what every child should know

likeyou

You know I love being a mom (at least I sure hope you can pick that up reading this blog).  Kids – all kids – are so unique and special. My kids know they are loved and cherished. They are secure and don’t question anything regarding their basic needs. I think of this reality often….because I often think of the kids that have a different reality. When I was growing up there was a wonderful woman in my church who was a foster parent. She was my first exposure to foster care and the knowledge that kids didn’t get to grow up with loving parents like I did. Being exposed to that as a child changed my life.  I recently came across the 111project.org in Oklahoma. It is a great solution for a realistic way to provide homes for those in Oklahoma’s foster care system. It is exciting to see passion growing for finding real solutions to real problems regarding foster care. I am very confident that one day Chris and I will be foster parents….it is really just a matter of time.

Every child should know they are a miracle. It haunts and breaks me to think of kids right here in my town and across this globe that will never know love. It is a devastating reality. Sometimes it can be easy just not to think about ‘those’ kids. It can be easy not wrestle with things outside of our comfort and have to deal with what you feel as result. But the easy way in most life is usually the least rewarding….and least exciting for that matter.

Foster care…adoption…orphan trusts….child sponsorship…..respite care….supporting those that adopt…..

SO MANY WAYS TO MAKE SURE A CHILD KNOWS LOVE.

Last year I shared about my friend Angie that was selling gorgeous headbands and bags to raise money for her adoption. You know what, she is headed to China to get her little girl less than two weeks! They have a beautiful story and my family will forever be changed because they were willing to share it. I CAN NOT wait to see Emery in her arms! On a totally unrelated note, if you have boys that aren’t in the baby stage anymore you have to read this post about her Smash Party….I was laughing out loud reading it. So very true. It could be one of my most favorite blog posts ever…only because I relate so well!

Angie led me to Nicole & Katie. I was daily checking photographer Nicole Renee’s family blog while she was in China meeting her daughter and preparing to bring her home.  Aren’t the best stories the real life ones!  Can you believe how gorgeous Brooklyn is? What an incredible gift she must be to her parents!

And then there is Kate….Katie is in the starting stages of her adoption of a little girl in the Congo. She is giving away an iPad2 to raise funds for their adoption (those are so hard to get….Chris stood in line several days to score me one). You can read on her blog how to enter…and how cute is her family!

Earlier this year I shared about a new friend I met during the craft weekend at Meg’s. I remember sitting in the back of a van learning all about Amy and her family. She’s the NASA all-star that sent me the Astronaut Legos! She shared about her amazing son Ben. If you visit her blog you’ll see how Ben lights up the whole space. Ben is an incredible kid…and he has Down syndrome. Amy began looking around Reece’s Rainbow – part of Reece’s Rainbow’s mission is “to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption”.  It didn’t take long before Amy’s family began the process to welcome another son into their family. They are working hard at bringing little Davis home…. meet Davis:

A big brown eyed cutie, he lives in Ukraine right now.  But he’s got a big brother in America who also has Down Syndrome….and those two boys need to be together. Their mommy needs Davis in her arms! Amy is hosting a HUGE giveaway on her blog right now (iPad2, $100.00 Amazon card, etc.). Go learn about the Jupins, about Davis, about the prizes and how you can help bring Davis home!

About two years ago I shared a little session I did with my good friends Robert & Rachel. They were getting their family book together for a domestic adoption. Since that time they’ve added two handsome boys to their family. Not only have they gained two sons, through open adoptions they have been given an incredible gift to have healthy relationships with the strong women that gave life to their boys. This is Rachel and her youngest son (yeah, she’s gorgeous).

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So, yeah, we can make a difference. Maybe it is opening your home to a child currently in the foster care system. Maybe it is looking beyond what a medical form says and finding your child waiting in another country. Maybe it is being the answer to the heart cry of a birth mom in your town. Maybe it is supporting someone else on an adoption journey. Maybe it is advocacy and raising awareness. Maybe it is babysitting for those foster care parents you met the other day or playing a game of basketball at a nearby DHS shelter. You can make a difference. I can make a difference. And really….why wouldn’t we?

Because every child deserves to know love & security.

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  • B. Gamblin - My sweet Aunt Bernice was a foster
    Parent in Tulsa for years. I always got so attached to the little ones when I would visit.. It was always so painful to hear the stories if why they were there. It is one of my dreams as well!! Love your blog. It’s my morning therapy to see those sweetie kids and what you have crafted!

  • Brooke Whitis - I couldn’t agree more! Every child deserves love..and a home…and deserves to feel loved. YES, it is very obvious through your blog that you love parenting :) I hope you have a wonderful day!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Beautiful post! We are currently in the “waiting” mode of our adoption process. We are firm believers that we all should be doing *something* to care for the orphans. I’d recommend reading “adopted for life”. It is a wonderful book for those wanting to adopt, or those wondering how to be involved in orphan care.

  • Noelle - LOVE this! I believe everyone has a place in providing for orphans, even if they aren’t able to add a child to their family permanently. We are trying to get pregnant right now, but whether we can or not, we are looking forward to adding to our family through adoption in a few years. Thanks for writing this!

  • amanda torres - I heard a wonderful story of a woman in Broken Arrow who, along with her husband, went through the process of becoming foster parents. They did this for the sole purpose to take kids in foster homes (children without foster parents) out on day trips. They pick the children up and take them for a day of fun. Something they don’t get because of funding.

  • erin - What a wonderful post! Our church is really into adoption ministries and is actually sending a group of teens/adults to work at an orphanage in the Ukraine next week!

  • jeana - I absolutely agree with you. We have been praying about adoption, and are leaning to foster to adopt. We have some friends that are adopting a special needs boy from Belize, another friend adopting from Ethiopia, and two others praying about when they will. I love that there are people like you who care so much.

  • Katie - Thank you for this. Your words were so perfect. You are absolutely correct — every child deserves to know they are loved! On a side note, my older son CONSTANTLY asks if we can have another smash party. It really was a ‘smashing’ success:)

  • Sarah - what a terrific post ashley! i have an aunt in Kentucky who currently has 5 foster kids!! she is in the process of adopting 2 of them, sadly for her, the other 3 are leaving her home to hopefully move on to a more permanent home. i hope and pray those 3 kids get the loving homes they had with my aunt. she has such a big heart, i can only hope to be the same. we have also thought about adoption, we will see if God wants us to go that way.

  • Elise - Ashley, Thank you for sharing this today! This is very encouraging to me as just this past Monday night my husband and I attended our first training session to become foster parents… and I just sat down to catch up on blogs because I finally finished our initial round of paperwork! We do not have any children yet and are hoping to adopt through foster care and although I am super excited, it sometimes feels a little overwhelming looking at the long, winding road in front of us. Thank you for the great post this morning!

  • Anna Joy - awesome awesome awesome post, Ashley. I couldn’t agree more. This is why I love your blog so much. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  • AnnM - Thank you for encouraging foster care. My husband and I have been foster parents for 3 1/2 years and we have not regretted taking in these little ones. It is hard to put yourself out there knowing they may go back to their birth home, but things in life that are really worthy are usually difficult, but also full of blessings in this life and the next.

  • Ambrosia - You wouldn’t believe how this touched me. I’ve been praying for direction in terms of adopting a child in the next few years. I just couldn’t tell if it was the right move or not. It’s funny how when I start to doubt His plan, He’ll send his message to me loud and clear. I love your heart and how big it is for others. You inspire me.

  • jami nato - what a sweet post.

  • Kim H. - Thank you for posting this. We are just waiting to get our first child and hold him/her in our arms. We are adopting domestically and I really appreciate your heart to help spread the word about it.

  • Trinity - You KNOW how I LOVE your posts on orphan care and you know how close it is to my heart! Our church got bracelets with the first name of every child in dhs custody in our county…every child in our county in dhs custody was prayed for. Awesome! Thank you for advocating for our children! We celebrate our girls’ anniversaries of when we got them in our home…we decided that after their 5 year anniversary, they get to give it away. So now on each of their days, they get to think of something to do for a shelter, foster family, or adoptive family. We are so excited about it! And I will add…for foster/adoptive families with multiple kids…it has blessed us SO much when people have spent time with our girls one-on-one. It has been a blessing to both us and the girls! Good job Ashley!!! Keep being obedient to the Lord!!!

  • allison - Adoption is something that I think about often and have a really strong inclination towards, even though I’m currently a grad student and single and therefore not in a good position to do much about it at the moment. Thank you for your thoughtful words about this and for the links.

  • cailan - You will be the best foster parents.

  • Katie R. - This brought tears to my eyes! And the timing could not be any more perfect…I have an interview today for a fellowship opportunity that will allow me to make a difference for so many kids. You helped remind me why its so important to keep trying!!

  • Shar Halvorsen - i read your blog often, love the way you parent and all your photos. i’ve never commented before but today’s post meant so much to me i had to thank you. my husband and i have 4 kids and have spent the past year working through adopting. we had started the process to adopt from ethiopia but when things got a bit messy with the changes in their program we pulled our application and started the foster/adopting program locally. we were almost finished with our training when we got a call from a friend of a friend saying they knew of a mama that was going to be giving birth to a baby girl in three weeks and needed a family for her baby. one thing led to another and we now have maizie home with us through a private adoption. we were there when she was born and the last 4 weeks with her have been amazing. there are still threats to her future with us but we are taking one day at a time and enjoying every moment! adoption has changed us in ways that we could have never imagined and we are excited to continue to love on kids that need it! thank you for your post…beautiful!

  • the inadvertent farmer - Thanks for the wonderful post Ashley. There is another way to help children that are in crisis. There is the CASA program…Court Appointed Special Advocate…it is a nation wide program in which a specially trained volunteer becomes an advocate for a child(ren) that are in the child welfare system.

    These are kids that have been removed from their due to abuse or neglect. A CASA volunteer gets to know the child, visits with foster parents, attends court hearing, works with social workers and bio-parents. All the while the ONLY responsibility is to report to the court what they believe is the best thing to happen for for the child. We are the only ones in that court that are there advocating for just the child…no on else, just the child.

    I have a CASA case right now that involves a 9 month old with two broken arms and a broken leg. I have fallen in love frankly…he is sweet and spunky and precious beyond words. He is safely encased in a loving foster home while his case is determined.

    I could go on and on about the important job CASA does but instead I’ll leave a link to our national program website

    http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm

    I’ve got 5 kids, homeschool and have a farm…if I can find the time to do it, I know many other moms and dads that read your blog can too!

    Keep on doing what you do…I look forward to your blog each and every day! Kim

  • Staci - Thank you for this post. This is very near & dear to me because we adopted our son thru foster care & hoping to finalize our adoption of our daughter (who is going to be 2 on Friday) in a couple weeks. The Lord lead us down this path & so grateful for His many blessing. These children have offered such healing for me after going through unsuccessful infertility treatments. We have been feeling called to love another little one & are waiting for that special someone God has picked out for us. If anyone has questions about the OK foster care system feel free to reach out to me. Please also pray for the OKDHS staff as they continue to suffer downsizing due to budget cuts. This will greatly affect the many children in need.

  • Jina - I feel like you spoke for me today. We are currently waiting to adopt domestically, and as we wait, we are committed to praying for that child that will one day soon be ours. All of it, really, though is to be God’s hands and feet… to my little 2 year that I already have… and to my someday baby. Thanks Ashley.

  • colleen from alabama - Thanks. ALWAYS need to reminded we can and should do more. I also believe in constantly exposing your kids to the life of others.(especially those whose lives don’t quite look like ours) I just need to be reminded to do it more often!

  • cynthia - You never seize the to amaze me with your real and heartfelt content. You’re the one blog I can’t wait to read in the morning. This is one of my favorite posts and I’m definitely contributing. Thanks so much for the awareness. Much love!

  • Meredith - what a beautiful post. I donated to help bring Davis home, what an adorable little boy. thanks for brightening my day with all of the compassion you have.

  • Hannah B - I’m sitting here crying. My heart is aching to be a mom and adopting is something that is so precious to me.

  • elizabeth seay - the most important post you’ve ever written. so thankful for your heart for children, especially orphans – the most important people in God’s kingdom!

  • Molly - Oh, I love this! We adopted two kids from Ukraine through Reece’s Rainbow several months ago.

  • Carol - Thank you so much for continuing to share your heart in this. I feel that God is moving me to take more action in this area, because my heart aches for those children that don’t have the love that mine take for granted. And each one is so precious to the Lord. Thanks for your encouragement to take action!

  • Kelly Raudenbush - Nicole Chryst just emailed me a link to this post. I’d love to feature the first part about love on We Are Grafted In. Would you allow me to? Check the site out and let me know what you think. I could link back to this original post so that folks can see the other parts about the fundraising families too. I would need a short bio and a picture of you to use with it. Let me know!
    Kelly
    http://www.wearegraftedin.com

  • Jenna - Ack – I’m crying! I love all these amazing stories. Thank you for sharing them! My husband and I would love to adopt at some point down the road. Can’t wait for the day!

  • Christina - Beautiful post! Preach it, girlfriend!

  • jen - Love this post so, so much. Inspired.

  • Jennifer T. - Love this post!!! I have always dreamed of adopting a child and hope that it will come true in the near future. Thanks for sharing such wonderful stories. They are truly inspirational!

  • Kim from 3 peanuts - LOVE this post. We adopted form China and it has been the GREATEST blessing!!!

  • Margaret - Such a beautiful post! I’ve been reading through ‘Adopted for Life’ by Russell Moore and it’s such a beautiful book about how believer’s have an obligation for orphan care because we’ve been graciously adopted by such a wonderful Father. It’s so convicting! I love to see how the crafting and blogging community really comes together to show love in so many unique ways to these children and their families.

  • Caitlin - Love this post! My hubby has 8 adopted siblings and we plan on adopting too in a few years. We have a web site with some friends in the middle of adopting 2 from Africa selling sweet awesome shirts… Shameless plug. ;) But for a good cause, right? http://bethe8.org

  • Jess - Love this post…and love your heart, Ashley. :)

  • Carrie Sowell - We have had the awesome privledge to walk the foster to adopt journey with some close friends of ours over the past couple weeks. God has opened doors so quickly for them and it’s so awesome to be witness to God moving in their lives right now. We have since talked about our biblical calling to care for orphans in our SS class and have watched several couples answer the call. I pray that if we are suppose to do the same, that God will clearly show us. Right now, we are obedient to serve as support!!!

    PS – Congrats Rachel!!!

  • amy jupin - oh ashley. you sure know how to make a girl sit down and just boo hoo.
    this post…your friendship…both blessings i don’t deserve.
    thank you!

  • Martina - Thanks for sharing this post and spreading the word about the need for adoption and foster parents! My husband and I just become certified resource (foster) parents in Tennessee and we’re just waiting for a phone call whenever they need us. We have already learned so much through this process the past few months and I’m really excited to see where the Lord is going to lead us through all of this.

  • Julia L - This post made me SO SO happy!!! I wanted to do a happy dance (and that is a scary sight)!!
    Katie and I have become “blog friends” and I just adore her. We are both getting our babies from the Congo, we are using the same adoption agency, and we both have two kids of one gender and we are adopting the opposite gender. Their family is absolutely precious!!! Thank you for helping them reach their goal and in bringing their sweet baby home.
    To God be the Glory!

  • Julia L - P.S. I had never heard of the 111 project. awesome. I’m going to work on getting it introduced at our church here. Thank you!

  • Karen Davis - we actually JUST came back from Ukraine with our daughter (a month ago today!) and it has been some AMAZING times…definitely hard…but, times that have been completely blessed by God through and through! My heart is happy for this post dear friend!

  • Courtney Connelly - Love the reminder that supporting adoption/foster care can be done in many different and meaningful ways!

  • mosey - as an adoptive mommy with a HUGE heart for adoption and all things protecting children… I can’t thank you enough for using your blog as a venue to raise awareness and prayerfully hearts will be changed by the stories you’ve shared, and the children who aren’t home yet will get there through the financial support that people will be led to give.

  • Alima - What a great post! Just found you through Emily (Jones Design Co).
    I dont know why, but since I was 12 I’ve felt a calling to adopt. I think about it all the time and I hope one day I will get the opportunity.
    It’s great that you are putting this out there and making people aware of this great need.
    I would love to share this post on my blog.
    Thanks again! I will definitely be following your blog from now on!

  • Jamie - Oh tears…our son came to us from foster care by way of a family placement. But he is such a sweet blessing in our lives. After we got our son several of our closest friends became foster parents too. We now have 6 adopted children between us and several more in process. We are looking to finally finish our licensing so we too can open our hearts and home to more children who really need and completely deserve to have a mommy and daddy who love them completely!

  • Jennie - Thanks for this post. Check out Royal Family Kids’ Camps for another way to impact foster children. You can give a week of your summer to love on hurting kids…

  • andy - just found out the a couple in our sunday school class is getting to foster two children. the actually met them yesterday and will get to bring them home today. they have been wanting this for so long. pray for them and the two children. we are so excited for them. love your post too. :)

  • Misty - Thanks for being such an amazing advocate for adoption ~ of all kinds. We just recently welcomed our own little adoption miracle ~ Eliza Jane ~ into our family. She is 6 weeks olds today. We passionately believe in adoptionas well as the ministry of Crisis Pregnancy Outreach in Tulsa. Anyone interested in open adoption is more than welcome to check out our family blog ~ I promise to get caught up on posting more of our story soon.

  • Tammy - Amazing post. It can be easy to take for granted as the adopted child. However, when I stop to think – really think – and consider how God carefully chose the right family for me, I am overwhelmed gratitude. My breath is literally taken away. Thank you for the reminder about the gift of adoption. And how the gift is not only for the baby but for the family.

  • ria - Thank you so much for this beautiful post. We adopted a sweet baby girl three years ago, she has brought so much joy to our little family. Sometimes, when I think of how it all came about, I have a hard time not being angry at the birth mother. Thank you for reminding that she has given me the ultimate gift.

  • Natalie - Thank you so much for this post and your love for children in need. I am an aunt to two adopted nephews and alsowork at a non-profit domestic adoption agency in Allen, Texas called Chosen Child Adoption Services (www.chosenchildtx.org). The gift of open adoption is such a beautiful gift! Thank you for sharing your passion with others!

  • Jme - i loved this post! and i loved the pic of Rachel and O!!

  • Paige - I’m ready! This post really speaks to me. Thanks!

  • Paige B - Love it! My husband and I are foster parents to two special needs siblings that the Lord has given us to ADOPT! We are over the moon excited. Thank you for sharing such a sweet post about fostering and adopting!

  • Welcome to the family, kid « forceofnature - [...] a beautiful thing to see her so happy with her new family. I love hearing stories like this. Here are a few more I recently read on one of my favorite [...]

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