Peace of a Father

Last summer I took three of my sons to the Little League World Series. When we arrived, I realized how incredibly crowded this complex was and knew that it would be tough to keep my excited, always-looking-for-a-little-independence children at my side all day. So, I pointed to a specific welcome booth and told them that if we were separated, they were to find this place and I would come there to find them. Even this didn’t seem like a very good plan — there were people everywhere. But it was the best thing I could come up with. And I was also sure it wouldn’t matter anyway, because I was not letting them out of my sight!

childIt had been a good day. The sun had set. We saw some great baseball, and it was time to use the restroom (and the snack bar… again) before heading to the car. Well, the restroom had two exits, and my son Aaron went out a different door than we had all entered. After waiting for him outside for several minutes, I started to think he must be having some real trouble in there, but when I went in to check on him, he was gone. Gone into the dark, into the crowd of 30,000 people.

I planted the other two boys firmly in one place and told them not to move and started my search. I retraced all of our steps from the day, checked the bathroom again, ran through the crowd again, this time much faster and more frantically than before. Nothing. It was time to get the police and go all out on this search.

My heart was racing as I ran to find an officer, and on my way, I ran right past the welcome booth we had identified on our arrival. I had forgotten about it, but Aaron had not. There he stood, hands casually in his pockets rocking back and forth from heel to toe, probably whistling if I could’ve heard anything.

I dropped to my knees and hugged the life out of him (as he is just young enough not to be too embarrassed by this). I asked him if he was afraid. His words: “Nah. You’re my dad. I knew you’d come for me.

1385296_10153402279045713_713493181_nTHIS IS A BIG DEAL. You see, Aaron used to be counted among the fatherless. He was adopted from Uganda about two and a half years ago. But in that time, he has learned the love, security and peace of knowing that his father would be his rescuer and protector. Aaron is no longer among the fatherless. And, only by God’s grace, Aaron is learning the love of his Heavenly Father through me, the earthly father who showed up just a few years ago. To me, this is a perfect illustration of the kind of transformation that happens when a child learns of his place in a family.

 

 

Written by guest blogger and adoptive parent Adam M. Keath, President of New Hope Uganda Ministries

Supporting the Children in Families First Act

CHIFFNightlight, the National Council for Adoption and children all around the world need your help.

The Children in Families First Act is a congressional effort to make change for children all over the world. It would improve the way intercountry adoption works – leaving less children languishing and moving more families towards thriving. It would also provide much needed attention to ensuring diplomatic and programmatic assistance is given so that children all over the world can thrive in the full spectrum of family care settings.

Congress will soon leave Washington for summer recess, leaving us with just enough time to make our voices known on Capitol Hill, move CHIFF out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and onto the floor for a vote.

Here’s exactly how you can help, starting right now through this Friday (June 23 – June 27):

1. Send these two attached documents (What is CHIFF and Action Plan) to your staff, supporters, families, clients, and friends and;
a. Ask them to take the steps listed in the Action Plan
b. Ask them to send What is CHIFF and Action Plan to their networks and friends
2. Execute the Action Plan yourself, giving special attention to your efforts on social media
3. Post your activities to the CHIFF Facebook page

Suubi’s Story

Suubi earlyThe following is from an update from A Helping Hand, a Nightlight Affiliate office.

Suubi or Joan, as most of you know her, first came into the Tender Hearts Baby Home on August 5, 2012. The baby’s home directors named her Joan Suubi. Suubi in Lugandan means hope. We were told that Suubi had been abandoned by her mother to her father. Her father then abandoned her to his brother. Suubi’s uncle then contacted the local authorities and Suubi was placed at Tender Hearts Baby Home. Later through investigation, we learned that Suubi was born healthy but was later physically abused by her step-mother in Uganda. We also learned Suubi’s real birth date which meant she was almost 3 years old when she entered the baby home.

Upon entering Tender Hearts, Suubi was malnourished and very developmentally delayed. She was believed to be about 2 years old at the time (actually almost 3 years old). Her delays included not being able to crawl, stand, walk, or turn herself over. She could not sit up on her own and her limbs were completely stiff. Joan moved her right hand a little, but her left hand was stiff and at her side at all times. Joan’s medical tests revealed that she was also blind.

Thanks to the donations from Vivian’s Hope, Suubi was able to begin physical therapy right away. Though it was painful for her at times, she was a trooper. Immediately we began seeing improvements. Suubi began to move her limbs more easily and also began sitting up better on her own.

In the photo above you can see that Suubi is using both her left and right hand to play with toys and pushing herself forward in her chair, reaching for these items.

On March 7, 2013, Suubi was matched with a waiting adoptive family! She was placed with them on June 26, 2013 and arrived home in the U.S. on 8/3/13 almost exactly one year after being placed at Tender Hearts. Suubi’s family has an amazing story to tell about how they were led by God to adopt her as well, but I will let them share their story in their own words. Be on the lookout for their testimony soon.

Suubi nowAlthough Suubi was never without her heavenly father, Suubi is no longer fatherless. Below she is playing with her daddy.

“God sets the lonely in families…” Ps. 68:6a

Suubi’s story is of one of grace and mercy and certainly one of hope. Thank you to all of you for your continued support of Tender Hearts through prayer, mission teams, and giving.

Although Suubi’s story is particularly powerful, hers is only one of many lives changed through the work Ken and Cathy are doing. Please consider giving toward the monthly budget of Tender Hearts Baby Home and please talk to your church about monthly support as well. We need your help to change more lives!

To learn more about the Tender Hearts Baby Home in Uganda, please visit the Nightlight website.

2013 Summer Reunion Picnic

Nightlight Summer PicnicThe following is one of our favorite stories from the Nightlight Summer Reunion Picnic. This year’s Summer Picnic is set for this Saturday, July 20th. For more information or to register, please visit the 2013 Summer Picnic Page of our website.

THE BLESSING OF ADOPTING OLDER CHILDREN
By Suzanne Murray

It was three years ago that Peter and I attended our fourth Nightlight picnic. Ever since joining the Nightlight family in 2000, we always made a point to attend the picnic and all other activities we could possibly participate in. Three years ago we were so proud of ourselves for listening to God’s calling not to pursue Snowflakes for our second adoption, but to pursue an international adoption.

We had just completed our homestudy and were waiting and praying for a referral of a child as young as possible (because we had done the big thing and given up the chance of being pregnant and having a newborn, so we wanted to at least make sure our referral was as young as possible), when we attended our 4th Nightlight picnic. Over the years we joyfully watched the visiting Russian children perform and thought to ourselves, “Oh, they are cute,” but never felt a calling to adopt any of them. It was at this picnic that we were socializing and trying to make new friends who might have adopted internationally, when someone announced that the visiting orphans would be performing on the stage. I suddenly could not breathe! We were standing right in front of the stage. I looked at Peter and told him we needed to move to the other side of the park immediately. He asked why, and I explained, “Because we are going to fall in love with one of these kids, and we are not adopting older. We are adopting a baby!” I took Peter’s hand and moved across as far as possible to the other side of the park. All the while, Peter was asking what was wrong with me, because for the past three years we had always watched the children perform. Why was this year different? We didn’t learn until 8 months later, when meeting our sweet daughters Anya and Galina, that Anya was one of the girls performing on tour during the summer picnic.

I have admittedly at times mourned the loss of not having them in our lives from birth. Missing a sweet infant, that doesn’t talk back or roll their eyes at you in disagreement. But this past summer, God spoke very clearly to my heart about all the wondrous blessings of adopting an older child, and I thought I would share a recent one. It was the last day of Vacation Bible School for Galina. They were having an 11:00 a.m. service, with the ending being the children in each grade singing a few songs. They told me Galina’s class was performing at 11:50 am. I was watching my sister’s three kids under the age of three, plus Mary who is four. There was no way I was going to make it. My plan was to put the babies in bed at 12 and head out for the end of VBS at 12:15 to pick up Galina and her cousin, leaving Anya, age 14, to babysit the sleeping ones. Yesterday, Galina asked me twice if I were going to see her sing and I had to tell her both times that I couldn’t.

When her dad arrived home from work, she asked him as well. There was such a look of disappointment when he said no, he couldn’t make it.

I arrived at church ready to pick up the girls. I went to her classroom and it was empty. I walked over to the church and our pastor was talking to the kids. Next thing I know Galina and her group went up and began singing….evidently they were running late and so I was able to see her perform. She was singing and doing the sign language to the song when she made eye contact with me and SMILED FROM EAR TO EAR! She couldn’t stop smiling the whole time and was singing her heart out…..tears began to flood my eyes and stream down my face. She looked so angelic and adorable up on stage…..I literally began thinking of the 14 childless summers prior to becoming a mom and just kept thanking Jesus for the wonderful gifts he has bestowed me with….and began realizing that with babies you have to wait years for the awesome milestones of your 8th grader bringing home a report card with a 3.67 GPA (even though she didn’t speak English two years ago), the awesome experience of buying your 14 year old a pretty dress for her first dance, watching your child play volleyball (or any other sport), and finally watching your child sing their heart out for Jesus and smile ear to ear because they see you….THEIR MOM! With babies, you wait forever for these moments. Adopting older I got to experience them sooner!

I love MY KIDS!

 

Welcome Home Keath Family!

Keath Family

Adam, Melanie, Owen, Cooper, Aaron and Enoch

Adam and Melanie initially were interested in adopting children under the age of four years old. When they heard about two brothers in Uganda named Aaron (approximately age 7) and Enoch (approximately age 5), they committed their decision to prayer. They felt the Lord calling them to adopt these boys. They immediately began the work of having their home study updated and educating themselves about adopting older children. Adam and Melanie arrived home with Aaron and Enoch on May 15, 2013. They have seen favor and miracles all along their adoption story. Below is Adam’s account of their day in court:

“Court was miraculous today…literally. We waited about 2 hours past our scheduled time and then saw the judge for another 2+ hours. It was the first time anyone from our agency had gone before him, and admittedly there were some nerves. But, our lawyer is the best in the biz, all the witnesses showed up (even the child’s ailing grandmother and their previous caretaker from Juba). That in itself is a miracle. But what was most amazing was that the judge turned out to be best friends with our babies home director’s late parents…he was in disbelief that this man was standing before him that he could literally remember the day of his birth, the place his parents met and had watched him play as a child. He got to share with the judge his story and passion for beginning his ministry and the judge said that he intended to actually visit the baby home in the future. He was serious about it and this was a shocking circumstance, and an emotional one at that. What is even more amazing is that the director’s affidavit was placed on the top of the stack in error, and had it been filed properly the judge never would have seen it or known he was even in the room. Praise God. He orchestrated this from the beginning the meeting and from that point forward, the whole crowd had favor with this man. The testimony of the woman from Juba was emotional. She loves these boys so much that she traveled to Kampala just to be here and it turns out she was the only person other than Melanie (this is Adam writing by the way) and the director that the judge chose to interview. Her story almost brought him to tears. You must realize all of this is very out of the ordinary. This was God from the first word.

Additionally he was very pleased with our effort to engage the boys’ Buganda culture. He literally thanked us and referred to this case as “the best of the best.”

We are so grateful for the prayers of hundreds that we would find favor that day. They were so obvious!

It was also so good to meet and be loved on by people who have known our boys. We got to take many pictures and will have an amazing story to tell them one day! These are beautiful people, most of whom have nothing, that have sacrificed everything for the good of our kids since their mother died. Praise God for them!

And praise Him with us for this significant connection between this new judge and our baby home. This is no doubt a really big deal moving forward for the incredible ministry we are affiliated with.”

Nightlight Christian Adoptions: Colorado State License Renewed

LovelandCongratulations to the Nightlight Colorado adoption agency professional staff!

On Tuesday of this week the state of Colorado adoption licensing division visited our offices for their annual review of our services. The licensing staff completed a thorough examination of our adoption services over the past year and makes note of any areas of deficiency needing correction or improvement. We a pleased to report that our Colorado adoption office was found to have zero, none, nada issues at this time, and we passed with flying colors!

Our Colorado adoption offices in Loveland and Aurora will continue to provide you with excellent domestic, international, embryo adoption and home study services. We also provide post adoption counseling services throughout the state.

New developments are also on the horizon for Nightlight. At the end of this year we are excited to announce that Nightlight Colorado will begin serving children in foster care.

Contact us here in Colorado at 970-663-6799 or email Liana@Nightlight.org.

Nightlight will continue its illustrious 54 year history of serving families in Colorado, South Carolina, California, Kentucky and throughout the nation for years to come.

Dark Past, Bright Future

romaniaLearning about a country’s history is often important and helpful when deciding where to adopt from. Even though many countries have a dirty and saddening past with their orphan care, it can still be inspiring and helpful in your search for adoption. A recent article published in the Scientific American focuses on Romania and a study that was conducted on infants and young children in their orphanages. The study group was able to split up children in to groups where one group was put into foster care while the other group stayed in an orphanage. The results in this study were amazing in the differences of foster care and the orphan system. Children placed into a foster home setting showed to have a higher IQ as they grew compared to children in an orphanage. Foster care children also had less anxiety and were able to attach to loved ones easier than children in orphan care.

To read the article visit the Scientific American website.

To learn more about Romania adoption with Nightlight Christian Adoption Romania Adoption Page.

FACING THE NATION’S FEEDING CRISIS ONE CHILD AT A TIME

love me feed me

The Following is a press release for the “Love Me, Feed Me” book written by Katja Rowell, MD.

St. Paul, MN August 14, 2012 – Feeding and weight worries are a significant source of conflict for families today, and fostering and adopting families face additional challenges. Love Me, Feed Me is a relationship-building, practical guide to help fostering and adoptive families enjoy family meals and raise children who eat a variety of foods and grow to have the body that is right for them. Grounded in science, but made real with the often heart-breaking and inspiring words of parents who have been there, Dr. Katja Rowell helps readers understand and address feeding challenges many foster and adopted children face, from simple picky eating to entrenched food obsession, oral motor and developmental delays, “feeding clinic failures,” and more.

Though written primarily for the adoptive and fostering audience, Rowell, aka, the “Feeding Doctor,” shares that her clients are all more alike than different. “This book is a distillation of the advice and support I provide all my families as they transform a troubled feeding relationship into a healthy one, and bring peace and joy back to the family table.”

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Dr. Katja Rowell, please call 1-888-848-6802 or email info@thefeedingdoctor.com.

Part of the Extended Family

adoptive familyHave you come across a hard time of noticing difference with your adopted child? Your child may be at that stage where they are noticing biological differences or may be more curious about where they come from. What you can do to make your adopted child feel more included and apart of your family? This article has some great examples on how to help your family feel like you all belong together and always will. http://www.growbeyondwords.com/adoption