Give Me All Your Unwanted Babies Please

Share this please. Spread the word. Make this go viral. I’m serious. If you’re a mother in a desperate moment, and if you’re considering doing harm to your child because you can’t take it anymore, please don’t. Contact me. My wife and I will raise your child in a loving, warm, healthy Christian family.

Over the last two days I’ve read two horrific accounts of child neglect and abuse. The first was of an 8-year-old charged with manslaughter in the death of a 1-year-old. I have an 8-year-old. What could ever happen to allow such a thing to take place? Two mothers went out for a night of partying and didn’t want to take responsibility for their children. The 8-year-old was left in charge of 6 kids. The 1-year-old wouldn’t stop crying. The 8-year-old beat the 1-year-old to death.

The second story was of a Georgia toddler, found bound and gagged in a locked car, screaming helplessly for hours while the mother sat by a lake to ‘think about things.’ Where the father was, I don’t know. What drove the mother to the point where she seriously contemplated murdering her own child, I don’t know. Stories like that happen all too often, and they literally make me sick to my stomach. Even knowing the responsibilities involved in offering something like this, I can’t sit back and do nothing. These children are innocent. They deserve so much better than this. So I’m doing something. I’m offering a way out to mothers who may feel like they have no way out.

As a parent of four children, I know how incredibly difficult parenting can be. I have a loving, supportive and heroic wife who does the bulk of child-rearing in our family, and I still get personally overwhelmed at times. If you’re a single mother, I can’t even imagine the stress that you go through at times.

But no matter what happens, don’t take it out on the child. If you have nowhere to turn, if you don’t have family or a church or a pastor that you can turn to, and if you’re seriously contemplating doing harm to your child to simply escape, don’t. Contact me. My wife and I will raise your child in a loving, warm, healthy Christian family.


Shepherd six years ago

We’ve got four kids, the first two adopted. This is a picture of our second son Shepherd six years ago when he was a few days old. We took him home from the hospital, a mother contacting us because she didn’t feel though she could raise him. We made him ours. Shepherd is an incredible child, caring, sweet, with a genuine laugh and love of life. And he’s also an incredible athlete, probably the most naturally gifted athlete of all of our kids. Last night Shepherd scored like a million goals at his soccer game and ran circles around the opposing team. This kid is going places. He has a hope and a future. He has a chance at life. He’s going to make a huge difference in the world, because his birth mother gave him that chance. I thank God every day that she did.


Shepherd today

We took Shepherd in because we want to be faithful to open our home to children in need. If you’re in dire straights, if your contemplating harming your child, if you have no family, no help, no pastor, no church, don’t lose hope. Contact me. My family lives in central Mississippi. I pastor an incredible church that is a tremendous support to our family and children. Don’t harm your child.

Email me at: My name is Josh Daffern and my incredible wife is Robin. We have four children already. Our house is full, but if it’s a matter of life and death, our house will always be open to more. Authorities don’t have to get involved. We can pursue normal adoption channels. I won’t think any less of you. My priority is to protect, nurture and raise the children that God has entrusted me with, however many that might be. Don’t harm your child. My wife and I will raise that precious gift to reach his or her full potential in life. Give me all your unwanted babies, please. They are precious. They deserve life.

3 Simple Ways to Build More Intimacy in Your Family

Life just went from 0 to 100 mph in many households as school has started back and fall sports are about to kick up. In the midst of the busyness of a typical American life, how can you build intimacy your family? How can you make sure the deep connection many of you enjoyed growing up with your family is passed down to the next generation? Are are three places to start:


1. Create margin. Intimacy isn’t built when you shuttle kids from one activity to the next and when you and your spouse are like ships passing in the night. A full calendar doesn’t build intimacy. In fact it can be a detriment. You’ve got to be ruthless with the calendar and find a balance. As many worthwhile activities as there are out there for your family, family time (margin) is primary. Protect your family.

2. Eat meals together. As simple as this seems, it’s crazy how little this happens. Eat meals together. Everyone in the family has to eat. If you eat meals together, it’s a simple way to reinforce intimacy in your home. A dinner table filled with laughter may very well be the fondest memory your child has of the family growing up.

3. Go tech free regularly. It’s not enough to say ‘turn off the tv.’ That would work for parents, but for the kids you’ve got to turn off the cell phones too. Everyone sitting in the same room playing on their phones isn’t building intimacy, it’s building personal relationships with a screen. Create times when you’re forced to interact with each other. Go old school. Go family game night. Do something together with no electronics involved. You’ll build a deeper sense of connection with your family.

4 Things That Will Wreck Your Marriage If You’re Not Careful

No one intentionally sets out to wreck a marriage. Everyone wants your marriage to work, at least at first. That’s why weddings are beautiful and divorce proceedings aren’t. When counseling couples about to get married, I share with them four things that can wreck their marriage if they’re not careful.

1. Family of Origin – How you saw your parents interact is going to be the default mode for how you treat your spouse. If your home was broken or dysfunctional, then that is a hurdle that you can overcome but needs to be dealt with. If you never saw a healthy marriage growing up, you don’t automatically learn how to have one just because you put a ring on someone’s finger. None of these issues are deal breakers, but an unhealthy family of origin means you’ll most likely to need to talk to someone professionally over a period of time to unpack your baggage and leave it behind you.

Family of origin also includes your current extended family. There can be family dynamics that aren’t conducive to a healthy marriage. Parents that are too involved, brothers or sisters stirring things up. If you’re in a remarriage, there may even be family members rooting for your spouse to fail. All of these issues can be a detriment to your marriage.

2. Money – There is no scientific number, but I believe that 85% of all spousal arguments have to do with money (or specifically the lack of money), and that percentage might be a little low. I don’t care how much money you make, there never seems to be enough to go around. In every relationship there is usually a saver and a spender. The spender has the power in this regard because his or her ability or inability to make sound financial decisions will either strengthen or strain the marriage. Unfortunately, if you and your spouse fight about money, you’re absolutely normal.

Poor financial decisions early on in marriage can lead to lingering debt that only increases as the number and age of children increase. Strong financial stewardship and shared guidelines are necessary for a marriage to overcome money issues.

3. Sex – Sex is a huge issue namely in that it’s something that couples rarely feel comfortable talking about. Typically the complaint is that sex is not enjoyable (her) or there’s not enough of it (him). Your sexual past, previous relationships, any abuse that might have happened earlier in life, pornography addictions, can all contribute to an extremely frustrating and unsatisfying sex life.

But unlike money, which seems to be much easier to talk about, sex is a taboo subject. So the frustration builds silently, creating an intimacy barrier that can hinder any marriage. Couples need to find a safe place to talk about their sexual issues and frustrations, whether just the two of them or with a counselor. Couples need to explore all of the non-physical issues that can contribute to a less than satisfactory sex life (including diet, sleep, stress, emotional health, spiritual health, relational connectedness, mutual respect, etc).

4. How You Fight – All couples are going to fight. It’s normal and natural for two strong-willed people to have differences of opinions. The problem is when couples don’t fight fair. In each marriage there’s usually one side who wants to talk and talk and talk through a problem and one who wants to shut down and avoid the issue. The talker gets frustrated by the lack of response from their spouse, which compels them to talk more, which causes the spouse to further withdraw, which . . . (you get the picture).

Just like in basketball you have fouls, you and your spouse need to establish ‘fouls,’ agreed upon rules of how you will and will not resolve a fight. And that’s the goal, to resolve a fight. If couples can’t resolve a fight, those arguments can eventually pile up into a mountain that can become unscalable.

QUESTION: What other things can wreck a marriage?

3 Ways to Be Different on Purpose at Home

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2. Don’t merely reflect the values of this world; change them. Be a change agent. Be different on purpose. Here are three ways you can live this out in your home:


1. Bring God into the home. Don’t just go to church together. Don’t just mention God at meal times. Create conversations throughout the day that center around God. I know it should be obvious, but if the only time God is talked about is at church, if you don’t talk about him during the week, then he’s not in your home. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

2. Learn the Bible together. Here’s a concrete way to bring God into your home. Learn Scripture together. Do devotions with them. Can you memorize one Bible verse a month with your kids? The world doesn’t do that. Many Christians don’t do that. If you want to be different, learn the Bible together.

3. Get out and stay out of debt. This may not seem spiritual at first, but money is a very spiritual issue. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:21. If you want to reflect the world’s values, jump deep into debt trying to keep up with everyone else. Sell out to the myth that stuff equals happiness. You want to be really different? Learn to be disciplined with the incredible wealth God has already given you. Learn that contentment doesn’t come from stuff. If you can teach your kids how to handle money so that money doesn’t handle them, how much better are they going to be set up for life?

QUESTION: What other ways can you be different on purpose in your home?

4 Things I’ve Learned By Having Four Kids

Changing a diaper faster than a NASCAR pit crew. Good life skill to learn. Distinguishing between a real cry and fake cry within the first two seconds. Another good life skill I’ve learned compliments of my four kids. On a more serious note, here are four impactful lessons I’ve learned by having four kids:


1. Life isn’t about you. That’s perhaps the first and biggest lesson any parent has to learn. To be a great parent, you can’t be the center of your universe. This lesson extrapolates as you pile on the kids. I literally have hobbies that I can associate dropping when I had more kids: Golf (Zeke), Tennis (Shep), Xbox/Wii (Linc). To gain something, I had to give up something. But that’s okay, because life isn’t about me.

2. Sleep is overrated. I got an early start on this blog today because my 2-year-old decided to walk into our bedroom at 5 am, turn on the lights, and ask for chocolate milk. Most of the time I don’t even have to set an alarm any more. The kids get me up. Kids one and two were the dark days when my body hadn’t quite adjusted to the lack of sleep that comes with parenting young kids. Now I’m a little more used to it. I used to be unable to function with less than 8 hours. Now if I get 5 or 6, I’m good.

3. Money does not equal happiness. Right alongside the hobbies I’ve given up I could stack up toys and other nice things that I would have liked to get for myself over the years but couldn’t because my income goes to taking care of the kids. There’s a lot of things Robin and I used to splurge on that we don’t get to anymore. Four kids makes our budget especially tight. But we’re happy. We don’t have all we’d like, but we have more than we need. Our happiness shifted from what money could buy to our kids a long time ago. Money does not equal happiness.

4. It’s more blessed to give than to receive. These words of Jesus always hang out in the background of my mind. I’ve found it to be an incredibly powerful and life-giving truth. As a parent, especially a parent of four young kids, my life is about giving. My time is not my own. My evenings belong to my kids. Sometimes my sleep belongs to my kids. I give and give and give. And yet I can honestly say that I’m more blessed now than I’ve ever been. My family gives me a blessing that far surpasses anything I could have ever selfishly obtained for myself.

QUESTION: What lessons have you learned by having and raising kids?

“Why Did Someone Give Me Away?”

Try answering that question for your seven-year-old adopted son. By all other accounts it was a normal conversation and a normal trip to school. Zeke had just met one of his reading goals at school and I was building him up, really trying to encourage him in his reading. And then Zeke asked the question that is always bubbling below the surface for an adopted child, “Why did someone give me away?” To him it was a normal question. So I appeared normal and answered in the same tone of voice I’d answered his previous twenty questions about reading and frogs and ninja turtles. On the inside though, I was crumbling. My heart broke for the simple reason that my son will always have to wrestle with that question, “Why did someone give me away?”


Robin and I made the decision early on that our adopted children would know the truth from the beginning that they used to live in another mom’s belly. There’s no way to keep adoption secret for life, and if a child is a teenager or older when they find out, we’ve seen it have traumatic effects. But this is the downside, having to answer questions like this, not taking it personally, hurting for Zeke as he wrestles with his identity in this.

Here’s how I answered him this time (I’ll have many more opportunities to talk with him about it in future conversations). I told him that his birth mom didn’t give him away, she wanted to make sure that he had the best home possible. She wanted him to have a home with a mommy and a daddy, so he became a part of our family. She did what she did because she loved him and wanted the best for him. And his mommy and I thank God every day that we get to be his parents.

And then it was time for school. Watching the sprouting seven-year-old get out of the car and walk into school like he owned the place, all I could think of was a chunky, square-headed baby named Zeke the first time I met him, trying not to get emotional in the process. In the end I’ll take these occasional uncomfortable conversations. They’re a small price to pay for the honor of raising him as my son.


6 Ordinary Things You Can Give Your Kids That Will Have Extraordinary Results.

Here is some incredible parenting advice I learned from Reggie Joiner’s book Playing for Keeps. He makes the argument that the most important commodity you have with your children is time. Time makes what matters matter more. If you give your children six ordinary things consistently over time, you’ll build a legacy in them that will last a lifetime.


TIME over time gives someone a sense of history. Each week as a microcosm doesn’t seem like much. You’re making dinner, you’re changing a diaper, you’re reading a book. But small increments of time given over a long period of time gives a child a sense of history. That’s why it doesn’t work to ignore your kids all year and try and make it up with one big vacation. They want your time. A way to put this into practice is to visualize time. Get something like a jar of marbles to visualize how much time you have left with your children. Learn the rhythm of their week and be intentional. Make sure every weekend you’re doing something with your children.

LOVE over time gives someone a sense of worth. Research has shown that love is more important in the life of a child than in the life of an adult, because the deposits accumulate over time. Everyone is wired to love. The way to put this into practice is to prove it. Show up in their lives; be present. Give them rules; discipline shows that you care about their future. And truly know them; children change over the years and it’s on us as parents to keep up with their changing likes and dislikes.

WORDS over time give someone a sense of direction. That’s why the words we say around our kids and to our kids are so important. They can shape the direction of their lives. As parents it’s up to us to expand our vocabulary. Learn a new language. Weigh what you say around your kids. Recycle big ideas. Get involved in a good children’s/youth ministry and learn what they’re teaching so that you can reinforce it at home. A great idea for this is to create a custom poster with your child’s name on it and 7-10 words that cast a vision of what their life could be (words like ‘courageous,’ ‘honest,’ etc.) Put that poster up in their room and let them look at it everyday for a decade, and see what difference it makes.

STORIES over time gives someone a sense of perspective. We’re wired for stories. You can teach your child about courage, or you could tell them the story of David and Goliath. You could teach your child about trust, or you could tell them the story of Peter walking on the water. You could teach your child about God’s love, or you could tell them the story of Jesus dying on the cross for them. As parents we have the opportunity to amplify the story. Expose them to good stories. Create teachable moments throughout life. Discover the arts together. Stories are everywhere. Over time, stories will give your children incredible perspective on life.

TRIBES over time gives someone a sense of belonging. Every child wants to belong. No one wants to be the last one picked for kickball at recess. We all identify ourselves by tribes: mom, Baptist, feminist, saints fan, conservative, reader, pirate, etc. As parents it’s on us to be intentional about living in circles. Give your kids tribes to belong to. Keep traditions in your home and eat meals together; they give a child a sense of belonging. Find them a seat in meaningful tribes. The two critical tribes you can connect your child to are a healthy family tribe and a healthy church. Make sure your kids belong to those tribes, and they’ll do well in life.

FUN over time gives someone a deeper connection. Kids are created with an inner ‘play’ drive. So play with them! I know as parents we are programmed to protect, but make sure that your ‘don’t’ list doesn’t overtake your ‘do’ list. Your kids need to play. And more importantly, you need to play with them. So make it fun. Loosen up. Lose the agenda. Learn what they like to play and play with them. As you play with your kids over time, you’ll create a deeper connection that will last a lifetime.

Whatever matters will matter even more over time. Love is just love. It’s a second-hand emotion—until you put it over time. Then it does something amazing. It gives a kid worth. Words are just something to help you win at Scrabble. They’re something you tweet to get more followers—until you put them over time. Then, they become a collection of messages that moves someone in a better direction. Stories are just experiences that happen to have happened. But when you collect stories over time, they expand a child’s imagination in a way that can shape his or her perspective. Tribes are just people linked together by common interests. They’re clubs you can sign up to attend—until you put them over time. Then they become a family or community where a child can experience belonging. Fun is just a good time. It’s fun, period, just an Indie pop band – until you put it over time. Then it creates a powerful connection. It takes your friendship with your child deeper. What you are doing every week will matter more in someone’s life when you do it week after week, month after month, year after year. And when you combine love, words, stories, fun and tribes together over time, they gain collective momentum, they make history, they build a legacy.

*All worthwhile content on this blog post came from this amazing book, Playing for Keeps. Order it today!


The Phone Call I Hope I Never Have to Make About Your Marriage

Recently I had to make a phone call that broke my heart. It’s a phone call that I hope I never have to make again. A few years ago a couple came to me for marriage counseling. They had been struggling with issues for years but hadn’t talked to anyone about them. We met several times and made a little bit of progress but no breakthroughs. They couldn’t meet in the middle. Counseling kind of petered out and they eventually moved to a different state.

As life goes we lost track of each other until I received a letter from a lady I’ve never met. She told me she was the guardian ad litem for this couple. They’re getting a divorce. It’s getting messy. Accusations are flying back and forth. And worst of all, there are kids involved. The relationship had deteriorated to such a point that the government had to step in to help decide where the kids went.

That’s where my phone call came in. The guardian ad litem received permission from both parties to talk to me and get my take on the situation. It was a depressing phone call to say the least. I believed and still believe that it was a marriage that could have been saved. The greatest casualties are the children, pawns with no say in the matter.

I hope I never have to make a phone call like that again. If your marriage needs help, get help. Don’t stick your kids in the middle. Don’t make the government decide where they go. Talk to someone this week.

12 Things I Learned On Vacation

After spending a wonderful week with my family, here are twelve takeaways that every person might need to know. You’re welcome.

8.4.141. You can never eat enough grilled shrimp at the beach.

2. A vacation with a 2-year-old is a faux-cation.

3. Vacationing with three young kids is truly a vacation when you’re used to four.

4. You feel bad about ditching your 3-month old with her grandmother until you see another family trying to ‘relax’ on the beach with a 4-month old (ain’t happening).

5. Songs from The Wiggles will haunt you in your sleep after listening to them in the van for five hours.

6. I love building sandcastles way too much.

7. When the string on the kite gets tangled, just give up. It’s not worth it.

8. The biggest fights your kids will have will be over who gets to push the elevator buttons.

9. Trying to eat (and enjoy) a nice sit down dinner at an expensive restaurant = fail. Making do with PB&J on the beach = win.

10. When your 7-year-old son gets super amped up about looking for seashells, just roll with it.

11. When you forget to lock the front door to your condo, plan on spending at least fifteen minutes frantically looking for your 2-year-old who likes to “be adventurous.”

12. There are moments when everyone is calm, no one needs anything, everything is peaceful, and you can truly relax. Enjoy those three minutes each day!

Looking forward to going back again next year!