Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meet Devontae

I'm honored to be able to share another precious child with you this week.  Each week, I'm posting about a child or sibling group that is currently waiting for a forever family. 

You can see the past two highlighted Heart Gallery of Alabama children here and here

I have LOVED, LOVED, LOVED seeing all the shares of these sweet faces on social media.  By just a click of a button, you are potentially connecting a child with a family!  It doesn't matter where you live in the US, these children are not limited just to being adopted by Alabama families.

Meet Devontae . . .

Devontae, born in August 2000 is a handsome young man. He loves sports especially basketball. Devontae has played baseball in the past and excelled at the sport. He receives support services at school. Despite a learning disability he excels every year. 

Devontae is a bright young boy who needs someone to provide him a forever family. He enjoys going on outings and playing at the park. He likes to laugh, have fun, play with cars and color. Devontae struggles some socially but is maturing with age.He would benefit from a family that has time to give him the one-on-one attention that he so deserves.

That SMILE! Those EYES! Oh, my heart.  

If you would like to see Devontae's video and learn more about him please head over here to his page on Alabama's Heart Gallery.  

For more information on other waiting children, please click here

Honored to be advocating for the children with you, my blog friends!  It's time to share Devontae's story!  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dear Adopted One

You may be seven or thirty-seven; adopted at birth, through foster care, by a relative, or from a country thousands of miles away. When you are woven into a family through adoption, whether it was decades ago or last month, your story is an intricate mosaic of love, loss, and redemption.

Chances are good that you're a part of a family that has celebrated your heritage and embraced every single piece of you.  You have heard over and over and over again from your parents how much you are loved.

But even with such encouragement and support, adoption can bring questions, doubts, and empty places that are hard to fill.

On the days when you have more questions than answers, when insecurities have crept in, and you can't find the words to articulate what you are feeling, may this letter remind you of a few important truths.

Your family's journey to you was not by chance.  You were never Plan B.  Nothing about you is a mistake.

1. Your parents cried (a lot), the very first time they met you. With hearts pounding out of their chests and shaky hands, they held you tightly, stroked your hair, and whispered their love. You may have been a newborn, a nine-year old or a teenager. Age didn't matter, because they knew instantaneously that YOU were their child.

2. Before you joined the family, your parents were praying for you.  Every single day, every step of the way, they were praying for you.  They may have been praying for years and years about you before they physically were able to hold you.  Before you even knew that they existed, your family was praying. 

While they waited for you, your parents were praying. . .

  • that you would know, without question, how much you were loved and wanted.
  • that somehow you would know they were coming as soon as they could.
  • that God would protect your body and your heart when they physically couldn't.   

3. Your siblings asked about you constantly before you came home.  They hadn't even met you yet, but that didn't matter.  In their eyes, you were already a part of the family.  They wondered about your personality, which toys you would want, and if you would like them.  They made posters and wrote letters to give to you the minute they met you.  It didn't take bloodlines to make you family, it just took love.

4. Your parents moved mountains to get to you.  They filled out hours and hours of paperwork, made phone call after phone call, and did whatever they had to in order to get to you as quickly as they could. They made t-shirts, held garage sales, baked cookies, ran marathons, and hand-crafted Christmas ornaments to raise the funds to fly across the ocean or the country to hold you.  They would have learned how to fly a plane themselves if it meant they would be one day closer to bringing you home forever.

5. If they could, your parents would take away all the pain and hurt and loneliness you had ever felt.  They would do anything to get back the years that they were not with you.  They wish that every single birthday, holiday, and milestone had been spent with you.  Your parents wanted to be the ones who kissed every boo-boo, dried every tear, and hugged you when you hurt.  Those times you felt a little smothered with all the attention were just your mom and dad trying to make up for lost opportunities. 

6. Your parents remember.  They remember the years of waiting and hoping.  They longed to hold you as the months ticked away, aching as they looked at your picture.  They can recall waiting for "the" phone call, the one that changed the course of their lives.  Not one day with you has ever been taken for granted, dear one, because they remember the journey to get there.  And you were so worth the wait. 

7. Your parents are going to mess up.  If they haven't already, they will.  They are not always going to have the right answer to your questions. There will be messy moments, hurtful words, and unmet expectations. At some point, they are going to let you down. Take comfort in the knowledge that each decision, whether it was the right one or not, was made was out of love.  Every day they strive to know you more deeply.  They believe that you were meant for great things.  If you don't yet believe that for yourself, they won't give up until you do.

8. Your parents will never, ever stop loving you.  Nothing you have done or will do can ever change that. You are their child, your hearts now intricately woven together. You are wanted, you are chosen, and you are immensely loved.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Meet Cody and Joey

Y'all are awesome. Plain and simple. 

Last week I partnered up with my bloggy friend Catie over at This High Calling, and posted about a set of brothers looking for a forever family.  In case you missed it, please read about this Waiting Children initiative here

Friends, you shared that post and shared it and shared it. Oh, and then you shared it some more. There were over a thousand pageviews of that specific post.  


It's time to do it again this week! 

{Remember-  these are children from Alabama, but families from ANY state can adopt them! That's why ANYONE can share this, no matter where you live!}

Meet Cody and Joey. . .

Cody, born November 1996, is an outgoing young man who is very friendly. Cody loves to play basketball. He received special education services at school. He does not like school, but did well when in a structured environment. Cody is very helpful. He loves electronics, and listening to rap music. 

Joey, born December 1999, is an avid Crimson Tide fan. He loves to rap, draw and play sports. He considers himself a good friend. Joey receives special services at school and does better with individualized attention. He needs a home with structure and consistency. Joey's favorite class at school is his vocational class. He loves to build things. 

Cody & Joey have a supportive relationship and they long to be together in a family of their own. They come from a sibling group of 5 and they are the last two in foster care.

Please head over to Heart Gallery Alabama to see more pictures and a video of these two amazing brothers here.  

If you are interested in learning more about this organization or  other waiting children in Alabama, please click here.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Risky Business

I can't talk openly about our first-born son.  By first-born, I mean the very first one I held in my arms, the first one I fed at 3am, the first one to sleep in our nursery. By son, I mean the one who carries our hearts, but still not our last name.  

He is still in the foster care system, his future yet to be determined. He has been with us since almost the very beginning of his life.  He must remain anonymous to you, but to us, he is known, and loved, and so very, very wanted. 

I long for the ability to show you his face, the animated expressions he makes, and sweet toddler smile. I pray to be able to just tell you his first name one day. 

There are so many variables, so many unknowns in this world of foster care. 

I thought by now, after many months of waiting, there would be a resolution to his permanency. But not just yet. 

It's been the ultimate lesson in waiting and trust for our whole family, but especially for me. 

Every single piece of his future is in someone else's hands.  We are at the mercy of social workers, judges, and lawyers to decide what is best for his future. 

Though we know him better than anyone, our opinion matters the least. 

There is nothing for me to control or manipulate.  I can't provide the solution or make things progress any faster.  

It's a beautifully freeing and terrifyingly unknown place to be. 

I am forced to completely cling to the promises of God. . . that He is Holy and Just and Merciful and Loving and Righteous. . . just to name a few. 

This foster care journey has deepened and stretched my theology.  I've wrestled with logic and reason and faith.  I've questioned motives and sovereignty and the goodness of God. 

I've come to this. 

If I truly believe that God is who He says He is. . .

Then. . .

I absolutely have to trust that God cares about our J-man more than I do. 

I have to trust the God is good.  No matter the outcome. 

I have to believe that J-man will be cared for well, even it's it not by our family. 

I have to believe that God is weaving a beautiful story for him.  Even if it's written differently than I would have imagined.  

These are not trite statements. They are the culmination of a heart that has wrestled tirelessly with God. I think about them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

These are words that carry the weight of potential loss, shattered dreams, and unconditional love. It is the unclenching of my fists, releasing this child fully into the hands of the One who is writing his Story. 

I'm choosing to trust, to hand over all of my hopes and anxiety and doubt, because I've seen what God can do.

He's healed my broken heart. 

He's turned what was meant for evil, for good. 

He's mended relationships. 

He's protected and comforted. 

He's answered every single prayer.  In His way and in His timing. 

Friends, choosing to trust God with our unknowns, with our heartbreak, with our broken dreams, with our children, with our spouses, with our finances, and with everything is risky business. 

It's in the risk, where we have everything to lose, that God meets us.  It's in our tears, those heaving cries, where He comforts.  It's in the release, where we finally let go of every plan and every detail, that He becomes real. 

In the messy, the broken, and the painful parts of our lives, He can be trusted.  In the silence and the darkness, He is there.  

He is faithful in His promises and unchanging in His character. 

To those of you who are hurting, waiting, lonely, or tired. . . you aren't alone.  Let's cling to His promises together. 

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, because He who promised is faithful." 
 Hebrews 10:23

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Meet Dustin, Daniel, and Ricky {A New Weekly Series}

In every state across the US, there are currently children in foster care who are waiting for a forever family.  Their parents rights have been terminated and they are now free to be loved and welcomed into a family through adoption.  

As of April 2013, there were 5,013 children in the foster care system of Alabama.  Five hundred of those children sit waiting, currently ready to be adopted.  

And here is the thing: waiting children don't have to be adopted just by Alabama families, anyone across the country could become their parent.  

Heart Gallery Alabama strives to help find a permanent, loving family for every child in Alabama's foster care system who is in need of a home

Their heartbeat is the mantra, "There are no unwanted children. Only unfound families."

I very much agree.  

I was so excited to see my blog friend Catie, over at This High Calling, announce that every Monday she would be posting about a child available for adoption in the state of Alabama. 

I'm on board too. 

I've got big dreams for what could happen.  Each week Catie will share a beautiful face and and their story.  Then I'll share it.  My hope is then that YOU will share it. And if you share it, maybe your facebook friends will share it, and then their (cousin/friend from high school/tennis partner/co-worker, will open up the link. . .

And maybe, JUST maybe, one of those people will see the face of the child they have been praying for . . .

It only takes ONE family to provide a forever home to a child.  

Let's find that family. 

Let me introduce you to these three handsome brothers. . . 

Meet Dustin, Daniel, and Ricky

Dustin, born February1999, enjoys watching TV, playing video games and reading. He likes the Harry Potter Books. He is creative. He prefers the indoors and enjoys playing alone. Dustin's grades are average and he maintains passing grades. He does wear glasses to help him see the black board in the classroom. 

Daniel and Ricky were born in February 2003. Daniel has an IEP in place for speech therapy to assist with a speech impediment. His grades have been good. He likes to play outside and swim. Daniel enjoys watching TV, playing video games, and playing with others. He is very energetic. He is also creative and likes to draw. 

Ricky likes to play outside and go swimming. He also likes to go fishing. Ricky enjoys watching TV, playing video games, and playing with others. He is very energetic and is creative. He makes friends easily. 

These brothers need a family that can attend to their therapeutic needs and keep them together. They need to be placed together for adoption with a family that has no other children in the home.

If you'd more information about these boys and other available children, please head over to the Heart Gallery of Alabama.

Blog friends, let's advocate for and pray these children into a forever home.  Let us be a voice for the voiceless. 

Excited to partner together with you! 

Life as of Late

Remember that time I wrote a blog post regularly?

Yeah, me neither.

Life as of late is currently kicking my tail.  I have been feeling great, so that's GOOD news. (Shout out to my glutenless and dairy free foods.)  Unfortunately, at every point over the past six weeks, some other human in my household has been sick.

Add to that a family vacation to the Tennessee Mountains, working twenty hours a week from home, and Tyson is now officially mobile.

My time is scarce.  Still trying to figure out a balance of what I dream of doing, what I need to do, and what I can realistically do.  

I've decided that if I just had an in-home chef to cook my family gluten free/dairy free TASTY meals, a personal shopper to extreme coupon for me and handle my grocery list (I'll still go to Target myself, thank you very much), a cleaning lady who constantly swiffers my floor (HOW does it get so dirty SO quickly), and a Life Coach, I should be able to get everything done.  Ooh, a personal trainer would be good too.  Especially if they could just do the workout for me.

Sounds reasonable to me. I'm going to run it by Brian.  I'll let you know what he says.

For now, I'll leave you with this cutie pie chilling on our family vacation.  So smoochable.