Kickstarter Update: We Did It!

The entire Cooney Family would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the overwhelming support and encouragement that we received on our Thirty Balloons Kickstarter Campaign. In less than four days you enabled us to meet our goal! Way to go!

We will share news with you later this week about our stretch goals, but, for today, we celebrate! If you haven’t had a chance to preorder your physical copy of the book there is still time left. Our campaign runs until March 3rd, so please keep spreading the word. We want to share the message of adoption, hope, family, and reading aloud to children with as many people as possible. You can do that by sharing this link.

Thanks so much again,


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Special Features Included in Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale

My family is greatly encouraged by all the comments and interest everyone has shown in Thirty Balloons: An Adoption Tale. I wanted to highlight a few features that you will notice in the pdf downloadable copy that will be available on Friday afternoon. Can’t wait to share that with you!

The first portion I would like to highlight, is a section of the book where you record your own adoption journey. When you preorder your copies of Thirty Balloons via our Kickstarter Campaign, you will be able to buy one to keep and one to share with a friend. This book makes a great gift for adoptive and foster families! What a neat way for someone to honor their child’s journey in their own words for them to revisit as often as they like.

The next is a glossary of terms. As a speech-language pathologist and a home educator, vocabulary is very important to me. The rich vocabulary in this book is great to discuss and begin to use in your family’s everyday conversations, as well as your child’s writing assignments! The reading level of this book makes it perfect for reading aloud and not simply passing it on to your child to read alone. I would say it is best suited for children ages 6 and up. Certainly younger children who already sit through more lengthy picture books will enjoy the bright colors and rich text as well. Reading Thirty Balloons aloud, as well as expanding on some of the vocabulary naturally in conversation after reading the book, can be an added bonus of this shared reading experience..

Lastly, the final page of the book is a thank you to our Kickstarter backers. If you want to support our campaign and have your name in the book, be sure and invest in the campaign starting February 1st at 11:00AM Eastern. We would love for your name, your family’s name, or that of a loved one to be honored in our book. You could even buy a kit to donate to your local elementary school and put their name, or your child’s teacher’s name!

I am so excited about this project and the excellent work of the team behind it. Please, if you haven’t already subscribed to the blog, take a moment and do that today at the link on the right of your screen.

Until Friday,


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Christmas Books to Round Out National Adoption Awareness Month

As we close the last day of National Adoption Awareness Month and turn our eyes towards Christmas, I propose a few more seasonal stories to warm your heart. Tales to remind us of great needs in the world and our abilities to make a change not for every child, but perhaps for just one.

My daughter and I have already listened to and are listening to again, The Christmas Doll. The older kids and I are nearly done with I Saw Three Ships, a new favorite from last year.  I can hardly wait to read aloud Holly and Ivy; a book that spurred me on two Christmases ago just after we met our youngest adopted son and were realizing this would be a long journey. Just how long, we had no idea! Finally, The Matchbox Girl is a beautifully illustrated, sorrowful tale that reminds me of our need to not pass people by. We must look to help in each situation as the Holy Spirit leads us and make a difference in the lives of children God puts in our path.

May you find these stories to be welcome addition to your holiday reading. If you like these, you might also like more of our Christmas favorites over here.

Happy reading and Merry Christmas!

 

 

*If you are reading this in your email head on over to the original post for the book links here.

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Who Is Accountable?

This morning we dropped Little E off for the family specialist to take him on his weekly visit to see his biological mother. I wiped his face, which still bore the cinnamon and sugar gooeyness of Einstein poppers, and quickly gathered his belongings. Just before jumping in my own car, I glanced in the family specialists’ car. Usually when she picks up Little E, he is the only child present. This morning, I was surprised to see two little boy heads bobbing in the backseat as E made three.

Sometimes one glance can change or renew a perspective.

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With that one glance in the car revealing three heads instead of one, I quickly remembered there are thousands of children separated from their biological families for a multitude of reasons. Indeed, there are multiple reasons why children enter the foster care system. While not all of these reasons point directly back to the sins of the parents, many, if not most do. For example, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence within the home, child abuse and neglect. Conversely, some parents lose their jobs and do their best to take care of their families, many times living out of their cars. In these situations the homelessness of families lead to foster care.

I am sure that many foster parents have heard their fosterchildren’s biological parents say similar to the following: “This was not my fault. My child should have never been taken away from me.”

Doesn’t this remind you of the state of our culture? Aren’t most people reluctant to take accountability for their actions? I believe so. We are a people, sadly both Christian and non, that refuse to point the finger of blame at ourselves. Rather we will join with the adulteress and declare, “I have done no wrong.” (Proverbs 30:20 ESV)

Can you recall the last time you heard a president, politician, or preacher mention the word sin? What about your general conversations with fellowman both Christian and non, how often does this word come up? I would venture to say rarely, and rarer still in regards to personal application.

I am working through Jerry Bridges’ book, Respectable Sins, with my Bible study group. In the second chapter of this book we read that according to Dr. Karl Menninger’s book, Whatever Become of Sin?:

In the presidential proclamation for the annual National Day of Prayer, the last time the word sin was mentioned was in President Eisenhower’s proclamation in 1953–and those words were borrowed from a call to national prayer by Abraham Lincoln in 1863! So, as Dr Menninger observed, “as a nation, we officially ceased ‘sinning’ some twenty [now 60] years ago.

Interestingly, a fellow Bible-study woman summarized the disappearance of sin in our vocabulary in this way, “As goes God (from our culture) so goes sin. People do not believe in God therefore, they do not know who they would be sinning against. Christians understand that when we talk of sin it is against a Holy God; non-Christians [and our society as a whole] do not understand or recognize this concept.”

As goes God so goes sin. We have softened the language of sin to “flaws, mistakes, weaknesses, secret pleasures.” With the softening of sin has come the loss of accountability. “It isn’t my fault…I have rights. My actions only affect me.”

Until we Christians call sin sin, how can we expect those outside the Body of Christ to do so? Until we rid our own houses of the sins of the flesh, how on earth are we expecting to be the the salt and light to this lost and dying world? (See Matthew 5)

Yes… I am going to say it, if you live with your mate outside of marriage and yet claim to follow Christ, you are blatantly disobeying and disregarding His commands to keep the marriage bed undefiled. If we watch filth within our home and condone the acts which we would abhor in our physical presence, then should we turn it off? Yes. If we curse and then praise with the same mouth should seek forgiveness for our SINS? Yes. If we harbor bitterness and resentment in our hearts should we seek to forgive and restore? Yes. If we are quick to anger and slander should we bow in repentance and seek forgiveness and a change of heart. Absolutely.

It is our sin which separates us from God and not our flaws or weaknesses.

We alone, you alone, I alone am responsible and accountable for the decisions that I make to sin.

Today is the day for repentance and salvation. Today is the day to resolve to obey the commands of God, without picking and choosing those we find comfortable or agreeable. We can do it by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the resolution of man to walk forward in obedience. Even if it is more like trudging than walking at times.

Those three heads bobbing in the car this morning reminded me that regardless of the outcome with Little E and our family, God’s children are out there in need of a home. If you are a Christian, would you consider today taking up the cause of the Father and providing temporary homes for children like these three? It may be the only home they grow up in that preaches the gospel and teaches the word of God. We are accountable for our sins and for the Great Commission: to make disciples of all nations. Where better than to start than in your own home?

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Moments Bathed in Thanksgiving

I pour the water over his uplifted head. He blinks and shakes the water from his blonde hair.

Only a few weeks ago Little E would have screamed and cried at the mention of pourning water over his hair; forget laying back in the tub to wet it.

Next he surpasses my expectations as he plunges his face into the clear water. I know he must have seen Joshua blowing bubbles in the tub. Joshua is altogether unafraid of plunging face first into depths of water. He knows how to kick and splash his way safely to the edge of the pool in summer time.

Yet, even as Little E is splahing his face in the water like a mallard, I gaze in amasement at this gift from God…an unexpected grace pointing to the fulfilled wholeness of a little life in our care. It is in these graces that the daily work is rewarded. Wasn’t it only days before that I had marveled at the love between foster father and son? Emily was pushing E on the park swing and Ron kissing his puckered lips with every swing forward.

The joy of the Father and Son kiss our upturned faces when they are lifted heavenward in repentance and thanks.

May the Lord pour out His joy on us as we gather together to thank him with upturned gazes for the blessings of another year. May your tables be filled with food, family, and faithful thanks to the Giver of all good and perfect gifts.

May we bathe everyday in moments of thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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