Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Typical Conversation

Unfortunately for me this is the kind of conversation that comes up on a very regular (much too regular!) basis:

Gabe: I love boysenberry syrup!

Me: Me too and that's the exact same kind I ate when I was a little girl!.

Gabe (a bit too startled): Wait a minute, diiiiiiid you have stoves back then?

Me: Yes, believe it or not we had stoves all the way back then.

Gabe: No mommy. What I'm trying to say is did you have tv with ACTUAL different channels?

This is like the time, not too long ago, when he asked me if I was born when pencils had been invented. 

When does this kid think I was born? 1877?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Learning To Say Thank You!

Stop by Wives in Bloom and read my article on choosing to say two very simple words!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

She's Growing Up Without My Permission

Preschool Picture Day

She even knew to cross her hands over her lap! Such a little lady!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvesting the Soul: A Faith Deployed Article

Join me over here today at Faith Deployed to read what's going on with me as I anticipate H's homecoming....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Television Show That I Can Not Stand!


1.  Bite the inside of my cheek in the exact same spot over and over again

2.  Inhale black pepper (through both nostrils)

3.  Read Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" five times in a row without skipping pages (or throwing it across the room in frustration)

4.  Watch every single rerun of Jon & Kate Plus 8 in one sitting

5.  Stub my toe on the dog's most spiky-from-being-chewed dog toy in my bare feet. While running.

6.  Listen to the song "Puff The Magic Dragon" until my ears bleed

7.  Squeeze into a size 8 pair of jeans and walk around shaking my booty and flaunting my muffin top like it's hot

8.  Wax off a part of my eyebrow right smack dab in the middle and have to shade it in for the next three months (I've done it-it's embarrassing)

9.  Let my dog lick me in the mouth. On purpose. Without rinsing.

10.  Put an I ♥ Barack Obama sticker on my car for 48 hours.....just kidding. That would never happen. "The View" would win.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Deployments Stink

Homecoming is approaching but not fast enough for two little ones who miss their daddy.  Tonight at bedtime we prayed for the first wave of daddies who are coming home (very) soon and asked God to bless their reunions with their families.  When I opened my eyes I was looking at a very sad little boy. Tears streaming down his face as he so bravely tried to get through our prayer without making a sound until he couldn't hold it in anymore.  It doesn't seem fair that he has to wait an extra month to hug his daddy while other kids do not and he is angry.
It's not fair. None of it. Not that they have to be without their father. Not that it's for so long and so far away.  Not that we live in a world where men have to stand watch with a gun. I can wipe away the tears but there will be more to replace them tomorrow. There is only one person that can take them away and he is not here.
I am praying that the time goes by quickly. That before we know it H will be home and we will be together again. Because watching them cry breaks my heart into a million little pieces.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010

Should Military Families Adopt?: Part 3

While H was preparing to deploy January of last year I won't deny that I had a  few moments of panic.  We had spent the past year and a half assuring Prim that we were, in fact, here to stay.  That nighttime was not scary because we were all still together when the lights were out and that we would love her even when she fought us as if her life depended on it.

We were just beginning to see who she was beyond the hurt and fear when H left for Iraq and I was afraid that her smile would fade in the wake of her father's absence. Explaining to a three year old that Daddy is going on a long trip is pretty much the equivalent of telling her he'll be home tomorrow. She had no concept of time, no internal calendar to help mark the days gone by, so after the first week, when she was asking for Daddy to come back and I couldn't explain any better that the deployment was seven months long, we both wept.  I felt guilty for causing her unnecessary pain, for putting her through what I had promised so casually would never happen again. I had a moment of thinking "what had we done?". Did we really think her soul could survive the constant separation? Was a military lifestyle okay for a child who had suffered the trauma of abandonment not once but twice?

That first week, when we held each other and wept, I silently pulled out the daddy doll I had been saving for a moment when I knew she would need to see his face. I put the puffy pillow-like doll with Daddy's smiling face in between us and wrapped her arms around it.  Reminding her that Daddy still loved her. That even though he was miles away he was still in her heart. That he was coming back.  That we would be with her always.  That the distance did not mean he was gone for good, just gone for now.  I'll never forget the look of surprise on her face when she saw her new doll.  How wide her eyes got at the small version of him in front of her.  She very quietly said, "Oh daddy. I've missed you so much" as she lovingly stroked his face and cried.

Later that night I cried for her, for us.  It was so hard but seeing her sadness gave me hope that some of the anger she had been holding on to was melting away.  That her tears could be wiped away and replaced with a smile.  Over the next seven months she went through an adjustment process, working out her feelings in many ways. Sleep issues resurfaced with a vengeance, no place was close enough to me and it was exhausting.  But she did it! She smiled and laughed and played.  She went to preschool and made friends and learned to manage her feelings as she continued to mature.  She realized that our family was still a family no matter where we were in the world.  She laughed at daddy on the computer when we had an opportunity to Skype and loved babbling about everything on the phone when he called.

When H returned from deployment last August it was such a sweet homecoming for the kids. Prim jumped into his arms with abandon and shouted over and over again "I missed you Daddy!".  She was surprisingly content and the adjustment for her was minimal in the following weeks. I was so proud of her, so thankful for her peaceful heart.

We moved twice in nine weeks after H's return.  Talk about confusing, especially for our little girl.  But we did it with a smile, made our moving a crazy adventure and drove across country to Virginia where we knew another deployment awaited us.  Somewhere in the next few months my daughter became confident, assured in her position in the family.  She went into a new preschool (again) making friends easily and being an enthusiastic student.  She asked often if we were moving again and we would laugh and say "not for a while" at which she would laugh as well.

And then, Daddy deployed again this past April and the goodbyes and I'll be coming backs started all over again. It was incredibly sad but the past seven months had made a big difference in her development and the previous deployment was still fresh in their minds. We settled into a routine, talking often about missing daddy but concentrating on school work, activities, family and friends.  This time she talks about what we'll do when Daddy comes home and I smile because she sees herself in the future with us all together.  She understands that we are together forever.

I had some moments of fear that being a military family would be too difficult for her.   That it wasn't fair to constantly change and uproot and be apart.  But what I have learned is that we have the unique opportunity to focus on what permanence means. That God is still God no matter what.  That our family can live anywhere and still be OUR family.  That Daddy going away is temporary and love can defy distance and time.  That we are serving our country when we support Daddy.  That we can be bigger and better than our circumstances.

I have had the pleasure of knowing many military families who have adopted and I think they make such amazing parents.  Living a military life forces you to be open to the unknown, you are surrounded by a wonderful mixture of nationalities, cultures and lifestyles.  We are grounded by a common bond of sacrifice, honor and service that extends to our churches, communities and schools.

I am proud to say that we are a military family who has chosen to expand our family through adoption.  What is difficult and challenging is also extremely rewarding. We live a life that depends on the 100% assurance of God and faith in His plan and Prim was a part of that plan. He knew our life and what it would mean for her and I am confident that He does not make mistakes.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Should Military Families Adopt?: Part 2

I love the replies I received from yesterdays post and hope you enjoy and are challenged by the next next chapter in this series. I just want to quickly clarify that the main question was not should military families be allowed to adopt, but should they, knowing the lifestyle and the impact it may have on a newly adopted child, choose adoption for their family.

Part 2

To be honest, when we decided to adopt I don't think we gave much thought to the impact our constantly moving, relentlessly changing life would have on our daughter.  In fact, when we began the process of bringing Prim home, we very specifically believed our military life would be an advantage to our little girl thousands of miles away.

You see, Prim was a waiting child from Holt's waiting child photo listing. I took one look at her and those BIG brown eyes and thought "there she is!".  I couldn't get over the similarities in physical features she shared with our son and fell in love with her serious little face.

And so did seven other families.....

I don't know know how to describe the process of being "interviewed" for the right to love and parent a child, but it's not for the faint of heart.  We had to convince a board, who had never met us in person and only knew us on paper, that this ten month old baby with possible special needs, that we were the best choice without a shadow of a doubt.

No pressure...

Before the interview H and I talked about what we had to offer that another family may not.  I kept thinking, how could I convince the woman who was interviewing us that we would love this beautiful little girl more than any other family? I couldn't.  And I wouldn't.  I wouldn't make the argument that our love would be better, that we were more "deserving" because those seven other families wanted to parent this little girl just as much as we did and it felt unfair.  I didn't want the process to feel like a competition. This was about a child.  And we knew there was so much love for her already just from the overwhelming response to one tiny picture on a website.  What we did have to offer which may have been different from other families was (ironically) stability.  We are a military family.  It means job security, medical insurance and no question of pre- existing conditions.  It means a roof over our head, a paycheck on the 15th and 30th of the month without question and the exceptional family member program for those with special needs.  It meant close-knit communities with bi-racial and trans racial families being the norm and accessibility to outreach programs and federally funded support networks.   It means military hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.  It meant a smooth financial and medical transition for a little girl with a lot of unknowns.

A few days later we got the call.  We were hers. She was ours.

And I had to believe it was because, in part, of us being a military family.

Thanks for reading and check back for Part 3!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Should Military Families Adopt?: Part 1

I think one of the most important things we try to instill in our adopted children is that they are loved by us forever. That they have finally received a permanent family, the abandonment process will not continue it's vicious cycle and their hearts have a place to call home.  And it's a process. Earning their trust takes more than time and energy.  It takes devotion that does not have conditions or parameters.  It can often be a very long process that is slow to mature over months or years, sometimes taking one step forward and two steps back from one day to the next.

Now take this child, who yearns for the safety of attachment, a love that is bigger than their hurt and place them in a military family.  Nothing shatters the I love you and will never leave you mantra like a six, nine or twelve month deployment.

Should military families consider adoption knowing that their lifestyle is often disruptive and unpredictable?

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