Sunday, August 30, 2009

A good day, a really good day.

We had a really great weekend around here. Nothing exciting or out of the ordinary, just hanging out with the family with nothing scheduled. It was wonderful. I spent part of Saturday shopping with Grace and we laughed and talked and I just kept looking at her wishing I could freeze this moment and make it last....this time when she still wants to be with me, thinks I'm funny and actually listens to my opinion, and still has this innocence about her that makes me want to hang onto her leg and not let her out of my sight. Since I can't do that though, it is reasurring that at the end of our time together I was so proud of the young lady she is becoming. She and I went on a long bike ride today and it was just a really special time and I am blessed to be her mom. She thanked me a hundred times for such a great weekend.

Noah finally conquered his fear of his bike and rode by himself....a bit shaky but alone. His proud toothless grin was enough to break my heart and it was yet another one of those moments where as a parent you want to freeze the clock. They really do grow up so quickly.

Ava and I have been working hard at finding ways that are effective at helping her make good choices and get a good nights sleep. I think we're on to somethings and I can tell she feels good about how she acted this week. For so long I have felt completely ineffective at parenting this child so the progress we've seen this week is affirming. She's worked so hard and she makes me laugh so much.

Throughout the weekend I kept looking at P and L laughing and acting silly and crying when they are hurt and seeking us when they need attention and I was just overwhelmed by the sheer resilience of these children. In church today I was thinking about what it is like to be 2 years old and 3 years old. Can any of us imagine plucking our toddlers out of their life and throwing them in with this family they don't know...in this house they've never been....with rules they've never had...without their toys and their clothes and without us....alone. It is insane how well these two are doing. There are behavior issues, yes, but not anymore than any other toddler has. It is insane how well adjusted they are in such a short period of time. They are amazing. They are brave and strong and vulnerable and open. They are loving and affectionate and needing and wanting and we are blessed beyond measure. There are times when I have to remind myself all that these two have been through.

I overhear Noah encouraging L and smile each time L calls him ''brudder.'' Grace reminds L to use the handrail on the stairs and lovingly explains that we don't want him to get hurt and we're a safe house:) Ava and P sit playing with their new babies together and you cannot convince me that these two weren't meant to be sisters. All five of them are running around playing secret agents and they just belong together.

I am so proud of our family and how God has brought us together. We all know I've had my days and I am starting to feel more like myself again. I realized that as I get ready for my mission trip to Kenya in just five weeks now that I really think I have been under attack. Satan doesn't like it when you are living your life for Christ. He doesn't like it when you take children into your home. He doesn't like it when you say yes to your life's calling and start packing for Africa. He feels threatened. I got distracted with my life. I got distracted with my kids and their needs and my crazy busy life and I realized that I felt distant from God because I wasn't seeking Him in each moment. I was relying on me, which we all know won't cut it around here. I couldn't do this. BUT---through Christ I can. I've refocused. I know He was waiting on me to ask HIM for help. Back off Satan, you don't know who you're messing with.

The best part of this whole weekend that was as I looked to each of my children, I saw this man next to them cheering them on and loving them and encouraging them and guiding them and I thought about the fact that someday all these children will be older and have their own families and I will still have this man...this husband God has blessed me...to laugh with and grow old with and I think I will enjoy the day that I can sit with him uninterrupted.

I am so thankful to be the momma to these five beautiful faces, to be the wife to this honorable man. I am thankful for the encouragement of my friends and family. I am thankful for this gorgeous day. Fifteen more days until we will know the fate of our family. I pray the future looks alot like today.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Self-pity ain't pertty.

I woke up this morning with piles of laundry calling my name, layers of dust on everything, sticky stuff on the kitchen floor, dishes in the sink and cramps so bad that evidently even my uterus feels the need to compete for my attention. People have it much worse I know. Today I feel sorry for me though. Today I feel like someone must be joking that this is my life. It's not pretty, I know. Down right ugly, but it is what it is.

I could write about how awesome my husband is or how beautiful and healthy my children are and they are....but today I just need a day to vent and we all know my affection for brutal honesty. I am tired. I am tired of being in charge around here and responsible for all of these little people and their schedules and their needs. I want to lay in bed til 10 in the morning. I want to stay up late and sleep through the night and not be woken up by tiny bladders and bad dreams and thirsty children. I want to be ALONE. ALONE for days. I want to do what I want to do and go where I want to go and listen and watch what I want to listen and watch. I want freedom from responsibility and being a grown up. I want money for things other than groceries and to have a cute red sectional couch in my family room instead of 15 year old couches with a slipcovers that look like an ugly pair of pants with a wedgie.

I know there is a flip side to all of this. I know the grass is always greener but this is my moment of self pity and I'm choosing to wallow in it. Look away if you must. I know it sounds horrible. I know there are mothers out there reading this appalled at my ability to say the things I've said or even think them. I know it is selfish and unreasonable. That is why I have to get it out there so I can move on. I also know there are some of you mommas out there that get it. That wish we could run off together and be irresonsible and wild!!

Don't worry, you won't hear about me on the news or see them carting me off in a little white jacket. It's not that bad. I'm just frustrated and emotional (hence the uterus comment). I'm shocked by the sheer amount of work it takes to run this family that doesn't let up for one single day, cramps or not. I'm just tired and the thought that the next sixteen or so years of my life are going to look like this is a bit....well, overwhelming at times. Most of the time I am able to dust myself off, cheer myself up and conquer the workload with a smile. I want to hug the little children waking me up and take them to their practices and lovingly take care of my family that I truly do adore. But today, for the next hour at least, I want to sit on the couch and let the stuff stay there and think about how some women are going to the spa today or going shopping with actual money or being taken out to dinner and how some have a cleaning lady coming tomorrow or someone doing their laundry. I want to think how the other half lives.

Then I will remember how their priorities are different and I would never change mine. I will remember how lucky I am to stay home with my children and how it is a choice we've worked very hard at allowing to happen. I will remember that everyone's children acts like they've lost their minds at some point and ours is still in a very big transition. I will remember how God has had His hand in shaping our family and bringing us together. I will look at these five little faces that are counting on me to be their example. I will look at my husband who let's me be me and lovingly and calmly helps me with every aspect of our home. I will think of all the husbands that don't. I will think of how God 's will is the center of our lives and how much that challenges me and grows me and how hard that can be BUT I will remember how grand that reward will be.... How much more like Jesus I want to look...how far I have to go. I will recognize that this journey He has us on is not all about me. I will snap out of it. In one hour. I'm giving myself an hour. Then the day can start over.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Still trusting...

Got a call from Safe Families today. MOM called and is fine with the date we have given her to resolve this for the children. She said everything will be in place by then but she refused to say what that is. She will not tell us what she is planning or anything. Turns out she did not move, she is still at the same shelter and will remain there until her eviction on the 11th of Sept. unless she gets a job before then and then she can stay. She supposedly has secured a Pell Grant for school which would be great. She starts next week she said. The Pell Grant could allow her to get an apartment I guess. It is hard because I can't really trust anything she says obviously and I don't like these little mind games she tries to play so I am working hard at staying in the moment today and each day until the 15th. The caseworker told her that not telling us the plan is not acceptable that didn't seem to phase her. She explained it would be best to prepare P and L for what their future is going to be but she didn't really want to hear it. She explained that it would be nice for this family that has been loving her children to be able to prepare all of their children and themselves for what will happen and to pack them up or not and she still wouldn't say.

SO-I am just trying to breathe and pray and trust. I am trying to keep loving this girl and trying to silence these feelings of bitterness, anger and frustration with her. I am trying to surrender myself to wherever this journey leads but it is getting so hard to do. It just wears on me. I look at P and L together and they seem to be such a pair. I cannot imagine them separated. I cannot imagine them not filling up my house with their laughter and running and fits. I cannot imagine my children standing alone as 3 again. So many what ifs that I just have to stay in the moment and love them BIG now because it is all I know I have. I have to, for my sanity, just stay on today. They are doing so well. Now that school has started we are getting into a routine and more structure and it is working well for this busy crew. L and Ava will start pre-school soon. I think it will help him socially and developmentally. He struggles a bit with that so it may be a challenge at first. Trevor's aunt has been visiting for the week and she is wonderful. They are all enjoying her being with us and someone else to get attention from. That's the update. We are still in the dark. Still plugging along. I'm tired but hanging in there and trusting my Righteous, Omnipotent, Conquering King!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Calling all prayer warriors...

When this all began, we really felt like we were trusting God and that is what this entire lesson has been about....for Him to provide for this large family, for Him to decide if we were to be a family, for HIS wisdom, sovereignty and mercy. Today the challenge seems to be that again but this time is may be WAY harder for us to do.

MOM is getting more hateful by the day. She continues to threaten and throw accusations and just really make this ugly. This is not what we are about. Everytime my phone rings and I see it is Safe Families this lump jumps to my throat and it is hard to breath. Total anxiety I know and not a good place to be in. God be with me.

Today, Safe families is making it very clear to MOM that we did not show up on her doorstep and take her kids from her. We never told her she wasn't doing a good job and we could do better. We did not, trust me, come looking for this. We were sitting in our home when we got a call about a family in crisis and two beautiful children who might need a home. We have offered her help and support every time we've been in contact with her. She has only wanted us to adopt them. We have loved and cared for her babies. We are in this to be a family to children that NEED a family. To parent children that NEED parents. If SHE wants to be their parent and they don't need another family, then SHE needs to come and get her children and step up to the plate and parent them. If she cannot be a parent to them and they need a family, then she needs to sign the papers and graciously step into the background. IF she comes and gets these two it will devastate our family and I will spend the rest of my life praying that God take care of them. I will have to TRUST HIM to do just that.

It is honestly something I can't even think about right now. We did not go on this journey for an ugly custody battle and to take away children from a mother that wants them, no matter how differently she will raise and provide for them. We will not engage in her ugliness and we will not put the children through anything like the last meeting again. I know she is scared and I know her defense is to lash out at us and I can handle her pain and her sadness but this has gotten really out of control. I just pray and want you all to pray that she will remember why she was doing all of this in the first place and out of love, make the right choice for her children. I believe that right choice is our family and cannot even let myself begin to imagine the what ifs......Pray for my anxiety and that I feel that peace of God I know is here with me.

Dear Gracious and Loving Lord, please cover P and L in your shelter of safety and provide a loving caring home for them where they will grow into the potential you have planned for them....if that be her or us ,we trust in your love for them. Please help our family to know our role in this and to be Your Light in a very dark situation. Heavenly Father, hear our prayers for these babies and bring stability and permanency to their life. Be with this hurting girl and work a miracle in her heart. A miracle to give her the confidence and knowledge to be a mom or the courage not to be and the grace to step away so her children can live their life in peace. Be with Grace, Noah and Ava and help us be the example they need during this and please don't break their hearts. Be with K at Safe Families and just send your Holy Spirit to be with her when she communicates with MOM. Cover us, Lord. Bring us resolution. AMEN