Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Orphan Sunday isn't about charity; it's about the mission of Christ. I pray that every Gospel-transformed congregation will observe Orphan Sunday, calling all Christians to our mandate to image Christ by caring for his little brothers and sisters, the fatherless of the world." -- Dr. Russell Moore, author Adopted for Life


On November 2nd, Christians around the globe will stand together with one goal: to rouse believers with God's call to care for the orphan and what our role is in response.

Does your family, small group or church have plans for Orphan Sunday? There are so many ways that we can honor orphans collectively as the Body of Christ on Orphan Sunday. If you don't have plans or haven't heard of an event near you, here are 4 ways you can engage in this year's Orphan Sunday:
  1. Advent for Orphans Calendar -- see explanation below.
  2. Orphan's Table -- share a meal eaten by orphans around the world. Gather with family, small group or church for the meal, discussion and prayer.
  3. Plan an Orphan Sunday event with a Partnership Package -- easy-to-follow Orphan Sunday event plan, enabling you to partner with an organization to create a simple event!
  4. Contact your Regional Orphan Sunday Coordinator with questions, to seek ideas as you plan, or to let them know that you will be holding an event.
Be sure to also check out their other resources which include videos, prayer guides, sermon notes, t-shirts & more! Together, let's stand for the orphan!

To learn more about Orphan Sunday or find an event near you visit OrphanSunday.org.

Advent Calendar 2014


Get your FREE Advent Calendar & celebrate with purpose! 


See how your family, small group or church can celebrate the anticipate the birth of our Savior in a special way that also shows love to orphans.

Limited supply of Advent for Orphans calendars available! Learn more & order your calendar today at www.lifesongfororphans.org/advent.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Advocate Opportunities w/ Lifesong

Coffee Conversation
Are you having trouble communicating why you have chosen to walk the adoption journey? Or maybe you have tried time and time again to get your church to start an adoption or orphan care ministry, and it just hasn't clicked yet. How do you start and kindly facilitate a conversation that shows God's heart for the orphan and our response as the church?

Host a Coffee Conversation.

Coffee shops tend to create an environment where people connect through conversations over a warm cup of joe or a refreshing iced latte. Recreate this atmosphere by hosting an intentional Coffee Conversation with your church, Sunday school class or small group. Maybe it's a one-on-one meeting with your pastor at a local coffee shop or maybe it's an event with small group. 
Use this kit to help you share about the needs and opportunities to care for orphans with provided discussion questions and scripture references.

How it works:

  1. Visit www.lifesongfororphans.org/host-a-coffee-conversation and fill out the form to recieve the Coffee Conversation Toolkit with step-by-step instructions on how to host an event, along with video links, discussion questions and promotional materials.
  2. Purchase Gobena Coffee for your event. Visit Gobena Store
  3. Use provided materials to promote event.
  4. Host event using some or all of the resources provided in toolkit.


Looking for more Advocate Opportunities?
Visit www.lifesongfororphans.org/advocate-opportunities to see more unqiue, tangible ways you can care for orphans!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My orange boy

Greetings ~
Last week I introduced you to Yuri if you didn't read that post here it is for your (Yuri) and I also told you I had so many stories and feelings but I promised I was gonna get them up here to share.  So today I want to share with you about the boy I lovingly refer to as my sweet orange boy.

On our 1st full day in Rwanda we headed outside of Kigali to a city called Bugasera.  We were going to love on a group of school children and also do some home visits with the pastor from the local church.  As the bus pulled up the kids and their parents awaited our descent off the stairs.  Little brown hands grabbed for big white hands all the while saying mazunga mazunga mazunga (white person) as we scattered across the grass with coloring sheets, crayons, stickers and sharpies for nail polish I saw a sweet little boy in orange.  Now you may know that for the past 4 months my left foot has been in a boot from a car accident.  That boot was going to make it a wee bit tricky to sit on the grass and color so I did the next best thing - I took Emily's camera and started shooting.

Mama of the sweet boy in orange made sure at least a dozen times that her son got in front of my lens.  And while I knew he was not a school age child I obliged and shot photo after photo after photo.  When I put the camera down all the sweet orange boy wanted was for me to hold him and again I obliged.  He loves to laugh and to kiss and he sure LOVES to be snuggled.

As our time was coming to a close and as we gathered with all the children and parents to sing and rejoice in all HIS glory - that is when a much bigger than me part of the story came to life.
 
You see my sweet orange boy is Deaf - yes the boy I had snuggled on and kissed, and giggled with - who also loved to lick the inside of your nose if you were not quick enough was in so many ways just like Teddy.  Now when his mama brought him to me and placed him before the camera she had no way of knowing I understood her journey.  You see I had no idea why God had called me to Rwanda this summer and yet within 24hrs on the ground I sat with and laughed with talked with a mama who in some ways shared a common story.  This mama and my sweet orange boy with stay in my heart for the rest of my life.  

May you take a moment today and pray for this warrior mama as she continues to advocate and give her son the best possible life.  May you also pray for my sweet orange boy that he continues to know he is loved and cherished.

Yes my sweet sweet boy you are LOVED

My sweet orange boy - may you always know you are HIS chosen son


Even Brooklyn got in on the love and nose licking

Precious precious mama you are a warrior

Friday, August 22, 2014

This post is part of the Adoption Journey Series. See previous posts, “Adoption: 3 Ways to Prepare for the Journey” & "Adoption: 5 Funding Ideas that Work!". 

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You made it. After all the paperwork, emails, phone calls, times of waiting and waiting and waiting, your child is finally forever home. Now what??

Being home together as a family may be all that you envisioned and expected, but most likely, there may be some challenges and adjustments to work through. Whether that be with your child you just brought into your home or your bio kids. Change can be tough, especially when your new forever child has come from a hard place and may have many emotional walls and culture barriers to break down. The good news? You're not in this alone.

Here are a few resources and ideas for families post-adoption...

4 Ways to Thrive Once They're Home

  1. Find a Support Group. During the transition, you will need godly friends and family surrounding and encouraging you, telling you, "I get what you're going through...We are praying." If your church does not have an adoption support group, talk to other adoptive families and start your own. Also, check with your adoption agency to see if they can connect you with someone in your area.
  2. Attend an Empowered to Connect ConferenceYep, it's that good that we're mentioning it twice. If you can't make a conference before your adoption, find the time to attend after your child is in your home. The insight and wisdom you will receive will encourage you as you parent a child from a hard places.
  3. Read Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive FamilyPacked with practical advice and ideas for families with an adopted child, this parenting handbook is unique in that it provides real-life solutions to common challenges. Bible-based and comprehensive, this Focus on the Family resource addresses the special challenges of adopted children and their parents from birth through adulthood.
  4. Call iCareAboutOrphans.org's Post Adoption Phone line. This ministry of Focus on the Family offers this service FREE for adoptive families! The phone number is 800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) and is staffed Mon – Fri from 8am – 10pm EST by counselors who have been trained by Dr. Karyn Purvis.

What are some other ways that helped your family THRIVE once your child(ren) were forever home? Please join the conversation by commenting below.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Don't Forget Me ~

Greetings ~
Yes yes yes I know I have a TON to catch you up on and I promise I really am gonna get you all caught up on life here at the Hammons House BUT not today!!  Sorry!!  Today is the 20th day I have been home from Ethiopia and Rwanda almost and entire 3 weeks back in the good ole USA and there are so many stories to tell and so many emotions I still cannot wrap my head around (but I am working on it!!) But today my heart is heavy for a boy I only met but for a brief time in Kigali and his last words to me are what woke me up at 3:30am this morning.  "Please don't forget to pray for me"
I want you to meet Yuri

Yuri is a street boy|child in Kigali, Rwanda and I wanted to give you the best possible definition of what a street kid is in a 3rd world country so I reached out to my dear friend Tiffany Darling with Mercy Branch and here is here explaination "A child who, because of various circumstances, has been forced to make the street his or her home and/or source of survival. Many times, but not always, these children also suffer from being abandoned or orphaned and are therefore living independently of any adult protection or provision." - I only spent a morning with these boys - boys with no parents | no family - boys who are left to tend to themselves - boys with no direction as to their purpose - in other words the often forgotten about group.  And yet these boys will grow to be the next generation and they need our love, our guidance, our patience, they need to know the love of the Father and they are precious in his eyes.  So today 21 days after I have landed back in my sweet little town I want Yuri to know I have NOT forgotten him. I have NOT stopped praying for him.  I have NOT stopped praying for the wonderful mama Daphne who works with these boys on a daily basis showing them love and another way of life.  And while I do not know if I will ever see Yuri face to face again I do know that I will NOT forget him.
My question to you is will you NOT forget him either?  Will you pray for him and the hundreds of thousands of street kids around the world?

“Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.” Proverbs 24:12

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sweet Summer with my Kylee Bean ~

Kylee Bean ~ Oh sweet sweet girl what a blessing and a treasure you have been to us this summer. 10 years ago when your mom told me she was pregnant for the 1st time I dreamed that one day you would come and spend the summer with us and with your cousins making memories to last a lifetime. And what an amazing dream come true this summer has been!
 Your love and patience with Teddy as you learned to communicate with him using ASL was beyond words for this mama heart to watch. You stepped into his life and loved him right where he was. You protected him, and laughed with him. You taught him games like UNO and Chutes and Ladders all while the 2 of you giggled and giggled the nights away.
 You and Tariku are cut from the same cloth - fiercely 1st borns - and yet you each found your way. You did countless hours of drawing and writing together. You went on more walks and adventures than I can remember and you swam like fish almost everyday.
 My sweet Kylee Bean I am soooo proud of you - you came to TN and jumped right into life with the Hammons House - camp summer sign everyday, soccer practices for the boys, Kylee and Auntie Courtney dates to lunch and the mall. You helped Uncle Kenneth build a swimming pool, you conquered roller coasters and waterfalls.
 My my what a summer it was. And now my sweet sweet girl it is wrapping up and I want you to know how much these last 8 weeks have meant to all of us. We couldn't imagine the joy that you would bring to our summer.
 So Bean I want you to ALWAYS remember the door is ALWAYS open for you to come and hang at the Hammons House! We love you and cannot wait for our next adventure together!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

This post is part of Lifesong's Adoption Journey Series. See previous post, "Adoption: 3 Ways to Prepare for the Journey" here.

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While nearly two in five practicing Christians have considered adoption, only 5% have actually done it.* What keeps people from growing their families through adoption?

One of the biggest barriers to adoption is the cost. Depending on the circumstances, adoption can cost up to $50,000! It makes sense why many families who have a heart for vulnerable children, look at adoption as something they desire, but is just too hard to grasp because of the high costs.

There are families who have seen God perform miracles as they have stepped out in faithfulness to follow His call for their family...if it's His will, it's His bill. He will make a way to show Himself as THE Provider of all things. Don't let money stand in the way, when He has provided many avenues for families to bridge that financial gap.

Here are few tips and resources for funding an adoption...
  1. Save & sacrifice. It's never too early to start saving for adoption. Try to cut back your budget to set a portion of money aside each month to pay for some of the initial adoption costs, like home study and application fees. Make sacrifices as God moves you, maybe that's postponing a big purchase or selling some of your possessions.
  2. Learn from others. In her must-read book, Adopting Without Debt, Julie Gumm shares how to find extra money in your household budget, apply for grants, and fundraise in order to build your family without saddling it with debt. 
  3. Apply for Adoption Grants & Loans. Research and apply for national, state, and local adoption grants. A few favorites we direct families to are our friends at Show Hope & Abba Fund. See Resource Report for more grants & loans available and don't forget to check out our adoption grant & loan page.
  4. Think outside the box. The fundraising creativity of adoptive families continues to grow. Check out organizations like Both Hands, who help families fundraise for adoption while doing a service project for a widow. Other groups like 147 Million Orphans & MudLOVE provide jewelry, t-shirts, and other products you can use towards fundraising. 
  5. Don't be afraid to ask. Maybe the word "fundraise" and the thought of asking people for money makes you nervous. WATCH the video below to see how God moved in this couple's heart to show them adoption was so much bigger than their family.

I want to hear from you? What ways did your family raise money for adoption?


*from Becoming Home by Frames Barna Group & Jedd Medefind