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Discover the Top 4 Tips for Parenting Older Adopted Children

Discover the Top 4 Tips for Parenting Older Adopted Children

It’s all paid off. Your adoption journey has taken the most amazing turn ever, and you are preparing to welcome your new child into your life! Everyone involved has some type of emotions that they are dealing with, from sheer excitement and happiness to doubt and fear. These are all very natural emotions. But emotions are not solid predictors for what the future holds, so try to keep yours and your child’s in perspective as you adjust to each other.

Your decision to adopt an older child will bring with it some complexity with regard to your lives. It’s the reality of your situation. However, there are many things that you and your spouse can do to make this transition for your family a very positive experience that could create many wonderful memories and allow each of you to grow from.

Here are a few tips that parents of older adopted children may find useful:

  1. Keep your child active. A bored or idle child is never good. Not only does it encourage laziness, but it also can provide too much time for focusing on negatives. Before you bring your child home, you should have researched and planned activities that he or she can do on their own and with your family.
  2. Try not to stray away from discussing “difficult” topics such as your child’s past life and information about the birthparents. These shouldn’t be considered taboo in your family. Failing to discuss them will create a wall and will limit your ability to truly relate and understand your child, your child’s feelings, and what you will have to do as a parent to help your child to be the best person that he or she can be. That was your child’s life, and your child has the right to talk about it and own those thoughts.
  3. Make positive reinforcement a definitive in your family. Reward for the big and the small. Refocus less than positive behavior through discussion and with compassion. Your child needs to know that he or she is “good” and that personal success is attainable. Do your best not to set up unrealistic expectations for your child’s adjustment or behavior. It may take time for your child to learn what is acceptable versus inappropriate behavior.
  4. Seek support for yourself and for any member of your family that could benefit from it. Whether it’s the help of a therapist or a spiritual adviser, you need to know that your family is not alone that there is help available if and when you need it. There may be some issues that your child has to deal with that you won’t be able to fully grasp or understand. Enlisting the help of a professional is not something that should cause shame or anxiety. It may be a necessity that could result in making all of your lives much more happy and satisfying.

Believe in yourself and in the power of love. You may have waited a lifetime for your child. It doesn’t matter how your family was formed, the most important thing is that you are one. Love unconditionally, realize that this child needs you, bask in the happy times, and learn from the tough times. You’re going to make it…together!

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The Possibilities of Keeping an Adoption Journal

Writing in a journal is a great way to remember your path to adopt a babyThe Possibilities of Keeping an Adoption Journal

Making the decision to adoption is a momentous one. It will be a life changing event for you and your spouse. One great way to keep a record of events is to write in a journal!

There is so much happening right now and so much to think about. There are papers to sign, profiles to make and a very important home study to complete. This experience is going to alter the course of your life forever! It is difficult to look at anything with much clarity right now.

When I was waiting for my wonderful son, I bought a small hard bound journal. I began writing in it right away. Putting my thoughts and hopes down on paper was therapeutic. Writing helped me to focus on my goal and organize my thoughts.

Later, I was to discover how helpful it was to have those feelings and thoughts recorded; not only for my husband and me, but for my son to read when he is grown. I know my son will thank me some day, when he reads my journal and is able to fill in the gaps. He will want to know how he came to be our forever son and what we went through to bring him home.

Writing is a way of sending love letters to your child now! If you have a picture in your heart of the child you are waiting for, write it down. Record your hopes and dreams for your baby in your journal. Express the feelings you are experiencing.

The future of your family will be bright and busy. Let your journal remind you of the person you were, before he came along. Give your baby the gift of recorded family history.  Let the glory of the Lord be revealed through the miraculous building of your family!

The eyes of the Lord run to and fro

Throughout the whole earth,

To show Himself strong on behalf of those

Whose heart is loyal to Him.

2 Chronicles 16:9

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Ten Ways to Save for What You Want

This Mardie Caldwell article helps you save money in order to adopt a babyTen Ways to Save for What You Want

The adoption process can be expensive. By the time you have paid the attorney fees, home study costs, the adoption facilitation fees, and possibly birth mother expenses, the total can reach close to $25,000 dollars!  You might be experiencing major sticker shock after looking into adoption. If you make payments on a newer car, then you can afford to adopt!  A car will last 10 to 15 years, but a family is for a lifetime!

Todd and Shylin hoped to adopt a newborn infant, but their monthly income just covered their monthly expenses. The young couple decided to sit down and look closely at their expenditures. Todd realized that his big SUV was guzzling hundreds of dollars of extra gas every month. The payments and insurance on the car were huge! They sold the car and Todd began riding his bike to work. His health and mood improved.

Todd and Shylin began putting away their savings in a “baby” account. They, also, went out to dinner less and hiked more. They chose to skip their annual Hawaiian vacation and went camping, instead. Within six months, they had saved enough to see their adoption dream come true!

Here are some cost saving strategies to help you save for your adoption:

  1. Drive a small, older car. It is cheaper and the insurance is much less.
  2. Fill up your gas tank in the morning. Colder air creates denser gasoline. If you wait until afternoon, the heat will expand the gas and your gallon of gas will actually be less.
  3. Eliminate cable or Direct TV for one year. Check out DVDs for free from the library or from Redbox for only one dollar.
  4. Don’t drink bottled water! Water from the tap is free.
  5. Shop for clothes at second hand shops and hospice stores. You will save more than 60 percent on your clothes budget.
  6. Make your own coffee at home. It should cost you ten cents to make versus four dollars at those gourmet shops.
  7. Go camping instead of staying at expensive hotels.
  8. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Also, wash your hands. These simple habits will cut down on illness. Each trip to the doctor costs me forty dollars!
  9. Refinance your home to a lower rate. The current rates for a 30 year fixed are hovering around 3.82 percent. If your current rate is 6 percent on a 150,000 loan, you could save hundreds each month!
  10. Plant a garden and barter with friends.

I wish you the best on your quest to finance your adoption! It can be done with just a little forethought and sacrifice. In these crazy financial times, you need to be creative and determined to see your goal through to the end!

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Considering Christian Open Adoption

Considering Christian Open Adoption

Ron and Liz were open to a semi-open adoption, sending photos and letters through our adoption center. They clearly stated that they were not comfortable with more, nor were they open to occasional visits. They were chosen by Renee, a teenage birth mother who preferred no ongoing communication whatsoever.

At the hospital, as Ron and Liz were awaiting their son’s birth, they met Renee’s parents and instantly hit it off! Both couples were in their early 40’s, and during the long labor, learned that they had a lot in common. A few days later, when it was time for the baby to be discharged, Ron and Liz realized that they wanted to see Renee’s family. Now, more than six years later, they still spend a week each summer together.

“We weren’t looking for a relationship like that,” Ron shares. “But God had it waiting for us! They are part of our son’s family, and He opened our hearts to see that they are now part of our family, too. We didn’t know what He had in store. Adoption has been a life-changing experience for us.”

In the case of a domestic adoption where there is little contact with the birth mother, you can still gather enough information to be able to answer questions your child will have. In adopting a foreign-born child, you will learn very little about the birth parents, but you can usually discover enough about the village the child came from or the circumstance that brought him to the orphanage or foster care. Children who grow up knowing that they were adopted by honest, trustworthy, and supportive parents will grow up with a healthier sense of self.

Open or semi-open adoptions are most beneficial for all involved. The birth mother has the peace she needs that her child is happy and healthy, and that she made the right decision. The adoptive parents have access to the birth family should they need medical information or have other questions. And the child has the opportunity to know that his adoption was a choice made out of great love, with a birth mother who cared more about him than her own desires, and that his adoptive parents embrace not only him, but his biological heritage, as well. Parenting is less stressful and fears are calmed when the birth mother is known, embraced, and available.

Rely on Him when you feel doubt or need strength. He has all we need.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19

Oftentimes, God is more in tune with what would be good for us and our adoption. Allow Him to prepare your heart for the adoption He knows you can handle. This can mean putting your emotions aside until you find peace, as I did in my adoption. The benefits far outweigh any risk.

Called to Adoption is a new book for Christians who are feeling God leading them to consider building their family through adoption. Author and Adoption Professional Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P. used her own adoption journey and the experience she has gained in helping thousands of couples adopt to create this Christian book for adoption. Caldwell’s nationwide adoption center, Lifetime Adoption, has been helping families adopt since 1986. Find out more at

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A Taste of Italy in Orange, Virginia

A Taste of Italy in Orange, Virginia

While traveling through Central Virginia, just outside of Charlottesville, my husband and I decided to stay in Orange, Virginia and check out the local restaurants and small shops. We had a recommendation to visit a well established Italian Pizzeria and Ristorante, known as Mario’s, the home of Authentic Pizza and Real Italian Cuisine conveniently located at 269 Madison Road, on the main thoroughfare in Orange, Virginia.

Mario’s, home of Authentic Pizza and Real Italian Cuisine is located at 269 Madison Road, on the main thoroughfare in Orange Virgina. They are open Monday through Thursday from 11 am to 11 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 12 midnight. For take out or Pizza delivery call them at (540) 672-3344. Major credit cards accepted.

Driving up to the little restaurant, we noticed this small eatery was packing them in. The parking lot was filled to capacity on a Monday night at 7:30 pm. Established 11 years ago by Ignazio and Janet Abbene, a hospitable husband and wife team, they and their children added to the true Italian family atmosphere that made us feel we were in Nona’s kitchen for a traditional Italian supper.

Mario’s features a nice all you can eat salad bar, featuring time honored Italian recipes. There are gourmet chicken dishes from Italy, homemade spicy meatballs, and rich homemade marinara sauces over fresh pasta. The savory Virginia clams in a shell was out of this world, and the hearty homemade soups, (of which we tried more than a few) warmed us clear to our toes, not including the delicious specialty peppers and sausage dish we reveled in that was fantastic. And that was all before the Pizza! The Stromboli was large and handmade, as was the soft seasoned bread sticks and Calzone!

The extensive menu features an assortment of traditional Italian dishes the way they should be; from baked dishes, (Piatti Al Forno), to seafood dishes, (Piatti Di Mare), and of course traditional round New York style Pizza (Neapolitan). Their wines covered a variety of vintages and the dessert tray was to die for.

Enjoy Italian food on a trip with kidsWe were impressed with Tracy, our server. She was gracious and attentive at all times. The festive walls donned letters of glowing gratitude from nearby schools and organizations for Mario’s contribution to the youth of the city of Orange.

Mr. & Mrs. Abbene open their restaurant’s kitchen to local school age children for demonstrations on the art of pizza making, helping them learn the creation of a great pizza. They also award a free pizza to each school-aged child that commits and succeeds at reading 15 books – making them unique in their dedication to the communities children’s literary needs. As you enter the restaurant, you will notice the many awards and glowing letters from leaders honoring the Restaurateurs from ceiling to floor.

Most locals agree Mario’s offers the best in town when it comes to Italian dishes and Pizza both in price and for their generous servings and quality products. Your dining experience is sure to make you feel at home bringing a smile to your face and satisfying any hearty appetite.

Mario’s is open 6 days a week and is closed on Sunday. They are open Monday through Thursday from 11 am to 11 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 12 midnight. Mario’s is the only restaurant open late in the evening. For take out or Pizza delivery call them at (540) 672-3344. Major credit cards accepted.

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Farm Stands For Fresh Fruits And Veggies

Learn about farm stands and farmer's markets from Mardie CaldwellFarm Stands For Fresh Fruits And Veggies

Traveling is meant to offer you unique experiences that you would otherwise not be able to enjoy by staying at home.  Your adventures could take you to another country, a particular attraction or a specific event.  But much of the lure of travel is getting to experience what the locals experience.  One of the best examples of this is their food.  A good place to find out about what a location has to offer is to visit one of the area’s farm stands.

A farm stand can tell you a lot about a community and its people.  It lets you in on how they labor to bring certain items there to sell and it gives you a unique perspective on where some of your favorite fruits and vegetables come from before they hit your supermarket.

One of the most fascinating experiences that you can encounter at a local farm stand are foods that you might not have ever sampled, or even seen before, for that matter.  These might be exotic items that you would only find in the most upscale dining locations back home, but to the locals who grow them, they are a common, everyday indulgence.

The individuals who run the farm stands are equally as interesting.  To visitors, it might seem like a simple way of life to grow and sell the products of your labor.  But many of them rely on the crops that they produce as their only source of income.

When you arrive in a new town, ask around for the location of some of these stands.  The locals will be glad to direct you to them and can advise you as to which ones offer the best quality for your money.  Just make sure before you leave your room that you are able to bring what you purchase back to where you are staying, as some establishments will not allow it.

These farm stands are sometimes lone individuals peddling their own items, but they are often multiple stands joined together to give you a much better selection of foods.  Take the time to talk to the growers and ask questions about their different types of fruits and vegetables.  It will be so much more interesting from then on when you partake of that particular food if you know more about it and how it is grown and harvested.

There is nothing fresher than sampling a local food right from the field. The foods look better, and have more to offer your taste buds when they have just made their way from the harvest to your hand.   Once you delve into the freshness that this experience has to offer, you will never look at these foods the same way again.

I have discovered wonderful produce while traveling that I truly wish were available at home, including noni fruit and plantains in the Bahamas, star fruit, bread fruit, and apple bananas in Hawaii, okra in the south, and gooseberries in England. Another item that I routinely find and bring home are dried spices and teas that are unique to the destination.

Whenever I travel to another country or a new area, we always try foods we haven’t tried before, children included.  Once when traveling, my young daughter chose tripe, not knowing what it was!  She insisted upon it and so we tried it, using local spices and techniques.  She didn’t care much for it, and liked it even less after we explained what it was.

You might not be able to bring any of these fruits or vegetables back home with you, but it will be a great addition to your travels to be able to see them in their native habitat. Once you return home, these items will no longer be just a simple food to you.  From then on whenever you pick up that particular fruit or vegetable that you encountered on your visit, you will know the story and the history behind it.

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Build Your Travel Budget Simply

Learn how to budget so you can afford to travelBuild Your Travel Budget Simply

Let’s face it, times are hard.  We hear people all the time say that they would love to take some time off and travel, but they just can’t afford to do so.  It’s true that in reality, we are all having to watch our money and where it goes.  But if someone is really serious about wanting to travel, they will find ways to save up for it without breaking the bank.

Before you begin, you need a target.  Just throwing change in a jar and hoping for the best isn’t good enough. You need a clear, obtainable goal.  Sit down and decide where you want to go and approximately how much it will take to make it happen.  As your fund builds, you will be able to track the progress.

Take your travel budget and divide it by the number of weeks until you leave.  This gives you a per week goal.  If you save more in a week, don’t subtract it from the following week.  This can be considered splurge money.

Now, ask yourself: how bad do you want to go on vacation?  If you are truly serious enough, start cutting back.  The goal here is to delay satisfaction now so you can gain satisfaction later.  But the goal isn’t just to cut spending, but to actually save the savings.  If you save something, put the money you would have spent in your vacation fund.  Don’t leave it in your account to spend on something else.  You will just be trading one expense for another and you’ll be no closer to leaving on your trip.

Here are some great tips to quickly saving up money for your vacation:

Instead of hitting the drive through for one of those expensive coffee drinks, make them at home.  You can get all the ingredients they use and cut it down to a fraction of the cost.

Eat at home.  Eating out is a tremendous expense, especially with kids. If you have a tendency to eat out during the week due to busy schedules, take time on the weekend to cook ahead and package meals in the freezer.  When you get home, warm them up and save your cash.  This goes for eating lunch out at work, too.

Clean out the house.  Garage sales are an easy way to generate some quick cash and at the same time, free up some much-needed living space in your home.  Everyone has things they can do without and have been threatening to get rid of.  Now is your chance to profit from it.

Don’t spend anything smaller than a five dollar bill.  Believe it or not, if you get in the habit of saving your change and one dollar bills, they will add up quickly.   Almost every family has a change jar where they routinely dump their coins.  Now is the time to cash it in.

Instead of having pizza delivered, buy it at the grocery store and cook it yourself.  You’ll be surprised how much of a markup there is in delivered food.

Cut out non-essentials.  Do your own nails, forgo the pedicure, sunbathe at home instead of the tanning bed, let your hair grow a little longer this year.  All of these miscellaneous expenses add up over time.

Involve the kids! When the whole family works together towards a goal, the rewards are enjoyed that much more.  Instead of renting movies or video games, swap with another family for a week.  It’s free, and even if it isn’t the latest and greatest, it’s new to you.

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3 Ideas for the Perfect Family Reunion

3 Ideas for the Perfect Family Reunion

Getting together with family members that you haven’t seen in a long time can be a wonderful, enjoyable experience.  Many people remember the old-time family reunions that were boring and basic, but these days there are all different kinds of options to have the perfect family reunion at interesting locations.  Instead of meeting for a cookout at the park, consider some of these unique ideas for your next family reunion.

One great family reunion gathering spot is a cruise ship.  You can imagine the huge amounts of fun that a family can have experiencing a cruise together.  From the unending food buffets to the unique sightseeing destinations, a family reunion on cruise ship can be a ton of fun.  There is plenty to keep everyone entertained including Vegas-style shows and dance clubs. Another great thing about going on a cruise is that everyone still gets to do things that they’re interested in while also being with family the whole time.  No one has to worry about cooking or making all the preparations as the cruise ship staff will take care of everything including the clean up!

Our family from across the country enjoyed a cruise together.  We got to spend so much time together talking, sharing the destinations, and simply having the fun together, the type of fun we hadn’t had since we were children.  Since everyone had their own cabins, they could come and go from the activities as they wanted and not worry about traveling back and forth via car to participate.

Another great idea for the perfect family reunion is renting a vacation home.  If you like the beach, for instance, you could rent a large, luxurious vacation home for the entire family.  Everyone can share in the grocery expenses to feed the entire group for several days while you enjoy each other and the beach. Being able to have a reunion at any vacation spot will provide family members with wonderful memories. There are many locations you can look into. The beach is just one option.

Finally, another unique destination for a family reunion is camping or renting a cabin at a national or state park.  This can be as involved as you make it.  For instance, you can do old-style camping with a rustic cabin or even tents.  Or, you can rent a very nice log home in the mountains and enjoy the quaint atmosphere with family. Not everyone loves the idea of “roughing it” in the outdoors, so make sure that your first priority is the comfort of all of your family members.  Plus, if you have any elderly family members who wouldn’t be able to camp out, having a cabin is a wonderful compromise.

One year we went caravanned with our RV’s.  Those who didn’t have RV’s rented a tent-trailer or similar vehicle.  We traveled backroads together, exploring family birthplaces and destinations important to our history that some of us had never seen before.  It was a treasured trip to young and old alike!

Planning the perfect family reunion means different things to different people.  The main idea is to get to see family members that you don’t always get to be around and enjoy their company.  The location really should be a secondary consideration.  However, many people don’t get to travel a lot, so it makes sense to try to build as many memories as you can.  You can make it a yearly event where all of the family gets together in a new and exciting location.  Plus, changing the location from time to time allows family members who may live further away to be involved in the reunion as well.

Talk to members of your family and do an informal poll.  You can do this by phone, in person, via email, or even just on Facebook.  Getting your family members involved will excite them about the possibilities and give them the opportunity to actively participate in the success of your time together.

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8 Simple Tips to Ask for What You Want

8 Simple Tips to Ask for What You Want

Sometimes getting what we want is as simple as asking for it. But more often than not we need to work a little harder to get it. How you ask for something in your relationship or your life can determine if you will be able to get it.

Here are my 8 simple things to keep in mind the next time you are preparing to ask for something you want:


  1. Be Certain – Expect to get what you want. Your confidence will shine through to the person you are asking.
  2. Attention – Make sure you set up a time or even a moment when you can have the person’s full attention. If that means you need to catch your husband during a commercial break, do it. But find a time that you can have undivided attention, it will increase your odds of getting what you want.
  3. Clarity – Keep your request short and to the point. Consider even making some notes beforehand. By having clarity in your request you show respect to the person you are asking and showing that you value their time as much as they do.
  4. Passion – A person who is genuinely passionate about what they are asking for is more likely to get it than someone who just sort of wants something. Passion is like certainty and it will show to the person you are asking.
  5. Fun – Have fun with it. Don’t be too stuck in the details and order to forget about the humor or creative side. Smiling and being humorous can captivate your audience and open their minds to your proposal.
  6. Barter – Trading a favor for a favor or a service for a service is bartering. If you need to offer to do something in order to get what you want, be prepared to do it. At the very least be prepared to explain what they are going to get out of it. People always want to know what is in it for them.
  7. Repetition – If at first you don’t succeed- try, try again. You may have to go through a few “No” answers before you find your yes. Or perhaps you will even have to approach the same person again to try and get what you want. Don’t be afraid to ask a second or third time for what you want. Your persistence could pay off.
  8. The Right Person – Make sure you are asking someone who will be able to give you what you want. Asking the right person can make a world of difference in whether you get what you’re asking for or not.

Many people go their whole life without getting what they really want. Sometimes we don’t get what we want simply because we were just too afraid to ask for it. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need or want in your relationships or professional life. If you prepare yourself, and have the confidence and passion, you could get what you ask for easily and quickly.

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