Monday, December 29, 2014

Becoming A Blackwell


On this day, two years ago, our family went to a court in Ukraine to make Cava our son. All of us were extremely nervous about going before a judge, as we had heard stories of how detailed, difficult, and personal the questions could be. All of us wanted desperately for Cava to become a part of our family, but this entire adoption hinged on his answer. We could offer him a home and a family and a new life, but if he told the judge, "No," that he didn't want to be adopted by us, then it would be over and we would have to leave heartbroken and without him.

But he didn't.

He said, "Yes." And that simple, three-lettered answer changed all of our lives.


Cava said that, more than anything, he wanted a family and to be in a family. Still, it is one thing to want something and it is something else to become part of a family. He had no idea of what this really entailed and, to some extent, we did not know what adopting a child into our family was truly going to be like. Adoption is living a life that is not about expectation, but about dealing with life on a day to day, often moment by moment basis. When we opened our home and heart to Cava, this meant accepting the vulnerability that comes with loving an adopted child and all of the hurts and pains that come along with it. And that first year was very bumpy, very emotional, and, ultimately, bonded our family more deeply together.

But with those hurts and sorrows also comes great joy. To see a child, whose eyes were once deadened and empty, become filled with life and delight is a miracle. To watch love begin to transform a child, so that they can not only learn to love his newly adopted family, but also, more importantly, themselves. To see themselves as not only loved, but lovable. It is to know that, while you weren't there for a lot of firsts, there are so many new firsts that you will experience with them. I will never forget that moment when Cava first arrived here in the States, got into our car to go home, and as we rode down the highway, he rolled down his window and yelled out, "I love America!" And he would. Of course, he would say many, many more times that he wanted to return to Ukraine long before he really ever got a love for the place he was now.

His second Christmas with us has just passed and the enthusiasm he has for all of it is infectious. He loves the lights and the sounds (I love how he sings along to Christmas carols even when he doesn't know all the words). He didn't have any of this before and all of it is new and filled with wonder for him. This Christmas, he began to learn about giving to others (through the shoe boxes of Operation Christmas Child). I love how, when we went to the Christmas program at our church, as the nativity story unfolded before him, he leaned over to me and whispered, "Papa, that's what you taught me about."

I love that his enthusiasm for getting new super hero pajamas can be the same as when we went to Walt Disney World.  He is full of boundless enthusiasm and still thrills over spotting a bird. I notice that I have become more aware of birds and butterflies and squirrels because of him. He has taught me to appreciate the little things and to see even the smallest of victories as moments of pure celebration.

So many people speak of what a great job Danelle and I are doing, but I have to correct them and say, "No, if Cava hadn't wanted this, if he hadn't wanted to change, then we wouldn't have gotten to where we are now." Cava has a good heart and he is learning that, even when he makes bad choices, our love for him doesn't change. Our love for him doesn't fluctuate depending on his behavior and this is something that is as foreign to him as English first was. It is slowly sinking in, but, like all of it, this is a slow process.

Cava has widened our eyes. We are not just an American family. Part of our dynamic and our make-up is now Ukrainian. That country now has a hold on our hearts, just as the United States does. We pray for his native country daily. We have embraced its culture, its heritage, its food, and have tried to incorporate these things into our celebrations and traditions. We are now connected to two worlds.

Adoption is a special, sacrificial and selfless gift of love. It gives us a new awareness of God's love for us.

I just recently did our annual report for the Ukrainian Embassy. I was amazed, as I began to write about the last year, at just how far Cava really has come in such a short period of time. He has made such huge strides in so many areas and he really isn't the same child that arrived here two years ago on January 19th. God has done a great work in him, in us, and through him. So many people have embraced this little boy from Ukraine in a way none of us could have ever imagined.

Cava loves Spider-man and he was surprised when I told him that he was braver than any super-hero. I told him how brave he was to agree to leave everything he had ever known to come to a new country and be part of a family. I told him, "You may not be where you want to be, but you are not where you once were. You have come so far and I'm so proud of the boy you are. I only hope that I can become worthy to be the Papa you deserve."

Cava has been a gift.

Over Christmas, my father asked me, "Knowing what you know now, would you still do it?"

My answer was an emphatic, "YES!"

Adoption is not easy. It's about becoming a family and all of us relearning what the really means. It is getting past the pretty pictures of what a family looks like on a Facebook page to what a family really is: the nitty-gritty, daily struggles and moments that, while hard, are what create stronger bonds of attachment. It is about how tears often lead to breakthroughs. It is about how tears can also be full of so much love and joy for those moments when your adopted child has success. I will never forget how, when Cava received the Citizenship Award at school last year, the school cheered for him and, it was through their cheers, I saw how much others loved and rooted for him. Tears of joys streamed down my cheeks. It was one of the proudest moments of my life because I knew what it not only took him to get there, but what it took our whole family to reach that moment. And it was a moment of hope that there would be more such moments in all of our future. It showed me how much bigger adoption was than just our immediate family.

Cava is my son. I take great delight in telling others this. He is as part of me as Danelle or Benjamin.

He has come a long way in two years and he has a long way to go, but I am just thankful to God that He has chosen our family to be a part of this sweet, wonderful, miraculous boy's life.

What I love is not just how much Cava has changed, but how much he has changed us.


Selfie taken by Cava of he and Benjamin on the way to court (12/29/12).


Selfie Cava took of he and his brother two years later at home.









Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Dark Matter Of Love



Masha is an eleven year old girl who grew up in an orphanage in Russia. Along with twin boys, Marcel and Vadim, she is adopted by the Diaz family. This 2012 documentary deals with the very first year of how not only these children, who've never known a family or how to be in one, adjust to a new life in a new family and a new country, but how the Diaz family relearns how to be a family with adopted children. It does not take them long to learn the reality of bonding and the attachment issues that come with children who've spent their lives in the orphanage system. This is a journey that is far more difficult and heartbreaking than they family had imagined. The Diaz family hired two of the leading developmental psychologists, including Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia School of Medicine Dr. Robert Martin, to help them navigate these new struggles using scientific discoveries used in a world-renowned therapy program.

While this is not an easy film to watch, I highly recommend it for any family considering international adoption or for those families who have adopted. 

As Karyn Purvis has written, "Adoptive parents become the biological parents through connection. We change their biology."

For those who have Netflix, this film can currently be streamed. 



Here's the official link to the film:
http://www.thedarkmatteroflove.com/

Here's a trailer for the film:


Here's a link for support:
http://adoptionsupport.org/index.php/dark-matter-of-love/

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hard Time With The Holidays


Most of us tend to think of the holidays in terms of joy and cheer, family and friends, and celebration. But for many adopted children, any holiday is a time of great stress and anxiety. I know I have witnessed this first hand with Cava. There is so much stimulation around holidays, Christmas in particular, that he is in sensory overload. For him, like many adopted kids, there is also the struggle to deal with their past. Christmas, like their birthdays, were just another day that went by without fanfare.

This year we had Cava do a Shoe-box for Operation Christmas Child. We explained to him why we were doing this and how it would go to a child his own age, possibly to one in Ukraine. His response floored me, "How come I never got one?"  How do I answer that? All I could say was, "I don't know, buddy, but you're not in that situation now and there are millions of other kids who still are."  It wasn't just about not getting the shoe-box, it was the internal question of, "Why wasn't I worth giving one to?" His reaction stems from a poor self image of not feeling deserving of getting a gift.

For him, as much as he now loves Christmas and getting presents, he still deals with all of the years where he received nothing. He has no memories of his mother, but for many adopted kids, they do remember their parents. For them, Christmas may be a time of guilt, anxiety, sadness, anger, and loss. They may feel betrayed by their parents abandoning them. They may have happy or sad memories about Christmases past. They may feel a loss of traditions they once had.

Adopted kids feel abandoned and often wonder if it was their fault. What did they do wrong? They may not think themselves worthy of enjoying all that the season offers: from the festivities to the gifts.

Christmas may cause them to relive painful memories. A certain smell or sound may trigger something deep within them that causes them to act out.

Children who've grown up in orphanages have experienced great loss. They have been rejected by their birth families. It may be important to sit down and let the child express their painful emotions during what we see as a "joyful" season.

Some parents may try to make up for all that the child did not have only to find the child ungrateful or by showing difficult behavior. It's key for us, as their parents, to try and understand the motivation behind the behavior. Maybe all the busyness of the holidays are too overwhelming for the child. The excitement may be too much.

There are complex feelings going on in these children, much of which they may not be able to understand and express themselves. But as their parents, we need to be their to love them, offer them support and reassurance. The best gift we can give them is a sense of security and peace.

Here are two great links that deal with the subject matter:

http://www.professorshouse.com/Family/Adoption/Articles/Holidays-with-an-Adopted-Child/

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/four-adopted-siblings-lots-of-holiday-stress/?_r=0


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Did You Know?


Did you know St. Nicholas was an orphan?

Born into a strong Christian family, his parents died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young.

Nicholas would be raised by his uncle. He would then grow up to become known for his reputation for secret gift giving and putting coins in shoes that were left out for him. He would also become the model for Santa Claus.

When you adopt a child, you never know what a difference you will make in their lives. The love of a family can impact not only the child but, when they grow up, they might make the difference in the lives of others.

"The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic God's giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves."

- Saint Nicholas of Myra











Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On This Day, Two Years Ago . . .


Two years ago today, we boarded a flight that would take us to a country that would change our family's lives forever. We were filled with a mixture of excitement and nervous anticipation, some fear (we knew a family who had just come back empty-handed), but we were praying and trusting that God, who had led us to undertake this journey in the first place, would not abandon us and would lead us to the child that would become our son or daughter, brother or sister.

One thing that stands out from this day, before we even set foot on a plane, was going through the security check. We had gone through the scan and were waiting on our bags, when the TSA agent noticed something wrong with one of our bags - Benjamin's. He has eczema and we had packed a new, unopened jar of lotion for it in his carry-on bag. The agent informed us that, since Benjamin was underage, he couldn't go through a pat-down and which one of us, my wife or I, would take his place? Now, if I had not stepped up, I wouldn't have dared to get on a flight that was about 12 hours with my wife, so I said I would. He asked if I wanted to go behind a curtained-off area, but I just wanted to get it over with, so I declined. While I was getting patted down, I jokingly asked him, "I don't get any Barry White music or mood lighting or something?" And, when it was over, and we made our way to the gate, I lamented to Danelle, "He didn't even offer to take me out to dinner or anything."

After we had gone through this ordeal, Benjamin suddenly realized that he'd left his coat in my Dad's car, since he drove us to the airport. My Dad was now on his way back to the beach where he lives. Since we were headed to Kyiv in December, Benjamin couldn't go without the winter coat we had just bought for him online.  Danelle immediately got on her cell phone, called him, and my Dad was kind enough to turn around and meet her, as there was no way that I was not going to go through security again.

Benjamin was thrilled that he was getting to fly again, get out of school for a month, and go to a foreign country, where he was, in his mind, going to meet his younger sister (as he only prayed for a sister and, when we prayed that God was lead us to the right child, boy or girl, he would pray after us, "Don't listen to them, God, I want a sister"). He loved the small screens on the back of the seats in front us that he could watch TV or a movie or play video games on. One of the movies our flight was showing was The Odd Life of Timothy Green, which is a film about adoption and the notion of having the "perfect" child (I blogged about this movie http://snapshotsfromourjourney.blogspot.com/2013/05/revisiting-odd-life-of-timothy-green.html).

There were some who had warned us not to take Benjamin. "You don't know what could happen to him over there." Our response was, "If we are going to trust God on this journey, then we are going to trust Benjamin to him." We also explained why we thought it was important that he experience a foreign country, that he saw where his brother or sister was coming from, to meet that child when we did, and to be part of the decision as it affected him just as much as it did us. This was a decision we never regretted and was critical to Cava being adopted by us, as it was Benjamin who had spoken up first and said, "He's my brother." If we had left Benjamin behind and then brought a brother home, I'm not sure how much worse it would have been when he had to share a room with him and then go through all of the difficulties of those first few months. It was also interesting to hear from others, afterwards, who contacted me to let me know they were taking their kids because of our experience.

We did not know that we would embark on one of the happiest periods of our family's lives. Spending so much time with each other and in such close quarters, we found that we drew closer together and enjoyed not only discovering Kyiv and Ukraine, but each other again. The country would change us and become a part of our hearts in ways we could not imagine. Not a day has passed since we left that this country has not been in our thoughts and prayers. One day, when Cava is older, we hope to return and show him the beauty of a country he never experienced.

There was so much about this trip that would indelibly change our lives and open them to so much more, that would draw us out of our small, insular lives to a richer, more compassionate ones. Cava would make us see our world anew and help us to understand the very grace of God more deeply. We would also watch the impact he had on people around us (family and friends), as well as those who would follow our blog and our journey.

But we did not know any of this yet.

All we know was that we were answering the call to adopt and were waiting to see what He had in store.








Monday, December 8, 2014

Healing The Hurts


There are so many hidden hurts and wounds in an adopted child. Some of the pain shows itself immediately in angry rants and tantrums or acting out or meltdowns. But there are so many more that don't. Some slowly reveal themselves in tiny glimpses and some may never be fully known. These kids have faced deeper sorrows and pains than most of us will ever know. They struggle with identity, fitting in, being accepted and accepting themselves, as well as giving and accepting love. I cannot imagine all that goes on in the head and heart of a child who knows abandonment, abuse, and neglect for most of their young lives.

Oftentimes it can feel overwhelming and I am at a loss as to help our own adopted son heal. I can feel helpless in the face of his hurting.  I feel inadequate and far from up to the task, but God has chosen me to be a father to this boy. If He has placed Cava in my home then He will also supply the strength, patience, tenderness, understanding, brokenness, peace, and whatever else is needed to raise this child who has such a deep well of sorrow, loneliness, and pain.

It can be heartbreaking.

It can be made more difficult when the child is unable to express the "why" of their actions, as they may not even understand, and can offer only an answer of, "I don't know." And he oftentimes really doesn't know why. He can be a child who just acts and reacts. It's fight or flight!

As his parent, I can easily feel the frustrations and the failures, the discouragement and the defeats. But I have to lay all of the agony and the anxiety on the altar before God. I have cried out, "I know you're a great God who is big enough to create universes with just Your words, but right now, I need you to be small enough to heal a little boy's heart."

Therapy and play therapy help. But even those are limited in their ability to truly heal this broken child.

We understand that it's not a quick fix or an overnight process. Yet this knowledge does not make the pain and the struggle any easier.

Too many people have told me, and continue to do so, "I couldn't do what you're doing." They are shocked when I respond with, "I couldn't either." I can see their surprise in their faces. I also add, "Not without God's help."  Even then it often feels far too overwhelming.

I cannot understand or heal all his wounds, but Christ can. Only Christ can. As the Bible teaches us, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5). We pray fervently and daily (sometimes hourly) for Cava's healing. We cannot heal or change him, only God can. Only God's love can. Where we are inadequate, He is more than enough. We give Cava to Him. We pray that Cava will have peace, that he will truly know the love of his heavenly Father, who loves him far more than we do and loves Cava enough to work on the hearts of a family in North Carolina to the point they went to Ukraine to adopt this little boy in a village they had never heard of before.

Recently Cava has had a rough patch at school and, one morning, as we were waiting in the car line to drop him off, his voice, small and full of anxiety, said, "Papa . . ."

"Yes buddy?"

"Can we pray that I have a good day today."

"Of course we can," I replied and we did. We prayed together. And we do this every morning. I also told him how he can do this throughout his day. "Whenever you're feeling angry or frustrated or upset, stop and pray inside. Pray for peace and for all of those bad feelings to go away. God is with you in school. He wants to help you."

The Psalms tell us that, "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." (34:18)


I've told him about how Jesus told his followers to let the children come to him and explained to Cava that Jesus still wants children to come to him. I said, "Whenever you feel overwhelmed and feel like you won't be able to control yourself, stop, close your eyes for a moment and picture Jesus holding you just like Mommy or I hold you when you're hurting." This is something all of us really need to do throughout our day and how much with just realizing the love He has for us will truly transform us and our day.

We work to help Cava gain the tools for being able to deal with his hurts and frustrations. It is a slow and difficult process. It has setbacks, but we have to keep seeing these as just setbacks and not defeats. And we have to give them to God. We have to see that the hard times, as well as the victories, are all part of his plan. This isn't easy.

This morning, as I was doing my Bible study, I was reading in the book of James where it tells us, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." This is not an easy verse for me. I am not one who traditionally "counts it all joy." I tend to be one who complains it all difficult. Yet I know that I need to give this to God as well and let Him work on me just as He will Cava. I need that patience, not just to help Cava, but to help myself learn to trust and obey God, especially in those moments where I am left wondering, "Why?"

The book of Psalms is my favorite book of the Bible. The reason for this is that the psalmists were real. They tended to start their psalms with, "Why? Where are you God? Why is this happening to me? What are You going to do about it?"  They aren't afraid to ask these questions. Real questions. But, in the end, they always finish their psalms with the realization that, "I may not know and understand this, but I will put my trust in You and You alone."

Ultimately, all of the pain and the struggles and the sorrows and joys - all of it - are for His glory.  

It's also knowing that nothing is beyond Him. Only His arms are long enough to reach past the prison bars of Cava's hurts and anger, to reach that scared and frightened child with a love that will set him free. I can't. My wife can't. And we will only become more defeated if we think that we can. 

God has put us in this place.

When He led the Israelites out of Egypt, He did so by a way that had mountains and a desert on one side and a sea on the other. Why? I'm sure even Moses wondered this. But God had a plan. He wanted them to see, as He wants us to see, that only He can truly deliver us. Only He can rescue us and it will be to His glory and not our own. We cannot take credit for any of it.

One of my favorite authors, Wendell Berry, wrote that, "it may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings."


I have definitely begun my "real work" and started my "real journey" then.

Nichole Nordeman is one of my favorite singers and she has a song called "Miles" that really hit home with me lately. In it, she sings:

It may be miles and miles before the journey's clear.
There may be rivers, may be oceans of tears.
But the very hand that shields your eyes from understanding
Is the hand that will be holding you for miles.

All of this is a lesson in trust and obedience.

As a parent, I often view my kids as a kind of mirror of myself. Their hurts are my hurts. Whatever they are going through, positive or negative, are often seen through the prism of my past. I try to guide them from my failures, my loneliness, my pains, and my own bad choices. Sometimes this can be very helpful, in that my solitary nature can have great understanding and empathy for Cava's.

But that is not enough.

That is a feeble kind of love compared to the one that the Holy Spirit can impart. This kind of love is the one that 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 speaks of, " Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." This is a love that will heal Cava. He needs this kind of love just as I do. It is only with this kind of love that we will know peace and healing.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Failures & Fatherhood


When Benjamin was around the age of 4, he got really mad at me about something and, like some miniature Donald Trump, angrily told me, "You're fired!"

My response?

I threw up my hands and declared, "I wish I could quit! The pay is lousy and the employee often has no respect for me."

Both of us spoke out of frustration. But I wish I had taken the higher road. It definitely wasn't what Atticus Finch would've said. Although he is a fictional character, he is one of the gold standards by which I measure myself by and try more to emulate as a father. I strive to be that patient, that understanding, and to have the strength of character that he has and tries to instill in his children.


Recently, I was having lunch with a friend of mine when he, out of the blue, asked me, "Do you ever feel like a bad parent?"

Without even having to think about it, I blurted out, "Constantly!"

And I do.

A lot.

Many have this perception of me as laid back and easy going and I wish that were the truth. But I'm not. Not really. I tend to be stressed and tend to feel like I'm behind the eight ball most days between working, marriage, raising kids, taking care of things around our house, and whatever else shows up on my plate that day. One of my favorite quotes is by John Lennon who said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." And it is!

Back in the Fall, on a Sunday, I told Danelle that I was going to go hiking up Crowder's Mountain with just Benjamin because I felt like I needed some one on one time with him. Since he started high school and has become a teenager, I often feel as if we are often at odds with each other. He and I have always had a close bond and I don't want to lose that. As we hiked down the mountain, as hiking up it I was too out of breath to have a conversation with him, I laid out my heart to him about how I felt we were usually butting heads and I didn't want us to grow apart. To my surprise, Benjamin replied, "I don't feel like we are. You're a great Papa. I know that you love me and want the best for me." I was glad that he saw it that way.

Parenting is a very hard job. I often mess up. I second-guess myself. I can easily get it wrong. And all of this makes me feel like a parental failure. Sometimes I let things build up to such a point that, like a dormant volcano that suddenly becomes active, I erupt.

There are days when I am frustrated and frazzled and wondering, "How early is too early for wine?"

Sometimes I have to remind myself that we did want these children and that they are blessings from God. Some days I thank God for them and other days I just pray that a roving band of gypsies will pass by.

Parenting can be especially challenging when I'm dealing with a child who has all the hurts and hidden wounds that Cava does. He has ADHD and anxiety issues and PTSD. He requires far more patience than I have and I'm often asking God for more patience and grace (both for him and myself).

When I screw up with either of them, one of the hardest, but most important things I can do is go and apologize to them and ask for their forgiveness. The first time I did this with Cava, he was stunned. He had never had an adult tell him that they were sorry for their actions or their words.

It's funny, but I am constantly reminding Cava that he doesn't have to be perfect and that he's going to make mistakes, but that I still love him no matter what, but do I allow the same for myself?

I love being with my sons. I love spending time with them and cherish that time because I know one day, especially with Benjamin, they will be leaving our home.  I love them both for their differences and similarities. I try to spark both their imaginations and creativity. I promote their individuality. I try to really listen to them, though sometimes I fail the worst in that area, especially if I'm busy doing something else.

One thing I learned from my Mom was to celebrate the uniqueness of each child by spending time with just one of them, doing whatever they love to do the most. This may mean I have to just sit and listen to Benjamin explaining what a raspberry pi is and what it does. Or it may mean sitting down and working on a puzzle with Cava. But, by doing so, I let them know that they are special.

When I look at them, I see them as my sons and not as chores or duties.


One of my favorite TV shows is Gilmore Girls.  It's one of the most literate TV shows I've watched and I love all of the cultural references and the soundtrack, which is music I love. Benjamin's watched it with me on Netflix and he asked, "Why can't you be more like Lorelai?" She's the mom and her relationship with her daughter Rory is, oftentimes, more of a pal and best friend than as a parent. I replied, "Because I'm your parent, not your buddy."

Not that long ago, I saw a story about how Kelly Ripa's daughter doesn't like her because she is her parent and not her friend. I'm not sure why I was surprised, but I was to see that many people took her to task for this. We live in a culture that has too many adults wanting to be their child's friend and not their parent because being a parent is sooooo much harder. But what I see from my own kids is that they want boundaries and need me to set them. They need rules and discipline (not authoritarianism). As Ephesians 6:4 tells us, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett said, in an interview, that they don't correct or discipline their children because it's "too negative." What????

That is not parenting.  But too many think it is and that's why our culture is the way it is.

So I struggle with trying to find a balance.

I would like to be somewhere between Atticus Finch and Andy Griffith.


Finding this balance means that sometimes I have to choose: either my house is a mess or I am.

It may mean that whatever task I'm doing will have to wait while I deal with some issue or problem, or just take time to spend with whichever child needs my attention at that moment. It means that I will screw up quite a bit but that I just have to realize that no matter what I do, they will find something to blame me for in therapy when they've grown up.

The most important thing for me is to let them know that I love them and that most of my actions are born out of that love. Sometimes they are misguided, but I work hard to make them independent and, more importantly, godly men when they grow up. I have to be a role model to them and they will notice far more what I do than what I say. But I want them to know that, no matter what, I do love them and I thank God that He has blessed me with the opportunity and honor to be their father.










Monday, December 1, 2014

A Gift For Good


Since Christmas is soon approaching, I thought I would highlight a potential present that also does good for others. This one is Bridgewater Candles.


They are out of Spartanburg, South Carolina. The candles are made here in the United States. What I love about this company is that they donate a portion of every sale of each jar candle to feed an orphan. They do this through the organization Rice Bowls, a non-profit organization that wants to feed orphans worldwide.

There are over 140 million orphans in the world and every 2 seconds an orphan dies of malnutrition. This company wants to help change that. Their motto is "Light a Candle, Feed a Child" and they have already fed 4,081,614 meals. They even have a page where you can see in what countries they are feeding kids and even see the kids themselves.


Here is a link to their website:
http://www.bridgewatercandles.com/


Here is a link to Rice Bowls:
http://ricebowls.org/