Saturday, December 11, 2010

You guys are good!

Less than four weeks ago, I asked you all to pray for my friends that have been waiting FOREVER for their daughter to come home from Thailand. They heard news this week that the paperwork if finally done and they should be traveling in 10-12 weeks. I cannot stop crying for them. I get that chills down the back and clump of emotion in my throat everytime I share their good news with them. I simply cannot wait for this momma (and the dad of course) to have her baby in her arms. Thanks for your prayers. Keep em coming that they travel in a timely manner and their transition home is as smooth as can be. Just to let you have a sneak peek into their hearts, she closed her latest blog with this verse and it filled my soul.

Psalm 13:12...
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Godchild!

Ten years ago today, I was in a hospital room with my very scared but brave 17 year old sister sitting on the bed beside her right in her face having her blow on my finger so she wouldn't push. I was across from her 18 year old boyfriend, born a crack baby to his own teenage mother, and praying all the while for them all. About 30 minutes later, my neice was born with a full head of hair, chubby thighs and a personality too big for her little body. My sister had a child long before any of us thought she would, long before the ideal time in her life that's for sure and I don't recommend it but Chiara Amelia I believe saved her. (a post all it's own)Chiara Amelia has brought so much joy to all of our lives and I cannot imagine it any other way.

I won't ever forget when my baby sister came to me and told me she was pregnant not long after her 17th birthday. I had just had my own daughter and had a wonderful husband and I knew full well how hard it is. Here I was looking at this young kid with her punk boyfriend standing next to her thinking how in the world will they make it! But thankfully, the Holy Spirit took over and I although I don't remember the specifics of what I said, I remembering hugging them both and saying we would get through it and they had a lot to learn in the next 9 months and that Trevor and I would be there each step of the way. We spent the next 9 months teaching all kinds of things, even to Chiara's dad how to hold a newborn and change their diaper, how to treat a diaper rash or ideas on how to soothe a fussy baby with a tummy ache. We mainly just tried to emulate for them what it looked like to be a healthy family. I remember instantly thinking that this little baby wasn't choosing how she was going to enter the world and that she deserved for us to be excited to meet her and to love her as much as the much anticipated and first child born into our family that I held in my arms had enjoyed. The two of them couldn't be more different but have been inseperable ever since.

It was with that spirit that we welcomed Chiara into the world this day 10 years ago. She came fast, so fast that I will never forget the look on my sister's face when they said there would be no time for an epidural. It was the first birth, other than my own by c-section, that I had seen. It was a miracle. She was a miracle and she still is.

Chiara is one of those rare kids with a sense of humor that seems older than her years. She is knee slapping funny. She is talented and loves to dance and can 'whip her hair back and forth' with the best of them. She is loving and gentle and stubborn and intuitive. She is a sweet girl with a heart that wants to know more about Jesus. She is curious and creative and smart. She is beautiful. She is our Chi and I love her so very much.

I used to worry if she would become a statistic with the beginning she had. I used to worry what that would mean for her life and although she hasn't had it easy....I know who she is and believe 100% in this kid. She can be absolutely anything she wants to be. Her mom and her have grown together and her momma has done an unconventional but fabulous job. They both are blessings to me. Yes, she was born to a teenage mom and dad with struggles of their own but that is only a part of her story. She is also a child of God. A God of redemption and Grace. An heir to the throne of the most High. And it is that I pray she believes and cherishes to the core of her soul. I pray she feels just how special she is to us all. I pray she feels the love we all have for her from the tips of her curls to the bottoms of her pink feet. You are amazing, Chi. I love you, girl, and it has been so fun to watch you grow into this little person Jesus chose you to be. I am honored to be your Godmother and Uncle T and I (and the whole gang) are here for you always. Happiest of Birthdays to you sweet girl. May you feel the joy in your heart this year that you bring to others.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thanksgiving and raw emotions.

We have had a crazy busy couple of weeks and I am still trying to catch my breath. The end of November culminated in a series of celebrations for us that left me unexpectedly emotional. We celebrated Logan's birthday on a Wednesday, Thanksgiving the next day, had a Forever Family Celebration that weekend and then the next Wednesday celebrated Perri turning 4! Not to mention the all nighter spent with my sisters Black Friday shopping and you'll know why I'm still trying to catch up on sleep!

Perri and Logan's birthdays had me feeling extremely thankful for them. I was even more appreciative of their birthmom's choice to give them life. I felt even more sad that she was missing them and they missing her. I felt even more conflicted within about how to wade the waters of an open adoption and what that looks like now and will look like for our family going forward. I thought about all the amazing victories along the way...How far these two children have come in the security of a family. I thought about the first days here and the steps until now and I wanted to scoop them up and freeze this time in our lives.

Thanksgiving found me waking with a lump in my throat as if the thought of the kids birthmom had sank into my brain while I slept. That day marked one year since they had seen her. One year since we had seen her or she them. I looked at their puffy little faces at breakfast and felt immeasurably sad for her. That she was missing this. I remembered how the last Thanksgiving was spent with her after we invited her to our family Thanksgiving. I remembered how loved she felt that day. I remember how brave she had to have been to accept our invitation. I remembered how many days Logan was out of sorts after that and how hard Perri cried for her when she left. I remembered how about a month later she wanted to see them and never showed up. I remembered why we are their family. I thanked God for our lives, our blessings. But the entire day, I could not get her out of my head. I wondered where she was and if she had a meal. I wondered if she was alone, safe, warm, or on the streets and lonely. I wondered if she was at a shelter or in the company of someones loving home. I wondered how I resolve her life to mine in my heart that tries so failingly sometimes to love like Jesus. It all took me by surprise. Not that I love them so much but that I love her. That is the most surprising element of this entire process to intense and odd this love I have for her is...
how utterly ironic it is and emotionally draining and difficult to love the woman that I often feel like I am protecting them from or has been the cause of their heartache. It is my prayer that they someday feel that love I have for her and it directly shines on their own feelings of worth.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time because I love to reflect on our blessings and this year was such a celebration of knowing that no person can ever take our family away now and how faithful we stayed on this journey but it was also a realization and reflection on the fact that very few people have what I have. That there are many who went hungry that day.....even if they had a plate full of food.

We were then humbled on the weekend by over 100 people coming out to celebrate our forever family with us. It was an amazing time for us. We had a wonderful conversation with our children that night about how many people came to celebrate that God chose us for each other. That each one of those people present were there to root for us and to love us and that those faces were not just friends and family but had listened to God's call on their life to encourage and support our family. We talked about how God often works through others to bless us and that if there is ever a time you feel far from HIM, that you can simply look around you and see His face in the face of others that love you. The blessings are family feels from you cannot be put into words. Angels comes close.

So we go into this season of celebrations with hearts overflowing. As I was preparing a picture board of photos from the past year and half for our Forever Family party, I realized how tiny Perri and Logan were when they came. All I could think of at the time was how big they were and how much I had missed already and now I see how small they were and how much they've grown and have challenged myself to stay in each present moment with my children. No more what ifs or what coulda shoulda woulda. We are infinitely blessed.

The past few weeks have brought an idea to mind....I am thinking that instead of MOM or bio or birth mother....I am thinking since she gave them life, I will call her their lifemom. And I will call MYSELF their mom for life! Their. Mom. For. Life.