Friday, January 29, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I think it happened when P and L came to live with us and as silly as it sounds I wanted them to like me. I needed their MOM to like me. I wanted the social workers to like me and I wanted everyone to think we were doing the right thing. I wanted our family and friends to be comfortable with what we were doing so I worried about how happy we were, what kinds of family time we were having, how all five of them looked and felt and acted, how our marriage was holding up, worried about still staying active and involved in all the issues that matter to me, worried about maintaining friendships and lending a hand to others and appearing selfish and uncaring if I didn't and in the midst of all of the worrying about everyone else I forgot about me.
I have put on more weight adopting two children than I ever did pregnant with one. And any of you who have seem me pregnant knows that ain't pretty. I keep thinking that we have been at this now for eight months so why is it so chaotic and crazy NOW? Then I realized that we have been in survival mode. Now comes the hard part. Reorganizing as a family of seven. Getting in quality time with each child and allowing them to feel how truly unique, special and loved they are. Finding time as a couple in the midst of all these little people with all these needs. Making my own health and wellness a priority so I am able to be the mom and wife they need me to be.
It hit me last night while I was doing this new Bible study on Balance what it is that I've been missing. Let's be real honest, there isn't going to be a whole lot of 'me' time around here for awhile and taking care of me is going to have to look different than it did before. But what I am missing is JOY. I have completely forgotten to find JOY in what I'm doing. Things I used to find JOY in. JOY in serving. JOY in parenting. JOY in taking care of my family and husband. This sentence in the workbook just four pages into "Balance: At the speed of life: by Barb Folkerts jumped off the page at me.
" Maybe you're the frustrated one constantly going the extra mile, but receiving little joy from it." who me? next page: "trying desperately to carry out God's plan in my own strength?" you talking to me? Isn't our God so cool that He sends me exactly what I need in this study at this time in my life.
I have been walking around in the poisonous mindset that I have another pile of laundry to do and then I have to do dishes and fix dinner right after I finally get lunch cleaned up and I have homework to help with and little heinies to clean and hair to braid and on and on and on. I have been living for naptime and bedtime and missing all the JOY that comes in between. I have refused to be content with our choices and circumstance and I am so sorry that I've let it get to this. Today I am reclaiming my JOY in MY life. Not wishing for someone elses. I am reclaiming my JOY in my beautiful children and their loud rambunctious little selves. I am going to try to fine the JOY in each moment. I am going to find JOY in my home, not wish for something bigger and better. I am going to try with all my might to be content. Content with a house we're growing out of but thankful for a house. Content with my garage sale finds and hand me downs and thankful for friends and family's generosity. I am going to be content that I just don't measure up somedays. I am going to find JOY again. When I was in Africa, the children would say there 'JOY was in Jesus and their hope was in heaven.' I want to be like that.
The next few pages in the workbook set out the goals for the study. I got excited about this part. This study is an attempt at "clearing the clutter from our schedules that can cause us to miss the joy of God's plan for us." So sorry everybody, I'm gonna have to stop worrying about what ya'll think and keeping up with ya'll. I'm a seriously flawed momma who is trying her best to live her life for Jesus in a way that will honor HIM. Bring on the JOY!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Mom and Dad called this week to see if they could come up and watch the Colts game with us. Of course is the answer so we decide that we will talk later on about food and all that. So I call mom yesterday and tell her I made soup and veggie pizza and some guacomole and I also had some stuff here for taco salad. She says, "well I can bring something too." I said sure if you want to that's fine and she says she'll call me in the morning and let me know. Fine. So the phone rings this morning and mom is bringing........drum roll please............a pot roast. LOL seriously. No chips or dips or chicken wings for the game but a pot roast, not that there's anything wrong with that, but who brings a pot roast to watch a football game. It totally cracked me up.
Fast forward about an hour and I am chatting with one of my sisters online and telling her another 'random' mom and dad story and she types hahahahahahaha over and over and says that they tried to bring it to her house yesterday so dad must be craving pot roast. Now we are both 'rofl' rolling on the floor laughing. All at the expense of our parents, who I love immensely but that is some funny stuff. Maybe dad just didn't want soup but I'm thinking exhibit A is the first of many random moments.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Yesterday was an emotional roller coaster for many families including us. We are thankful for the unbelievable response from the community of families that are willing to open their homes to a child.....I urge them to continue to persue that! We are on a list that is waiting but we are not sure that list will ever need to be used. I am not sure if the communication between the agencies handling all of this was really just that bad or good intentions jumped the gun on a situation they were not sure of. I do believe the intent was to be prepared IF something were to happen and that was not communicated well by anyone. I know how emotional adoption can be. Below is a link to the latest information.
Sorry if information I passed on hurt anyone. I trusted that I was getting accurate information.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Last night I heard some whisperings that Safe Families was about to help DCS place in upward of 300 Haitian orphans locally. I instantly felt the need to do it but wanted to pray on it, mention it to Trevor and see what the childrens reaction would be.
Morning brought clearer details and I was forwarding emails and posting links so that others could know how to answer the call. The kids were excited! It's funny but God has totally and completely given this call to my children too. Not many children would be excited about sharing their toys and their rooms and stretching our dollar even farther but we have been called as a family to this. I told Trevor all about the emails and the calls and the hubbub of the morning and late night and ended our coversation with a simple....."so we may be getting some." After a few seconds of silence all my sweet husband said was, "some?'' I broke out laughing and explained that they are hoping to place them in pairs because they do not speak English and want them to have someone they can talk to without frustration. We are being told the placements will be up to six weeks but that some children may be available for adoption and need a forever family. We are open. Here we are God. Use us. I am so thankful to have a husband like mine that is totally open to God's call for our family and yields to HIS plan for us.
This morning has felt like total excitement. I am waiting for the call to let us know if we have been chosen for any of these children. I am reminded once again how being the hands and feet of Jesus feeds me. I have been haunted by the crisis in Haiti. I have wanted to respond in some way. I have wanted to reach out and help and I am praying that if this be God's will, then it be done.
I've gotten many calls as the day has gone on for families that are wanting to help. Now the word is that they have gotten such a huge response that only adoptive families will be considered to help lessen the amount of transitions for these children and that there aren't as many as first reported. My prayers are with Safe families and DCS as they try to place these children quickly and with the right families for each child and my prayers are with the families that want these children and will not get the call.....I am so in awe of the "Yes" that so many gave God this morning. I love to see the eyes of Jesus in the face of humanity. What a mighty God we serve.
I think it is important to say that if you said yes this morning...if you felt that tug to help the orphans of Haiti....please know that there are many other children that need you. They may not have had an earthquake or just arrived on a plane but there are currently 143 million orphans worldwide. There are over 3,000 children in Indiana waiting in foster care for a family to adopt them NOW. There are thousands of others that need a temporary place to be safe and loved on. Is that not crisis enough? To be 3 or 6 or 12 and without a family.... If your heart was tugged with the news of all the Haitian orphans this morning coming to our area....take a minute to ask God if it was a Haitian orphan he needed you for or any orphan that needs us. James 1:27 tells us this: " Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."
We are going to sit back and see what the day brings...the week....the year and see what plans God has for our family and try with all our might to trust in them. I'm just gonna be open to it and try not to think of how insane it is:)
I mourn with the people of Haiti, I hurt for their sufferings. I ache for the grief and dispair that must cover the air there but I pray it motivates us to action. I pray it makes us hurt for all the orphans, the impoverished, the injustices of the world. I pray if haunts us in the months to come when the news coverage has gone on to the next story. Let it haunt us so much that we step up and respond.
***the situation here is changing minute to minute so I will try to update again
Monday, January 18, 2010
Do your kids know why they got to stay home today? Do your kids know what today was all about? Do you?
I could write forever about this subject but I'll leave you with some of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words instead. He is way better than me.
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
''Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. ''
"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important. "
"Ten thousand fools proclaim themselves into obscurity, while one wise man forgets himself into immortality. "
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. "
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. "
"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"
And we are so glad you did, Mr. King!!!!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I asked P and L three questions this morning. If they would like to visit with their other Mommy sometime soon, if they miss her and if they would be okay with living with her again and leaving our home......they answered yes to all three. Even though in an odd way it hurt my feelings, it made me feel at peace that they are not scared. They seemed to be more huggy today and would just come sit with me for no reason more. I'm sure they sense a big change coming.
We spoke with the originals after school today. Noah said he wants them to be ours and L is so funny to have around. They are best buddies. He looked very upset. Grace sat quietly with huge crocodile tears streaming down. I asked if she felt sad and she just shook her head and her little body shook. I held her and we both cried and I told her it made me sad too. Ava started bawling. We talked with them about loving the kids and MOM and how we have just tried to listen to what God wants from our family and we will always be here for the kids and it isn't written in stone yet and we were so proud of how wonderful they have been to P and L. How they have shared everything they have with them and loved them so well and showed them how to do things and been patient and just told them how great we think they are. We also talked about being excited for P and L if their MOM is able to be their Mom again and how special it is that our family could help with that. We told them to come and talk to us anytime they want to about their feelings on this.
It has all worn me out. The children will have their first visit with their MOM on Thursday morning. I know it will be best for me to be their with them and I will be their......next week. I just can't right now. I know myself too well and I am so emotionally spent that if I were to be with her right now and she would say something cross to me, well.....I just don't trust myself to be who I need to be. I have a feeling I would show her ghetto like she's never seen so I'm going to be thankful that I know my limits and let Safe families handle this one. They will meet with her for the next three weeks and as long as she has in place food, childcare and medicaid back up and running they will be returned to her February 1st. 20 more days with them......
Thank you all for your prayers. Our family is blessed beyond measure in the support and encouragement that is given to us.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I was watching two kiddos, someone was here working on our cable and phone and another was here working on our garage door and in the middle of it all, I got a call from Safe Families and MOM was demanding her children back right now. I ask them to try to calm her and tell her we have been more than willing for eight months to work with her to get her children back and we still are if she wants to do this in a way that is best for them. Trying not to panic, I call Trevor, I call our attorney and I say a prayer to myself. I pray for the kids that they be protected and that this is not a time for lessons but that I need you, God to love them and care for them and keep them safe and I need you, God, to work a miracle in this situation today.
In the meantime my friend has come to pick up her child and I fill her in and she puts her hands on my shoulders and prays for the kids, MOM and us. I wipe my tears and try to look normal for the kids and dish out chicken nuggets and mac and cheese all the while in awe of the fact that life is happening around me and the garage door guy has questions and the children are fighting and playing and laughing and my world feels like it is collapsing in on me!
I realize we have no legal right to keep the children.
Another friend drops Ava off from pre-school gives me a hug when I tell her and is immediately calling friends for me and asking for prayers. As the kids eat, I am thinking what would I pack for them, how will I tell our children, how will I tell them......how will I be without them...P says something sweet about our family and her plan for the day for us and it makes me want to curl into the fetal position and cry. I have to appear normal for them. I don't want them to be scared or know anything is happening.
About an hour goes by and Safe Families calls to tell me that they were able to calm her a bit and she realized she didn't have any plans in place for them and needs to get that done first. She wants them back. She said it. She wants to transition them back into her home. We are not exactly sure what it will look like yet but DCS will be involved and MOM will have to acquire child care vouchers and food stamps before they are allowed back into her care. She will start visitations with them each week and they will transition back into her home in about a month or so.
I am trying not to be a complete mess. This entire experience has shown me, if nothing else, you never know what might happen. I read back over my journal/blog since the time they've been with us and I am reminded of a MOM that loves them. It doesn't look like a love I'm used to but she loves them all the same. I feel like I have to say that this MOM did not abuse or neglect her children. She did a responsible thing by getting the help of Safe Families to care for her children while she got on her feet. Has she acted how I think she should have the past eight months, no but I have to recognize what she's done. She is the one who put the adoption thing out there, yes but she also has not been able to go through with it. I don't know if she can do it. I honestly don't. I don't know if she'll go through with the transition. I cannot spend the next month or so in reaction to what she may or may not do. I have to love these children with all I've got and cover them in prayer. I have to prepare my family and myself for what life might bring us or take from us.
I don't know if we still file the adoption paperwork in case she doesn't follow through.....I don't know. After we talk to our attorney and Safe families and DCS, we'll know more. I do know that God has been with us through all of this and He will continue to hold my family in His ever watchful gaze. I do know that yesterday at church a friend asked if she could bring dinner for us this evening and I told her we were fine but she insisted and I know God was not surprised by my day. I know God sent my friend to pick up her child right at the perfect time so she could pray with me and He sent another one to give me a hug and spread the prayer word..... Today, just today I changed the little tag on my emails to this.....“Peace is the divine gift of the ability to remain faithful, calm and patient in spite of the panic of unfulfilled dreams, unpleasant circumstances and unavoidable uncertainty.” ~Pastor Chuck Swindoll. I am hanging on those words.
We said just this week that filing for the adoption will either make her finally step up and be their mother or make them finally forever ours.....this is not the answer I was hoping for but we set out on this journey to be parents to a child that needed some, not to take children away from a mother that was struggling because we could do better.....where do you draw the line on that way of thinking?! I just don't know.
My entire family is head over heels in love with P and L. They seem like they have been with us forever. I don't really remember life before them. We have friends and family who I know will feel this to their core. We have so much support and love from so many people that I know these two little lives have affected more people in this short amount of time than they will ever know. I hope we have had the same affect on MOM's life.
I am not throwing in the towel. I know that these situations can turn on a dime and this roller coaster ride isn't finished with me yet but today has been one of those days when you are face to the ground pleading with your Savior and fists pumping in the air at the world we live in. It's been a day of indiscribable sorrow and grief and a day of relief and anticipation and worry. It's been a day of trusting and praying and believing that our God has us.
So for now, I guess I'm going to be preparing these beautiful babies for life without us, for life with MOM. I am going to be preparing the originals and Trevor and I for the next journey of our lives and just trying to remain obedient to what He is calling us to do. But all the while, I will be on my toes for the next curve that comes our way.
God knew how my day would be. He knew I would want it all about me. He knew I would feel an instant rip from my chest when I heard 'she wants them back now' over the phone. He put people in place to love me. He put His words on my heart to sustain me and He put himself on the cross to cover me when I shout out in anger at the hurt this causes me. He knew I would love these children to the tips of my toes and the tops of my highlights. He knew I would think I was a better mom and we were a better family. He knew it would be hard. I think He also knew that we were going to praise Him anyhow and offer a mother that hasn't had any love in her life, a chance at it. He knew we would smother these children with love and affection and show them a community of believers that love them and believe in them and will root for them.
I do not know what the next few weeks will bring. Heck, last night I was naming my babies....and now, now....I'm weeping as they rest upstairs wondering how many more naps they will have here. I am going to try my hardest to stay in a place of peace with our Father. I am going to try to stay open to His calling for P and L and just be obedient to it.
I know you all want to fight with me. It is why I love you all so. I know it is your gut reaction to meet me at the courthouse with batons in hand and fight for these two babies but it is my hope that you will pray for this mother who through very difficult circumstances was able to love them for three years and keep a roof over their head and food in their bellies......it is my hope that you will pray that if she wants her children back that she is again able to do that.....no matter how much we all have fallen in love.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
If you all are like us, naming your child was no easy task. I have a little test I do. It of course has to flow with the first and last name. It has to sound good at infancy on a birth announcement. It has to pass the high school graduation test and it has to pass the professional printed on a business card challenge. If it works for those three timeframes, it passes.
So back in July only about 7 weeks after the kids moved in with us, my friend posted a note on Facebook that was a devotion by Kay Arthur that she just wanted to share. While I read it, I wept. I still do everytime I look at it. The biblical character that it talks about just spoke to me so much of my L. It's about a boy born of unremarkable circumstances that is called to do great things for our Father. And at first he questions how could God love him or his people if they were surrounded by such poverty, danger and pain and the beginnings of L's life have certainly been filled with both. Then he realizes that this is truly God that is taking an interest in him and the young man is filled with peace. He realizes that no matter what circumstances you are in that God is there with you and that even though God continued to put him in hard situations, that he will be there with him at all times. With my L, I do not know what his journey ahead will look like and their have been so many moments since he walked through our door that I've wondered what will happen to this precious child, but the fact that God loves him even more than I and that I know He will not leave him has brought me peace like no other. So for that reason, L's middle name will be Gideon. It doesn't really pass my test. It doesn't flow but it does tell a story of special young man that I know can do great things for God no matter his circumstances. It fits him perfectly.
Here is a portion of the devotion my friend posted:
Finding Peace in Times of Distress
Precepts for Life
When the hour is dark, when the situation is desperate, when we are humbled and brought very low, we finally begin looking and longing for God’s peace. Trembling, we grope through the darkness, longing to know that all will be well. When the angel of Jehovah appeared to Gideon (Judges 6), he was crouching in the dark confines of a winepress, threshing wheat in secret to protect it — and himself — from the Midianite invaders. This was not a new way to thresh grain, it was cowardice.
Listen to how the angel of the Lord addresses Gideon. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? …the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:12-14)
At first Gideon questioned this angel of the Lord and complained about his circumstances. How could God really love Israel? How could God really care about Gideon when they were all in such distress, danger, and poverty? Gideon did not yet know to Whom he was speaking. This angel spoke as Jehovah Himself, and when Gideon finally realized he’d been discussing politics and religion with God — face to face — he was rightfully terrified:“Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.” The LORD said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. (Judges 6:22-24)
When do we first encounter the name Jehovah-shalom? Where does God first reveal His name as The Lord is Peace? In the presence of a man who is desperately afraid… a man who is literally walled in by circumstances… a man who is worried and discouraged and has no peace in his heart.
When Gideon’s eyes were at last opened to see that the Lord had taken a personal interest in his situation, that God was present with him in the midst of all this darkness and fear, he worshiped the Lord by a new name — Jehovah-shalom, The Lord is Peace. In the days to come, the Lord was going to put Gideon in some very unpeaceful situations. In some ways Gideon would face more stresses and challenges than he had ever faced in his young life. Learning this business of being a “valiant warrior” wasn’t going to be easy. But no matter what happened from this point on, Gideon could look back to an altar. He could look back at a moment in time when Jehovah-shalom said to him, “Peace to you, do not fear.”
And as for P, well, her's was easy. She has not stopped smiling since she walked in the door and Trevor's sister's name is Joy so.....Joy it will be. It passes the test on all accounts.