Saturday, July 30, 2011

An Adopted Child's Perspective on Adoption: Pasha

We wanted to share some of the stories of adoption from the point of view of the children, both biological and adopted. It has been fascinating and faith-building to hear them tell their own stories of life from their perspective. The seventh in this series is from our greatly loved son, Pasha. Pasha is 16 years old, entering his sophomore year in high school.

I Was So Scared of My Mom Leaving Us                       

I don't remember much of what happened in my life before I was adopted because I was quite young. The few things I do remember is living with my mom in an apartment, however, I have no memory of my father. The thing that I do remember of my life before the orphanage was how I used to go on walks with my mom and we would talk.

Unfortunately the one thing that I do remember about my life before the orphanage is the day that Kristina, my sister, and I were taken to the orphanage because my mother couldn’t take care of us. I was so scared of my mom leaving us. I cried a lot and couldn't understand the idea that my mother was leaving me here with these people that I didn't know. In the orphanage, I made some friends, but I was still really young. 

I remember quite a few hardships that I faced there. There was a day when one of my toys got stolen and it happened right in front of my eyes. I tried to do something about it but the other boy wouldn't give it back making feel angry that I couldn’t do anything about it. I would have to say that I was an angry little boy because my life was not a happy one. I remember another time where an innocent boy hit me with a door by accident. He apologized, but my anger devoured me to the point where I hit him with a yo-yo so that he bled from his head. These were hard times indeed.

Pasha (blue striped shirt with red pants) in the hospital
for one of the checkups needed before adoption
With a group of kids on the orphanage playground.
Pasha is the 2nd child on the right with hat and colorful sweater

Pasha on his 5th birthday, with Kristina, meeting his
adoptive mother for the first time. At that point
none of us knew we were family!

I Was So Happy to Find Someone Who Cared

One day I heard that someone wanted to take me home with them and make me a part of their family. I became so excited! Every night, I would think about it before I went to bed. When I first saw my mom and dad my heart leapt. I was so happy to find someone who wanted to take care of me and who actually cared about me. The first time I saw them, they were only visiting. 

So you can imagine my disappointment when they didn't return for a while.  I was scared they were going to leave me here in the orphanage like my mother did. Nevertheless, they came back and I knew that I was going home with them forever. I already began to feel happy when we were at the airport. “We’re flying,” I thought to myself. I was happier than I had ever been in my life.  I was excited to see what America had to offer and I didn't hold my happiness back. I had so many toys, my own room, my own bed, and good food that was always available. 

It was a little strange at first, but I quickly learned how to get along. Everyone was so kind to me, unlike people in Russia. I was the only boy in the family, but I didn't mind. My family adopted two other boys about two years later. Andrei and Sergei. It was nice to have other guys in the family.
Pasha (center) with Andrei and Sergei at the Moscow
airport. New brothers!
At the beach, a yearly event
For quite a few years Pasha was rarely
seen out of "character." His
enthusiasm for super heroes rubbed
off on his brothers

Freedom Being in a Family

It was usually not hard for me to obey my parents or do what they asked me to do. The hardest part for me though was when I felt disappointed at not getting what I want. That makes me angry and it does take me time to get over it, but I eventually do. I felt like I had more freedom being in a family. Because I was very young, in the orphanage the workers had a lot of control over me. I couldn’t do anything against them because then I would get punished.

Oldest sister Emma checking out one of many movies
Pasha made
The boys with their Dad on a weekend away
Christmas Presents!

Finding Out, and Forgetting the Past

My advice to other parents is limited because I am still trying to figure things out with my parents. The few things that I can say to parents who are planning to adopt would be this: Just be kind to them and show love for this is the key. For me personally it helps to talk a little bit about my earlier life. Because I was so young in Russia it was nice to find out about my past. It was nice to also forget my past because once you are adopted it feels like you are starting a new life. At the same time it is important to remember your past and what you went through.  Never make them feel uncomfortable about talking about their past and what happened to them.

I Felt God Speak to Me

Before I came to America I did not really have a relationship with God for some time. But one night at Youth Group, I felt God speak to me and tell me how much he really loved me. My parents have always told me the story about how God told them to adopt me. I thank God for that.  God used my family to lead me to God. Over time, God has really showed me who he is and how much he loves me. 
Pasha (3rd from left) with friends from his youth group
Pasha, an excellent drummer, plays in the church youth
worship band as well as for Sunday morning worship
Register now for HOPE AT HOME 2011 where you will have an opportunity to speak directly with older adopted and biological children and ask them questions as you seek to parent well the children God has given you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Register Now for Hope at Home 2011 Conference! Click HERE.

A Word from Susan Hillis:
Susan with her son Alex, at the 
Created for Care Retreat
When we begin to respond to the Lord's call to our family to adoption, we found ourselves in unchartered territory in spite of a dozen years of parenting experience. As the Lord began to pour out His adoption call for older kids to many parents in our church, it only seemed natural that a special Sunday School class be dedicated to bi-cultural kids and American kids who were their siblings and friends! So I ended up teaching such a class of 30 kids grades 1-8 for several years. The real ministry of this class was in the informal conversations of the moms and dads, accompanied by prayer and practical help, each Sunday as they would come to pick up their kids. "Have you had any challenges with discipline? What about disobedience or anger? What about how to help them with school? And what about how to make faith and the Lord be real to them?" etc! It was those in the hall chats and prayers that often led to the greatest peace in our home, and in the homes of many of those kids who were in the class. I feel excited just thinking about HOPE AT HOME 2011 CONFERENCE at our church, Northlands, in September. This excitement comes because I think it will condense and pass along the Lord's wisdom gleaned from well over a decade of those "in the hall" conversations and prayers, along with deeper connections to the Lord and deeper connections to other parents with the same call.

A Word from Beth Templeton:
One of the things I love about being a parent, and about talking about parenting, is that it is the most fertile ground I know of to work out the truth of the Gospel. It is the real "rubber meets the road" stuff of life, don't you think? The Lord tells us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread"-- talk about daily! Rarely a day goes by where Stephen and I don't realize that we need of direct access to God's power and His life-giving words to us or to our children. For me there is little more exciting and challenging in this life than the realities of working out my faith in the life of our family. If the Good News doesn't "work" in our homes, if it is reserved for Sunday School and the occasional outreach or mission trip, then we are missing something-- big time. What a joy and honor it has been to see God's transformational power in the lives of our children right before our eyes! And, as He is healing our adopted children, we are all finding ourselves being transformed as well.
It has been this desire to partner with the Father to see orphans be transformed into Sons and Daughters right in our homes that has opened our ears to hear God tell us that we need to host a conference at our church, Northlands, here in Atlanta, Georgia. So, ever since this last fall when we spoke with our church elders, we have been planning this event-- and we have been praying for you.

A Time of Refreshing:
Dr. Susan Hillis and I, along with others whose hearts are full with the desire to serve adoptive and foster parents, are so excited to have the opportunity to meet you and to come alongside you during HOPE AT HOME 2011 here in Atlanta, Georgia, September 23-24.
We see HOPE AT HOME 2011 as a time of refreshing for both husbands and wives as we encounter the Father's Heart for adoptive families. We are looking to God to fill our hearts with His Hope. 

We invite you to come and be transformed through the Lord's refreshment as we:

  1.  Learn to find daily hope through our relationship with God.
  2.  Encounter practical approaches to parenting according to our child's identity and purpose in God.
  3.  Connect with others through ministry and prayer.

Some of the TOPICS we are preparing for the conference are:

  • Responding to Your Child's Tough Questions
  • Nurturing Your Marriage Amidst Competing Demands
  • Establishing Peace in Your Home: Addressing Anger in You and Your Child
  • Fathering Your Adopted Child
  • Hope and Help for the Single Adoptive Mother
  • Creating Unity Among Siblings in Your Adoptive Family
  • Transforming Orphans into Sons and Daughters
  • Loving Your Adopted Child Through Every Stage of Their Lives
  • The Beauty of Transracial Adoption
  • Special Needs and HIV
We are very interested in your thoughts on these things and would love to hear your ideas in how we can best minister to you as you love your children. We encourage you to leave a comment below with your thoughts! Also, we have a team of people committed to praying for you, so if there is something specific you would like us to be joining with you prayer for even before the conference, please email us at

May your HOMES BE FILLED WITH HOPE this day as you love each of your precious children, bringing them into the wholeness and healing that is a part of their inheritance as a part of your family!

Beth Templeton and Susan Hillis 
for the HOPE AT HOME Team


Monday, July 25, 2011


A Time of Refreshing:

Dr. Susan Hillis along with others whose hearts are full with the desire to serve adoptive and foster parents are so excited to have the opportunity to meet you and to come alongside you during HOPE AT HOME 2011 here in Atlanta, Georgia, September 23-24.

We see HOPE AT HOME 2011 as a time of refreshing for both husbands and wives as we encounter the Father's Heart for adoptive families. We are looking to God to fill our hearts with His Hope.

From Susan Hillis:

Connecting with Kind Eyes
Never.  I have never been so impacted by a message I did not hear.  My friend Amelia told me of Dr. Karyn Purvis' talk from the Louisville Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit, about connecting with kind eyes.  Being a researcher, I began to investigate this ‘still face’ phenomenon.  More than 25 years of research on this topic show how deeply a child’s emotional health hinges on whether there has been a stable caretaker in their lives who connects eye-to-eye with them.  But the connection has to have those love-brimming eyes.  The eyes of the little baby, cradled in her mother’s warm arms, drinks in hope, trust, safety, security, peace, and joy from her mama’s adoring gaze.  Here is a research clip introduced by the director of the Child Development Institute at Harvard, showing what I mean.  
In this link, it is clear that the child must have this eye-to-eye connectedness, or she will grow visibly distraught, shrieking, flailing side-to-side.  In contrast, when the eye-to-eye ‘favor’ is filling the mama’s eyes, the little baby is a paragon of peace and contentment.  It brings back memories of that old book that was the foundation for my parenting in the early years, 'How to Really Love your Child,' by Ross Campbell.  Eye contact is one of the four critical ways kids 'hear' love.  And it doesn’t stop with the baby/young child phase.  Dr. Purvis emphasized that children who spend their early years in orphanages or outside of family care and then come into homes through adoption/fostering need their new parents to ‘backfill’ this eye-to-eye connectedness.

Am I in trouble?
As I was meditating on this theme of ‘eyes-filled-with-unfailing-love,’ I had one of those ‘ah-hah’ moments.  I realized what is behind a rather common occurrence that had always perplexed me.  It happens like this.  I am sitting in our family room lost in thought, or reading, or praying, or composing a blog post (J), or mentally doing some problem-solving.  One of my teenage daughters walks by and comments, “Mommy, what’s wrong?  Am I in trouble?”  And I reply, feeling confused by her question, “No sweetie, why in the world would you ask me that?  I am just sitting here thinking.  Why in the world do you ask me that all the time?”   After hearing the story of the talk I didn't hear, I determined to try my best to stop my reflections/ thinking/ musings/ mediations whenever this daughter walks by the family room and look into her in the eyes with 'favor,' or to put differently, like she is my favorite!  That is, with kindness and love and joy and hope and trust and compassion and understanding.  What is even more amazing is that if I determine to also wear inside my gaze this ‘unfailing favor’ when we are talking out a difference or conflict or disappointment, it appears impossible for either of us to be filled with anger.  Love wins instead.  Somehow she knows I am for her and not against her.

Finding favor in the eyes of the Lord
Loving the Scriptures as I do (the Word of the Lord endures forever!), I grew excited about studying the phrase ‘favor in the eyes of the Lord.’  I learned of four Old Testament characters who ‘found favor in the eyes of the Lord.’  They were Noah (Gen 6:8), Moses (Ex 34:9), Abraham (Gen 18:3), and Gideon (Judges 6:17).  Each of these servants of God had this pattern:

·      First, they found favor in the eyes of the Lord 
·      Second they were asked by God to do something heroic/ impossible/ crazy/ miraculous (build an ark, lead a stubborn people out of 400 years of slavery across the miraculously parted Red Sea, sacrifice the long-awaited son of promise, defeat the countless Midianite army with 300 men blowing bugles)
·      Third, the impact of their obedience was vast;  Noah: a new beginning for mankind after the flood; Moses: an entire nation entering the Promised Land with the written commandments of God; Abraham: blessing for all the nations in the world, and Gideon: 40 years of peace.

During this same time, I had been praying like this, “Lord, you have taught me a lot about hearing Your voice, but I know little about seeing your face.  Please teach me what it means to see your face.   Like Job at the end, when he said, ‘my ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen you.' (Job 42:5) Lord I want to see you.”  And the Lord brought into my path a painting of Jesus done by a 9 year old little girl with an Atheist mother, after Jesus had appeared to her in a vision.  You can see the painting at -- when you enter the site, click the first video link on the top left over the painting of the African American woman.  I saw such a deep love and compassion and understanding and acceptance in those eyes of Jesus for me.  And I have been asking Him, ‘Lord Jesus, can you put that love, Your love, in my eyes, for my children and for my husband.’  And the prayer is spreading.  I am beginning to ask, especially when I am about to spend time with someone I dislike, “Lord, can you please put Your love in my eyes and heart for this person.”  And my eyes are being opened to countless verses that speak to me of this same theme:  Love in the eyes.

·      The eyes of the Lord see the children of men (Ps 11:4)
·   My [the Lord’s] eyes and my heart shall be there for all time (II Chron 7:16)
·  The looked unto Him and were radiant (Ps 34:5)
·  And [we all] found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Gen 6:8)

Friday, July 22, 2011


What an honor it is to introduce you to our good friend, Scott Means. He runs an excellent and well-received marriage blog called Journey to Surrender, which we highly recommend. It is dedicated to renewing and strengthening marriages in the church through the exploration of biblical marriage principles.  He sums up his blog with the phrase: "Marriage was God's idea, so let's do it His way!"

Scott is one of the worship leaders at Northlands Church in Atlanta, where he has also led small groups on songwriting and marriage. We heard from his wife, Jenni, a few weeks ago in a post called "Wholeness and Healing."  They have been married for 29 years and have three wonderful daughters. Their ministry to adoptive families has touched many lives for eternity. They are ones God has called to come alongside, and they have done that well, and have learned much about the needs that arise from loving adopted children.

You will hear more from Scott at Hope at Home 2011 Conference. Register Today!

I’m so thankful to Hope at Home for offering me this opportunity to speak into the marriages of adoptive families. 

On my blog, I offer a “new reader survey,” where, among other things, I give readers a chance to let me know what topics they are most interested in reading more about.  Across the spectrum, men and women, newlyweds and 25+ year marriages, first marriages and previously divorced, by far the number one topic of interest is intimacy

I like to jest that even though both husbands and wives share an interest growing intimacy, men are often thinking “more sex” and women are typically thinking “more romance.” Truthfully, such stereotypical characterizations fall well short of what God intends for the fullness of intimacy in marriage.  The truth is that genuine intimacy involves our entire beings: spirit, soul (mind, will and emotions) and body.  This is what the Bible means when it declares that in marriage, “two shall become one flesh.”

You Can Have More
If you, like so many of my readers, desire to find more intimacy in your marriage (and I mean intimacy of all types) I’d like to offer you some encouragement:  you can have more!

But what do you do when huge life stresses like adoption seem to make increasing marital intimacy little more than a wishful notion or perhaps not even a remote possibility? 

My wife, Jenni, and I have not experienced the stress of adoption (although we did have a hugely stressful period of seven years with my live-in mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease).  So for a little adoptive marriage insight, I turned to my blogger friends Brad and Kate Aldrich, who not only have a great marriage blog of their own, OneFleshMarriage, but also have experienced firsthand the stress that adoption can place on a marriage.

Kate describes the adoption stress that hit their marriage this way. “I think the biggest stress to our marriage was dealing with attachment issues.  Micah (who was 3 years old when we brought him home) was very attached to Brad when we came home and pretty much wanted nothing to do with me.  This was a shocker for me, but for Brad as well.”

You are no doubt aware how the emotional and physical demands that adoptive marriages face are significant and often long-lasting. You are probably also aware how these demands can rob your marriage of the intimacy you desire. 

“You live in a dream world,” Kate explains, “with a beautiful picture of your child, until you meet them and are faced with reality.  The little child in the picture comes with a personality, scars from their broken past, wants, needs, fears, etc.  The reality is wonderful in so many ways, but very overwhelming and draining.” 

The first step to restoring and growing intimacy in times of stress is to realize what is happening and decide to take steps to reverse it.  “You soon refocus and remember that the team approach, or one-flesh union, is the best way to handle all things kid related.  The best thing you can do for your kids is do what is best for your marriage.  We started showing Micah that while we understood he had to develop his attachment in his own way, we were not going to let him come between us.”

Brad and Kate’s point is hugely important!  In times of marital stress, when survival seems all you can hope for, you have to step back and realize that: a) the two of you are in this together, b) that your marriage is the second most important relationship in your life (next to your relationship with God), and c) the best thing you can do for your kids is to keep it in second place, even above the kids.  “So while adoption adds a huge stress to marriage, we would say that keeping your marriage as 2nd is the best thing you can do.  It may be one of the hardest, but it is for the best.”

So how do you do this?
Among the Aldirch’s recommendations:  “Keep up communication, and help each other out with daily tasks, so you can still find that quiet time together.  And don't hesitate to ask for help, if you are feeling overwhelmed.  Talk to others who have adopted, talk with your pastor or find a counselor who has experience with adoption.  Protecting your marriage when kids enter the picture (however they enter the picture) is so vital.”

It’s a bold statement, but I believe that you can have as much intimacy in your marriage as you want.  However, intimacy comes at a cost. It requires trust, vulnerability and purposeful attention, all of which are especially difficult when you are under stress.  Marital intimacy is a vast topic and a hugely important one. If you find yourself desiring more intimacy in your marriage amid the stress of adoption, I’d encourage you to explore the complete intimacy series on my blog by following the links below.

I also strongly encourage you to attend the upcoming Hope at Home Conference in September, which will not only greatly refresh and equip you in parenting your children, but will also be chance to focus on keeping your marriage strong in the midst of life's daily challenges. I'm honored to be among the guest speakers for this exciting conference.

Take heart.  Know that God’s desire is for the intimacy in your marriage to not just survive but to thrive, even when the stress seems overwhelming.  I strongly recommend that the two of you go to God in prayer together on behalf of your marriage and intercede together for increased intimacy.  This is a prayer that God longs to answer with a resounding, “Yes!”

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!

Friday, July 15, 2011


It is our honor to share this excellent word from our friend, Linda Cox. She and her husband Jim have been in missions since 1970 and are the grandparents of four beautiful adopted children. They have worked with students, executives, indigents and hurting people on three continents.  Their three children were always part of the team and participated in all the activities and adventures.  
In 1981, Jim and Linda, kids in tow, moved to Kenya.  It was there that they met Simon and Kedress Nziramakenga—Rwandan refugees.  A friendship was formed that has spanned three decades. When genocide devastated Rwanda, Linda and Jim went to Rwanda to visit their friends. The deepest sufferers in the aftermath of genocide were the children.  Today 80,000 children head households and one out of ten do not reach their fifth birthday.  One out of ten people in Rwanda are orphans.  Half of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS do not get treatment.
Linda's book, They Had To Run tells the remarkable story of two children separated from their families and brought up as orphans.  It is a story of hope and promise.  God's care for these two isolated children and his incredible plan to use them in a major way will encourage you to trust him and see what he will do--just like they did.  

"What was it like to be a child in Rwanda?"
The student body of a local private school in Atlanta filed in dutifully to their assigned pews for the Friday chapel service.  The children were very well-behaved; however, the crackle of “kid noise” —squirming bodies, rattling papers—created a low background rustling.  That is it did until Simon was asked the question, “What was it like to be a child in Rwanda?”  Simon answered with a description of the event that marked his life by saying, “While home alone, I smelled smoke, heard angry men screaming and saw the fire and weapons they held in their hands…”
Every person in the sanctuary was immediately riveted on Simon’s face.  The collective body language changed as each one gave rapt attention to the story he was telling.

"They were children.  War threatened their homes—their very lives. They had to run.  They were left to grow up as orphans, each separated from any family members—he in a group-home provided by a missionary and she, alone in the forest, moving from family to family."


God Provided for Them 
Even in their time as child refugees, God provided for them when there was no adult care.  He provided favor, benefactors and teachers.  He provided a growing relationship with Himself to comfort them and lead them toward His purposes.

"Then they were adults.  She was beautiful, graceful and passionate about serving others—especially children.  He was strong, visionary, tenacious, a trainer of men."

It was during this period of their lives that our families became friends. My husband called Kedress The African Queen because she carried herself with such confidence and poise.  The love they showed other refugees during this time was impressive.  Their leadership qualities were obvious even then.
Our respect for and enjoyment of them was unshakeable.  They were personally confident and competent.  They were easy to work with and never complained.  We knew they were refugees, but there was never a word about the hardships they had faced as children living as orphans.

How Could They Be So Whole, So Joyful, So Fun? 
Amazingly—there in that school assembly in America—I was hearing their story, along with the children, for the first time.  Honestly, I was shocked.  I’ve worked with many people, most of whom live their lives confined to a view that was formed in them by circumstances of their childhood.  How had Simon and Kedress escaped the usual self-imposed bondage?  How could what he was saying be true?  How could they be so whole?  …so joyful?  …so others-focused?  …so much fun?  

Then it came to me…of course…they really BELIEVE that their identities are in Christ! 
…not in the loss they had experienced of even the families they remembered.  They KNOW they are His, called according to His purpose and being conformed to Christ’s image!  (Romans 8:29)  They LOOK to the future and LIVE for the Kingdom!  Theirs is a powerful picture of tenacious choice to believe God rather than their experiences. (Click HERE to read another post on our blog about the freedom that comes from Renewing Your Mind.)

"Today, both are leaders and servants.  Together, they are making a huge difference helping to build restoration in Rwanda. They are Simon and Kedress Nziramakenga, church planters, film-makers, school administrators, ministry trainers and parents to many four grown biological children, nine adopted children and numerous foster children."

"Do It Again" In Our Children, Lord! 
In our church we say that a TESTIMONY is an INVITATION for God to do it again.  Simon and Kedress are a living testimony to God’s protection, healing, purpose, favor and commitment to them as his children. (read more of the story of Simon and Kedress, and/or purchase the book that tells their story and benefits the Good Shepherd Hospital for Children in Kigali, Rwanda, at

And God wants to do it again!  If you are the parent of an adopted child or you are an adopted child, you may be filled with uncertainty and doubt.  Even if your past is obscured and your future is hazy, know that God has a plan for you too.  No child could be more alone than Kedress was.  Even without a parent, GOD INTERVENED!  Remember, her testimony, along with Simon’s, are an invitation for God to intervene and fill your (your child’s) life with His presence and purpose.

Perhaps you doubt that you have the resources to live your life successfully.  Here’s the good news/bad news:  You don’t—God does!  2 Corinthians 3:5 says that God has MADE us adequate!  More than that, HE is adequate.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  (Jeremiah 32:17)

Adopted as Sons with FULL RIGHTS
Rest in the OTHER ADOPTION that every true believer has experienced.  It’s the adoption into God’s own family.  Galatians 4:4-5 says, “But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son…so that we may be adopted as sons with FULL RIGHTS.” (NET)

CLAIM YOUR FULL RIGHTS as His child.  Make Hebrews 2:13 your prayer, “And again, I will put my trust in Him.  And again, Behold, I and the children whom God has given me.”  (ASV)  Jesus is declaring His trust in God while He brings “the children who God has given me” before Him.  Follow His example!  Simple trust (confidence in) God’s word is the way Simon and Kedress received from God.  Trust will claim your full rights too! 

Lay down fear—choose tenacious trust!

To find out how you can join with Linda and Jim to build Good Shepherd Hospital for Children in Rwanda, the only one in the country, go to One Hundred Days.

*Paraphrased from my daughter, Kelli Sasser