People often tell me how much my kids look like me and I never know how to respond. I want to tell them every detail of how God built our family through three separate adoption processes. I want to tell them about my kids’ birth moms and all the things I hope they got from them. I want to tell them how adoption changed my life far beyond making me a mom.
But, usually, I smile and say, “Thank you.”
God made us a family through adoption and taught me how we become like those with whom we share our space and our hearts. That’s family, and I’m thankful for all the ripple effects of adoption.
One those was our trip to Washington, D.C., in September. We made new friends there. You’ve met Michaela Stanton, who has shared here about her family. We also got to know folks from Jockey Being Family, which is the underwear company’s foundation that provides support to adoptive families.
Jockey values us and so many other families who were created in unique ways.
We’ve remained in contact with Will, Stefanie, and Sammie from Jockey Being Family since D.C., and have even gotten to share a meal around a table. During that time they told us more about their upcoming annual gala, during which we’re going to be one of five families honored. Another family is our new friends the Stantons. Isn’t God good to give us these sweet surprises and friendships?
I’ve loved learning more about how Jockey Being Family supports adoptive families. One of those ways is through the backpacks they send kids who have been adopted.
My kids had the best time unpacking their personalized backpacks this week. They each included three books, a notebook, headphones, toothbrush and toothpaste, a Jockey stuffed animal bear, an ice pack, a blanket, and markers (or crayons, as in the case of my youngest). Us parents also got a tote with additional resources to use as we continue talking to our kids about adoption, a blanket, and pens.
Here are some of the specific resources included in the backpacks my kids (who are 11, 9, and 3) received:
- “All About Marvelous Me! A Draw and Write Journal” by Becky J. Radtke – Kids can have fun reflecting on their past, present, and future! Loaded with fun things to do, such as fill-in-the-blanks, checklists, drawing, and journaling, this 64-page book will inspire children to write and illustrate details of their daily lives and inner thoughts. Activities include taking personality quizzes, designing the ultimate hangout, imagining the perfect job, and many other interesting personal challenges.
- “All About Me: A Keepsake Journal for Kids” by Linda Kranz – This book offers “thought starters” to get kids’ creativity flowing to document life through writings and drawings.
- “Angel and Her Wonderful Wheels” by Leanne Lauricella – Discover the story of Angel, a baby goat who is different from the others. Angel, who can’t walk like other goats, is rescued by Leanne Lauricella, founder of the Goats of Anarchy animal sanctuary. With Leanne’s help, Angel gets a new set of wheels—a pink cart that helps her learn to walk, run, and play. Children and adults will love this endearing story about overcoming adversity that reminds us that we are all uniquely beautiful, including what makes us different from others. Follow along with Angel as she makes new friends on the farm and finds a loving family to be her forever home.
- “The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving” by Ellen Sabin – This is an activity book, a journal, and a keepsake that inspires and records a child’s journey into a lifelong tradition of giving and charity.
- “My Book About Me” by Dr. Seuss and Roy McKie – So, fun fact, I filled out this same book when I was a kid and I still have it! This classic hardcover activity book written by Dr. Seuss and illustrated by Roy McKie encourages children to write and draw their own biographies. It’s a mix of serious (and seriously silly!) “Yes” and “No” questions; fill-in-the-blanks; images to complete, and simple writing activities.
- “Reagandoodle & Little Buddy” by Sandi Swiridoff with Wendy Dunham – Told with warmth and a touch of humor by Reagan himself, readers will hear the true story of how one adopted dog and an 11-month-old foster child develop an unforgettable friendship. This is an uplifting tale of friendship, foster care, adoption, and hope.
- “Riley the Brave” by Jessica Sinarski – This is a children’s story of a little bear with big feelings. You and your children can join this super-cool cape wearing cub as he embarks on a journey to face his fears and is joined by all of his animal friends who care for him. Throughout Riley’s adventures in this educational book, parents and children can learn how to understand and overcome feelings such as shame, fear, and sadness.
Here are some of the parent resources we received:
- “Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens” by Debbie Riley with John Meeks – This book from The Center for Adoption Support & Education helps parent discover the six most common adoption stuck-spots, the complexities of adoption, the adopted teen’s quest for identity, and how therapy may help the adoptive families learn and grow together. Therapists and clinicians will discover a broad knowledge base on adoption, a step-by-step assessment process, clinical intervention strategies, a wealth of case histories, treatment resources and therapy tools, and writing and art therapy samples.
- “52 Ways to Talk About Adoption” from The Center for Adoption Support & Education – This card game encourages family discussions about adoption.
- “W.I.S.E. Up Powerbook” – Empower your child with the resource. Praised by parents around the world, this simple, effective book helps adopted children learn that their story is unique, personal and theirs to share (or not). The W.I.S.E. Up! Owl delivers easy-to-follow choices to help adopted children decide when and how to share information and respond to others’ questions/comments. This is also from The Center for Adoption Support & Education.
Learn more about Jockey Being Family, including its backpack program, at its website. You can also follow its inspiring stories on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And stay tuned here because I will have more to share after we road trip to be with our Jockey Being Family friends at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in May.