Saturday, July 31, 2010

Embarrassed? Depends.

I took my 3 originals on a back to school shopping date today. It was wonderful. They are all so big and it freaks me out. At lunch we talked about what they are most looking forward to this year and dreading. We laughed alot and picked out outfits for each other and folders and the all important backpack for the year.

Funny story of the day:
You know how there are some things that when you buy them, no matter how legal or old you are it is still tampons or family planning needs or even rolaids. Anyway, we are in Wal-mart. I have to do some shopping for supplies for Trevor to take to Jamaica for my father-in-law. The entire day I had been running into people I know. I am on the phone with Trevor perusing the adult diaper section and talking about the benefits of a full brief versus a liner of some sort while Ava is explaining to Noah that Grandpa needs them because his brain doesn't work right and a friend from church walks up. A guy friend. He just walks up smiling and I kind of nervously laugh and explain they are not for me and he throws his hands up and says, "I'm just gonna pretend none of this ever happened." Really funny stuff.
It was a very good day. I am sad to send my kids back to school. I love having them with me. They are really great little people.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Warning! Warning! Patience fading!

We've all had those moments in life when you have to take the high road. Those moments when you just have to be the bigger person, the more mature, the first to love. Let me just say that in the past few weeks of my life I have had my fair share of these moments. And I feel like stomping my feet and throwing a two year old tantrum and telling people to shut it up! Maybe it's the lack of sleep from a sick little one last night or just the one after another issues that seem to keep popping up and the stress they bring with it. I'm not sure what it is but I fee like shouting.....Get over it. Life isn't all about you. Life's not fair. There are lots of people struggling and not complaining about it. What's this have to do with you anyway? Who do you think you are? Since when did I become a punching bag?! Seriously?!?! OH NO. YOU. DIN'NT!

BUT that wouldn't be loving now would it?! :)
Ahhh. I feel better already.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Next court hearing for adoption: October 12th! Seriously?!! ARGGHHHHH.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I could never do it.

I hear often from people that they couldn't do what I do. I get asked from my friends and strangers alike, how can you give them back? How can you love and care for a child and then give them back? How can you get bonded, attached and then return them? I've asked myself that same question. I've asked my friends that foster how they can do it? It's always been something I never thought I could do. It has been something in the past year and some months that I've realized I can do and this is why.

Because there is a need. Because whether or not it is hard for me or makes me sad or I miss these children and their smiles...whether or not I feel it is the best situation for them or fear for their futures......there is a need. God instructed all of us to care for the 'least of these.' He told us all that we are HIS plan. So there is a need that I can meet and I do it. Not because I am made of something special or different than you. Not because I heard a voice in the night tell me this is my calling. Not because it is easy or normal or painless. But because I can and I should and I will. I do not have or need the answers to what is best for their life. I do not have or need the answers to what their journey will look like or why one child has this life and the other that life. All I know is I am called to serve. I am called to love, to love the unlovable, the ones that won't love me back, the ones that will love you back so much and when you say goodbye it will hurt with every fiber of your being. I am called to trust God.

There are children tonight that need us. Children that will go hungry or homeless if we don't open up our home. There will be chidren tonight that are hurt at the hands of a loved one or a stranger and tomorrow or the next day, they will need us. There are children without parents. There are children that only need us for a week. There are children that will need our love for months on end and then happyily return to their momma. There are children that will need us for a lifetime. There are parents that need our encouragement and support and guidance. There are parents that need us to believe in them. There are children that need us to believe in them with our whole hearts. There are people that need to be shown the love of Jesus and who am I to miss an opportunity to do just that. Am I supposed to say no to these children because it is too hard for me? because it makes me sad? because I love them and will miss them?

I have a warm, loving, secure home. We open our home because we are blessed to have one. I could accumulate wealth. I could accumulate things. I could redecorate or drive fancy cars or take exotic trips. I could lift this here or nip and tuck that there but none of that is going with me. It reminds me of one of my favorite poems....

Some would gather money along the path of life. Some would gather roses, and rest from worldly strife; But, I would gather children from among the thorns of sin, I would seek a golden curl, and a freckled, toothless grin. For money cannot enter in that land of endless day, and roses that are gathered soon will wilt along the way. But, oh, the laughing children, as I cross the sunset sea, and the gates swing wide to heaven I can take them in with me. Unknown

Why wouldn't I do this? How could I not do this?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Safe Families at its finest

A sweet bloggy-adoptive-mommy-grew up in the same town as me- and with a heart for orphans-friend of mine allowed her children to have a lemonade stand to help raise funds for a fellow adoptive family. At the end of her beautiful blog, that you can catch here, she thanks her contributors for allowing her girls to see "how He can use us even though He doesn't have to." Love it. That little phrase jumped off the screen at me. That is what life is all about. Today I got the perfect opportunity to show my children the same thing. It was Safe Families at its finest.

JoJo was our last placement and stayed with us for just a few weeks this summer. I have kept in touch with his mom mainly via text messaging. Today we took over some clothes and a meal and got to visit with them and see their new home. JoJo screamed my name and ran and jumped in my arms hugging and kissing me. It might have been the single greatest greeting I've ever gotten. His big brother wasn't too far behind wrapping his arms around my waist with a big hug. Their mom just giggled. The kids were all hugging and laughing and ran off to see the boys' new room. I sat and talked with his mom for an hour and she excitedly showed me around the new house. It was great to see them. I got to see the new baby and check on how he's is doing. Their sister is visiting family so we missed her. As I sat their with their mom watching the kids eat popsicles, it struck me that she is becoming my friend, that she trusts me and even likes me. This is how Safe Families is supposed to work. This family will always be a part of ours and it felt so good to know that when they needed someone we were there. We have plans to meet up at church this week.

Everyone is quick to point out how great we are to do this kind of thing but it's selfish in a way....the feeling I got sitting there with mom is a feeling that people would pay millions for if I could bottle it. It feels good to reach out. It feels good to help. It feels amazing to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I felt so incredibly greatful for the opportunity God gives us to "use us even though He doesn't need us." How cool is our God that He has the power to do it all on His own but that we are His plan. And not only does He use us but that He lets us feel that gratitude, that love, that unbelievable feeling you feel when you are doing His work in His name. He is the coolest.

On the way home, I thought about our P & L and wondered why this wasn't their journey, their story....although I really can't imagine it any other way. So thankful they get to be seeing this situation from the other side and are experiencing the joy of sharing your life with others and opening our home to those in need. That moment today, that one hour with JoJo and his family make all of this so worth it. To God be the glory.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Here we go again...

Late last night I got an email from Safe Families with their urgent needs. One of them was a 4 year old boy for a two week placement. He has the cutest face and a smile is always on it, so it his nickname (Face). This little guy is going to be hard to give back;) He's had a long chaotic day and been through alot lately. He arrived with the clothes on his back. He is the same size as our L so we have plenty. I just have to say how awesome my kids are. I am amazed at their heart for these children. A bed was given up, a special bear shared so he could sleep with it, a piggy back ride given, pajamas picked out that he would be cozy in and a pat on the head with a whispered answer to his fear of, "we don't have monsters here so you don't have to be scared....only Jesus and His angels are here." I love love love my children and the way they show the love of Jesus to these children. God has called all of us to be a protector of the fatherless and I am so thankful that my children get that. God bless this boy and his family.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Double rainbow!

Ever had those moments where you start to feel a little sorry for yourself, start to think how hard things seem sometimes, how it sometimes feels like you are the only one trying or those moments when being the first to love feels so SO hard. I was in that place on my way home this evening after a really wonderful day so I can't explain why. Just a myriad of trials and struggles that have been swarming for the past few weeks seemed extra heavy and burdensome and as soon as I started to feel it, I saw to my left, the hint of a rainbow. I kind of chuckled to myself and our mighty God as if to say, a chuckle wasn't good enough, turned it up and the rainbow became more radiant and a little longer. Within five minutes it was a complete, from earth to arch to earth, double rainbow. Tears fell and the kids and I talked about the promises of our God and how comforting it is to know He loves us. Tears of total comfort and peace. Tears of thankfulness to a Father who never disappoints or fails us. So we cranked up the Michael W. Smith and sang our hearts out to the Artist and His Work!
I've always thought of myself as kind of adventurous or spontaneous. I've realized as I get older I have used it as a glamorous way to say I have ADD. If you have spoken with me for longer than five minutes you know this. I am a bit of a free spirit maybe it's because I could rock the gypsie look. I am at home in long skirts and flip flops. God in His infinite wisdom or warped sense of humor has joined this woman with the most unspontaneous man you will ever find. Doing something last minute by the seat of your pants makes my husband twitch. He plans to be spontaneous. Then our all Sovereign God tells me I need five children because we all know how easy it is to be spontaneous with a huge family! I'm starting to think God knows I need somethings to reign me in or who knows where I'd be. Usually this balance between Trevor and I results in funny little heartwarming scenarios. Other times it has me passing out his digits to the single ladies. I kid. It's a good balance.

See, I'm already digressing. Focus. Focus. I will give you an example of my ability or inability to stay on point. I was talking to one of my best friends in Meijer the other day. Trevor and I are standing there talking to her in the pasta aisle and mid sentence I notice the whole grain Mac n Cheese behind her and mention it and pick up my story right where I left off. Isn't that normal?! Who couldv'e possibly NOT noticed the Mac n Cheese. She and my husband teased me about it. Neither of them praised me for my sharp skills of observance!

I frequently will start cleaning the house and if I forget one supply and have to leave the room I am cleaning to get it, I often will find project B waiting for me and have to complete it before I get back to cleaning. It's not unusual to find the vacuum sitting in the family room and me cleaning the glass in the next room that I noticed needed cleaning as I bent over to plug in the vacuum and the horror of the fingerprints gets me offcourse.

My mind is constantly like something you would see in a movie. It is the reason I am so easily overstimulated. (Yes, I realize how funny that sounds coming from the mother of 5) Right now our ceiling fan is whirring and it seems spinning faster than I'm sure a setting would allow. The chatter of my children is loud and their mouths appear to move in slow motion as the whining is heard as well as Tom and Jerry on the television. I hear the dog's breathing and the neighbor mowing the yard. I smell the lavendar I clipped from the yard that is sitting in a vase on the table a room away and I can see every little blade of grass that the kid's feet dragged in from playing outside yesterday that I haven't gotten around to vacuuming up yet. All the while my homemade pedicure is driving me crazy because the little design I attempted is slightly askew. I have issues. It is genetic. I have diagnosed 4 of the 6 of us siblings with ADD. It could be argued that 5 of us have it. And only one of us 'medicates' for it and it is only legally considered 'medication' in 14 states.

You can even see it in my writing. I know it is not grammatically correct the way I write and that these things........that I love......these little dots I can just type out allow space for my random interrupted thoughts to flow. What would I do with normal punctuation? What about this is normal?

These creative genius, raw passion, adventurous, life loving spontaneous qualities have just turned out to be a smidge of mental illness. It isn't worry or stress that keeps me up at night. It is these random thoughts that pop into my mind. I usually have to write them on the paper I keep next to the bed so I can spew them out and get back to the task at hand--Sleep! This entire blog was written that way at 4a.m. with the light of the bathroom seeping underneath the doorway so I wouldn't wake my very non-ADD husband. If you could see the sheet of paper you would laugh. No one in their right mind could follow it. It isn't neatly written from top to bottom left to right. It has little groupings of thoughts at all kinds of angles, some printed some cursive and looks like the ramblings of a mad scientist. Maybe I could rock the Albert Einstein hairdo! No wonder I can't stay organized. So anyway, there you have it. The authentic slightly off center me.

Time to get started with this day. I had something to do. Oh yeh, call a therapist;) Now where can I get one of these suits?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sad and frustrated don't really begin to scratch the surface but those are the words I'll go with for now. Continuance. When we went to sleep last night I told my husband that it was strange that our attorney's office didn't call to say they'll see us tomorrow as they usually do. We got their this morning and report in to the office to let the court know we are there. She gives me this 'I wish I could help you and I am so sorry' look and says that our attorney's office called yesterday afternoon trying to file a continuance. I am at a loss and instantly feel red faced and angry. I breathe and try to stay calm until I find out what is going on. Our attorney walks in and hands me an affidavit filled with legal jargon that few could understand. Walks over to the window and talks about a continuance. I finally ask him what is going on and he says that they have been waiting on me to sign this affidavit and can't publish in the paper for MOM until I do so. I tell him I thought that is what we've been waiting on this entire time since the last hearing and he's says they are waiting on me to sign this affidavit that I am for the first time right now hearing about or seeing!!!!!! Tears just roll and I reassure our attorney that I haven't spoken to his office about this and I would remember because this is the most important thing in my life right now and we even have a celebration planned because we were told today would be the day. Tears flow and I just sit silently while the clerk and he do what they need to do. I can't say anything. I let Trevor talk with our attorney and hear him repeatedly ask if there is anything that we need to do or sign from here on out. If there is anything that we are responsible for. I wish that people would just be able to say, Hey I dropped the ball and I am so sorry but that is not the case. Out attorney is a good good man and I know we are human and errors occur so I am trying, through my tears to forgive this and let it go. I am unable to say anything but to smile and say thank you. Trevor shuts the door to the car and the sobs start. The kind that shake your shoulders and give you an instant headache and a blotchy face. Trev lets me spew my frustration and ugliness I'm feeling and loves me anyway. He just puts his hand on my shoulder and let's me get it out.

I compose myself to pick up the kiddos and as soon as I walk in the door and see my loving and supportive friend I cry in her arms. The kids are asking what is wrong with mommy and I feel like someone may appear at any moment and hand me the mother of the year award for freaking everyone out. I dry up the tears and tell them I'm fine. I tell them it just didn't happen today and that I wish so badly it did. I let them know it will happen and that God has such a huge plan for our family and sometimes it's just not easy for Mommy to wait. On the way home they say they are sorry it didn't happen today but they argue and giggle and act the same way they did before it all and it hits me. We are a family. I know that. God picked us as a family long ago. He told me these children were mine over a year ago and I just need to put my trust in that. I know it will happen. The main reason I need the court to agree is for insurance and doctors and that fear that hangs over me that maybe they won't be mine,and for the rest of the world to see that I am their momma. But my God, reminds me that He's got this. He has made them mine and He will make this happen and it is my job to trust and believe that. I am their Mommy. Not because a court tells me so, but because God has entrusted me with their care, because our God handpicked them for our family. The love I have for them doesn't come from a piece of paper or a man at a desk in a black comes from the love our Heavenly Father has for me, for them....It comes from the fact that we are all adopted into HIS family. I don't need a judge to tell me that. It is the reason I don't want a picture with the judge and the kids. My God is the one who has created this family. It is HIS image I want us for us when we think of how our journey has been blessed.

So as I still am well aware of the need for the cooperation of our legal system and how important that day will be for us, I have to focus on the good or I will crumble in a ball and cry. This morning when we dropped off the kids at my friends, the husband had gone into work late so he could pray with us. When I came to pick them up she hugged me and let my cry into her shoulder. On our way home we passed several houses that I knew had people inside praying for us. I got texts on my phone of loving thoughts and prayers sent our way. My inbox was filled with prayers and well wishes and my FB page was brimming with encouragement and support. That is what God did. It isn't His fault that today wasn't the day. Human error. It happens. There will be day that our family can celebrate that the legal system recognizes what we have become over the past year and few months, but until then, I will rest in His peace. To God alone be the Glory.

We are completely humbled by the love and goodness our family feels from all of you. You have taught us so much. You are so a part of this journey with us. I will spend the day crying off and on, for that I am sure. It is coming from a place I am having a hard time controlling but I will praise HIM anyhow and it is in my family, my friends, and my God that I will rest my blotchy red face and be comforted. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

With my first born, I was induced so I knew the day she would come. With the other two, they were scheduled c-sections so I knew the day they would come too. I distinctly remember that feeling the evening before of tomorrow everything will be different. Tomorrow my life changes forever. It will never again be just us. We will never again be defined as this group in this family. Tomorrow we get bigger. Tomorrow there will be siblings and Trevor and I will have to work even harder at keeping our relationship as a focus. I remember those feelings. Tonight feels much the same way. I feel like we should toast to the past year and where it has brought us. I feel like we should thank God for the first three and the way our family was and I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that it will forever be the seven of us. That no one can ever be taken away from this family. We are a team...forever.

I was asking P and L tonight if they realized what adopted meant? We went over that it means I will be there mommy forever and they won't ever have to live another place or with anyone else, that daddy and brother and sisters will be forever and always and that our family was specially picked by God to be a family. And this little boy who spent the first few weeks here perched upon my head because of Wally our family dog, says..."and Wally will always be my Wally." Yes! Exactly! Always.

This year has stretched us like none other. It has had me thinking I was insane to others thinking I was insane;) It has made me laugh til my cheeks hurt and cry til my face is blotchy and red. It made me reach deeper and love stronger and grip on to the hands of my Father like never before. And it has blessed me. Really really blessed me. Trevor and I are the lucky ones. P and L are a gift to our family. A true gift. When we step out on complete faith and let Him guide our lives, I cannot begin to give voice to the blessings that follow. To God be the glory for the things HE has done.

I cannot wait til tomorrow. I cannot wait to be the mother to two strapping 40something pound toddlers!!! I cannot wait to see what God has in store for the next part of our journey with Him.

Adoption Day?

Tomorrow morning at 8:45 am is our final adoption hearing. If it is God's will, P and L will bless our family forever by becoming a legal part of it!!!! I cannot wait to be their Mommy forever!!!! If all goes well we are celebrating on Saturday night from 6:30- 8:30 at our church with a dessert open house Forever Family Celebration!!! If you have prayed for us, followed the blog, dropped off groceries, clothes, gift cards, loved on our kids, loved on our family.....we would love to thank you for going on this journey with us. We are truly blessed!!

Be praying. We will update tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I have a sweet friend from church that is in Thailand right now and I would love it if you would pray for she and her husband with me. They have three children here at home, one of them from Thailand as well and they are FINALLY, after almost 2 1/2 years of having her picture, meeting their daughter for the first time. They will be there about 3 weeks and then have to leave her there to return in a few months time to bring her home forever. I cannot imagine what the past few years have been like for them but they handle things with such grace and love and they are FINALLY there!!! They will meet her in just a few hours, this daughter they have loved and thought about and cried for and prayed to hold in their arms. I am absolutely giddy for them. Ellie is this gorgeous tall young momma and her feet right now from traveling, as her sister eloquently put it on facebook, look like the feet that would have belonged to Gilbert Grape's momma. Serioulsy. She posted a picture and it is a bit worrisome and has to hurt and her husband is having some traveling tummy issues already so let's all pray for total health to be restored to this amazing couple. Let's pray for their time with Lily and their children here. Let's pray for God's love to be shown to the people of Thailand through this couple that is a pure joy to know. Prayer works. Let's let them feel it:)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This year's Fourth of July festivites looked WAY different from last years. Particularly the fireworks. P and L were so scared of them last year that they nearly choked me to death and cried and screamed through them. They sounded like gunshots to them and from the place they'd been living just weeks before, that was a very real threat in their young lives. This year they layed on a blanket with cousins and laughed and pointed. They did eventually work their way onto Daddy's lap. But they were tired, not scared. It is amazing the change a little security can bring. I enjoyed the fireworks watching my children's faces light up underneath their glow and with my oxygen levels normal from no choke hold:) I enjoyed P and L seeking comfort from their Daddy instead of sitting in terror and having no way to cope. Our God amazes me.

Last night I sat and watched the movie Precious by myself. Trevor is at church camp with our two oldest and all the littles were in bed early from a long day. The movie is disturbing. The language is very strong and made me cringe. The acting is superb and the story....real....very real. It happens people. Precious' life happens everyday in America to children. Children. If you haven't seen it and won't, it is the story of a young 16 year old girl who has two children as a conseguence of rape from her father. Her mother is completely abusive to her and beats her spirit down every chance she gets and her body too. But a teacher offers her support and encouragement and it changes her path. It is heartbreaking.

What does this have to do with the observation of P and L on the 4th of July? Well, I just can barely think of where they would be right now if they weren't here. I think often when I see them swimming and smiling of hiking in the woods or hugging their daddy that they would never have done any of this....these opportunities, this love and affection, this safety and just would not be a part of their life. And I think this not to say they have all of this because of us....not at all...but I know that this all God's doing and we were just obedient. We are not great or special or holier than thou...but in this instance, for these kids...we were obedient to God's calling on our life. I am forever thankful for that.

My point is that it is amazing the difference you can make in someone's life when you reach out with the hope of Jesus. When you reach out and love someone that no one else is loving. When you step outside of your comfort zone and invest in the life of someone you may not have otherwise known but for your love of Jesus and His love for them. In the movie, it was a teacher at an alternative school that just believed in her, took an interest, invested her time and her emotions into this girl that the world ignored. The teacher didn't see a statistic or a lost cause, she saw a life she could impact and a girl that had worth and deserved love and respect.

Precious was written by an author and made into a screenplay but God designed our family's story, bringing us two children that would have never known a positive male role model and now they have the best daddy ever with an unquestionable integrity. He brought them an entire family that believes in them and encourages them and loves them and teaches them about Jesus and where our self worth truly lies...not in the fact that we are pretty or can keep a man or the fact that we are strong and tough...but we are worth the price Jesus paid for us. They are with a family that can teach them how much Jesus loves them and love them no matter what. God brought them to us and has grown us and taught us and we are forever blessed because these two amazing children took a chance on all of us. Because despite how broken their lives began, they had the courage to trust again and they reached out to us and impacted our lives.

Life is about relationship. It is about investing in the lives of those around us....the easy to love and the not so easy, the good looking and the not, the rich and the poor....the healthy and the sick. You don't have to adopt or teach or go on a mission trip. Maybe it's your child's friend that just kind of lingers around you a little longer than most seeking the praise of a parent figure. Maybe it's the young mother that comes into the place you work and looks a bit frazzled. What would she do if you say, I don't know how you do it by yourself. Let me bring you a meal this week. What would the world look like if we did that? Maybe it's the child you coach or the older couple that lives next door and would enjoy a little afternoon visit from you and ask them how their children are doing or how they are feeling. All it takes is a simple reaching out. Trust me, your life will be more blessed than those you feel you are 'helping.' It takes very little to invest in the life of another and share God's grace and love with them. It costs us way less than it costs HIM.

Friday, July 2, 2010

In honor of July 4th, I really do feel thankful for our service men and women and the sacrifices they make for our freedoms. I am mostly thankful to their families that go through so much so their loved ones can serve in the way they do. I do love America. I love that I can say what I don't like about it and not be punished. I love that I have the freedom to praise God in open. I love that I live in a place that is safe and my children have their needs met. I love that we are the first country to give. I am reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan which is amazing. In chapter four he talks about what being a lukewarm christian looks like and his insights are both convicting and worthy of all the "amen brotha's" I keep shouting to the page. I love his military comparison on page 80 and wanted to share it with you. It is so convicting so beware. Let me know what ya think. I always love to hear from you.

"When I was in high schoool, I seriously considered joining the Marines; this was when they first came out with the commercials for 'the few, the proud, the Marines.' What turned me off was that in those advertisements, everyone was always running. Always. And I hate running.

But you know what? I didn't bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. That would have been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you.

Somehow this realization does not cross over to our thinking about the Christian life. Jesus didn't say that if you wanted to follow Him you could do it in a lukewarm manner. He said, 'Take up your cross and follow me.'"

Amen brotha!