Gifts for Dad ➔

This summer our local movie theatre had a morning movie series for kids. I took a couple of my kids to a few of them and other than the time the three year-old got his shoe caught in the folding seat and started yelling, it was a lot of fun. The last week I took them, the movie they were showing was “Horton Hears a Who” (based on the Dr. Suess’s book). This was my first time seeing the movie, although I had a familiarity with the book. I sat there with four of my kids surrounding me– one internationally adopted, two adopted from foster care and one biological child. I expected this to be another enjoyable movie experience with them, but I didn’t expect it to be so emotional for me.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, it’s about Horton (an elephant) that has the ability to hear these tiny creatures (their whole society is small enough to fit on a flower), and realizes they are in danger. Because he is the only one that can hear them, he is the only one who can protect them. He is considered crazy and dangerous for his insistence that his job is to protect something no one else can see. In the last moments of the movie, the little residents of Whoville realize they have to make enough noise to be heard by those big enough to save or destroy them. It takes them a long time to come to this realization, but when they do it is with urgency and passion as they understand their very lives are at stake. They begin to chant “We are here!” over and over.

And that’s when I looked over at my sons and my daughter and saw their rapt attention to the movie playing out before them. While they watched a fictional elephant advocate for his tiny friends, I was was seeing something different. I was seeing my own fight to have the needs of these children recognized when they live in a society that doesn’t always seem to acknowledge their value, their worth, their unique struggles. That’s when I started to cry. 

12004802_10153737082817784_7381695130020444149_n
All Photos by Rebecca Tredway Photography

As a foster parent, you often feel like you are the only one hearing these kids chant “We are HERE!” with their very stability and safety at stake. It becomes the drumbeat of your heart even when your friends don’t understand, your family struggles to know how to be supportive, and you work within a system that often seems to prioritize the rights of adults over the needs of children. Even though I am no longer able to do the active work of foster care (because we have too many children to relicense under the current Nebraska law), I can’t stop hearing that call on my heart. 

“We are HERE!” as I drive by the courthouse.

“We are HERE!” when I walk past the hospital NICU on my way to visit a friend and her new baby.

“We are HERE!” at the park, at my children’s school, at the McDonald’s Playland.

Once you have loved these children and their families, you can’t turn it off. You can’t go back to pretending you can’t hear them. You know they need advocates and support to get the help they need. You know there are abusive foster parents, unscrupulous lawyers, unmotivated caseworkers, kinship homes who care more about protecting the adults involved than protecting the children, and judges who don’t seem to understand how damaging it is to a child to be stuck in the system. So you do what you can to be involved and help in your small corner of the foster care world, whatever that may be. Even when other people question your sanity (“I could NEVER be a foster parent!”), you keep at it because you hear the cries of kids that seem to go unnoticed by others.

11998931_10153737082787784_8633030753398451846_n

And you recognize another Horton when you see one. The foster families that sacrifice their own plans for comfort or ease to do what’s best for a child, the lawyers who tell their clients the truth even when it’s painful, the caseworkers that are willing to fight for the defenseless, the kinship homes that want to break the cycle of abuse, and the judges who hold everybody in their courtroom to a higher standard. We are all hearing the same call. We know the cost of listening and we are willing to take that on because we see the value of these children.

Do you hear the call of these kids? Are you ready to listen and then to become an advocate for what is best for them? There are many ways to be involved. The system needs quality foster parents, CASAs, Safe Families (families that provide care for children while their parents work to correct issues that could otherwise lead to losing their kids), visitation supervisors and transportation providers who take their responsibilities seriously, people who will donate time, money and supplies to organizations that support foster kids, people who can provide respite care (temporary care so foster parents can take a break), and the list goes on. The reality is, if you’ve got a gift, you can use it to support foster kids. If you can hear them, they need you.

For more information about foster care, contact Christian Heritage.

Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids. Four were adopted (one internationally, three through foster care) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at www.amusingmaralee.com.

3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child

In: Adoption
3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child www.herviewfromhome.com

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. Remember that old nursery rhyme? I can still hear it playing in my head. Growing up, I had always assumed that would be my story. The love and marriage part certainly happened for me in an amazing, storybook ending kind of way. However, the baby in the baby carriage didn’t come as quickly for my husband and me. As a few years passed, we began to feel a little restless and disheartened. However, God opened up His perfect plan for our family by leading us to...

Keep Reading

I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I Didn’t Let Go

In: Adoption
I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I didn't Let Go www.herviewfromhome.com

  I am often asked, when people find out I am a birth mother, “Why did you decide on adoption? Didn’t you want her?” In the tidy nutshell version of my response it was the logistical factors of being pregnant at just 16-years-old that was my why. Being a junior in high school when I saw those two pink lines in October of 2004, I still needed to graduate, plus I wanted to attend college. I did not have a job to support us. In fact, I did not have my driver’s license or even the few dollars it took...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing

In: Adoption, Child Loss, Miscarriage, Motherhood
Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing www.herviewfromhome.com

To the one with healthy children in your lap, YOU are a great mom. Whether you work full-time or stay at home, you are amazing and deserve to be celebrated every day, but especially today. You sacrificed your body and your own well-being over and over again and I know you don’t regret any of it. You are enough and you are appreciated even when you don’t feel it. To the one holding a child someone else carried inside of her body, YOU are a great mom. Whether you faced infertility, surrogacy, chose to adopt, or have biological and adopted children,...

Keep Reading

4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know

In: Adoption, Journal
4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know www.herviewfromhome.com

The minutes on the hospital clock dwindled as I swaddled my infant daughter one last time before she was permanently placed in the arms of her adoptive family. In those final moments, I thought my heart might shatter into a thousand slivers without any hope of being mended. I was broken. Scarred. Devastated. When I left the hospital without my baby, it felt like someone was pounding on my chest with both fists and I couldn’t catch my breath. The emptiness that followed was inconceivable. A piece of me, my daughter, was gone. I couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of my...

Keep Reading

No Matter Life’s Season, God Provides What We Need

In: Adoption, Faith
No Matter Life's Season, God Provides What We Need www.herviewfromhome.com

When my husband and I adopted our older daughter Lilly 15 years ago, she was nine-months-old and weighed about 17 pounds. That might not seem like much, but she was a chunk of a little girl—so much so that people we met in elevators and restaurants in China often mistook her for a two-year-old. I had worked on my cardiovascular fitness in the months leading up to our adoption trip, and my regular runs on the treadmill prepared me to traverse the Great Wall with relative ease. My upper body strength, however, was a different story entirely. My arms and...

Keep Reading

Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption

In: Adoption
Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption www.herviewfromhome.com

  “Don’t do it! Adoption is the worst!” His voice echoed through my entire body, his words hitting every unprepared bone, and I clutched the full glass of ice water ready to plunge it in his direction. There were hundreds of people in the darkened bar room, on dates mostly, sitting in the crowd enjoying the comedy show. My insides twisted and lurched, I heard nothing but the reverberations of laughter, and my mind kept envisioning myself walking over to him and punching his face in. When the comedian began working adoption into her show, my body began tingling and...

Keep Reading

Adoption Is Love

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Is Love www.herviewfromhome.com

  I pull around in the car line and scan the group of kids for my daughter. Usually, I can find her easily, chatting it up with her friends as she waits for me to pick her up from school. Today, though, I don’t see her. I look again and I finally spot her. She is slumped on the curb, her head in her hands and her eyes downcast. My momma radar instantly goes off as I watch her slowly get up and drag her feet to the car and I can tell that something is wrong. She slides into...

Keep Reading

The Ache While We Wait to Adopt

In: Adoption, Faith
The Ache While We Wait to Adopt www.herviewfromhome.com

  There’s a persistent ache, but sometimes I can ignore it. I can turn up the volume of what’s around me and drown it out for a bit. I play hostess and invite the noise to come in: come fill up my heart, come fill up this empty nursery, come fill up this planner. I’ve got two kids, and they are experts at noise, so my days are full of it, and it works. The noise narcotizes the ache, making it manageable, day by noisy day.  In my former life as a teacher, I used to make my students write...

Keep Reading

How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father

In: Adoption, Journal
How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father www.herviewfromhome.com

My husband’s earliest memories of his adoptive mother are as blurry as the black and white photos he has taped inside a leather-bound family album. He recalls the gentle hands that tucked him into bed each night and the smell of her lavender scented soap, but these memories are intertwined with the last and most painful of all: sitting on the cold hospital steps, muffled whispers in the hallway, and the tight grip of his adoptive father’s hand as they made their way back to the car without his mother. Death was an abstract concept that he was unable to...

Keep Reading

Adoption Has Made Me a Better Mama

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Has Made Me a Better Mama www.herviewfromhome.com

I remember etching our family plans into a napkin at our two-year anniversary dinner. We were eating at Rio in Sisters, Oregon and I couldn’t wait to get back to the little cabin we had rented to watch Harry Potter and dream about babies. Weird combo? Probably. First we would conceive and carry a miracle baby in my actual womb. Then after a bit of time had passed, after we got “the easy one” birthed, we would enter into the adoption world. I think back to my barely 20-year-old self and think about how naive she was—I still only have...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections