Elegance: Three Essential Steps to Living and Loving Well

I used to push and run and barely breathe. Life was an uphill climb to an unknown destination. Like a hamster on a wheel, I frantically peddled my feet forward, never really arriving anywhere.

I felt out of touch with myself, short of air, and numb to feel. It wasn’t elegant. I call this stage in my life my “time of roughness.”

I kept my life rough on the surface—jagged and sharp—in order to keep people away, to keep feelings from entering, to keep memories from coming too close.

Read More

Adoption: Helping Foster Children with the Transition, by Dr. John DeGarmo

Adoption?

It was never a thought or consideration for me, for many years. Yet, as it is in so many areas of life, plans change, and people change.

Through the years, my own family has been granted the blessing of the wonderful joy that is adoption. As recounted in the book, Love and Mayhem: One Big Family’s Uplifting Story of Fostering and Adoption, my family and I have had the opportunity to adopt three children from foster care. Sadly, we have also experienced the realities of four failed adoptions, as well. Without a doubt, these adoptions have changed our family and our lives in wonderful and unanticipated ways. Yet, there have also been times of great anxiety, too, when it appeared that the adoptions might not go through as first planned. Fortunately, three adoptions did take place, and my wife and I are now loving parents of six children. Three of these are biological, three are adopted. To be clear, there are no labels in our home: no adoptive, biological, or foster children. They are all family, and all our children, and we love each unconditionally.

Read More

Give Your Loss to God: Reflections on Living with Unending Peace

It’s early morning, here in England, and much is quiet except for the sounds of sheep in the field. I’m in the English countryside, where I was born, and enjoying the soothing melody of home.

It’s been nearly three years since I’ve been back here. Just as it always has, my birth country greets me and meets me with memories: a past and present intertwined with gratitude and grief; my journey as an international adoptee.

Read More

Episode 6: Uplifting Children & Youth in the Foster Care System with Author Chavis Fisher

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with author, Chavis Fisher. We discuss how we can uplift the children and youth in foster care and raise their voices. In addition, we share the importance of foster children understanding that they are not alone in their journey—that there are people who love and care for them.

With over eighteen years of legal practice, Chavis Fisher has worked with hundreds of foster children, adoptive parents, Court Appointed Special Advocates (better known as CASA) and Department of Child Services agency employees. She received the prestigious Congressional Angels in Adoption Award for her commitment to improve the lives of children in need of permanent homes.

Chavis Fisher is the author of the book, Adopting Tigerwhich explores foster care through the eyes of a child. It’s a number one best selling book on Amazon. I couldn’t put it down!

To learn more about Chavis Fisher, please visit: chavisfisher.com.

Read More

Three Women, One Love: Honoring Bio, Foster, and Adoptive Mothers

I’m not an adoption professional. What I am is an expert on how it feels to be adopted.  I’m an international adoptee. I hold a wealth of knowledge and understanding about living in the skin of adoption.

I was born in England. Not in London, but in a smaller place known as Bury St Edmunds. Bury St Edmunds is a town in West Suffolk on the River Lark.

It is of an ancient ruin and is said to have been the site of a Roman villa and later a royal Saxon town. Bury St Edmunds is named for Saint Edmund—king of the East Angles—killed by the Danes around 870, and is buried there.

I tell you this not because I’m a historian, but because I hold a deep sense of pride in where I am from and from where I was adopted.

Read More

Episode 5: Open Adoption and Cultivating Love Between Bio & Adoptive Families with Molly Rampe Thomas

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with Molly Rampe Thomas. Molly is a licensed social worker, and Founder and CEO of Choice Network, a pro choice adoption agency that, at its very core, is founded on Molly’s love for her daughter’s biological mother.

We discuss open adoption and inspiring a culture of honor, gratitude, and respect between bio and adoptive families. In addition, we discuss the immense need for  families to consider adopting older children and sibling groups from the foster care system. To learn more about Choice Network and Molly’s work, visit: choicenetworkadoptions.com.

Read More

Family Building from Foster Care: Out of the Blue, by Debi Cantu

Perhaps many people can say what I am about to say: when I first began fostering children I had no plans on adopting. I was experiencing a bit of the ’empty nest syndrome’ and wanted little ones in my home once more. I also wanted to foster children on my own terms with the choice to stop when I felt the time had come.

I received a phone call from a social worker asking if I wanted to foster a baby who was still in the hospital. I immediately said, “Yes.” The social worker began informing me of the baby’s health condition. “This baby was born three months premature, weighs only four pounds at six weeks of age, and has tested positive for crack and alcohol.” She added, “The baby needs to be picked up today.” I raced out of the house and headed to the hospital to meet a tiny little girl.

Read More

What It’s Like to Be a Foster Parent, by Modern Foster Family

Forever.

It was never going to be forever. When we started the journey of becoming foster parents, it was not with the hope or goal of adoption. We became foster parents because we wanted to help children in need, and support families during tough times. The DHS knew this, we knew this, the bio-parents of the children who have been in our home knew this. Even the kids coming in to our home knew this, as over time we therapeutically explained our role to them. No matter how much you remind yourself of this, and talk to those around you about your role, and tell the DHS your boundaries, it doesn’t make a kiddo transitioning away from your home any easier.

Read More

The Inside Scoop: A Bio Child’s Perspective by Saty Cornelius

When I tell people my story, I get a lot of surprised looks and questions. I have six siblings—three sisters and three brothers. But it wasn’t always this way.

When I was really little, I was the only girl. My brothers tried to include me in their chess games and Nintendo, but I wanted a sister more than anything. When my parents announced to us kids that they were pursuing adoption, we were thrilled!

They started out looking for one girl, but God placed two beautiful gals into our family. It felt so natural to me, and looking back on it, I wish I had treasured those moments even more than I did.

Read More

Child Welfare: A Call to Duty, by Chavis Fisher

One of the things that amazes me, is about every third person I talk to has more knowledge about the child welfare system and adoption than they ever knew they had. What also amazes me is that we are so often called to this work, but not sure exactly how to play a role.  I had an Indiana University social work student ask me just yesterday, at an event where I served as a panelist, “How do you know when you are called?” My answer to her was the same answer I received from my father when I was just seven years old  — where does your passion lie? I went on to ask her several more rhetorical questions: what makes your heart quicken; what is that thing you would do if you never got paid; what would you be excited about engaging in even if it were twenty degrees below zero outside? She thought a while and looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and said, “That’s your call.”

Read More