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Wordless Wednesday

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I Saw What I Saw

Guest Blogger: Jayna

Meet my friend, Jayna.  She has been married to Jimbo for 28 years and together they have a beautiful daughter, in heaven, Torri Dean. We met eons ago, at church.  This couple struck me because Jayna is t-tiny and Jimbo is not so much….and then there was Torri….a daddy’s girl with her mom’s big smile.  Sweet memories of long ago and I’m blessed to still be friends with them, today.  Her story is from the flip side.  She was adopted, as a baby and has also found, and formed a relationship, with her biological family.  Maybe she will guest blog again and continue her story….but for now….


I’ve never posted anything on a blog. However, I️ believe my story is not only unique but beautiful & I️ do love to share about it.
In 1970 adoption wasn’t near as popular as it is now. Sorry, but popular was the only word I️ thought fit….I️ realize some may not like it, but it’s my story (haha). The couple who adopted me, from a children’s home in Louisville, KY, had already adopted a little boy from Cincinnati, OH 3 years earlier.  They named him Mike. This couple, James & Ann, had a son in the late 60’s who died at only 3 months of age from genetic abnormalities. When the tragedy of losing their son, Joseph, happened they knew they couldn’t face such a tragedy again & adoption would be their way of creating a family of their own.
Fast forward to June 1972. This amazing couple who adopted a boy then a girl were a family. Mike & Jayna (that’s me) were their children & they in turn were our mom & dad. No blood biologically needed for any of us. However, Mike, our mom & I were in a car accident & our mom, Ann died. I️ have to take a minute to talk about our dad. He & Ann (who was 28 years old) had been married for 10 years. He had buried his son & now he would be burying his wife. Yes tragic, but also now having the responsibility of taking care of a 5 year old & 2 year old……without his wife. I’m sure this was almost more than he could take. I’m sure my dad questioned God about how & why. Not only questioning her death, but the decision to adopt us.
But God…..don’t you love that saying?

Yes God……sent us all such a blessing when my dad met Shelda.

They married in May 1974 & Shelda became our mom. Can you imagine? She must have really loved our dad to marry him with 2 children who weren’t even his biologically!! And did I️ mention she had no children? Talk about being thrown to the wolves!! Becoming a wife is hard, but becoming a mom & wife at the same time….that could be tragic! (I’m kidding no one get offended by that okay?)

This mom. Shelda, had such a wonderful family also & we got a new set of grandparents, aunts & uncles.  Everyone  loved us the same as the grandchildren born biologically into the family. Heck! they even loved us the same as the ones they had loved since birth & they didn’t meet us until we were 3 & 6 years of age.  Don’t get me wrong, we were already extremely loved by so many & our dads side of the family was crazy in love with us too, so we weren’t lacking in the love & attention category!!
Can I️ throw another piece into this story? My mom & dad were able to have a son biologically in 1976. His name is Billy.  So there we were, a family. A family that had been placed together by love & what I believe to be Gods sovereign plan. A plan no one could have come up with on their own. We are a family  not biologically,  because our parents have 3 children & none of us have the same mom & dad (biologically). Let me tell you though, WE HAVE THE SAME MOM & DAD. We are brothers & sister. We love each other so much & I️ am beyond grateful for my family.
Yes, when I️ was 21 yrs old I️ found my biological parents & that’s too long for me to share,  but I️ love them & respect their decision. I’m ever so grateful for their decision to put me up for adoption. I’m ever so grateful to be raised in a home that I️ never questioned if I️ was loved.
If you see me out with my parents and/or my brothers you’ll NEVER hear us say the word “step”.  I️ don’t believe in that word. I️ won’t use that word. They are my parents & they are my brothers. We are family.

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Guest Blogger: Linda

My name is Linda Kelley and I am happily enjoying retirement after working in the accounting profession for too many years to count.  My last position was as an accounting officer for the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.  I currently live in Riverside, California with my husband of 17 years, Tim. 


My very first experience with adoption involved my grandson, Joshua.  Unfortunately his biological father was not involved in his life.  My daughter’s second husband chose to fill the position as his dad and wanted to make it legal by adopting him.  I know this was important to Joshua and it made him feel more a part of his family which included his little brother, Jeremy.  Unfortunately the family did not stay together but I know having a “legal” dad has meant a great deal in Joshua’s life.

 

My second encounter with adoption was quite different.  At the age of 50 I found myself ending a 28 year marriage and starting on a new path in my life.  I was fortunate enough to find my current husband, Tim, and the two of us jumped into a new adventure together.  At that point I had two grown daughters, both of which were busy with their own lives.  The younger one, Christina, was having a difficult time finding her way in life and lived with us on and off for several years.  Tim was always understanding and very patient with the struggles we went through with her.  My older daughter, Jeni, had her own family but was still close to us.  She went through a few hard times of her own at which time Tim and I did our best to be there for her.  Her relationship with her biological father had gone downhill to the point that they were no longer in communications with each other.  One day she approached me and asked if I thought Tim might be willing to adopt her and become her legal father.  She told me that she felt Tim had been much more of a father to her than my ex was and that she appreciated all he was doing for her and would like to be able to put Tim as her father in any legal paperwork she needed.  She had met a man from Finland and had married him and moved there with her two sons.  They had a daughter at this time and with citizenship papers, passports, etc., there was always something too fill out.  She said whenever she had to put down her father’s name, she always thought of Tim first as her father so she would like to make it official if he would be okay with it.  I told her I was sure he would so she asked him if he would be willing to become her legal father.

 

As for Tim’s reaction to her question…only he can tell you exactly how he felt but from my point of view I think it was something he had never expected but he embraced the idea completely.  He loved both of my daughters as if they were his own.  Christina had also grown apart from her biological father and loved Tim very much but felt a duty to remain at least cordial to her biological dad, especially if Jeni were to go through with the adoption.  She remained very close to Tim up to the time she passed away almost seven years ago.  I think a little background info is needed about Tim to understand why this adoption was so important to him.  He had two sons from a previous marriage.  Due to many circumstances he had decided to give up his parental rights to the boys after his ex had remarried and her new husband wanted to adopt them.  This is something he has regretted every day of his life since.  He was forced to end all communications with the boys and had lost all track of them.  Luckily we have reconnected with the oldest now and he is a welcome part of our lives, but the thought of Jeni wanting him to be her father was especially touching to him since he had lost his sons.  The adoption was very simple from the legal aspect of things, but the bonding it helped to create between my husband and my daughter is something I will always be thankful for.  It is the best feeling to refer to Jeni as “our” daughter and not just “my” daughter.

 

Guest Blogger: Jeni

Meet, my person, Jeni.  We have been friends for 14 yrs.  We met online….she moved close….we lived life….she remarried Teemu….and moved to Finland LOL.  She has 3 children (Joshua, Jeremy, and Lizzy aka J1, J2, and Tito).  Her parents are Tim and Linda Kelley.  Here is her story of being adopted, as an adult, by her step-father.  I am blessed to know them all.


I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to find the words to convey my adoption story. I’ve read through the amazing stories on the blog & feel a bit humbled because my story is so simple & straightforward. In 2010, at the age of 36, I was adopted by my stepdad, Tim. Step-parent adoption isn’t all that unusual but I like to think we’re unique because he didn’t raise me & I didn’t meet him until I was an adult, married & pregnant with my 2nd child.

I’ve had a couple of people question why I would ask a man who didn’t raise me, a man who I only met when I was 25, to adopt me. No, he’s not rich. 😊 I’ve had a good relationship with my dad, my children have grown up thinking of him as “grandpa,” and I watched him love & support my sister as she dealt with her personal demons. During his time as my stepdad he also loved & supported me through a suicide attempt, a very painful & drawn out divorce, depression. I was not exactly at my best & yet I knew that I had his support. He’s loved my sister & I unconditionally.

I don’t like to refer to this part but it is relevant so… In 2004 I learned of an incident that led me to cut all ties with my biological father.

In 2007 I married a truly wonderful Finnish man. My boys & I moved to Finland to start our lives as a new family. In 2010 I was filling out forms to renew our residence permits & when I got to the section asking for my parents’ information, it just hit me. I hated having to enter bio-father’s information because in my mind, that person was no longer my father. Tim was. Tim was the one who loved me & my children the way a father should. I had come to think of him as my dad, I loved him as my dad, so I asked him to legally become my dad. I was nervous & felt a little silly about asking but I was so happy when he said yes.

That summer my husband & I flew to California so that our daughter (she was 16 months old) could meet my parents. During that visit we all went to the courthouse & I was adopted. One of the things I remember most about that day was the judge telling me I could pick a stuffed animal to take home with me. I let my daughter choose & she picked out an adorable snow leopard. I think it probably goes without saying that she decided that she was keeping it.

In January 2018 I have to once again renew our residence permits. I’m looking forward to entering “Timothy Kelley” as my father’s name. This will be the first time I get to formally recognize him as my dad.

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Guest Blogger: Tim

Meet my favorite Pirate, Tim…..he is married to Linda and they live in CA.  His adoption story is one that not many people think can even happen….but it can and it is beautiful.  He loves his wife, his children, and his grandchildren.  I am proud to know him.


I have been asked to share my experience in adopting my daughter Jeni Kuivala. My experience is going to be much different that most since I adopted my daughter as an adult.

Let me preface my actual adoption of Jeni with a little bit of back story. I met Jeni about 19 years ago. Her mother Linda and I had been talking and seeing each other for a while. We met at a restaurant to have breakfast it was a family get together. Jeni was pregnant with her youngest son Jeremy. Well poor Jeni was so sick I think she spent much of her breakfast time ill. I felt so sorry for her knowing how miserable she must be. So that was my first meeting of her and she was, despite being sick, warm and very accepting of me and really treated me like family.

From that time on when we were together she treated me as though I were her father and much more a friend.  It was very easy to feel as though she was my daughter even then and it has been a very great relationship ever since. So fast forward to 2010 Jeni and her husband Tassu were planning on visiting us in California. They both live in Finland where he is from (another story).

At the first of 2010 Jeni made a request of me that I must admit kind of took me back and surprised me. She asked me if I would adopt her when they came out to California. Well it was kind of overwhelming and was something I never thought of. It is hard to explain the feeling you have when someone asks you to do something like that. The thought of Jeni having those feelings that she wanted me to be her legal father I guess in some ways humbling. After talking with Linda and making sure that she was good with it I of course told her I would adopt her. I told her I would find out what we needed to do and how it all works.

Now I worked for the Courts in Ventura, so it was a bit easier for me to get rolling on what needs to be done. I was kind of familiar with child adoption but had no idea about adult adoption and quite frankly didn’t even know adults could adopt adults. This was a learning experience for me. Fortunately our court has a Self Help Legal center which is staffed by clerks that are familiar with different areas of law such as adoptions, civil suites etc. I made an appointment with them and they were able to explain the whole process and what documents I needed, and paper work needed. Fortunately adopting an adult is very easy to do. So that was great knowing that Jeni and I could go through this journey relatively easy and enjoy the results. What I found out is we just had a few forms to fill out and I think we had to provide birth certificates for both of us as proof of who we were. The forms were basically our information and signatures plus Linda and Jeni’s husband Tassu had to sign consent to the adoption also.

When Jeni and Tassu arrived, we had to go to the Juvenile Court house (yes that is right Juvenile Courthouse) to file paperwork to go in front of the Judge for her to approve and grant the adoption. We were on a tight time frame, so we filed the paper work on a Monday and had our Court date the next Friday morning. Adoption day I think we were all nervous, we were at the Juvenile Courthouse to have the adoption heard. Our Judge was the Honorable Tari Cody. I have met Judge Cody several times with work related issues. She is a very nice Judge and I think was excited about hearing an adult adoption. If I remember right it was the first she had heard.

Anyway, we were brought into the courtroom, the five us. Jeni and I, Linda, Tassu and of course our year and a half old Granddaughter Lizzy. (I think Judge Cody had a lot of fun having Lizzy in there). She asked us a few questions then asked Linda and Tassu if they consented to the adoption and she approved it. Next big step which is a big custom in our Adoption Court is to give the adoptee a stuffed toy. Jeni decided to defer the stuffed toy to Lizzy which all of us including Judge Cody felt that it was a great decision, so did Lizzy. That was the whole adoption in a nut shell. Like I say it is easy and very simple. But then this adoption is not like adopting a child.

After the adoption we left the building and joyfully took pictures. Will share a picture after I finish this. My final thoughts on all of that has happened and the process was so good. The fact that she wanted me to be her legal father gave me a feeling that I guess I cannot put into words. I know that I do love Jeni as my daughter no matter what. I’m proud of her and Tassu and proud to call Tassu my son-in-law. Jeni has a great family, Linda and I have wonderful Grandchildren with Joshua, Jeremy and Lizzy. I feel like I married and was adopted into a great family. Bottom line while adopting a child is a great reward so is adopting an adult.

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Out of the Mouth of Babes

Meet Grayce (16), Daniel (13), and Jude (11)….Grayce and Daniel were 6 and 2 1/2 when they moved in with us.  We adopted them from the foster care system.  Jude, we adopted at 4 and brought him home at 5 from Ethiopia.  Hunter (3) is actually my great nephew.  This is verbatim what they wrote about their experience.  This is spelling errors, bad grammar and all LOL

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Grayce (RAD, PTSD, ADD, PMDD, FASD, and realizing her AWESOMENESS)

I think adoption is a neat thing.  It gives kids hope.  I moved in with my adoptive parents at the age of 6 and was legally adopted at the age of 9.  Adoption can also be a scary thing, mainly for the kid.  They may be used to a certain environment then suddenly they are in a new place with new people.

When I was adopted it was scary at first.  Even though I wasn’t with my biological mother I was with another family that I was used to being around.  There is no telling how long it will take a kid to adapt.  I guess it depends on all that the kid has been through.

But their are some positive things about adoption you get a family that wants you, who cares for you.  After all they CHOSE YOU out of tons of kids.  You get all of your basic needs met and maybe some wants to.

The past may be hard to forget but we can choose to make our future a better one.  If I hadn’t been adopted, I would really be struggling.  Living with a mom who didn’t really care what I did and would let me do anything I desired.  I could be addicted to drugs and alcohol at a young age or pregnant like my birth mom.  But luckily someone saw that I could be something more than what I had grown up to be and adopted me.  They saw more in me than I did.  And I can never repay them for it.

Adoption is a gift from God.  Romans 8:15 says “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery, to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”

Adoption can save lives.

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Daniel (ADD, PTSD, RAD, FASD, Dyslexia, Low Functioning, Brain Damage, Developmental Delays, and AWESOME)

Dear readers, I’m going to tell about my life.  As a boy do not remember much of the past but if I was not abopted my mother could not take care of my need and health.  I was all ways sick untill my new mothe and father got me and adopted me.  I got new mother who cared for me and a new father and brothers and sisters who loved me with every breath they have, and taugh me new things and how to love God.  And though they love more my other family that did mean things to me and I’v learned to forgive them but they still loved me the only way they could, and I loved them sure the life was rough and hard but I had a new chapter to start.

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Jude (Developmental Delays, Single Sided Deafness, and always knew his tendency towards AWESOME)

I remember giving the people in ethiopia candy and how I sat down i nthe living room and wached them make coffe and when I was abopted I was five years old and that was when I met my new family I have three brothers and three sisters and a mom and dad if I was never aboted I wouldn’t have never experinced playing and sports or making new friends or seeing new places I like it here because I can experince new things and how my brothers taught me new things and how to play other games and how they helped me with stuff and I remember not liking the airplains water and how I remember puking in the van.

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Hunter (Developmental Delays, Oposoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome, and never knew he wasn’t AWESOME)

Me:  Hunter, did you know you were adopted?

Hunter:  Uh huh

Me:  What is your mama’s name?

Hunter:  I don’t know.

Me:  Do you love being adopted?

Hunter:  Yes.

Me:  Who sends you letters in the mail?

Hunter:  Mama Paige.

Me:   Who are your brothers and sisters?

Hunter:  Karen, Bro-man

**Karen is our cat and Bro-man is Jude….he also has Victoria, Alyssa, Grayce, and Kaleigh.  Brothers are Noah, Daniel, Jude, and Jack**

Me:  Where does Kaleigh and Jackie live?

Hunter: In my room.

Me:  Do you love MaMaw so much?

Hunter:  Yes.

Me:  What about PaPaw?

Hunter:  Yes

Me:  Anything else you want to say?

Hunter:  I am wearing Superman underwear.

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Giveaway: Kutless Alpha and Omega CD

Alpha / Omega

The last CD giveaway, Big Daddy swiped it before I even knew it had come in the mail!  Well, not this time, my friends…..Not.  This.  Time.  I won.  I beat him.  I listened first.  It is all about me……………ALL.  ABOUT.  ME.

Well, maybe it is all about Jesus…..of course it is all about Jesus, but Jesus let me beat Big Daddy to the music 🙂

I have to get in my listening time before he steals it and puts it in his truck…..the kids and I are considering it school work (hey, it’s music, Bible…we can write the lyrics….).  I’m drawing a winner for this CD on my oldest girl’s 22nd birthday!  So, like or comment any of my social media posts and I will draw on November 24, 2017!

Yay!

 


 

 

 

About Kutless:

Since signing to BEC Recordings in 2001, Kutless has transformed from a new rock band to a staple artist in the industry that has multi-format, top-charting hits, sold millions of records and more than eight million streams. Launched by original members Jon Micah Sumrall (lead vocals) and guitarist James Mead, the band formed first as a modern rock/worship band at Warner Pacific College in Portland in 2000. Kutless has two RIAA Gold-selling albums for Strong Tower and Live from Portland. The band has had 12 No. 1 radio singles across all formats including their major hits “Strong Tower,” “What Faith Can Do” and “Carry Me To The Cross.”

After more than 15 years together and reaching fans around the world, Kutless continues to be focused on sharing the Gospel with a younger generation that is searching for answers.

“We really believe that music can make a difference in people’s lives,” shares Jon Micah Sumrall. “Music is an incredibly powerful tool that can break down walls and allow us to communicate a message of hope to people who may not listen otherwise. We are still recording and performing because we really do believe it makes a difference. We hear stories all the time from people who share with us how a concert or a song has radically impacted their life, and it’s these types of testimonies that keep us going year after year.”

In 2012, Kutless formed EOTA Ministries (End of The Age) to expand their evangelistic outreach around the globe. EOTA is the non-profit arm that aids Kutless in hosting large, free outreach concerts and events. In 2015, they partnered with other organizations to bring concerts to Kiev, Ukraine and other cities for six events – the largest of their kind in that country. The next year, Kutless returned to 11 cities in Ukraine as well as in Belarus, a communist country, where more than 100,000 heard the Gospel and over 40,000 commitments to Christ.

With their upcoming album ALPHA / OMEGA, Kutless has created a collection of rock and worship songs of both original and cover tracks that are true to who the band has been for the last 17 years. They wanted to create a project that would engage the Christian community and have the greatest impact. The songs are true to who the band is at their core – rock and worship. ALPHA / OMEGA features a new version of “Strong Tower” as well as the debut radio single “King of My Heart.”

Social Corner:

Landing page to buy/stream the record: http://smarturl.it/kutles

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2eNsXwlLvo

 

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday

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Guest Blogger: Stacy

Meet my friend, Stacy.  She has been married to Tim for 19 yrs and they are the proud parents of Kaleb.  She and her husband met my son before I did 🙂  Our boys knew each other in Ethiopia.  T


We found out after 9 years of marriage that we would be unable to conceive. We got a few opinions and then tried in-vitro fertilization. That didn’t take and we were crushed. 😞 What were we going to do?? We mulled over some of the options…surrogacy, foster care, foster to adopt, re-implant of another set of embryos, adoption….We finally decided to embark on the journey of adoption.  Our adoption journey began February 2010.

We had originally set out to adopt a sibling group, but we were eventually told that they didn’t have any, nor did they know when one would be available, and would we consider adopting just 1 child. We did just that and amazingly enough they had a referral for us within days. Did they have it planned this way for a while?…we will never know.

Fast forward to April 2011, that is the night we got the call from Lesley @ Arise/Lifeline Adoptions. They had a possible match for us…she sent us an email with a profile attached…she told us to go immediately to page 2…there it was, a picture of a sweet little boy who was smiling from ear to ear. She wouldn’t let us answer that night, she wanted us to think about it, pray about it, and give her an answer the next morning….
Well, the next morning couldn’t come soon enough…How could we say “no”?!?! We waited on pins and needles wondering when the next call would come in….All of a sudden, things were starting to happen. We flew to Ethiopia Father’s Day, June 19th, 2011….We weren’t supposed to meet him that day, but extenuating circumstances ended up making that happen.
We were there almost 1 full week that first time.  We met him on Father’s Day 2011, got word that we were approved by M.O.W.A. (Ministry of Women’s Affairs) on our 13th wedding anniversary, and flew back to get him “Labor” Day weekend. He became a US Citizen on 9.10.11.

 

We weren’t alone, though, we had other families there at the same time. It’s really neat how, with technology these days, you can stay connected with people you meet half a world away as strangers and live in totally separate parts of the country. We made 2 trips to Ethiopia that summer. The first to meet our son and the second to bring him home to his forever family.
Every year around his Citizenship Anniversary we try to go to an Authentic Ethiopian restaurant. He loves it!! That is one thing he hasn’t lost…his love for Ethiopian Food. 🙂 ❤ Even mom, who has been told she is a “bland Norwegian” had expanded her horizons and gotten more daring at trying different foods. 😉
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It has been a whirlwind tour since bringing our son home just over 6 years ago…When he first came to the US, he didn’t know hardly any English. You can hardly tell that now, however. We would like to connect with or find out where to learn the Amharic Language again. After all, it IS part of his heritage. He has grown so much since we brought him home. He was wearing size 2T clothing at the age of 4. He is now 10 and is growing like a weed. 🙂
He has excelled at sports, with Basketball, Baseball & now Football among his favorites. He is well liked at school, church families, and sports families. It’s not always easy…some days are struggles to stay focused on getting homework done, going to bed timely, and basically getting him to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. It’s always “just a minute”, or “after this”. It’s not always easy, but then again, what great things in life are always easy??
It’s a labor of Love….❤ It takes a village sometimes and we have that “village” with family, church family, school family and friends.  We chose to expand our family through adoption and we wouldn’t trade it for the world. All of God’s children have a place in the world. Adoption is one way to expand upon that.
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