Beautifully Unique

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I was scrolling though Twitter this morning when I came across an article put out by the National Council for Adoption. This organisation is located in the United States but even for those of us that are beyond the US borders what Alexis Oberdorfer has to say about transracial and transcultural adoptions is important for us all to understand.

She talks about education and intentionality in a way that is pertinent to all of us, no matter what our connection to adoption may be.

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I invite you to read her words here:

https://www.adoptioncouncil.org/publications/2019/02/adoption-advocate-no-128

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Please pray with me for a desire for a greater knowledge and a passion to be intentional in our relationships.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for each day that we are given. Thank you that we have opportunities to learn and grow. Please help us to seek out ways in which to increase our understanding of different races and cultures. Help us to listen with open heart and minds. Help us to be respectful and honest in our love towards others and their histories, experiences, and cultures.

Lord, please strengthen our resolve to be intentional in our efforts to learn and engage with other cultures and peoples. I pray that we will show our children a way of respect, peace, acceptance, and honour to others, their experiences, and their peoples. I also pray that we will show and open up ways for each child to connect with their own culture while also respecting and engaging with other cultures around them.

For those that have adopted across the cultural and racial lines, or themselves have been adopted, please show them, and us, the beauty of the different birth cultures. May we not push down or reject the people from where they came but embrace them as a beautiful part of who they are.

You are the God of all nations. You have created all people as important, beautiful, and as an image of who you are. To see you more clearly we must look to all people, we cannot express your majesty alone but in connection with one another. Please bring us together, help us to see that which is unique as beautiful and that which unifies us as wonderful.

To you be the glory and honour I pray,

Amen

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Jack

It has been just shy of three weeks since I landed in New Zealand. It has been a wonderful and challenging experience to return to the country that shaped my childhood. I knew that both I and my birth country had changed, but to see it all first hand and to experience the feelings of homecoming and homesickness (for Canada) was overwhelming to say the least. However, I wouldn’t change my decision to come back, if only for a while.

I am in the unique place, along with many others around the globe, of having two countries shape my childhood and teenage years. It has proved a challenge for the formation of my identity and if I’m honest it continues to do so. That said, I am glad for the challenges and joys that comes from having two countries be central to my national identity.

Internationally adopted children have the same challenge, although to a higher degree due to the added question of family identity; they must struggle with the question of their national identity.

As I prayed and looked through Reece’s Rainbow this morning I was pleased to note that 143 children who were listed on the site arrived in their new homes in 2018. I hope that over the course of this year more children will find families who will love them, support them, and help them through their own challenges of identity.

jack-august-2016-400x600-200x300@2xOne of the many children that I hope will have a family this year is Jack.

I think what stuck me so much about this little boy is that he will be turning ten at some point this year. The reason it hit me more than it might otherwise is that my own brother turned ten shortly before he was adopted into my family.

Ten is an important and special age (as my youngest brother who turns ten this year would tell you). It marks a milestone in any kid’s life. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this year was also the year that Jack found himself in the arms of a loving family?

Jack is described as being charismatic, funny, loving, bright, and smart. He can walk, run, jump and navigate stairs independently. Those simple tasks are a big deal for a little boy who has had surgical removal of cataracts and who has low vision!

Due to having spent some time in a small foster home for vision impaired children, Jack has learnt English (what a blessing that will be if he moves to an English-speaking country). One more interesting thing about Jack, other than his desire to have a family, is that he loves dinosaurs. Who wouldn’t want to play with some toy dinos and read books about dinosaurs with this little guy?

Please pray for Jack with me,

Dear Lord,

You place passions inside of us for a reason. I pray that you will continue to grow passions for learning and adventure inside of Jack. May you be glorified through all that he will achieve.

I pray that he will receive a family soon who will support him and help him to grow his interests. I pray that they will love him through the tough times and the good times.

Please strengthen this family and provide in them a heart for others. May their journey be an example to others. May they be a blessing to Jack as he will be a blessing to them.

Thank you for those that have cared for Jack gray and blue dinosaure ffigurinesand the others in his orphanage. I pray that you will provide them with a sense of peace and the knowledge that what they say and do has an impact on these kids. May their impact be positive, and may they come to know you.

In your name I pray,

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Question of Identity

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One of the greatest questions that people must wrestle through is the question of who they are. The question of identity plagues the hearts and minds of people of all ages, perhaps none more than those who have experienced a great uprooting in their young lives.

Having moved internationally at fifteen I have struggled with knowing and maintaining my national identity. I have loved and continue to love my birth country. However, I have also grown to love my adoptive country. I recently became a citizen of my new country (I’m now a dual citizen) but this has only increased the confusion and conflict that I have felt internally.

There is this feeling of not fitting in, of remaining an outsider, especially in such a deep-rooted coastal area. However, I know that in returning to the country of my childhood there will also be a disconnect. I have grown and changed and the country has changed since I left.

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Despite the challenges that I have faced in understanding my national identity my heart goes out to children who have been adopted internationally. Unlike me, with the support of my family, they do not have a developed sense of family identity that can soothe the confusion of discovering who one is.

I cannot begin to imagine how challenging it is going to be for my siblings as they continue to grow and seek to understand their national identity. Will they feel closest to their birth country? The birth country of their adoptive parents? Or their adoptive country?

This is a significant question that confronts many people (not just adoptive kiddos) and it needs to be taken seriously. I think that it is vital that we emphasize that it is O.K. to love more than one country. It is also important that we show and understand that we are all connected to humanity no matter our national identity. Additionally, we are all unique and having a unique and varied background is good and O.K. Finally, it is O.K. to explore aspects of our identity as long as we hold onto an aspect of ourselves that remain with us despite the changes and differences in our lives. For me, that is my identity as a child of God.

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Would you pray with me for those around the world who are wrestling with the question of their identity?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for making us unique.

Thank you that we have our own story, our own loves, and our own hopes and dreams.

I pray that as we seek to determine who and what they are that you will comfort us. Please grant us peace and assurance that you will stand with us no matter the country that we find ourselves.

Please guide us into the knowledge of who we are, what we can do, and the difference that we can make in the lives of others.

In your name, I pray,

Amen

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Ever Thankful

Recently my sister wrote a letter to the Central Authority, Children’s Services in her birth country. This is what she wrote….

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is A_______, I live in Canada. I am twelve years old. I was born in Lithuania. My Lithuanian name was E_______. I was adopted on May 19, 2014 by C_______ and A_______. I would like to thank you for finding me a family.

Sometimes we go out to the beach on family day when we celebrate becoming a family. We take photos there and play in the water. We may go to the movies, or the park where we have fun as a family. At meal time we eat together, and talk, and laugh. When we go to bed Mummy comes up to pray for us!

On Sundays we go to church and we pray. A person teaches us about Jesus. On Holidays like Easter and Christmas we remember Jesus. On Thanksgiving we sit at the table and talk about what we are thankful for. I am always thankful for my family and friends.

Once a week I go to Youth Group where I can spend time with my friends and do Bible study! Sometimes our friends come to our house to play. We play tag, hide-and-go-seek, and other running games. We have lots of fun.

In the summer time we play water fights and take turns on the swing. We climb trees and eat cherries off of the trees in the back yard. We also say hi to our rabbits, chickens, and our barn cats.

We stay at home and do school with Mum. We can do school as fast as we want or as slow as we need. Daddy buys us the supplies we need for schooling and then the delivery truck brings the books. I read history that is about wars and about how we got governments. We read the Bible; it tells us about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and what miracles he has done! I read science books about how things work and where electricity comes from.

We also do drawing and art for school. I love to learn about different animals from all over the world. And on Fridays our friends come to do science experiments with us.

I love my family very much, I think being in a family is the most glorious thing there is. Thank you for finding me a family.

Sincerely,

A_______

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As we get closer to celebrating the birth of Jesus I am reminded that though the exact date of his birth is unknown we can still celebrate with joy. As my sister grows and learns what it means to be in a family she has shown joy and thankfulness for what she has. I think this is a testament for us this season. To be thankful for those around us that we celebrate with.

Though people we love may be missing this year and despite the hard financial times that many are in there is still a chance to be thankful. My sister has many things sheImage result for christmas could complain about and while she is not in a perpetual state of contentedness and thankfulness (who is?!) she does remind me of all the amazing things that I do have. Such as the great blessing of being able to call her my sister.

May this Christmas season find you ever thankful and looking to the One who given us so much to be thankful for.

Dear Lord,

Thank you that we can anticipate when Christ is coming again by celebrating when you sent your Son to us the first time. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth please helps us to remember why you sent him. So that we could call you Father. So that we can be joined in relationship with you as your children, saved and redeemed from the sin that had held us captive.

In your precious gift we have found life. May we be thankful for the life and for the love that you have shown. You gave Jesus, the eternal Son, so that we could be called children of God. You continually give us the Holy Spirit who cries “Abba, Father” with our spirits, testifying of who we are.

I pray that as we celebrate this year we will not forget those that still wait for families. My we show love and life to them as you have shown it for us.

Thank you,

In Jesus Christ’s holy name,

Amen.

 

Layla

The other evening I was eating dinner with the four little kids, and the conversation turned to what they would do if they were in charge of the government. Keep in mind that they range in age from 8 to 13.

lil' kiddosThe answers ranged from caring for the poor, and making sure that everyone had enough food to eat and had a place to live (you can see how their past influenced their thoughts).

But the responses that most struck me were comments like, “everyone has a family”, “everyone gets adopted”, and “no one is abandoned”. I think this shows where their hearts are. They love being able to have a family. This does not mean that they don’t struggle with having been abandoned before or with the years they lived in the orphanage. But it does show how important having a family is for them. parliament-clipart-mp-list-of-LSRS

My youngest sister worries about kids who don’t have somewhere safe to sleep. My youngest brother is sad every time I have to give the answer that the little boy he prays for still isn’t adopted.

It is my greatest hope that my siblings will not only experience the love of God and enter into a new Spiritual family but will also be empowered to make a difference in other people’s lives. They have big hearts, great potential, and I believe that they will make an impact on the world around them. May we all strive to make an impact – whether we have a part in the government or not.

There are many other children awaiting adoption who have the potential to change the layla-sm-154x300world. But may never get the chance if they don’t have a family to support them and to make sure that they get the health care and education they need to succeed.

Layla is one of these kids. Though Reece’s Rainbow has no further information on her other than her HIV diagnosis and the year of her birth (2012) this does not mean that she doesn’t have hopes and dreams, likes and dislikes, and the desire to be loved.

Layla is available to be adopted by large families and older parents. http://reecesrainbow.org/121867/layla Would you please pray for her with me?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for Layla. Thank you for your hand in her life. May you bring a family forward to adopt her. To help her see that she is loved and to help her reach her potential.

May her family teach her to respect others, and love all people and creatures, and to make an impact on the world. Please guide her, and those that care for her now, and those that will care for her in the future. May you be glorified through your work in their lives. May they make a difference to the people around them and to the world.

Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for the gifts that you have given each person. May we use these gifts for your glory, for the protection of others, and so that others may know of your grace.

In your name, I pray,

Amen

Thankful

There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! I am thankful for thought provoking classes. I am thankful for amazing professors and mentors. I am thankful to be able to coach an awesome swim team and work with some great students as their TA. I am also thankful for good friends and amazing family (my parents have been married 25 years this month!).

Speaking of my family, there are some challenging circumstances that they are going through at the moment. It has been and will continue to be a hard time in my family but I want to say that I am exceedingly proud of all of them. They have truly shown what it means to be gracious under pressure.

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As we continue to walk through this challenging time in life I am exceedingly thankful to our Father who is heaven. Despite our circumstances and those times our actions are less than gracious He continues to love and care for us. In His gracious love and mercy He has given us the gift of salvation through Christ and continues to sustain us through the Spirit.

Truly God is a good God. He is holy and His holiness perfects His love; a love which He chooses to show to us despite the trials we may face. For this I am so very thankful. I choose to rest in His love and strength as I walk with my family through this time and as I work towards the completion of my thesis.

These three are Sophie, Bronson, and Brenna (http://reecesrainbow.org/category/sponsorafamily/newcommitments). They have families that have committed to them and beginning the process of bringing them home. They are embarking on a long hard journey that won’t end when their children come home. Lives will be changed and it will not come easy but that does not mean that it is not worth it.

This year many beautiful children have made it home (http://reecesrainbow.org/category/sponsorafamily/alreadyhome2017). Surely this is a wonderful thing! May God be praised for His provision! Daniel, Mikayla, and Poppy Mae are among these children that are now home. Would you pray with me for God’s continual providence over their lives and their families? Would you also join me in a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness?

Dear Lord,

You have done great things this year. You have shown Your love and mighty power in the lives of children like Daniel, Mikayla, and Poppy Mae. Thank You that they now have a family to call their own. May You be glorified through their lives.

Please be with them and their families as they learn what it means to be a member of a family and what it means to love and be loved. Please be with them and strengthen them. May they know that You are with them both through the times of hardship and the times of great joy.

To You be the glory forever!

Amen

I just want to make one more comment – I am extra thankful for my wonderful sister. We are very close and though it has been hard since she got married and moved with her husband (a wonderful man) to the other side of the country she has remained a rock in my life. I am eternally grateful that God has blessed me with her. She is a great encouragement in my life and I do not know what I would do without her.

Tori and Nick

May we always be thankful!

Sibling Group in Latin America

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The picture above is of my four youngest siblings during the time my Mum and Dad were in country to adopt them. I look at this picture from three years ago and I am blown away by how much they have grown. Not only physically but also emotionally. They have adapted to a whole new way of life and a brand new language.

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We have become a family group that is learning to help each other through the hurts of the past and the struggles of the present. To accept our differences and love our ‘weirdness’. It is my hope and desire that children will not be left behind to work through their pains and struggles alone.

We have not been designed to be alone but to be in community. To have family and friends and people that we can rely on. At church this morning the sermon was on the hope that we have in God and how we can rely on His faithfulness. He is faithful through His promises.

As a children of God we can rely on our Father’s faithfulness but we are also called to action. We are to be people of faithfulness, not only faithful towards our God but faithful to other people. In our love of others we are to act as someone who they can rely on.

It is my hope that we can follow God’s example of faithfulness and be a faithful people. A people that children who are hurt and broken and looking for love can rely upon.

5-sibs-LA There is a sibling group in Latin America that is waiting for a family. They need the faithfulness of a family. Of parents who they can rely on to support them through the past hurts and the present struggles. A family that can help them cling to hope and grow into faithful people. http://reecesrainbow.org/121366/5siblings

Would you please pray with me that a family will come forward and bring these children into their home and call them beloved.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for Your love towards us. Thank You for Your faithfulness and for Your grace towards those that You have welcomed into Your family. Please help us to act in the same love, to act with faithfulness towards others in times of great joy and great sorrow.

I thank You for the close relationship that these beautiful children have with each other. I thank You for their love of art and sports. I thank You that they have the opportunity to attend school.

Please bring these children into a family so that they may continue to grow in their relationship with each other and have the support that they need. May You be glorified through their lives and through Your work in bringing them into a family of love and support.

May Your name be praised!

Amen.