Thursday, October 16, 2014


From Beth:

I don't think I've met a parent in the process of adoption with children at home already who doesn't ask this question, in some form or other: 
How will this affect my children? Will they be harmed? What if they are hurt through this decision to adopt? 
We need to ask these questions. Going into adoption with our eyes opened and the rose colored glasses off is important for sure. 

It was a question Stephen and I asked when we first realized God was calling us to adopt. I told the Lord this was fine and good and all, but I couldn't do something that would place our three girls in danger. I told Him that I needed to be sure we really were hearing right. 

So many unknowns. 
So many scary stories and warnings from well-meaning friends. 

So, as with all things in this life, it comes down to this:

What Is God Saying?

As we prayed, Stephen felt the Lord respond to our concerns. God told us that yes, it would be hard on our daughters. It would cost them something. 
But He assured us that it would be the kind of hard that would build them up, not tear them down or bring damage to them. 

And that was all we needed to hear. 

We realized that actually it wasn't our goal to try to create a home where nothing bad or hard ever happened. We weren't looking for a life where our girls had no challenges to overcome. 

In reality, we came to embrace the fact that adoption would bring challenges into our home. And indeed, that has been the case--far more than we anticipated actually. 

How true is it that challenges and hard times are often the very best way to know Jesus in deeper ways?! And that right there is really what our parenting is all about. That is the bottom line. 

So we embrace what is hard, knowing it is all happening in the context of love and in the safety of God's plan for our children, both the ones born to us and the ones grafted in. 
Those of you who had children at home before you adopted or fostered, what helped prepare your children? What helped make the hard times productive for your child?
Here are a few of my thoughts:

  1. Prepare children ahead of time by talking about the life your adopted or foster children are experiencing. As much as it is possible for you, begin to create a common history even before the adoption. We were all amazed to find out there was a live webcam in Vyborg, Russia, so we could see the people walking down the street, see what they were wearing and how cold it was. Make use of the internet to find out about the history and culture of the place your child lives. If it is possible, write letters and send gifts as a family. We have some of the sweetest notes from our children to their new siblings and those interchanges did much to connect us as a family. Although this is not possible or wise for everyone, when it is appropriate travel as a family to receive your new child. The common experience you will have as a family in your adopted child's environment will expand understanding and compassion. The week we shared as a family in Russia before each adoption gave us our first family stories, not in our home, but in our adopted children's homes!  
  2. Anticipate what is ahead POSITIVELY. We might be tempted to tell our children how hard it is going to be, how they will be jealous and how difficult their new sibling might be. Rather, stress the positive as you prepare for the challenges ahead. Don't ignore the fact that life is about to change, but help your children see their role from a place of strength. For instance you might say, "Sometimes you might feel like you want mommy's attention when I am feeding the new baby (or helping teach your sister English, etc...) You are going to be such a good helper. Isn't it good that God has made you to be the big sister?! You'll get to teach her so many things. Do you think you could teach her how to get dressed by herself like you do? (or help her learn English words?)" Emphasizing the role of the sibling, as the one who can help and give with an open heart will help your children see that things are going to be required of them, but that they can give with love rather than see this season as a time where things are taken from them.
  3. Let your children know, not once but over and over and even years after your new child comes home, that there is no topic off limits. They may need to be able to say "I wish we had never adopted," or "I don't like the way it is." Give them the freedom to let you know when they are not doing well with all the "hard" stuff. Make time to let them talk to you, without fear of judgement or correction. This freedom will take you all through many a tough time!
  4. See the challenges as an opportune time. Help your child recognize for her/himself that when we are weak it is actually right there that we get to know God and the strength of His love for us in a new, deeper way. Be sure to pray together through the hard times and painful issues. The enemy would love to use this as an opportune time to speak his lies, but God has better plans for your children!!
Read about adoption from the perspective of children born into the adoptive family on our blog by clicking on the Children's Stories tab. 

Do you know an older child who has a story to tell? We are interested in hearing from teen and adult children, both those born into the family and those adopted. (Not every story will be accepted.) 
Email us at

Monday, October 13, 2014


From Beth: 

I remember those days that some of you are living in right now. Those days when if I could just have a moment to myself (even if it only meant privacy in the bathroom!) it felt like I might survive the day. This photo I saw in my Facebook feed recently is too true!
With 7 children, I have to admit that sometimes I felt hunted....

Mommy, I'm hungry.
Mommy, can I watch a movie?
Mommy, he cheated.
Mommy, look at me, look at me, watch what I can do!!
Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.......

Of course, some of these words came out in Russian, some in screams, some in excitement, some in joy-- that is the mommy life, and I loved it. 

But you do sometimes get weary of being pursued, of being followed. 

And in the thick middle of all these demands I am pursued by Another. 
Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life... (Psalm 23:6 AMP)
Chased down by the One who is Goodness, Mercy and Unfailing Love.

Did you know that the word for follow means to pursue, to chase. How cool is that?! In other verses it is translated to hunt down. God is chasing us down friends. Not to accuse us or to expose or chastise. Not to demand things of us. 
He is chasing us down with His love. 

We are the hunted ones. 


And looking back I see it is true--in seasons of ease and joy, and in seasons of pain and grief--I am one who is pursued. 

Never left alone. 

Never, not one moment of one day, have I been left to myself.  

Oh thank you Lord God. 

Thank You. 

Holy Spirit, would You help me live as one who is hunted? Show me the goodness, mercy and unfailing love that pursues me this day. Help me to show my children that they too are hunted ones. Thank You Father that You will never leave me alone, that not a day of my life will I live apart from The Hunt! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014


When you've done something 4 years in a row you might think it could get just a little "been-there-done-that-ish"--right? 
Not even close! Hope at Home 2014 was just what God told us it would be--above and beyond. I know a lot of you reading this were not able to be with us, but those of us that were there felt, once again, the love of God for us and for our children.
We hope that through our Blog, Facebook Page, Pinterest and Twitter that we are able to share this love so needed by us all--for His love is 
and GOOD! 

Enjoy these photos from our dear friend Ruth and her team, along with some comments from parents who attended. And while you are at it, mark your calendars for Hope at Home 2015, September 25-26!!

Beth and Susan--cofounders of Hope at Home

THANK YOU....THANK YOU!!!!! We thank you all for touching us, loving us, and allowing God to so freely speak through you. We hope to see you at Hope at Home 2015!! Thank you for your faithfulness. I was very encouraged and blessed.
"Getting Real" Parent Panel

My husband and I left the conference feeling refreshed and renewed. The conference was wonderful. We came back excited and expecting God to move in a miraculous way for the well-being of our girls. We are so thankful for all the speakers. God used all of them to speak to us in unique ways.  
Our breakout for fathers is always a favorite. 
First of all, I just want to say thank you for your obedience to the Lord in what He has called you to take part in with Hope at Home.  The very things I was struggling with were touched on this past THANK YOU for listening to His voice.  We truly had a wonderful weekend and were very pleased with how well things were prepared for us and how welcomed we felt by everyone.  Again, thank you SO much for everything.  I know hours of preparation goes in to something like this past weekend, so praying for rest for you and the others who made it happen! 

Our Hope at Home After Party with International Deserts and Live Jazz--so fun!
I will recommend this to ALL my foster friends, as it is so not typical of what we get in the form of training.  For most other training we feel as if we are just "doing our time" and there is nothing new.  But with this one, it is the hope that all foster families need, the only hope that will help in raising/fostering these little ones, the hope of Jesus!   
The opportunity to pray together is priceless. We love standing in faith with you, trusting God together for His kingdom to come in our families. 
What I want to say, is thank you! Thank you for making the entire conference about Jesus! Thank you for encouragement and refreshment in the Lord, thank you for including the guys who are often left out, thank you for the section on marriage and thank you so much for the prayer room! I love prayer and that part was very, very special to me! I loved the pastor's message too....there wasn't actually anything I didn't like!

Scott Means' message was just what our marriages needed!