Archives for posts with tag: adoption

ImageI am really hoping to generate some excitement around our Facebook chat with Jeff Manion, author of Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption.

And what generates more excitement than a party?!

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • 10 of you invite a few friends to your house, your place of worship or your favorite coffee shop on Tuesday, March 25.
  • You visit. Talk about the book. Maybe have some snacks.
  • Then, at 6:30 p.m. EST, you log on to the Simply Faithful Facebook page and ask the author any questions you have about the book or about living a life of contentment.

IMG_6118As a little bonus for hosting, you’ll get a few freebies to use as door prizes… and friends? I love all the gifts. (You’ll get modern stationery from LouLouBlue; a fabric wallet from Treasured Word that helps you memorize scripture; a beautiful gift from Lavished Grace, where the proceeds go toward funding adoption; and newly released CDs from The Adams Group.)

So, what do you say? Can we count you in?

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Or, if you are in the Rochester area and would like to meet-up with people, I’ll be at Alpha and Omega Parable Christian Store, 1601 Penfield Road in Penfield, starting around 6:15 p.m. The owners of that store have also generously offered to provide some door prizes.

And for those of you who need to be home that evening, we welcome you online, too.

Looking forward to chatting with you all!

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer

When I first interviewed bestselling author Tricia Goyer to talk about her Amish novels she had just finalized the adoption of her two youngest children. So when I decided to focus on welcoming during Advent, I knew I wanted Tricia to share her story. I’m thrilled that she agreed, and I think all of you — those who want to adopt and those who want to support foster and adoptive families — will be blessed by her words.

Tricia…

Every Christmas is special, but I have to admit I’m especially looking forward to this upcoming one. You see this year we added two new children to our family, 6-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Casey. We adopted them from the foster car system, and it’s been a year of hardship and joy, a year of seeing broken hearts start to heal, and a year of firsts. A first out-of-state trip, a first movie theater experience, first birthdays as Goyers, and now our first Christmas together.

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Last Christmas my heart had been prayerful as I consider our growing family. You see we’d just finished all the paperwork and our home study, and I knew that the Department of Social Services could all us any day with a child. They called with children … two of them on January 7. Children who’d lived in numerous homes over the last few years. Children with struggles. Children who’d been hurt. Children who needed a mother and a father.

John and I were willing to open our home, because we longed to give ourselves to children, knowing that the gift we offered them was a godly home. A home that exalted God and parents who strove to serve Him and to glorify Him with their lives.

Over the past few months we’ve taught our children table manners and we’ve trained them to listen and to {most of the time} obey. We’ve proven through our actions that we will provide the food and clothes they need. We’ve proven ourselves as we’ve shown them unconditional love.

Did we do this just to show them what a happy home was like? Yes, we wanted that for them, but even more we wanted them to understand the ultimate gift given on Christmas. We have taught our children to trust us, so that some day they will trust Jesus. We want them to see our walk and become curious about His plan for their lives. We want them to start asking questions and to listen as we share about God’s Son, our Savior.

As we gather around the Christmas tree, the story of Christ’s  unconditional love and sacrifice is something our children will hopefully understand because we’ve lived it out throughout the year.

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Maybe God has put adoption on your heart. If so don’t let fears and worries keep you from following God’s call. But even if you aren’t called to adopt consider blessing a family this Christmas who is. Offer your support and your prayers. Help them give the greatest gift to a child or two next Christmas—the gift of family—and the gift of the Good News of Jesus, offered up with joyful hearts.

And on Christmas morning if you hear extra excited squeals, you’ll know it’s coming from our part of the world—from new Goyer children.

Tricia Goyer is the author of 40 books, including the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Amish series. She has won ACFW’s Carol Award twice, and is a Christy Award and Gold Medallion award finalist. Tricia and her husband, John, live in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have six children. You can find out more about Tricia at www.triciagoyer.com or www.notquiteamishliving.com. She’s also hosting a Facebook chat starting at 8 p.m. EST Dec. 4 to talk about hearing God in the simple things. You’ll find details here.

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Can I tell you something about living with someone with depression? Can you draw your chair closer so I can whisper?

When one family member battles depression it becomes a battle for everyone else, too.

My husband isn’t cranky or blue. He isn’t even a glass-half-empty guy. But he does have bad days where dishes don’t get done and laundry doesn’t get put away. Where it’s hard to pull himself out of bed. Where he fusses and starts a fight before we see his family for the holidays. Where he just doesn’t have the energy for the fun day we had planned.

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It makes the regular roller coaster of life have even more highs and lows, more tight curves where you feel slammed against the side of the coaster. And sometimes it makes it hard to catch your breath.

We show up late to events and appointments. We miss church. We limit the number of activities through the week – just to give us more margin, a chance to catch up if we need it.

It’s hard on all of us, but we’re all on this ride together. Brian is doing what he can. He’s learning more about the illness, getting treatment and changing years of habits. And the rest of us?

We love him.

We love him in his brokenness just as he loves us in our brokenness.

Dealing with depression or cancer or diabetes is tough but that’s what love is made for. It wasn’t meant to sell greeting cards, it was meant to greet us in our time of greatest need.

When my daddy was dying of heart failure in a hospital room, Brian drove 1,200 miles to be with me and we had only been dating three weeks. And when we took foster parent classes and they told us all the behavioral challenges we might expect, I asked Brian if he was sure he wanted to do this because I had been the one pushing for adoption. His answer: God tells us to take care of the widows and the orphans, and he doesn’t say to do it only if it’s easy.

Is your chair still close?

This battle that we’re fighting? It’s OK. Love wins.

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Photo courtesy of Lisa Ruth Photography

A couple of weeks ago I told the story of my son’s adoption through my column in the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle. I’ve told it here on my blog before, where it’s safer. Where there aren’t as many readers. Where I can control the comments.

But now, it’s out there. A sampling of what he went through before he came to live with us. A past that I don’t like to talk about but that he needed to share.

He’s taller now and seems less haunted. Braver. More sure of himself. Happier.

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I like that, and I’m adjusting to this new reality, the one where he releases his story and is set free himself.

I should have known it would come to this, that I would again be learning from him. It has been happening all along — for the two years we fought to adopt him and certainly the five years since. That’s why I always cringe when people tell me how lucky Jessie is, how they are glad he is with us. Because the truth? The truth is that we are the lucky ones and we’re happy we have each other.

That’s one of the things I wish people understood about adoption. You shouldn’t go into it expecting to change the world, but you should expect it to change your world.

I hope we’re helping Jessie grow into a wonderful man, but he’ll make his own choices as he grows. I can’t guarantee that he’ll have a fine life now that he’s part of our family. I can guarantee you that he has improved our family, though. We love differently. We make more of an effort to build trust, to learn about each other. We’ve stretched and adapted. We’ve patched each other up — and we’re stronger now, more secure.

And can I tell you something else about adoption?

He’s really my son. I am his real mom.

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If the newspaper ever writes about him because he has won the Nobel Prize or because he is being sent to prison, he is my son. Not my adopted son. My son.

I mean it, either way, because that’s what real family is like. And that’s what we are. A real family.

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“You love to sketch,” I told him as he plopped down on the couch. “You should do a journal page for me.”

What would I put on it?

“Well, what does hope mean to you?”

It means you never give up, no matter how bad things get.

“That’s perfect. You should write that on there. It’ll give people a place to start journaling. But you should draw something, too — something that makes you think of hope.”

He comes back to the living room what seems like only 15 minutes later.

Here you go, Mom. This character’s name is Yoshina or sometimes he’s called Ageha. He fights to help people who can’t help themselves because someone saved him when he was little.

That’s when I fight to hold back tears. That’s when I ask if I can share a little bit of his story.

You can tell whatever you want, Mom. Maybe it could help somebody else.

And so I begin.

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Jessie’s 2-inch thick adoption file

For the first five years of Jessie’s life, he lived with his biological parents and his half-sister. He has great memories of playing at parks and baking cookies, and he has memories of hiding in the bathroom until the police came to separate his fighting parents. He remembers his mom liking something that was milky white but that he was never allowed to touch and a rainy night when she could barely keep the car on the road.

Then, there was the time they left him and his slightly older sister in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart for several hours while they went to get drugs – and the times that the kids spent the night at the crack house. Times when his parents were home but unavailable, not quite functioning. Times when lunch was a tub of margarine. Times when homework went unchecked.

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This is how his life started and that’s why at 14 he struggles to print legibly, why he always asks when dinner will be ready, why he looks a little lost, a little pained when I talk of trust, of lasting family ties.

Already he’s had more than one lifetime of loss. Already he knows too much of complicated relationships, of shaky love.

Already he speaks of hope as one who knows how badly it’s needed in this world – and already he understands its strength.

Don’t give up even when things are bad.

Jessie1Today’s journal page was designed by my oldest son, Jessie. He loves video games, drawing and reading — especially manga, which are Japanese comics. He plays a mean game of Monopoly and shares my love of office supplies. He’s handsome, has just the faintest touch of a mustache and jeans that always seem too short. He’s one of the most generous people I know, and I’d like him even if he wasn’t related to me. To download today’s journal page and write your own thoughts, please click here.

Here’s a glimpse…

Jessie

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