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Nontraditional Family Tree Resource


This resource made me giggle and smile and cry all at the same time. Once I make it fully through my cycle of emotions I’ll post my soap box rant about timeline projects at school. Maybe.

In the meantime, check these out. Ponder them, pray over them. Soak up the reality in them and then celebrate. Life is far from clean and simple. It is messy, it is worth honor, it has roots and branches.

Nontraditional Family Tree Templates


Foster-Adopted Mama, You Got This

Ask any mom and you will find that they deal with incredible mommy guilt and simultaneously a deep desire to fix it. Nothing makes a woman relate to men than a kiddo. Ha! Give a mom a child in need and you have found yourself in the middle of crossfire. Suddenly we transform into mega fixers! (sorry men, no hate here, just love!)

Adoption throws an interesting twist into the world of self-doubt. Kids are still kids. They do thrive with boundaries and consistent support. But adoption carries a different twist. In a nutshell, adoption is unconditional love in action. Biological children are wired to seek the approval of their parents. Adopted kids are too, but adoptive moms and dads, well, aren’t their biological parents. This doesn’t mean that parents and children don’t love each other, have commitment to each other, and attach. I believe wholeheartedly that my adopted children are attached and bonded to us and us to them. Parenting them, requires me to parent with deep intention.

Adoption loss has given them a handicap. It has robbed them of bits and pieces of their innocence. The freedom to crawl up on the lap of their mom, of my lap. To hold my hand or ask for anything they want. Stand in my house and one of the first things you will notice… 3 shout requests at me non-stop, asking for anything. Anything they dream up. Two seek attention in similar yet very different ways. They ask for things, but not things they need, lest they inconvenience me. They bother teachers and community members, but not me. At first I felt this hurt so personally. I struggled to relate and understand the deep hurt and abandonment a child must wrestle with to believe that adults, moms and dads, wouldn’t be there for them. That we aren’t safe. And sometimes they simply choose to not see me standing there directly in front of them, waiting to rescue them, waiting to help them, willing to give them the world. To partake in that is to let go of the piece of them that still believes they aren’t worth it. And oh, how hanging on to self-pity is so the human way!

In our house, it has taken us a long time to build trust. We are still building it. To teach a child to trust that you will be there for them is to lay down your pride and over and over again do things that seem like they should be normal. To teaching kids about love means to first demonstrate love to them. Relationships first, then rules. For the first time the other day one of mine said he knows he can trust God because he can sometimes trust his family. This “sometimes” is a big deal. Big deal. Because he lives like he will never trust us. Not ever. It is to vulnerable for him to do so. Sometimes is a miracle.

Here’s the cool part. Here’s my rant to myself that I have to read over and over again….

God has gifted you for this journey. He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. You have skills, talents, strength, and a deep unending love. Even when you want to quit. You won’t. Because you know that in the ugly, in the hardest days, God holds you. You Got This. He, the Maker of the earth, equipped you. The Maker who gifted life, who created fascinating brains and bodies that we try to understand and replicate, He made you in His image and likeness. And he made your child. The biological and the adopted. He makes all things new. He planted seeds in you that will bear fruit at exactly the right time… Like the seeds we are so diligently planting in our children.

You got this.





5 = 7 : God’s Math

It was over a year ago that I ran to the store to purchase two car seats and the basic necessities that I would need.  I love that God challenges me time and time again by cutting to the heart of the material things I own.  I gave away the car seats I had previously.  And then God set fire to my words… if we need them again, we are well enough off we can purchase them again. So yes, I did just that.  During the time I was frantically running through the store, I thought you were probably being fussed over at the local hospital. I was standing near the clothing rack when they told me they were coming down from up north.  Could I meet you at gas station about an hour or so north of town?

My little B came with me.  I enjoyed the car ride and conversations with him talking to me.  We arrived first at the gas station and settled in watching a movie and talking about the day. I was acutely aware of the fact that in moments, my baby B would no longer be the baby in our home. He is a strong child, ready and able (and, um, was four during this time). But the protective nature of a mother’s heart is fierce.  I must have prayed a hundred million times to God to protect my family, give me wisdom.

Both of you arrived.  Hot, sweaty, smelling.  Soaking wet diapers.  Smoke-filled lungs from before.  Little man immediately smiled at me and let me transfer him to the new car seat.  Little girl, you weren’t sure.  The worker gently pushed on your back to get you to walk to me.  You let me pick you up and talk to you.  Give you hugs and get you buckled in tight.  B was curious and both of you liked to figure him out too. It was a sweet innocent moment in the middle of extreme confusion.  I caught myself smiling.  God knew, He knew I needed time alone with my baby and you needed the comfort of a peer.

We talked about medical needs, ran through who is who, what is what, and that’s it.  Moved the two outfits and one blanket that accompanied you to the van.  And we were off.

My crew of 5, in that moment in the gas station parking lot, became 7.

My mind raced with questions, doubts, and fears.  Was it God or me?  Just a few hours ago we were sure it was God’s quiet steady voice.  I prayed the last 20 miles home.  God I need you.  We need you.  Protect my kids.  Heal these kids.  Help us love these people.  Give me thick skin for what people will say.  The stones they will cast.  Give me bravery to ask for help when we need it most.  Use me.  God, use me. Teach me to love as they need to be loved.

*   *   *

What an amazing plan God had for your lives. While we were adjusting, fretting, and working so hard at getting you two well, God was moving. A mom and a dad were being prepared. They were grieving and dreaming. Hoping.  And a wonderful woman was believing God gave her connections to share.  It wasn’t simple, but it was absolutely divine. Looking back, you taught us more about our limits and the nearness of God than anyone ever has. You wrecked our lives and our hearts. Through the privilege of being a stepping stone in your life, we learned how to say no and let go. We watch you thrive in your home with just the two of you. Being constantly celebrated and loved on. It is a beautiful thing to witness. It is humbling. It is perfect.

*   *   *

And my heart still aches for the family that lives in the shadow of this loss. I pray still, even now, that God is putting people in mom’s path that can be an advocate for her, that can help her mend and heal. Maybe the baby that is due any moment now will have a full, safe and healthy life and maybe, dare I even hope, maybe she has it with her mom. Maybe that’s His plan….  two fresh starts.



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