Friday, June 24, 2011

Infertility & Some Gentle Reminders

Whether we realize it or not, couples dealing with the pain and uncertainty of infertility are everywhere around us.  We don't often stop to think about it because it is often a very private struggle that is shared with only one's closest friends, if it's shared at all.

The point that I really want to make today is this - we never know what couples are dealing with.  So often we find ourselves joking around or making thoughtless comments to couples because we assume that they aren't dealing with infertility. 

We don't know...we just assume that they aren't because we haven't been told otherwise.

How many times have you uttered these words:  Isn't it about time for you to have a baby?  You're not getting any younger, you know, when are you going to start having kids?  Don't you want to have children?  Don't you want more children?  Why haven't you had children yet?

For those who have never brushed the issue of infertility, they can't imagine how a seemingly innocent question can cause so much hurt and refresh the tears of disappointment.  Surprisingly, I have even heard adoptive families ask the same questions, not ever thinking about the possibility that their question could be offensive, and I wonder if they have forgotten what that felt like years ago. 

I don't believe that people who ask such questions realize that they could be hurtful, I simply think that they have never thought about it and area unaware of the possible effects of such personal inquiries.  My challenge today is simple - let's erase these invasive questions from our vocabulary and leave the ideas of whether to build a family, when to build a family, and how to build a family to the individuals around us and create an atmosphere of support for our friends when they do share personal struggles.

Find support for couples dealing with infertility at Resolve and Pregnant with Hope.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Talking Adoption With Your Children

So many adoptive parents believe that it is best to talk about adoption with their children from the time that they're tiny infants...but they are paralyzed with fear.  How do you start the conversation?  What is appropriate for a certain age?  How do I become comfortable introducing terminology like birth parents and adoptive parents?  What books can I use?

Sherrie Eldridge provides personal and practical advice for adoptive parents trying to navigate these waters, that often seem unclear in this short video clip.  Sherrie's website is a great resource for adoptive parents and adopted individuals as well.  The Facebook forum for 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed is moderated by her and is also a good source of online information and support.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Father's Day Frosty Weekend - Treat It Forward!

Has the summer heat gotten you in the mood for a cool treat?  Wendy's has your answer this week with Father's Day Frosty Weekend!  For every frosty you purchase on Saturday or Sunday (June 18 & 19), Wendy's will donate 50 cents to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which provides funding to help the more than 150,000 U.S. children in foster care find forever families.

Donations will also be made if you send one of these free father's day cards, use #treatitforward on your tweets, or share the Treat it Forward message through Facebook!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Celebrating Dads

Father's Day is soon approaching - June 19th.  That gives you just a little over a week to pick out the new polo shirt, neck-tie, candy, golf balls, or gift certificate that has become our standard of saying "I love you"! 

No doubt, fathers are to be celebrated and have a unique job description that is just as important, but different, than that of a mother.  There seems to be less emphasis on the emotions that surround Father's Day for men who are waiting to become fathers (through adoption) or men who have made the decision to place a child for adoption with another family. 

The reality is - men have feelings too.  Although they don't display feelings, hurts, and disappointments as openly as women tend to do, that doesn't mean that the feelings aren't there.  If you are an adoptive family and you have the privilege of having communication with your child's birth father, take a moment to remember him in a special way next weekend.  It can be as simple as having your child color him a picture, sending him a photograph, or sending a card to let him know that you haven't forgotten about him.

If you don't have contact with your child's birth father, Father's Day may be a good opportunity to talk with your child about his or her birth father and share the information that you do know about him in an age-appropriate way.  A great children's book about talking to children about birth parents, when information may not be available, is Forever Fingerprints by Sherrie Eldridge. 

For more thoughts on birth fathers and Father's day see When is Birth Father's Day? 

Monday, June 6, 2011

A God Who Waits

This guest post was written and submitted by a couple in the FLS domestic adoption program who are waiting to adopt a child.  Their hope is that this may be an encouragement to other waiting families as they share what they are learning through this time of waiting.

Waiting.  For some, the word “waiting” may conjure up images of long grocery store lines or traffic jams. Maybe it brings to mind time spent in a crowded doctor’s office. It might cause you to reflect on some long-hoped for event. Waiting is something we often reluctantly endure rather than patiently embrace.

Our journey to bring children into our home has granted us multiple opportunities to wait. In our more faithful moments we have asked God, “What do you want us to learn from this? What do we do with this time of waiting?” There have certainly been times when these are not the questions we have asked of God. As the Psalmist, we have cried “Oh God, where is your provision?”

At a recent point in our journey a realization came. God isn’t asking anything of us that He doesn’t experience daily. Is our God not a God who waits? Does God not wait for His children to be brought home? Many are those who are blessed because our God is acquainted with waiting, patiently.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9). God’s mercy is new every morning. In the overflow of God’s mercy and grace, He is waiting on humanity. He waits for the day when His kingdom will come in its fullness and in all its glory. He is waiting for us. He waits when we choose lesser things over His best for us. He waits for us to fully surrender ourselves to Him. He waits for us to tell the story of His rule and reign through our lives and at times even through our waiting.

It is comforting and humbling to know that God understands what waiting is all about and does not ask us to endure what He is not acquainted with. That perspective gives us strength and hope. It provides us with a small glimpse of Gods character. Our God, a God of no boundaries and infinite power, submits Himself to waiting…and we are the ones who benefit.

So many times, in the midst of waiting, we can only see our own trials and difficulties. This limited perspective fosters discouragement. Instead, as we wait, may we remember that we are not alone. Our God is familiar with waiting. In fact, He has had more practice at it than we have!

Perhaps this time of waiting is not a curse but a gift. Perhaps God is teaching us about Himself.

May you be blessed in your time of waiting.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Adoption Day, Steve and Corey!

Steve and Corey were working with Family Life Services from the summer of 2010, hoping to adopt an infant into their family.  They took advantage of the opportunity to network with their home study agency, Jewish Family Services, to increase their chances of receiving a placement.  They were not only given the chance to adopt a baby from JFS, but received a placement of precious twin baby girls - Ava Grace and Olivia Rose! 

We are celebrating this double blessing along with proud parents, Steve and Corey!  You never know what avenue may lead to building your family - if you are willing to open many doors.  Happy Adoption Day, Sweet Girls!

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