Infertility and Adoption Changed My Life Dramatically | by Jan

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 Hi everyone:

Since this is my first post I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and why I’m excited to be a part of this ministry. I am a biological and adoptive mom, as well as a wife, daughter, sister, grandmother and most recently a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. My experience with infertility and adoption changed my life dramatically. So much so that it inspired me to go back to school at age 47 to get my master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and become a therapist in order to help others who might be going through infertility and adoption as well. I chose that population for the topic of my research, and learned so much that I’d like to share with you over the course of my next few posts.

  “He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ” Ephesians 1:5

In the course of my psychology program I also learned a lot of things that I didn’t expect. About myself, about the world, and even about the Bible and God. I had expected to find opposing viewpoints everywhere I looked, but instead I became reassured again and again of the wisdom and truth of the Bible and God’s Word. For example, what psychology calls the “multigenerational transmission process” the Bible calls “The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’ Ezekiel 18:2……and while the world considers adoption an “alternate or deviant family form” the Bible says he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ” Eph. 1:5.

In the world the idea of “family” is largely defined by blood or biological bonds. But in church we consider each other brothers and sisters in Christ, not by our own or our parent’s blood, but by the blood through which we were all saved. “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.” Rev. 1:5  What the church has known for so many years, as in so many things, our society is slow to acknowledge.

  The idea of “family” is largely defined by blood or biological bonds

Next time I will share more of my research findings about infertility and adoption, and why we struggle to feel accepted by the world when we choose an “alternate” definition of family. For today, I’d like to leave you with this good word: We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Rom. 8:22-24

– Jan

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November is National Adoption Month

National Adoption Day

National Adoption Day

 

November 22nd is National Adoption Day. This month you might notice news outlets, organizations, and even Facebook friends posting stories or opinions along this theme. This month is very special to several of us here at Three Strands Ministries because we have become or hope to be foster and/or adoptive parents. This month you will here from us about Foster Care and Adoption. We hope that you will relate to our stories, share them with someone who is a Foster or Adoptive parent, and consider opening your heart and your home to a child in need. For those of you who have never adopted and are wondering what the fuss is about, here are some important facts regarding National Adoption Day:

What is National Adoption Day?

Every year on the  Saturday before Thanksgiving thousands of children, their soon-to-be-parents, and local social workers assemble at their local courthouse to finalize their adoption. Some children are adopted from birth. Others were swept into the Foster Care system and wait several years before they are adopted, and, in some cases adult children (18 or older) are officially adopted by their parents.  Each family has their story, which has led to this culminating event. It is not the end of their story, but simply the end of a chapter and the beginning of another. If you would like more information about National Adoption Day, we recommend you click on this link nationaladoptionday.org .

Why is this Adoption Day different from other Adoption Days throughout the year?

This is the time of the year when several states make a big push to finalize the adoptions of kids who are in the foster care system in an effort to ensure that foster children find their forever homes. Typically, more adoptions occur in the month of November than in any other month throughout the year. It is a day of celebration and a time to raise awareness about the needs of foster children

I am interested in foster care and/or adoption.  Where can I find more information?

There are several great organizations across the country that specialize in foster care and adoption abroad and in the U.S. We at Three Strands Ministries recommend the following organizations:

  • Youth For Christ (YFC) for foster care and adoption services (Seattle/Tacoma region)
  • Child Share (LA region)

Is there a way to help foster kids without becoming a foster parent or adopting? I want to help, but I can’t foster or adopt.  What can I do?

There are lots of ways to support Foster and Adopted Families. Here are some ways that you might consider helping a foster/adoptive family:

  • Respite care – Child care for the foster/adoptive parents while they enjoy a date night, run errands, or even go grocery shopping. This is like specialized child care in that you may need some training or to attend a class to know how to care for children with special needs. You will also need to have a background check on file with the child’s social worker. This is easy to obtain and the foster family and their social worker should be able to help you know what needs to be done.
  • Host play dates – Foster/adopted children, for the most part, are just like your kids. There may be some children who have special play needs and a play date may not be appropriate. But for the most part, helping to provide a sense of normal and a safe place to play with friends is important and will be a great encouragement to the kids and their families.
  • Be a friend – Foster moms and dads need someone who is willing to listen and not judge them or their kids. Invite them over for dinner, take them out to  coffee, and just listen.
  • Don’t judge. Offer to help – Sometimes, being a Foster parent can be difficult.  People who are not Foster parents don’t understand the special needs and challenges that come with caring for a child who has been exposed to drugs or alcohol, abuse, neglect or abandonment, and have behavioral, emotional, developmental,  or psychological challenges. So if you see a mom at the checkout stand buying subsidized food who seems overwhelmed by unruly, undisciplined kids, don’t write her off as a bad mom. Instead offer a smile, offer to help carry her things to her car, and just be a blessing.
  • Help raise awareness – Change your profile picture on social media and challenge others to do the same, and help give a voice to the thousands of foster kids who are looking for their forever home.

Join the conversation

Do you have questions about Foster Care or Adoption? Are you a Foster or Adoptive mom and are willing to share your story? Email us your questions or share your story and we will post it on our blog.

The Lord Will Remember You | by Patty

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It was 4 years ago on Mother’s Day that I was sitting in church in Tacoma, Washington. Another Mother’s Day, another year of not being able to get pregnant. I already had my son, Jacob, but we had not been able to get pregnant with out second child. After 10 years of marriage, and 5 1/2 years of trying, we had come to terms with the fact that maybe we would only be a family of three, and that was ok.

After years of baby showers and watching our friends and family members grow their families, we had resolved that maybe it just wasn’t to be. There was no reason that we could not get pregnant. In fact, we had gotten pregnant with Jacob on our honeymoon. So what we thought would simply happen had instead become a source of pain, frustration, and tremendous heart break. I felt incomplete.

I longed for and missed the baby that I knew in my heart I should have. And yet, it seemed it was not meant to be.

I sat in church that Mother’s Day, and my heart ached as the pastor interviewed mothers in the church who were, it seemed, stellar examples of motherhood. But one mother stood out to me. She too had one child and was hoping and painfully waiting for her second child…wondering why God was not fulfilling this desire of her heart.

Toward the end of the service the pastor said that he wanted to pray for the mothers that would be; the mothers that were childless and hoping that God would finally answer their prayer and bless them with a child. He asked if there was anyone who was longing for a child to come forward and the church would pray over them.

I froze in my seat. I could not move. I looked over and saw a couple that I knew and I could not go forward because I did not want them to know that this was something that we deeply longed for and wrestled with God about. I felt the deepest pain I had every felt in my life, and as much as I wanted the prayer I could not confess this before my church family. I could not bare this private pain so publicly. In fact, no one could come forward. I knew that we were not alone, but that others could also not bring themselves to publicly bear this burden.

For couples who have struggled with infertility their pain is coupled with quiet shame, and for me, a constant bitterness.

Why could so many other women conceive and I could not? Why would drug addicts, promiscuous teenagers and abusive parents be blessed with a children, and I wasn’t? I am a God fearing Christian. I teach my child about right and wrong. I am hard working and a dedicated mother. Why could I not have a child too? I wrestled with this, prayed about this, cried and even screamed at God about this. Why not me? And God was seemingly silent.

I prayed with my friend that Mother’s Day, and confessed that maybe I wanted this too much. . .and God didn’t. She responded that maybe the desire on my heart was so strong because it was God’s will. I was so confused. But one month later while my family was away in California visiting family, I received a phone call from my husband. Our niece had been arrested and had given birth to a baby girl. The baby needed someone to care for her until her mother could be released from jail.

I couldn’t believe it. Here was this baby, born into difficult circumstances, that needed someone to love and care for her. My mother’s heart jumped, and I immediately wanted to adopt. But, that wasn’t an option. The offer was only for temporary care. I was faced with a choice: We could bring the baby into our home and our hearts and give her back when the time came, risking greater heartache or we could say no, and let her go into the state foster care system.

No matter the risk, I could not let her get lost in the system. No child should be left to fend for themselves in a state run system. We said yes, and one month later brought home our sweet baby girl. The hole in my heart was filled. And every mid night feeding was a joy for me, because I had my baby. Honestly, I guarded my heart. After all, I didn’t know if or when we would have to give her up. But we trusted God, believing that this was the right thing to do. But God wasn’t finished yet. 10 days after we brought home our daughter, we found out I was pregnant. Yep, we had a one month old, and we were going to have another baby. I was in shock.

God had given us a double portion, something that He has done over and over again throughout scripture.

In 1 Samuel 1:5 Hannah, who had also been barren, was given a double portion because the Lord had closed her womb. Hannah too, knew the pain of wanting a child, and watching painfully as those around her had their children without struggle. She too wept before the Lord in anguish, and pleaded with Him for the desire of her heart. Samuel 1:19 says that the Lord remembered her, and she was blessed with a son. Her pain was not forgotten, her prayers not left unanswered. The Lord saw every tear, heard every prayer, felt every pain. And he remembered her.

Do you long for a child the way that I did, the way that Hannah did? The Lord has not forsaken you. He sees you. He hears you, and he will remember you. Remember, Jeremiah 29:11 says, that he knows that plans that he has for you. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. He loves you. He loves you, and He will see you through this. And he may even give you a double portion.

Consider It All Joy | by Breanna

It’s been one year since I sat nervously waiting – they were late. I cleaned, re-cleaned, and organized some more to keep myself busy. I finally saw a car pull into the drive and my heart raced. She’s here. Our social worker got out first and then lifted the most precious little girl out of the back seat and came to the front door. This beautiful girl came bounding in the door, put her backpack down, looked and me and said, “Hi mom,” and at that moment I thought my heart would burst. She was amazing – so resilient and brave for all she’d been through. After the social worker left, we sat in the living room talking and getting to know one another & she spent a lot of time checking out her new bedroom & toys.

One year before that amazing day was another amazing day – our wedding day. We had a beautiful wedding & we couldn’t wait to start our life together and have a family. However, it didn’t happen the way I would have planned – great things never do really. Each month as time ticked by and I still wasn’t pregnant was tough, but I trusted God and knew he would give me the desires of my heart and allow us to have a family, even though sometimes trusting God is hard – we pressed on and prayed a lot. Then one day my husband and I were talking about a tough situation a family member was facing. She had lost her children and they were in foster care. I was still new to the family, and didn’t know the dynamics and history so I kept quiet – all the while my heart was screaming “why don’t those kids live here?!” Months had gone by and one night it just came out, I said to my husband “I don’t understand why those girls don’t live here.” That was all it took to change the course of our cozy life. He agreed and had been struggling with the same thing but too afraid to say it out loud. We made some phone calls that next week, and things begain to move at lightning speed. Within weeks we had our first precious girl moving into our home and a couple weeks after that – we got her little sister as well! We had always agreed that once we had children I would stay home and be a full time mama – so I resigned from a position I loved at a non-profit to be a full time mama to our beautiful two foster daughters.

Not everyone understood our decision and lots of people probably thought we were crazy. However, lots of people rallied around us. I was truly amazed by the generousity of people – within a week we had a twin bed, a crib, a changing table, toys, books, tons of clothes, car seats – pretty much everything we could have ever needed to make these two girls who had been through so much, feel right at home.

God knows what He’s doing

So here we were raising two beautiful daughters and loving every minute of it. Certainly there were challenges – lots of struggles and days of tears and wondering if we made the right choice. None of those compare though to seeing two children thrive, grow, learn, and be comfortable & feel safe. When we started this journey – we didn’t know how long we would have the girls, but the social worker thought that it would be a long term placement with possible adoption. We were a family – the girls knew and loved our parents as grandma & grandpa, hungout and played with all their cousins and aunts & uncles, and fit right in with our church family & friends. Then one day we found out that they would be going to live with their dad. At first honestly I was mad & then so incredibly sad. I felt like I had been punched right in the stomach. I cried a lot. I prayed – I probably should have prayed more. Because slowly God began to change my heart & I could have never imagined this – but I was glad. I was so happy for the girls. They deserve to have their dad in their life. Girls need good dads. I remember sitting in a Bible study of James and Beth Moore said anguish and joy can coexist. I never knew that to be true until now. I felt anguish over losing our girls and joy that they were getting their dad back.

God knows what He’s doing. He knew what He was doing all along. A couple weeks after the girls came to our home, we found out we were expecting! And now we have a beautiful daughter of our very own. But God used this to open our hearts to the foster system & the needs and we plan to go on this roller coaster again and have dreams of international adoption. The coolest thing is that we’ve been able to build a relationship with the girls dad and we still get to be a part of their lives. They call us aunt and uncle now – we have sleepovers – we take them to church & family events and it is awesome. Only God could have weaved these lives together in such a beautiful way & changed our lives so dramatically and amazingly in just one year. God will give you the desires of your heart – it just might not look like you expect. I wanted to be a mama so badly, yet I could have never dreamed that in one year I would get to be the mom for three beautiful girls.

“Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” -James 1:2

If you’re struggling with infertility or some other unfulfilled desire, don’t lose hope & don’t give up. Continually seek God – I know it’s not easy & it’s okay to get mad & be frustrated – God can take it. Just always know that He loves you and He has a plan for you and for your family that you could never even imagine.