Tuesday, July 19, 2011


We are busy here at Hope at Home preparing for our HOPE AT HOME 2011 CONFERENCE. Click here for details and to REGISTER.

A few weeks ago our family celebrated two of our sons' adoption day. I realized that this was our families' 18th adoption day celebration, having adopted two of our children 10 years ago, and two others 8 years ago. How cool is that?! For this occasion we had a nice dinner together at home and then read aloud some of the things God has said to us and others over the years about these two amazing young men. There is something powerful about saying out loud, where others can hear, the good thoughts God has about a person. I am so glad that we had made a record of these things so that we could all be reminded. You parents know what I mean--you are always sure you will remember the special moments in your child's life. The precious things they say, the milestones of maturity and accomplishment, the significant times where you felt the Lord's touch. If you are like us, those moments have a strange and disturbing way of fading. Where you are able, take the time to make a note of the things God has done in your child's life. Although true for each of us, for the adopted child we have found that those moments remembered are like an anchor for them, firmly attaching them to the identity and inheritance God has given them so freely.

Celebration Ideas

I wonder how your family has celebrated adoption? To tell you the truth, I don't think we had put any thought into it until that first November in 2001, when we realized we wanted to do something special for Kristina and Pasha. We bought them something engraved with the date on it and made a big deal of the day. Other years we have gone to Russian restaurants and enjoyed an abundance of Russian foods, had a time of prayer over the children, watched videos of our trips to the orphanage, and most often sat around and told the story of their adoption. Every child loves to hear the story of their birth, and since we don't have that to tell, we tell the wonderful story we do have. Over the years we have taken the opportunity to tell more and more of the details of how God called us to adopt, what we were thinking and feeling, our concerns and prayers, and even some of the difficulties we faced. As our children have grown and matured, this telling has become an ideal time to tell parts of their story that would have been too much for them to take in at first, as well as a chance to share again how God's heart was full of love for each of us before we were even aware. 

Is Adoption an Issue of Identity?

In our desire to celebrate, however, we have always felt a certain warning in our hearts to be careful not to communicate to our children, adopted or birth, that somehow adoption into the Templeton family is a defining attribute or an issue of identity. Nor do we want to imply that being adopted makes a child more special than anyone else. I never want our children to see themselves firstly as adopted, or as an orphan who was brought into a family. Yes, adoption is beautiful beyond words, and yes, being an orphan who was adopted is a fascinating and powerful part of their story and testimony of God's love. But when our children think of who they are, we desire them to see themselves as sons and daughters who are loved by their Heavenly Father and who belong to the Templeton family. 

What makes a Child Special, Unique, Valuable?

When we celebrate Adoption/Gotcha Days, let's celebrate the child and the beauty of their story, letting everyone know that our adopted child is special because of who he or she is, not because of their story, as special and miraculous as it is. We never want our children to somehow continue to identify themselves as orphans in order to feel special or worthy of attention. We don't want our children to gain their value or identity from their adoption story. What makes a child special, unique, valuable? These adjectives are true for each of us because we have been created and radically loved by the God of all Goodness. 

Let us continue to celebrate adoption and each adopted child without reserve, full of joy in each life!

I know it is a bit intimidating to leave a comment (I feel the same way when I visit other blogs), but please share with us ways you have celebrated in your family. After 18 years I am running out of ideas!


  1. We celebrate Elijah's first year home in just a few days...on the 25th of this month. When we were in Ethiopia to bring him home, we bought 18 different carved wooden animals. We plan to give him one on the anniversary each year. So that one day he will have the complete collection.

    Thank you for always encouraging and sharing great ideas.

  2. What a brilliant idea Amy. I LOVE that! It is such a great way to honor Elijah's birth culture--and such fun. I also love it that it will show him year after year how you were thinking of him as your son even before he was aware.
    Thank you for sharing that!

  3. So today is the day Abby was placed in our arms one year ago! But, Aug 5, 2009 was the day we received Abby's referral and Aug 5, 2010 was the day we landed in MInnepolis and our family was finally together. So...I'm confused as to which date to celebrate each year!!! :) This year we are celebrating BOTH...LOL! Ideas???

  4. Hey there! I really don't think it matters in the end which date you pick. We chose the official court date, but the day they came home would have also been good. The main thing is that you celebrate that part of your child's story--she won't mind when. I'd love to know how you are celebrating. So exciting to have her home and in your arms. She is just beautiful!