Guest Blogger

How to Create Traditions for Your Children to Carry on

How to Create Traditions for Your Children to Carry on

Do your children need family traditions devoted to the Christmas celebration? If yes, should you just copy the family tradition you have had with your parents or create completely new family culture? These questions are very important for the young parents, who are just discovering this new social status. Children are pretty sensitive to the family traditions, because, in most cases, these rituals indicate the fact that everything goes well inside. Children fancy creating Christmas wishes, waiting for the Christmas Eve presents and decorating Christmas tree.

How to Create Your Own Tradition?

Christmas is one of the most powerful rituals that is celebrated all over the world. On December, we can see the signs and attributes of this holiday everywhere. Usually, parents, in order to give their children festive feeling, assimilate common traditions, sometimes giving them a completely fresh look. And it works. Thus, let us consider the components of good family Christmas ideas, which can help you to create your own ones:

  • Individuality

Look at something that makes your family be different, your own preferences and taste, thus create rituals, which your children and you will like. How to do this? For instance, if you are a skeptic and have never believed in Santa Claus, why not to tell your children that this is a fairy-tale character? You can even tell them that they will be praised with presents each year if they have a good academic success all year round, and that will be a great stimulus for them.

  • Predictability

Usually, traditions are tied to the concrete date and have a definite structure. It may seem boring at first glance, but if you are aware of the sequence of actions to take, this will help you to remain valid and calm in a very bustling period of time. Thus, if you know that Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December, this won’t change, and you will be prepared for it.

  • Simplicity

You do not need to create something extraordinary. You’d better think of how rituals can bring pleasure and even help with a daily routine. Of course, if you can’t cope with all your child’s homework, online assignment writing help is here. But if your child is shopaholic like you are, why not organizing a festive sprint along shopping mall in search of presents and positive memories? This will help to become best friends with your kid.

  • Flexibility

The life is very unpredictable, thus traditions can also change. Do not be afraid of changes, thus if your child is already a teenager, there is no need for your husband to dress up as a Santa Claus this year. This can be quite strange. Try to create a new version of this, you can even make your child dress in this costume. Everything depends on you.

  • Unity

From the psychological view, traditions are something that unites a family. They are common rules, instructions on how to behave on special occasions as well as things that differentiate one generation from another. It is a family component that makes it integral and full. Moreover, traditions are things that repeat each year/month, that is why they help you not to get lost and offer already existed solution on a repeated situation.

  • Choosing what you like

People tend to create schedules of their lives, but sometimes something goes wrong and new questions appear. Should your children go to the Christmas party? How late should your kid go to bed? Is it okay if your child what to have a party with his friends? Nobody can help you answer these questions, but traditions  really can. They may assist you in defining the peculiarities of your closest, that is why the main goal of Christmas traditions is choosing what you really like doing. Moreover, it is only you, who can decide which tree to decorate: Christmas one or a palm.

Family holidays are an ideal time to establish your own family traditions, thus you should think wisely when creating them as they are a guideline for your children life adaptation and indicators of the family wellness. Traditions are the main indicator of children development, and they will be a source of their own rituals in future. Children are a reflection of ourselves, thus we can really influence them. What is more, in future they will be transformed into good memories, which we recall constantly, thus choose the ones that only bring pleasure and love to your family.






Guest Blogger

15 Activities Ideas for all Family

15 Activities Ideas for all Family on Christmas Holiday

The Christmas holiday is a day everybody looks forward to, regardless of one’s age, religious belief or profession. It’s not just about it being a work-free day, but also about the activity, families plan and engages in on that day. In the vast majority of western countries, for example, it is a tradition in most families to exchange gifts with themselves. In most cases, the children get what they’ve always wanted from their parents, while adults also give themselves treat. Christmas activities help to build a stronger family. This article focuses on some of the family Christmas ideas and activities you can enjoy this upcoming Christmas holiday.

  1. Poke-the-tree

This is one of my favorite Christmas activities for kids. This is a game idea in which gifts are hidden in paper cups and then arranged in the shape of a tree on the wall. The kids are invited to poke the cups randomly and getting presents. The gifts can range from candies, a paper bearing the name of a gift, money, teddy bears, dolls, and even small toys. Materials needed to make include colored plastic cups, stapler, pencil, rubber bands, and whiteboard.

  • Cut out the round shape from a colored paper (it should be bigger than the diameter of the cup you intend using).
  • Put the gift in the cup.
  • Cover the cup with the round shape you’ve cut out.
  • Seal the cup using a rubber band tied tightly around it.
  • Now put some adhesive on the bottom of the cup.
  • Attach to the whiteboard.
  • Do this as many times as possible, until a tree pattern is formed on the wall.
  • Done! Invite the kids to have a go at it. Some background music would make it more fun.


  1. Watching movies: This is one of the cheapest family Christmas ideas. It is best for parents whose kids are above five years old. Each member of the family should write down the movie they’re anticipating to watch on the piece of paper. However, the movies should be suitable and interesting for everyone involved. Put all the pieces of paper with movie titles into a hat or a big bowl, shake it up, and let someone to pick one sheet. All the family members should watch that Christmas movie and then discuss ita. Buckets of popcorn and warming drinks should be readily available.
  2. Design the Christmas tree together with your children: Christmas for families should actively involve all the members. It is fun decorating your home with the help of your kids. They like to assist especially with the tree, as it is the biggest attraction in the house. However, parents sometimes get worried that they might not achieve the perfect look they want if their kids partake in the process. There are ways to go about this and still achieve your desired tree, without your kids feeling left out of the fun family Christmas.
  • You should set it up when your kids are not available, preferably when they are asleep.
  • Do the most complex work, such as setting up the lights or putting on the fragile elements.
  • Invite them to decorate the tree with you. Their job would be to add ornaments to the already set up tree.
  • You can do final touch-ups and remove the mess (if any) when your kids are not around.
  1. Create a new tradition: You can have conversations with your family, about what they plan to achieve before the next Christmas. Take it a step further by writing down these goals, and putting them in a vault. It should not be opened until the next New Year. This would encourage a planning culture and discipline in the kids. It’s never too early to start instilling these virtues.

Other fun holiday ideas include:

  1. Building a snowman.
  2. Taking a trip downtown and taking pictures with Christmas lights in the background.
  3. Getting everyone involved in making the special meal.
  4. Carol singing.
  5. Travelling abroad or throughout the country to mountains.
  6. Visit the orphanage and have your kids donate gifts to them.
  7. Beautifying the house. Every member of the family should participate.
  8. Wrapping gifts together.
  9. Throwing a Christmas party.
  10. Playing snowballs.
  11. Preparing a hot chocolate with marshmallows and drinking it next to a fireplace (or just on a couch altogether).

Partaking in any of these activities would make it a fun Christmas for your children.


Paul Calderon is a professional teacher and a freelance writer at  He has a Master’s degree in the English language, which he got from the University of Ohio. Paul has also completed a course in German and has been teaching international students online. His hobbies are football, fishing, painting, and photography.

Adoption, Family, Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Brittany

Hi! My name is Brittany.  My husband, Eric, and I have been married for 13 years. We have 7 children (in our home) and quite a few more that we have the privilege of being mom and dad to.  Our family is made up of biological, adopted, and foster children, but no one “wears” that label; they’re just ALL my children.  We also have the amazing opportunity to serve the Lord as missionaries in Arizona on the Gila River and Tohono O’odham Reservations.  And in my spare time, I decided to go back to college and get my degree in social work. I graduate in 2 weeks!  


Adoption is something that I have thought about since I was a little girl.  I dreamed of having a big family and being a mom to many. Not long after Eric and I started dating in high school, we had a conversation about each of our desires and dreams for having a family one day. We both had said that we were interested in adoption. Several years down the road, when we were engaged, we had the conversation again. We definitely agreed in this area.


Eric and I were married on May 1, 2004.  About 6 months into our marriage, we started researching international adoption. We had no idea really where to begin so we started requesting information from different agencies. We were just trying to wrap our minds around the process and the cost. We noticed that most requirements were for couples to be married a minimum of 2 years. We were bummed, but wanted to keep researching over the next couple of months.  Then we found out that I was pregnant, and all adoption conversation came to a halt.


We spent the next couple of years focused on having and raising our 2 biological children. Our desire to adopt never really went away, but we had put it on the back burner for a while.  Then we became involved with an organization called Starfish Orphan Ministry. The more we learned about orphan statistics and orphan care, the more our desire grew to begin the adoption process.  Then I went on a mission trip to El Salvador to work with orphans, and my life was totally changed. I was no longer hearing statistics, I was holding an actual orphan in my arms. My heart was broken, and I knew that God was calling me and my family to action.


Not long after that trip, Eric and I really began to pray for God to show us where we should adopt from.  I literally researched for months. I would go through each country and read through all the requirements to see which ones we qualified for. I would seek out recommendations for agencies that we were considering. And then we prayed over each country. Each time we would do this, we felt led to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We had no idea why. We literally knew nothing about the country, but knew that was the direction the Lord was leading. So, we decided to jump in!

Although we knew that the adoption process was not going to be easy, we had no idea how hard it would actually be.  For this first adoption, we had 2 failed referrals. This means that the agency we were using had given us a referral for 2 different children that we thought we would be adopting only to find out that we no longer could adopt them.  Our emotions were all over the place. When we finally received the referral for our daughter, Emmalyn, we were ecstatic but also afraid to get our hopes up. We had been told that the adoption process would only take 9-12 months, but it was taking much longer. We also found out that our agency had hired an attorney that was corrupt. He was taking the money we were sending each month for our daughter’s care and keeping it for himself. Although the process was extremely hard, it was all worth it the moment we held our daughter in our arms for the first time on November 7, 2012.


Through the 2-year process of Emmalyn’s adoption, Eric and I also became foster parents through Tribal Social Services.  5 months before traveling to Congo, we were placed with an adorable 11-month-old little boy. He had a rough start in life, but we were going to love him and help him grow as much as we could for as long as he was placed with us.  After we realized that his case plan was going from reunification to permanency placement, we knew that we wanted to be his forever family. However, we had been told that adoption was not a possibility through the tribe. The next best option was to seek guardianship so that is what we did. On August 11, 2013 we were made permanent legal guardians to Santos.


Just one week later, we received a phone call from Tribal Social Services letting us know that Santos’s older sister was in need of placement. They were wondering if we were willing to open our home to her as well.  We didn’t need to take very long to think about that. Of course, we said yes!  We spent the next two months doing transition visits, and on October 4, 2013 Audri came to live with us. Her case plan was not the same as Santos’s, and we had no idea how long she would stay with us, but we were committed to her no matter how long.  We had many ups and downs through this process, mainly disagreements with the case manager, but we were able to eventually become Audri’s guardians on December 1, 2015.


Although we were Santos and Audri’s legal guardians, we wanted to make everything official and legally adopt them. We knew that the process would not be easy, but we decided to try anyway. We began the process in February 2015, and had delay upon delay. (One being that we had to become Audri’s guardians before they would consider adoption.) I won’t go into all the details of this adoption because many of the details are about other people involved in the case and it would not be appropriate to discuss those details for the whole world to read, but please know this was one of the most difficult things that I have even been through. Eric and I literally had no idea what the outcome would be. We just knew that we were going to trust God no matter what. On August 3, 2017 Santos and Audri officially received our last name.  For those of you counting, that was 5 years that Santos was in our home and 4 years for Audri. Wow!


And in the middle of all of that, we had begun the process to adopt a sweet 4-year-old boy from the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2013 (4 months after Emmalyn had come home, not knowing what was going to happen with Santos’s case plan, before Audri came to live with us). He was from the same orphanage as our daughter, Emmalyn. We thought things would go much faster and easier this time around since we were familiar with the process and were not using the same agency we had before. Boy, were we wrong. This time around the government of Congo issued a suspension on exit letters. Exit letters were not necessary to complete an adoption, but were necessary for the adopted child to leave the country. Isaiah was officially adopted on October 9, 2013 in the country of DRC but could not leave due to the exit letter suspension. We were told it could take up to 2 years before the government decided to change the policy. This wait was brutal. We watched our son grow up in pictures. We watched his personality change from that of a sweet little boy to a strong, tough boy that showed no emotion. I cannot accurately describe to you how hard this wait was.  But, we were finally united with our son on September 19, 2016. It was a long 4-year wait, but so worth it to finally have our son home!

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely! I have seen God work miracles. I have learned what it means to truly trust Him. I have been able to watch God start the healing process in my children. I have seen them grow and flourish in our family.

I read this quote the other day from Jason Johnson, and I think it accurately describes the foster care and/or adoption journey: “It’s the mercy of God that He doesn’t show us everything that will unfold in the foster care and adoption journey the moment we first say “yes” to it. All the hard would be too unbearable and all the good would be too unbelievable.”

family picpic of kids

Adoption, Family, Guest Blogger

Meet My People

Meet My People

Our family began with Big Daddy and me….then entered Victoria, then Alyssa, and lastly Noah.  Our story wasn’t finished, though……here is where you can read how adoption changed the lives of my people.  The good, the bad, the ugly and how Jesus is at the center…..continuing to write our stories.



When you walk into a room with 7 kids, you tend to get all the strange looks.  As well as, the stranger comments/questions: “Are they all real?!”, “Your poor mother.”, “I wish I had the strength to do that.”. And my mom would just smile and approach those comments/questions the only way she knew how.

The thing is, the “strength” of these people wish they had is not a human strength. You don’t go into adoption on your own power and your own resources. I remember so many times that my mom would just be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained. It is taxing on everyone in the family, but the rewards are being reaped.

Divine Will of God

If it weren’t for the divine will of God, we would not have 4 beautiful, talented, amazing kids that no one wanted to give them a chance. What some people fail to remember, is that God gave us a chance. A chance to follow Him and once we decide to do that, He will bless you in ways you cannot even imagine.

Believe, it isn’t like frolicking in the field of roses all the time. It also means hurt, heartache, and exhaustion. But, if it weren’t for adoption, these kids wouldn’t have the same chance as I did. A chance to be loved, a chance to be a kid, a chance to be someone in this world. And my family wouldn’t have had the opportunity to grow and become stronger.

To Answer Those Questions

Yes, they are all “real.” They may not be directly related to me, but they are as real as any biological sibling. The connection we have is a deeper one, a connection between the soul and the heart. My mother is not poor but blessed. She may spend every waking moment being drained, but she is incredibly blessed.  She will tell you that all day and all night. And no, that strength you are referring to is not something you possess. It’s the strength of God that put us all together and sees us through every twist and turn.

That’s what adoption means to me.

ALYSSA (19):

November is Adoption Month, and my mom has asked me to write about my experience being a biological child and growing up with several siblings that were not biologically related to me.

The very first thing I remember as a young child was when my mom and dad brought home Tay and Shay. I loved those sweet babies, and I treated them like family. Shay was particularly attached to me, she even bit my brother when he was being a turd to me which I thought was hilarious. Tay was just as sweet as could be, he had the cutest laugh, and he loved to play and cuddle.

Then I remember my mom was really upset one day and then the kids were gone. I was confused because I didn’t know where they went. That knowledge didn’t come until I was much older. I missed them so much, but I knew not to ask questions about it until my mom healed from that tragic time.

Grayce and Daniel Came Along

Grayce was 6 and Daniel was 2 ½, and I was thrilled to have another sister to play with since Victoria always had her nose in a book (sorry V, I love you though!). So I do not remember the exact day they got adopted, but I do remember how hard it was to raise them both, especially for my mom. Grayce always had some sort of behavior issues. Daniel could hardly talk.

When we moved to the new house, I had to share a room with Grayce while Victoria got her own room.  It was hard for me. As I was going through my “rebellious phase,” I began to notice things. Grayce would take on my characteristics. I was her role model, and she did everything I did.

For most of the time we had her, to be honest, I didn’t like her. I was always mad at her because she still lied to me or stole my stuff without telling me, I didn’t like inviting over friends because she would always try to wedge herself into our conversations and make them think she was a perfect angel. I know that seems selfish, but it was right at that time. We always fought and most times I really just wanted to live out in the extra room in the garage just to get away from her.

But God

But then I re-dedicated my life to Jesus, and I forgave Grayce, although it was tough I still did it. Grayce has had a lot of trouble these past few years, and it got to the point to where I was in a bawling heap because I tried to show her grace and she could not seem to change her ways and act normal. I thought it was all my fault and I was a terrible sister because she looks up to me and I tried to be the best person I could be for her so maybe she might change her ways. But she didn’t.

That is what is so hard about adoption. It is a hard and beautiful mess, but we have to learn to be patient and love that child because we do not know what they went through before they came to us. We have to be Jesus with skin on no matter how hard it might be at times. It was incredibly difficult for me to forgive and forget, but with God’s help, anything is possible.

I Try My Best

So I try to be the best role model I can be for her, and I always tell myself that her whole situation is not my fault and that I am doing the best I can to be the best sister to her since she never really had an excellent sister figure. So, after we got Grayce and Daniel, I was much older, and my mom approached me by saying she wanted to adopt from Africa. I was so excited when I saw Jude’s picture! He was the cutest baby with adorable baby cheeks, and I couldn’t wait to meet him, but it was so incredibly hard to get him home because we did not have the finances.


I had to be put in middle school because Victoria could not watch all the kids and my mom had to get a job, and my dad worked as well. I did not particularly like being put in middle school because I do not do very well in social environments but I went anyway to help out my parents.

My mom and dad were always tired, and something still managed to come up and give us trouble. I remember we set up a vendor at Tater Day to try and raise money to get him home, it took us the longest time to finally get him to America. My Mom was jumping up and down, and she was screaming and crying to get in the van and go tell dad that he was coming home. We were all so excited!

When he finally did arrive, he did not know very much English. He was very shy and adorable. He did have some issues with his anger and frustration because he could not communicate very well with us. Although, he did not have as hard of a time adjusting as the other kids did.

To All of Our Surprise, We Got Hunter

Hunter was still very much a baby, and I was a lot older, so I knew his situation he was in. I did not think we would adopt him until it actually happened. He had almost no verbal skills, he acted like a dog, he didn’t know how to play, and he had absolutely no social skills whatsoever. And I remember me being so angry with how he was raised and treated because no baby should ever have to go through with what he went through. But then God comforted me and told me that as long as Hunter was safe, everything would turn out right, and it did. The “dad” fought for custody but we won, and I was thrilled. We adopted him a short time later, and he is a precious child. I love him with all my heart.

Adoption is Hard

There are not only the financial and governmental part of it but the adjusting for the parents.  The kids themselves are so hard. I’m not saying adoption is all rainbows and sunshine, but it’s not all dark and gloom either. It’s important to find the balance within it all and roll with the punches that come against you. Seeing my mom and dad fight for my siblings has shown me that, with love, with God, they can do anything.

One Day

One day, when I am married, I hope to adopt children as well. Everyone deserves a chance at being loved.  They also deserve to have a family.  I want to share that love and the love of God with every child I meet. I hope this sheds some light on what adoption is like.  Also, how it is such a beautiful mess. Every child deserves to be loved.  Please consider and pray about taking in a child and adopting.  It is hard, but it is an unforgettable journey that God takes you on.

NOAH (16):

To me, adoption meant more fun and more brothers and sisters.  I don’t remember much about Tay and Shay, but I do remember Shay biting me and it hurt.  When Daniel and Grayce came to our old house, I thought it would be a lot of fun having them.

When Jude came home, he didn’t speak any English, I stayed up all night because he couldn’t sleep.  He also attacked Daniel because of something.  Then he started learning English and was actually enjoyable.  Sometimes he can be a pain in the butt but he’s family, and I don’t leave family behind.

Hunter didn’t speak when he came home.  He had mats in his hair and his hair was long.  When we got tubes in his ears he started talking immediately.  He started walking and has been adorable since.  When he was adopted, mom started crying.  It was a great day when he came home.

Meet My People

Meet My People






Adoption, Family, Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Big Daddy

After having three biological children, we decided to enter the realm of adoption.  We believed that our quiver wasn’t full so the decision was easy.  What we didn’t realize is that adoption is HARD.  It doesn’t really matter what kind of adoption it is, whether its through foster care, international adoption or one of you own relatives, adoption is not for the faint of heart.  However, adoption is very rewarding.  To know that you have taken a life into your home that otherwise was not wanted or was being mistreated, abused, neglected, is an amazing miracle.  God intended for children to be raised by their parents, but circumstances sometimes does not allow that to happen.  That’s why we took the plunge.  To care for the orphans.

As for our journey, it has been a wild ride to say the least.  We have had a lot of good days and plenty of bad ones.  But so far, we have stayed the course.  We have tried to instill Godly values in all of our children while teaching them honesty, integrity, responsibility and character.  Sometimes we think that we are not making much progress but truly we believe if we are consistent with the kids, they will turn out fine.  Each child is different and we have had to learn how to parent each child with their different behaviors and personalities.

I guess at first I was resistant to adoption but after I met the little girl my sister-in-law and her husband adopted from the Philipines, my heart melted.  I saw the love shown and given to her and believed I could do the same.  So we decided to do it.

Our first experience with fostering to adopt, started out pretty good other than the fact that these children were brought to us and we knew nothing about them.  It was hard especially with Shay because she was non verbal at 2 years old.  She never did warm up to me very much.  Tay on the other hand, was very happy and always smiling.  Also, they were very sick…we just could not get them well.  Then the day that nearly broke us to the world of fostering/adoption happened.  The kids were suddenly taken away from us by the Cabinet.  We had no idea….one minute we are raising these kids and the next minute they are gone.  We were told the reason but truly believed the social worker lied about us in a court hearing that we were not present at.  I was furious and it literally crushed my wife.  To this day, she still has the scars of them being taken from us.  We just had to believe that the Lord had different plans for us and those sweet children.

At that time we told ourselves we would not go through a horrible experience like we just had but decided to give it another go around.  We started fosetering Daniel and Grayce in the spring of 2007.  At first, it was really good but we learned quickly how damaged a lot of these children can be who have been in the child services system.  To find out the kids you just took into your home were previosly abused is a tough pill to swallow.  Having to raise children in the midst of an investigation of abuse and ensuing court proceedings is not the way it should be.  But the kids were safe and we did our best to cope with the behaviors stemming from their past.  We finally were able to adopt them about two and half years later.  Since then, we’ve pretty much run the gamut on ups and downs with them.  Some days are good and some days are bad but in the end they are loved and hopefully they will be able to overcome the terrible start they had on life.

Our next adoption was a foray into international adoption.  My wife had always dreamed of adopting from the county of Ethiopia and after I met my new nephew from Ethiopia, my sister-in-law’s second adopted child, I was ready to go to Africa.  The process was a lot of paperwork and a lot of money.  (Not sure why it costs so much to adopt a child who has no home or no one else wants).  Within a few months we had a referral and got a picture of our son.  It was amazing how we could love someone so much whom we had never met.  The anticipation was unbearable.  But soon after that, we were able to travel to Africa and meet our son.  It was an experience like none other.  We got to meet our son and spend three or four days with him.  We went to court and were granted the adoption.  The hardest part was leaving him there.  But we were told that it should only be about 8 weeks before we could come back and bring him home.  Little did we know at the time that 8 weeks would turn into 14 months.

A huge mistake was made by our home study agency and we were told by the US government that we did not make enough money to bring him home.  How ridiculous is that?  Its a shame that money, or the lack thereof, keeps so many people form adopting children that need good homes.  When we found this out we desperately tried everything we could to get clearance from USCIS but were flat out denied two months later.  My wife was crushed  beyond all  belief.  From December 2010 to about November 2011, she was just a shell of a person.  Yes, she lived and breathed but that was about it.  She was vacant.  And there was nothing I could do about it.  For me, I believed that there was no way God would allow us to travel 7000 miles to meet a boy and tell him he would be our son, then him not ever come home.  Not neccessarily for our sake but for his.  He was an innocent child growing up in an orphanage with 50 or 60 other children just like him.  But God made a way for us to get our clearance to bring him home and in December 2011, we brought Jude to his forever home.  We were made whole.

After we brought Jude home, we thought our quiver was full.  But God had other plans for our family.  In November of 2015, we had an opportunity to take in our great nephew, Hunter.  His mother, our niece, had been in trouble with the law and was not able to take care of him.  Hunter had been living with a man who believed he was the father.  He had troubles of his own an agreed for us to keep Hunter for a while.  We decided to file for emergency custody of Hunter mainly for his safety at the time.  The man who he was living with turned out not to be the biological father and we were granted temporary custody of Hunter.  His mother got into even more trouble later and was facing a lot of time in prison.  She made a very hard yet mature decision to terminate her rights and allow us to adopt Hunter.  I can’t imagine how hard that was for her but am very proud of her for sacrificing for her son.  Hunter invigorated our family with joy.  He has so much energy and is very sweet and funny.  However, back in June he was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder called OMS.  It has really been tough because it is a one in ten million case and there is no cure.  He has been through a lot already and its been really tough on him and us.  But we take it one day at a time and trust in God for healing and comfort.

So to those of you reading this and considering adopting… not have preconceived notions of lollipops and rainbows.  Adoption is tough and not for the faint of heart.  But the rewards are unending.  Giving a child a home and stability is a beautiful thing.  Children, whether they know it or not, crave structure, discipline and a sense of worth.

Thats the beauty of adoption.

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Adoption, Family, Guest Blogger

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.



Adoption, Family, Guest Blogger

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.


Adoption, Family, Guest Blogger

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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Adoption, Family, Guest Blogger

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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Adoption, Family, Guest Blogger

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Out of the Mouth of Babes

This is completely out of the mouth of babes.  Please 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.

Out of the Mouth of Babes


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 particular 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.

There are some Positive Things

But there 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 too.

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 an 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.

Out of the Mouth of Babes


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 adopted my mother could not take care of my need and health.  I was all ways sick until my new mother and father got me and adopted me.  I got a new mother who cared for me and a new father and brothers and sisters who loved me with every breath they had and taught me new things and how to love God.  And though they love more, my other family that did mean things to me and I’ve 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.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

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

I remember giving the people in Ethiopia candy.  We would sit down in the living room and watch them make coffee.   I was adopted when I was five years old.  That was when I met my new family.  Now, I have three brothers and three sisters,  a mom and a dad.  In Ethiopia, I have a mom, two brothers, and three sisters.

If I were never adopted, I wouldn’t have experienced playing and sports.  Also,  making new friends or seeing new places.  I like it here.  I can experience new things.  Like how my brothers taught me new things.  They also taught me how to play other games.  As well as, how they helped me with stuff.  I remember not liking the airplanes water.  There was also the time I remember puking in the van.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Hunter (Developmental Delays, Ataxia Telangiectasia Like Disorder, 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.

Out of the Mouth of Babes