Why We Need Each Other On The Adoptive Journey

Community is so unbelievably important to achieving health and success with your kiddos on this journey. Even if the journey is easier for some and harder for others. We’re all in this together and we need one another.

Have you ever met an adoptive family that seems to have it easy? Like not only was their process smooth, but their kid just hasn’t seemed to skip a beat. No health issues. No physical issues. No mental health issues. No IEPs. No developmental delays. No sibling rivalry issues. No letters for a diagnosis the majority of the world doesn’t understand issues. No phone calls from school issues. No law enforcement issues. And no holes-in-your-walls issues.

Is Every Person Called To Adopt?

It’s a common question in our society. We all wonder if we are capable of such a hard task. Those of us who are seasoned usually find out we most definitely are not capable at all because so much more plays into it. Outside our group, it’s phrased as more of an exclamation. “Not everyone should adopt!” It seems they feel judged and maybe that I think of them as less than for not doing such a “noble” task.

I’ve observed/know of/heard of many families who started the journey of adoption where it worked great. Most just worked, but maybe not great. I’ve also observed those that started the journey and then it didn’t work. Like all things went TERRIBLY wrong. There is no cookie cutter answer or family for this job.

5 Important Tools To Carry Into An IEP Review Meeting.

Parents, we have almost made it through another year of school! Nightly fights over homework. Almost done. School projects completed, even if thrown together the night before. Or 3 days late. And by you only. Too many lunches packed to count. Admittedly, getting less nutritious as the days click away. We’re hitting the home stretch. But with this excitement of spring comes a small amount of stress, because spring season brings…IEP reviews!

I have 4 kids. 3 IEPs. This is no joke, folks. IEPs are no laughing matter. We were part of the fifth largest school district in the nation with very few resources. We almost went to due process in our last full year. You might say, I’m seasoned. Weathered. Or worn.

What I Learned From My Visit To A Brothel

Sometimes we have to allow our hearts to break over the reality that many children in our world are vulnerable and highly susceptible to abuse, trafficking, and modern-day slavery. May these honest words spur you on and motivate you to love even deeper than you already do…

I saw them. I saw so many girls. Some boys too. I saw them at all ages and stages. I saw the under 21s. I saw the over 60s. I saw the ones who didn’t speak English. I saw the ones who were desirable to groups of people due to their size and even disability.

At one time they were children who didn’t have a family to fight for them and ended up in the sex industry. And dare I say, I saw my children in the future, except for the grace of God. Statistically, this is what the future would hold for children like yours and mine if they had stayed in the system and were only known as blurred out faces.

 

Most Americans who are victims of sex trafficking come from our foster care system. It’s a system that leaves vulnerable children to be preyed upon by pimps. Internationally it happens too. Orphans are prime targets to be trafficked. They have no one. No skills. No one to fight for them. Children have been known to vanish from orphanages. It’s easy for them to go unnoticed when there are no records. It’s as if they never existed.

This is who I saw at the clubs, porn convention and legalized brothels of Nevada.

I’m not saying all these women were trafficked. But 20% of the clients we served were. And that’s just the ones we knew about. Even if this was a path they chose of their own free will, not one child wakes up one day and says, “I want to become a sex worker when I grow up.” For various reasons, they have all been desensitized to this life.

The first time I visited a brothel, I scratched my head in terrified and horrified disbelief. What is a girl like me doing here? Then, what is a girl like that doing here? But the more I visited, the more I looked forward to it. What I found is that they really were very much like me. They were women. Moms. Some had custody. Some didn’t. Some of them were wives. We shared stories about our kids. There’s always a story to share there. And I felt like I was getting a break from my daily trauma momma life, yet still engaged with the population my heart ached for.

This organization I volunteered with exists solely to give value to these women. That’s it. We didn’t preach to them. We didn’t encourage them to get out. But we did let them know if they needed a dentist, a doctor, counseling or anything else, we could help get them those services. Regardless of what the world tells them, these women have value. We took our usual cupcakes, makeup and hair supplies and helped them get ready for their day.

One day, there was a lot of whispering and gathering of the girls as they anxiously talked with the social worker. Another worker’s boyfriend beat her up badly. And since she was beat up, she couldn’t work. Since she couldn’t work, she couldn’t stay there. She had no where to go. So she went back to stay at her boyfriend’s place. They knew she was in danger. They asked us to help. Several attempts were made to reach her, but she never returned the calls.

A couple months passed and I received a text. She died and it was being investigated as a homicide. I was shocked. I knew of many families with tragic circumstances surrounding the loss of their loved ones. But none because of murder.

So we made another trip, but this time, it was to give honor and value in a different way. We took pink balloons and our usual cupcakes and attended the memorial service for a precious life cut short. They shared stories, displayed pictures of her and planted a tree on the brothel property in her memory. There were 12 people who attended the funeral. The smallest funeral I’ve ever been to. The saddest funeral I’ve ever been to. No family. Only workers and other associates of the brothel.

At the end, one of the girls walked up to sing a song. I remember thinking, “I wonder what song she will sing?” I was thinking something secular or even unusual. And then these words rolled out of her mouth:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me. 

I once was lost but now I’m found,

Was blind, but now, I see.

And then the tears came. To me. It was the most beautiful version of that song I have ever heard. And not because she had a professionally trained musician’s voice. It was the song.

We’ve all heard the song. But you’ve never heard that song until you’ve heard a sex worker sing it at a sex worker’s funeral.

In that moment, under the big Nevada sky with the snowcapped mountains in the background, I was standing in an unlikely match, and yet here we were, all the same. We weren’t there to provide makeup or hair services or resources. We were just a group of people, all in need of grace. What started as the saddest funeral I have ever been to, ended up being the most beautiful funeral I have ever been to and one of the most memorable moments in my life.

We are ALL in need of grace. We are all considered wretched at one time or another in our lives. We have all been lost at some point in our journey. We all have been blind and can’t see through our circumstances. We all want this grace that is sweet, this grace that saves, this grace that finds us, this grace that makes us see. We All need that kind of grace.

So let’s continue to fight this fight and love big. Not as saviors. But as those who have received grace and now want to give grace.

Question: What are your thoughts or feelings after reading this story? Share with us in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

“You’re Not My Real Mom Anyway!”

The day came. I knew it would. Just didn’t know when or what the age would be or what circumstances would bring it up. Even though I knew it would eventually come, it didn’t make it hurt any less.

He was my first baby and has been my son since he was 3 months old. We’ve had our ups and downs. Some quite painful. The diagnoses. The therapy. The raging tantrums. The many broken things. The IEP meetings. The side talks with teachers.

How To Take Better Care Of You In The New Year.

You’ll often hear us say that self-care isn’t selfish, and self-care isn’t hard. In fact, it’s quite simple. Our community manager, Michelle McKinney (who went to college for fitness), and is now on the adoption journey, breaks it down for us…

It’s January. You might be saying, “Ugh.” Or you might be saying, “Praise Jesus!” All depends on what happened the previous year to either give you hope for moving on or angst of the inevitable. For adoptive parents, it’s probably both. We feel hope because our kids are older and maturing. But then there’s the fact that they are older and maturing…bringing bigger, more life-altering consequences. If you’re like me, because of the above struggle, I rarely if ever make the common New Year’s resolutions. Honestly, I don’t have time for that silliness. I only have time to survive is what I usually think.

The Boy We Said Yes To.

The adoption journey can bring about immense blessings that you never saw coming and never expected to experience. But sometimes the blessings come in unexpected ways.

We​ ​woke​ ​up​ ​with​ ​an​ ​anxious​ ​heart.

A​ ​15-year​ ​old​ ​boy​ ​was​ ​aging​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​system​ ​in​ ​the​ ​coming​ ​months.​ ​Aging​ ​out​ ​means​ ​he would​ ​soon​ ​be​ ​too​ ​old​ ​to​ ​be​ ​adopted.​ ​As​ ​if​ ​a​ ​16-year​ ​old​ ​doesn’t​ ​need​ ​a​ ​family​ ​anymore!​ ​He would​ ​be​ ​on​ ​his​ ​own.​ ​Forever.​ ​Most​ ​likely​ ​to​ ​be​ ​homeless,​ ​partake​ ​in​ ​illegal​ ​activity​ ​to​ ​survive, imprisoned,​ ​be​ ​trafficked​ ​and/or​ ​succumb​ ​to​ ​an​ ​early​ ​death.

When Church Becomes A Negative Experience For Adoptive Families.

One of the biggest places we’ve felt the least amount of support and understanding is the church. But this needs to change. It begins by honestly communicating the reality of our “church” experience…

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I hate going to church. I’m not one to beat around the bush. So yes, I hate it! It sounds shocking, I know. Especially since my husband’s a pastor. Not just the Sunday morning kind of church either. I hate all church functions. Bible studies. Small groups. That kind of church.