Archives for category: adoption

Grammy 80th Birthday photo McMinn Family with Grammy, PoppyAfter taking a year and a half hiatus, I am back to blogging about Christian adoption success! Life gets in the way of our dreams and desires, and the Lord teaches us things while we take a break from our activities. What I have learned in almost 18 months of not writing on this blog, is that Orphan Care is still very important to me and my husband, and we want to be encouragers to Christians who feel God’s call to provide foster care and/or to adopt.

This year I am homeschooling only my adopted children, with the departure to college of my youngest biological child.  Although I miss her and our other grown children who live and work on their own, I must say that things have settled down nicely and my adopted kids are all at really wonderful points in their lives – which means they are easier to parent, and a blessing to be with.  The ups and downs and hard-work of the last 11 years have been tiring, and sometimes terrifying, BUT God is good and He has brought all of us to a great place.  Each of our 5 adopted kids profess faith in our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, are bonded strongly to our family, are doing well in school, and most important, have developed love, joy, and character.  There are a few things we are all still working on, but I can say I look forward to getting up in the morning to be with my kids all day long.  This is a tremendous encouragement to me, my husband, and all those folks we try to encourage regarding adoption.

Our good friends have taken in a 2 year old boy and we are tickled with his progress. Of course it has been a huge change for their family, very tiring, and at times chaotic, but when I see that little guy, I know the Lord is doing an amazing thing for him and his new forever family.

I have also become friends with a woman who does foster care. She inspires me that at our age, we can still make a difference in the lives of kids, whether for a short time, or on a permanent basis.

Cary, my husband, and I have decided to start a local support group for orphan care providers, that will be based on Christian principles. God has orchestrated all of the details, and our first monthly meeting will be in May. We have a facility, have received some grants we applied for, and have promotional materials we designed and had printed. We have been sharing them with adoptive, foster and kinship families, and are excited to be used by the Lord in this way.

At the end of this month, I will be giving a presentation at a local gathering of child care providers, including foster, adoptive, and kinship parents, regarding our new support group.  I have put together a powerpoint as an outline, and will upload it onto this blog for interested readers.

We had the opportunity to host 7 South Africans for one overnight last month here on the farm. They are singing/dancing ambassadors for Horizon International, a Christian organzation sponsoring AIDS orphans. It was a treat to get to know these humble young men whom Christ has redeemed from the devastation of the pandemic that is killing millions of Africans. Again, God uses every opportunity to help those He loves, died for, and was resurrected to save.

I’ll end today’s post by recommending several excellent books that I have recently enjoyed reading, all promoting the cause of orphan care.

I Beat the Odds, by Michael Oher. The subject of The Blindside tells of his childhood of neglect, his joining the Tuohy family, and his acension into the world of professional football after earning a college degree. Told in a truthful, poignant, yet private personal way, this book is full of the reasons that Christians should do the right thing and provide orphan care, and also excellent improvements that could and should be made in the foster care system. Mr. Oher is a gentlemen through and through as this is not a celebrity ‘tell all’, but a revelation of his life, and what he is now doing to help others in similar situations. Excellent for orphan care providers to understand where their kids might have come from, and for social workers to learn some things to do, and not to do, when trying to help kids.

Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis. Wow! This is an inspiring book and not just for young women. How far should Christians be willing to go in order to obey James 1:27?  Katie traveled across the world, but also left a comfortable life in order to adopt a van load of girls, change a whole community, and love the unlovely because she loves Jesus Christ!  At 55, I was encouraged to fight the good fight and never stop. I was also reminded that just loving my kids every day is the most important thing I can do.
Living by a Leap of Faith; Tom and Debra Ritter. Real life account of a real life family doing real life things on a super-sized level. Precious, precious, precious is all I can say. I wish I had read this years ago before I started adopting. This family is living proof that God provides for those He calls to follow Him. Written in an easy to read style, with many practical suggestions and ideas, this will encourage every Christian family to consider adopting, not just one child, but many.  An absolute treasure, and I wish they were my neighbors.

Adopted for Life; Russell D. Moore. A Southern Baptist Seminary professor, Moore speaks about his adoption journey, and encourages the Church to be more engaged in orphan care. This is a must read for church leaders, and men will appreciate a Dad’s point of view and heart. Scripturally based, the book challenges Christians to follow God’s call to vist orphans in their distress – to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

All of these books are worth purchasing for yourself, your local library, and especially for a friend or family member whom you want to encourage to begin, or continue on, their adoption journey.

PS:  One of the many things I did on my hiatus, was to develop two websites, with blogs, for two of our family businesses.  Please feel free to stop by!

http://www.blessedcreekfarm.com

www.expandinghorizonsmedia.com

Well, after two and a half weeks, I’m back to blogging!  We returned from our week in paradise, enjoyed Christmas at home, went to bed early on New Year’s Eve, and started back to our usual routine of home school and life today.  Great to have a break from writing to process it all.

Vacation…what can I say…it was over the top fantastic!  It was worth the 15 year wait to have a real beach holiday with my main man, and all the kids did so great without us!

We stayed out late, we slept in, we did what we wanted, we didn’t have to do anything, we had our own schedule, we experienced new adventures, we were lazy, we soaked in the hot tub, we read on chaise lounges poolside, we dined on our balcony, we tanned on the beach, every restaurant we ate at was better than the one before, and we caught fish!

Wow, I even got to read four whole books! (I’ll review them in the next posts this week.)  My honey even upgraded us to a convertible!  He even found a car show (while I shopped!)  We acted like twenty-somethings, and lived like kings.  I forgot how much fun it can be to be the girlfriend instead of the mom!

And did I mention room service, and maid service, and drinks poolside service?

The kids had lots of fun with big sister home from college. She and big brother took wonderful care of their younger siblings.   They decorated for Christmas, shopped for and wrapped gifts, baked all kinds of fabulous treats, played games, watched movies, stayed up late, and didn’t miss us, much!  No one acted out, or at least we weren’t told about it, the house was still standing, the livestock were all well fed and watered, the dishes got washed, the meals got cooked, and most of the laundry was caught up. 

It may never happen again so I am relishing in the fact we had such a perfect week in paradise.  We are happily married, refreshed, can wink and laugh at our memories (we bought a souvenir sign ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’,) and appreciate our kids all the more.

Life is good.  God is great.  And we are crazy!

 

Our home school support group has a couple of Christmas traditions that we enjoy.  Today at our annual Christmas Brunch we collected shoebox gifts for foster children in our county.  Our 20 families filled 40+ shoeboxes with age appropriate gifts, festively wrapped and labeled them. 

Next week we will go caroling at our county’s Human Services building to bless the social services workers there, and deliver our shoebox gifts.  Home schoolers singing Christmas carols at a government building?  Well, why not!  Last year we did it, and they invited us back!  One gentleman told me he had worked there twenty years and no one had ever come caroling.  He loved our ‘heritage’ songs.  I hate political correctness, but if that’s what it takes to get an open door to share the love of Christ, then so be it!

Foster families and kids often have a tough time at Christmas.  Kids are displaced from their birth family – for good or bad – and extra mouths to feed, and extra gifts to purchase can stretch the budget of already stretched families.  A simple shoebox full of fun gifts can make a child feel loved and special.  I took  my kids to Dollar Tree and we each filled one.  The older kids helped the little kids fill theirs. It was easy, fun, and we know these modest treasures we will bring smiles to kids on Christmas.  I asked my older adopted daughter if she remembered receiving Christmas gifts while in foster care.  She said she got a few gifts, but not as much as now.  She thought foster kids would really like it that people thought about them and wanted to bless them.

The Christmas season is a great time for families or groups of families to reach out to orphans.  Whether by giving wrapped gifts, food, or time, love can overflow as we all do a little, so a lot will get done.

What can your family, church, or social group do to come alongside orphans this Christmas?  There are many ideas, so pick one and get started blessing others.  Be sure to share the greatest gift of all – God’s Son Jesus Christ, born to earth, so we could all be adopted into God’s Kingdom.

I have many wonderful things in my life to be thankful for, and at the top of the list are my bio kids.  Ranging in age from 30 down to 18 y.0., they are indeed a joy, and now as adults are my closest friends.  The days are long when kids are young, but the years fly by.  I can remember their tiny toes, and headfuls of hair at birth; their cherubic faces as they got caught in their naughty deeds as toddlers; their unending energy in elementary school; and our fights and making-ups during their teen years.  Now, I get to enjoy seeing them soar into their futures.

Among all the things they bless me with, it is their caring and loving hearts toward their younger adopted siblings that I love the most.  They are the big brothers and sisters every child should get to enjoy, and are more than great role models to kids who ‘act out’ as they overcome great loss and sorrow.  My adopted kids would not have made the great strides they have without their older siblings.  The extreme patience, forgiveness, and fun-times that my older kids have given my younger  kids are life-changing gifts – like an organ transplant which blesses a dying patient with restored life.

It is easy to neglect older bio kids when needy adopted kids come into a forever family.  The little ones needs are so great, the help of the older kids is so essential, and parents’ time is limited to 24 hours a day, sleep needing to take some of that.  I know we failed over and over again to protect and meet the needs of our bio kids as we sought to help our little ones.  We failed to prepare them for completely inappropriate and painful behaviors such as sexualized play and running away.  We fell short on giving them the love and attention they needed every night at bedtime when they wanted to talk, as we were too tired to even say goodnight.  I don’t know why they didn’t mutiny!

Our older bio kids more than met us halfway as we have navigated the arduous journey of being an adoptive family.  How thrilling it is, now that the worst of the transitions are over so things are a bit smoother, that we can actually spend time nearly everyday enjoying our adult children.  Whether we talk on the phone, email, meet them in town, or have them out to the farm, contact with them is such a joy.

Lately, my husband and I have tried to make a serious effort to spend as much time with them as we can.  Whether paying for plane tickets to fly them home for holidays, or spending an uninterrupted meal just with them, it is our turn to give back what they gave to us – life for our little ones. 

One thing we have attempted to do is for both of us parents, at separate times, to travel with our older kids on a special journey.  Whether it is a college scouting trip – like my hubby is doing with my 18 y.o. in hot and sunny Florida this weekend (as opposed to freezing and snowing Colorado where I am with the rest of the bunch), journeying together on a mission trip, or driving one on a move to a faraway city, we relish the alone time with each of them.

Caring and involved biological siblings are the key to adoption success.  They deserve as much of our time and resources as  possible.  Our older kids are why we don’t really spend time with adult friends, on personal hobbies, or work outside our home more than we have to in order to pay the basic bills.  Our older kids need time and attention, too.  They deserve even more of our time and attention than what we have to devote to our adopted kids, as they are the reason our adopted kids can have life with us in our home.

My 21 y.o. son works the farm with my husband.  In hubby’s absence today, he is supervising the livestock chores.  He came in the house just now, and very patiently asked for our two adopted teens to come back outside in the freezing snowy weather to finish some overlooked chore items.  How patient he is with them!  How lovingly he reminds them of the neglected items.  How fatherly he instructs them.  How brotherly he plays with them when the work is done!  I have two more sons and two daughters just like that.  Despite the horrible things those two teens did and said to him when they first came to our family, he loves them unconditionally, and cares that they mature into responsible, productive, loving, righteous fellow believers in Christ!

Oh, that all adopted children could be so blessed with dutiful, older Christian siblings!  After mom and dad are gone to Heaven, these are the family members they will be blessed with for love and support in the years to come.

Yesterday my 10 y.o. unleashed a series of ‘acting out’ behaviors.  It started in the morning with a wet bed, went to grumpy and uncooperative during morning chores, and continued downhill with rebellion during schoolwork.  I kept my patience with her intact, and offered for her to accompany me to town for the afternoon on some last-minute errands.  I tried to engage her in casual conversation as we sang songs while driving, and made our stops along the way. 

After 2 hours she seemed ready to start the day over again.  When we got home, I had her help me with some dinner prep which went fine.  Once she rejoined the other family members for late afternoon chores, little miss pit-bull reappeared and the slippery slope continued.  Finally, after all of us enduring her lack of cooperation at meal-time, I sent her to bed early which meant she would miss out on Friday night family fun activities. 

As I was preparing for bed, she got up to go to the bathroom, then came and found me in the laundry room.  With tear-filled eyes she said “Mommy, I think I know what is wrong.”  “What?” I patiently replied.  “I have a broken heart” she continued, breaking down into sobs.  I held her and just breathed with her.  “What gave you a broken heart?” I asked tenderly.  “I don’t know” was her only reply.

Sad to say, she really can’t put words to why her heart is broken.  At 10, she isn’t emotionally aware enough to analyze her plight in life.  She might blame it on little brother picking a fight with her, or big sister being too bossy.  What she can’t say is that she misses her birth mom everyday, and has since she last saw her 7 years ago. This is the consequence of the sin of sex outside of marriage, birthing kids out-of-wedlock, and birth parents not properly caring for their own flesh and blood, so others have to do it for them.  In the end, it is the innocent children born into such a life that are punished for the sins of their fathers and mothers.  Only time, and a huge outpouring of unconditional love by adoptive families, and trusting in the sacrificial love of Christ, can mend that kind of broken heart.

In the meantime, I am clearing my schedule to insure she gets more ‘mom time’ each and every day through the holidays and beyond.  My hubby is out-of-town with my older daughter shopping colleges, so it is single parenting for me during the next four days.  Thankfully, snow is falling so we’ll stay home, and take life really slow.  Broken hearts need a lot of attention and time.

Meal-time can be a blessing for families who gather ’round the table’.  It can also be a curse for the cook if picky eaters reign, or too hectic of a schedule makes meal planning, preparation, and consumption just one more thing to get done in a hurry.  I have learned to get meat out of the freezer the night before, prep two casseroles at once to freeze the second, and put dinner in the crock-pot nearly every morning!

Kids newly placed with an adoptive family can make meal-time a battleground.  They can be overly picky just to be rebellious, reject delicious food just because it is new to them, or refuse a dish because of bad memories associated with it.  Though they might have nearly starved to death from neglect, they might starve themselves in their new home just because they want to.

How can Dad and Mom, adopted kids, and the rest of the family make meal time a positive event each day?  The right frame of mind regarding meal-time can make it the primary bonding and fellowship time each day for a family.  It is crucial to long-term family success.  Here are some things that we have had learned:

  1. Discuss with your child what things they like to eat; talk to them about your favorites, and the family’s favorites
  2. Discuss nutrition with your child, and talk about how God provides good food for us so we can have strong, healthy bodies
  3. Take the time needed to plan, shop for, and prepare delicious and nutritious meals, eliminating other time-takers in your schedule
  4. Plan meals so that at least one item is something your child is used to, and enjoys eating
  5. Plan meals to have color, taste, and texture contrast to pique appetites
  6. Take time at the grocery store to shop with your child, letting him/her suggest a few things each trip
  7. Serve at least three  items each meal so the child can enjoy eating at least two; sliced fresh fruit is always an appealing choice
  8. Everyone should have at least one bite of each item served
  9. When eating out or at someone else’s home, these rules still apply; but, avoid over-correction at the Holidays!

Meal time should be a positive experience for each person at the table.  This means teaching table manners.  So as not to overwhelm children, try introducing a new one each week, with gentle reminders about that specific one.  Correct once, then overlook until the next meal to avoid it becoming a battleground.  Try these:

  • begin each meal with thanking the Lord, and praying for family member (and others’) needs
  • pass food to the right when first serving up; for seconds, say the person’s name closest to the dish, then ask them to pass it to you
  • chew your food 20 times to get saliva flowing for proper digestion, and swallow it before you talk
  • try to go around your plate when eating, one bite of each the go to the next item
  • take time to enjoy eating, not just gobbling food down
  • take turns talking so everyone has a chance
  • parents ask open-ended questions to start conversations
  • always thank those who prepared the meal, and who worked to provide it; Dad and Mom set the example here.

It is a good idea to end the meal on a positive note.  We conclude either breakfast or dinner (based on that day’s schedule) with a family devotion.  We start with a hymn (I purchased a dozen hymnals at a garage sale for 50 cents a piece), then Dad uses a devotional book to read a scripture passage, and ask questions.  We pray, and then close with a second hymn.  This puts everyone in the right frame of mind to start or end the day.

We have learned to avoid correcting a child at the table.  If someone acts up, they are excused to ‘time out’, and then their behavior is dealt with after the meal, one-on-one.  This allows others who were being appropriate to enjoy the meal-time.

Finally, I have a few ‘no-brainer’ meals for days that just are too hectic.  PB&J sandwiches, taco salad, spaghetti, fish sticks, and frozen pizza have saved my sanity more than once!  My husband doesn’t complain as long as I never fix peanut butter and jelly when he is home to eat!  Once again, it is both Mom and Dad who hold the key to success.

Real estate is always considered an asset, even when you owe money on a loan for it.  The average home in our adjacent metropolitan area sells for $250,000.  I recently read an article that it costs about $250,000 to raise the average American kid these days.  If our kids cost us as much as our real estate, then we should treat them as assets, not  liabilities.

If you own your home, you treat it, and the contents, with respect.  When you purchase something new, you take care of it.  When things break, you fix them.  The average homeowner probably spends at least an hour a day, and one day out of the week, performing maintenance such as lawn mowing, house cleaning, minor repairs, all to keep the real estate in good condition.  Several times a year, major tasks need to be performed, or at least hired out – roof repair after storms, electrical problems, plumbing issues, deep cleaning, and tree trimming or other seasonal yard work.  If we spend the time it takes when the need arises, our asset not only stays in good shape, it increases in value.  Also, performing the work ourselves can be satisfying, and we can see the fruit of our labor over time.

The best investment in real estate is often a fixer-upper.  The adage of location, location, location is crucial when buying a dilapidated property.  If you can find just the right one, that matches your pre-set criteria, you can purchase it, invest your time and money, make necessary improvements, add your personal touches to make it special, and have a great property in the long run.  Many real estate investors flip properties – fix them quick, and sell them fast.  My husband and I have always lived for a long time in our properties, enjoying them all along the way, and relishing the results of our hard work for many years before we move on.

Kids are similar to real estate, except they are priceless and irreplaceable!   They are more than worth our daily investment of time and resources.  Our assets, our kids, will grow beyond measure if we take the time each day to:

  • engage a child individually in conversation, listening to their concerns and dreams
  • appropriately train our child, including guidance and discipline
  • give them positive eye and verbal contact
  • help them with school work and other personal obligations
  • provide for their needs – emotional, physical, and spiritual
  • make meal time and family time something to look forward to, especially at the beginning and end of each day

Seasonally, we need to invest more resources into our asset by planning:

  • Family vacations or special events where the whole family joins together, such as our week-long county fair
  • a special day, weekend, or event with one particular child, and one or both parents
  • birthday celebrations for each child when everything on that day is focused on him/her
  • Holiday traditions during Thanksgiving and Christmas which build strong bonds and memories

Our daily and seasonal efforts will surely increase the worth of our assets.  They invariably will take much of our precious time and resources.  We parents would probably rather devote our efforts to other things such as our personal pursuits or hobbies.  However, the sacrifices we make for our assets will be noticeable over time as our investment grows, and we see a return on our capital expenditure. 

Children are a blessing, and a heritage from the Lord.  Like the other talents He bestows upon us, we need to handle them wisely so the talent grows.  We need to be good stewards of our assets, for the glory of God.  Our children, especially our adopted children with their often overwhelming ‘issues’, once grown, will either be a liability to society, or an asset.  We need to do what it takes now, to ensure they are an asset, and a blessing, as they enter adulthood and start their own families.  The heritage we pass on to them of the importance of individual worth, and family as a support system, will bless many generations to come, thereby increasing our extended family’s overall assets immeasurably.

Well, the stress of the holidays hit our house full force this morning!  Everyone was cranky, uncooperative, and the worst offender was ME!

Okay, breathe deeply….  The holiday season of Thanksgiving week to New Year’s Day can be overwhelming for even the most well-adjusted adult.  For those of us already stretched to the breaking point, and our kiddos who subconsciously still retain  bad memories from their earliest years, well, we might as well fast forward to Valentine’s Day if we want love to reign.  Seriously, our culture heaps on so many expectations – gifts, parties, relatives we don’t even like, extra food preparation, fancy clothes – the list is endless.  This afternoon while half of my family is gone to town, and the other half is outside playing (thank the Lord for good weather!) I must readjust my attitude, or crimes will put several of us in jail before the turkey is served!

My plan of action from here on out is:

  1. Breathe, to calm myself
  2. Pray, to repent and seek forgiveness
  3. Be thankful, gratitude always improves my attitude
  4. Write, to process it all
  5. Perform simple chores, to vent my frustration
  6. Start baking, to make forward progress
  7. Take time for kid time, to gain perspective
  8. Plan couple time, to heal the wounds inflicted this morning
  9. Lower my expectations, to relieve some of the stress
  10. Get a good night’s sleep, to stay healthy and strong
  11. Wake up tomorrow, as a new day always means a fresh start.

I hate the fact that I am the emotional glue in my family!  But, I need to accept it and seek the Lord for strength during the next 6 weeks.  And, remember, I’ll be on the beach in 3.2 weeks if I don’t go to jail for out-of-control behavior! 

Okay, enough computer time, gotta go do some real work on that ‘simple chore’ list to be ready for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving overload!

One of our family’s favorite classic movies is the musical production of Oliver!  The scene and accompanying song wherein the street orphans are singing about the wonderful kinds of food they dream about, but can never have, is near and dear to us.

We are foodies in our family.  We love to grow it, harvest it, prepare it, eat it, and talk about it at the table after we have stuffed ourselves.  No one enjoys it more than our two older adopted kids.  My very tall 13 y.o. daughter, who seems to have the most incredible metabolism ever and so is always in perfect shape – never the slightest bit overweight – will eat 3 and 4 helpings of everything, matching the appetite of my 200 pound, 21 y.o. son who physically labors all day.  Perhaps only once did I lovingly suggest to her that she needed to let others have second helpings before she dished up her third! 

I love it that our farm produces such healthy food, and we can prepare it in such a delicious and nutritious way that my adopted kids can relax at the meal table, eating to their hearts’ content.  We seem to be passed most of their food issues.  Orphans who have been severely neglected, often have the greatest struggles with appropriate food consumption when placed in adoptive homes.  Our two older adopted kids struggled with:

  • gorging themselves with food so quickly they choked
  • ate so fast they didn’t chew enough to savor the taste, or make food digestible before they swallowed
  • ate only carbs, neglecting fruit and vegetables until the end when there was no more room in their bellies to consume greens
  • overate sweets, sometimes going for 6 servings minimum at buffet lines or potlucks
  • stole food from the pantry and fridge, hoarding it in their room or other secret stash places on our farm
  • lied about the food stealing even though we told them they could eat anything, anytime
  • ate with both hands simultaneously and talked with food in their mouths 
  • snacked so much between meals they couldn’t eat the nutritious food on the table
  • literally experiencd brain-freeze because there was too much to choose from at restaurants; it overwhelmed them and they couldn’t order for themselves
  • obsessed about food constantly, and asked over and over again daily when the next meal would be served
  • worried and focused way too much on whether they were too skinny or fat, when neither had any issues in reality

With extreme patience, creative problem solving, consistent schedules, and table training we have helped our adopted kids realize that:

  1. they will never go without a meal in our home
  2. meals will be served 3 times a day on schedule, or we’ll let everyone know ahead of time if different
  3. dishes are carefully planned for nutritional value and complimentary flavors, and should be eaten in rotation
  4. desserts are a wonderful treat to be enjoyed after the nutritious meal, but not at every meal
  5. snacks are for getting through to the next meal, not in place of it
  6. they can appropriately ask permission to have a snack between meals, and eat it at the kitchen table
  7. table manners are important for individual dignity, as well as the comfort of other folks around the table or adjoining restaurant areas
  8. they can select appropriate restaurant menu items and confidently order for themselves
  9. food is a gift from the Lord that is meant to give us health, energy, satisfaction, and fellowship
  10. stealing is never appropriate, nor necessary, as what we have is for all to share
  11. it is okay and right to discuss problems and issues surrounding food to achieve the right frame of mind regarding same
  12. have a good self-image about their bodily confirmation, and are not overly concerned about their physical appearance as teens
  13. meal time is fellowship time; enjoying conversation at each meal, with a family bible study at least one meal a day, promotes lifelong relationships and sets a firm spiritual foundation

Adopted kids, especially those that come to their forever family as toddlers or older, have survival instincts when it comes to many things, especially concerning food.  Time and attention will diminish these sub-concious natural tendencies with careful actions by concerned parents.

I think one of the most difficult challenges in being a parent in a large family is to decide nearly every minute of the day whether your child (or spouse, or relative) needs to be pointed to the Law first and punished immediately, or shown grace first.  What is the best way to motivate children to change their sinful ways?

As Christians, we are to read, study, know, and embrace both the Old Testament and the New Testament portions of the Bible, God’s holy and unerring word. 

The Old Testament is filled with history (His Story) of the Hebrews, their families, their kinsman, and their surrounding enemies. Each and every time Israel disobeyed the Law, it seemed they fell into a fate worse than death.  We do not want  our children (or ourselves) to fall in to this type of besetting, generational sin.

The New Testament is filled with the Grace of God in the birth and life of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  The Hebrews, and the gentiles, still disobeyed God’s law.  However, Christ came to save!  Those who believed in Him were saved by His grace.  His death on the cross at Calvary was the ultimate and final sacrifice to atone for sin.  Resurrected, He lives forever and now we,too, can know Christ as Savior and Lord, and be saved alone by His Grace.

Nothing we can do for ourselves will save us from God’s judgement on our sins when we  disobey God’s law.  Only our belief in Christ as our personal Savior and Lord, wherein He shows us grace, will save us from eternal damnation for our sins.  As soon as we repent, He forgives us! We want to show this type of grace to our children so they see the love of Christ,  are drawn to Him, and ultimately entrust their whole lives to Him.

My first response when one of my children disobeys the ‘house rules’ is to lecture about the Law, then invoke the consequences for such a violation.  Afterall, we need to hold our children accountable to God’s Law, teach them to repent of their sin, turn from it, and not draw others into it, as well.

But, perhaps my initial response should be Grace?  The older I get, when I sin, the more I understand that my heart is more willing to submit to authority when grace is shown to me first, then the law is upheld, and the consequences of my actions follow.

The last time I was stopped by a highway patrolman, he was very nice as he informed me of my speeding violation.  He could have written me a ticket, but instead he showed me grace and gave me a warning.  My heart slowed, my breathing regulated, and I got back on the road with a smile.  Not because I fooled him, but because he showed me grace.  I have been consistently compliant with the speed limit and rules of the road ever since.

Isn’t the purpose of correction and discipline to keep our kids obedient to God so they have a better life, living in His blessing?  Why do we have to respond in anger, reciting the Law and its’ consequences, first?  My husband over the years has softened his heart in dealing with our children.  I see amazing results!  They respond to him out of love, not fear.  Sometimes, he actually has to correct his ‘practically perfect in every way’ wife, me!  He does it is from his loving heart with a compassionate voice.  How tenderly I melt into his leadership and quickly attempt to change my heart attitude and actions!

Adopted children have known a lot of fear in their life before coming into our lives.  Fear is the opposite of love.  To cast out their fears, love is the antidote.  Grace is the ultimate expression of love.  Anger stops love.  How much more will our children willingly respond to our correction if we do it in love, not in anger?

Next time one of my kids breaks the house rules, I’m going to show grace by first just being together with that child, breathing and talking.  Once I have his/her attentive heart, I can reiterate the house rules, and then we can discuss what will help him/her turn from the sinful behavior.  Afterall, shouldn’t we treat our kids with the same love, respect, and grace we like to be shown?

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