Friday, March 26, 2010

This weekend I will be celebrating my oldest daughter, Grace, or as Trevor likes to call her, our firstborn. She will turn 10 on Monday. Tonight is her slumber party with friends. Sunday is her birhtday party with family. Monday she'll get to pick out dinner and just enjoy HER day!

This girl is something special. When she was a baby, people would stop us to tell us how beautiful she was. People would walk clear across the restaurant or the store just to tell us what a beautiful baby she was. "Oh those eyes," they would say. She is just starting to grow in to her eyes. She was our first, we thought is was normal. She was a beauty. She is a beauty. She is built like her Grandma Harris with long lean legs and a waist I'll never find pants to fit. She has always been just a really great kid. As a little one, we never had to baby proof. We told her no once and she never did it again. We could sit and eat at a restaurant for hours and she would be good and playful. We could take her anywhere and she just adjusted and adapted. She did everything early. We thought that was normal too. She walked at 9 months and told us for her first birthday she wanted Blues Clues. She told us in complete sentences. My sister used to call her 'baby genius' until we told her to stop since Grace was starting to tell perfect strangers that she was a 'baby genus!' She was a complete joy.

She still is. She is a really bright, smart girl that tends to be too hard on herself. She has a heart for service and for God. She is creative beyond my imagination and loves to write and photograph and paint and draw and sketch designs. She has made some really great outfits and has aspirations right now of being a designer. She used to want to be an architect and early on wanted to be a school bus driver:) I have no doubts my Grace will be whatever she sets her heart on. She reads her Bible every night on her own will. She helps out around the house and is a delightful big sister. She can be shy and spent the first few years of early chldhood kind of in a shell but boy has that shell come off in the past few years. She is funny and playful and I love to watch her laugh. As these pre-teen years hit, she is chatty and inquisitive and starting to look at me like I may not know everything. Imagine that.

She loves Math and Science and wearing two different socks. My Grace can kick a soccer ball with the best of them or shoot hoops with the scrappiness of her mama. She is unique and not afraid to be different and I am so unbelievably proud to be her mother. I cannot believe she is turning 10. It has been such an honor to be her momma and I look forward to what God has in store for my firstborn. I can't think of a better kid to lead the rest of our crew. Happy Birthday my sweet Grace.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

FBI calling.....there seems to be a problem!

Part of the process of adopting is a homestudy which includes passing an FBI fingerprint analysis. It is a national check and helps weed out the creepies. Anyway, we did ours immediately the first week of February so there would not be any hold up with the adoption and last night I was informed that they ran them for the state, not national and we need the national ones. So we have to pay again, which is nominal, and Trevor has to get some time from work again and be reprinted. I tried to tell them they haven't changed, but they weren't hearing it;) You would think they could just run the same set again through the national database. So anyway, that is the holdup. As soon as that is processed, we should have a courtdate.

Since the kids have come to live with us and especially since this entire court journey has started, I've gotten excited each time the baby dedication at our church has neared thinking that maybe by then they would be ours and we could dedicate them at our church that has supported us like crazy......BUT, I have seen it come and go three times now and so I am trying to be patient as we wait on God's time. Next time. Next time, I'm sure we'll be ready.

The best toy ever invented.

I think I've mentioned on here how everything and it's cousin seemed to break around here last month. Well, I've been handwashing dishes for this crew for well over a month now and I know women all over the world do it but I am so glad I don't have to anymore!!!

Of course, the best thing about a new appliance is.....

THE BOX!!!!!


What? The view? I came down last night while my husband was diligently working on installing it and this is what I saw:

Friday, March 19, 2010

My friends rock!

When it comes to friendships, I am obscenely blessed. I am surrounded by amazing, beautiful women that encourage and support me. This past weekend I was able to go out with friends that I have known since I was fifteen and we have been through it all together...the death of a parent, the death of a child, marriages, divorce, children, miscarriages, job changes, moves, growing and changing and through it all loving one another. We ate and laughed and talked and laughed and just being with them makes my world feel round.

Another friend showed up at our home this week with snacks for the kids. She has been doing this since P and L first came to live with us. We like to call her the 'snack fairy lady' but how great is it that I have a friend who would be so insightful that all of these children require alot of snacks and to think about that need and want to fill it for us? She prays for me and lets me vent and makes me laugh and has a life of chaos that rivals ours:) I love her.

Another friend, one I get to call Sister, sent me flowers this week just to give me a smile. I have four sisters and two sisters-in-law and they are all truly amazing. Not to mention my momma that rocks.

Another friend, one I get to call Aunt, called and just lovingly shares her concerns for me and if I'm taking care of myself. She has always been my advocate and I love her so much for it.

I went to dinner with the women from my homegroup and was so blessed by how those friendships are growing and developing. They are so cool to do life with.

Another friend dropped off the most adorable clothes that would work for P and a brand new game system that she won that she thought we could put back for a birthday or Christmas for one of the littles. She had called me earlier to let me know to keep doing what I'm doing. She grew up in foster care and she knows what it is like to be on the recieving end of the love I try to give.

Countless friends prayed for me, for our family.

Another friend dropped by a little gift for me and a thoughtful note to remind me of the difference I am making. She lives across town, has a busy family of her own and she took the time to bless me.

Another friend, sent me the most amazing note of encouragement through Facebook. She just reached out to me and supported me and it meant so much.

Friends that have adopted older children let me pick their brain and ask personal questions and shared their own difficult struggles with me and let me share in their victories. They offered a listening ear and just a place of safety knowing I could say what I need because they had been there too.

Some friends kept me accountable for this weight I'm trying to lose. Others just made me laugh through a witty Facebook post or response. Some called or came by. Some responded to my blog to encourage me and offer prayer and support.

And that's just this week. I told you. Obscenely blessed. These are the coolest ladies. There are so many courageous, strong, selfless, kind, thoughtful, generous, amazing women that I call friend. And I do not take it lightly. You all bless me. So if I count you as my friend, thank you. This week has been better and I feel your prayers and support. This week has been better because of you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lost at sea...

I have shared lately that P and L have been missing their MOM and I believe are finely starting to grieve her. I am having a really hard time with things lately. It is very hard to feel like I am giving 100% of my love to someone and then with one simple innocent phrase from a 3 year old, I feel completely rejected. It is even tougher because the issues don't seem to be with Trevor or the other children. After all, they never had a daddy and are thrilled to have one and what isn't cool about having all these big brothers and sisters to play with and enjoy. I, on the other hand, in their minds, am trying to replace a mother that they knew and loved very much.

Earlier in the week P was acting mad at me and I asked her why and she said she doesn't want to be here. The knife was dull and flat right to the heart. I literally felt sick to my stomach. I know ,I know, she is three and she did not mean it like that and I know she really does love our family and being here.....but the other part of my heart realized that she blames me. For all of this. Her MOM won't get the blame because she isn't around to point the finger. Instead it will be me. She thinks, in her three year old little brain, that it is my fault she was ripped from her MOM. I am dying here. I felt so unbelievably sad and angry. Not angry with her but so so SO angry with MOM. At that moment, I felt no Grace for her. I felt so stinkin' mad that she made this sweet girl feel that way and that I will forever be the one cleaning up after her choice.

It seems that the times she asks for her are the times that she is or thinks she is in trouble. So then I struggle with am I being manipulated? Is my disciplining her interfering with our bonding? Will she ever want me?

And almost instantly the guilt of having those feelings start in....The hard part about this is that there is really no one to validate my feelings. I can't tell them. Who realy would get this? Who wouldn't judge these feelings and mumble about me under their breath or worry about how I'm doing? So, I write it out. I write and write and write and cry and cry and call out to my Jesus to comfort them and me. I ask him to keep my heart towards them and this grief pure and accepting. I ask him to give me His strength to handle this because quite frankly my earthly self is tired and worn down.

Would you please pray for me too if you get a chance? It's one of those times that I feel a bit lost at sea, treading water, land is nowhere in sight and storm clouds are on the horizon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Goodbye old friend

I had to say goodbye today.

Have you ever had that pair of jeans that you wear until the knees fray out or the pocket is hanging off of them. Or maybe it's been a favorite T that wears so thin passersby can read the tag on your bra. Maybe you've had that cozy sweater you wear around the house even thought it went out of style a decade ago but it is so stinkin' cozy and the one thing that gets you warm on those cold winter days. For me, it is a pair of red t-shirt material capri length lounge pants. They are amazing. The softest cotton ever and an elastic waist that has fit me through three pregnancies and snaps back afterwards. I could live in these pants. I could be buried in these pants...they are so comfortable. They have been there for me through the past ten years. I got them on clearance at Target for like $6 bucks so they were well worth every penny! Yesterday I wore them for the last time. Trevor is dancing in thanksgiving. When they lost their drawstring he said I should throw them away. Silly man. When they started to fray around the elastic band he thought I should toss them. Doesn't get it. You get it, don't you?! When the waistband actually became exposed I caught him once trying to dispose of them. How dare he. They have been loyal and grown with me and shrunk with me and comforted me. But now, now it is the humane thing to do to put them out of their misery. Several small holes have turned in to really big holes and it has flaws now that even the baggiest of t-shirts can't hide. I am so sad. I will miss them. What will I wear next time I don't feel well? When I'm bloated? Six bucks won't buy that kind of comfort these days. So sad to see them go. Goodbye old friend.

What's your comfort piece?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trying something new

I am trying something new. I am calling it a little bit of Jesus. It is my attempt at engaging our family in scripture. It is my attempt at getting all five of our children from varying ages involved in a conversation and some guided reflection about Jesus. It is my attempt at putting our focus as a family on HIM. It is my attempt at making the Bible our instruction manual for life. I thought I'd invite you along.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Good grief!

It seems grief has hit our household with a two ton brick. P had a tough evening tonight. She got in trouble for something minor and cried and cried and cried. I asked her what was wrong and she said she wanted her Mommy. She said Mommy and it about killed me. With both of the kids having such a hard time lately I have tried to look back and see if there is anything different or if anything has precipitated this but I don't see anything. I think it has just hit them. I think the realization that she isn't coming back has hit them out of the blue.

I do not know why God chose me to parent two children who are grieving....sometimes I feel so completely inept at it. P and I had a good talk. We talked about what she missed most about her.....playing puzzles, taking walks and her just being her mommy, were the answers. We talked about things she likes doing here with this mommy and things that make her feel loved. She asked me when MOM would get more kids and it struck me then that there is a part of this beautiful three year old girl that thinks she wasn't good enough and that she was turned in for something better. I felt like I had been kicked square in the gut. I told her that I didn't think she would have more kids because she didn't know how to care for them and that they didn't do anything wrong or to cause any of this.

We planned to draw a picture for her MOM and make a special box we can keep things in that are special to us. I think we are going to start a lifebook for each of them that will help tell the story of their lives and give them a place to share their feelings and explains things that are hard to understand when you're so young. We prayed for MOM. We prayed for P and L and their sadness. The originals asked questions and I answered honestly and I could see them hurting for their brother and sister too.

It is tough to parent a child that is grieving....especially when it is a parent that you feel has caused this pain and you want to honor their feelings but at the same time get your own feelings hurt in it. I know it is not personal and I know they should want her and miss her and I know it is the healthy reaction.......but it leaves me feeling like I am just not up to par. It is hard when you know it is not you that they want.

Part of me wants to shout that I wanted her to be well enough too, that I wanted her to step up and be their mommy. Part of me wants to remind them that I make their meals and wipe their behinds and give them their baths and pick them up and hold them when they cry and I kiss the booboos and tuck them in and that I have changed my entire life to make this happen... And then I feel awful for even a second thinking any of that. And I feel thankful that I was able to keep that part hidden and instead just hug them and cry with them and tell them how sorry I am and that we will get through this together as a family. I thank them for trusting me with their feelings and that I'm so glad they tell me. I hug harder and smile bigger and pray over their hearts. I pray for my own heart. I pray to be the mom they need to be whole and healthy. I pray they feel loved to their core and that they are always enough..that they are perfectly made. I pray they see Jesus in the face of our family and feel HIS perfect all encompassing love for them.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Everybody poops

This is Wally. He is cute. He is small. And he poops. Turns out he poops all winter long whether you scoop it or not. And when all that beautiful white snow you see surrounding him melts, the poop remains. So today I took the kids for a walk and we played in the yard and I realized I hadn't scooped the poop since 2009.So Trevor took Grace and her friend to the Toby Mac concert for an early birthday present and I scooped, and scooped and scooped. Trevor pulled the ole' ''Dad's doing something special for their daughter'' card and I got stuck with this job. I'm sure my neighbors enjoyed the chorus of ''here's more poop" from the littles who thought it was some kind of game. I think I could start my own fertilizer business. I am almost positive our grass will be greener. As I hung up the super duper pooper scooper that set me back twenty bucks, I added this chore to the older kids chore chart with a smile on my face. Let's see who thinks it's a game next time:)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cause I love her.

I am hurting for my L tonight. He never has trouble sleeping. He hasn't called out for me since the first weeks he came to live here. I heard him calling for me tonight and went to check on him and he was upset. I asked him what was wrong and he said he missed MOM. I scooped him up and sat on the floor with him in my arms and I asked him why he thought he missed her so much today and the tears started flowing and he simply answered, "Cause I love her."

"Cause I love her."

Cause. I. Love. Her.

This is why I tried so hard for so long to give her a chance. This is why I prayed so hard for her to be healthy and whole and the mother this precious boy needs. This is why I still wish she would be. I hurt so deeply for him.

I put him in bed with Trevor and I and he feel asleep quickly in T's arms. The bond they have is undeniable. I put my hand on his shoulder and just prayed for him, his sister, their grief and healing....that our family be able to create an atmosphere for them to grow into the people God's intended for them to be. I prayed that this little boy's pain be replaced with the love of Jesus and that he realize just how amazing and wonderful he is and that there is never a day that he thinks he did something to cause this. His pain made me feel so angry at her for not being enough. I don't know if after all this time he has figured out that she isn't coming back or why the sudden surge of grief but that's how it is isn't it? Grief. It sneaks up on you. You catch yourself crying in the middle of the grocery or at the song on the radio or some smell that reminds you of your lost loved one....

If you think of it today, please pray for my babies, for their grief, loss, healing. And while you're at it, pray for the 147 million other children that are mourning their families too and waiting for a place to heal.

Deep thoughts...

Todays lunch conversation was deep. Let's be honest, most days it consists of what route Dora took to get past the grumpy troll, who has a booger nose, and what they are going to do on their special night with mom and dad. Today was different.

This morning out of the clear blue, L started crying. He was sitting on the floor playing with the girls and I was right there. He burst into tears. I asked him what was wrong and he said he missed his MOM. He didn't call her MOM, he called her by name but he missed her all the same. I held onto him and said I was so sorry that it hurts him and makes him sad and it makes me sad too. This is the first time since Christmas he has mentioned her. It makes me wonder how many times he doesn't say anything or the tears don't come. I wondered what triggered it, what made him think of her and miss her so much at that moment of time. He recoverd quickly and was playing in no time.

At lunch he asked if we could pray for her. Broke my heart. Here is this four year old boy that knows he can pray for his broken MOM. He has learned that we can reach out to Jesus and He will heal those who are hurting. So we prayed for MOM, that she was safe. We thanked God for her and we prayed that she be healthy. We prayed for L and P's broken hearts. We prayed for our new family.

The lunch conversation then turned to race. "MOM has a brown face and you are white," I think is how it went. Ava pointed out that she is the only brown girl in her class and she said it makes her feel weird sometimes. We wondered if the short kid or the one with glasses or the really tall girl felt weird sometimes too. I asked her if it bothered her that Mommy was the only white person in our family. It didn't. We talked about how colorful our entire family is, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc and what a special thing that is. We talked about how God made us. We talked about being unique and fearfully and wonderfully made. We talked about how families can look very different from each other and that it's the love that makes you family, not if you look the same. We talked about how cool it is that there are so many different people in the world and how boring it would be if we were all the same. None of them seemed to be bothered by the race thing. It was more a fact and just the way it is. There was lots of giggling and comparing of arm colors.

I sat looking at my table full of brown faces and the sweet white red head I watch and I felt so thankful that they are growing up celebrating and talking about our multiracial mix. I thanked L for telling me that he was missing MOM. I thanked them all for such a great conversation and all their good ideas and thoughts. And then somebody tooted and the laughter insued and I lost them. Back to boogers and cartoons.