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