Category Archives: Adoption

Empowered to Connect

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This weekend I took some time away from our family to attend a 2 day conference in Nashville, TN. It was sponsored by one of my favorite organizations SHOW HOPE and the main speaker was Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of THE CONNECTED CHILD.
CONFESSION ALERT: I had read that book prior to going to Uganda to be with Jaydn and to be honest, I thought it was too “touchy feely” for my personality type. Here is a little known fact about me: I am a cuddly person (hugs/kisses etc) but there are times I lack compassion (sympathy/grace). My poor husband sees this side of me the most. For example, if he has a headache I respond with rolling my eyes and suggesting he drink more water rather than offering to rub his temples or having him lay down and get some rest. So to read a book that was telling me I needed to approach my children with a more compassion-based parenting style, I quickly dismissed a lot of the principles. I didn’t negate it completely but like some people do with the Bible, I picked out what I wanted and left the rest for those “other” types. So how did I go from feeling this way about a book and then attending a conference centered around the very author that made these uncomfortable suggestions?
My friend Mary Beth sent me the information about the conference and said she would be going and invited me to join her. I saw on the website that Dr. Purvis would be the main speaker but there were other names on the list and the mission statement drew me in: Equipping families, churches and professionals to bring hope and healing to adopted and foster children. Because I consider myself not only as an adoptive mom but as an orphan advocate, I felt assured I would walk away with something worth while. Plus I was excited about going on a road trip to one of my favorite places: Nashville. So I registered, made arrangements and attended the conference.
I was quite hesitant to open my mind in the beginning and obviously God knew that so He broke my heart. Within 10 minutes of being in the room and during the welcome speech of Dan and Terri Coley, I started to cry. Never before had I been in a room full of people who understood what I was experiencing in my home or people that at least were taking the time to learn about the experiences of adoptive/foster families for the sake of supporting those groups in their church. The floodgate opened and I didn’t feel alone, isolated or as if something was wrong with me for the first time in 10 months. I was surrounded by family.
From the first welcome to the last goodbye, each day and session were jam packed with resources, encouragement, challenges, wisdom, tools, testimonies, scientific data, video clips etc. that will make me a better mother if I let them. It all gave me a renewed sense of purpose, not just in Jaydn’s life but in the complete outlook and goals set for our home. I feel both completely overwhelmed and completely inspired about what can take place on the road ahead of me as I implement these holistic strategies and relationship building techniques of connecting to the heart of my 3 children.
I will have more posts about specific things I learned in the future but I had to get out there that this conference will be put on again so if you can get to one of them, GO! You can find information about that on the Empowered to Connect website linked here.
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A heart for Uganda- Part 2

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Hopefully my previous post left you wondering if Nathan, my mom and I ever made it back to Uganda again. Unless you aren’t a regular reader, most of you know that Nathan and I made it back to Uganda last year. We spent 4 weeks and 3 days in Kampala in the process of getting our daughter approved to leave the country and return home with us as her legal guardians and then we completed her adoption in the U.S. Despite my desire to drag my mother along with us back in November, I really needed her at home with my other two kids creating normalcy and being a comfort to them while we were gone for such a long time. She again amazed me with her sacrificial living during that time of my families need. But when will it be her turn to go back?

A few years ago she sent letters out asking for support to travel to Uganda with a medical missions team. Shortly thereafter she and my stepdad both lost their jobs, their 2 dogs passed away, and they were in the process of selling their house to move to a better market. Based on all the circumstances, it wasn’t the right time to travel. She canceled her trip and thanked her friends for the loving support as she made such a difficult decision. As the years have gone on she has been feeling like her chances of going back to Uganda, aka reuniting with that piece of her heart, were fading away. The job and housing markets have continued to drop and the “right” time never seemed to be at hand.

My mom’s love for Uganda has never waned. Recently she was looking through some websites she frequents and saw a team that would be going with an organization called Loving One By One. The description of what they would be doing and the interactions they would be having with the street children of Uganda made her missing heart piece start to pound, beckoning the heart in her chest to come. She sought God through prayer and the counsel of Scripture and believes that NOW is the time to return.

This is a HUGE faith step. She will be going alone (without Nathan and I) this time. She doesn’t have the money saved in an account somewhere and is currently working only part time. There is no practical explanation for the timing of this trip other than she knows she is supposed to go. Her spiritual walk has grown leaps and bounds since her first trip so I know that the impact she is going to have will have a new depth to it as well. Hear about the trip in her own words:

Dear friends and family,

In 2006, I made my first trip to Uganda, Africa to build homes for orphans.  In 2008, I hoped to return to work with street children and help orphans in other ways than I had before but the economy sank and Bob and I both lost our jobs.  Recently, God put this dream back on my heart and although we are still struggling in a way, I am convinced that my God is stronger, bigger and more powerful than any economic issues we may be facing.

I am planning a trip January 12 through 27, 2012 with a group called Loving One by One (www. lovingonebyone.org).  Being a part of this amazing, compassionate group will allow me to be more hands-on with street children in Kampala, Uganda administering de-worming pills to villages, visit hospitals and orphanages as well as assist in teaching classes at a Christian school.  I feel very blessed that God has put this dream back on the front burner of my life as I was afraid I might be getting a bit senior to travel like this.  I am SO excited and am in fervent prayer that the support will come and help me visit Uganda one more time.

The estimated cost will be $4,000 per person. This cost includes meals, transportation/flights, housing, vaccinations, Uganda entry Visa, passport, and contribution towards medications, supplies, etc.  They will be arranging airfare no later than November and ask for full funding by December 1st.  I know God will be faithful by touching hearts on behalf of this obedience to His call.

I know that I can depend on you and your prayers to help me in fulfilling this commission. I am passionate about changing the lives of children all over the world and this trip will be a huge blessing and assurance of what I know God wants me to be doing. Please consider supporting me so that I can continue to build a legacy of love through the parentless and poverty stricken children.  I am limited – merely a human vessel but as a child of God I want to share His love as much as I am able. God does not call the equipped, He equips the called and that is one thing I am sure of:  I am called to return to Uganda.

” … I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” Romans 9:17

If you would like to be a prayer partner for the entire trip or for specific days, please let me know.  I crave your prayers for the entire team as well as strength for me personally.

May God bless you abundantly in any decision you make.  Scripture tells me to present opportunities for people to bless others and there are many ways of doing that.  I thank you for being a friend and a partner in Christ’s work.

Humbly,

Donna Elcock

bobndon92@hotmail.com

216 Dennison St.

Little Rock, AR  72205

If you would like to make your donation tax deductible, you may go through Loving One By One mentioning my name.  The address for donations:

78206 Varner Road, Suite D-294

Palm Desert, CA  92211

To say I am excited for her, would be an understatement. I am thrilled that God is calling and she is obeying despite the obstacles that stand in her way. This just proves how much she has grown in the LORD, that she would go b/c He said so and not because she “can.” I wait with her, in anxious expectation of what God is going to do and WHO God is going to raise up to support this trip prayerfully and financially. I ask, challenge, propose to you the idea of prayerfully considering if you are a member of her support team too. You don’t have to know her to be a part of the story God is telling through her life. Some of the sweetest and deepest friendships I have now came as a result of a stranger stepping up and getting involved in our adoption journey. Could you be one of those people in this story? Every prayer said on her behalf bears fruit and every dollar given toward her cost of getting there plants seeds of hope in the lives of those that she will touch.

Thank you ahead of time for taking part in what God is going to do in my mom’s life and in the lives of those she serves while in Uganda. I promise you that the impact she can have on someone is life changing (Im an example of that!) and with God as her strength, now it can be eternal.

My mom (Donna Elcock) pictured here with my daughter (her Ugandan grandaughter) Jaydn.

Counting the costs

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The #1 thing I hear from people in response to our adoption is: “Isn’t it really expensive?” I want to step up on a soapbox every time and remind them that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and what He promises He provides and all that Truth! But lately I have started to see that common question in a whole new way. Truth is, adoption is very expensive. It costs a lot more than just dollars and cents though. So if just the money thing scares you, then you probably aren’t ready for adoption. Dan Cathy said, “A God inspired dream will never fit in your checkbook or calendar.” That is so true. Adoption is a God inspired dream for us. We were not qualified by the size of our savings account, for sure! We weren’t qualified by how practical it seemed to add another two year old into our lives a few weeks after moving, changing jobs, leaving family etc etc etc. Adoption can cost a lot more than money. It has cost us our comfort, our “normal”, our sense of control, our plans, our understanding, our pride and the list goes on.

 

I can remember placing all my focus on ways to come up with the money when we started this ride. But honestly, getting donations and applying for grants was the easiest and most joy-filled part of the journey for us. The process of hearing people’s hearts and stories and watching them be obedient to the call to give towards our family was humbling and amazing! It wasn’t just a few checks from a few rich people that helped us reach the financial end. It was the many drops in the bucket from a faithful group of people all over the world that are passionate about Gods love for orphans, some of which we have never met.

So to answer your question folks: YES! Adoption is VERY expensive. But the trade off is complete reliance on the Holy Spirit to weave together a story so much bigger than you. You just have to decide for yourselves if its worth it.

31 days in the shoes of my daughter

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I don’t claim to know how she feels. I never will. Even as a junior higher in a neighborhood and school where I was the minority, I will never have the experiences and be able to relate to the way people make my daughter feel on a daily basis. But I can say that the taste I experienced for 31 days while living in Uganda gave me a perspective I hope I never forget. In Uganda I looked different. I stood out. I was stared down with questioning eyes by every person that passed by me. I felt untrusted and guilty. I was quoted different prices and given less customer service than a person of the common race. They make Tshirts about my skin tone. They even made Tshirts in response to those race naming shirts to laugh at how common the generality of them really are. In Uganda I am a Mzungu. I am white. I didn’t fit in visually and I was made to feel like I didn’t belong. There were days when I would keep my eyes to the ground so I didn’t have to face the stares that felt like accusations. I would walk and try not to notice all the people stopping in their tracks to catch a glimpse and make assumptions about who I am b/c of what skin color I had.

A 28 hour plane trip later the roles have changed.
Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and has a rich history of Civil Rights issues. It has a diverse culture and is a blended community. Our neighborhood even has almost every race represented within a block area. But even still she stands out. Not b/c she is black but b/c she is black in a white family. If she were walking along with other African people, no one would notice. But with us she gets stares, murmurs and questions. She is too young to notice or care at this point but I pray she will have the confidence to handle this issue with grace some day. I would hate for her to walk down the street trying to avoid the idea that people are looking and making assumptions about her b/c of what skin color she has and how it is different then ours. She isn’t some sequel to the movie “Blindside,” but a story all her own. She is special, beautiful and the same kind of different as me.

The purpose in waiting

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In case you haven’t been following my blog for long, for the purpose of this post you should know that my family is in the middle of adopting internationally. While I have technically been in the process since June 2009, this dream was placed in my heart in 1997. Needless to say I have been waiting a long time for this promise to be fulfilled. Sure I’ve had a lot of steps to take in the midst of the waiting but it has always felt like waiting….a distracted waiting but still waiting. Well most of the distractions have been intentionally pushed to the side in my life over the last few months so the waiting has become really intense and focused. Nothing shakes my thoughts from the reality that my daughter is not home. I wake up thinking about it, spend the day thinking about it, and try to sleep while thinking about it. Its a hole in my life. It takes everything I have to not collapse in a puddle of tears periodically throughout the day.

But as I seek God daily it is confirmed in my heart that I do not lack faith in the depth of my waiting. I know God is the author of this process and I trust that how He has it planned, it will come to be but that doesn’t make the waiting hurt any less. I don’t see this waiting as something God is doing TO me, but as God doing something IN and THROUGH me. I am reminded during these long periods of waiting that getting to where God wants me to go isn’t as important to Him as becoming who God wants me to be in the process. Am I uncomfortable with His timeline? YES! Do I wish God’s calendar was more like mine? YES! But all this waiting reminds me of how powerless I really am. And the more powerless I feel, the more dependent I become on a power beyond myself. Like Pete Wilson says in his book PLAN B, “This waiting may be the most important something you can and need to do.” So while I may feel, and look, like a weak and wounded believer during this waiting, I know that as I become weaker, He becomes stronger and that is all that matters.