Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 15

Read Luke 2:40.

Discussion Questions:
Who grew and became strong?
What was Jesus filled with?

Activity: Play thumb war and see who's the strongest.

Pray for the local churches who are helping to meet the needs of orphans in their cities.

Give $.02 for every pair of shoes you own.

Advent Calendar: Day 14

Read Luke 2:36-39.

Discussion Questions:
Who did not depart from the temple?
How old was Anna?
Who performed everything according to the Law?
Where did Joseph, Mary and Jesus return to?

Activity: Christmas Madlibs
Print on of these fun Christmas madlibs:

Pray for the orphans who are going to turn 16 this year. In most countries, the average age that an orphan must leave the orphanage is 16.

Give $4 for every car you own.

Advent Calendar: Day 13

Read Luke 2:25-35.

Discussion Questions:
Who was a righteous and devout man?
Who was Simeon supposed to see before he dies?

Activity: Countdown to Christmas
Print this fun countdown to Christmas calendar.

Pray for children with special needs in Eastern Europe. These children rarely leave the hospital with their biological family, but instead are put into institutions.

Give $.05 for every light switch in your house.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 12

Read Luke 2:21-24.

Discussion Questions:
What was the baby called?
What city did they bring Jesus?
Where did they go while in Jerusalem?
Who did they present Jesus to?
What did they offer to the Lord?

Activity: Origami Dove
Here's an easy origami bird tutorial:

Or here's one if you want an actual origami dove:

Pray for the 17 million orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets.

Give $.03 for every board game that you own.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Reminder Notes Around My House

If you've ever been to my house within the last 6 months then you've probably seen white pieces of paper with writing EVERYWHERE (upstairs and downstairs). It looks kind of tacky since it's just taped up on the wall-no frame or anything to make it look nice.

These pieces of paper have helped me to get through the roughest of times with Smalls. They have one or two sentences on them from the books that I've read about adoption, parenting, and healing a traumatized child. Since they have been a big help to me, I figured they might be a big help to you too. I have these notes strategically placed throughout my house. I put them where the most incidents occur or happen.

I can't sight what book I got each quote from, but I've probably already recommended it on my blog at one time or another.

Reminder Notes:

By the TV: Would you rather play quietly in front of the TV or noisily in your room?

Would you like to walk to your room by yourself or with me?

Would you like to walk to your calm down spot by yourself or with me?

I'll be glad to talk to you as soon as you're calm.

I listen to people who do not (insert bad behavior- yell, whine, kick, scream) at me.

Do I need to remind you on what to do or do you remember?

(If Smalls breaks something) How are you going to pay me back from your destruction? And I'll suggest extra chores or money making opportunities.

Wow! That sounds awful. How are you going to handle it? And we can come up with solutions to her problems together.

I love you to much to argue. Whenever Smalls tries to argue, I use this saying on repeat mode and after about 5 minutes she gives up.

I hear you.

Do you have a favorite saying that you like to tell your kids?

Advent Calendar: Day 11

Read Psalm 148.

Discussion Questions:
Who are we praising?
Why are we praising Jesus?
What are ways of praising Jesus?

Activity: Noisemakers

Pray for the missionaries who are actively involved in orphan care. Pray for them as they proclaim the Gospel while they try to meet the basic needs of orphans.

Give $.20 for every coat you own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 10

Read Luke 2:8-20.

Discussion Questions:
Who did the angel appear to?
What were the shepherds doing?
What did the angel tell the shepherds?
What did the shepherds do after the angels left?

Activity: Make a sheep.

Pray for the 67 million children around the world who do not attend primary school.

Give $2.75 if you have received more than a 4th grade education.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 9

Read Isaiah 9:1-7.

Discussion Questions:
What shall we call the child's name?

Activity: Coloring page 
Christian Preschool Printables has a nativity coloring sheet for free to print out.

Pray for orphans who are living in institutions around the world. Pray for the living conditions in these institutions and that they are meeting the needs of the children in their care.

Give $.07 for every drawer/cupboard in your kitchen.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 8

Read Luke 2: 6-7.

Discussion Questions:
Do you remember what town Joseph and Mary traveled to?
What happened to Mary while they were in Bethlehem?
Where did she lay the baby?

Activity: Manger Craft

Instead of using felt for baby Jesus (since I don't have any on hand), we will draw and cut out a picture of baby Jesus.

Pray for Asia, which has the largest population of orphaned children-about 60 million.

Give $.75 for every night you did not go to bed hungry this week.

Advent Calendar: Day 7

Read Luke 2:1-5.

Discussion Questions:
What is a decree?
Who sent a decree to the people?
What did the decree tell the people to do?
What town did Joseph and Mary travel to?

Activity: Make your own decree.
Get a piece of construction paper. Brain storm with your kids about their decrees. You can use a commandment from the Bible, a Bible verse, rules around the house or at school, or it could be silly like, "no boys allowed in my room". Write the decree on the paper and roll it up like a scroll. Your kids will have fun informing everyone about their decrees!

Here's an idea of how to make your decree into a scroll:

About 28% of foster care children reside with a relative. Pray for the 72% that are in unfamiliar homes with unfamiliar caretakers.

Give $.10 for every room you have in your house.

Advent Calendar: Day 6

Read Luke 1:46-56.

Discussion Questions:
Who is talking?
Who is Mary's Savior? (verse 47)
How long did Mary stay with Elizabeth?

Draw a picture of a close relative of yours that you spend lots of time with.

Pray for the 27,000 foster children in the U.S. who age out every year. Most of them have little financial or emotional support.

Give $1 for every immediate family member you have.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 5

Read Luke 1:39-45.
Discussion Questions:
Where did Mary go?
Did she go fast or slow to Elizabeth's house?
Why was Elizabeth so happy to see Mary? 
What did the baby do in Elizabeth's tummy? 

Activity: Make a face.
If you don't have any cardboard, use paper plates instead. This is also a great activity for an adopted child who is learning how to appropriately express themselves.

Another option for an activity: 
I suggest making a happy face to go along with our story.

Pray for the orphan care workers and orphanages in the world that are trying to meet the needs of all the orphans. Pray for our churches to see the needs of orphan care around the world and that the Gospel will be proclaimed to the orphans.

Give $.40 for every Bible in your home.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 4

Read Matthew 1:18-25.

Discussion Questions:
Who appeared to Joseph in a dream?
What did the angel say?
(In verse 23) What should they call His name?
What does that name mean? Immanuel

Optional Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14.

Activity: What does your name mean?
Look up your name on the internet or in a name book to find out the meaning of your name. Ask your parents why they chose that name for you. Or if you're adopted and your parents kept your original name look up that name to see what it means.

Helpful Links:
-this link is also great for non-American names. I've even found my daughter's with the original spelling!
-At the bottom of this link you can explore names by origin if your child has a non-American name.
-Name days in Poland are very popular. Click here for more information.

On average, foster children spend about 2 years in the foster care system. Please pray for the foster parents who are taking care of these children. Pray that their time in the foster system can be a time of healing.

Give $.50 for every phone you have in your house.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 3

Read Matthew 1:1-17.

Discussion Questions:
What is a genealogy
What is a generation?
Who was Jesus's parents?

Optional: Read Micah 5:2
Can you find in Matthew 1:1-17 where Jesus comes from "the clan of Judah"?

Activity: Genealogy Tree

Obviously, a genealogy tree can bring up mixed feeling with an adopted child, so here's an alternative: Have your child draw a picture of themselves. Their body will be the trunk of the tree. Have 2 branches coming from the trunk. One branch will be the bio family and the other branch will be the adopted family. You can fill in as much as you would like or as much as your child wants. If you don't have any information on the bio family, that's ok. You don't have to worry about making sure everything is filled in or perfect. You don't even have to do this activity at all if this is a difficult subject for your family.

We will draw 3 branches coming from the trunk because my daughter had a birth family, then a foster family for 6 years, and now her adoptive family.

Pray for the 17.9 million children who have been orphaned because of HIV/AIDS, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Give $1 for every family member you have.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What is it like to adopt or foster a traumatized child?

This is the best video to watch if you want to know the answer to the above question.

Here's the link:

It's about 13 minutes long and worth every minute of it! It also is a great reminder to me of what environment my child might have come from. I must remember Smalls's past before I respond to her acting out.

And get ready for part 2 coming soon!

Advent Calendar: Day 2

Read: Luke 1:26-38

Discussion Questions:
Who was the virgin's name?
Who was she getting married to?
Who came and visited Mary?
What's the angel's name?
What did the angel say to Mary?
What will the baby be called?
Who else is going to have a baby? What's her name?
Was Elizabeth young or old?

Optional: Read Luke 1:5-24.
Who appeared to Zechariah in the temple?
What did the angel say to Zachariah?

Activity: Making an Angel
You don't have to use all crayola products to create this angel. Some generic brand construction paper, a pencil, glue, and markers. On the name banner, you could put your child's name like the craft suggests or you could put Gabriel's name to reinforce this passage.

Pray for the 1 billion+ children in the world who suffer from at least one form of severe deprivation of basic needs such as water, food and sanitation.

Give $.25 for every toilet you have in your house.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent Calendar: Day 1

Read John 1:1-18.

Discussion Questions:
What was in the beginning?
Who was in the beginning with God?
What was in Him?
Who sent sent from God as a witness and that all might believe through him?
Who became flesh and lived among us?
Who was the law given through? (Might want to review the Exodus of Israel and read Exodus 19-20)
Who gave grace and truth? (Romans 5:20-21 and John 14:6)

Review: Who was the witness or messenger from God?

Activity: Homemade bullhorn
Take an empty paper towel roll. Decorate it with markers, glitter sequins, stickers, or anything crafty. (I hope to add pictures, once we've completed Day 1.) Your kids will enjoy proclaiming their words loudly through the bullhorn!

We can use the bullhorn to proclaim loudly the message of the one who is to come.

Pray for the 400,000+ foster children in America to have foster homes to take them. Pray for laborers in our churches to meet this growing demand of foster homes. Pray for the Christian foster parents who are sharing the Gospel to their foster children.

Give $2 if your family has a roof over your head. 

We are giving the money we collect to Edgewater's adoption fund. If you would like to collect along side of us, but don't want to give to what we are giving to that's understandable. 

Here are some other suggestions to donate to:
Someone's adoption fund (a friend, coworker or church member)