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Susan Wanderer has worked with families in kids ministry for 20 years, with the last ten years serving as Kids Minister at Mount Ararat Church in Stafford. Susan and her husband Ed reside in Fredericksburg and have three amazing kids who joined their family in 2011 and who fill their days with adventure. Come join the conversation over at www.susanwanderer.com 

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My Stomping Grounds

November is National Adoption Month. All three of our kids became our family through this textured and tender journey called adoption.

Instead of me rambling about my own appreciation of adoption, I asked my son if I could interview him for an Adoptee-Point-Of-View.  He agreed and his words are so very sincere and authentic.

First, a bit about my son.  Joshua joined our family at fourteen years of age. He is the most courageous young man I know. His heart is kind and his love for people soars past the challenging moments of this life.  I am so humbled that he calls me Mom. The complexity of adoption is not lost on me. Moments of tragedy mixed with moments of surprising joy.

Joshua is a gift beyond a gift. He loves playing soccer, running cross country, playing guitar in our worship band at Mount Ararat Baptist Church, leading kids in worship and in small groups, watching movies and filling our house with incredible guitar and drum sounds. He is hilarious and witty. Joshua is epic at being a teenager in today’s world. 

Too much? Can you tell I am proud of my boy?

He’s been mine for only four years but I hold all 1580 of those days so dear. This boy of mine is going to continue to impact this world in great ways. 

A brief interview with Joshua Wanderer:

Susan and Joshua

Q: What are some memories you have of Ethiopia that you enjoy thinking about?

A: When I was little, I loved playing outside with my friends.  We played soccer and hide and seek. I loved that. I also enjoyed the holidays: we would buy an animal, like a sheep or a hen, and cook it up and have a nice party.  We would eat our meals off of one large plate together. Those are good memories together.

Q: How was your adjustment to America?

A: I had to get used to the language.  As a teenager, I also had to figure out the cultural differences between America and Ethiopia. American kids do things differently than Ethiopian kids. I had to watch and learn. Also, the food… it’s a very different style in America.

Q: Talk a bit about your view of your adoption. 

A: The hardest part in my adoption was leaving my birth dad.  But the really good thing though, was getting a new start in my life.  And that brought me peace.

Q: What would you say to a family that is thinking of starting the adoption journey?

A: I would say to them it’s not easy. But, you should adopt because you are giving that child another home and another family. When you adopt it gives you a chance to impact that child’s life and then the child will also impact the life of their new family too.

Q: Name something unique about your personal adoption story.

A: While I was in the Transition Home in Ethiopia, I hoped that God would put my best friend and I in families near each other in America. We were hoping we would be a few states near each other. I then found out that my best friend would only be 20 minutes from my new family. That is amazing. God answered me. I will never forget that He did that for me.

Q: What is your definition of adoption?

A: Adoption is a new beginning.

Adoption is indeed just as my son described: A New Beginning. Adoption is the complex joining of two cultures, two families and two communities into one unique blend. It is sorrowful, joyful, exhilarating, sad, exciting, chaotic and peaceful.  It is beautiful and hard. It is every emotion turned into every other emotion.

And in the complexity of it all, a family does uniquely and beautifully form. 

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

Read more...