June 07, 2017
We have some exciting news to share about our Replanted ministry. First, the ministry keeps thriving and growing. After starting with a few churches in the Wheaton area, Replanted expanded to many area churches in the Chicagoland area. But the ministry here at Resurrection continues to thrive through the work of a strong multi-church leadership team. Replanted currently offers 11 Me Too support groups for families who have chosen the path of adoption, foster care, or safe families. Next fall the local Replanted team hopes to run 14 Me Too groups. In addition, this spring Replanted started new groups in Seattle, Oregon, Dallas, Tampa Bay, and Hawaii. But that is just the beginning. Watch for news about more Replanted groups launching across the country.
Secondly, and on another note, Jenn Ranter, Replanted’s founder and leader, has some exciting personal news to share: this September Jenn and Josh Hook are getting married. Jenn and Josh will set up their hometown in the Dallas area where Josh is a professor of psychology at the University of North Texas. Jenn will lead the ministry as it expands nationally, but she will also continue to oversee the very strong local team.
As this vital ministry continues to expand at Church of the Resurrection and beyond, there are several ways that you can get involved:
1) Sign up to host a monthly (September to June) Me Too support group in your home. Host families make a meal for the group’s adults and provide space for adults and a separate space for the children. You do not need to lead the group. You can make a huge impact by just opening your home to these families.
2) Volunteer to watch the children while the parents get the support they need. This is also a monthly commitment September to June.
3) Join our Refresh Chicago conference planning team. Refresh Chicago is a chance for fellowship and rejuvenation for those who care for God's orphaned and vulnerable children. We are looking for detail-oriented, well-organized people to help prepare for and run the conference.
4) Volunteer at Refresh Chicago. The conference is taking place October 6-7 and volunteer roles include IT support, welcome team, registration, prayer ministry, etc.
You can sign up for any of these things by clicking the link below.
Once again, Jenn Ranter will continue to lead Replanted, including the local team. We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to the local Replanted team that have been so instrumental in building this ministry, including the local Church of the Resurrection contacts. Christine Stahl (National "Me Too" Group Coordinator), Christie Otts (National Director of Development), Melissa Harms (Me Too District Coordinator), Currey Blanford (Media Director), Lisa Jarot (Me Too Groups Coach), and Jessica Stoffer (Caring for Caseworkers Director). Here are the local contacts at Church of the Resurrection: Mark Hawkinson is the Chicagoland District Leader, Hollee Ball is our Children's Program Coordinator, Sarah Roney is our Events Coordinator, and Sonja Shogren is our Me Too Group Coordinator.
Keep Jenn and her team in your prayers as they transition, continue to expand, and offer healing to hundreds of families who need love and encouragement.
May 17, 2016
People adopt because they ultimately believe that what they have to offer a child is something beautiful and life giving. It isn't necessarily a fancy home, or dance lessons, or designer clothes, or all the toys they could possibly want. It is something much deeper. Felt security. A warm bed. Never-ending hugs. A place to call home. Siblings to play with. Siblings to cry about. Wholesome activities. A mama and papa that have fought for them. A mama and papa who take pictures of them as if they were famous. Because they are. Or perhaps should be. Someone who keeps fighting for them. Someone who believes in them. Someone who comes in the middle of the night after a bad dream.
My husband and I have adopted because we have these things to offer and there are millions of children who are in desperate need of them. But when your children come home and your best doesn't seem to be enough, your confidence as a mama comes crashing down. I never struggled with post-partum depression, but the days and months post adoption have rocked my world as severely I imagine a hormonally-triggered depression would. The need is constant, and there is always someone who wants something else. More rides at the fair. More toys from the store. Different food to eat. A different color plate to eat off of. Another variety of juice. A different type of crayon. More time watching a show. Less time sleeping.
With 5 children, somebody is always upset and I can't help but ask myself, were we right to invite more children into the messiness of our lives? Do we not have what it takes? Will my energy levels ever manage to stay high enough? Will our bank accounts always be so low? Will someone always be crying? Or tantruming? Or screaming? Will someone always want what we can't give them or simply don't have to give?
I have never doubted so severely or questioned so intensely. Our home is small, my patience is smaller, and I never claimed to be Wonder Woman. I cannot keep my house clean and my children happy and make meals that are homemade. I can't find the time to read the Word, or move my body, or get everything done on my to-do list. I am always behind and someone is always in tears.
I never question if we were meant to bring our children home. His sovereignty declares that they were always ours and forever meant to be here. With us. Since before the world was created. What I question though is how we are meant to manage? How I am meant to parent well and live in a clean home and keep our children fed while feeling like a woman with space to breath, margin to live in and balance to grow personally? Though my confidence in my own ability to mama well remains small, my confidence in God's perfect plan must soar higher than ever before. Because He did the impossible by bringing our children home, I must trust in His ability to equip me and provide for our needs. Confidence well placed- in God's ability rather than my own- can make all the difference in their five little worlds, and in mine.