Advocate & Pray: Jocelynn

JocelynnThis newborn caught my eye because of her special medical needs–Jocelynn was born without eyes because of a rare genetic disorder.  According to her profile, Jocelynn’s diagnosis is so rare that all its effects are not yet known, so this precious baby is in need of a family “who is not afraid of the unknown.”  Jocelynn is an affectionate, mild-mannered infant despite her disorder.  Pray with me that she will find a family that will fit well with her developmental needs and her sweet personality.

Jocelynn is listed with Adopt US Kids
USA

Jocelynn does not have any concerns for emotional or behavioral functioning at this time. She behaves like a normal infant. Jocelynn shows appropriate attachments to people. She smiles and babbles to people who she knows and likes. She can tolerate being held by new people for short periods before she wants to be held by someone familiar. She is also able to play on her own in her bouncy reclining chair that sits in her “pack’n play” with toys around her.

Jocelynn has high medical needs due to an extremely rare genetic disorder. Jocelynn was born without eyes, but she has prosthetics in place to help hold the form of her face as she grows. She receives her formula with assistance so that it can be digested safely. Jocelynn is expected to be developmentally delayed in many significant areas, although her prognosis at this point in time is truly unknown. Because her genetic malfunction is so rare, doctors do not yet know what effect is to be had.

Read more on Jocelynn’s profile

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Baby Will You (a poem)

As I learn about adoption and orphan care, I often try to imagine how I would feel standing in the shoes of various people living through the circumstances that lead to a child being orphaned or adopted. This poem is the result of trying to imagine what a birth mother must think as she chooses adoption for her baby.

Baby Will You

Baby Will You

Baby will you know I love you?
When you hug a different mother.
Will you think of where you grew?
Nine months before you knew another.

Will you miss me as you grow,
The way I miss you here at home?
Will you ever even know?
Your birth mommy loves you so.

Will I ever hold you tight?
The way I did on your birth night.
Will you think I did what’s right?
To help you live a better life.

Will you ever love me back?
Dare I even hope for that?
Will you forgive me what I lacked?
Can we ever sit and chat?

Love the ones who tuck you in,
The ones I chose to raise you up.
They’re the ones who call you kin,
At their family table sup.

But save a place within your heart,
For the girl who gave you life.
For even though we live apart,
I think of you each day and night.

Adoption: An Insiders Look

Adoption An Insider's View

Today’s feature is a guest post from Spencer Rothfuss. Hope you enjoy! 😉

~*~

Adoption. When Leah first asked me to do a guest post on TIO about adoption I wasn’t sure what I’d write about. There are many facets to adoption that would each take volumes to cover; everything from the legal requirements of adoption to attachment and bonding with the child you adopt. I guess I’ll start by telling about my experiences with adoption. My family first got involved in adoption in October of 2009. We submitted our application to a local adoption agency for a domestic infant adoption program that was predicted to take 9-12 months; similar to a normal biological pregnancy.

However, my family’s process was unusually, well, dramatic. Our adoption agency went bankrupt and we were moved to a new one a short time after we began and the process stretched on. Finally, in December of 2011, two years later, we received the call; we were matched. The baby we were matched with was a boy and was scheduled to be born by C-Section in about a month; mid-January. Mom and Dad met the birth parents. We were talking about details like his name, his room in our house, and then God decided that the time was now. Just two weeks after we had heard of this precious little boy, and four days after Mom and Dad had met the birth parents, we were at the hospital and Michael Joseph was born on New Year’s Eve, 2011. We spent four days in the hospital and were visited by an average of five grandparents from both families each day. God miraculously provided for us in many ways. That’s not to say it wasn’t hard, truly it was. But if God wants something to happen, and Oh does he want adoption to happen, it will happen and he will be able to accomplish it.

Adoption is truly the full realization and ultimate end result of a pro-life mentality. And just as Jesus came to give life and life in all its fullness, so our enemy is bent on bringing death and removing the beautiful symbol of our adoption into Christ’s family. As Russell D. Moore says in Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches:

“But adoption is contested… The Scriptures tell us there are unseen beings in the air around us who would rather we not think about what it means to be who we are in Christ. These rulers of the age would rather we ignore both the eternal reality and the earthly icon of it. They would rather we find our identity, our inheritance, and our mission according…to what the Bible calls “the flesh” – rather than according to the veiled rhythms of the Spirit of life. That’s why adoption isn’t charity it’s war.”

When we set out to adopt we defy the powers ruling over our fallen world. We roll back the clock to before the fall and bring a little slice of that intimate perfection with God back into our day.

Michael lived and grew with us for about a year and half before we decided we wanted more. We wanted more of this picture of God’s love in our lives, more children in our family. In August of 2013 we started our second adoption process. This time through Lifeline, based out of Alabama, to do an international adoption from China. We were matched with Lucy Joy Haiyan “Sparrow” Rothfuss in January (for those who know about this process, we are now LID and are hoping to get our LOA by the end of September). Lord willing we (or at least some of our family) will travel around October and spend two weeks in country. We are absolutely ecstatic. To stay up to date on our process, please visit our family blog.

Adoption is really a marvelous thing. It has been a great experience for our whole family. Adoption has really changed me. In a good way. It has really given me an appreciation and awareness of something I had only passing knowledge of before. And I got a new brother out of the deal so it was a double win. One of the greatest ways you can contribute to the cause of adoption if you can’t adopt yourself is by doing awareness like this blog. Spreading the word about children who need to be adopted really can make a difference.

~*~

A Note From Leah: Learn how you can support the Ruthfuss’ adoption of Lucy Joy Haiyan by visiting their Puzzle Project.

The Choice (a poem)

xray-baby-in-stomach_19-131027Lately my reading has caused me to think a lot about the mothers that, for various reasons, are separated from their biological children. Whether young women in the states who surrender their children for adoption, women in other countries who bring their children to orphanages in hope they’ll have a better life, or those that abandon their children because they can’t bear to watch them starve. Each story about these women who love their children but find it necessary to give them up is heartbreaking. Saturday night I was talking to a lady from our church who works at a crisis pregnancy center. This poem is a combination of past reading and my conversation with her.

The Choice
Pregnant, alone, faced with a choice;
Carry through or silence a voice?
She tries to think, but it’s in vain.
How can she reason past the pain?

She wanted love, but love is gone,
Ran away at the word ‘unborn’.
Left her to make the choice alone,
His own small child so soon disowned.

It felt good then, but now it aches,
A broken heart amid mistakes.
Broken, confused, and what’s inside?
A baby or cells? Which side lied?

If only tears would cease to flow.
If only she true love could know,
The baby there beneath her heart,
Might have a chance to make a start.

(copyright 2014 by Leah E. Good)

TheChoice Icon

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up to pray for Greta.

The First Gift of Christmas

image_2013-12-24_142604From my place at the piano, I could see my friends face as she watched her sleeping baby boy. The love glowing on her face made me smile. After a long dearth of little ones in our church, having four children under age two is so much fun. All the members of our small church adore them. They get passed around, cooed at, kissed, and admired. Their parents oversee all of it with that special look of love softening their eyes.

It saddens me to think of how these precious little people are often viewed by our society. People focus so much on themselves and their careers that children become distractions, nuisances. Parents only half-jokingly ask friends if they’d like to keep their child. And that’s the better half of societies opinion of children. Plenty more people worry about overpopulation and consider large families irresponsible.

These thought processes affect so many things. It degrades the value of life. It creates the mindset that abortion is okay. After all, a baby would interfere with a woman’s promising future. Abortion might even be the responsible thing to do because of overpopulation. Those orphans in Africa? They’re starving because of overpopulation.

I’m not saying people purposefully think that way, but take the negative sentiments surrounding children a little further and that’s what you get. It’s sad.

manger-with-jesus-opening-the-arms_21250284The very fist gift of Christmas was a child. A baby. A little one that came into the world just like every other baby.

Each and every child, born and unborn, is a gift from God. Not a roadblock to their parents’ climbing of the corporate ladder. Not an irresponsible addition to an overpopulated world, but a gift. A precious, wonderful gift. Perhaps if cultural thinking about children began to shift, fewer little ones would be left without adoring parents.

A Baby by Christmas (part 2)

Hannah MillsDid you miss A Baby Christmas by Christmas (part 1)? Click the link to read it before continuing. 😉 And now, back to Hannah.

~*~

We arrived at the restaurant, and although I don’t remember exactly who arrived first, the initial moments were slightly awkward. Then it was like meeting old friends, or relatives you haven’t seen in ages and yet pick right back up with.

We started talking and just didn’t want to stop. We traded stories—Kara, worried that I wouldn’t understand, or would be angry at her, shared her story in more depth than my parents had been able to, and was relieved I was okay with it—and memories, gosh, a lifetime of memories. We talked about everything. Personalities, hobbies, favorite memories. We had a lifetime to catch up on.

We discovered I’m a lot like Kara and Kristy, and that Kara and my Mom basically have identical parenting styles, that all of us love to read, and that Kara has an artsy streak. My parents say that explains where I got mine, since neither one of them are very artistic. We have a lot of differences, too, but our similarities matter more.

Eventually we were the only ones left in the restaurant aside from the staff. We closed the place down.

Since, we’ve kept in regular contact. They, along with Kara’s husband, their two children, and my biological grandparents came to my eighteenth birthday party. We babysat on Valentine’s day so Kara and her husband could have a date night (that was a hilarious surprise to plan with him!). I went to the art museum with them and they came to a church pitch-in with us. Birthday and Christmas phone calls. Running into them at the State Fair. Meeting up for dinner. All in all…it’s been great.

Now I’m almost twenty, and having a family and then an “extended” biological family is just my normal. It sounds weird when I talk about it, but actually living it isn’t weird at all. It’s wonderful, actually. I know I’m the anomaly in that, that some people never meet their birth family/mother, or if they do, it doesn’t turn out well. But that doesn’t mean it has to turn out poorly every time.

Adoption is an amazing thing. Sometimes an incredibly hard thing, sometimes scary, but amazing nonetheless.

If you are an adoptive parent, please be as open with your child as their maturity level allows. Remind them that their birthmother does care for them. If she didn’t care, she could have gotten an abortion. If she didn’t want them to have a chance at an amazing life, she could have sentenced them to death before they ever experienced life outside the womb.

All the birthmothers I have met are beautiful people. They aren’t perfect, but none of us are. They have made mistakes, but all of us have. It takes a special person, a special strength, to carry a child and voluntarily give it to someone else to raise.

From the day they brought me home, my parents have emphasized those things and I believe that is the main reason I’ve never had a crisis of identity regarding being adopted, or resented it, or wondered if I was loved or “worth it.” Adoption is beautiful—please, don’t let the adoptees you know lose sight of that.

A Baby by Christmas (part 1)

IMG_0301

Me and Hannah

My friend Hannah and I met through a mutual involvement in the One Year Adventure Novel. Actually, to be technical, our characters met. But that’s another story for another time and you probably wouldn’t understand anyway. Anyway, somewhere along the line I learned that Hannah was adopted and that’s when we started talking. These days I regularly forget the fact that made us start talking to begin with, but I was thrilled when she sent me this article. Welcome to an open domestic adoption. And now let me introduce Hannah.

~*~

On multiple occasions throughout the course of my life, I’ve been asked the question “What’s it like to be adopted?” My reply is always, “What is it like to not be adopted?”

Often, when people talk about adoption, it’s about international adoption. International adoption is beautiful and incredibly important, but some of us adoptees had much more humble beginnings. We are “domestic.” There is a huge need for international adoptees to find their forever families, but, at the same time, the need for domestic adoptive families is also massive.

Older children, younger children. Infants. Some through the state, others through private agencies, there are many of us. We’re “given up” for many reasons—finances, we were unexpected, drug or alcohol addicted parents, the list goes on.

I am from an entire family of adoptee children. We’re all domestically adopted, and this is my part of the story.*

 —

My parents were married twenty-five years ago. They wanted children, but struggled with infertility issues and couldn’t get pregnant. So they turned to adoption. Two fell through, breaking their hearts. It hurt my mother so badly. She couldn’t imagine going through another Christmas, another Mother’s Day, another birthday, without having a baby of her own. They’d been married almost five years when finally, one Sunday, my parents went to the altar and prayed. What was the prayer? A baby by Christmas (come to find out later, the week they prayed was the week the first handful of cells that formed me, came into existence).

Not too long after, my mom’s cousin said she knew of a young pregnant woman who already had a toddler, and couldn’t support two children, so she was looking for an adoptive family for this new baby. Things started falling into place. A homestudy, paperwork, letter to the birthmother, et cetera.

The young woman, Kara, picked my parents as the adoptive family. They met in December, a month before I was born, in a hotel lobby. Kara was so tiny she didn’t even look pregnant. My parents were excited, even though I wouldn’t arrive until January. The three of them cried together in that hotel.

God surprised everyone and I was born in December, a week before Christmas. Mom got her Christmas baby after all, and there were more tears in the hospital when I was taken home. During my hospital stay, Kara tried to leave me in the nursery, so she wouldn’t get overly attatched…that failed. She ended up holding me the entire time before my parents arrived, and my birth grandmother crocheted me a blanket while sitting with Kara.

The years passed. I grew up knowing I was adopted, and not thinking it strange. It was just the way things were. It’s never bothered me even though I have often been curious—Mom and Dad have always been open about it, adding more details as I became mature enough to understand them, and letting me know that if I wanted to meet her, someday I hopefully could.

Three years ago, the cousin that knew my birthmom said a mutual acquaintance of hers and Kara’s had messaged her on Facebook, saying something about how he’d recently seen Kara and wondered how Hannah was doing.

That threw us all for a bit of a loop: he remembered me? That meant Kara must talk about me. Either that or he had a good memory.

Was this a Segway for me to meet Kara? Did I want to meet her? We decided it might be. And I decided I really did want to meet her. So we asked my cousin to write the mutual acquaintance and find out if my birthmother might be interested in meeting.

She was, and so was my birth sister, Kristy, who is two years my senior. We got into contact and set up a dinner-date at Don Pablo’s (nothing like Mexican food for nervous stomachs, right?).

Mom was a ball of spazzing, nervous energy. I stayed calm until right before it was time to leave for the restaurant. Then I freaked out, but knew I wanted to meet them badly enough that I wouldn’t allow myself to talk me out of going.

The drive was nerve-wracking.

And you’ll just have to come back tomorrow for the rest of it. 🙂

*Names changed to protect privacy

Min Kyo (a poem)

Photo Credit: Jean Kim

Photo Credit: Jean Kim

Laugh you little baby,
As you crawl on the floor.
Hoping for the maybe,
A family to adore.

Keep waiting for the kiss,
Of those who always will,
Know what is amiss,
Or why you’re laughing still.

God who sees the sparrow,
Is surely watching you,
Guides down pathway narrow,
Someone to love you true.

Laugh again sweet baby,
Your father up above,
Knows each little maybe,
The path to family’s love.

(copyright 2013 by Leah E. Good)

Min Kyo-a poem

This poem was written in honor of the current Advocate & Pray child, Min Kyo. (Read about Min Kyo here.) To my surprise, shortly after posting about this precious little girl, a young woman I know contacted me to say that her family is inquiring after Min Kyo. She asked for prayer that, “if the Lord wills, he will break down any walls keeping her from her family.” Please pray for Min Kyo and this family who loves her.

You can join the prayer chain for Min Kyo by signing up to pray for a 15 minute slot each day for the next week. And, please, don’t stop praying after the prayer chain “expires.”

Please feel free to share this poem on your own blog, e-zine, etc. I just ask that you keep the copyright written below the poem and that you include a link either to this post or to Advocate & Pray: Min Kyo. It would also be wonderful if you could share a link to where you shared it in the comments section. Thank you!

Advocate & Pray: Min Kyo

photo credit: Jean Kim

One of the amazing things about being a Christian, and more specifically, a homeschooled Christian, is the sense of community. When I was creating this website, I asked my friend Marli Renee for her opinion on it. I knew her family had adopted and that she also has a heart for orphans. As we did some brainstorming together, she mentioned a baby girl that has been heavy on her heart, little Min Kyo. Please join Marli in praying for this little girl in LA.

Min Kyo is listed with Heart Gallery LA
USA

What a little cutie! Her name is Min Kyo and she is waiting for a family of her own. Min Kyo is of Korean descent and is a precious little girl who loves to cuddle and snuggle. Min Kyo was born in July of 2012 and needs a family that will nurture her and give her an opportunity to grow and thrive. When you speak to her, she will pay attention and start to laugh and smile. Overall, Min Kyo is a happy and calm baby who is easily soothed. Min Kyo was born with a diagnosis of Microcephaly and Seizure disorder. She is legally blind and has possible hearing loss. She continues to struggle with her seizure disorder and the doctor has been working on getting the appropriate dosage to help control it.

Read more at Min Kyo’s profile

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Min Kyo is a baby girl waiting for adoption in LA. Join us in praying for her.Click to Tweet

Little Min Kyo is one years old in LA who is waiting for her forever family. Click to Tweet