God’s favor and a modern widow’s mite

May 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is re-post from almost exactly 2 years ago.    We were on the front side of having our sons home, without a complete plan and certainly without a complete purse.   But….. God…..

I love reviewing His faithfulness.    I love knowing that He’s never asleep at the wheel.

No matter what your situation today, be encouraged~

Our trip is just days away and it’s been unbelievable to watch things come together. The money piece is pretty huge for our family. And God has been bringing in the funds needed to accomplish His purposes. I realized the other day that if we’d just had that big pile of money sitting in the bank ready to go, this wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. As it is, we are depending on God for the whole deal and in that need, we’ve gotten to really ‘enjoy the show’ .
People have donated amazing things to our garage sale (more to come on that later). Others have sold their stuff on ebay and donated the proceeds to our missions trip. Some have made direct donations. Others have donated services to our family so we could focus more cash into the adoption process.

Amazing stuff. It’s cool to watch God move in peoples’ hearts to join us in the journey. It’s amazing to see other people’s joy and their enthusiasm to be part of this process.
The other day at work, I was typing along and 4 little girls came into the office holding a can of pringles potato chips. They came around to where I was sitting, thrust out the can and said, “This is for you, Mrs. Harding.” I like pringles and said thanks to them and reached out for it. But when I took it, it was heavy. Peeking inside I saw the bottom of the can filled with coins and wadded up little dollar bills. These little girls were just beaming and told me that they had been saving their money in the pringles can and wanted us to use it for our adoption. They were excited to report that it was almost ten dollars!
What an amazing gift! From the hearts of children to the heart of God. This little ‘widow’s mite’ blesses our hearts in giant ways. It is a great ride and we are grateful to God for the front row seat as we watch Him make it happen through old stuff, ebay and pringles cans!! Wow!

pringles

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UPDATE:

May 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Posted in adoption issues, adoption resources | 1 Comment

CBN has, thankfully, removed the troublesome commentary by Pat Robertson that came at the end of the news segment.   Part of me is so happy.   Part of me is still very sad for the reality of what was said.

Mostly, it’s a relief.

Hardings are truly grateful to get to be a door keeper in the house of God, especially when it comes to vindicating the Fatherless!   So when someone treads on adoption or uses a big ugly brush to paint orphans with, I get all ‘mother-bear’ and hot headed passionate and start emailing everyone.  I obsess and stew dive in full force and get in my defense-attorney mode.

Not a pretty sight ~  I promise.

The Christian Alliance for Orphans does such a calm, reasoned, and winsome job of offering a Biblical perspective on adoption.   In the wake of the Robertson comments they wrote a piece that further explains five core truths about adoption that need to be better understood and communicated.   Check it out!

Also, Dan Cruver added the CBN interview ‎ at the Together For Adoption ‎ site.

Ahhhh….. I can now remove my blood pressure cuff and get back to the business of making chicken noodle soup for lunch and breaking up the battle over who gets to play with the red matchbox car. ‎

certainly not what I expected…

May 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Posted in adoption issues, adoption resources | Leave a comment

The CBN interview that we got to be a part of a few weeks ago aired today.

The reporter and her crew did such a fantastic job on the story and Tague and I are very excited about the message that was sent through her dedicated work.

However……

After the video piece was over, Pat Robertson added his own (almost four-minute) commentary.    At no time was he an advocate for the orphan nor did he give a rally cry to the church to step up to the plate to care for orphans or vulnerable children in any way.   We are profoundly disappointed in the way he used his influence and are grieved over  his counsel to potentially adoptive families.     Thankfully, his co-host Terry, spoke patiently and graciously to correct and exhort through the troubled commentary.

Praise God that His purposes will stand.   He will set the lonely in families.   He will continue to call AND equip families to embrace children that they did not conceive.  Praise God that He prepares some families to love and raise kids who struggle to adapt to their history.   Praise God that He knows every detail on the planet and one negative review doesn’t slow Him down as He works on the behalf of His children!

Watch it for yourself……What do you think?

CBN interview

The Christian Alliance for Orphans (who hosted the conference) made a very well thought out  response.    They clearly reflect our hearts and do it in a winsome way.

Mother’s Day at the beach!

May 13, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Posted in family | Leave a comment

Last week P, Z, R and I got to hang out at the South Carolina coast with my parents and my oldest Megan.   Ahhhhhhhhhh…..  what a treat to be able to stick our toes in the sand, smell the salt air and listen to the birds calling above.   It was the perfect way to spend mother’s day!

And more than ever – I got to see (again) how very different my two sons really are.

  • Philip was afraid of the big pool.   Zach was afraid of the surf.
  • Philip was afraid of the dogs on the beach.  Zach was afraid of the bugs floating in the water.
  • Philip didn’t want to talk to anyone he didn’t know.   Zach (the politician) had to talk to everyone he met.
  • Philip didn’t want to get dirty so he wouldn’t actually sit on the sand, but instead, he squatted.   Zach  smashed the wet sand between his fat hands and smeared it all over himself.
  • Philip didn’t really want to get wet.   Zach jumped off the side of the pool with wild abandon.

So…. it took a while to figure out how to help each of them have a good time.    They were the perfect Oscar and Felix….. or maybe Jack Sprat and his chubby wife .

Luckily, there was a baby pool nearby, about as deep as their bath tub and that suited them both just fine.

Sand man

cautious and clean

boogie board delight

baby pool

shocked at the baby pool

sisters

me and dad

Z and Mama H

Last Mother’s Day ‎I was still catching my breath and was still staggered by all the reality of our adoption.  This mothers day (well, I’m still catching my breath!) ~ I’m in a groove.   This thing is our normal now and we are settled in.    It’s still exhausting but it feels so right.  Eternally grateful.

Hope your Mother’s Day was fantastic!

post Summit

May 2, 2010 at 8:36 am | Posted in adoption process, adoption resources, secure relationships, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We had such an amazing time at the Summit VI conference this week.

The CBN report at our house was a lot of fun and the crew was super to work with!   We managed to have a fun, family morning complete with giggles and tears and a barking dog and boiling tea and steaming muffins.   🙂  We’ll let you know when it airs.

This conference was the first official adoption event that we’ve done since we brought our sons home and I knew it would be good, but I didn’t expect to feel so very encouraged.

Most helpful to me was Dr. Karyn Purvis .   She is wise and serene and practical and encouraging…. just the package I needed to press me forward in my mothering.

Adoption is a hard journey. No one becomes and orphan through an easy, happy story.   And joining a new family is a gigantic transition both for the child and for the existing family.  So to hear the wisdom and the counsel and the soothing encouragement from the speakers and other parents has been a ‘binding up’ of the soul for me.

Also, knowing that adopting Philip and Zach isn’t the period at the end of the sentence as it relates to our family’s involvement in orphan care…. the question now is:   What next?    🙂

A great opportunity (served with a side of panic!)

April 27, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Posted in adoption resources, family, Prayer | 1 Comment

The Harding family is going to experience a first this Thursday morning.

Through a friend’s recommendation, we’re being interviewed by Charlene Israel of CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network) as part of their coverage of this week’s Christian Alliance for Orphan’s Summit VI in the Minneapolis area.

Yes, I’m excited and a little freaked out.   Actually, kind-of a lot freaked out.

The film crew arrives early Thursday morning and will catch us in action as we get ready for our day.    Microphones will be attached and cameras will be rolling as we scurry and eat and get along with each other beautifully just like we always do.   (ahem)

They said, “Just be yourselves.”   So…. for the last few days we’ve been plotting how we’ll  ‘just be ourselves’.   It’s not as easy as you might think.

Anyway – we’ll keep you posted.   I have no idea what to expect but we are really pumped about having an opportunity to tell a little bit of our family’s story and, more importantly, to talk about one of our favorite topics ~ adoption!

Pray for us…. would ya?

mixed race families – part 3

April 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Posted in adoption issues, race | Leave a comment

What follows is Part 3 of the continuing conversation regarding some things we are doing as we raise our kids in a mixed race environment.

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We have loads of African art in our home.   Now that I think about it, just about all of the paintings hanging on the walls feature black faces.   We have black dolls and books with illustrations including children of color and books that show mixed race families .   We talk about Uganda.   We pray for friends in Uganda.   We thank God (out loud) that He allowed our boys to be begin life in such a wonderful country and from such a wonderful people.

And last week, I did something that made me really nervous.    I wandered over to the information booth at the church we were visiting and waited in line to ask a question of a handsome black man behind the counter.    I said (wondering if this was a ‘stupid-white-person’ question),  “Since I have black children, I’m wondering how you, as a black man, feel about the racial climate in this church?   I mean, when i go to the Mall of America, it’s really diverse.   But when I go to churches, not so much.    What’s it like for you as a person of color being a part of this church?”   (Thankfully, he was more than happy to answer my question and even told me it was a really good question.)

It’s important to us that we raise our boys in such a way that when they look at their world, at least some of it looks like them!

I’m really new at this.   So I’m still hoping that these are good racial awareness moves and not bad (racist) moves.    Hard to know when all I’ve ever been is white and all I’ve ever known is my own culture through  my own eyes.   It’s that old question of, ‘does the fish even know he’s wet?’

mixed race families – part 2

April 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Posted in adoption issues, race | Leave a comment

My boys are black citizens in a primarily white place.  I need to be very aware of that, otherwise my own obliviousness to the world I live in may allow their perspective to be overwhelmed and swallowed up.   Since statistics say that Minnesota is 85% white persons  and less than 5% black persons, we’re going to have to make an effort to ensure that P & Z don’t end up being the only brown faces in every environment they find themselves in!   And around here, that doesn’t ‘just happen’.

Just like it’s my job to make sure they are given nutritious foods and it’s my job to create a safe environment for them to play in and it’s my job to ensure their health is regularly evaluated, it’s also my job (because I’m the grown up and they can’t do it for themselves yet) to help create a racially diverse  experience for us all.    Regular ole ‘default settings’ in the area of race aren’t good enough.

So ~ Here are a few things we’re doing to try to darken the complexion of the world we live in.  They are not spectacular.   They are just faithful ~ faithful to the effort to be consistent and comprehensive in the best way I know how to be.

1) As we look at preschools we ask is, ‘How many non-white children do you have per class?”      And, “Do you have any non-white teachers or staff members in your school?”   I think my little guys can learn their ABC’s just about anywhere.   But they need to do it in an environment where they will not always feel the constant awareness of being different.

I’ve had some people question me about this one.   In response, I’ve simply asked them…. ‘would you put your white child in a school where he is the only white child in the whole building?  How might that make him feel?’  Funny how when it’s flipped, it opens a different level of understanding.

2) I’m looking for professionals in our lives that are non-white people.    Our pediatrician our dentist….. etc.

3) The town about 10 minutes north of us is much more racially diverse than our own town is.    There’s a very large Somalian population there so, as often as I can, we choose to go to that Target instead of the one closest to our house.    When we’re there, we are surrounded by other shoppers of African decent.

more to come………..

mixed race families

April 17, 2010 at 7:40 am | Posted in adoption issues, family, race | Leave a comment

An old high school acquaintance recently looked me up to reconnect and to ask some questions about interracial adoption.   Here’s what he asked me to explain:

…… how will you approach the mixed race issue with your boys as you raise them?

Truth is, I wish I had more of a plan.    I wish I’d spent years living in a mixed race community or doing more to be aware of racial arrogance than just watching Roots or reading Martin Luther King Jr. speeches or enjoying Corina, Corina .

But, it is what it is.   At least for now.

What I AM trying to do is to celebrate Philip and Zach  ~  their history, their color, their ethnicity, their previous citizenship and their current citizenship.    I want to do the mixed race family thing well, but I think we’ll have to figure a lot of it out as it comes.

Sometimes I forget we’re ‘mixed race’.   I look at them and just see my sons.   Yep, they’re dark.   It’s their look.   Just like our other son looks pale with a shock of yellow hair on top.   When I see P & Z, I see expressions and personality and runny noses and long eyelashes and soggy diapers…. just baby stuff.        It’s not until we’re all out in all mall or a restaurant that I actually remember that we don’t all ‘match’.   And that’s only because as a conspicuous family, other people notice us and then I notice them noticing us.   And then I remember.   It’s a non-issue at home.   And it seems like a ‘others-issue’ when we’re out.  (Which is why we need to have intentionality about this in the first place.)

So, raising my boys as minority children in majority culture seems like the real question to respond to.

I’ll add to these thoughts over the next few days, but I’m wondering about you…..

What have some of you done to be more intentional about raising children in a mixed race family?   Anything?

what could’ve been

April 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Posted in adoption process, God's obvious goodness | Leave a comment

Tonight our family listened to our daughter, Kelsey, and her missions team tell us of their recent journey to Kenya.   They did their skits and told their stories and we got to see pictures from their safari.

Then came the video of their actual missions work with the children in the Nairobi slums.    aahhhhhh….. those faces!    The faces of  East Africa just jumped off that dvd and into my heart… once again.

She was in Kenya, the next-door-neighbor to Uganda, only 300+ miles from the very place where her brothers were born.

The beautiful faces from the slums of Nairobi pierced me in a weird ‘what-could’ve-been’ kind of way.   Philip and Zach were born into slums also.

If things had been different, their lives might have looked something akin to the lives of the children that Kelsey played with in the Mathare Valley last week.    Had God not called us, haunted us, pushed us, wooed us and drawn us to adoption years ago……what would’ve been?

But God sets the lonely in families.    He picks parents on one continent and children on another and, in a way that only He can do, He knits them together across time zones and governments.   He overcomes finances and hesitations and equips us with just enough faith and just enough confidence to take just the next step.   And so, the journey continues until He has brought together souls that were always meant to be family.

P & Z will never be without us and we will never be without them.

We have all been rescued from ‘what-could’ve-been’.

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