Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What I Don't Hear: Part 1

For all of the adoption haters, (and yes I have read the word "hate" in many, many blogs) I hear a whole lot of anger but what I don't hear are solutions to this "baby buying business that causes irreparable damage".

I ask this with sincerity, but what do you propose be done with the world's approximately 130 million orphans?  Should they stay in over crowded, underfunded group homes or state run facilities until they become of age?  Should children stay in foster care indefinitely?  And what about the thousands of children in India, Eastern Europe and Africa that overwhelm the streets. Would it be better for each and every person in the process of adoption to withdraw their applications and hope that the collective world gets the picture?  That according to you adoption hurts.  That it destroys lives. 

You see, I really think that the argument is a fine, thread thin line between abandonment and adoption. Because, unfortunately, there is no adoption without abandonment. And how do you change abandonment?  How do you stop mothers from abandoning their children? Because once they have abandoned their child, for whatever reason, there is a responsibility to find families for these children.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Back in The Saddle Again...

The great thing about coming home from vacation is realizing that the fun is not ending but just beginning!  Summer break is one long extended vacation and I can't wait to move on to our next adventure! 

I've got a ton of pictures to download and post here so give me a day or two to get my ducks in a row. 

**If you think about it would you pray for my husband and all of his men?  If you could pray specifically for safety that would be great and very much appreciated!

.....more to come.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Checking In...

Two more days left of vacation. Here are some highlights with pictures to follow this weekend:

1.  Prim got corn rows (who knew I was so hip?)

2.  I got right in the (cold) ocean with the kids even though I usually abstain (I let Daddy do it).

3.  Even though Prim peed on my new white cover up (it promptly dried in the 100 degree heat) it came out in the wash.  The smell, not the stain.

4.  North Carolina BBQ. 'Nuff said.

5.  I get to hear someone else say "STOP ARGUING!"

6.  Grandpa's "serious" face is sooo effective.

7.  Reality TV overload a la Grandma. 

8.  Being reminded of why it's called The Emerald Coast *sigh*

9.  Late nights equal late mornings

10.  Family.  My husband and brother here would have made it perfect...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who Doesn't Love a Quckie?

This will be brief.  I know most everyone with school age kids has had or is having a busy last week.  We have early dismissal today and tomorrow, tomorrow being the last day of school-WOOT!  Class parties and getting ready for our trip on Saturday have kept me going this week-thank goodness for distractions!

We head to the Outer Banks on Saturday with my parents.  We've been looking forward to this trip for almost two months and I am so thrilled to be getting out of town.  I could use the change of scenery!  Deployment seems to be going by sloooooooowly....

I may post pictures or I may wait until we get back in a week.  It depends on the internet situation although I know I should let technology go for seven days.  No Facebook? No blogging? Oy vey that's a tall order for this gadget girl.

Have a great beginning of your summer and I'll catch up soon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

To Anonymous With Love

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on my previous blog post.  I sat and thought about what you wrote for a long time.  The concern that you feel is  tangible so, today, I would like to dedicate this post to you.

I can only speak for myself when I say that any decision that we make as a family is made prayerfully.  Do we do it perfectly? Never.  We tend to jump before we look at times, but for the most part, we petition God for His guidance and direction so that we may be lead with a pure and humble heart.

I will honestly say that I don't know how life's decisions can be made without the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We are constantly bombarded with a need to quench our own desires, to be fulfilled according to our own feelings.  Oftentimes what I really need is to stop and consider my motives before moving ahead.

I'm saying this because you are questioning the desire of your heart.  What God brings to the table is discernment. Recognizing God's voice in the midst of doubt and fear is a tremendous gift because so often we are asked to do something that is completely out of our comfort zone or given the opportunity to follow what He has so clearly placed on our heart.  I would encourage you to pray.  To seek wisdom and guidance in His Word because the answers to your questions are all there.  You must replace doubt with truth to be able to move forward.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Following the will of God does not mean that the path will easy.  We are not promised a road less traveled.  In fact, oftentimes when we proceed as God asks, we can find ourselves in the mire and the muck, gasping for air.  But there is a choice.  Obey God, trust in Him that He will make our path straight and know that He will not abandon us.  He can and will use every situation for His glory and furthermore will strengthen us in ways we could not have anticipated.

Adoption can be messy.  There have been moments in the past with my daughter when I have felt such despair in both of us that I could not see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  She felt so broken in her sadness and as a mother it was gut wrenching to watch.  I stayed awake at night thinking about the unfairness of it all.  The abandonment, the grief, the insecurity.  I found myself angry at the family of a young girl who gave birth to a precious baby.  The only help they gave was to assist her in giving up her child.  When I think of what my daughter could have been spared I feel such sorrow for them both.

But I do not have regret.

I would do it over and over again.

God called us to answer the desire of our heart in building our family through adoption and that includes the layer upon layer of issues and emotions that come with it.  For better and for worse we were asked and answered the call to become parents to both a biological and adopted child and we never doubted that God would be in each and every moment.  That He would bridge the gap for our inequities and that our journey would be guided in miraculous ways.

The things about parenting is that no one can tell you how to do it right.  We will all succeed and fail.   We are broken and imperfect people.  But what we do have is the example of the perfect Person.  Jesus.  He walked on this earth to give us all that we need to not only be happy, but to be whole.  He loved the very best and worst of us.  The leper, the harlot, the sick and the infirm, the poor and the weak of heart.  Society's outcasts, the invisible many, were loved unconditionally by God who came in the form as man so that we could experience love.  He is our example for raising our children.

When I say that nothing I do or say will be enough it's because I often fall short of the glory of God.  For my children, I will raise them to the very best of my ability.  I am not a perfect mother and I know that I may not fill their hearts with all that they need.  But God can.  When I say that we do our best I am not being cliche or flip.  Because getting up every morning and deciding to be a better mother than you were yesterday is doing your best.  And on the days when you fail or falter, you give it to God, pray for the strength to do better, put one foot in front of the other and go forward.

There will always be someone standing by to criticise or condemn.  Even from other adoptive parents or adoptees.  But the point is is that you are not raising a family to please other people.  Adoptees may grab you by the neck and scream "don't do what my parents did with me and ignore, ignore, ignore!!" and adoptive parents may pull you aside and whisper "they'll forget in time, don't worry about it" (wink, wink).  Parents that have never adopted may look at your sweet family and shower you with accolades as to how "naturally" your adopted child fits in-like you've won the adoption lottery and not gotten one of those "difficult" children.

We could stereotype and finger point all day but when it comes down to it, it is a personal, family decision.  When you come to the understanding that you are not adopting a child but their entire history, when you want to be the perfect fit for your child, not the other way around, than I would say you are becoming a mother already.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I Know You Were Adopted But...Part II

Don't be angry.  This is not a post against adoptees but against the broad generalization that I've been reading lately on some adoptee blogs that characterize adoptive parents as naive.  It is insinuated that although we are "well intented" in our quest to expand our families through adoption we really don't have a clue and should confess as much.  Admit to the world that we are woefully unprepared to take on the challenges that come with adopting and accept that our "love conquers all" (so implied) attitude is both antiquated and misplaced because the transformative issues associated with adoption are too complex.  Love is only a band aide. 

To me it implies that there should be shame in not knowing how to best parent an adopted child.  That we should wear t shirts that read "I'm Well Intended But..." or "My Kids Adopted Which Means I Don't Have A Clue".   When I read adoptee blogs that go on and on that adoptive parents think this and adoptive parents say that I think to myself so what's your point?  What is it really that you're trying to say because from where I stand (over here on the side of raising children) I hear judge, judge, judge.  And from what I've seen the harshest critics of adopted parents are by adoptees who are. not. parents.

I don't care if you are adopted, biological or sprouted from a bush alongside leprechauns, unless you have walked a mile in my parenting shoes don't pretend to understand my motives or my heart. 

I don't mean to sound patronizing (I actually may be past that point) but isn't it clearly stating the obvious that as parents, biological or adoptive, we have no idea what we're getting in to when we take on the responsibility of children?

I have two children.  One biological and one adopted and I thought they were both going to be a ray of sunshine because they were mine!  How do you explain to someone that half of the time parenting is like swimming in a kiddie pool of pirhannas?  You can't!  You look at that first picture of your newly adopted child or feel your baby moving inside of you and you think perfection.  Sweet, baby-faced perfection...

Of course we had no idea what we were getting into-especially when we adopted our children.  Yes, we read, we obsessed, we furiously became a member of adoptive forums and blogs and we really did try and prepare ourselves to become the parent that our future child needs.  I have met very, very few adoptive parents who have been naive enough to think that it will be lollipops and roses once they are home with their adopted son or daughter.  And I have met fewer that didn't go to even greater lengths to educate themselves after their children were home in order to guide them on their journey of grief and abandonment trauma. 

What do we have if we don't have a "love conquers all" attitude because the root of that purposeful, determined emotion is hope.  Didn't you have that kind of love when you married? Weren't you swept away in a love that you believed could carry you through the rest of your life?  Wasn't hope the core of that promise you made on your wedding day and because of love itself you believe it will carry you through any trial? Sickness and health.  Better or worse.  Richer or poorer. 

Can we all say that we knew what marriage would bring?  Could we predict that in the midst of love there would be hurt and sorrow?  Were we wrong to believe on that most important day that by saying yes to forever we were acknowledging that love would indeed conquer all?  I don't think so. 

I believe that love can conquer anything.  I believe that the heart can heal and become renewed because of love.  I know that my daughter can overcome her adoption trauma because of perfect love.  But hear me clearly when I say that I recognize that my love will never be enough.  I am talking about a redemptive, grace filled love from our Creator Who can heal any wound, mend any soul and redeem any wrong. 

Jesus walked this Earth so that we could learn what perfect love looks like.  You see, we are bound by our limitations.  God is not. We are promised that we can claim victory to any burden, any sorrow through Christ.  I believe that for my children.  Can I do it for them? No.  But I can teach them how to receive it-God will do the rest.

The next time you think about questioning the motives of an adoptive parent-ask yourself this question first.  What is it in you that makes you point a finger and say you're not good enough, you're not well intended enough, your eyes are not opened enough??  Life is all about on the job training and sometimes you just don't get it until you live it. 

I wore rose colored glasses before becoming a parent.  I said "HELL YEAH! Sign me up!"  and thanks goodness for my naive optimism because this parenting thing is tough.  I couldn't have forseen the angst and anguish that comes with raising another human being and nobody could have told me different.  I had to do it to believe it. 

I don't think adoptive parents need to justify why they choose to adopt.  I also don't think adoptees need to justify why they choose to find their birth families.  All of us were born.  None of us were asked to choose our parents beforehand.   At some point we all have a choice.  Maybe for a million different reasons it didn't start off that way but it certainly ends up that way. 

I keep my rose colored glasses tucked neatly away in a drawer.  I don't need them anymore.  But, they are a good reminder that I jumped in with both feet, propelled by love and hope into a great unknown *


I Know You Were Adopted But...Part 1

I know you were adopted but don't tell me how to be an adoptive parent.

How do you like them apples?

To be continued...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Perspective is Like a Kick in The Jimmy

Picture a beautiful day.  Kids running around.  Music playing softly in the background.  Your favorite song always puts you in a great mood and while you're walking down the stairs to answer the knock at the door you hear the laughter of little voices and smile.  It's going to be a great day.

When you open the front door there are two men standing side by side.  In uniform.  You turn back to see if the kids have followed you to the door.  The tears slowly slip down your cheeks and although you see their lips moving, you can not hear their words over the pounding of your heart. 

He is gone. 

He's never coming home.

This past weekend the 1000th soldier was killed in Afghanistan.  On the day that I realized that we had not conceived I thought of this family.  Their no was so much bigger than mine. 

For us it's not a no but a not right now.

But for this family, and like so many before them, it is the most painful kind of no.  It is final.  

No, you will never hold him again.

No, he will not be there for another Christmas or birthday.

No, your children will not understand why Daddy is not coming home.




I was so sad, so disappointed when our treatments failed this month because it means waiting until the end of the year to resume.  I looked at G long and hard this weekend and had such vivid images of him as a new baby in my arms, vulnerable and mine.  All mine forever.  And I cried because I wonder if I will ever feel that again.

And then I thought of this family.  And I think of my husband so far away in Iraq and how we all, even if just once, have imagined the dread of seeing men in uniform standing at our front door.  It is almost unthinkable.

So for now, I say thank you to all who prayed for our success.  Your prayers did not go unanswered or unheard.  I believe God in His wisdom has something even better in store for us so we will put patience into practice.  I am thankful that for now it is wait.

Because I understand how quickly things can change and how definite the no's can be.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Yeah. That's My Kid.

There are moments when parenting is pure ecstasy.  Yep.  You read me right.  Ecstasy.  Pure unadulterated joy that leaves my heart singing with parental pride.

This is the conversation that G initiated while doing his homework:

G:  Mommy,  K & K were talking at school today and they both said that they aren't special.

(Now, at this point in the conversation I'm thinking this is a stall tactic to put off homework so I'm only half listening, but if you keep reading you'll see immediately why I tuned in fast!)

G:  (exasperated and huffy) I TOLD them that they are very special-more special than they could every know! 

Me:  And what did they say to that?

G:  (very emphatically and with gusto)  They said they weren't special because they have sloppy handwriting and don't read well.  And I said to them-are you kidding me? You two are WAY smarter than me!  You're two of the smartest kids in the class and you should be proud of yourself!

Me:  They are both very blessed to have such an encouraging friend.  You really have a gift and I'm so happy to hear that you use it to encourage and be an example to those around you.

G:  I mean, Mom, I told them that they are meant for something really special, even if they don't know what it is right now.  But they are!  I just know it!  Just because they can't do something as well doesn't mean they aren't special.  There are a lot of things that people are better at than me and it doesn't bother me.  I know God made me special.

(Now I'm starting to get all misty and I can feel my nose turning red like when I ugly cry)

Me:  Maybe they haven't been told in a really long time that God made them each special in their own way.  I think maybe tonight when you say your prayers you could include them both- that is a big way that you could help them!

G:  I feel sad that they don't think that they are good people and don't like themselves.  I feel down sometimes and feel like I'm the weirdest person in our family (random) but I remember that God made me just fine how I am and He makes me smile again.  It's really helped me a lot in my life to remember that.

I think my seven year old little boy made the angels in Heaven sing today. 

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