Episode 12: Find a Way, Not an Excuse with Evie Toombes

“Find a way, not an excuse.”

This is the motto of Evie Toombes of the United Kingdom. She is the recent winner of the Well Child Inspirational Young Person Award.

Evie battles serious health conditions as a result of spina bifida, a birth defect that impacts the spine.

Yet, Evie lives fully and serves her community and country in beautiful ways—an elegant example of rising up over challenge and adversity.

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The Adoptee Mindset: We Are Beautiful People with Beautiful Stories

I spoke at a conference in San Diego this past weekend. The event— Embrace Who You Are—was organized by Oleg Lougheed and his non-profit group, Overcoming Odds.

Oleg has a vision to create space for adoptees to share their experiences and overcome their challenges. He believes, like I do, in the power of story. Yours, mine, and his.

The day was transformative! It further strengthened my long-standing opinion that adoptees have a universe of wisdom to share with the world. All we have to do is assure them that it’s safe to open up and let that wisdom flow.

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Our Daughter, Isabel: An Adoption Story of Heartbreak, Hope, & Love, by Kendra Leavitt

Over the past three years, my husband, Ian, and I have been on a journey filled with consistent optimism, but also staggered by heartbreak. Long days of hard work and faith were often followed by tears and doubt. We had amazing support from family and friends. We were also lied to and cruelly manipulated. Through these three years, Ian and I have walked through fire together. We lost nearly all semblances of personal space and privacy; we worked through hundreds of pages of paperwork and legal pulp; we drove thousands of miles, spent thousands of dollars, all for the chance at turning hope into reality. It was in the middle of nowhere, on a hot June night, where we finally found our seven-pound miracle. I am writing this story, not for pity or to commiserate, but to expound on and rejoice in the one thing that kept us going throughout all our setbacks: hope.

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The Healing Power of Women

I’m in a small group of women that meets every Tuesday. We pray together, listen to each other, and support one another through  life’s ups and downs.

I love these women so much because they’ve shown me what it means—really means—to feel wanted and included, heard and seen within an intimate group. Their hearts are filled with grace and love.

I wonder if they know just how beautiful they are. I look at each of them and see radiance and kindness. I hope they notice the same qualities, too, when they look at themselves in the mirror.

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Adoption, a Journey of Love & Hope: Q&A with Kashia Palmer

1.) Kashia, adoption has always been a huge part of your family. Both your mother and your youngest brother are adopted, and your husband’s mother is adopted as well. Have you and Riley both always had adoption in your hearts?

Oh my goodness, yes times a million! It was one of the things we first bonded over when we met. We have always loved the plan to adopt and knew no matter what our circumstances were, that we were going to one day.

2.) How did your faith help you through struggling with infertility and the adoption process?

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Have You Been Thinking About Adopting a Child? These are 5 Reasons Why it is 100% Worthwhile

Have you been thinking about adopting a child? Do you wonder if you have what it takes to be a parent-by-adoption?

The decision to adopt should come with a healthy dose of contemplation. A child’s life depends on a parent’s complete and total dedication.

Today, too many kids in America are languishing in the foster system. In total, there are some 400,000 children in U.S. foster care right now. Around 100,000 of them are eligible and waiting to be adopted. These are kids who won’t be with their forever families this Thanksgiving.

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Episode 11: The Power Behind Your Story, with Oleg Lougheed

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with Oleg Lougheed. Oleg’s story begins in Russia: a hard beginning followed by a painful and difficult decision.

A decision in which the outcome left him stripped of his voice, his identity, and his family. Oleg was a vulnerable child—an orphaned child.

Yet, Oleg has a unique and transformative way of looking at his story. And, at YOURS. Oleg shares why your story matters and the power behind your story.

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How to Love When Loving Isn’t Easy: A Story of Adoption and Faith, by Lori Schumaker

What is better—to continue to love but ache from the bitter slashes of hurt and betrayal or to build a wall of steel and never love deeply again?

Early in my life, like so many of us, I learned about the sting of rejection and careless words. That sting took a toll on my heart and affected me emotionally for many years. Eventually I built a wall, placing it between myself and meaningful relationships. Turning my back when things got rough seemed to be my safest option…or so I thought.
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Keep Going, Don’t Give Up: Encouragement for the Adoption & Foster Community

The day has arrived. National Adoption Awareness Month has officially started. Hard to believe that it’s here!

Time moves by so fast, doesn’t it?

2018 has been filled with some tough moments and extraordinary challenges. If this year has been hard on you and on those you love, I understand.

The daily stresses of life layered with the anxiety and anticipation that often come with November and Adoption Awareness Month can be a lot.

Feelings and emotions can be heightened. Triggers come out of nowhere.

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Episode 10: A Conversation on Choice, Chance, & Motherhood, with Christine Bauer

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with Christine Bauer. Christine is the author of the memoir, Those Three Words: a birth mother’s story of choice, chance, & motherhood.

Her book represents the journey of a woman’s life and the choices that are made within a life. The pages are filled with reminders of the power of family, respect, acceptance, love—and, yes, the power of choice.

Starting the dialogue about a woman’s choice, no matter what that choice looks like, is a conversation that Christine is passionate to engage in. I’m honored for Christine to share her perspective with us—for sharing encouraging words about feeling our sadness, and leaning in to those places that hurt inside of us.

In the words of Christine’s mother, “Sadness stretches the heart so that there is more room for joy.”

We have to feel our lives if we are going to rise up and become greater in all aspects of our lives. We cannot stay numb. And, what we discover, over time, is that choice is always attached to a powerful, real, and raw story.

Leaning in to those stories is where we create greater empathy and understanding around the conversation of a woman’s choice or any other choice in front of us.

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