You might be asking yourselves, “what I will win”? We will be giving the winner their choice of an 11x14, mounted print of one of the 3 images below. Yay!!!
You might be asking yourselves, “what I will win”? We will be giving the winner their choice of an 11x14, mounted print of one of the 3 images below. Yay!!!
We are beyond thankful to have worked with such incredible, compassionate, and gracious families this year. By allowing us to document and share in these intimate moments of their lives, they have helped make The Archibald Project possible. We are so grateful, and we can't wait to see what 2013 holds!
As December begins (where the heck did November go?!) we are reflecting back on our journeys thus far, and we are learning and dreaming for the future. We have some exciting, new things planned for 2013. We can't wait to tell you all about them, but that will have to wait! For now we want to ask for your help. Our mission is to see more children adopted. We believe that when one person in a community adopts, others tend to follow. We've seen it happen in our own neighborhoods and are so encouraged. However, most people are not in a community where adoption is taking place. This is where you come in! We need you to share the journey's and stories of the families we've worked with so far. We believe this can have the same effect as someone living in an adopting community. People can witness a firsthand account of adoption. They can share in the joy and pain of a family they may not even know. The internet is such a wonderful tool for educating and inspiring! So will you please help us?!
We've put together a few fun ways to get The Archibald Project out there! Each week leading up to Christmas we'll have a competition with an opportunity to win fun and adoption oriented prizes! So pay extra close attention to our facebook page and blog to participate in the weekly competitions!
Thank you for all of your love and support! None of this would be possible without you.
Our adoption has taught us an endless number of lessons, one of those lessons is that color does matter. We never set out to adopt trans racially, but when we asked God where we would find our son, He lead us to Haiti. He led us to a precious, little boy who is black. Our son's color nor our color has ever gotten in the way of our love, our bond, or being a family, but it has educated us in ways we were previously ignorant. Is love color blind? Does color really matter? These are sensitive and important questions when it comes to trans racial adoption. Many people say, “Color doesn’t matter…love is colorblind." We even said and believed this at one time. While it is a lovely idea, it actually creates a tension that we are trying to avoid. I wholeheartedly believe now that color DOES matter. It matters to your extended family, it matters to your community, and most importantly, it matters to your adopted child. Color matters because it is part of that child’s identity. It is part of who God made them to be. To “look past” or ignore a child’s color robs them of their heritage. It takes away the opportunity for them to embrace how God made them. I believe the heart behind saying "color doesn't matter" is to address the racial tension that our world engages in on a daily basis. While this is important, to try and solve the problem by ignoring color differences does not address the core issue and essentially only adds to the tension. Color is not the problem; it is our ignorance and hate toward people God made. Ultimately, color matters because God made color. The array of skin color in this world is part of God's creation. When He created man, we were created in His image. This means we represent God both through our physical appearance and personality. And although we are a marred image because of our sin, we are still made in His image and woven together from His creativity. Part of that creativity is color, and God chose all of us to be a certain color. God chose Kelly to be our son, and we will help point him to the One who made him. We will daily speak truth to him about all that God says of him. Everything matters through God's eyes. Therefore, as we live our lives through the lens of God's word, we find the truth that color is infinitely important because it mattered to God to design us in the color and way in which we are. We praise God for our son Kelly, who God made him, and the color God chose for him.
We met about a year ago at a photographer meet up group and clicked instantly. She's passionate about justice, serving others and of course photography. She has two beautiful kiddos that she and her husband home school and a keen eye for beauty.
"I'm a low key, laid back girl who likes to ride bikes, drink coffee, travel, and take pictures. I'm a mother of two precious kids Asia (7) and Titus (6) and the wife of a wonderful dad who home schools them. I began my photography career just after my kids were born. I've always had a passion for travel and photography. The love of those two things grew when I studied abroad in Oxford, England while in college. Documenting life, people, and places makes me appreciate those things more. When you're in the moment, sometimes it's hard to truly appreciate and be thankful for what you have, but when I look back at the pictures I realize how wonderful and beautiful life can be." Why did you want to come to Haiti with The Archibald Project? Caring for another individual's well being, their rights to be free from oppression or the opportunity to better their situation is what I'm most passionate about in life. I think the cure for most selfishness and depression starts with letting go of your issues long enough to care for others. 10 years ago we went to Haiti and stayed at an orphanage and met some truly amazing kids. I've been wanting to go back for quite some time especially since the quake. This opportunity to incorporate my love of photography with my desire to help others couldn't be a more perfect fit.
If you could do anything in the entire world in 1 day, what would you do? If I had a day to do anything in the world, well to be honest I might need more days because there's a lot out there I'm still itching to do. But I'd probably spend the day exploring a new city. Complete with great coffee, hiking a mountain or riding bikes. And end with card games and drinks with new friends I meet along the way. :)
*above picture by Lisa Woods Photography
The Lord’s mighty hand is upon this adoption. He directed the Dingle’s hearts towards a beautiful, baby girl, abandoned even before birth in Taitung, Taiwan. The Lord directed them to Zoe. It was not by human efforts that they found their daughter. They did not search night and day for the “right one”. They simply opened their hearts to God’s unpredictable leading, followed a call to “take care of orphans”, and 5 1/2 months later found themselves holding a new piece of their heart in a small, Taiwanese hospital. Although this was not a normal “gotcha day,” it was all part of the story that God has been writing since before the Dingle family arrived. Shannon and Lee were escorted from the domestic airport in Taitung to a local hospital the day they arrived in country. They were lead to a prayer room and told to wait. A few moments later, which seemed like a lifetime for them, in walked the newest addition to their sweet family of five. This is the moment that parents fantasize about; the moment they first touch and see their new child. They spend countless nights imagining how it will go. Will there be tears or laughter? But when the moment finally comes, the world stops, all previous thoughts fly out the window, and a child is placed in your arms. Now you are supposed to leave with your new baby. (Insert screeching car breaks here). This is where the wrench gets thrown into the Dingle’s adoption. They weren’t able to take sweet Zoe home. They were allowed to hold her, kiss her, and sweetly whisper how lovely and beautifully made she is, but when time was over they had to leave her in the confines of a cold, sterile hospital. With hopeful but heavy hearts, they left empty handed. The next day was more of the same; more touching, more kissing, more falling in love, and more waiting before Zoe was safely in their arms forever. It is not easy, but they have been trusting that God is in control. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9.
Kimberly and her husband Michael, (or as his friends call him, Stew) began pursuing adoption over 18 months ago. They have 3 amazing biological children whom I fall more in love with every time I see them. The Stewarts are loved and admired by all who meet them. I don’t think I can honestly say that about anyone else I’ve ever met. To say the least, they are a blessing and an inspiration and it is all the Holy Spirit at work in their hearts. Every time I see Kimberly she has something to share about God’s working in their lives and over the past year and a half her faith in God has only increased.
The Stewarts have been living in limbo, traveling every 3 months to spend a week in Haiti with one son while leaving their other 3 children at home. Back and forth, tears and hugs, joys and frustrations. It is not always easy, and no, she is not always beaming with sunshine. At times she is beat, downtrodden and exhausted but she’ll be the first to admit that those times only push her further into her Father’s arms.
Take a few minutes and read through our interview. If you are adopting, be inspired, you are not alone. Their are parents out there just like you, clinging to hope, fighting for children and pursuing love against all odds. If you aren’t adopting, be inspired. There are people out there who are called to adopt and are pushing through life’s challenging circumstances to save a child’s life. If you happened to stumble across this site by chance, be inspired, God wanted you here ;)
How did you find Kelly/know he was your son?
Long story- but basically, as we kept asking God the question, "Where is our son?". Stew went to Haiti on a pastoral trip and took an extra day to visit orphanages. He came home with lots of videos with lots of kids. We felt led to pray about 2 boys. Kelly was one of them. We visited Haiti together to visit both children. One of them already had a family who was going to adopt him. But that was not even what lead us to Kelly. We spent time with him and he had no response to us. That night as we discussed our time with Kelly and others, we admitted that we were looking for an emotional response from a child to lead us to choose that child. But then we were overwhelmed with truth in our hearts. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That from the beginning of time he predestined us, chose us to adopt us to be sons and daughters. (Romans, Eph 1) And the next morning as we asked, "God, who is our son?" He clearly helped us see that He had been leading us to Kelly all along. He chose kelly for us. We chose Kelly...not because of anything he had done, but because we loved him and had been searching for him and found him through understanding our own adoption story with God.
Good Question! In some ways, I don't know. But the real answer is because God lead us there. It was where our son was. We had been praying over the map of the world and asked one question to God, "Where is our son?". Stew had a meeting that happened to have the founder of our agency there and he was getting the license for the agency that day. They asked what he needed and he said, "Families who will adopt from Haiti". The rest is history. Explain the past year and a half of traveling back and forth and your kids perspective and understanding of it? Waiting- Leaving 3 children to go to one...Then leaving one child to go to the three. It has been hard. It has left us living in tension. The tension of not all being together and leaving our children. But it has been teaching us tremendous things! It has given us Faith in God's work, not man's. It has helped us lean on friends and family when we prided ourselves to be self-sufficient. It has been teaching us to parent our children through prayer. The tension of waiting, leaving, coming and going, has given us time. Time to think about this journey. As we have time to think about it, we are finding our own adoption story. A children's book has come from this waiting time and is being edited to be published. That has been very fun! We are able to tell many people about our adoption and share many things about God, Haiti and our lives. We are able to learn from Haiti. Every 3 months we get to see the poorest country in the western hemisphere. That will change you, change your priorities, your perspective and your longings. We are learning to believe that God is good. We are learning that we are weak, afraid and demanding at times. But God shows us Himself and continues to lead us ahead. My children understand tangibly their need to be adopted into God's family. They are growing in this tension too. They are learning to experience suffering or let their brother suffer....Experience pain of separation on both sides...and I believe they are understanding the Gospel deeper because of it. Jesus said we learn to understand the Gospel through suffering and pain. I am learning to let my children experience that and parent them through prayer, trusting God's work in their hearts.
What would you tell someone who is just starting the adoption process? And especially the adoption process in Haiti?
Three things you love about Kelly?
His laugh. His strength. His curiosity.
Three things you can't wait for him to experience/be a part of when he comes home?
Family dinner/reading books together. Ice cream. Our church body who loves him and has sacrificed and walked with us. I can't wait for them to love on them!
Do you know how much longer your waiting process is?
How can people be praying for you and your family?
Pray for our faith to continue to rise as we wait this next year. In quiet times, we can doubt. Pray for our paperwork to be signed and passed along the necessary stages so that he can come home. Pray God gets all the credit for this story and that it will be told to many generations, pointing to everyone's need to be adopted through Christ to God and become children of God.
Thank you so much for your time Kimberly! To read more about their journey, visit their family blog here.
Oh, and always, always, always shoot in manual ;)
Hilarious. Joyful. Sweetheart.
How does Ace describe her big brother?
"Archie is the best brother and the funniest brother. I love to play games with him. I am so happy cause he's in my family."... Ace is over the moon for her big brother. She loves him so much. They get along so incredibly well.
Joey, how would you describe your son?
Well, he is a happy kid ALL the time. Except when daddy (instead of mommy) takes him to the bathroom. His smile is so contagious. He really is the type of kid that teaches you something new about yourself everyday, sometimes more than you want :) He eats a lot and loves milk and apple juice. If he ever thinks you're sad, then you'd better forget about whatever it is you're sad about because he loves so much...to the point where he'll worry about you until you are happy again. He loves his friends and complete strangers. He prays (and understands it) before every meal and loves it. He is not shy about being who he is and never worries about what others think of him. He is the perfect brother and cherishes every second spent with Ace. They are best friends. He loves all three Toy Stories and pretty much every movie. Its funny because when he is watching Monsters Inc., he hides from the "scary" parts until Ace tells him its 'ok'. He trusts Ace with his life and would do anything to protect her and make her happy. ANYTHING!!!
Sometimes I wonder why I have been blessed to have such a perfect child, but God knows exactly what he's doing. :) This boy has taught me patience and more about myself than I could have ever known! If you had to pick one, what would you say is your fondest memory of Archie? Watching Ace and Archie hug and just embrace each other at the airport when Archie arrived home. It solidified everything for me. This was our son. This was her brother. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.
Oh man we have had quite a few funny moments. I have to go back to the airport again. When Archie first stepped through the doors and into the lobby where tons of people were waiting for their loved ones, Archie was sure they were all there to welcome him. He waved to the crowd and even took a bow. It was like he was a little celebrity. The crowd cheered and he had the biggest grin on his face. It was hysterical.
The most frustrating times have been more recently, since Archie started public school. He started acting out at school, clearly trying to tell us that he was not comfortable in his setting. It wasn't so much that we were frustrated with Archie or his behavior, but more so with not being able to create the perfect environment for him. Since then we have come up with a new plan at his school and he is doing great!
What about your biggest praise?
His English and communication. It is absolutely astonishing how quickly he started speaking English. I was so worried about the language barrier when he first came home, but it has really never been an issue. Even if he can't find the words, he figures out a way to communicate his needs very well. He is now speaking full on conversational English. Is it perfect? No. But I understand him.
Has parenting a boy changed or effected your marriage?
I would say we have more patience (most days). We are also often exhausted. We give everything we have to our kids throughout the day, and don't have much left by the end. But we know that this is just a season. While most days we at least try to take a few minutes to connect and talk before we go to sleep, we are also okay and understand if one of us is running on empty and just needs to be still and quiet. How has parenting Archie effected your views of God or God’s love?
God loved and sustained Archie for seven years in an orphanage. There were times during the adoption process when we were very confused about God and why there were so many suffering and dying orphans. His own children-- left to die in cribs. No love, no food, no touch. That was tough to process and still is. As far as parenting Archie, I feel like I have a better understanding of God's infinite and unconditional love. Even during the hard times, I know that God chose this child for me, and I will love him always, no matter what. Every night we say this prayer with the kids, "Dear God, thank you for loving us, all the time, no matter what." It's a simple, yet powerful reminder.
A list of Archie’s favorite things ♥ Food: Macaroni and Cheese or as he calls it, “croney cheese” Movie: Toy Story 2 Word: Happy Activity: Taking pictures Outfit: Anything pink, or a football jersey. Quite the opposites!
Jesus, we pray blessings over this family. We ask that You and You alone would sustain them, lead them and guide them. We thank You for Joey and Lisa’s hearts. We thank You for writing Archie’s story and weaving it so perfectly together with his family. God we love you and praise you!
We've been asked by some of you, why we do what we do... Here is a 30 second explanation :)