Do you ever see those people who just make you think, “wow, they deserve some kind of reward”. Well, we do. That’s why we accept nominations (from anyone!) for our once a month, Radiant Love Honors award! This award is for anyone you know who is showing Radiant Love to the community around them.
Kiara and Andy were nominated by Kiara’s brother and sister-in-law for the love they show to the abuse victims they work with and to the children they open up their home to. Click to see all the photos from Kiara and Andy’s free family photo session. Here’s their story (and of course photos to go along with it!)….
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Our family doesn’t have the option of blending into a crowd, and we have come to see that as a blessing. God has taken us down a road less traveled as we grow our family, and that has provided many opportunities to bring glory to Him and serve Him in our daily life. What a privilege!
Andy is a licensed architect. His eye for design, creativity, and ability to imagine a project from start to finish makes him a natural in the field. Andy has been unemployed since November, and although that has been challenging for us, God never ceases to amaze us through the ways He provides.
I (Kiara) am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom right now, and find that I thrive on the flexibility in my schedule, even if the demands of raising our children, homeschooling, and keeping up with the various ministries God brings our way keeps me very busy!
Lucas is six, and he is enjoying Kindergarten at home. He loves to study bugs, plants, and animals, and would spend the whole day outdoors if we let him! He is a very creative little boy.
Destany is four, and she is our sweet little social butterfly. She loves to work in the sandbox with her brothers, play dress-up, and take her friends on pretend journeys to California.
Keandre, ever the class clown, just turned two. He is out-going and cuddly, and takes life in stride whether we are having a quiet afternoon, or the house is teeming with noisy children. He thinks life is just one big adventure!
Until very recently, we were also fostering two of Keandre’s biological siblings, Niko and Mya. Niko is seven years old, and he lived with us for one year. Mya is four and was here for nine months. They just moved in with their foster-adoptive family, and we are very thankful that they will continue to be a part of our lives.
2. Please share a few of your favorite ways to show Radiant love to the people and community around you.
We love children, and I suppose there is a side of us that must like chaos, too. We seem to have enough of it in our lives, anyway! Life is always an adventure, and usually that adventure includes welcoming extra children into our home.
In the last few months we have had as many as 8 children staying with us, ages 20 months to 7 years old. We are thankful we can be available to care for these little ones, and we love seeing our children learning to share their blessings as well.
Our passion for adoption began long before we were married. I learned early in life that not all children have parents who are able to care for them, and that grew in me a desire to be available as an adoptive parent. Andy, brave man that he is, agreed even before we were married that he was open to wherever God would lead us. Growing our family through adoption does not seem unusual to us. God adopted each of us into His family, and calls us His own. It only feels natural to love in that same way.
We adopted Destany through Christian Family Care Agency when she was just 3 days old, and it was a wonderful, if bittersweet experience. Our hearts broke for Destany’s birthmother, who loves her very much but was not in the position to parent her. We have been very thankful for the opportunity to maintain contact with her, and she and her two sons have become our extended family and a special part of our lives.
After we adopted Destany, we felt the need to connect with other adoptive families. This led us to start a local group for adoptive and foster families, called Arizona Transracial Adoptive Families. Over 130 local families are involved, all who have adopted their children domestically, from Haiti, or from various parts of Africa. We love to sit back and watch the children run and play together, relaxing in the knowledge that in this community they will never feel alone in their life experiences.
Another passion of ours is abuse recovery ministry. I had some very difficult experiences as a young teen that propelled me into a dark and painful time in life. When I was 17, one of my abusers was arrested and I had the opportunity to begin my journey to healing with a wonderful Christian counselor. Through her I learned what God has to say about abuse, betrayal, and brokenness, and it was a relief to know God wants me to come to Him with my pain and anger. Today I am involved with Mending the Soul Ministries, and lead abuse recovery groups for women. It is a blessing to walk alongside women who are courageously facing their painful pasts and discovering hope and healing.
Click to see the rest of the photos from this family portrait session.
Destany actually took this one of her mom and Keandre. I held the camera and she pushed the button (so technically she owns this picture!).
And I had to add this pic of Scottie teaching Destany how to use the camera!! She did a pretty good job too!