Orphan Sunday Matters

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Today is Orphan Sunday. It may better to me than Christmas and Easter. To me it feels like Christmas and Easter wrapped up into one Sunday - doing what Jesus came to do by loving the motherless and fatherless of our world. Today was epic at our church, Newsong. It was our fourth Sunday as a local church, joining with the global church by linking arms on behalf of the orphans and vulnerable children of our world. Orphan Sunday was started several years ago by a pastor of a church in rural Zambia. He said "enough is enough" with their local orphan crisis and rightfully acknowledged that if the crisis was to change, the church would be the solution. Orphan Sunday is personal to us.

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Three years ago today, Brian and I were in Ethiopia meeting Abebayehu and Tarike for the first time. Later that same week, they legally became our children -  Judah Abebayehu and Addise Aster Tarike Diaz.

While we were in Ethiopia, our local church hosted our first Orphan Sunday. Our announcement was shared that day to squeals of praise in our church. See that epic video here...

http://vimeo.com/16811278

Today, I was buckets of tears again. Grateful for this profound privilege we have in parenting Judah and Addise. Grateful they are no longer orphans. Thankful that caring for vulnerable kids locally and globally has become a part of our culture at Newsong. Worshipful that God would allow us as his adopted sons and daughters to join him in the calling to love these children. One of my dear friends, Abe, preached on all these deep, simple theological truths. He also shared this video. Grab a handful of Kleenex. Adoption not only changes a child's life, it transforms an entire family...

http://youtu.be/B0N8P2JMbeo

I hope your church will host an Orphan Sunday next year (the first Sunday of November). It's truly changed our church as we've discovered the heart of God and follow as he leads.

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April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.

Tributes this Mother's Day

This day. This day is chock full of emotion. I get it.


  • Prior to 2007 :: Mother's Day was only to be celebrated because I am blessed with a most incredible mother and two amazing grandmas.
  • 2007-2008 :: We were in the thick of infertility treatments. I was aching to be a mom. Mother's Day plain sucked and I wanted to die in a hole.
  • 2009 :: Hope emerged as we began our adoption journey. I also spoke at our church that Sunday. (The message can be found HERE)
  • 2010 :: It was still just Brian and me.
  • 2011 :: Then there were 4 Diaz's. My first Mother's Day.
  • 2012 :: Then there were 5 Diaz's. Asher joined our family and actually came HOME from the NICU on Mother's Day. Well played, God.
  • 2013 :: Celebrating motherhood with 3 healthy children.

On this day, I recognize those women who have forever changed me as a woman and as a mom.

Mom, you truly have shown me how to mother because of your never-ending sacrifice and love for your children. You always have time for us. Constantly celebrate with us. Pray diligently for us. Faithfully correct us. And you still love our Dad. Thank you for loving me in such a way that mothering has come natural to me. I love you.

Grandma Getz, since I was a little girl, you've shown me that it's okay to be me and have applauded my gifts, strengths, and passions. I hope I make you proud. Grandma Neukomm, you've loved your family faithfully and diligently. Thank you for your committed love for us and our God.

My mother-in-law - Laura, you've given me the greatest gift - your son! He is the most upright, loyal, strong, dedicated, loving, and faithful man I've ever known. Thank you for your part in raising him to be the man he is to me and our children.

My sisters-in-law - Zobeida, Liz, Vivian, and Sarah Beth. You are all, sincerely, amazing mothers. 11 kids between the 5 of our families. I'm deeply grateful that my kids get to call you "aunt". I love you all.

The women who long to be called "mom" - SK, BSM, KPS to name a few. I see you today and pray with you. This is not the end.

To the working moms all around me - Rebecca, Jeanne, Kara, Julie, Hana, Tara, Mindy. The way you love your children and are obedient to your calling takes my breath away and pushes me. You help me believe I, too, can do this. You inspire me to kick down walls for our daughters.

To the adoptive/foster care momma's who fill me with hope and joy and compassion, especially Erin. You remind me I'm not crazy. You validate, instruct, and give grace to my "kiddos from hard places" and remind me that parenting them isn't "just like" parenting my bio son. You affirm the great calling that is adoption and love me on the good and hard days.

Finally, to the mothers who made me a mom - Judah and Addise's birth mothers. I weep when I think of the necessary sacrifice you made for your son and daughter. It is my greatest privilege and pleasure to mother Abebayehu and Tarike. They would make you proud and filled with joy. We love them as our own, no matter what. You have my greatest respect and affection.

And now, a few pictures of the wonders that make today a very, very good day...

I love how they love each other.


The ones who call me "mommy".
The sunglasses hide my tired eyes, my tears of gratitude, and the sparkle in my eyes that they bring to my life.
It really is unfair how cute my kids are. :)


Brian surprised me by taking us back to where 1-year ago we celebrated Mother's Day while Asher was in the NICU. This Mother's Day he partied with us.


Flowers from a friend who thanked me once again for giving that "real" Mother's Day talk 4 years ago.  A reminder that our whole stories are worth sharing. Always. And that sharing our pain really can become a platform for transformation.
Mother's Day 2012. Asher came home from the NICU!


2012 :: Leaving the hospital. The little nugget in the background is Asher.
One year later. Pure goodness.

And Then He Was One.


One year ago today, we were holding this newborn miracle. 
Four pounds, five ounces. 16.5 inches. Born at 33 weeks. He was born way too early yet exactly on time. That's the thing about God. 




Today we celebrated the first year of his life...

In line with our multicultural family and community. Asher donned a Korean hanbok.
The line of the day was Judah's: "Hey Mom, is that Baby Asher there?"


Our family: part Puerto Rican, part Ethiopian, part Caucasian and part Korean.
We wanted Asher to wear a traditional Korean hanbok and do the 
toljiabee where he'd choose his destiny. He was offered a bowl of rice for becoming rich, yarn for long life, an apple for health, ball with the Ethiopian alphabet for athletics, a book for academics, sports wrap for medicine. He chose the apple. :) He didn't hesitate.
A friend also loaned us 4 homemade beautiful towers to make it even more special!



"Please save me."
My Oreo Cookie. Judah is really the BEST big bro and Addise the BEST big sis.
I love being their mom. I can't believe I get to be their mom.

"LOOK AT ALL THESE PRESENTS!"

Why is the wrapping better than the actual gifts?!?!
Trying on his new, personalized octopus backpack from Grandma and Grandpa.

Cool dude.

My boy.
I could blubber on about the fullness this little miracle has brought our life. I could wax eloquent on how God exchanges our tears for joy. It would be easy to rattle off adjectives as I proudly share his vibrant personality and this preemie's developmental bounds. Instead, I will leave with a blessing for our second son's first birthday.

Asher, you are a miracle. When we named you "Asher Zacarias" we did so with painstaking intentionality and already you are living into your identity. Because God remembered our prayer for a child years ago, you have blessed our life beyond feeble words. Happiness consumes your face and body and being. And you have filled our home with even more happiness. We didn't know we needed you but our whole family has so desperately needed you. You've brought healing and wholeness and simple goodness.


As you grow, may you know that you are loved, no matter what. May you remember the God who made you and be a blessing to others because you have been blessed. May you grow into all of who God's created you to be. May your life really count for something good and lovely and noble.  I love being your momma. Happy birthday, baby boy.


Just showing off on his birthday. "Preemie" doesn't define this one...
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April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.