On Tuesday, we had the very surreal experience of attending the National Coalition on Adoption’s 2013 Angels in Adoption pinning ceremony. It was held at the National Guard Headquarters during a lunch ceremony where members of congress were running in and out because they were on the floor voting. Each “angel” was introduced by their nominating senator or congressman.
Congressman Braley said some really nice things about us and I can’t tell you enough about how undeserving we felt. I can’t wait to share some of the stories of other “angels” we met, because you guys, they are BLOWING IT OUT OF THE WATER. The selfless ways people are loving children all across the country are incredible. They pushed me to love well and love deeper, and it really brought it home that no matter who you are or what your life circumstances are — you matter and the story you’re writing with your life matters. The little things we do at home — how we love and who we love — have a huge impact.
So, yeah, it was awesome to see so many different senators and members of congress share why they nominated their “angels”. Michele Bachmann, the house co-chair of the organization, shared about her experiences with foster care and her desire for every child to have a safe and loving family. We learned that the National Coalition on Adoption is the the most bipartisan caucus, which is something I really appreciate.
At our table, we met other Midwesterners who are passionate about adoption and foster care.
Michael Givens, who lives in Wisconsin, was mentored by the Dave Thomas and is on the board of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. I spent time talking to his wife, who was incredibly sweet. They launched Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, which has placed over 6,000 children into permanent, loving homes. We also met Joel and Kaia Beyer, who are also from Wisconsin and parents to six adorable kids — two of which they adopted from foster care. They were awesome + fun, and if they lived in Iowa, I’m pretty sure we’d be friends! The other couple from our table, John + Connie Smith, were fellow Iowans (we’re the salt of the earth!) — and actually live pretty close to us! They were nominated by the congressman in our current district. They have five kids, two of which were adopted. They’ve fostered more than 50 children over the past 20 years and are passionate about advocating for them.
Like I said, I don’t know why we were there. It has been on our heart that God would introduce us to the people we need to meet, and that he would use us in whatever ways we can be used.
— Bruce Braley (@BruceBraley) October 8, 2013
After Congressman Braley introduced us and why he nominated us, and we received our Angels in Adoption pin, two women came up to us. It turns out they are adoption attorneys, and one of them, Karen Law (yes, her last name is really law!) was also a recipient of the award. She is a co-chair of the International Adoptions Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and has fought hard for many “stuck” children to come home. She has volunteered in orphanages in South Africa, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Jamaica. She has worked with three families who also adopted from Nigeria! (That’s not a common place to adopt from, even though there is a very large need.)
Anyway, she talked to us about Children in Families First Act (CHIFF), which is incredible bi-partisan legislation recently introduced. CHIFF totally deserves its own post, and I’m really excited to share about it and support it. CHIFF aims to refocus the United States Government on the critical work of ensuring that all children can grow up in families. It’ll also streamline, simplify and consolidate responsibility for all processing of international adoption cases (up to final immigrant visa processing) in the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You’ll be hearing more about this from me in the future!
We did a little interview at the luncheon:
And the Des Moines Register (my former employer…can I just say it’ll never not be weird to be on the other side of journalism?) did a little write-up on the award. Apparently it was also on the news in Des Moines and it has been on a couple other sites, too. My prayer is not that we gain attention or rack up accolades, but that other people’s hearts will be moved to see what they can do to open their lives to children who are needing a family. My hope is that others see that there is no wrong way to love. Maybe it’s foster care, or adoption, but maybe it’s getting involved with a variety of organizations that help children in need. Maybe it’s being involved in Safe Families. Maybe it’s choosing a career that focuses on children — or maybe it’s going back to school. I could go on and on and on.
I don’t know what God has put on your heart or how you can impact children for the Kingdom, but I know that it’s something. Do you feel that nudge? Do you feel that inkling that life is more than the daily grind?
Listen to those whispers. Because God is writing a lot of really cool stories. We got to hear so many of them in D.C. And I believe God is waiting to start a new chapter in yours. And in mine. He’s always at work creating new ways to let others see the Kingdom through us. If we let him.
How are you letting God speak through your life story?
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