Collateral Damage // Dr. Chirban

A forty-five year old woman who was twelve years old when her parents divorced shared this experience: “My mom put all my dad’s clothes and lunchbox in the car, drove to the woman he was having an affair with, and had me throw all of his clothes on the woman’s lawn, knocked on the door with his lunchbox and told her to make my dad’s lunch for work the next day.”

That is just one of the many raw and revealing quotes from the book Collateral Damage by Dr. John T. Chirban. The book is written to parents as a guide to help navigate the murky waters of divorce. It focuses on steps parents can take to help their children while also caring for themselves through the process.

The book is based on the author’s story of going through a divorce, his education and experience as a psychologist and a five-year survey that was geared toward the parents and the children of divorce.

Dr. Chirban, through his involvement with the Dr. Phil show, was in a unique position to reach many people with the Divorce Study. Over 10,000 people responded to the survey and numerous quotes, like the one above, are shared throughout the book.  Some of the quotes are from the children of divorce and others are from the perspective of the parents. Many of them are heart-breaking as you read the pain and loss caused by the dissolution of families.

Dr. Chirban speaks to the challenges that children face as their parents go through the divorce process.  While he highlights some positive steps parents can take, he also reveals some of the missteps that have occurred in the lives of many.

Here’s just one example from the Divorce Study:” The study showed that 51 percent of divorced parents said they spoke with their children and believed they had met their needs, yet 87 percent of children reported they had no one to talk to about their feelings during the divorce.” (pg. 22)

One of the many challenges that parents going through a divorce must face is how they care for their children, allow them to express freely their emotions and process their feelings while also trying to work through their own hurts and hangups with the end of the marriage.  Dr. Chirban provides a good resource for parents to use to address both sides of that equation.

While I think this book is helpful for anyone who works with children and families and for people who have already gone through a divorce, where I think it would be most helpful is for those who are considering or in the process of divorce.  Dr. Chirban shares good information that can help parents care for themselves and their children.  The quotes shared and steps given provide parents some clarity during a confusing and emotionally charged season.

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Experiencing Generosity on our Adoption Journey

I shared last week that we are back on the road to adoption.  Eli will be one month tomorrow and we are moving forward with the different steps that lead to finalizing the adoption.

As we have relaunched this journey, we have been reminded that we are not doing it alone.  While we knew that was true, people have expressed love and support in a number of ways.

While I enjoy blogging, I recognize I don’t have a huge audience that frequent my posts.  However, what I shared last week brought about a huge jump in visitors.  I know that is because so many have a heart for adoption and shared our adoption story.

We also saw contributions to our Brackemyre Family Adoption Page. It is a humbling experience when people give from their own resources to support what we have decided to do.  We are nearing 50% of our goal on our page and had a couple of unexpected gifts come in the last week.  With that has been given, we have been able to stay current with our attorneys and other home study needs.

If you are one who gave on our page or shared it or read our storyTHANK YOU!

As we continue down the road to adoption, we’d love for you to join us in one of three ways:

1) Visit our AdoptTogether page to read a little more of our story

2) Share our AdoptTogether page with those in your circles of influence. Perhaps there is someone you know who has a heart for adoption.

3) If you are able, you can give through AdoptTogether toward adoption expenses.

We have had people give us diapers and outfits, provide meals and stop in “just to see the baby.”  We are truly grateful and look forward to the next few miles on our adoption journey.

Back on the Road to Adoption

Many months ago I posted about our bump on the road to adoption. We had made connections with a birth mom and were preparing to welcome a new child into our home. Birth mom decided to parent and our journey toward adoption seemed to stall. We had a number of people who had given toward adoption expenses through our AdoptTogether page.

Then last month – enter Eli.

Through a friend of a friend we were connected with a birth mother who was due early July. She decided to pursue adoption with us. We made plans to meet her on a Monday – two weeks before her scheduled C-section. As it turns out, Eli made an early entrance on the next day. Eli spent several days in the hospital and we were communicating with our attorney to get all appropriate paperwork in place so we could gain custody. A week after his birth, we brought Eli home.

Due to the money already given through our AdoptTogether and another grant we received, we were able to cover some of the initial expenses. There are still other expenses associated with adoption, including some due to this being an interstate adoption. We are adopting a Hoosier!

There are at least three things you can do if you feel lead to help with our adoption.

1) Visit our AdoptTogether page to read a little more of our story

2) Share our AdoptTogether page with those in your circles of influence. Perhaps there is someone you know who has a heart for adoption.

3) If you are able, you can give through AdoptTogether toward adoption expenses. While there are many worthy causes and many other families pursuing adoption, we’d love any support people feel led to give.

In our experience, adoption has been a period of waiting and more waiting followed by a flurry of activity to bring a child home.  Thanks for taking the time to read about and even be a part of our adoption journey.

Do Your Children Believe // Terence Chatmon

Read the Bible.

Go to church.

Pray.

Some pretty standard answers that are given when asked what we should do to grow in our relationship with God. All are pretty good indicators that we are moving in the right direction and are generally accepted as steps all followers of Jesus should be taking.

In the opening pages of his book Do Your Children Believe?, author Terence Chatmon shares this statistic:

“. . . the hard truth remains that fewer than 10 percent of Christian families ever really engage with one another for the express purpose of encouraging or informing their growing faith. And not 1 percent could show you any kind of written plan that even briefly describes the spiritual direction they’re praying for and working together toward.”

So while we know we should read the Bible and pray, it seems that the majority of families do not practice those things together.  Into that gap of knowing verses doing (especially in the context of the family), Chatmon offers his insights.

Now normally the emotion that is associated with Bible reading and prayer seems to be guilt.  Guilt that we don’t read enough.  Guilt that we don’t pray enough.  Guilt that we aren’t consistent in either arena. Chatmon doesn’t pile onto that feeling of inadequacy.  Instead he shares his journey of how this became a priority in his life, even admitting that for a number of years he was not actively involved in doing what he writes about. He mentions multiple times that he doesn’t have it all figured out nor is he an expert. He confesses that he is not a Biblical scholar, but has in recent years taken seriously the role of leading his family.  From that experience and obvious passion he offers his thoughts.

In the chapters of the book the author offers ideas on identifying each family’s values, crafting a vision and a mission along with other steps to help families achieve a written plan for family faith development.

One of the things I appreciated as I read the book was that while Chatmon offered direction and shared many personal stories, he didn’t give too many specifics on what his family put together.  He didn’t want someone to fall into the trap of simply adopting what his family did.  He stressed the importance of each family identifying their own values, their own mission, their own prayer focus, ultimately making their plan their own.

While he shared some good insights and clear steps, there were a couple of phrases I highlighted that I considered memorable.

Near the end of the book Chatmon was expressing a long view of his family’s faith development plan.  He painted this picture:

“The thought of my kid sitting around a table with their kids, teaching and training them how to sit around with their kids – my great-grandkids – learning and living the ways of the Lord . . . I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”

His vision reaches beyond even his own lifetime.  The generational impact could move far beyond his own years on this earth.  A pretty powerful picture.

In the final chapter he concludes the book by underscoring why he is passionate about families developing a written plan:

” . . . my most direct route to fulfilling this enormous calling of mine (and ours) is to live it and share it and instill it within those who are closest to me:  my family. They are the essential starting point where any hope of my being effective, any hope of becoming my very best for the kingdom, must begin.”

Chatmon offers practical tools to help families (especially fathers) to become intentional about a faith development plan and create specific steps to leave a spiritual legacy.

Why Should We Be Kind?

We know we are supposed to be kind, right?

It seems like the good thing to do.  The nice thing to do.  Even the neighborly thing to do.  We should be kind.

But why?  Why should we strive to be kind?  Because someone has been kind to us? What if they are unkind?  Does that mean we are released from the responsibility of being kind?

As my wife and I are raising our now three-year old, it’s something we have had to think through again.  As good parents, we want him to be kind.  But if you have ever had the experience of convincing a toddler that he or she should be kind (or share or say “thank you” or “I’m sorry”), you know that it can be somewhat challenging.

I was reminded of an important truth we all need to hold to as I had a conversation with him one evening.  I asked him, “Why should you be kind to other people?”  His answer fell into the space of “because mommy and daddy said so.”

That’s not a bad answer, but then I remembered that there is a deeper reason for him, or any of us, to be kind.

So I told him, “We should be kind because God has been kind to us.”

Because God is love, we should love others.

Because God is truth, we should speak truthfully.

Because God forgives us, we should forgive others.

Because God is compassionate, we should show compassion.

That conversation is one I know we will have many times with our son, but it’s also a great reminder to us, especially to those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus.

God has been kind to us through His Son Jesus and we should be grateful for His kindness.  Then, we should strive to be kind to others because of God’s kindness to us.

Paul says it this way in Ephesians 4 & 5:  “…be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”

So, as you go through your week, be kind.  Because God is kind and He has been kind to us.

Some Good (& Free!) Parent Resources

Lunch Box Note from Matthew Paul Turner's Instragram (https://instagram.com/p/6zkxRKB4WS/)

Lunch Box Note from Matthew Paul Turner’s Instagram (https://instagram.com/p/6zkxRKB4WS/)

About a week ago I received an email with some free resources for parents.  After looking through the resources, I thought they were definitely worth sharing.

These resources come from a ministry called Parent Ministry.net.  They desire to help churches build an excellent parent ministry.

Around the same time I received the email, I remember seeing a lunch box note post on Matthew Paul Turner’s Instagram account. He shared a lunch box note he left for his son.  It underscored the importance of the resources that Parent Ministry shared.

The first resource is called Lunch Box Notes. They provide ideas for parents to use to leave various notes of spiritual encouragement to their children.  They offered 50 ideas for parents of children and parents of teenagers. You can view, download or print these PDF resources at these links:

Lunch Box Notes for Parents of Children.

Lunch Box Notes for Parents of Teenagers.

The second resource Parent Ministry provided was short videos for parents.  The videos are geared for parents of toddlers to parents of teens.  They deal with a variety of subjects that may speak to the specific season of parenting you may find yourself in. If some of the videos don’t apply to you, my guess is you have a friend or family member who could benefit from hearing one or more of them.

Besides, who couldn’t use some free parenting tips?!?

You can check out each of the videos below.  It is set up as a playlist and there are 8 different videos.  You can watch all 8 or just select the ones that interest you.

Fatherless to Fatherfull

Last night my wife saw this video in a post on Facebook.  Since we have become involved with adoption, we feel like we are a part of a growing adoption community.  This video is such a great description of what adoption is.  The kids couldn’t be any cuter and their delivery is certainly on point.

As Father’s Day approaches, it is a great reminder of how God wants to be our “really” Dad.  Enjoy and share!