Year Four Adoption Update

Hard to believe that it has been four years since we stood before the judge and adopted our son. The actual “Gotcha Day ” was September 21, 2012.

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Working hard at the new house.

Our son isn’t old enough yet to fully understand what his gotcha day means, but this year I got to eat lunch with him at school. He is in kindergarten now, and it was Dads for lunch day at his school. I thought it was a great way to spend some time with him on this special day.

This past year was a year of transitions. Last September I had major surgery on my right ankle; we moved to a new home in January; our son graduated from a preschool that he had attended for three years; Danielle had surgery in May; and finally our son began kindergarten at a new school where he didn’t know anyone.

Whew. As you can imagine all of those events made life just a little interesting around our house.

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What I Have Learned So Far from Writing and Publishing My New Book

You probably know by now that I am close to publishing my next book—Foster and Adoptive Parenting: Authentic Stories that Will Inspire and Encourage Parenting with Connection. The ebook version is launching October 23, 2016 with the print version coming out Spring of 2017.

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If you have thought about writing and publishing a book, I bet the how-to overwhelms you. It has overwhelmed me.

I share here a few pointers that I learned this go around both that helped my writing and publishing. I am just beginning the launch and promotion phase, so I will post a blog about what I learn from that soon.

What I learned about writing:

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Is There Something In Your Life That You Need to Get Rid of?

Sometimes You Have to Dig It Out by the Roots

We had the same plant growing in every flower bed in our yard. The previous owners of our home apparently liked this plant. Even though it’s a pretty plant with either pink or purple petunia-like flowers that bloom each day, it’s incredibly invasive. It grows thick and tall, choking out or dwarfing the other plants in the bed.

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So Danielle and I decided to remove most of the plants. I took a sharpshooter shovel and started digging in a flower bed in the front of the house. I quickly learned that the plant’s roots were tubular traveling underground with many plants growing from each cluster of roots.

We moved to the backyard flower beds, and we decided for the easier, quicker method—cut the plants off at ground level. We just wanted the flower beds to look better.

Both methods worked and the flower beds looked neat and uncluttered. For a few weeks anyway. Then it began to rain. And rain. One day I looked into the backyard and guess what I saw. The plants were growing again like crazy. I think they were growing back even thicker.

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Have We Changed What It Means to Be a Disciple?

3 Ways We Have Lowered the Bar for Discipleship

When I say “We” I refer to the church. I count myself in that clan. I grew up going to church every Sunday. Our family attended church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and any other time something was going on at the church.

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That wasn’t a negative thing for me. It was my extended family. We did a lot of life together with other families. Many Godly men and women influenced my life in positive ways.

Looking back I recognize something that has become engrained in today’s church culture. It’s the idea that once a person “prays a prayer” of salvation, the job is complete. Now just keep hanging around the church, and you will be okay.

I prayed a “prayer of salvation” at the age of seven. I have a Bible with the date written in my seven-year-old handwriting in the front cover. I found the Bible on my bookshelf. Take a look!

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Why Can’t We Tell Our Kids “Yes”?

I get really good at saying no. I can say it kindly, with force, in rapid succession, with anticipation of the question, and even without looking. In my mind, I always have a good reason for telling my son no. I don’t want him to do that, eat those, or bother me at the moment.

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I think I should invent an app kind of like the ones that record every step you take so you can see how many miles you incidentally walked in a day. Except this app records every time you say no to your child. On second thought, I don’t think I want to know.

Why is it so hard for me to just say it. Just Say Yes.

I think I know why. I am afraid if I say Yes too much it will ruin my son. Won’t he end up thinking that he can have anything he wants, do everything he wants to do, and never have to wait his turn?

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5 Mistakes We Make When We “Help” The Poor

You volunteer along with many others to help make some repairs at a family’s home one Saturday. You end up sitting on the front porch listening to the mother’s story. She shares her stress over mounting medical bills that keeps her awake at night.

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You decide to spend several hundred dollars to fly to the other side of the world to spend a week working with a mission organization. You get to know a few of the local people who work along the missionaries. At a meal, you sit by one local who shares with you their passion for the work they are doing among their own people. Within the conversation you learn that they need more financial support.

You have a compassionate heart. That is why you invest your time, money and energy into helping others. And their stories tug at your heart-strings. We look at our financial means, and we want to help. We “know” we can help out of our abundance.

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Why Giving Your Child A Voice Is Important

A few weeks ago I posted a blog, 15 Ways We Shame Our Children. The first in the list—We don’t give them a voice. I realize that you might not know what it means to “give a child a voice”. It’s important for any child to discover their voice. This usually happens in healthy families. But for kids that come to us from a hard place, it’s a struggle.

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The rest of this blog is a chapter from my upcoming book. I am still working on the title, but it’s a book for foster and adoptive parents wanting to apply parenting with connection principles and need encouragement and real life examples of failure and success.

What Is ‘Giving Voice’?

Most of our kids that come to us through foster care or adoption, no matter what age, haven’t been given a voice.

Babies that get no response to their cries learn to not cry anymore. A toddler learns to meet their own needs as best they can which is why we often say they are “street smart”. Teenagers revert to manipulation as they try to get their needs met.

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3 Ways Our Faith Frames Our Politics

Guest Post—Matt Peacock is today’s guest blogger. Matt is the Executive Director for Partners in Hope Lake Travis. To learn more about Partners in Hope LT, follow the link at the bottom of the post.

Presidential elections create a national discussion like nothing else. Even people who never engage in political discussions will get brought into the public dialogue whether they want to or not.

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Christians need to enter the political conversation carefully.

Political conversations are filled with opportunity as well as potential landmines.

It helps to remember a couple of things:

First take seriously that we are God’s representatives on earth. The words and attitudes we express reflect God for the world to hear and see. That should give us a dose of humility and pause before letting words fly. The Bible says to be slow to speak and quick to listen – which allows us to run our attitudes and words through the Holy Spirit filter first.

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His Hands. His Feet.

Sent to the fatherless, the brokenhearted, and those far from Him

You not only notice the person standing on the street corner holding a sign asking for help, you have compassion for them. You are the person who brings the child of another person into your home and treats them as if they were your own flesh and blood. You use your resources, like time and money, to invest in people who are in need.

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You engage with people who are hurting and broken knowing that it is going to get messy. You are the one who uses your vacation time to travel to places so you can share Jesus with people who might otherwise never hear about Him.

Even though you are that person, you don’t always know what to do. Some days you need encouragement. Other times you look for inspiration.

Why do you live life like this?

You understand that you are His ambassadors. He didn’t create you, then redeem you so that you could live your life the way you want. You know you are sent.

You are His Hands. His Feet.

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It Is Easier To Serve God Without A Call

Do you think God calls us to His work? Do you think He has a specific vision for your life? Do you give that thought any consideration or would you rather He just leave you alone?

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If you do want to serve God wouldn’t it be easier to serve Him on your terms?

It is easier to Serve God Without a Call or Vision.

Here is what that would look like:

  • We decide what kind of time and effort we give to God’s work.
  • We choose what we do for God.
  • We use our judgement to guide us to where we should go and how we can be the most useful.

What is wrong with that you ask? Or maybe that just convicted you, because you, like me, recognize that is how we far too often approach our service to God.

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