trust us with any of the details.

We know that if we chose to hold tightly their adoption stories, it would have been a mistake.  Even with our openness, it is tough at times.  There is nothing like watching your child grieve for a mother that one has never met, or felt.  It is heartbreaking, deeply moving and can render one at a loss for words.

When your child spits venom at you that encompasses the full measure of grief, anger, and confusion, it does cause you to question whether you are good enough and if you have this whole adoptive parenting thing down.  After reading my child’s letter, I know that while we are not perfect, we are good enough.  Just good enough.  That’s fine with me.

Surely, we will have tougher days ahead.  Perfection was certainly not promised when we signed on the line for adoption.  It is not guaranteed for any family, regardless of how children come.  With adoption, though, I’m learning that we do have more to prove, we do have to be intentional about our efforts, and we must work hard at never letting our children down.

I’m also learning that while perfection is not a guarantee, love is.

That’s just fine with me.

Love Changes Lives (Happy Birthday, Son)

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.

The night you were born was beautiful.  Your birth mother wailed in agony of labor pains, while I laid in my bed wallowing in my own kind of labor pains.  There was beauty in both of these moments.  One was painted with strokes of joy, while the other, strokes of despair; and yet, both were beautiful.  I did not know that my tearful prayer that night collided with the birth of you.

Two days later, we were asked to take you in.  Two days later, I held you for the first time.  I cannot think of anything more amazing than that.photo (5)

Love knows no boundaries, no genetic markers, no birthing, and no blood lines.  Love takes hold of opportunities and transforms them into beauty.

Before there was you, it was just me and my infertility.  Before you, my heart was only half-developed. Before there was you, I only knew one layer of love.

Love grabbed a hold of me the first time I saw you…instantly.

In an instant, I was separated from infertility for the first time in more years than I can remember.  For the first time, I felt whole.  For the first time, I also felt complete fear.  I feared loving and losing you.

I wished I would have been there the day you were born.  I wished I could have heard your first cry, held you while you welcomed Earthly air into your lungs, and whispered loving words to both you and your birth mother.  I would have been there had I known your circumstances.  I would have stood by your birth mother as she was told she would leave the hospital without you.  I would have done this because I honor her, and I love you.

I prayed for you the entire time we were fostering you.  I petitioned the Lord on your behalf, and on your birth mother’s.  How could I love you, and not want your birth mother to experience the same kind of love?  How could I look at myself in the mirror everyday knowing that I had been gifted with you, and not for one moment, want the best for her?  How could I allow love to overfill my heart, and not have any leftover for her?

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.  Love took a hold of me the moment I saw you.  

Love still takes hold of us.  It tempers us in our moments of frustration.  It claims us in our times of messes.  It wraps around us in our seasons of sadness.  Love holds us together in our moments of hardship, and it leaps with us in our times of joy.

picture 40Love seizes my heart time and again when thinking of you.  I happen to believe you are one of the most endearing, unique, and important little boys that has ever existed.  You are wonderfully ambitious, loving, spirited, and an incredible child of God.  Please don’t forget how beautiful, and deeply loved you are.

I don’t consider these past seven years to be lucky ones.  They are much more than that.  I consider them to be ones that have proven that nothing compares to the capacity that love has to intervene in our lives.

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.  You’ve given us seven amazingly beautiful years.

Love knows no boundaries.  It does not comprehend genetic markers.  It has no birthing or blood lines necessary.

Love truly takes hold of opportunities and transforms them into beauty.

Love changes lives.

this is how I love you

It has been one of those weeks, or two with my almost 7-year-old son.  I’m not sure what it is – start of school, sudden warm weather (we’ve had a mild summer for Missouri until recently), allergies, hyperactivity….not sure.  There has been moments this past week or so that I’ve thought, “What am I going to do with him?!?!”  

I’ve been disappointed with some of his choices, concerned about some of his actions, and prayed for the Lord’s continual healing and protection of his life.  I realize as a parent that this is probably the most loving thing I can do for him.  I also recognize that I’m not alone in my concerns.  Many parents, if not all, digest their children’s actions and choices on a daily basis.

A few days ago while riding in the car, my son started singing a song on the radio. The faint, slightly off-key voice of my young boy caught my attention.  It did more than cause me to pause a while and listen.  His small voice stirred my heart a bit.  It was during this time that I became overwhelmed by the power of love.

Love forgives the past.  Love moves us away from disappointments.  Love enters our hearts, and seeps out of every pore in our bodies.  

I am overwhelmed by just how much I love him, my daughter, and my littlest one.  I may not ever be able to “fix” all of the struggles they have.  I’m not even sure if I should anyway.  I may not understand fully what it is like to live life walking in their skins.

I know I will never be able to completely fill the blank spaces in their histories, or write their stories in a way that will bring total comfort, but….I love them.  Even in my disappointments, moments of utter frustration, and moments of joy, the one thing that doesn’t change is my heart’s commitment to who they are, and who the Lord has ordained me to be in their lives.

As I continued driving and listening to his sweet little voice stumbling over words he didn’t know, I felt the Lord saying to me,

“Caroline, this is how I have heard you through the years.  I’ve heard your imperfect voice.  This is how I see you.  I’ve seen your choices.  This is what I feel for you, and all of my beloved children.  I’ve rejoiced for you, and cried with you.  This is how I love you, and always will.”

In those times when we disappoint, or we make bad choices, or maybe we reach that place of throwing our hands up and giving in, His Love – the most significant, unexplained, miraculous, life-changing, hope-sustaining, and compassionate love – has not changed, nor will it.

Through all of life’s challenges and changes, times of peace and times of war, mountain-tops and valleys, trials and talents, and sounds and silences, His love remains.  His love is the one true constant, never-changing presence of our histories.  It is the unchanging backbone of our present, and it is the eternal, life-preserver for our future.

Deuteronomy 7:9 
9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

Awesome….thank you, Father.

I still think of you, birth mother

photo credit: http://www.freedomphotography.smugmug.com/
photo credit:
http://www.freedomphotography.smugmug.com/

I still think of you, birth mother.  You are always with me.  Each embrace, each kiss, each smile, and each moment of growth, I think of you.  This week marks the fifth year since the adoption of my son…our son, and yet; I still think of you.

It seems like a lifetime ago since we talked about him.  I remember our talks while taking turns rocking him.  We were in love with the same child.  Our love for him opened the door for our relationship.  You are the one who started loving him the moment you knew you were expecting.  I’m the one who prayed for a child to love. How could we have known that while I was praying for a child to hold, you were carrying my future son?

How can I ever thank you, birth mother?  How can I ever tell you how grateful I am that you chose life?  Because of your life-affirming choice, I am raising a bright, energetic, and spirited boy who filled the paleness of my dreams with color.  Your son was my first baby.  Your son was the answer to my deepest longings of the heart.

Your son is the embodiment of a life lived outside of oneself.

It is not a mistake that our process to get approved as foster parents took nine months; nine months of our child forming in your womb, nine months of our anxious thoughts, nine months of your difficult circumstances, and nine months until we met for the first time.

I remember that the first thing you said to me was, “So, that’s what you look like.”  Your words humbled me, birth mother.  There I was, a stranger, embracing your son, holding him in the middle of the night, and caring for his every need.  While I was doing this, you were wondering who I was.  My prayers to our God was for His will to be done, and for His strength to get us through whatever path we would end up walking.

I know that our path was probably the easier one.  Yes, we worried, we cried, and we prayed, but we ended up keeping your son.  We ended up becoming his forever family, his mommy and daddy, and his future.  Yes, we had it easy.  You, birth mother, you walked the difficult road.

You, birth mother, you must have felt the pain of loss that first Mother’s Day without the acknowledgement of him.  You, birth mother, must have felt an ache in your heart that went unfulfilled.  You, birth mother, must have longed for a different outcome; and yet, you did not fight the decision that was made.

You and I both had our hands tied.  We both had to adhere to the decisions made by others about the child we both loved deeply.  Together, we both had little control.  Together, we both had hopes of raising him.  Together, we both loved this child.

I still think of you, birth mother.  I still wonder how you are doing.  I still see you in him.  I still think of your kindness to me. There I was, a young foster-mother holding your son, and yet, you embraced me. You were kind to me.  You were interested in me, and you thanked me for the love I gave your son.  I don’t know if I could have done that.  I don’t know if I could have been as kind as you were if the tables were turned.  I just don’t know.

Thank you, birth mother.  Thank you for the courage it took to not fight the inevitable.  When I was told that you had decided to not fight the courts anymore, I fell to my knees in grief and in joy at the same time.  I cried over the hardship of the decision you must have made.  In that moment, I knew my life was forever changed.

In that moment, I knew that you truly loved your son.

It has been five years since your son became mine forever.  It has been five years since tears fell from my eyes while the judge was announcing our adoption.  You were on my mind that day, birth mother.  Our journey together ended that day; although, it will never really end.  As long as our son has life, I will think of you.  You will always hold a place in my heart. I will always remember your smile, your laugh, and your kindness.

Your son…our son…is a treasure.  He is a delight.  He loves dirt, bugs, art, gymnastics, basketball, and fishing.  He is always coming up with the most creative ideas out of simple household items.  He is a willful, curious, loving, and loyal boy. Oh, he has his moments of challenging us, but he is a wonderful son.  He is a child that has left his footprints on the hearts of many.  He means the world to so many, and is richly loved.

I still think of you, birth mother. I still see you in him.  I still think of our talks,and the mutual love we held for our son.  I’m doing my best to raise him in a way that will honor the difficult decision you made.  I want him to be a man of integrity, a man that nurtures life, and contributes to goodness in this world.

We have a beautiful son, birth mother.  Thank you, birth mother, thank you.

Out of the Ashes

Photo credit: http://freedomphotography.smugmug.com/
Photo credit: http://freedomphotography.smugmug.com

Looking at the image above of my family causes me to think of how blessed I am. We are a family filled with lots of love, lots of trial and errors, lots of do-overs, and lots of moments that leave us laughing.  Looking at the image above makes my heart happy, and yet, it also makes my heart a little sad.

I know that sounds strange to say it makes me sad, but truthfully, it invokes a sliver of sadness.  It is not my children or my husband that do this to me.  It is the thought that my family…my everything here on Earth….was created out of the terrible circumstances of others.  The birth parents, grandparents, cousins, siblings, and other relatives that will not be pictured on the couch together with my children are on my mind.  My children will most likely never be embraced by their birth grandparents.  We have some limited contact with a sibling of my daughter, and we send letters to my son’s birth mother, but these things do not replace or ever will replace growing up in their families of origin.

I love the little ones I’ve been charged of taking care of.  I love them so much that my heart can’t help but break for what their birth parents have or are going through.  Substance abuse, mental illness, instability, homelessness, severe impoverishment…you name it….these are the things that make up the lives of birth families of the sweet ones I tuck in at night.  I know that the Lord formed my family.  I know that He took the messiness of life’s problems, and created the portrait of love above.  I know this.

Adoption has blessed me in some many ways.  It has fulfilled that deep longing to live for and love on a child.  It has broken me, humbled me, and rebuilt me again. Taking in someone else’s child has brought me to my knees in tears and in prayer. It is complicated, requires full attention, and yet, it is beautiful.  It is beautiful.

Still yet, my heart aches for those out there with whom my children come from that are missing out on the hugs, kisses, temper tantrums, scrapes, good dreams, bad dreams, and longings of children learning who they are in the world.  It was not meant to be this way.  Fathers and mothers were not meant to abandon their children, have severe addictions, or struggle with mental illness.  Still, here I am benefiting from these tragedies.

People may look at our situation and think, “What a great thing that has happened for them.”  I think that way too, but still, in that quiet place of my heart, that place that is secret, I grieve for my children’s birth mothers.  I carry them with me.  I think about them when celebrating the goodness of my children.

I know the day will come when my children will learn and fully understand the circumstances that opened their paths to our hearts and our home.  I know that day will be hard.  It saddens me.  It worries me, and it humbles me.  It also builds my courage to do a better job as a parent, to try each day anew to meet my kids where they are at, and to gently guide them as they grow.

There’s a lot of love on the couch in the photograph above.  There are moments of utter chaos and craziness that comes with three young children.  There are moments of exhaustion, and moments of exhilaration   There is definitely plenty of happiness that goes around.

There’s also a family sitting there that has shed tears, whispered prayers, and spoken hope.  There are two parents who know that out of the ashes of mistakes, darkness of addictions, and pain of regrets, this family…our family….was created.

The Lamp and the Light

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

I’m exhausted from the day.  It is not that I’m physically exhausted, but emotionally exhausted.  Our hearing was heard today to obtain custody of the precious little one who has come to live with us.  I fret over his future, and yet, I love his birth mother as she too is a child I once carried around as an infant.  My husband and I petitioned for guardianship of the baby because we love him and we love his birth mother, his grandmother, and his great-grandparents.  We are all family, and family matters.

I’m exhausted from the day.  I had to be on the witness stand to testify as to why I would be a good home for him.  I had to prove myself, my experience, my relationships, and my stability.  This is not the first time I’ve had to do this.  Being a former foster parent felt like a constant attempt to prove myself as being worthy of being a parent.  I have not cared for a single child that has come to me free of legal strings attached.  I’ve had to testify and show the courts and other powers-that-be that I am capable of providing and loving on a child with-whom I’ve already taken into my home, cared for, and loved on.  I’ve had to prove myself, and yet, the Lord already approves of me.

I’m exhausted from the day, but, I have this sense of inner peace.  I know that my God loves this precious little one more than I can ever imagine.  He commands this child’s destiny.  He has written his past, his present, and his future.  He sings over this baby, and He rejoices over his growth like a proud daddy.  The Lord, and His word are the lamp upon his feet, and the light upon his path.  Truthfully, He is the lamp upon all of our feet, and the light upon our paths.

I’m exhausted from the day, but also at peace knowing that the Lord would not set me and my family upon this path if any of this didn’t matter to Him.  I sat in the court room today at the table with sweaty palms, quick breaths, and a rolling stomach.  I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and welcomed the Lord into the courtroom.  I said softly to myself, “Lord, be with me.”  Although nervous and uncertain what the Judge would think, I felt great strength knowing that God was with me.

I’m exhausted from the day, but not worn out.  I know this fight, this passion to protect, and this path has been lit by the light of the Lord, and the choice to love the way He wants us to.  I know that He is the lamp upon which my feet walk, and that each step forward may feel like it is in darkness, but not for long.  I know that He will light the way.

Custody was granted for us today.  This little babe that we love is with us for now at least.  Custody may be temporary, and I may not know what the future holds for him or for his place in our family, but I know who holds his future.  I know to trust the Lamp that will guide the child’s feet, and the Light that will brighten his path.

I know in the depths of my being that the Lord loves this precious baby more than I could ever imagine or fathom…now that is something that refreshes my soul.

daughter of mine, Child of His (re-posted for a reason)

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I originally published this post back in July of 2012.  I’m sharing it again today in honor of the 3rd anniversary of our adoption of our little girl.  It’s been a rough weekend with family members undergoing serious illnesses and sudden changes in our routine, but nevertheless, the Lord is always faithful.  I’m so blessed to have a daughter!

daughter of mine, Child of His

Life as a girl can be difficult sometimes. The mirror reflects what you see but not what the world expects you to be. My hope for you is that you will only see how your Heavenly Father views you. Your blue eyes were made just for you. He designed you from the tips of your toes to the ends of your hair. That ever-so-slight dimple in your chin was carefully placed exactly where He wanted it to be.

daughter of mine, Child of His. You are beautiful.

There may be times in your life when you may not recognize who He created you to be. You may not always hear Him calling for you, or answering your prayers. Sometimes, you may feel as though you are trying to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, but you are not. Your Heavenly Father will always be calling for His child. He will always listen intently and mercifully to your pleadings.  He is carrying both you and the world in His hands.

I want you to get dirty, jump in puddles, grow flowers, dance until your feet hurt, sing at the top of your lungs, have childhood crushes, laugh yourself silly, and dress in a way that shows your creativity and personality. I want you to say no and mean it. I hope you never believe that you are not good enough for anything less than happy, loving relationships.

daughter of mine, Child of His.  You are good.

I hope your friendships have depth, your love has width, and your aspirations have height. I pray your faith will be a well of peace and solitude. Be who you are, not who others wish you would be. Find what makes you happy and run with it. Let your passions become your joy. May you wander the world, but never forget where home is.

The Lord gifted me with you and all the things that make up who you are. You are delightfully stubborn, sensitively sweet, and tomboyish tough all at the same time. I want you to never be afraid of showing your colors to the world.

daughter of mine, Child of His. You are colorful.

Colors Don’t Matter

Family Pic Blue Wall 16x24RS (2)
Matt, Heidi, Jaz, Shiloh, Sean, Annika, and Isaiah
Freedom Photography

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.  -Psalm 127:3-5

One day while sitting at a park bench watching my daughter play, I sat next to a woman who was also watching children play.  Something about her seemed so familiar.  Although I rarely do this, I said to her, “Do I know you from somewhere?” This start of our conversation led to the realization that we have mutual friends. We also learned that we are both adoptive mothers of children out of foster care.  We exchanged Facebook info, and each went our separate ways.

I’ve been wanting to share more stories of the “Backyard Missionaries” that make a difference in our communities.  I think of foster/adoptive parents as missionaries serving others in their own backyards.  I’ve asked Heidi and Matt to share their story….here it is.

Heidi has always had the desire to adopt even before she and Matt tried to get pregnant.  After six years of marriage they opted not to pursue infertility treatments, and instead, put their pursuit and efforts into adoption.  Although Heidi yearned for pregnancy, once they began their journey of adoption, she quickly became excited about what was in store for them.

Their first son, Isaiah, was placed with them through a private adoption agency. They were blessed to be matched so quickly, but also noted that they were very open to race, and other issues such as prenatal drug usage.  This level of openness certainly helped to speed up their placement matching.

Throughout the next four years, it was just Matt, Heidi, and Isaiah.  They wanted  more children, and chose to become licensed as foster parents in the hopes of eventually adding to their family.  Within the first few months of licensure, they received a call about a sibling group of three children, ages 10 months, 2 years, and 3 years.  A few months later, they were called to take placement of another little one.  In a matter of months, they went from being a family of three to a family of seven!

They finalized their adoptions in 2011, and thought they were finished when they received a call from the local children’s protective services office in June 2012.  Matt and Heidi say “yes” to a newborn sibling of their children.  They continue to foster him, and if the case goal changes to adoption, they will add another little one to their amazing family!

For Matt and Heidi, the biggest joy is seeing their children grow and thrive.  They recognize that the road of life these little ones were walking before coming to their home was a difficult one.  It is indescribable to know that they have taken part in the incredible intervention of children’s lives.

Their oldest daughter really struggled when she came to live with them at age three.  She desperately missed her birth mommy, and was angry.  Matt and Heidi allowed these feelings, and helped her transition to their home by offering stability, love, and support.  The quick adjustment from a small family to a large one was quite challenging at first, and it took them a while.  Big is normal now, and they love it.

Questions from others such as, “Are you ever going to have children of your own?”, or “Which ones are brothers and sisters?” are ones that challenge Matt and Heidi.  Although they have two biological sibling groups, they are ALL brothers and sisters, and do not see each other any different.  As far as having their own children, Matt and Heidi know their children are their own, and quite simply do not understand why anyone else would feel different.

Adoption has changed their lives, formed their family, and has added incredible joy.  Adoption has taught them the value of diversity, and it is their uniqueness as Caucasian parents raising African-American and Bi-racial children that they embrace.  Their family motto is “Colors Don’t Matter” .  They have also learned that the ability to grow babies in a belly truly has nothing to do with the love and commitment of parenting.  Adoption has taught them that love truly has no borders and knows no bounds.

Heidi’s and Matt’s advice for people considering adoption out of foster care is quite simple:

“Be patient.  Have faith.  The system is not perfect.  Love the children.”

Matt and Heidi own a photography studio and are preparing to put together a gallery of images of families who have adopted out of foster care in an effort to promote this incredibly vital and worthy cause in our nation.  You can check out their website at:  www.Freedom-Photography.com

It Would Be Easy

It would be easy for us to say no to a situation involving a family member that, if all goes through, will distinctly rock our fairly routine family life.  It would be easy for us to say that we are too busy, too poor, too stressed, too hectic, too old, and far too content in our own circumstances to do anything to help.  It would be even easier to say “it’s not our problem”, and walk away living our own life with our own little family.  It would be easiest for us to sit on the sidelines with our own opinions; yet, not be willing to step out in action, in love, and in faith to help.

It would be easy for us to ignore the need, which in turn would ignore the living, breathing lives of those involved.  When we look at the situation at hand though, we know the decision that needs to be made is not the easy one.  Often, the right thing to do is the hardest.  We also know that if the tables were turned, and we were in need of help, we would desperately want the love of family to stand with us.  We also know we have the ability, the means, the love, and the solid rock that is our Lord to carry us through.

It would have been easy for Jesus to say no.  It would have been easier for Him to say He was too busy, too poor, too stressed, too hectic, too old, and far too content in His own circumstances to do anything.  He did not say, “Father, they are not my problem.”  Oh, it would have been especially easy for the Son of God to circumvent the calling on His life in order to avoid hardship.  Because He chose the hard path that led to a bloody and brutal death on a cross, we have been given new life, abundant hope, and eternal grace.

Our life may be changing in the next month or two.  We may have less time, less space, and less money.  We may have to rely on each other for even greater support.  We may have to be even more fervent in prayer, and patient in the progression of things.  We may have to help our little ones understand the opportunity to imprint love onto someone else.  We may lean on the circumstances to help them understand their own stories.

We may face objection, questions, and fear.  We may ask at times why the Lord led us down this path.  We may even face heart-ache.  I can’t help but think, though, that if we didn’t face these things, then our answer would have been far too easy.