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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15 Picture Books to Celebrate Your Adopted Child

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As we near the close of National Adoption Awareness Month, I would like to share one more book list. (Be sure and see yesterday’s post with a complete list!) These books focus on your adopted child. To preface this list, no one book is going to tell your child’s story. For your child’s story is unique to them. The Bible will tell them the story God wants to write for them, and it will help your child deal with any troubling family histories–have you checked out Jesus’ genealogy lately? However, these picture books are tools and stepping stones to continuing the conversations that you have ongoing in your home. They can be, in the words of Linda Sue Park, mirrors and doors. Your child may see himself or herself reflected in these stories, or they may come to realize that there are children all over the world who are longing for a home.

Please let me know which ones are your or your child’s favorites!

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Of Foster Adoption and Stage Fright

Occasionally, I have a reoccurring dream in which I am on stage for a dance recital and have no idea of the choreography. In full costume and makeup, several thoughts fly through my mind while butterflies race through my stomach. I haven’t practiced this dance. I wasn’t taught the choreography. I can’t wing the whole number!

This may not sound so bad as far dreams go, unless you have years of dance training and performance opportunities as I had in over 16 years of ballet, tap, and jazz lessons. Then, with this knowledge, it will conjure a feeling of abject fear at such a scenario.

Venturing into the foster and adoption world can seem much like being pushed onto a stage full of bright lights and an audience made up of expectant smiles only to realize that you don’t know the steps, you weren’t taught what to do, and you can’t wing the whole thing. In short, you feel overwhelmed and ill equipped.

Six years ago, when my husband and I began the training process to become foster, and, ultimately, adoptive parents, we felt as if we didn’t know exactly what we were doing. We knew God was calling us to adoption, but we decided that He revealed the need for us to foster as well. We were not sure how to love with an open hand to relinquish the children we would foster back to their families should reunification become a reality. We had no idea the system, with case managers, court dates, and guardian ad lietms, would be so taxing on our schedules, emotions, and everyday thoughts: on our family. Quite frankly, we never imagined we would still be in the thick of adoption six years later.

Although we no longer feel as if we have been shoved out on a stage sands choreography, we do feel that the stage hands and the lighting crew aren’t always at the ready. We feel like, to further this scenario, we have the steps of the process, but our production crew doesn’t always have our backs. We aren’t winging it, but we are wondering why with so much practice the production isn’t yet executed with precision. In other words, we are dancing the steps but weary of the show.

But God.

We can testify and do so repeatedly of God’s faithfulness and goodness throughout this entire process which includes one child adopted and one more awaiting adoption. Bringing our child count to a total of four. God has worked in ways that can only be attributed to Him. He has provided for us in gifts from His people. Didn’t he say something about owning cattle on a thousand hills (see here)? We haven’t, nor can’t out give God, and we haven’t, nor can’t frustrate His plans and timing in adoption matters.

Foster care and adoption is not like my reoccurring nightmare because God equips us for every good work before we are presented with the opportunities to carry them out. In fact, it may be more like another real life dancing experience I had.

A lifetime ago, when I was a young 18 years of age, I tried out for the dance team at two universities. The first, which also happened to be my first choice in schools, I did my best and didn’t make the team. The second university, I had a full scholarship but lacked a desire to attend. At that second tryout, I knew the dance and picked up on the choreography quickly. However, that afternoon when it was my turn to perform solo, my brain froze. Unlike any other performance in my life, I completely forgot all of the steps. The school representatives were gracious and let me try two or three times with the same results. Even though I flopped the audition, I still received a call later that evening that I had made the team!  That was 18 years ago now, and I don’t remember the timing of everything, but I do remember that I turned them down, turned down the full-ride, and ended up at my top choice school with a meager scholarship and the chance to meet my husband my freshman year.

Foster care and adoption is more like the second story in that you’ve prepared, failure isn’t fatal, the process will be trying and frustrating at times, but God’s ways are higher and His knowledge beyond ours. He sees the bigger picture and knows that bumps along the way shape our character and faith in such a way that we look more like Him when we finish our performance and we end up right where we need to be.

If you or someone you know is considering foster care and foster adoption, you might want to check out these past posts here. Also know, cold feet are a natural part of the process!


 

 

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Using Books to Cultivate a Heart for Orphans and Adoption

My passion for adoption started growing long before my adult years. It came as a result of the planting of the Holy Spirit, and it also came in the form of story. Books cultivate life experiences in a safe environment and develop compassion and sympathy, passion and purpose, in children prior to their ability to act on those feelings.

As we enter into the cooler, cozier days of November, it is a perfect time to introduce, or perhaps continue the narration of, stories to our children which cultivate a heart for orphans and adoption. There is a lengthy list at Good Reads and here are a few of my favorites to get you started. I tend to recommend these as read aloud books to be shared with the whole family in order to encourage dialogue. Not all of these books are serious, but they all prompt us to think about orphans and begin cultivating a heart for orphan care and adoption in our homes. As with all books we share with our children, please be sure and preview the content to make sure it is age appropriate and sensitive to the specific environment of your child’s history and emotional maturity.

Don’t have children of your own? That’s okay too! As C.S. Lewis stated, A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.

Read Alouds for K4-3rd grade or older:


Read Aloud Books for 3rd and Up:

 

 

Older students (young adult):

 

One more that is on my to-be-read pile and was recently highlighted in this week’s episode of the Read Aloud Revival Podcast is:

Which books have you used to bring awareness of orphan care and adoption into your life and home? What books would you add to this list? I have always gravitated to books about orphans and in the coming weeks will unfold as much as I am presently allowed about our current adoption journey. Stay tuned!

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