Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Books

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days in October.  If you are new, start HERE.

We have a few books on adoption that we love.  I’m sure there are many more available, so if you don’t see one here, please tell us about it in the comments!

All about Adoption: How Families Are Made & How Kids Feel about It

The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family

Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Updated and Expanded Edition)


Here are some books recommended by friends of mine who are foster/adoptive mamas:

A Mother for Choco (Paperstar)

The Lamb-A-Roo

Positive Adoption: A Memoir

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years

When Love Is Not Enough: A Guide to Parenting With RAD-Reactive Attachment Disorder

A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive

Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents



One of our friends strongly recommends this conference!  I hope to go eventually.  🙂   Created for Care conference


I hope to also post a list of great blogs on adoption/foster care soon!



Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Maybe

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days in October.  If you are new, start HERE.

So, it’s almost the end of October.  By now, you should know I love adoption and adoption stories.  But here is something you may not know….Annie has been my favorite movie since I was four years old.  My parents dressed me like Annie when the original movie came out and I went to see it in the theater like that, complete with a red Annie wig.    I named a stuffed dog Sandy.   I had the Annie record, books, dolls, and still have my metal Annie lunchbox.  One Halloween, my dad even dressed like Daddy Warbucks along with me dressed as Annie.  I was/still am an Annie superfan.  As a grown up, I can appreciate the fantastic cast of characters and that for most of them, Annie isn’t their only claim to fame.

Joy Annie pic_1

A few years ago, towards the beginning of our adoption journey, my parents did a fun Christmas gift for the ladies in our family. We got to go see the Annie play at a local theater. This began the process of my daughter learning to love Annie, too. Though, she will never be the super fan I am. She’s seen the movie and the play and we even did an Annie birthday party a few years ago.



I remember watching the movie with my daughter and the opening song that I had heard so many times before brought me to tears. It struck me again recently because my daughter has the great privilege to be in the Annie play at our local theater. She’s an orphan in the play.  She is fabulous by the way and I am so excited to see it this weekend!

I sat in the theater this week watching a rehearsal and in the opening scene I was almost moved to tears again. There are about a dozen orphans and they are all wishing for parents and family. They sing the song “Maybe”. I have always loved it, but when you really contemplate the words, it is a moving song!  Listen and think of it from the perspective of a child in foster care or a child in an orphanage.

“So, maybe now this prayer’s the last one of its kind….won’t you please come get your baby?  Maybe….”   WOW.  There are real kids praying that prayer.  That should move us to action.

Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–The Age Question

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Hi! I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days in October.  If you are new, start HERE.

The age question.  Depending on which path you choose to adopt, you will not only be asked the race question I mentioned yesterday, but you will also be asked the age question.  This is not as touchy as the race question, but still hard to answer sometimes.

“What ages of children are you willing to accept?”

Some families are adopting in part because of infertility issues.  They want to start out with an infant.  Some families have had babies, they are done with that phase of life and want older children.  Some families have a heart for certain ages or are better at parenting certain ages.

Here was our though process in the beginning:  We want to keep our birth order, don’t want to displace our biological children.  So, they need to be the oldest.  So, we put that we are willing to take in children under the age of 5.  That was the age of our youngest son when we started.  Well, now that son is 9 years old and we have a 2 year old.  So now we usually say we are willing to accept children under 9 years old.  However, the situation would need to be carefully evaluated.  Foster/adoptive children with violent or aggressive tendencies or issues with sexual abuse may not be safe to bring into our home for the sake of our 2 year old.

There is so much to consider when answering the age question.

The hardest to place children are kids with special needs, sibling groups, and kids over the age of 9.  I still have a heart for those older kids, the teenagers who will age out of foster care if no one adopts them.  They are hard to place and if they age out, statistically, their future is grim.  But we firmly believe that teenagers would not be best for our family right now.  Does that mean they never will be?  Nope.  Maybe we can pursue older kids when the kids we have right now at home are grown.

I used to think like many other people that infant adoptions were the easiest.  A friend of mine called them the “Cadillac of adoptions”.  🙂  The only way I can really see that they are the easiest is that you have that child from the start.  You can nurture, teach, grow, and discipline them from the very beginning.  I get it, they don’t come with “baggage”.  But they aren’t always easy.  The birth parents come with baggage.  More often than not, the baby has possibly been exposed to drugs or alcohol.  There is a lot of brokenness in infant adoptions, just like there is in any adoption.

So, before you check off any old box, take time to consider all the aspects of “the age question”.  🙂


Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–The Race Question

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days in October.  If you are new, start HERE.

So, sometimes the “elephant in the room” is the race question.  No matter what type of adoption you choose, you are going to have to answer the question, “What races are you willing to accept?”.  For some, this might be an easy question to answer.  But I suspect for more people than would like to admit, this is actually a tough question to answer.  It was for us in the beginning.

When we first started our adoption journey, we wrestled with the race question so much.  We wanted to be the kind of folks who could easily say we were okay with any race, but we weren’t.  We couldn’t quite figure out a reason why.  We have friends of other races.  Our kids go to school with kids of other races.  Our neighborhood is quite a mix of races.


As we wrestled through this question, one day my husband was talking to a friend about us struggling with the race question.  This particular friend is Caucasian and has adopted several times.  His family is a variety of color.  When my husband asked him how to handle the race question, our friend turned to him and said, “There are 150 million orphans in the world, just pick one!”

In essence, I think he was saying not to worry about the race issue.  Do what your family can.  There are many, many orphans who need homes of every race.  This was so freeing for us.

The funny thing is, the further we got into our adoption journey, God worked on us and race became a non-issue.  If you have read our story, you have seen the photos.  We were matched with 3 girls who were African-American/Haitian.  Our time with them solidified to us that race wasn’t a limiting factor to us anymore.

So, if you are wondering how to answer the race question, if you are unsure as to how your family can work when adopting children of another race, remember that it really doesn’t matter.  There are orphans of every race, just pick one.


Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–I can’t get over the miracle of adoption

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days.  If you are new, start HERE.

Last night was the second night this week that O woke up at least 5 times in a 1-2 hour time frame.  Thankfully, it was before I was in bed!  🙂  The first night he was “stared”, which means “scared” because of a Lego robot W has.  I think he was having a bad dream about it and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  We kept having to tell him that it was “all done”.  Around 9:45pm, I rubbed some lavender essential oil on his feet and we never heard another peep after that.

Last night, he was dealing with snot and drainage waking him up.  We had to continually blow his nose and give him sips of water.  I did the lavender trick again and and we gave him some Zyrtec and finally got it under control enough for him to fall asleep in my arms.

It is so precious to watch a sleeping child.  I’m sure you all know that. But as I was rocking, cuddling, and comforting and he calmed down, I just started looking at him in awe.  This is my son.  I know him, he knows me.  How in the world cannot he not be from my womb?  Is it really true that he is not my flesh and blood?  I just can’t even fathom it sometimes.  I know I’ve said it before, but it the idea hits me again often.  Adoption is such a miracle.

I look at O and his whole adoption seems like a distant dream.  I forget it most days.  I don’t introduce him as my adopted son.  He’s just my son.  I forget who he was before we met him.  (I do understand that this is an important part of his story that he will need to know.)

What a great picture of the Gospel.  Thank you, Jesus, that you made a way for us to be sons and daughters of the King of Kings.  Thank you, God, that you look at us as you look at your Son.  Thank you that you don’t remind us of who we were before we met you, Jesus.  Thank you, God, for making us co-heirs.  What a gift!


Joy’s 31 Days on Adoption–Fundraising & Judgement

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Hi!  I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days in October.  If you are new, start HERE.

Fundraising for our adoption fund has been such a learning process in itself for me.  I had to do several things I don’t like….#1-I hate fundraisers.  #2-I don’t like asking for help.  #3-I feel the need to explain our finances when fundraising.  God has really used this part of our adoption journey to challenge and convict in a way I didn’t know possible.

So, first of all, I hate fundraisers.  I know there are an infinite number of good causes that need money.  I know that as a believer I am called to be generous.  But sometimes it seems that everywhere I turn, some other cause is asking for money.  On top of that, schools/sports teams/the band are always asking us to sell stuff!  So, having to start fundraising ourselves was such a stretch outside my comfort zone.  I did not (and still don’t) want to ask people for money.


Is there anyone out there who likes asking for help?  I don’t.  I’m not sure why because as believers, we are called to be in community with one another.  That means doing life together and that means helping one another.  The funny thing is, I am always wondering why no one asks me for help.  Then I realize that I don’t ask either.  On top of that, the times I have really needed help and actually asked for it are the times I’ve really bonded with the people who have been helping me.

But we shouldn’t feel weird or bad about asking for help in the way of money towards adoption.  God calls all believers to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27).  Giving towards adoption is one way to do that.  It is one way Christians can be obedient to God’s command and to be involved in the care of orphans and widows.  Some adopt, some foster, some help the families doing both, some give, etc…  If we don’t ask for help financially, we aren’t giving opportunity for folks to be involved where God is working.

The last reason I don’t like fundraising is also the one that God has worked on me the most about.  When we have been fundraising, I feel the need to explain our finances.  During out adoption journey, we have taken vacations and had to replace both our vehicles.  I worry that people look at us and decide not to give to our adoption fund because if we can afford those things, we can pay for our own adoption.  I feel the need to explain to people that we have been saving for our vacations in a separate fund and saving for our adoption in its own fund.  I feel the need to let folks know that we had to replace both our cars on one calendar year (I would not wish that on anyone.) because both cars were in car accidents.  And I want people to know we replaced both cars with cash that did not come from our adoption fund.

I’m guessing missionaries feel much the same way.  They are supported entirely by raising support.  I wonder if they feel the need to justify buying a vehicle or taking a vacation when in reality, everyone needs a break at some point and most everyone needs a vehicle.

Through the fundraising process, God began to convict me.  God showed me that I was so concerned about others judging me on our finances because I was judging them.  I was wondering why they eat out every week but can’t give $20 to our adoption fund.  I was wondering why they spent their money a certain way but wouldn’t give to our adoption fund.  Why couldn’t they come to our yard sale?  Why couldn’t they sell doughnut certificates?  And the list goes on.  And God really spoke to my heart about judging others.  I was doing the same thing to them that I was fearing they were doing to me.

And the truth is, it doesn’t matter.  The only person I am responsible to for being a good steward of my money is God.  The only person other believers are responsible to for being good stewards of their money is God.  Its all God’s money.  We are just the stewards of it.  And HE is the one who we answer to.  Not you and not me.  It is freeing and it is weighty because we bear responsibility to handle our money in a godly way.

I am so thankful that God showed me this.  Because when I am not judging others, it frees me up to love them better and to trust Jesus more.