Thursday, March 31, 2011

No-cost ways to be a real help to adopting families

Want to help some families that are in the adoption process in as simple a way as a few mouse clicks?  Here are two opportunities to do so:

Help bring their FOUR daughters HOME! TWO CLICKS ~ Click on the Radical Ripple fundraiser page - and then click "LIKE" ! For every "LIKE" -an anonymous donor will give $1 towards bringing their girls HOME!!! POST this and ask your friends to GO "LIKE

Patricia Heaton is donating $1 for every person that follows this great organization on Twitter! Read this story ( ) and then follow Reeces Rainbow on Twitter today - it won't cost you a thing!!!/ReecesRainbow

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Posts that make me weep...

This is one of those posts that hits me right in the gut and says "I'm talking about you". 

Of course I felt that way just reading the header for the blog...before I even got to the article.  Maybe it will be what you need to hear today, too.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Great answer to the church question

As I mentioned before, I asked the question about how churches should be preparing to welcome HIV+ individuals of the Project HOPEFUL Blog folks for their series: "Your Questions Answered".  Well, this morning, they answered the question.  I hope you find this post as helpful as I did:

Be sure to check out the link to Universal Precautions and familiarize yourself with what they are.  Does your church implement these?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Update on Lera's Adoption Fund

Great news!  Lera's adoption fund is fully funded!!  Read more about it in the edited post here:

Praise God!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What is the Church doing to have a 21st Century understanding of HIV and AIDS?

Romans 8:15  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

As I've been spending time stalking following Carolyn Tweitmeyer's posts, blog, media spots, etc.  I've started wondering what it would be like to bring an HIV+ child into our little community.  What would that neighbor over there do?  How would the kids' school react? Would my family disown us? and most of all, What would happen at our church?

What is the best way to disclose that kind of information to our church body?  How many Sunday School classes would we have to do to convince our people about the truth of HIV and how it is transmitted?  How many people would leave the church once they heard that we were bringing HIV+ children into their midst?  Would everyone stop putting their child in the nursery if we put ours in there?

I'm certain that the initial reaction would be one of terror and anger that we would even consider exposing their families to this disease.  But once the truth was given to them and the fear was minimized, what really should be the reaction to the thought that HIV+ children were going to be in our church?

I've asked the same question of the Project HOPEFUL people and really look forward to reading their answer.  In the meantime, I've been brainstorming for some of the answers and here is what I've come up with so far:

* Pray that the hearts of the whole congregation would be broken for and genuinely, passionately love children with any disease, disability, brokenness or hurtful past.
* Pray for the church to be granted courage, a love for Truth, and a peace that passes understanding.
* Learn about Universal Precautions and implement them throughout the church building.
* Establish a nursery policy regarding training of workers, and implementation of Universal Precautions.
* Decide as a church body how/whether to disclose the information to visitors.

I'm sure that I'll come back to this question over and over as I learn more.  What ideas to you have?  Do you belong to a church that is already prepared for this?  How was it presented to your church body?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

If you dare....

I dare you to let your heart be broken by this this morning.  I dare you to let what breaks His heart break yours.

Under the fluffy pajamas...


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Money Problem

As I mentioned before, we have been talking about adopting since before we were married.  I have a cousin who was adopted.  My husband has an adopted sister.  That sister was raped in high school and gave up the resulting little girl for adoption. We have several good friends who are adopted or have adopted. We really assumed that we would be have adopted by now.  However, here we are 19 years into our marriage with 5 children, none of whom are adopted.  The hindrance for us?  Money. How could we even consider adoption when it costs SO much money!  And I've found that as I've talked to family after family in our Church family about whether they have an interest in being part of the orphan ministry that I'm in the planning stages of, most of them have said, "Yes, we always wanted to adopt, but we didn't think we could afford it." 

Well, this just drives me crazy.  It is simply not acceptable to me that a whole church full of people otherwise open to reflecting God's heart for adoption have spurned it because of money.  So the greater part of my focus has been finding out how to overcome that obstacle. Here is a list of my discoveries for how to conquer that. 

Foster Adopt:  Did you know that it costs NOTHING to adopt out of the foster care system, except for a $250 processing fee which is later refunded to you?  Seriously.  

For all other adoptions:

Loans:  This is my least favorite option, but honestly, people get bigger loans for depreciating vehicles than they are willing to borrow to rescue a child from fatherlessness. I think that a temporary loan while you wait for the Federal Adoption Tax Credit that I am about to mention to be refunded to you is a small risk when we're talking about children's lives.

Federal Adoption Tax Credit:  This is great news!  The Federal Adoption Credit is now fully refundable in one fell swoop for adoptions expenses before the end of 2012! The current amount of the refund is up to
$13,170.00.  This article does a great job of explaining how it works, although at the time of writing it, the credit had only been extended to the end of 2011.  It's a good place to start, though.

Grants:  There are many, many organizations to whom you can apply for small grants of $2000-$3000, which may not seem like much in isolation compared to the $20-35k that adoption can cost, but getting a few such grants can make some real progress!  See Show Hope as an example of these.  This is also how most Church Adoption Funds work.  Often, these will be in the form of a matching fund, matching dollar for dollar the money that you raise from friends and family.  That can really make things add up fast.

Sales:  There are several applications to this category.  You could just start selling things around the house in a garage sale, and use the proceeds for your adoption.  You could recruit all of your family and friends to donate their 'stuff' for you to sell at a giant garage sale for the purpose.  But a new twist of selling things is selling new things.  Just Love Coffee and  Shades of Us are organizations that allow you to sell their products and use the proceeds for your adoption fund.  With Just Love Coffee, you can even set up your own website with them and people can choose individual pounds of coffee, or long-term coffee subscriptions and a monthly check will be sent to you with the money you've raised.  (As many coffee addicts as we know, this could be our best chance at this)  Shades of Us has some absolutely beautiful products that you can purchase and resell for your adoption fund.

Event Fundraising:  This can range from putting on a play, to hosting an adoption banquet (silent auction and all), to handing out baby bottles for people to fill with change.  Creativity is key to this option, and can be a lot of fun to pull together.  A lot of people would be more than happy to donate things they make to be auctioned off, or volunteer their time to pull together a fun play (think "Anne of Green Gables" or some other play about an orphan or an orphanage). 

Other fun ideas:  One idea I saw
around the blogosphere was a puzzle piece drive.   The family picked a puzzle and people sponsored a piece for $5 each.  The sponsor's name would be written on the back.  When the puzzle is complete, the family will glue it together and hang it in their adopted baby's bedroom as a testimony to all the people who had a part in their adoption.  I am sure there are a hundred variations on this idea that could be used.  

But aside from all of these ideas, there is one that is far more compelling and vital: PRAYER.  Our God is Father to the fatherless, and has written adoption into the greater gospel story.  He has commanded us to care for the fatherless and He WILL provide for his children to obey Him. I am convinced that money should not be an issue.  He is our Jehovah Jireh.  He will provide.

I hope that this gives you lots of ideas for your own adoption journey.  I know our family is excited about using all of this great information to bring more children into our family.

More Truth-Spreading from the Twietmeyers

A great new interview with Kiel and Carolyn Twietmeyer has been posted today.  More thought-provoking exhortations for the children of God.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Foster Care personal testimony

I really appreciated this post by a woman who 'aged out' of the foster care system, having never been adopted.  It is a very revealing look into the serious weaknesses in our country's system and our culture's response to it.

Rage Against the Minivan: What I Want you to know

Friday, March 11, 2011

Foster Care and the Church

I had a great meeting yesterday with one of Michigan's Project Open Arms coordinators.  It was so refreshing to sit down and talk with someone who has read all of the same things that I've read, seen all of the videos that I've watched, shares the same passion for the church's role in orphan care that I was excellent! I'm really excited about what I think we are going to be able to do as a church with Project Open Arms as a facilitator.

I thought I'd share the video that she showed me about the program with you.

There is such a need for families in Michigan, but not an insurmountable need!  If every church in Michigan found just one family willing to adopt out of the foster care system, the Body of Christ would have it covered.  And there'd still be plenty of families left to adopt internationally and domestically, too  :)

Browse through this site for awhile and you will notice two things; there are a lot of teenagers, and there are about twice as many boys as girls.  I have a lot to say about this, but I'll leave you to think about it for a little while first.  How's that for whetting your appetite to come back again?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Desperate Need: Bring Lera Home

Please visit the following blog for details.  This little girl has already been moved to a mental institution just because she has Down's Syndrome, and now the couple that is trying to adopt her has been told that they need $35,000 by the end of the month or they will not be allowed to adopt her.  There is a big giveaway going on to raise money for this urgent need.

Saving Lera: A Lera Fundraiser: "Hi...My name is Cathy. I'm going to be hijacking Diane's blog from time to time over the next couple of months to help her with some fundra..."

Third Day has a new video about adoption

Here is a new video to get our Adoption Advocate hearts singing

My House is My Mission Field....

I have wanted to be a missionary since I was 8 years old.  I went on mission trips as a young person, I went to Bible School and studied missions, I married a missions major, we lived in the Middle East for 15 months as interns....but for whatever reason, at least up until the writing of this post, God has not allowed us to go overseas permanently.  After fighting with discontentment for several years, I have finally been convicted to be 'content to fill a little space if God be glorified' and be the best missions advocate and missionary supporter that I can possibly be.

Somewhere along this journey, a Pastor told me that my house was my mission field and I should be more concerned with evangelizing the little ones running around my living room than people on the other side of the globe.  Now, I will refrain from the snarky remarks that I wanted to make then, and still consider making whenever I remember this episode, but it has actually spurred me to combine my passion for missions with another passion; adoption.  The two intermingle themselves well.  What better way to evangelize people who would never hear the gospel otherwise, than to bring them under our own roof, loving them to pieces, speaking truth with them every day, raising them in the fear and admonition of the Lord!  We are pursuing adoption ourselves, and have wanted to adopt since we were first dating almost 20 years ago.  Who knows; we may not ever get to adopt either, but then I guess I'll just be the best adoption advocate and adoption supporter that I can possibly be.