Thursday, May 30, 2013


From Beth:

Time In

Lately I've been needing to make use of the helpful Time In concept. Not for my children, but for me! I've had to sit myself down and have these little talks to myself about my behavior. On the outside I am mostly behaving well you will be relieved to know (especially if you are a part of my daily life!), but my emotions have been throwing the most horrible tantrums. My goodness but they are a mess sometimes! We have been going through a stressful parenting season and my feelings have so needed to be brought right up close next to my spirit and given a firm, loving, patient talking-to. Like David in the Psalms, I am having to pull my soul aside and say, "Today, we are going to bless the Lord. That is just the way it is going to be. You can throw all the fits you want, but my suggestion to you, self, is that you get with the program here. Yes, things are tough, but God is tougher, so we are going to go with that truth, alright? Got it?"

A Farmer's Life 

In these Time-In encounters I have been reminding my errant feelings of a few things--things my spirit knows to be true despite whatever current facts are in my face, helping my emotions gain the life-giving and peace-filled perspective of Truth. I tell myself that it's a farmer's life I am living. I am remembering that, as Psalm 126:5-6 says, 
Those who sow with tears shall reap with rejoicing. He who diligently goes out with weeping, carrying the seed bag, shall certainly come in with rejoicing, carrying his sheaves.

Some translations say "doubtless" rather than "certainly." I like them both. Since God has taken the time to add this word, I'm thinking we want to "take Him at His word!" He makes it clear that the outcome of our labors is certain. There is power in the promise. There is strength in the promise.

In difficult seasons I am telling myself that I want to be sure not to just endure until things get better, or until they "feel" better. No, I want to be busy sowing, for I am assured, as are you fellow parent, that when we choose the farmer's life, when we keep sowing seeds of love, patience, truth, identity, hope, faith, relationship, destiny, etc., we are assured that there will come a time of reaping accompanied by some serious rejoicing. Whoohooo!! Sowing in tears is all about hope it seems to me. When I sow I have expectation of a harvest, right? Otherwise, I would not bother to sow all those seeds of love. So while I am dealing with something that causes tears to well up, I don't quit sowing the seed God has given me. 

And certainly I will be rejoicing, the word says. Certainly. When I sow in those seasons where my emotions whisper for me to quit (and sometimes they even yell out at me!), God promises something. It is a certainty, according to Him. I will rejoice because of the harvest. It's a done deal. 

The Mingling Flavor of Fruit with Tears

On any given day I experience an ever present mingling of both reaping and sowing. Seeds sown years ago are bearing fruit, and oh how we rejoice in it! And with the taste of that fruit fresh on my tongue, I get to choose to keep sowing the seeds God has given me, even as unavoidable tears blend with the flavor of victory. I tell myself that my weeping doesn't need to interrupt or obstruct my sowing. It is good to have this mingling because the reaping of previous seasons of sowing feeds my faith for the current sowing opportunity.

So, I tuck my naughty emotions right up close to my spirit and we have our little time-in. I remind myself that I am promised a joyful harvest and that I will be enjoying the fruit that is the inevitable result of sowing. I have some good news to share with myself! I read myself some Truth:

"So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith." Galatians 6:9-10 
"Happy and fortunate are you who cast your seed upon all waters [when the river overflows its banks; for the seed will sink into the mud and when the waters subside, the plant will spring up; you will find it after many days and reap an abundant harvest], you who safely send forth the ox and the donkey [to range freely]." Isaiah 32:20 
"So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion. It won’t be long now, he’s on the way; he’ll show up most any minute. But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy.But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way." Hebrews 10:36
Jesus, today I choose not to allow tears to interrupt the wonderful work of sowing. I embrace the farmer's life! Would you help me today to walk the path of promise, to stay on the trail of truth in these fields. Give me the heart of one who sows in all seasons, and the seed needed for the fields I am in this day. My trust is in You for all of these things God. And I thank You even now for the harvest, the certain and abundant harvest. Amen.

Monday, May 27, 2013


From Scott Means:
You have probably heard the story of Mary and Martha dozens of times. (If you want to reread the account in Luke 10 click here.) As familiar as this story is, have you ever tried to apply this scripture to your marriage? 
On my blog, Journey to Surrender, I often explore ways in which spiritual truths translate into marital truths. After all, our relationship to Jesus as our bridegroom is a picture of what marriage is designed to be. How excellent is it that we get to be “married” to the one who designed marriage in the first place? 
So back to our story of Mary and Martha. There are two phrases in these verses that strike me as important in applying them to your marriage. 
Distracted with Much Serving
Verse 40 of Luke 10 says that Martha was “distracted with much serving” as she went about making preparations for their guest, Jesus. She was probably cleaning and preparing food and serving it, making sure everything was just right for their dear friend and honored guest. Mary, on the other hand, was satisfied just to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen intently, to share a moment of intimacy and connection with him.
It is so easy to let our crazy-busy lives drive us to distraction. Husbands and wives are busy serving in so many ways. Our children require a great deal of attention and emotional and physical energy. Our jobs are as demanding as ever as companies strive to do more with fewer employees. Church is another place where service, as important as that is, can leave us drained and distracted.  
All of this serving can leave your marriage without the intimacy that comes from simply focusing solely on each other. How often do you give your husband or wife your 100% full attention, without a hundred distractions competing for your thoughts and emotions? How often does your marriage get the leftovers, after you’ve poured yourself into everything else?
One Thing Is Needed
When Martha complains to Jesus that Mary should to get up and do her fair share, Jesus tells her, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” Then he explains to Martha that “Mary has chosen what is most important.”
Do you regularly make your wife or husband your “one thing” or do you let the “many things” distract you and detract from the intimacy in your marriage? 
Just like focused time with Jesus fuels our intimacy with him, so is focused time with your spouse essential for marital intimacy.
I know there are many things competing for your time, attention and energy. I understand that completely. But you and your spouse are one, and that distinguishes your marriage relationship from everything else in your life. You aren’t one with your kids. You aren’t one with your boss. You aren’t one with your pastor or church. 
A 7-Day Challenge
I want to challenge you to try a “one thing” experiment over the course of the next week. 
During these seven days, I want you to spend some time each day letting your wife or husband be your “one thing.” It doesn’t have to be a long time, but it does need to be daily. You don’t have to sit at his or her feet, but you do need to give each other your completely undivided attention. Make this time all about your spouse and your marriage.
During this time, be sure to connect intimately in multiple dimensions. 
  • Spiritual intimacy can come in the form of praying together, sharing needs, sharing a meaningful verse or scripture, or talking about what God is teaching you in this season. 
  • Emotional Intimacy includes things like talking about your marriage, sharing the day’s best and worst moments with each other. If you need a little help in this area, download the “20 Questions for Romantic Connections” that I shared with you in my previous Marriage Monday post. 
  • Physical Intimacy is often the first thing to go when we are distracted and exhausted. Renew your commitment this week to make sexual intimacy a high priority. Maybe seven days in a row is completely out of reach, so go for 3 or 4. In addition, make sure to include a lot of physical touch, snuggling and kissing in your daily “one thing” time. 
In recent Marriage Monday posts, Brad, Kate and Beth have all made the case for making your marriage a top priority, second only to your relationship with Jesus.  
Today I’m asking you to take action by taking up this 7-Day challenge!
Be purposeful about settings aside time daily to focus exclusively on each other and on the intimacy in your marriage. My guess is that at the end of the week, you won’t want to stop!
Do you have some tips to offer for making a daily “one thing” connection in the spiritual, emotional or physical dimensions of your marriage?  I hope you will stop back by and share your experience with the challenge.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Our good friend, Shanin Macaluso, mother of two biological sons and two adopted daughters from Russia, shared something with us that we really thought you all would also want to hear. Very cool! She and her husband Dan live in California and are greatly missed by their Atlanta friends!

I love my quiet times with God. I love how He reveals Himself to me in those times I set aside for Him. He never disappoints. I've been reading this book, The Bible, for almost forty years. If you took out all of the extras, like cross-references, definitions, maps, commentaries, etc. that it would be almost as long as the last four Harry Potter books put together. So picture the same forty years reading these last four Harry Potter books... I suspect I would have plateaued in all there was to discover before the end of year two, if I'm being really generous to account for symbolism and the like. 
On this particular day I was reading in John 14. Jesus is telling the disciples about how he is about to leave them, but to take heart. He will be sending the Holy Spirit to not just live among them, like He himself was at that time, but to dwell within them. He said that He would not "leave them as orphans." As we know, this promise of the Holy Spirit was for us as well. We, too, when Jesus left this earth, were not left "as orphans."
Jesus clearly wants more for us than to be without a parent to guide, protect and provide for us. And a quick look at scriptures shows us that Father God places a high value on orphans. (Check out James 1:27, Isaiah 1:17, Exodus 22:22-24, Deuteronomy 10:18, Psalm 68:5-6)
No Second Class Children in Our Family
When Dan and I felt that God had placed adoption on our hearts, we approached our children to get their take on the idea. We knew it was very important to explain that these children would not be second-class children, rather any adopted child in our family would assume all of the rights and privileges that they themselves had. We explained, to the best of our ability, how much “sharing” would be required of them -- their bathroom, the television, their parents AND their inheritance. We didn’t want the issue of inheritance to be a big surprise upon our death. Instead of half, each child would be receiving a quarter, an equal share, just like the scripture says.
Romans 8:16-18 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Ephesians 1:4-6 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (This One he loves, is Jesus, and I need to come back to him in a minute.) 
The Macaluso Family BA (Before Adoption)
Adopted Children Have Equal Inheritance
Maybe my kids also found some comfort that there would be two more people to share in the “suffering” that is chores! The scripture is clear that, although we as believers have been adopted, we have full “sonship.” We have equal inheritance with Jesus, who clearly was the child who did all of the work. Don’t we despise when we watch a tv show and some rich man dies and they read the will, only to reveal that the child who hasn’t seen the guy in twenty years gets as much as the child who spent the last twenty years caring for the elderly parent? It isn’t fair! But that’s how God sees us -- as children of equal status.
I do have to share my boys’ responses when we were explaining all of these things with them, not because they are relevant to my point, but because they make me proud. Kyle, who was 13 at the time, immediately said “I’m in. Let’s do it.” Sam, then 10--the younger and therefore picked-on brother- said “I have so many problems with the sibling I have... Why would I want another?” Oh, I love the honesty! But about fifteen minutes later he came up to us and said, “You know, everything natural makes me think ‘Why would I want this? Why would I want to share my stuff and everything?' But I really want to say yes, so it must be a God thing. Let’s do it.”
Dan, Shanin, and their new daughters in the orphanage in Russia
Too Good to Be True
I've heard this notion of the adoption of saints and being co-heirs with Christ throughout my Christian walk. I think after almost four decades, I’m finally starting to get it. And I really think my biological boys, who have now been with us for 20 and 17 years, believe it about their adopted sisters, who have been with us for just 6 1/2 years. But in spite of our last will and testament and our best efforts of encouragement, I believe that our adopted daughters (Sasha, adopted at 16 and who is now 22 and Elizabeth, adopted at 13 and is now 19) do not yet believe it about themselves. I think it’s because Satan feeds them lies to the contrary and, quite frankly, it’s just too good to be true, especially in the world in which they’d been raised. But that’s what the Bible says; we are co-heirs with Christ. 
Sasha and Elizabeth enjoy a grand airport Welcome Home!
It Gets Even Better!
But I think it gets even better, and this is what God showed me today... Please consider the most quoted and well-known verse in the Bible, and the verse that follows:
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Even six-plus years after adoption, something hit me for the very first time: The Bible calls Jesus God’s “one and only Son.” He is, in essence, God's biological “only child.” What did He do with his one and only biological child? He removed him from heaven, sent him into a dark world that would reject him, mock him and ultimately kill him. Who did He do it for? His adopted children. Wow! 
God sacrificed his biological child for his adopted child. He gave Jesus unto death, that you and I might live. 
John 10:10b “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
That doesn’t sound like a second-rate child at all! We are not an afterthought! Isn't this a beautiful picture of the intensity of passion which God feels towards us, His adopted saints? Isn't it also a beautiful picture of how we adoptive parents feel about our adopted children?
Kyle, Liz, Sasha, Sam

Father God, we pray for this revelation to break into the hearts of our adopted children so that they can step up and take their rightful place -- both in our families and in the Kingdom. May they be overwhelmed with the knowledge of Your love for them and may their identity be 
Beloved Son/Beloved Daughter of The King, Highly Favored, Deeply Loved, and Richly Blessed!

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Monday, May 20, 2013


From Susan:
As kids grow, what we do with them changes! Like this week for example, as I took off several days to hang out with my college-age boys, home for a few days before heading out to participate in Campus Outreach Summer Leadership Program at the beach. These are times when loving them more means seeing them less. Back to the story-- so I asked, "Hey guys, what would you like to do together on my 2 days off?" The answer was clear, "Mom, we would LOVE to take you golfing - you will enjoy riding in the cart and relaxing in the beauty of God's creation and you can try to golf too if you want...." Now THAT was amazingly humorous, as I did in fact golf, under their tutelage, for the second time ever, and actually impressed them with being able to make contact with the ball!

Susan with two of her sons, Vasya and Trevor

The other fun activity they proposed was fishing -  we have spent a lot of time every day at the lake near our house, fishing 'catch and release.' And those released fish just scurry off with splashing vigor when dropped to their freedom in that life-giving water!!! Every time we caught a fish - which was multiple times every evening, we would "catch and release," and I would remember the message from Christy Nockels at Passion City this past Sunday. Let me tell you about it.

Best Message on Parenting!
Of all the books, articles, talks, sermons, messages and conversations I have ever had about parenting, the absolute hands-down BEST was the one I heard from Christy Nockels at Passion City Church, Mother's Day evening. All I could long for is that God would open a way for her to broadcast this message to the world!!!!! Yes, I do mean it -- the WORLD! If anyone reading this knows her, please pass along this encouragement to her!!! 

For those who may not have time to listen, here is a brief summary of the talk, with a few added thoughts along the way.

Catch and Release Parenting; Catch and Release Life
To be a parent or a mother, or honestly, to be involved in any relationship or work or ministry or service, we need to have a "catch and release" approach. Just like fishing. We catch, but then we release back to God. 
Trevor-- catch and release!

Particularly, we release our failures, as well as our successes.  

We have to remember that even when we fail, or when others think we fail, that does NOT mean we are failures. In fact and in truth and in deed, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, treasures and image-bearers, with beautiful purpose in the hand of the Master. And all of this is just as true for us when it appears we succeed. We are bearing fruit as a consequence of abiding in God's love, as Jesus teaches in John 15. As Christy sings, "with my roots deep in You, I'll grow the branch that bears the fruit."

For me, the most important line of her entire talk was the part where she explains that because of this "catch and release" approach, we tell our kids this: 

My identity is not wrapped up in who you are; the Lord has you. 

Parenting that Transforms Us
That simple statement, lived fully and daily, transforms us into people of peace and joy and hope. If my identify is NOT wrapped up in how my kids or work or house or ministry or appearance turn out, then my identity IS wrapped up in the Lord's love and purpose and compassion for me and for the world.

Christy Nockels closed her talk with a description of sitting before the piano and the Lord giving her a song. I scribbled trying to copy it down as she sang it with that gloriously anointed voice - and here are the excerpts of her lyrics that I pass on, urging you to go listen for yourself. The lyrics are true for me and for you and for our spouses and for our children!!!

I see you,

Even thougth
You think I don't see you; 
I see all your hard work.
I love you,
More than you know;
I see every sigh in the morning; 
I hear every cry in the night.
I'm holding you together
Like glue and like mortar;
Every seam, every corner,
My love covers you." 
by Christy Nockels, Passion City Church, Atlanta, Mother's Day, 2013

So, dearly beloved treasures, as we close we pray,
Today may we would walk in the full joy and peace and hope of those who know our own identity before You, Lord, as Your beloved children; and from that place, may we experience unbridled freedom to let that very love You have for us flow through us in all its fullness to all those we love and see and connect with, today and every day.  Amen and amen.

A Bit More from Beth:
I just want to add a story that Susan shared with me. Susan and I are all about being copy cats when it comes to good parenting ideas! I am thinking you and I may want to copy this example of seizing the moment to share a truth with our children that God is teaching us without giving a sermon. Here is Susan's story: 

As we are gingerly removing the hook from the mouth of the decent sized bass, I say, "Hey...did you know catch and release is the best way to live a good life before God?"
Trevor asks, "What do you mean, mom?"
"I mean, the world will often reject you for your failures or inflate you for your successes. But in faith we know we are fully loved and accepted in the Lord in spite of our failures and equipped and enabled by God's love and wisdom and strength in any success. It was what was shared in our sermon Sunday night. I LOOVVVEEDD IT!!!  I urge you, buddy, to live a catch and release life!"

Trevor's catch and release fish.
If I had been talking with my kids at younger ages I would have told the same story in simple words...daring them to always remember this when they are fishing. I would also add a new question, "What happens to that little fish if we don't release it?" Of course the answer for me is that it would not be what God made it to be.

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Monday, May 13, 2013


Sometimes it boils down to this, the simplicity of being available. Not being perfect, not being right, not being successful-- just being there where the action of your child's life is. In the end, what every child wants is the connection. Indeed, it is what every one of us wants, isn't it?! We want to know we are not alone--that someone is with us and for us, that someone hears us. And I think that right there is a huge part of successful parenting. I think of it as the ministry of availability. Just being there. 
So I want to encourage you, fellow parent, dear mothers and fathers, that even in the worst of our parenting scenarios, if we can do the work of simply being there, walking alongside our child and hearing them, then we are giving the most healing gift of all. We put a lot of emphasis on "doing it right" with adoptive and foster parenting, and for that I am thankful. I think it is absolutely appropriate for us to learn how to parent effectively! However, I also know that there is simply no way for us to get it right all the time. And I also know that in the end, our children need to know that they are safe and loved-- and that takes us being available to them. Simply draw close and BE. LISTEN. 

So next time you don't know what to do to move forward with your child (or when you have totally blown it!), take heart and draw close once again. Put having the right adoptive parenting answer on the back burner, for it will come-- The Lord is faithful and will lead you as He has promised-- and just make yourself available. Give the gift of time. Children do not distinguish between quality and quantity time; they just know you are there or not. 
So, share a coke, tickle a back, play a video game, throw a ball, push on the swing, watch a movie, read a book........ Just Be There. 

Father God, we have set our hearts on this Ministry of Availability. Would You help us to "be there" for each of our children? Cause our children to receive this ministry of our love, imperfect and incomplete, and breathe on it so that it becomes a healing force in each child's life. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013


From Beth:
With Mother's Day coming up, I have been thinking about us mamas and the realities of our daily lives, and it occurs to me that there is an Aroma of Motherhood. 

It starts out for many of us with the sweet smells of our babies-- 
milk, bananas, rice cereal, fruit, and diapers. 
Over the years the smells of the mommy-life change-- 
that outside boy smell and those inevitable potty training mistakes, musty P.E. clothes left in a school bag and the ham sandwiches forgotten in last week's lunch box, burned pots abandoned on the stove because the cook needed to become the referee and the surprise of first body odor, and then there's the joy of the colognes and perfumes of adolescence layered over the b.o.!.....
And for some of us the initial smells of motherhood came in an orphanage-- foreign smells of foods and realities of life completely unfamiliar to us.

It occurs to me that these are the smells of being a mommy, and they are actually oh so good! These odors are the aroma of Father God's presence and purpose being accomplished in our homes. These are heavenly smells that surround us-- the essence of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life...
This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. 
There are sweet scents coming from you, dear mother. To put it bluntly, You Smell! As you mother your children there is no doubt in my mind that you are the fragrance of Christ to them, and to others who come into contact with the smells of your home. As Susan Hillis has shared, "You are perfume!"

So don't be "put off the scent" by the scents coming from your life! The smells of mess and clutter, of needs and demands, of chaos and growth, are an "exquisite fragrance" emanating from your life of love and sacrifice. These are the scents of Christ in you, precious sister. Indeed it is true, you do smell oh so very good, and God is declaring to you this day that your mommy-life is a sweet fragrance rising to Him. Oh how He loves this unique mixture of scents that only your family can produce as you take on this "terrific responsibility" of sharing God's Word with your children in the day-in, day-out life of your family. 

So I say as we set aside time to honor motherhood, we can confidently respond to the question, "What is that smell?!" 
Breathe in deep and know that those odors, even and especially the ones that make your eyes water and your nose crinkle, are a fragrant offering from your life, pleasing to God. 
For these are the smells of eternity being sown in the lives of our children; the smells of love and sacrifice, of discipline and training, of day-in day-out mommy life.

Monday, May 6, 2013



So many of us begin our adoption journey with the sentiment of that Starfish poem in our hearts....

One beautiful and sunny day a man was taking a stroll along the beach
when he came across a young girl who was frantically throwing starfish
into the ocean. The man asks the young girl, "Why are you throwing the
starfish into the ocean?" The girl replied, "The starfish were washed
upon the shore last night in a storm, and if I don't get them back into
the ocean then they will die." The man looked around and to his
amazement there were hundreds of starfish lying upon the sand. He looked
at her and cackled saying "Why are you wasting your time? There is no
possible way you can save all of these creatures. By throwing back a
few, how is it that you expect to make a difference?" The young girl
looked around sadly at the starfish that surrounded them on the beach,
and then she looked back at the man and replied "Even if I save the life
of only one, then I have made a difference." And with that she continued
to save as many as she could.
(Author Unknown)

We think, maybe we could CHANGE THE WORLD for just one child....
and then, adopting one - or two or three or four or five or six or seven or eight -- however many....
we are disturbed by all those other children in need of families,
and our lives become testaments to a passion to somehow also make some difference

for those more on the shore
AND for those special ones we picked and tossed right smack into our homes and hearts.

We become REFORMERS.

But I learned an important lesson this week about REFORMERS 
during some time with the Lord....
I am seeing that politicians don't like reformers
God doesn't need reformers.
Just look at John the Baptist....thrown into prison by a politician whose wife didn't like him. Then, rather than the miracle of the prison doors opened by an angel, John the Baptist has his head chopped off.  So clearly, Jesus could accomplish everything He needed to without him. 
I don't know about you,
but there are many times in this adoption journey that I have felt helpless and hopeless --
kind of like being imprisoned unjustly. 
And I've decided...
God is much more interested in
His changing me
than in
in me changing the world.
Changing me so that my PURPOSE trumps my PASSION
My love God and love people
My passion, to see childrens' lives transformed
by the tenderness of the Shepherd.

So, today, Lord, we ask, make us content with living lives of PURPOSE

more dedicated to You changing us than to us changing them.

We want to know, like Milton in his Sonnet to His Blindness, 
They also serve who only stand and wait. 
And Lord we do....stand before Your glorious presence and

Wait on your tender love to encompass and fill us.

Again and Again..


Thursday, May 2, 2013


From Beth:

Well, hopefully you are noticing our new look here on our Hope at Home blog. Nothing says Spring like a new look and some internal reorganization! Take some time to look around our blog-- you'll see we have added some new tabs and topic categories. This lovely and helpful facelift is the work of our good friend, Stephanie Bradac.

Stephanie specializes in graphic design ranging from birth and adoption announcements to wedding invites to professional logos and marketing-- helping companies and organizations develop a unique brand identity and cohesive voice. She can be found at or via email at
You will LOVE her work and her inspiring blog. 

Connections and Faith
Earlier this week we enjoyed one of our favorite activities-- meeting with other adoptive and foster parents to share and pray together at Hope at Home, Heart to Heart. Just LOVE IT! 
We started out just sharing a bit about ourselves, and it was quite the diverse group! We had fathers and mothers who traveled twice a year oversees to visit sons who may never be adopted but who know they are known and loved, to waiting parents, to parents who have just had their first child home for two weeks, all the way to parents who have had children home for one year all the way to 15 years. Some adopted internationally, some domestically, some through foster care. We had families with no birth children and families with birth children. Families who adopted infants and families who adopted older teens. I find this so exciting, for it is such a beautiful picture of the Father's heart for His beloved. For it is true what the scripture says, each of these children and each of these precious mothers and fathers are "accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1:6)

After we prayed shamelessly audacious prayers (Luke 11:8) we went around the room and shared one thing we have learned through our adoptive parenting journey that we think would help other parents. Stephen and I felt so encouraged and helped by this time. It is clear that God is busy teaching us all, and increasing our wisdom. Since you all couldn't be there, we decided that you shouldn't miss out on what we heard-- such good advice!

  • Communicate. Don't expect your child to intuitively know what you are thinking or what you expect from them.
  • Be vulnerable and willing to ask for forgiveness. This models something for them that is more helpful than never seeing you struggle or make mistakes.
  • Give your child language for his/her emotions. Help them discern and express how they feel beyond "this is stupid" or "boring."
  • Laugh.
  • Don't take yourself, your child, the current circumstance so seriously. Step back and remember there is a big picture.
  • There is GRACE for every weakness you have as a mother or father. God covers us. He has our back.
  • Be present. Be there. Just Listen. 
  • Sometimes the best thing you can do is NOT SAY A WORD. Just Listen. Don't correct. 
  • You don't have to be right all the time.
  • Pray. Pray. Pray.
  • Be willing to change the way you parent according to the way Father God parents you, rather than the way you were parented growing up.
  • Make your parenting decisions based on what God says about your child, rather than according to their current behavior.
  • Connection and Relationship are more important than correcting behavior. Always maintain relationship.
  • Don't put your child in a box-- appreciate and enjoy and celebrate who they are, even though it is so different from you.
  • Pray together as a family. Make special times to pray, like before school. Create a culture of prayer and devotion to God in your home.
  • If you don't know what to do or say then don't do anything-- WAIT for the Lord to show you the way forward before you make a parenting decision. 
Now it's your turn, friends. Leave a comment with your one piece of advice you would like to share with other adoptive families.