Tuesday, July 30, 2013

RESOURCE REVIEW: Black Baby, White Hands

It is my opinion that there are far too few resources about transracial adoption that are from the perspective and experience of the child.   There are many written by professionals in the field, and from parents, but Black Baby, White Hands is aptly subtitled: A View From the Crib.  It is a written by an African American man looking back on his adoption and upbringing by white parents. 

Jaiya John’s story is honest, fair, and almost astoundingly compassionate.  His journey, as detailed in his book, is what any good journey should be, full of stumbles and stretching in ways one never thought they could (or should) stretch.  It is a passage of learning who he is and changing who he expected himself to be.  Jaiya John is a born story teller.  His inherited and entirely unique talents result in a book that is beautifully written and reads like a Toni Morrison novel rather than a “How To” book.  The premise of this book is a black child being raised in the newly born “color blind” era of our nation, which led to his parents belief that if they didn’t recognize the color of his skin, he wouldn’t suffer from being different.  There is so much to learn from Jaiya as our nation slowly progresses past the idea that color doesn’t matter, and ventures into the realization of how much is still does. 

“Conversations we [my parents and I] might have had regarding my race may have led to outbursts, misunderstandings, and conflict.  But over time, the balance, I believe, would have tilted in favor of the benefits of our communication, rather than the alienation that emerged from overall avoidance of these issues.  What I yearned for then was a simple emotion.  I desired to feel welcome to bring race to our tongues if my heart needed it desperately.”

What you take from this book depends entirely on how open you are to the idea that Jaiya’s experience is not unique to him, or to the era, and how forgiving you are to yourself for not knowing differently.  There are so many profound moments in the novel that 100 of the 375 pages in my own book are turned down in the corners so that I can reference then again with family, colleagues and clients.  This is an important and significant book for anyone regardless of whether adoption or transracial adoption is a part of your life. 


Kate Rocke, MSW has worked with children and families in crisis since 2001.  She previously worked in South America in an orphanage for two years.  For the last year she has worked as an Adoption and Foster Care Specialist in Seattle, WA, where she is also a co-trainer for two levels of transracial adoption education courses.  Kate is an aunt to a niece and nephew who joined her family through international adoption.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Find Joy in the Journey Ebook Winner!


Megan Myers Garcia

You won the latest giveaway!!  Please E-mail us at joyinthejourneyadoption@yahoo.com to let us know where we can send your prizes!!

Didn't win but want to purchase the Find Joy in the Journey E-book for yourself?  No problem!  Just click on the words below the book image to order. Happy reading!

P.S. Click HERE for information and to enter our next giveaway!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shopping with a Purpose {and another GIVEAWAY!}

Giveaway has ended.  Congratulations, Catrina!!


I really love shopping.  However, shopping with multiple children provides quite a challenge!  In fact, over the last 8.5 years (since baby #1 was born into our family), my shopping habits have changed drastically.  Where I once frequented the mall and stores like my beloved Target, I now do much of my shopping from the comforts of my living room via the Internet.  There are both good and bad aspects about this, I think, but my favorite thing about shopping online is that the Internet provides this really amazing forum for easily making purchases that directly affect specific causes.  This was definitely advantageous as we raised funds for our adoption.  So, when we sat up this blog and the three of us were discussing different ways to encourage adoptive families, it just seemed natural that we would provide advertising space for families raising money for their adoptions.  Thus, the "Shopping with a Purpose" tab was born.


Basically, we will allow adoptive families to send us the necessary information (as outlined on the SwaP page) and we'll advertise there for as long as the fundraiser is taking place.  

A second option in addition to the advertising space is that a family can provide an item from their fundraiser for a giveaway and we will feature them on a feature blog post (like the one below).  This option will also mean free advertising through our Facebook page and Instagram account. 

Thirdly, if you are planning to attend the Joy in the Journey retreat in February, we are going to have some FREE booth space for people raising money for adoptions/orphan care.  See the Retreat Vendor tab for information on this option!

The 1500 Tree Project {and GIVEAWAY}:

Nate, Angie, and {future big brother} Levi Elder are currently in the process of completing their paperwork and waiting on a referral from Taiwan.  To raise money for their adoption, Angie has put together "The 1500 Tree Project", selling these adorable little hand-crafted trees on canvas.

The idea behind The 1500 Tree Project is to create and sell 1500 of these sweet little trees and fully fund their second adoption.  In Angie's words, The 1500 Tree Project is...

"1500 trees made. 1500 trees sold. One fully funded adoption.  But really, it’s so much more than that.  It’s cutting leaves out of colorful paper while my son toddles around the living room, babbling away. It’s thinking about designs as my husband plucks away at his upright bass guitar, practicing a bluegrass tune. It’s piecing together a tree when we chat about our days, with the low hum of the baby monitor buzzing in the background with our toddler’s sleeping breaths.  It means my son will gain a sibling who shares his birth country and our family.  It means one less orphan in the world.  The 1500 Tree Project is love and hope, poured into a little 6×6 canvas. Joy really is the heartbeat of our shop and the spirit I pour into every piece I produce."

Information for The 1500 Tree Project {including a link to order and a discount code for our readers} is currently listed in our Shopping with a Purpose page. 

In addition, Angie is hosting a GIVEAWAY right here, starting right now!  The winner of this giveaway will will receive one tree of their choice from Angie's store and will be announced at the close of the giveaway at midnight (central) on Monday, July 29th.

You may have up to two entries on this giveaway by answering the two questions on the Rafflecopter form below.  You will also get an additional FIVE entries if you purchase a tree during this giveaway and let us know about it on the Rafflecopter form!  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Adoption....Plan A or B??

Twelve years ago I sat across the table on a first date with my now husband.  We talked about our dreams, future plans, and adoption.  We both felt like God wanted us to eventually adopt.  We didn’t know exactly what that meant at the time but we knew that wherever God took us in our future relationship, with or without each other, adopting would be a part of that.  Little did we know that six years later (after a hard year of waiting) that first date chatter would become a reality for us as a couple. 
 Daddy and Kyler
 Mommy and Kyler
As I fell in love with the thought of adoption it was definitely my plan B.  I, like many others, planned to have children first through birth and then adopt.   As people first approach adoption, they come considering adoption as God’s plan B. It seems only natural to want to have children through birth. Giving birth is natural, designed by God with the whole process coming out of a loving relationship with your spouse. Adoption seems foreign, awkward, and filled with unknowns; hardly natural.  In other words...plan B.

                Most women long to be mothers.  They want to experience the joy that it has to offer.  What they don’t realize is the journey to that joy can be so difficult.  Many people adopt for a wide variety of reasons but regardless it is God’s plan A for their life.  This may not make sense to us, because God's plan A is only fully known to Him.  His plan A is a world that allows sin, suffering, and hardship. His plan A works through pain to accomplish His will in us and in the world.  If we believe in God’s plan, then orphans are not an accident. And our problems in having children are not accidental either. They are the super hard things, the difficult events that God will turn for good as we seek and follow Him. 

                Whether you are blessed with a child by birth or a child by adoption, knowing that God has placed him or her with you enables a child to know that your choice to parent a child was part of God’s plan. On the other hand, if it is made clear that adoption was your plan B, then you will communicate that there was a better plan, but it failed. You will leave room for doubt about your adopted daughter or son's true place in life and in your family.

                Adoption is God's perfect plan for transforming orphans into sons and daughters.  Adoption is God’s plan A.  Seven years and two beautiful children later I know that this is true.  Regardless of how God brought me to the place of adoption, it was always in His plans.  He knew my plan A and led me on a journey that only He could have orchestrated.  And for that…I am thankful. 

My plan A...


Monday, July 22, 2013

A Little Icing on the Cake...

So, here's some FUN news...Erin Franklin over at Worthy of the Prize is adding a little something to our giveaway!!

WOTP has been doing their Chosen Child program for quite a while and is currently working to expand that aspect of their ministry.  The next thing product they are adding to the program is this PRECIOUS little Chosen Child Hair Clip.

These are made by the talented moms over at sew.hip.mama.

And, {here's the icing on the cake part} she's letting us give one away!

We are adding this to our current giveaway, so hop on over here and scroll to the bottom to enter!  If you have already entered to win the "Find Joy in the Journey" e-book and Chosen Child Fit Band, you are automatically entered to win this as all three great prizes are going to one winner.  If not, be sure you get your entries in our rafflecopter entry form so that you don't miss your chance...giveaway ends Thursday at midnight!  Good luck! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

RESOURCE REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Find Joy in the Journey

"It's hard to close the gap between what you thought would be and what God has actually put in front of you.  We grieved the life we had anticipated.  But when the two are finally reconciled, we see Him.  And when we see Him, joy abounds." ~Ginny, Chapter 4, Find Joy in the Journey

Erin Vick Franklin, founder/director of Worthy of the Prize Ministries was inspired to compile the stories for Find Joy in the Journey: how 12 women could face tomorrow just because He lives after enduring her own crisis and finding the Joy that comes only through Christ.  The crisis, which became the inspiration for the book, led her to the twelve women whose stories are featured in the newly released E-book.

Find Joy in the Journey peeks into the lives of the 12 women whose stories it tells with the purpose of inspiring and encouraging women as they endure varied crises.  Several of the stories throughout the book highlighted women who have struggled through the journey of adoption.  Though the stories are varied in the types of struggles, a common theme is woven throughout...no matter what the circumstances, when we look up and surrender control, the Lord provides true, unprecedented JOY.

I would highly recommend this easy-read for anyone, whether in a state of crisis or not, as it is an uplifting book pointing to the One who brings true joy.


Now, for the GIVEAWAY!  One exciting part of this book is the impact it has had on this adoptive mama ministry.  When we were planning the retreat, the name of the book just kept coming back to us and we prayed about it and all felt a peace about using "Joy in the Journey" for the retreat/blog title.  When we contacted Erin about using the name, she was so gracious and even allowed us to promote the book on the blog.  Her designer, Mary Jo Smith of 517 Creations worked with us to create the graphics you see on the site.  Erin also allowed us to GIVE AWAY one copy of the book!!

Worthy of the Prize ministries also has a whole segment of their ministry devoted to Orphan Care.  One of the things they do to support orphan ministry is their Chosen Child Program, where adopting families can sign up to raise funds through them selling these great Fit Bands!

...and she's letting us give one of these away too!!

To enter the giveaway, fill out the form below.  You must answer the first question to be entered, then the other things are optional, giving you more opportunities to win.  The form will be open until next Thursday, July 25th at midnight.  Winner will be announced the following morning.  Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Joy in the Journey Retreat {the Vision}

It wasn’t until I got home from the Created for Care Retreat in Atlanta, Georgia this past March that I began to get REALLY excited about the reality of connecting and encouraging other adoptive women through a retreat in our area.

You see, I had the opportunity to spend time with {read: cry with, laugh with, worship with, and be loved by} three amazing women that I had “met” throughout our adoption journey.  It was a weekend filled with so much healing from a long adoption process that had left me more wounded than what I had previously realized, and I left that retreat feeling so rejuvenated and hopeful.  The Created for Care retreat for me was exactly what my heart needed and I believe that is why God orchestrated the opportunity for me to attend.
While at the retreat, I went to a session called “Hosting Your Own Mini-Retreat” where two women spoke about the Created for Care Mini-Retreat that they were planning and I was totally inspired.  I LOVED the idea of bringing a retreat to our area and striving to start small and make it affordable for adoptive mamas.

As I sat at that session, God clearly brought to mind my two friends, Tiffany {my childhood friend since 7th grade} and Shannon {who Tiffany had introduced me to just the previous year}.  I could almost envision Him standing in front of me, whispering that this was the reason I was at the conference…to be inspired to bring this home and minister to other adoptive women.  I sent a text to my friends and told them to be prepared; God was about to call us to put together and host an adoptive mini-retreat.  I quickly received replies that said that sounded great and that they wanted to know more!  {Have I mentioned that I LOVE these two?!}

Soon after returning home, the time arrived for the three of us to go out to dinner and I launched into the word that I’d received at the retreat.  I had no doubt that these two ladies would support this idea, but I truly underestimated the level of enthusiasm they would have!  We sat at Panera and poured idea after idea for the retreat for three and a half hours.  By the end of the evening, we had a huge list of specifics that we felt the Holy Spirit was leading us to explore in regards to the retreat including (but not limited to) location, breakout session ideas, ideas for speakers, worship ideas, and potential dates.  After a prayer begging God to be with us every step of the way in this endeavor, we each left with lists of to-dos and planned our next meeting for two weeks out.

Within those first two weeks, we received confirmation after confirmation that this retreat was truly the work of the Lord.  It was obvious that He was in the details, from our first choice of dates being the only available dates at the retreat center, to the fact that we were going to be able to stay in budget and keep the retreat affordable, to the level of enthusiasm that we received from other adoptive mamas when we shared what God was doing.  Another thing that happened within that first two weeks is that God gave us our retreat name, an adaptation of an E-book that features stories of 12 women finding “Joy in the Journey” during a difficult time.

Since that first meeting just a few short months ago, God has continued to confirm that He is faithful and that He is behind this ministry.  He loves adoption and He tells us in James 1:27 that caring for orphans is considered “pure and faultless”.  Our hope for the upcoming retreat is that we can be used by Him to minister to you; to point you to the Joy of our Father and to encourage you, even when the journey is hard.

Won't you consider joining us? 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Follower Appreciation Giveaway WINNER

Thank you all so much for joining us in our first ever giveaway on our little baby blog!  We had 220 entries...not too shabby!

So, to pick the winner, we randomly selected a number from 1-64 for the Instagram entry (number of followers), from 1-139 for our Facebook entry (number of followers), and from 1-16 for our blog entry (number of people who commented).  Then, once those numbers had names based on their random selection, we placed the words Facebook, Instagram, and Blog on three separate pieces of paper and had an unbiased party (Jen's husband) draw.  He drew BLOG, which means that the winner of this beautiful necklace...


Congratulations, Sarah!  We will get in contact with you about where to send the necklace. :)

This was so much fun, I think we'll give something away next week too!!  Watch for it here!! 

Meet Tiffany

I am Tiffany.  The final piece to our adoption lovin' threesome!
I am a wife, mother, teacher, and most importantly a daughter of our King.  God has blessed me with an amazing husband who I have been married to for 9 years.  He always supports my crazy ideas and holds the fort down when I am off “working” on my greatest passion….adoption.  I always knew that adoption would eventually be in God’s plan for my family (we will get to that in a later blog) but what I didn’t know was that adoption would take me on two of the greatest journeys of my life, bringing my precious babes home.  I have been blessed with two of the most beautiful children in the world.  Kyler, my sensitive, hyperactive, momma loving boy is 6 years old and Kenzie, my strong willed, curious, daddy loving princess is two weeks away from turning one (tear).  Both of my children were adopted from the beautiful country of Taiwan. 

Over the past several years my heart towards adoption has exploded.  I have had the opportunity of helping so many families bring their children home and I have loved every minute of it.  The one piece of advice that has stayed constant through it all is this: finding joy in the midst of waiting, beauty from ashes, seeing Jesus’ thread throughout every piece of the journey.  This was a very hard concept for me to learn when I was in the midst of my own process, but when I truly grasped this concept God grabbed my heart and allowed me to grow in Him in ways that I never thought possible.
I pray that this blog (and retreat) are a place where you can find hope, you can find support, and you can find growth…and just maybe, in the midst of all of that…you will learn to look up.  Thank you for joining us!  We are excited to see where God is going to take this dream.  Buckle up girls…it is going to be a crazy, fun ride! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Follower Appreciation Giveaway



Wow!  When we launched this blog NINE days ago, we had no idea all the love you would show us.  The response to our little endeavor here has been overwhelming and encouraging {to put it lightly}.

SO, we wanted to show you just how much we appreciate you coming alongside of us and sharing this vision by hosting a giveaway!

When we asked our friend and fellow adoptive mama, Kate Clayton, over at The Adopt Shoppe to donate a necklace for us to give, she quickly agreed and we were ecstatic.  If you don't know Kate's work, you are missing out!  She has used her creativity and savvy business skills to create an amazing business.  Kate's pieces are rare and handmade and almost impossible to get.  She runs these awesome quicksales on her ETSY shop {next one is up tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. central} and sells out within MINUTES!  To say her pieces are hot items is the understatement of the century!  OK, I'll stop gushing.  But, seriously, see why we're so excited?!

Here it is...a "No More Orphans" necklace...up for grabs!!

Wondering how to win?  You have three {crazy easy} chances:

1. Leave a comment on this post with your name and why you are following the Joy in the Journey blog.
2. Follow us on Facebook (link in sidebar)
3. Follow us on Instagram (link in sidebar)

That's it!  We will randomly pick one winner by selecting one person from each of the three entry methods and then drawing one of the three finalists to win the giveaway.  This is going to be a QUICK giveaway, so don't delay your entries! ;)  We will close entries at 9:00 p.m. Central time TOMORROW, July 12th {just in time for you to head over to Kate's ETSY sale and buy quick!;) } and announce the winner via blog, FB, and IG shortly thereafter.

Oh, one more thing...we aren't giving an "entry" for sharing this per se, but we sure would appreciate if you'd share about this giveaway!! :)

Thanks, friends!  Good luck!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meet Jen

Hi, friends!

I'm Jen, the second of the three dreamers that felt called by the Lord to help foster meaningful connections for adoptive mamas.  I am a Christ-follower and mother who happens to work outside the home for about 9 months out of the year as a school counselor.  It's such an honor to get to advocate for 4th and 5th graders during the school year in this position and I am thankful for this ministry.  I have been married to an amazing man of God for 13 years and am so grateful for the partnership that we have.  He not only tolerates my crazy ideas, but supports them in every way {by the way, honey, we're planning an adoptive mama retreat and a new blog.  It will take hours and several dinners away from you to plan and carry out.  Thanks for being awesome. <3 }

I have only been an adoptive mother for just over a year, a title bestowed upon me when we adopted our son, Bekele, from Ethiopia and brought him home last summer.  My journey to motherhood began several years prior when I gave birth to our daughter, Melia (now 8) and subsequently our son, Camden (now 6).  Adoption for all of us has been an amazing journey and picture of Christ's love and faithfulness.  We are grateful every day that God chose us to be the parents of these three amazing children who became a part of our family in two very different ways. 

Through our adoption of Bek, we made some amazing connections with other adoptive families, a community of people who just "got it".  Their friendships were and continue to be such a blessing in our lives, through the good, the bad, and everything in between on this journey of parenthood.  This, in conjunction with an event that I had the opportunity to be a part of, birthed a desire within me to foster connections in the adoptive community.  I believe that the encouragement of other people who are going through the same family changes as well as from those who have been there, done that (and found JOY through it) is priceless.

And that is exactly what I pray this blog (and the impending Joy in the Journey retreat) will do for you...encourage, foster connections, open communication, address the tough issues, and ultimately bring you to the joy that can be found through Christ regardless of your life circumstances.  I pray that through it all, you find joy and blessings in this journey of adoptive parenting.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Joy in the Journey: The Vision

We sat in a booth at a local restaurant in our hometown of Joplin, Missouri.  It was April 2012 and all three of us came to dinner with heavy burdens.  Each of the three of us held pictures of longed-for babies in our hands that we displayed as the proud mamas that we were.  Through our laughter and our tears, we shared our journeys with each other, connecting in a way that only waiting mamas can understand.  Our emotions were scattered, but the fellowship with each other, with other ladies who “got it,” was pure refreshment to our souls.

We marveled at how God had crossed our paths and how, after only a couple of hours that evening, we had built a deep bond and had discovered a glimpse of joy through connecting with others on the journey of adoption.  We dreamt big that night, or so we thought.  We knew that the connection and rejuvenation we had received should be shared with other women.  That’s when we realized our common goal: ministering to other adoptive mamas in all stages of the adoption process.

It wasn’t until a year later that our dreams were made even bigger when the Lord revealed how we could best do this in our community.  It was at that time that the inspiration for a local retreat open to adoptive mamas in all stages of the journey was realized.  Once we caught the vision of this retreat, we began to meet and work out the logistics.  Well, the truth is, God began to work out the logistics.  Throughout the process of planning this retreat, He has shown up again and again, working out the details and confirming that He is in this and that His heart is for this process…both for adoption and for finding and fostering Godly connections.  He is good and He gives us Joy in our Journey, even when things are difficult.

Our prayer is that this blog will bless your heart as an adoptive (or prospective adoptive) parent.  And, if you are able, our additional hope is that you will join us for our retreat…a place where you will be able to relax, rejuvenate, and make lasting connections that will help to foster joy in your own journey.