Favorite Things for Moms! (GIVEAWAY!)

Sometimes, God surprises me with little tokens of his love – an unexpected note of encouragement from a friend or the miraculous provision of a financial need. I revel in these reminders of God’s gracious and sovereign character in my life, because as a mother I have a tendency to become consumed by the world of my family.

Schedules, dinner plans, family relationships often take center stage in my heart. So to pull my attention back to him, God uses these love tokens to remind me that motherhood should include setting an example to my children that there are no borders on God’s love. And as God’s servants, we are compelled by his love to serve more than just our immediate family, but rather, the entire world.

One such love token given to me by God was the discovery of The Adopt Shoppe – an adorable Etsy store of handmade jewelry and Scripture wear made by an equally adorable shop owner named Kate.

Wanting to expand their family from two children to more but unable to do biologically, Kate and her husband began the exciting journey of adoption.

“Through the miracle of adoption, we are blessed to have another daughter and we are in the process of adopting again!!” Kate explains on her Facebook page. “I opened my little shop to help pay for our adoption expenses. Every penny of profit goes toward our adoption(s).”

Kate’s passion for adoption is conveyed in her jewelry. Her wooden tile necklaces are gentle reminders of the importance of the biblical mandates to care for the less fortunate and love one another. In some of her necklaces, she uses fair trade materials such as recycled paper beads crafted by Ugandan women.

“The women carefully roll strips of magazines by hand into lovely, unique and earthy looking beads,” said Kate, explaining that many of these women left a life of picking trashing or prostitution and now depend on their bead-making skills to provide for their children.

This week The Adopt Shoppe introduced a new line of necklaces made from tagua (tog-wa) nut beads, a sustainable product made from the nuts of South American rain forest palm trees. As an eco-friendly product, they provide employment for nearly 35,000 people.

“I am passionate about orphans and try to do everything I can for them. Whether it is a child in Africa, on the other side of the world, in a homeless shelter, or foster care system here in America, there is no difference,” writes Kate. “These children in need (through no fault of their own) need the ORDINARY people in this world (like me and you) to give them help to change their world for the better. We can’t change the whole world by helping just one, but the whole world for that one…CHANGES,” Kate says.

Don’t you just love it when people practice what they preach? But don’t you love it even more when they propel you to do so as well?

Because The Adopt Shoppe is one of my favorite things for mom’s, we’re giving one lucky reader a $20 gift card to use in Kate’s Etsy store! To enter to win, simply ‘like’ Hive Resources on Facebook! Then come back and leave us a comment telling us you did so! For non-Facebook users, simply leave us a comment. If you already ‘like’ us on FB, then consider sharing this article with your pals. Giveaway ends Friday, Jan. 13 at midnight! CONTEST HAS ENDED!

According to Random.org, the winner of the $20 gift card to The Adopt Shoppe is DAWN (comment #13). Congrats Dawn! You’ll be receiving an email from me shortly!

Special thanks to Nicole Seitler of the Sugarplum Paperie for permission to use her digital designs to create our “Favorite Things” headers.

About

Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources — a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, ministry and missions resources, and more. She is the author of "Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story." Melissa has an M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Back to the Basics: Radical Motherhood

Where are you from? What brought your family there? Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Everyday normal get-to-know-you questions that all of the sudden when I answer turn the conversation into more than a get-to-know you surface conversation.

I’m from Alaska…. “Wow!”

My dad was a pastor…..”Okay, Interesting”

I have 2 sisters and 6 brothers. ….*cricket cricket*  Eyes grow bigger with each detail of my growing up.

My mom homeschooled all of us in a time when homeschooling wasn’t trending or when vast support through blogs and curriculum companies wasn’t available.  My parents traveled to China to bring home a specific little girl that they waited 3 years for.  And around the same time took in 2 little boys who were just needing a temporary foster home not knowing that they were already in their forever home with us.

The more I tell people I meet the stories of how I grew up, I started to realize that my life was very special and unfortunately very rare. I realize now that my parents lived radical faith-filled lives in front of me. My mom put on a radically different life than the one she started out wanting for herself.  And that made a big difference in my life as I grew up.

[pullquote style="left" quote="dark"]The more I tell people I meet the stories of how I grew up, I started to realize that my life was very special and unfortunately very rare.[/pullquote]

Today… the stories I tell are starting to have a more ‘here and now’ tense than a ‘back when’ feel.  And like my mother, the life I’ve been called to put on has been nothing like I set out wanting for myself.

I felt like I was just starting out on this quest for a radical life of motherhood when I found out I was pregnant.  Yes, this was the beginning of the life I knew I wanted.  My husband and I loved the idea of children and knew we wanted several of them, and we couldn’t wait to raise them in a Christian home.  We never dreamed that God would allow our firstborn to die only minutes after he was born.  So many women don’t even want their babies and yet have perfectly healthy kids all the time. Why was this happening to us? I thought having children was being obedient to His word and thus deserved blessing…. not this. 

 

The following weeks after we buried our sweet beautiful son, we were faced with a choice.  We could go on living life as planned even though we knew it never would be what we wanted or we could surrender to this path that God has placed us on and live fully in it whatever the heartache or joy it brought, fully trusting God’s loving and sovereign plan for our lives.  Thankfully we choose the latter.  

I had quit my job in preparation to be a mommy and thus found myself with a lot of free time to sit in our small 600sq foot bungalow located in a rough area of town in downtown Raleigh.  Often I would just sit and stare out the window, staring but not really seeing.  One day a knock sounded on my door and I opened the door to find a girl who obviously was on a lot of drugs and probably was so to mask the pain of her profession of selling her body on the street where we lived.  She had come to see the baby.  When I shared with her what happened she melted into a puddle of tears on my living room floor. I shared Christ with her… I shared the hope that could only be found in Him in times like these. I cried too.  I missed my baby so much, but I also knew that it was his little life that had this prostitute in front of me listening to the gospel.  I learned that she had lost twin babies mid pregnancy… she had two kids that her parents were raising. She told me that most women on the street have had abortion after abortion.  These were mothers walking these streets.

[pullquote style="right" quote="dark"]“So a batch of rice krispie treats later, I set out to meet this soon-to-be mommy. It took several weeks to win her trust but eventually she started to open up and even was coming daily to have lunch with me.” [/pullquote]

All of the sudden,  I wasn’t just staring out my living room window, I was searching…. for her. I would give her food and drinks and a kind smile as she walked by. I started seeing all the others out there and looking for them each day.  Then one day I saw April. She was pregnant.  Yes, she was selling her body most likely for drugs even while pregnant.  It made me angry.  Did she not realize this gift she had? Did she not realize what I would have given to protect my baby from his death? And here she was basically killing her unborn child.   Days went by and anger turned into compassion.  I wanted to know her. I wanted to show her love. I wanted to show her Christ.  So a batch of rice krispie treats later, I set out to meet this soon-to-be mommy. It took several weeks to win her trust but eventually she started to open up and even was coming daily to have lunch with me.

 

 

Our story of friendship is too long to tell in a blog post, but on January 6th she called me the first thing in the morning to tell me that she had had a perfectly healthy little boy…. a miracle seeing as how she had done drugs and consumed alcohol every day of her pregnancy.  This little boy changed her life, gave her strength to get off the street and to get off drugs.  There was a radical moment though that took Dan and I going to get her off the street because she didn’t show up at a foster meeting in order to fight to get her son back.  She and I proceeded to have probably the most hard core conversation of my life, and I think having just have been a mother and feeling all what she was feeling right now I was able to really talk and hit home to what she needed to be told and challenged to do.  We ended up going to 5 different shady places to get her belongings and then waiting all day to get her checked into a drug rehab center. My husband and I were totally out of our comfort zone, but we knew that if something radical didn’t happen in her life that she would die out there on the street.

 

We continued to show her Jesus the following year as she got out of rehab and learned how to parent and got her little boy back.  I wish I could say that she’s a believer now but I can’t for sure. I do know that she has a lot of people in her life now that are telling her about Him and that she’s experienced His love and grace.  Maybe these last few years have been the seed planting and maybe one day a great harvest will come and oh, what a glorious day that will be!   But I do know that Tash has a mother who is no longer selling her body and is no longer addicted to drugs and who loves him very very dearly.  Maybe one day God will use someone to bring Tash to the Lord and use him to witness to his mother.  Who knows how that child will impact eternity?
Four months after losing our son, a friend contacted us about a woman who was due with a baby girl in two weeks. She was putting her up for adoption and hadn’t chosen a family to place her with.  Would we be interested? Our heart leapt! We had always wanted to adopt we just didn’t think it would be now….this soon.  We knew in our hearts that this was God’s doing.  So just two whirlwind weeks later we brought the sweetest little African American baby girl into our home. I can’t describe the joy and healing she brought to our lives.  To some, bringing a baby of a different race into your family would be considered radical.  And I think if you asked some of our relatives they might even have not agreed with us doing so at the beginning.  However, God has changed hearts because of this little girl.
I could probably write several posts about adopting a different race than your own…. I think it’s something believers still haven’t been leaders in yet I hear Sunday after Sunday how they want to help the poor, fight for equality, reach the nations, change racist hearts.  I personally believe families who don’t mind looking a little different than each other could radically impact the answer to a lot of these problems in our world.   I recently watched the movie The Help and I will say that watching a movie like that means so much more when you have a daughter whose heritage just a few generations back had to face such racism and mistreatment.  As a mother with a child who is a minority… your fight for racial reconciliation becomes personal and becomes passionate.  I look at people differently now. I feel like my world has collided with a whole host of other people of other races that before went unnoticed in my day-to-day interactions.
[pullquote style="left" quote="dark"]“I look at people differently now. I feel like my world has collided with a whole host of other people of other races that before went unnoticed in my day-to-day interactions.”[/pullquote]
A job opening and a chance for my husband to go to seminary moved my little family to Fort Worth Texas when Zoe was just 6 months old.  Dan and I had talked and knew that our next adoption probably wouldn’t take 2 weeks like before so we started to let our friends and family know to be praying for us to seek direction in what our next adoption would look like.  A few weeks later my mom called me to tell me that an old friend of theirs had contacted them about a little boy that was due in about a month whose parents were both in prison and wanted a family to foster him until they knew how long they would be in prison for. Mom asked if we would be interested in fostering this baby.

Again, God really brought unity to my husband and I as we talked it through and decided to bring this little one into our home as our foster son. We knew that it would be risky and that there were no promises that he would be ours forever… but we knew he needed a home and someone to love him right now and we could provide him that.  He was born early, and so just a few weeks later we met an elderly couple and their newborn great grandbaby at a Dairy Queen. After an ice cream blizzard, we picked this bundle of blue up and took him home. .. not knowing what the next year or so would hold.

[pullquote style="left" quote="dark"]This baby needed a mother, and I needed a son. I was going to love him fiercely until God asked me to let him go.”[/pullquote]

Dan or I hadn’t prayed him for for the past 9 months… There hadn’t been a shower to celebrate his life…He didn’t have a nursery of his own… He just was dropped into our family in a few short weeks. God had known all along and I strongly believe that He had been preparing my heart to love this baby, because my attachment to him was quick and strong.  This baby needed a mother, and I needed a son. I was going to love him fiercely until God asked me to let him go.  I didn’t know if that was going to be in a few months, a few years or for the rest of his life.  Some called our fostering radical… I called it being a mother to a baby who needed one.

God knitted this child into our hearts and homes, and God provided for us in ways that have forever strengthened my faith.  We met several times with Jack’s birth-mom in prison and over time she and the baby’s birth-dad would write and tell us that they would not be able to get out of prison anytime soon. When Jack was 18 months we wrote and asked them if we could adopt him for always… and it took God to soften their hearts and allow them the courage to do the right thing for their child and to give him a stable and strong home when they knew they couldn’t offer him one.  But they did eventually consent. And now, he is forever a Chappell.

[pullquote style="right" quote="dark"]“I think at this point, I had stopped being shocked at what God was calling us to do and just said, “Yes Lord, We are willing. I can’t wait to see you do this!!”[/pullquote] You would think that we have our little girl and now our little boy that our family would be complete…. But something was missing.  Dan had been saying for years how he would love to adopt from Africa. Whenever he would mention it all I saw were dollar signs, long waiting, fund raising, uncomfortable travel and living situations, extreme hot weather and children medical issues because of being neglected.  Yes… those were all reasons why I would never entertain the notion of considering an international adoption.  But Dan must have been praying… because all it took was a few conversations between friends and the conviction of the Holy Spirit to put in me a love for a child I didn’t know in a country I had no idea about.  I called Dan and asked him if he would want to adopt from the Congo (DRC) and he was all about it.  Along the way, God laid on our hearts that we weren’t to go get just one child but two.  I think at this point, I had stopped being shocked at what God was calling us to do and just said, “Yes Lord, We are willing. I can’t wait to see you do this!!” So here we are….. waiting for an email to tell us we are the legal parents of a 2 month old little girl and a 10 month old little boy over in Africa.  God IS doing this.

My fears often remind me that going across the world to get them may be the easy part of this journey of obedience. I know that what may be most radical will be how we are to live the next 10-20 years as a mommy and daddy to these babies that God has placed in our homes.   But I know that I have a Savior who loves me with a radical love and has saved me through His radical sacrifice…. Surely in the same way He equipped my mother, He can give me the strength day-by-day to showcase a radical life to my children in hopes that one day they, too, will live in radical obedience and trust having seen what a radical joy it brings.

 

Casey Chappell is a mom, blogger, and photographer. You can follow her radical journey of healing, trust, and adoption at www.caseychappell.com. All photos provided by Casey Chappell.

 

 

 

About

Melissa Deming is the creator of Hive Resources — a site to help women sweeten their walk with Christ through Bible study, ministry and missions resources, and more. She is the author of "Daughters of the King: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Story." Melissa has an M.Div. in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.