family fall 2016

family fall 2016

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mexican restaurants and Birth parents?!

It happened in a Mexican restaurant...where all good things happen of course. All 5 of us were sitting at the table talking about foreign languages which led to questions about what language the girls spoke in Ghana which led to more questions about Ghana and quickly turned into "Who is my mother and father? Why did they not keep me? Why did my father not help my mother? What is his name? What if my mother is dead? I have two mommies and daddies now? Will I ever see them again?...." and BIG OLE FAT TEARS right into her rice and beans and out of the corner of my husband's eyes as he tried to pick up the latest toy Jude dropped on the floor for him. Waiter... can you bring me another MARG?!!? Just kidding but SERIOUSLY.... There is nothing like celebrating your husband graduating from law school with a nice, light hearted dinner. We knew the questions would come and will continue to for the rest of their little lives. One child is not there. She was as confused by the tears as I was that this was happening. All the reading and prep work can't prepare you for that moment. And then the stinky behavior came as expected. And I found myself wanting to be her best friend so she wouldn't hate us. Even the next day, I referenced us in 3rd person as "mommy and daddy" and she said 'you mean Kristin and Jeremy. My mother and father are in Ghana'. She didn't say it to sting me. She was right. She is confused. And so are we. Adoption is HARD and PAINFUL and a BEAUTIFUL, temporary redemption to a very broken people and world. I am still majorly processing. I am learning and praying and seeking wisdom from mentors and parents. I am sharing this for 3 reasons. 1. It may help someone else. 2. If you have wisdom or resources, I want to listen. 3. Please pray for wisdom in our words and actions and for the HEARTS of our children.




This is what I have so far....
1. Honor and pray for their birth parents. NO MATTER what choices they have made.
2. Don't answer questions that haven't been asked.
3. Be honest.
4. It's ok to say " I don't know" if you don't.
5. Affirm them that you are not going anywhere and how much you love and adore them.
6. Pray WITH them that we will all be together (with their birth families) as a family in Heaven.
7. Don't try to change the subject.
8. Be consistent in your discipline. Crying and grieving is ok and welcome but disrespect and hurting you (physically, verbally) should not be tolerated.
9. It is not about YOU (gulp). This is not the time tell them all the reasons you are better than their birth family. Really, there is never a time for that.
10. Educate grandparents, teachers, and other caregivers on ways they can respond to these questions.
11. Give yourself and them a WHOLE LOTTA LAVISH GRACE!!! You will need it.
12. Bring your community in and let them be on your team to support and encourage you. If you don't have a team, let me know and we will fight with you.

Carry on warrior parents! Battling with you!
~k

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Knoxville Adoption/ Foster Care Website

Some of you know I have this big, crazy, God- sized dream that Knoxville would be known for how we LOVE and CARE for the least of these in our city and abroad... most specifically our vulnerable CHOSEN children.






Hopefully this communication tool will be helpful to someone in the years to come




This website is for those:
1. Thinking about adoption or foster care
2. Waiting Families
3. Post- Adoptive families
4. ANYONE looking for tangible ways to support foster/ adoptive children and families




Please take a look around and PLEASE give feedback of what you would like on there, questions you have, etc.


XOXO,
k

Advent

Last year I read this book through the month of December and the Advent season and LOVED it.




 

 The whole month I thought about how I could translate it into a version my girls would be able to understand. And then, Ann Voscamp wrote a family version and Jer got it for me for my birthday!! I HIGHLY recommend both! It starts December 1st if anyone wants to do it alone or with your family! It follows the Jesse tree and line of Jesus' family with daily ornaments and devotions.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Seasons Come and Seasons Go

I think I am finally able to put words to the season we are in. Maybe someone can relate.

 It is not goodbye but I am laying down many things I have poured myself into over the past 3 years.

A baby is a whole new ball game. Working full time while your hunny is in law school and having essentially 3 babies in 14 months is like going into over-time.

There are very few things in life I have committed to that I have stopped without having a clear, defined stopping point that was given to me (with the exception of exercise post high school but we won't talk about that... ).  I finished school, sport's teams, small groups, etc.

In college, I walked away from being a Young Life leader after the trial period & it devastated me.

A few months ago, I notified my family in Ghana at City of Refuge Ministries that I needed them to find someone else for me to train to take over the sponsorship program for Portia's old school. We will be stepping off of the board for Feeding the Orphans in 3 months after a 3 year commitment to both.

My gut reaction when I realized this needed to happen was "I can't stop. That is quitting." Then Jesus quietly whispered to me (because He knows I don't handle screaming well :)...' My work will go on without you in those roles. You MUST be faithful to the ones I have entrusted you in your home first. Your husband. Your kids.' and my answer "BUT, BUT..." I care SO much for those kids. I can't let them down. They are depending on me. "

So much of it was an identity for me. I want to be wanted. I want to use my voice for these babies I care so deeply about. And I still can but I have to be faithful in my own home first.

The Lord doesn't need me to do His work for Him. But I get to be a part. Right now my part is loving the ones under my roof well.

I can't sit here and post needs and stories all day long while at home I am drowning at our pace of life.

So.. with all that said, by the end of the year, I will be stepping out of many of my formal advocacy roles. I still believe WHOLE HEARTEDLY IN ALL THE MINISTRIES WE HAVE SERVED WITH AND WOULD ENCOURAGE ANYONE WE KNEW TO JUMP ON BOARD WITH THEM- 147 Million Orphans, Feeding The Orphans, and City of Refuge Ministries.

  You will still here from me often because I can't be quiet about the things God has made my heart break for but I do have a commitment first to Christ and then to the ones under my roof.



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heart went out

In the wake of wilting flowers, cherished words and pictures scribbled on cards, and sweet memories of possibly the only meal being cooked for you all year as a mother; let us not forget those who have said goodbye to a mom or a child on this earth, wrestled deeply with the pain of infertility, miscarriage or waiting on an adoptive child to come home,  those who have had their legal rights terminated as a mother voluntarily or not, or a devastating combination of the above.


Luke 7: 12 "And a large crowd from the town was WITH her." 

 Her being the widow who was dragging her body across town following her son. But this time she was not chasing his clumsy toddler feet, dragging out of exhaustion. Oh, to have that back! She was on the unimaginable trail to bury her only son "and a large crowd from the town was WITH her." Her people were WITH her.

Luke 7:13 "When the Lord saw her, his HEART WENT OUT to her.."  

Jesus, you are going to do your part. Your heart will always break and go out to the widow, orphan, childless parent.  Help them to know without a doubt, your heart is WITH them and not against them.

Jesus, help us to be a community WITH our people. PHYSICALLY. EMOTIONALLY. MENTALLY. SPIRUTUALLY. WITH our PRESENCE. WORDS. PRAYERS. ACTIONS.
 Help us be your tangible heart WITH them.

 OUR widows, orphans, parents who have said goodbye to children on this earth, in the womb or out, parents who have humbly and selflessly chosen the path of adoption for their child, recognizing they are not in a place for that role; and to those who have been stripped of that title, no matter the cause.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

AMACHI





 
 
 
We were matched with Noah almost 2 years ago (April 2012) through Amachi! "Amachi" is a Nigerian word meaning
 "Who knows but what God has brought us through this child?"
 
Amachi is a mentoring program for children and youth who have a parent in state or federal prison. Our hearts were tugged to pursue this after watching the movie "Courageous."  Children with parents in prison have a 70% chance of ending up in prison as adults.
 
With your help, Amachi can break the cycle of incarceration and continue to create opportunities for children in our city, ages 4 to 17, to connect with individuals who can encourage and care for them.
 
 
Jeremy will be competing in a duathlon on Saturday April 12 (exactly 2 years to the day that we first met Noah :) in honor of Noah's life, potential, and dreams. We pray that the cycle of incarceration will stop with him and he will grow up to be a strong Warrior for the Lord.  We have so much hope for Noah and his mom. We have loved living life with them and watching him grow up. He is 2 months younger than Mabel and is excelling in Kindergarten this year. 

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN...


 Jeremy has a fundraising goal of a minimum of $100. Please consider making a donation to Jeremy and Noah's team this year! Are you called to invest in the lives of vulnerable children in Knoxville?

To donate to Amachi in honor of Jeremy and Noah, please go HERE! and leave us a comment to cheer the boys on!
 
Who knows what God has in store for this boy's
(and so many other babes) LIFE!?!
 
 
A look back at our past two years together... woo wee he has grown SO much!





 
 
 
 



 


 





 

 



 

 
 
 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PERSPECTIVE

Breastfeeding gives you some time to reflect and pray. A lot of time actually. As I looked into my baby boy's face in the middle of the night for the ~60th feed since he had been born last Thursday; I couldn't help but think of my girls down the hall and their birth mothers. I don't and will probably never know their birth weight or length, what time they were born or even the exact day, whether they were in a hospital or plopped straight into that red dirt I have come to love so much, whether their father cut their umbilical cord or if he was present for any of their life after conception, whether the cord was wrapped around their neck like their brother's was causing a moment of sheer panic in their mother's heart.  I don't know when their first step was or their first word. BUT I do know some things. While the majority of the first 2.5-3 years of their lives are a blank slate to me and the next 2 are comprised of second hand reports from the SAINTS  and volunteers who cared for them, cherished pictures, and 4 personal visits across the ocean; I HOLD ONTO THE TRUTHS I KNOW TODAY. I WILL TEACH THEM TO HOLD ON TO THESE TRUTHS AS THEY GROW OLDER and begin to ask questions. And they will ask questions and doubt and believe lies from Satan about their stories.





TRUTHS I KNOW:  Their mothers both chose LIFE over and over for them. They chose not to end their lives as their stomachs began to round and the fatigue grew. They chose LIFE day after day and possibly years of breastfeeding them. While I was busy studying for finals my freshman and sophomore years of college to get into nursing school, two BRAVE women across the ocean were waking up every 2-3 hours possibly on a cot or foam pad,  but more likely on a hard cement block or in the red dirt to feed their children, MY CHILDREN.


 Needless to say, it took me a few hours to fall back asleep last night. I was filled with overwhelming GRATITUDE for the sacrifice of my children's birth mothers to choose LIFE for them. Adoption is often filled with loss and missing pictures and we will be processing and dealing with that with our girls for the rest of their lives. BUT last night made me realize how much I want to really SEEK TRUTH for my girls and pull parts of their story out that celebrate life and how much they were and are loved, cherished, and fought for. Adoption is a story of redemption. There must be great loss and tragedy for it to be needed in the first place. It shows me more of Jesus than I could ever put into words.



 It is easy to get caught up in the numbers, milestones, pictures (even though I do love pictures) when you have a baby and all of those things are really fun in this new season with Jude but what really matters right now is choosing LIFE for my child 8-12 times/ day and being truly present for him as I provide nourishment for him to LIVE. This perspective helps me not complain (as much) :).

 
 
My prayer today for all of my children is that they would LIVE their whole life "as God’s chosen people, HOLY AND DEARLY LOVED,  and clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience"- Adapted from Colossians 3:12.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

FORGET THE FROCK 2014

"That instead of saying: It’s not my child, my community, my problem, a Lent that says: It’s not happening on my watch."

Lord, "Give us a Lent that goes with less so others can live "
- Ann Voscamp

Consider ending your lent with this?




The Millers will be joining in on "Forget The Frock" this year!! All of the proceeds towards Feeding the Orphans will go towards babes in Ghana in the homes that Portia and Mabel used to live in plus many others!!  I challenge you, your family, your youth group, your church to do the same!!
 
To order your shirts from FTO, go HERE!

FTF Website Logo



Forget the Frock isn't a charity--this is a MOVEMENT, started by a woman who loves Jesus and answered His call to do SOMETHING. That something was the decision to forego all the frilly frock (you know, dresses, suites, ties) that accompanied Easter attire and purchase a t-shirt that actually served a PURPOSE, a shirt that would feed a hungry child. This movement isn't asking you to support a specific cause, and we're not into fundraising.  We're here to challenge you to apply James 1:27 to your life by simply choosing to wear an article of clothing that meets a need instead of adorning ourselves this Easter Sunday.
 
To learn more about Forget the Frock, go to http://forgetthefrock.org/.
 
 


 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Know Him better

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better
- Ephesians 1: 17

As I read this letter this morning, I couldn't help but think of the things I keep asking God for... for myself and for others... things that have been on my prayer list  for days, months, years... things like healing- physical, emotional, mental; reconciliation of relationships- marriages, children to their parents; release from living out of fear or the opinions of others; for adoptive children to be reunited with their families and their wait to be over; for those I love to fall in love with Christ.

It's not that any of those requests are bad or wrong. They truly reflect the desire of my heart and my God's I believe. But... I rarely (if ever) ask for a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I and others may know Him better. It may take healing, reconciliation, freedom, and  unification for us to know him better. But it also may take crippling, broken relationships, recognition of our daily sin, and waiting  for us to know Him better.

In verse 18-19, Paul also prays for those He loves by asking that "the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

HIS HOPE, INHERITANCE, GREAT POWER
 
Those are the things I want to keep asking and begging for myself and others, independent of circumstance.