Friday, August 31, 2012


..."And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. "     -Micah 6:8

If I asked you today, what would be your response if you found out one of your children was being abused, treated unfairly, or neglected by someone else? 

I'm pretty sure I know your answer. 

You'd fight with everything in you to make sure that you protected them and guarded them from injustice. 

It's what any loving parent would do. 

That fierce instinct is born in us the minute we meet the little ones we call our own. 

But what about the kids that aren't ours?  What about the kids that, in fact, don't belong to anyone?  

There are millions of children, internationally and in our very own cities, who don't have anyone fighting for them.  

They are being abused, neglected, and ignored. 

And they need an advocate. 

Advocate: A person who pleads for or in behalf 
or another; intercessor.

You don't need money to advocate.  

You don't need a degree in social work.  

You don't need to have all the answers.  

You just need to use your voice to fight for the lives of children hurting around you. 

Let me share a few of my everyday heroes who have been advocating for the children around them. 

*My foster mom friend, "S" who has been fostering a six month old baby girl since she was born. They LOVE this baby girl, but have known that she would not stay with them forever.  Two families have petitioned for custody of the baby and "S" did not have a great feeling about one of the families.  She spoke at length to the social worker about her concerns and the baby was placed in the other family! 

"S" was advocating for the baby's best interest-  she had no claim on her, the baby was leaving her house whether she wanted her to or not- so she was going to make sure that the child had a fighting chance at life in her next placement.  THIS is why we need more loving, involved foster parents! 

*My blog-world friend Lindsy-  her family has been caring for two little ones that have been in and out of their home the last few months.  They are in an unhealthy situation with their birthmom, and Lindsy and her husband have been fighting to provide stability for them.  When they went MIA with their birthmom a week ago, Lindsy did everything in her power to locate them and connect social services with them. 

Their story is still unfolding, but Lindsy and her husband will continue to fight for them until they are in a safe place, whether it is their home or somewhere else. 

*My friend Andrea- this summer, her family of six hosted an 16 year old girl, Tetiana from the Ukraine  in their home for five weeks.  She has spent most of her life in the orphanage and would "age out" of the orphanage while spending the summer in the US. (When a child ages out of an Eastern European orphanage, the statistics are high that they will end up homeless, in prostitution or on drugs. )  

At the start of the summer, Tatiana was adamant she did NOT want to be adopted... however, by the end of the five weeks, she had changed her mind, and time was running out.  Though she would not be a good fit in Andrea's family of four little kids under age 8, Andrea put Tetiana's story out on her blog and facebook, hoping that a family would have all their paperwork together and be able to adopt her at the last minute.  

Unbelievably, through a CRAZY string of events- there was a family who were able to adopt her! They went to court yesterday!  If you have time, please read this story- it's amazing. 

NONE of these families were advocating for their own children or children they were going to adopt- but their voices have and are making a HUGE impact in the lives of children who don't get to make their own decisions about their future. 

Friends-  YOU have voices. 

In fact, I know some of you personally- and you've got really loud mouths.  :) 

Please, please, please use your voices to advocate for the children around you.  

No matter where you live, there are hurting, abused, and neglected children that are close by.  

Please be their voice.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

YOLO, Bon Iver, and Bootcut Jeans.

I've somehow ended up in my mid-30's.  Still not sure how that happened.  

When I was seventeen, I thought 35 sounded really OOOOOOLLLLDDDDD.  

When I was seventeen, I also thought I'd stop getting pimples once I hit 20. 

I was wrong on both accounts. 

I'm still getting pimples and I don't FEEL old.  But my thirties DID produce some serious gray hairs sprouting out of my head. Not cool.  

I blame Brian.  They showed up after we got married. 

It's become apparent recently that though I don't feel old I AM getting a smidge out of the culturally relevant loop.  Here are some examples. 

1. I just recently learned what YOLO means. 

2. Upon seeing FB pictures of college girls wearing neon midriff shirts and jean shorts I assumed they were going to a theme party.  I was wrong.  This is 2012, real-life fashion, people. 

3.  I don't know how to pronounce Goyte or Bon Iver.

4. A college student was staying with us and forgot clothes for church.  I offered to loan her some of my jeans.  She asked for a skirt in order to avoid having to wear my bootcut jeans.  

5.  I still have the same hair length and cut from high school. That can't be good. Unless, of course, it's coming back into style, much like those colored jeans I wore in 10th grade.  

I'm just going to ignore the fact that I'm headed full steam ahead toward forty, (gulp), and focus on studying the latest catchphrases, buying skinny jeans, and listening to more hipster bands. 


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Playing the Game.

There are quite a few days when I feel really sorry for myself. 

I take stock of our situation- the long, unending journey to our children, both biological and adoptive/foster, and I can make a rather long list of our difficulties, heartaches, and disappointments.

This occurs because of one main reason.

I like to play the comparison game.

As women, I think most of us play it, whether we know it or not. 

In fact, it happens almost every time we walk into a room with other women.   Upon entering the room,  we set up a hierarchy, with the prettiest, smartest, wealthiest, or most powerful women at the top, and the women directly opposite on the bottom.

The closer we can get to the top of the hierarchy in at least one category, the better we feel.  And as long as we look better, think better, or are more successful than someone in that room, we are affirmed. 

It’s an ugly game.  No one knows you’re doing it. But most everyone is playing.

When I play the game, and look at women around me who are my same age,  I can fall pretty short.   My idea of family hasn’t quite come to fruition like I planned and compared to everyone else, I’m pretty far behind.

Other adoptive families have brought two kids home in the time we will have completed our first adoption.  Friends are now pregnant with their second baby since we started the process.  Most people my age have kids entering elementary school. 

Comparatively, I lose.

It can, at times, knock me into a tailspin.

Anybody else with me?

We can compare anything.

The size of our home.

Our beauty.

Our weight.

Our marriage.

Our children. (Or lack of them.)

Our job.

Our clothes.

Our status.

This comparison game steals my joy on a frequent basis and significantly distorts the truth of what I actually have been given in this life.

Comparison makes me think about what I DON’T have. 

There is no winning- it’s just more and more of playing the game in hopes to some day be satisfied with where I measure up.

But it’s a game I just can’t win.   

Someone else will always be prettier. 




More successful. 

Better dressed.


Have more well-behaved children.

And so very often, life has not turned out the way we would have imagined.  It’s easy to look around us and wonder why everyone else has it so easy.

Just think about at what Facebook has created- a fertile breeding ground of “picture-perfect” lives.

A quick scroll down on your status updates shows sweet baby pictures, new homes, expensive beach vacations, and gorgeous wedding photos.  

Everyone’s children look put-together and well-behaved.  Rarely do we see a picture of a toddler in the middle of a full-on temper tantrum.  

Newlyweds take pictures adoringly gazing at one another amidst beautiful backdrops. 

We forgot how easy it is to make life look perfect and put-together in picture and short status updates.

I can only imagine how much of our perspective is lost or altered when we look at these pictures. 

The old saying that pictures tell a thousand words may be true.  But it’s a muddled story.  What happens is that we end up creating a story of that facebook picture that has a tendency to paint our friends lives in brilliant colors while simultaneously viewing our own lives as grayer and more drab by the minute. 

It’s fiction.  Plain and simple.

The comparison game can make us resent our husbands; wishing they did more, made more, loved us differently.

It can cause us to create unrealistic expectations for our children.

It makes us bitter and envious. 

Not really glowing character traits.

So what is our alternative?

One word. 


Thankfulness is focusing on what we DO have and what is right in front of us everyday.

But thinking about what we DO have is work.  It takes a concerted effort to not wish for what tomorrow may bring and instead focus on what we have been given today.

For those living in failing marriages, walking through chemo treatments, dealing with infertility, or a myriad of other heartaches; choosing to be thankful may be a minute by minute or hour by hour process.  

It may be finding just one thing to be grateful for, to get you through the day without crumbling. 

Choosing to be thankful shifts our perspective off of us and everyone around us and refocuses our eyes on the One who gives us life.  

It makes us realize that we have been given MUCH- no matter what our life currently looks like. 

So today, instead of focusing on the children I don't have or the unknown that we still face with baby J, I am choosing to be thankful for the many small and large gifts that I have been given. 

Here's just a few....
- J's big, two-tooth smile 
-Comfy couches
-Skyping with family
-Nap time (for both J and me!) 
-Dinner together as a family tonight

What are you thankful for today?  

Any other thoughts on the comparison game? Ways that you have learned to stop playing? 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Rewind: Plan A

When you adopt/foster, you get a lot of questions and comments from strangers, friends, acquaintances, and family.  I'm reposting one of my blog entries that explained our choices for our family. 

For those you who have just recently found the blog-- hey there and welcome! This post was originally written August 2011.  

I've been marinating on this post for a while.  Knowing it could ruffle some feathers. 

Adoption is not Plan B.  

Not for us.  Not for any family. 

We have never looked at it this way, but in conversations with quite a few well-intentioned folks, I realize that the general population often views it that way. 

"You know you'll get pregnant as soon as you finish your adoption." 

"I know a lot of people "your age" who are looking toward adoption because they can't get pregnant." 

"Do you want to have your own children?" 

I've learned that adoption is often viewed by many (on the outside looking in) as the consolation prize.  

Plan A didn't work.  So you're settling for what is available.  

I disagree and so would all the other adoptive parents I've ever met.  

There is no Plan B. 

The journey to adoption is NOT a surprise to God.  He's wasn't caught off guard by the reasons or the path. 

For some it's infertility or health reasons. 

For others it is how God calls them to add to their family.

For us, it's because God is made it ABUNDANTLY clear that we are to adopt.  Now.  

Many people assume because we are adopting first that biological children are not an option for us.  At this point, we have not heard otherwise, so we hope to welcome a freckled, type-A, northern/southern hybrid into our lives one day.  

But whatever happens, it will be Plan A. 

We are adopting now because there is a need and we have a call.  In the DRC alone, there are five million orphaned children.  

We could not get that figure out of our minds and hearts.  There was no reason good enough to hold off on adopting until we had biological children.  We couldn't stop talking about adoption.  We needed to start the process. 

We know it doesn't make sense to most of the world. 

God made it clear, so we're just following. 

Any child brought into our home, biological or adopted, will be real and be our own.  We pray that others will come to understand that as well, but we also know that we have the privilege of telling the story of redemption and grace each time someone questions our family dynamic. 

The story of Plan A for our family. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Today has Proven. (Otherwise known as the post in which I may lose friends.)

It's on the news.  It's all over my facebook newsfeed.

Christians love chicken.  Especially from Chick-fil-a.

I've looked at countless pictures of chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.

There have been quite a few status updates "sticking it to the man," in regards to gay marriage, free speech, and religion.

I've received numerous requests inviting me to the Appreciation Day.  I actually have had some folks tell me that I better be there.


What are we really trying to prove?

Are we representing our Jesus by posting pics of milkshakes and writing status updates boasting about how wrong the mayors of Boston and Chicago are?

For those of you that know me personally, you are WELL AWARE I love Chick-fil-a.  In fact, I fully support our local Chick-fil-a and their yearly revenue is probably subsidized by our household alone.

I eat there a lot.  I loooooooovvvvvve their unsweet tea with lemon.  Don't judge.

I also love the company.  I have family and friends who are Chick-fil-a operators.  I believe that they are one of the most well-run companies that truly cares for their customers and their employees.

They have given many of their employees college scholarships. They were more than willing to help us host a Spirit Night a year ago to raise funds for our adoption.  In my years of student ministry in Atlanta, they readily donated food to many of our events.

What I'm writing about today doesn't have to do with Chick-fil-a.

It has to do with the Christians who are seemingly waging war with words (and instagram pictures) in a battle that I'm not sure Jesus would even have engaged in.

Let's be clear, Jesus was firm on sin and it's effects.  He was the first to confront and the first to forgive.

But it wouldn't have been with a chicken nugget in one hand and his iphone in the other.

I think this issue is becoming more about sides.  Who can scream the loudest.  Who has the wittiest comeback that can shut down the other side.  Pride, in all it's ugliness is rearing it's head as Christians boast and claim their victory because the drive-through line is very long today.

I've read commentaries and statuses and watched how this has becoming a screaming match between political, sexual, and faith preferences.

And I just keep thinking- how is this like our Jesus?

I pray that if a gay young man or woman was actually brave enough to go in a Chick-fil-a today that they were welcomed with the hands and feet of Jesus.

But after what I've read online today.... I don't know.

Some of you will argue that this is just about free speech and democracy.

But Jesus was not about politics.  He was about freedom from sin.  Forgiveness.  Redemption.  Caring for the poor, the widow, the orphan.

What I can't stop thinking about today is that all we've proven that we need to win arguments.  That our side is bigger and louder.

I wonder how many of us, who know and love Christ and who support Chick-fil-a, took the time to  engage with someone who is gay in a conversation about faith in these past few weeks.  Not an argument. A conversation. One   in which we really listened to what they had to say.

As Christians, we can enjoy our sweet tea and chicken sandwiches, but let us focus on becoming more and more like Jesus.

I pray that we would be less concerned with winning arguments and proving our points and more concerned with loving our neighbors, helping each battle through the deadly grasp of sin, forgiving always, and caring for the broken-hearted.

I pray that rather than engaging in facebook flare-ups, we would spend our time advocating for those in this world that survive on much less than a chicken sandwich a day.

I pray that we would be less concerned saying "I told you so," and more concerned with introducing people to Jesus.

I pray that my Christian brothers and sisters would know that I write this not pointing the finger at everyone else, but turning it on myself as well.

Tomorrow is a new day.  Let us be just as passionate tomorrow about becoming more and more like Jesus as we were for a #5 combo meal today.