12 Ways Ordinary People Can Love Orphans

I shared a last week about Orphan Sunday, on Nov. 2, 1014.  If you believe that Christians are called to care for the orphans, here are some practical steps YOU can take!*

12 Ways Ordinary People Can Love Orphans

  1. Foster. Some 400,000 children live in foster care today. The experience of a loving home and relationships can make a profound difference for these children, even if their stay with you is brief. To start, talk with others in your church or community who’ve fostered to get an honest take on the joys and challenges of the journey. Then reach out to a quality local agency that facilitates foster care to learn more about the process.
  2. Adopt. Every child deserves a family. If you’re considering adoption, start with prayer and then conversations with adoptive families and adoptees. Then begin asking questions of a quality adoption agency. You can find many at www.cafo.org. If you’re considering adopting from foster care, visit www.adoptuskids.org.
  3. Advocacy and Orphan Sunday. One great opportunity to engage your church is Orphan Sunday. On the first Sunday of November, churches worldwide celebrate God’s love for the fatherless and how ordinary people can make a difference. Any church can participate—from a showing a short video or prayer for orphans during a church service...to a foster care “Heart Gallery” in the foyer...to a community-wide concert. Find event ideas, free resources and more at www.orphansuday.org.
  4. CASA. Many counties link foster youth with a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). A CASA serves as advocate and ally for the child as the courts determine what is best for him or her. Learn more at www.casaforchildren.org.
  5. Mentor. A consistent, caring adult presence can make a profound difference for any child, especially one who has bounced from home to home in foster care. Young adults who are aging out of care also greatly need caring older friends and a place to spend the holidays. Many communities have mentoring programs, and groups like The Mentoring Project or the Christian Association of Youth Mentors can help churches establish their own.
  6. Safe Families. This all-volunteer alternative to the foster system is a great way to help prevent children from entering foster care. Volunteers can provide temporary homes, support these host families, and also aid birth families. If your area doesn’t yet have a program, consider starting one. More at www.safe- families.org
  7. Wrap-Around Supports. Practical aid from the church community can be hugely helpful—and encouraging!—to foster and adoptive families. Consider household chores and yard work, shopping, giving rides, and babysitting. If you church doesn’t have an organized ministry, don’t be put off. Find out what families need and do it! Ultimately, you may want to create a formal “Foster/Adoption Support Ministry” with a few others.
  8. Skilled Service. Put your professional skills to use in showing love to adoptive and foster families and to foster youth—from haircuts to orthodontics to car repair.
  9. Fundraising. Funds help fuel ministry. Give personally and help raise money for trustworthy organizations, both nearby and globally. Find trustworthy organizations at www.cafo.org. Students group will value the www.heartwork.tv, which provides rich learning experiences as youth raise funds for worthy ministries. Churches also create “Adoption Funds” via www.abbafund.org and www.lifesongfororphans.org.
  10. Missions Trips. Mission trips can be life changing for those who go. But without careful attention to the long-term situation we’re entering, travel can eat lots of money with little impact. We may even do harm in the process. Make sure any mission trip includes thorough preparation and cultural understanding, and clear and appropriate objectives. Most of all, make sure that the local church—not wealthy visitors—is seen as the primary answer to long-term needs.
  11. Church Ministry. Join with a few others to create an ongoing orphan ministry in your church. Find successful models and other materials at www.cafo.org and at the national www.CAFO2014.org conference. The ministry www.hopefororphans.org provides great resources, including their simple guide, “Launching an Orphans Ministry in Your Church.” You can also learn much from mature church ministries like www.tapestryministry.org.
  12. Church Culture. Beyond formal ministry, what can make all the difference for foster parents, adoptive families and mentors are the “intangibles” that make for a culture of welcome and hospitality. Sunday School teachers who grasp the unique challenges that come with wounded children. Pastors who honor adoption and pray for foster youth from the pulpit. People willing to invite families with special needs for BBQ.
page2image18208 page2image18368 page2image18528 page2image18688 page2image18848 page2image19008 page2image19168*From the Christian Alliance for Orphans:
www.cafo.org | info@cafo.org 


Friday Favorites - Slugs and Bugs

Sharing with you some of my favorite kid-music.  Here is sample of one of the silly songs!

Randy Goodgame's "Slugs and Bugs" is a fun collection of songs that are great for kids, but moms and dads will find entertaining as well!  Written by a great Christian artist, the songs also include tunes like "God Makes Messy Things Beautiful" and "Tell it to Jesus."  Along with the silly songs, these songs remind kids that God can help them through anything.  I can literally put these songs on in the car and - BAM! - quiet.  Being the boys that they are, our favorite song is probably the "Under Where?" song from the album "Slugs and Bugs: Under Where?Imagine songs with "cheese dip" and "riding on dragons" lyrics. You can see that they ar. e full of fun. 

I also love that they created "Slugs and Bugs Sing the Bible."  I found the perfect song for learning not only learning the New Testament books of the Bible but the Old Testament books as well (which is a lot harder to memorize!).

We can't wait to get the "Slugs and Bugs Christmas"!!

Not sure we should listen to "Slugs and Bugs Lullaby" in the car - but good for kids that listen to music at night!

Joining Momfessionals for....

Happy Friday!!


Eyes Off of the Pool

In John 5 we read a spectacular story. Jesus heals a man that has been sick man for a long time.  The spatular part isn't necessarily the miracle.  Of course it is amazing that Jesus heals this man.  What is even more amazing is a simple question Jesus asks the man first.

When Jesus meets him, this man is sitting by a pool.  The pool of Bethesda was a superstitious pool.  The people believed that an angel came down and stirred the pool.  Whomever touched the water first was healed.  Either the man was took sick or lame, but either way he was never fast enough to get into the pool first.  Someone else always received the "blessing" before he could.

In John 5:6, Jesus askes the man: Do you want to be healed?

When I first read that, I found it to be a little silly, don't you? Of course the man wanted to be healed!? He sat by the pool for years trying to be the first in the water.  Of course he wanted to be made well.  What a seemingly pointless question.

After doing a little studying, I came up with two reasons why Jesus might have asked the man this question:

1. To give him hope.
2. To get his eyes off of the pool and onto Jesus.

To Give Him Hope
The man needed hope.  Time after time, he was never the first into the pool.  The others who were sick would always beat him to the waters when the "angel" stirred it.  Slowly, the man was losing hope.  Yet, the man did not just need ANY hope.....he need MORE than hope.

To Get His Eyes Off the Pool
He needed Jesus.  The man was placing his entire hope in this superstition.  Scholars debate whether the angel was real or not.  Either way, the man's hope was not found in the pool.  This man needed to look up at Jesus, his only source of hope.  Jesus was saying: Stop looking around you for hope, look up at me.

What about you? Do YOU want rescued?  Jesus is asking you today.  He wants to offer you hope and cause you to get your "eyes off of the pool." To be able to see the hope Jesus offers you, first you must stop looking around or inside of you.

I wrote about how if we look inside ourselves, we will never be enough to satisfy.  We shouldn't look around either.  Our husbands, children, parents, or friends are not the solutions to our problems.

Right now, God may be doing something really wonderful with our adoption process.  It could be nothing.  I could be something.  I've checked my phone every 10-15 all. day. long. No answer.  Waiting for an answer is sometimes the hardest part.  I just don't care what the answer is - I just want to know it!

God is teaching me that in my waiting, I can take my eyes off of the situation, and onto Him.  He is my hope.  If my heart gets broken, its ok.  He holds my heart so close that I will still be ok.  He is our salvation.  No amount of tribulation will ever separate us from His love.  He is our Father.  With gentleness and care, He guides us through the hardships.  He allows us to go through things to teach us to look up....at Him.

Get your eyes off of the pool that is your circumstances, and onto Jesus, who is reaching down, ready to give you hope and healing!


Orphan Sunday

As adoption has become so very dear to our hearts, Jason and I have researched a lot about orphans, orphan care, and reaching those that are most vulnerable.  One organization that I have come to love is Orphan Sunday.

Every year, this group helps promote Orphan Awareness in churches all over the world. This year, orphan Sunday will take place on November 2.

From their website : Orphan Sunday (dot) org

On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress. Each event is locally-led. Sermons and small groups, concerts and prayer gatherings, shared meals and youth activities—each rousing believers with God’s call to care for the orphan, and what we can do in response. From many sources, one voice. Each November, thousands of events will echo across America and around the globe, all sharing a single goal: that God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well. Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.

Will you stand?
As people of God we need to bring awareness to this children.  
When a need has a face, we can meet that need.

On Orphan Sunday's website you will find...

Ideas for how to promote Orphan Sunday
Resources for promoting Orphan Sunday
Printable materials for bulletins and posters
Movies to watch promoting the event
And much, much more.

Check it out and be a voice for the voiceless!


Honest Moments - Everyday Eternity

Psalm 102:18 - "This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD."

My children hear me say a lot.  

Don't touch that.
Take off your shoes.
Take your plate to the sink.
Don't run.
Hold my hand.
Say please.

A lot of my instructions and directions deal with the everyday.  What if the everyday dealt with eternity? What if I added to those things I said, giving my children a more eternal perspective?

In Psalm 102 we read how the psalmist tells the people to write down - TELL - what?

Psalm 102:16-17 - "For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer."

TELL - What?

Future Promises
Present Promises

The psalm reminds us that God will return, and in that time His glory will be revealed.  All those things promised in Revelation 20-21 will come true!  I challenge you to read those chapters.  That hope of the future brings joy to my heart! Remember this - the psalmist says.

Also, remember that God is very present in the here-and-now.  God promises to listen and answer those that humble themselves before Him.  He will not ignore our pleas for His help.  He will rescue! Remember this - the psalms says.

So we TELL, but WHO do we tell?

Psalm 102:18b - "That a people yet to be created." - Those not born yet need to know of God's promises.  My grandchildren and great-grandchildren need to know of God's promises.  How will they know?

TELL them.

When my sons get older, I will tell them of how God provided during our adoption process.  I will tell them how daddy lost his job - our only way to pay for the adoption - the very same day of our first home study meeting.  I will tell them that God provided each step of the way. 

While they are little, we tell them how God is faithful.  I will tell them my prayers so that later I can tell them how God answered them.  I will tell them that I pray for them to know God.  So that when they finally accept Him as their Savior - they can see how my prayers were answered.

So we TELL, our CHILDREN - but WHY?

Psalm 102:18 - "May praise the LORD."  

I will tell them because God deserves the praise.  He is all glorious.  He is all powerful.  He is kind. He is just.  He is good.  He is worthy of our praise.  

But I must be honest! (We are sharing "Honest Moments.")  

I don't alway do this.  I actually miss so many opportunities I lose track. I get caught up in the here-and-now.  I focus on fixing dinner and folding clothes. My heart forgets to see the eternal perspective.  Am I teaching my children about eternity perspectives - or just earthly pleasures?

To answer, I look at my own heart.  I see that I need to rest more in Christ's grace.  Trust God with the present and future.  As my heart learns to trust and rest more, my heart can teach my children to trust and rest as well.

I could fold laundry, telling them to be thankful for God's gifts to our family - how He always provides.
I could read stories that show God's faithfulness in keeping His promises.
I could sing songs that tell them "God makes messy things beautiful."

All of these little moments of telling them reminds me (and them) to rest in God's eternity. 

Linking up with:



Friday Favorites - Pete the Cat

Have you seen these cute kid's books? 

With silly illustrations, clever rhymes, and a good message - the books are great for kids ages 2-12!

Our very first Pete the Cat book was:

In this book, Pete walks through life with his favorite white shoes.  He is just singing along, until - UH OH! He steps in....well, you will just have to find out what Pete steps in!  In the end, Pete learns a valuable lesson about no matter what happens in life, to just keep walking.  This book is great for color practice as well.

We also love.....

This is one of our favorite Pete the Cat books.  My boys love the surprise twist at the end of the book. They laugh every time!  What happens when Pete loses all of his four groovy buttons?  You have to read and find out.  Along with numbers and subtraction, this book also offers a lesson in how to handle life when we lose our things.

You might want to also check out some other Pete the Cat books.


With a beginner reader, we also have used the Beginning Reader Pete the Cat series as well!


Click HERE for the whole Pete the Cat series some extras and other fun activities!

Also, check out Pinterest, as there are several fun activities to do with Pete the Cat as well!

Happy Friday!

Time for
Friday Favorites



Not Time for the Yes

I'm ready for a yes.  Unfortunately, it is another no.

When we entered this adoption world, we were joining a something that was completely unknown.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  Maybe that was a good thing.  We had read books, watched videos, and taken online classes.

Everyone told us about the financial decisions.
Everyone told us about the long waits.
Everyone told us about the endless paperwork.
Everyone told us that it would be hard.

No one said anything about the hard decisions we would have to make along the way.  I cannot begin to describe all of the hard decisions we've made so far.   The latest decision had to do with a potential adoption locally (as in a few states away).  We could adopt this little one and continue to wait for our little girl in China.  For a week now, we've wrestled with this decision.  This little one would demand a lot of attention, possibly for the rest of his/her life.  Therapy, doctor's appointments, and lots of hours at home working on different things was going to be needed.  Most of the time we were completely split 50/50.  We wrestled with a lot of emotions and thoughts.

On one hand, we did not want to shy away from doing something because it might be "hard."  God calls us all to do hard things.  We never want to choose the road that is easier just because it won't be difficult.  Unknowns are hard for me.  Unknowns scare me and cause me to back away from a decision.  God commands us to do things sometimes that have a lot of "what if's."  God gives grace.  This is little one had a lot of hard unknowns.  I did not want that to be the deciding factor.

On the other hand, we have to look at our family right now.  Although there are unknowns, we have things we do know. I know have three little ones.  I know we are home schooling.  I know we are on the waiting list for a child who could become available anytime now.  All of those factors weighed very heavily in our decision.

So, do we take the hard road....trusting God to work it out and provide the strength?
Or do we stay the course we are on, trusting that He will lead us to our daughter in His timing?

We opted for the second choice.  Although we believe with all of our hearts that God provides the grace for each situation, we had to remember where we had drawn the lines at the beginning of our adoption journey.  Needs will arise constantly and it is NOT our job to meet all of those needs.  If we do not meet the need, God brings someone else along to do so.  We believe that with all of our hearts.

It doesn't make the decision any less hard.
It doesn't mean that we hurt so much saying "no" to this little one.

I cried a little the night we came to our conclusion.  Not because we had to say no to this little one, but because I am so tired of the "no's" our family has faced.  It seems as if doors have opened left and right during this process, but we've had to say no so many times.

I told Jason, "I'm ready for a yes."  
I'm ready.  
It just isn't time for the yes yet.
And when it comes, the "yes" will be the Best Yes!


Phil. 4:6 says "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I have prayed for peace about this decision.  God has granted us peace.  I will take that peace, and place it as solider on a tower, guarding the city of my heart and mind.  It is easy to sit and regret or walk away and wonder after making a hard decision.  God's peace is a promise to keep us from worrying whether we made the right decisions.  God's peace comes when we stop worrying and pray.  That peace will stand guard and protect me from the harm of self-doubt.  God's peace moves me forward as I wait for the "yes" that I know will come.

In adoption, we are faced with so many "no's" - it can be so discouraging. 
God promises us peace, even in the middle of all of these "no's."