Thursday, April 5, 2012


"Forgive them. They know not what they do." I was spending time with my Father this morning when those words struck me. "Forgive them." 

How is it possible to forgive so much betrayal? I can almost understand how Jesus as God can look down from heaven and forgive but there is a realness that the humanity of Jesus hanging on the cross brings to these words. He felt pain. He knew the anguish of deep betrayal. He knew the exhaustion of loving the unlovely. His whole life was spent loving those that deserved nothing but his wrath. He poured Himself into even Judas. Judas, the man that would turn his back on Jesus. How did he spend those years loving Judas knowing what was to come? How did he eat meals and call a man His friend when He knew what this man was going to do? How did he laugh and cry with this man who would sell him off like a common slave?

What struck me this morning was how forgiveness is such a large part of adoption. Forgiveness of past wrongs being done to a child we will call our own. Forgiveness of future wrongs that this child will commit, of betrayal that is surely to come at some point. How will I  forgive someone who has harmed my child? How will I  forgive betrayal at the hand of one I will pour my life into and love so deeply? 

How I ask? The answer is there at the cross. God speaks His words into my heart. He breathes into me His own forgiveness. He exists within me and because of that His forgiveness exists within me.

My mind can't comprehend it all. Psalm 139:6 "Such knowledge is too wonderful to me; I cannot attain to it." Yet, in my heart I hear the echoes of my Savior speaking that such a love is possible, forgiveness can be found even in my own heart. I hear His voice telling me it is possible because when He said those ancient words so long ago my name, my face was on His mind. 

I am forgiven. I stand in awe at the wonder of the cross. I am forgiven.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Did you know?

Did you know that 85% of americans in prison do not have a high school diploma and that 70% of those were once in our foster care system? 

Most kids in the foster system "age out" on their 18th birthday. Before you judge these kids by a statistical number take a moment to try on their shoes. Try to remember all the way back to your 18th birthday. Did you have a huge party or get a dream gift? Did you spend the day surrounded by friends? I remember mine. I had just been utterly heartbroken by a boy I adored and spent the entire week sobbing and feeling sorry for myself. The truth was I knew nothing of true heartache, nothing. I could not have imagined being thrown out of a house, handed a rent payment, or even told that I was on my own for food. Can you imagine your 18 year old self finding out that you were completely alone? Where would you go and what would you do with your life? Can you really blame them for turning to crime? Can you blame them for not finishing high school when they were out trying to find a way to eat their next meal?

Some of them did have ample opportunity to change and chose not to, but too many of them became part of a statistic simply because nobody cared enough.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oceans Apart

There is a little boy across the world. He lives oceans apart in a world I’ve never seen. His mother left him alone in the hospital. She was scared and she was all by herself. By God’s grace this little boy was taken to a wonderful orphanage where he has been loved and cared for and had many needs met. But the one thing he has never had in his whole little life is a family. A real family with a mom and a dad tucking him in and whispering love’s sweet song before he drifts off to sleep.

There is a little boy that God has had His hand on since the moment his life was formed. The little boy was born into a world of harsh realities, but He was loved and cared for by a Father who had a plan. He had a plan that included a mom and a dad. The little boy has been waiting and waiting. He has waited his whole life for someone to come and claim him.

There is a lady who has listened to her sister go on and on about adoption, God’s true plan, and all the inhumanities in the world. She patiently listened for years. One day God began stirring a longing in her own heart. She began to talk about adoption, just talk. She began reading about adoption, just reading. She began praying for a little boy to find a home, just praying. And her sister knew, just knew, that this little boy had just found a home. God’s hand had just moved. He was bringing paths together. One path was in Pennsylvania, one path was in the Philippines, and He would do the impossible and give a son a mom and a dad, and three brothers, and one sister.

This little boy is my nephew.
My sister is his mother.
His last name will be Russell.
God has answered his prayers.
He needs to know he is being claimed.
He needs to come home.

We know that adoption is costly in so many ways. The financial burden of adoption is unbearable alone, but together we can make it happen. We have nearly 100 people following us, and many of you have asked how you can help. This is how. If every follower gave just  $10 or $20 they could get started on bringing him home!  I am asking all of you to help bring my nephew home. You can donate through our site and label it for the Russell family. You can also visit my sister’s blog: It is phenomenal. She has a gift with words that leaves the rest of us wishing for an ounce of that talent! 

God’s hand is moving and He is granting us the possibility to be a part of this restoration. He is allowing us to be a part of allowing a little boy to grow up surrounded by love and taught of His love. What grace, what amazing grace.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Our Directors Part Deux | Jenny Burman

Last week, we introduced you to Katie Hurst (click here if you missed it).  And this week, we are introducing you to our newest addition, Jenny!  We are so excited to welcome her as a part of our crazy bunch.

Jenny Burman is our wonderfully organized gal, who, God bless her, helps us with anything math related.  Basically, we prayed that God would bring us (Katie & Kelly) someone that could do everything we could not seem to "get".  Kid you not, she called me out of the blue, exactly one day after we talked about needing someone.  So we met...  We knew within the first 20 minutes of talking to her that she was the perfect fit to the puzzle. Not only that, she loves being creative and loves working for the adoption cause.   Now you won't necessarily see her on the blog, but she does A LOT in helping us prep for a 501c3 status and other business needs.  So here are a few little things to help you get to know her!

Jenny met Chris Burman, an Electrical Manufacturer Rep (sorry, not the famous ESPN announcer :-) ), in high school and have been happily married for 8 years!  [Everybody say "awwww!"]  Completing their adorable family are their two boys, Colter, 6, Tyce, 3 and their beautiful daughter, Brynna, 15 months.  The enjoy life making their home in the Zeeland area.

Hudsonville Reformed Church   [One of the churches that inspired us to encourage church's to engage their members in "orphan care".]

Fav Verse   
 "Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."  Colossians 1:10

What inspires you to help waiting families and waiting children? 
I know the special love that can only be found between a parent and a child, and I am called by God to assist in spreading that type of love.  One of those ways is through the adoption process.
What is your favorite way to be creative?  
I love to craft and build.  I love making anything for my family or anyone else that helps the "house" feel more like a "home".  Whether it's burlap and mason jars or nail guns and hammers, I love it.  Hand tools are not just for men!

Reality Check!
  I like to put applesauce on top of my cottage cheese?  LOL While working as a bank teller in 2005 and while 8 1/2 months pregnant, I was robbed!!  By a 75 year old man that threatened to have a gun and a bomb.  I can laugh about it now, but it was definitely a scary/strange day!   

Thank you Jenny for joining the team and letting share a bit of who you are! 

*NEXT WEEK*  We are going take one week off from director interviews.  Not because it has to be about myself ;-P   BUT because I am so eager to share some of the adoption stories and testimonies we have to share, and I'm sure excited to hear about them, too.
*Special Notes*   
 We heard from the Kruse family this week (we had a fundraiser for them in January).  Kristi informed us of the great news that the money that was raised helped them be able to get their home study done!  Praise the Lord and thank you to those that gave.  We will continue to update you about their process as we hear news.  You can also follow their adoption journey on their blog Krusin' to Adoption (click here).


p.s.  I am trying my hardest to figure out why the blog continues to make the published text different sizes... trust me, it is not what it looks like on my draft!  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Adoption Book List

Adoption Book List

Each of the below books can be found on and are linked to go and directly purchase! 

A Passion for the Fatherless: Deeply theological book on why Christians should be adopting. It’s a deep read and thoroughly convicting.

Orphanology: Easy read and one of my favorites out there on the topic of adoption and why we need to be involved.

Adopting the Hurt Child: AMAZING. Do not adopt without reading this book. Warning,  it is frightening in its stark reality of what these kids have gone through and the behaviors you may see. 

Parenting the Hurt Child: A follow up to the previous book. After you have decided to be crazy enough to continue to adopt after reading the first book this one gives you more practical advice on all the "how to’s".

The Connected Child: Be still my heart! This hits home to me personally as so much of it is about the sensory needs of adopted children.

I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Admittedly one that I had a hard time staying focused on because it felt more statistical than anything else. If you are considering a transracial adoption this is a good one to read.

Before You Were Mine: This is about creating a lifebook for your adopted child. Children of adoption have a story that needs to be discovered and recorded. It’s their personal history.

Adopted for Life: This is a broad book about adopting and a Christian's adoption in Christ


Get to Know Our Directors | Katie Hurst

You may know all of us, one or some of us, or not at all!  This journey has connected us with a lot of new friends along the way.  So, for those of you getting to know Re{claimed, we thought we'd take a moment to introduce our directors.  Hopefully you'll see that we are not only passionate about adoption, but we are everyday mommies, that love to have fun and embrace our little quirks.   As you read this, maybe you'll see, too, that Re{claimed Adoption Fundraisers is something you would enjoy being involved in, sometime in the future!

We call Katie Hurst our resident adoption expert.  She has not taken the road to adoption lightly!  She and her husband have read books upon books, as well as the researched the scriptures, in their journey.  Katie keeps us ON FIRE & passionate about what we're doing!  You will see weekly posts on our blog from her, regarding things you need to know on adoption, as well as Biblical notes and spiritual reflections. 

Katie -  
 Favorite Verse:  John 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less. 
Simple and to the point. I must become less, think of myself less, serve myself less. I must think of Christ more, serve Him more. Everyday the verse is the same and hold the same challenge: become less.
Home Church:  Grace Community Church
What is your favorite way to be creative?  In the most unorganized fashion possible! I love thrift stores. I could spend hours in them looking at old castaways and creating new uses for them. I see potential in the most random of things, an old suitcase, a hideous dress, a broken necklace. 

I met my husband when we were a young 19 years old. I saw something in him that I longed for in my future husband, a heart that was completely surrendered to Christ. He fueled my own fire to know God more deeply. He was kind and gentle and funny. So what could be more reasonable than to say yes when he asked me to marry him ten months later? It was a blessed choice and I consider it God's second most gracious gift to me to have given me such a precious, sincere husband. That man has loved me at my worst and hidden my weaknesses beneath his love. He is a living example to me of the love of Christ. [Visit her hubby's Theology book review blog here]
   We quickly married and quickly were blessed with children. I would say we have been blessed with difficult pregnancies. [Don't ask her for her birthing war stories if you are pregnant! lol]  Blessed because those trials brought us to the feet of Jesus and there is no greater place to be. We have been blessed to have three children with special needs. Blessed because we take nothing for granted. Blessed because God is near to the brokenhearted. Blessed beyond reason.  [Visit her personal blog here]
What inspires you to help adoptive families and waiting children?
 I cannot look into scripture and not see God's hand reaching into every story, every act of history and breathing His salvation into every step of the journey. I have nothing good within me except that I have been marked with the salvation of Jesus Christ and that is everything. So, I am inspired by my Savior to go to the lost and find them a home. I am inspired by my Healer to sit with the hurting and ache with them. I am inspired by the Lover of my soul to love the ones the world has abandoned and to love them unreasonably. I am inspired by my Father to help the orphans know the security of a father. He is my inspiration.

Reality Check!  
 I love, love, love the color purple. I even try to eat eggplant just because it's purple. But I hate it every time!  LOL

Thank you to Katie for letting us step into her shoes a little bit to let you get to know her.  I am currently bugging her to add a list of Must-Reads on adoption... So look forward to seeing that soon.
**Next Week** We'll hear from our newest director, Jenny.  She's our more left-brained, grounded, math-abled, and, God bless her, organized member of the group.  Yes, we love her.

~ Kelly

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Keeping adoptions ethical

Hague Convention

We want to give orphans homes, not create orphans for our own desires to be fulfilled! Sadly, many countries still take part in unethical adoptions. Babies are taken away from mothers and some mothers simply birth babies to give away to "wealthy americans." Make sure you do your research of the orphanage, the agency and the country. Know where the children are coming from and know what the fees are going towards.

If you are considering adoption please take a moment and look through what it means for an adoption agency and it's countries of service to be accredited by the Hague Convention. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Reason to Adopt

In case you missed the memo, I am a strong, strong advocate for adoption. That's probably too mild a term. If I could literally shake the body of Christ into action on behalf of the orphans you can rest assured that I would have my hands around it's neck! However, there are a few caveats I have for adoption. 

Adoption is not a cute, cuddly way to grow a family. As a Christian, adoption should not simply be about adding a chubby bundle of smiles into your family. Nor should it simply be about saving the world. If that is the case then we miss the mark. 

Adoption is brokenness. What should never have been, is. What should never happen, has. A child is left alone in the world. A child is hurt by hands that should have protected. A child is pushed away by arms that should be holding fast. It is muddled and broken. A family is torn apart. 

It could be a teenage mom that has no idea how to parent a baby and has to die to herself to give her baby to a family that will know how to parent. She will be broken in the process. It could be a mother who cannot feed the mouths that she has and she knows that another mouth to feed means someone will not survive the year. Can you put yourself in their shoes? Can you understand their anguish and feel the deepness of their grief? Can you see our Savior's tears as He cries out that this should never happen?

Love will not be enough. Love and warm affection and security are not enough. They could never undo the damage. Love could never cover all the pain. Love alone could never be enough.  

Christ is enough. He has always been more than enough. He is the Healer of our souls and He will heal their souls. Being part of adoption is being a part of the battle for a soul. In all of eternity the greatest of all battles is the battle for a soul. You will enter into a daily spiritual battle.  If you are not ready for a battle then you need to ready yourself. Drink in the words of Scripture, memorize it, study it, and bathe in the adoration of your Savior. Lift your hands, stretch them high and know the greatness of your God.

As followers of Christ our reason for adoption should be because He has called us. He has called us to care for the broken things of this world. He has told us to love the unlovely. He has called us and He will equip us. He will equip us to be a part of His plan of healing. It is often a long journey filled with heartache and restoration and grace.

Can you see it? Can you imagine being a part of God's restoration? Can you see into eternity and picture the children and families restored? Can you feel His passion for these fatherless children? Can you understand His joy when we bring them home?

Oh, my friends, we have been given a deep responsibility. He is calling us to bring them home. Together we can find a way to be a part of His redeeming love. We must find a way. It cannot be for them. It must be done for Him and through Him.

Bring them home. He will equip. He will restore. His love will be enough. Reclaim them in the name of Christ.

~ Katie

Monday, February 20, 2012

Re{claimed ... what does that little squiggle mean anyway?

    If you’ve seen our name several times since we started our organization, either on Facebook or on our blog, there are probably two things you think when you see it. 1) Oh neat, fundraising for people who are adopting! And 2) why in the world have they named it “reclaimed” and what is that little doodad in the middle?
    Just like in naming your own child, there is so much thought that went into our organization’s name.  I am so excited to share with you what the name stands for, and what it is that we hope Re{claimed can accomplish. 

    The go-to verse in church circles regarding adoption is often James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”   Of course, the verse is in regards to widows as well, but for our purposes today, I am going to concentrate on “orphans.”  It is clear in many other areas of the Bible as well, that God calls us to help children, especially those who are not cared for.   I have always been interested in orphans and adopted children… I had good friends growing up that were adopted.  As a child of the 80’s, one of my favorite movies was “Annie.”  Those after-school specials (or soap-operas) raised that question that some either feared or begged God for – is this my REAL family?  Was I adopted? (dun, dun, dunnnn)  Adoption also had a harsh tone to it.  My generation is probably one of the last where adopted children did not have much information growing up regarding their origin.
    I had my first encounter with orphaned children on a mission trip to a third world country.  Their ages ranged from 3 to 17 years old.  It was a Christian run orphanage, and even though they longed for earthly families, they were taught and truly believed that they had a Father who loved them.  A Father that HAD adopted them into His forever family.  (Forever Family is a term used to describe when a family has legally adopted a child, as opposed to a foster family.)   

    Fast forward to 2011, Katie and I longed to do something.  Katie was in the adoption process… a long process, as some of you know.  And I have always been inspired and felt God moving me to take some type of action, even if we weren’t quite ready to adopt.   God didn’t say in James 1:27 that some people have the “gift” to take care of orphans & widows.  It is something that is requested to “keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  I translate that in the millennium to mean – keep yourself from getting the gimmies and thinking the world revolves around one person…me.    So, if my husband and I weren’t in the place to adopt right this second, and Katie & her husband were still in waiting, we seemed to feel God was calling us to DO something.
    Katie had a friend working hard to raise money to adopt a child from Ethopia.   She asked if I would be willing to help her host a craft night where we supplied the crafts, sold tickets to guests, and a majority of the profits would go to the family.  We were tired of “fundraisers” that only gave 20% of the profits to families, and thought, maybe, just maybe, people would only need an excuse to get together.
    So, the idea was born. It was small, but it was fun.  As we talked after the first event, we wondered if people would give more money if they received a tax-benefit.  Running a non-profit (501(c)3) would mean a lot more planning, but it may work! 
    When we started our brainstorming session, we talked about how adoption wasn’t just something that was label for certain kids.  It was something that all of us who have trusted in Jesus as their Lord and Savior should understand, and have everything in common with earthly adopted children.  We read Ephesians 1:3-8 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” 
There were three things that stuck out to us.
Chosen – Just like a family goes through the process of choosing a child, our Father chooses us.  There is just something about being chosen, isn’t there?  It means you are valued, you are needed, and you are important.  Think about a time when you were chosen (maybe in that 4th grade gym class? :-) ).  It really is something special.
Adopted – In the process of seeking out a child, many are chosen, but not all are immediately adopted.  It is a process…a long, legal one.  It is a momentous occasion for that child.  It means I belong to you.  You want to care for me and I will always be yours.   I have a new name, a new identity; legally and relationally.  God says that when we believe in His Son’s sacrifice for our sins, His raising from the dead, and return to heaven (John 3:16), we are HIS.  We are adopted into His family.  Our old ways, our life wandering in the darkness searching for love and meaning, is over.   It, also, is a momentous occasion.  It’s in “His pleasure”!  Others that we have preceded welcome us with open arms.  We have a home waiting for us in eternity.  Sometimes the process, on our end, is long, but thankfully, there is no waiting on God.  The “legal” process is quick and easy. :-)
Heirs – This topic is often forgotten or overlooked, but SO very important.  Becoming part of a family means that you are an heir.  I love the story of a friend that was adopted, and her adopted grandfather left her an inheritance when he died, just like all of the other children.  It wasn’t about the money, but that she was responsible as an heir to continue a good name, and was, indeed, family in every way possible, no matter what the blood work says.  I hope every child is accepted into an entire family in this way, but I know we live in a twisted, sinful world.  The greatest part about our adoption into God’s family, is that we are His HEIRS.  Ephesians says that through Him we are redeemed with “the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.”  I could go on using the next verses as well, but for now, we see that we have inherited His grace.  The most unbelievable thing is that we get access to that grace, even before we get to our heavenly home. 

Chosen + Adopted + Heirs = Re{claimed

Reclaimed is defined as ‘to rescue from an undesirable state.’ It also means to ‘regain possession of.’  The unique part of God’s adoption, is that we are coming back to Him.  We believe that we were created by Him (Genesis 1-2 and Psalm 139), but chose to sin, setting us apart from Him.  Even though we ran from Him, He invites us to return, and accept all His riches in grace, love, and eternal life, if we chose to.

Have you thought about how we are all adopted before?  God uses the amazing picture of earthly adoption in families to paint His masterpiece of love, grace, and acceptance.  That is why we are all called to be involved in some way.  That is why Katie, myself, and our newest team member, Jenny, feel called to help. 
“Many hands make light work,” right? 
And a few dollars add up to many more dollars…
Maybe you haven’t given to this cause because you can only give a little.
Maybe you haven’t given to this cause because you didn’t know anyone that was adopting.
And maybe you haven’t adopted, because the mountain of finances seemed insurmountable.

Our goal is to erase all the excuses, for ourselves and for others.  Our purpose statement is this:
Helping to bridge the financial gap between adoptive children &
their families by engaging the body of Christ.

Have you thought about engaging your church, your family, or friends by supporting adoption and orphans in some way?  Maybe it is by becoming informed.  We are always baffled by how little the general public understands about adoption.  Is it creating a special church fund?  Is it hosting a fundraiser for a specific family?  

Hopefully, through our blog and fundraising events, we will educate you more on adoption.  In the meantime, pray for God to show you how He would like to use you in regards to “caring for orphans & widows”. 

May God lavish His grace upon YOU today as you revel in the gift He has given us.

Have a great day!

~ Kelly

p.s.  the little squiggle thing in our logo looked like a little hug to us!  LOL  So we thought of  the prodigal son returning to his father’s embrace and it seemed a fitting addition to the word Re{claimed. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How the Body of Christ works together in adoption

I could quote you verse after verse on how God calls us as Christians to care for the fatherless but more than likely you're a little tired of hearing of how pure and undefiled religion requires the care of widows and orphans, maybe even a little overwhelmed by the thought. What happens if you are beyond the parenting years or a single person uncomfortable with the thought of parenting alone or just not at a place in your life where it seems to fit? What then? Are you left out of being a part of "true religion?"

I hope that if you are a Christian that you have been able to see how God created the Body of Christ to work together towards a common goal. The goal being the living, breathing Gospel of Jesus. Every person has unique talents specifically given to him for a purpose in fulfilling that goal. God uses the Body of Christ in the same way for adoption. Adoption is one of the most perfect examples on earth of God's salvation to us as He adopts us into His family. Sometimes He will ask you to sacrifice the life you have now and bring one of His hurting ones into your family. Sometimes He won't. But He will ask you to do something. 

A large purpose in our organization is to bridge that gap, to allow those that are unable to adopt to still be a part of the process. Maybe you can bring a meal to a family or babysit so the parents can have a night away. Maybe you can give to help them finance their adoption. Many adoptions are extremely costly, upwards of $20,000 and that's a conservative estimate. We can't all adopt, but we can all do something. Most of us can skip eating out this week, skip our mochas, we could lower our cell phone plans for a month, or simply make a double meal and bring it to our friends. Give your friend that just adopted a call and just be there to listen to their fears and frustrations. The road they are walking is so much more difficult that you can imagine. Take them out for coffee and just let them be honest in their frailty, just let them be human for a moment. 

Be a part of God's calling to adopt. Be a working part of the Body of Christ. Adoption is born of brokenness but God is the Great Healer. He brings us together and He alone can bind the broken places. Let's work together towards that pure and undefiled religion of which James 1:27 speaks!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kruse Family Bio

Lake Ann Camp holds a special place in many of our Michigander hearts, but for Todd and Kristi it holds an extra special place as it is where they would each meet their future spouse. Todd was a counselor and Kristi was on the high school know, the ones dumping that delicious oatmeal in your bowl each morning. Who wouldn't fall in love over that oatmeal?  

However, it would take Todd and Kristi a little longer to find the path to each other. They remained family friends for a few years until in 2006 Kristi passed a place called Kruse Auction Park and decided to give her old friend Todd a call.  They married one year later in 2007.  Way to go Kristi! Todd, you're a smart man. 

Kristi's mother was adopted and so adoption has always been on Kristi's heart. God began tugging on her heart after seeing a kiosk for adoption. Todd and Kristi talked and prayed about adoption and came to the conclusion that this was the path God was asking them to follow. Their daughter Stella, who is six, has also been praying for God to help them adopt a baby. 

They are currently living in South Dakota and are pursuing a domestic infant adoption. It's a long journey but I am more than confident that if we come together as God's people and pray that He will do far more than we can ever imagine.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Kruse Family Fundraiser

Come join the fun as we host a fundraiser
for the Kruse family. 
Email us at to RSVP
Hope to see you all there!