Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Positive, Negative Language and a Boob Job Analogy

There are a lot of similarities to preparing for adoption this time as there were last time - lots of paper work, a little bit of stress, nervous anticipation.  But this round is covered in much more contentment.  The dire baby ache is not there (which is refreshing), but instead I feel perfectly fine waiting on God's timing - whatever that may be.

I have been surprised, however, how many interactions I've had with people who don't know good adoption etiquette or positive language.  I LOVE talking adoption, and if you are genuinely interested, I'll glady discuss about every aspect of it very openly.  But some times people are just awkwardly nosy.  Here's a little helpful chart from Adoptive Families:

HOWEVER, this video hits the nail on the head.  It's from Rain City Church, filmed and edited by Spencer Findlay, and they say:

"Sometimes very well meaning people will say some pretty insensitive things to adoptive families. We can only assume that they're not trying to be mean, but instead lack the vocabulary to say what they're really asking. So that's why we came up with this rule of thumb: "If you wouldn't say it about a boob job, don't say it about an adoptive family."


It's pretty fabulous.



If the embedded video doesn't work, click this link to watch it over on Vimeo.

(Also, don't worry, friends and family, you aren't the culprits I am speaking of.  It's more of the general public, and in all fairness, I don't think anyone is trying to be hurtful.  I just thought this video was a fun way to look at it!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

He Hates Music

We were driving from church to my grandma's house for Easter dinner yesterday when we realized we had let a major ball drop.

"So Levi," I asked, "when you were sitting with Arlene in church this morning, did you sing along?"

"No, I didn't."  He replied.  Voice normal, but spoken matter of factly.

"Oh, why not?  You knew some of the songs.  We practiced them on Friday!"  I said, thinking about the million times I had sung the chorus of "Jesus Paid It All" with him on Friday morning, which led to some intense conversations, which is another story for another day...

"Well, I just feel like I hate music," Levi told us without skipping a beat.

Herb and I looked at each other.  Okay, he's just a three year old and he recently learned the word hate as being the opposite of love....I hate the Steelers, I love everyone, but I hate bad guys.  Not my favorite word to say, and not one that we encourage the use of, but it's a reality and he's just figuring out when that word is appropriate, right?

"Buddy," we asked, "Why do you feel like you hate music?"

I played through a few scenarios about where this conversation could turn, and with each following word he spoke, I realized my worst scenarios were in fact the ones he was referring to.

"Ummmm, I just feel like music shuts....music shuts me....I just feel like music shuts me out."

Ball dropped.

Well, to be honest, jaws and hearts dropped. too.

We have been worried lately that Levi is not loving the fact that Herb and I play on worship team together and during that time (rehearsal), Levi plays cars or colors or plays with the iPad for an hour at the foot of the piano.  He's a pretty great solo player, but it's hard to find a grown up to take you potty when they're singing and playing instruments.

So, quick!  Before my child begins to hate the one THING I love in this world more than any other THING (not people, thing)... we have to intervene.  After some conversation, we've decided to STOP taking Levi to rehearsals and make sure we have a (fun) babysitter for him on those evenings.  Additionally, I'm going to scale back my worship team participation from every week to every other week so that I can hang out with Levi and hopefully shop him how fun it can be to worship in the congregation.

I'm a little panicked because I can see how the "PK" thing happens...this is how it starts.  I don't want to push my son away from church and faith and worship because I'm too busy with one ministry that I neglect my most important ministry (motherhood).  I realized this morning that I didn't give up a career to be with Levi just so I could fill up my time and distract my focus from him with a million other little obligations.

Have you and your spouse every served in ministry together?  How do you balance that with a family?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Correction

Last night I was editing and cleaning out some old posts and for whatever reason some 4 year old post went fresh as if I had posted it today.  So all that to say if you were confused by something you read here yesterday or today, that's probably why!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Where's God?

This is the day I decided I wanted to be a mom.  It was July 2008, I was visiting Lauren in California, and in my most recent call with Herb, he said he thought we should think about starting a family.  It was so random, and so exciting.  Overwhelmed, I walked around in the water, praying over and over again, "God, I don't want anything to do with parenthood unless this is YOUR plan.  Please make it obvious what you want us to do."


As we struggled with fertility and discussed adoption options (which was only 6 months later, we kind of expected to go down this road), I had to constantly remind myself of that first prayer of giving God the power in our family planning.  I have often felt helpless, and actually still do, but there is comfort knowing I can trust HIS plan, HIS timing.

So, here we are, 2 years after deciding to start a family, 1 year after beginning the adoption process, and 8 months after receiving our homestudy approval.  When the baby is born, we will be so close to having had waited for 9 months, that it is eerie!

Like I said in my last post, in May, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with the thought of beginning another school year without being placed with a baby, our small group committed to pray every day, for 30 days, that we would receive a baby before school started in the fall.  The fact that the baby is due on the second day of school tells me that God has a sense of humor!

Last week at the beach, I had another big moment at the ocean.  As my sister-in-law Sarah and I talked about the ache in my arms that could only be filled by a bundle of joy, I jokingly threw my hands up in the air, and shouted toward the ocean and at God, "I'm ready!!" 

And here we are, one week later. So many people have told me that last week they felt the need to pray for me/us more than normal, and they didn't know how low I was!  They didn't know what God was orchestrating.

J had us in mind to be the parents of her child months ago.  While I was shedding tears and feeling hopeless, she was thinking of us.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Grown in My Heart

Last week I was driving to teach piano lessons and I was reflecting on a quilt I am making.  The quilt is a "practice quilt," as I bought fabric recently to make a baby quilt, but I wanted to practice first before I do the real thing.

This led me to thinking about the actual baby quilt and our someday baby.  A huge smile crept across my face and I let myself start thinking about that baby.  What would they look like?  Would it be a boy or a girl?  And oh how sweet the moment we meet will be.

"I love her so much already!"  I thought with excitement.  (I know, I said her.   It's just what I was thinking about then.)

And that was the moment I realized that future baby is growing in my heart already.  You know, like that adoption poem that everyone has heard:

Not flesh of my flesh, or bone of my bone
But some how still miraculously my own
Never forget for a single minute
You grew not under my heart but in it

I wouldn't even say I have baby fever at this point - I am dutifully putting one foot in front of the other to proceed with the adoption and prepare our house and hearts for a little one, but it's certainly not all I think about or obsess over (like the last time while waiting for Levi).

It's just that in that moment, driving in the car, listening to a song declaring my amazement at God's wonderfulness, I realized, that yes, there IS a baby coming, I am loving him/her already, and that is very cool.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Old People

I know my title is not politically correct at all, but stick with me.

(A random picture from craft time.)


Sunday morning, Levi and I had it out big time.  Not his finest moment as a three year old, and certainly not my finest moment as a graceful mother.  After the incident and some daddy intervention, we were all calm and hugging and had each apologized.

By the time church rolled around, Levi was nothing but his sweet self.  So you can understand why, then, I was astounded when he walked up to me after children's church, kissed my cheek, and in the sweetest voice ever said,

"Mommy, I hate you."

Herb (and other church people) were well within ear shot.

"Levi," I said, "do you know what hate means?  We only hate bad things like....car crashes."

"And hitting?" He asked.

"Yes, hitting. We hate hitting."

Levi paused.  

"Oh, okay.  Then I just hate old people."

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....No.

I'm not sure where he heard hate ... Or old people for that matter. And I assumed old people meant elderly, but someone very wisely pointed out that to him old people might mean all adults.  So, that was another interesting talk.  This parenting thing is no joke.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm Cracking Myself Up, Part 1


No one ever finds three year old hilarity as funny as the parents of said three year old, but in case you actually do find it humorous, here's hoping your funny bone is tickled...



Yesterday, Herb stayed home from work with flu-like symptoms - fever, congestion, fatigue, etc.  He spent most of the day in bed and requested a Shamrock Shake.  As Levi and I were in the line for the drive-through, he was talking on the phone to Grandma Me-Maw (my mom).

Levi:  My daddy is sick!
Grandma Me-Maw:  Oh no, what's wrong?
Levi:  He ate too much food and he might die, so we're getting him more ice cream.

My best guess is that he overheard the conversation where we were discussing Herb's high blood pressure and the affect that salty ham balls at dinner the night before were having on him...

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One night looking out the car window, he says, "That moon is lovely in my heart."

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In the car the other day, Charlotte (the baby I watch), was wailing in the backseat.  I couldn't get her pacifier at the time, so Levi looked over and tried to comfort her.

Levi: It's okay Charlotte, you don't have to cry because God loves you!


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Speaking of theology, he's currently fixated on the concept of heaven - and he does NOT like the idea of it.  I'm sure it's mostly because he's perfectly content here on Earth, which is not a bad thing.  Recently he asked me if there would be soccer in heaven, to which I replied, "Probably..."  Although, I'm not sure?

Later that week he said, "Mom, I love God, I just don't like heaven."

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Mom:  Levi, you're hilarious, you're cracking me up.
Levi: No mom, I'm cracking myself up.


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Finally, a little potty talk.  We declared potty training a day time success a few weeks ago and celebrated with the purchase of three cars from the movie, "Cars!"

Imagine our panic one day when we heard Levi exclaim, "I have to pee, and I AM!"

Only to realize that "I am" didn't mean "I am going in my pants right now," but rather "I am walking to the bathroom to do my business at this moment."

It sure is fun to the see the faces of friends and family members when they hear Levi shout the same thing, announcing each trip to the lavatory.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Here We Go Again

We had begun to feel the pull towards another adoption at the end of last year - but were overwhelmed with all the options (or lack there of, depending on the day).  I wrote in December about taking one step forward and trying to make some kind of decision about growing our family.  I wrote about how in October Herb and I argued in the car over life decisions - it was about the future of our family and the options that each of us felt like we should explore.

We attended a meeting about foster-adoption.  For those not in the know, this is a scenario where you are placed with a child who has been in foster care, but is legally available for adoption.  There are several levels of "risk" - risk being the term used in reference to the heart of the adoptive parent.  For example, a low/no risk child is ready for adoption and there is no chance of reconciliation with the birth family.  A high risk child is currently working towards reconciliation with the birth family, and thus, the foster parents must have their hearts prepared for that, too.

When we attended the meeting and learned about the "risk" levels, we also learned that the children who are ready to be adopted (low/no risk) are ages 4 and above.  Levi is three, and we'd like to keep him as the oldest in our family.  Not to mention, I think it would be hard to jump in to parenting a 6 year old when I've never parented a 4 or 5 year old first.

We were seriously leaning toward becoming foster parents, and signing up for high risk situations for children ages 0-3.  I felt like it was our best case scenario because while we were waiting for Levi to get older, we could be parenting another baby/toddler.  If the baby/toddler became adoptable, great!  And if not, by the time they were reunited with their birth family, Levi would have been older, and then we would be ready to adopt an older child.

But there were some doubts.  I DO want to grow our family and I DO want another baby.  One friend (who has been in this situation) said, "As much as you feel like you can "handle it," if your heart is to grow your family, strictly foster care is not for you."

I knew she was right, but I also knew our options were limited.  Herb and I agreed to pray more about it and wait till January 2014 to make some kind of decision. I know adopting an older child in a foster-adoption situation IS in our future - it's on my heart and Herb's heart - but I just kept having this overwhelming sense of "now is not the time."  Which was really frustrating!!

Then, out of no where just days before our deadline of making a foster care decision, a door opened that we didn't expect at all.  We found out through some very special circumstances that it would be possible to adopt an infant.  This opportunity fell into our lap, blindsiding us with hope, possibility, and excitement.

The crazy part is that the very same day, a friend of mine was praying for a baby for us - without me knowing she was praying, and her without knowing that we had this self-imposed deadline.  God was and is in the details.


So, this week we happily filed our official application with Bethany Christian Services, the same agency we used to adopt Levi, who, by the way, is going to be a simply fabulous big brother.

And now you know the rest of the beginning of this story.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Today we...

submitted a formal adoption application.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Love Alone Is Worth the Fight

What started out as a simple conversation quickly turned in to a heated discussion.  He was hoping to move in one direction, I wanted to explore another, and we just weren't seeing each other's points.  Thankfully, we soon realized that we were both reacting out of fear of the "other option" and agreed to discuss both options.

A few hours later we found ourselves at a Switchfoot concert, watching a documentary of their time on the road and in the waves, and hearing an acoustic set of some new and old music.  Tears stung my eyes when they shared what is now their current radio hit.  In my peripheral vision, I saw him wiping a tear away, too.

Thus was born my song of the year.  Some people have a word or phrase of the year, I usually have a song.  When I hear that said song, it takes me back to the emotions of that year, the goals, the hopes, the dreams. When the calendar changed to January, I decided this song was my anthem.  Every time I hear it I get pumped up, I get excited, I remember.

Right now, there is a lot on my heart that this song represents, but I'm not ready to share it all here, just yet.  But I promise I won't forget it - I'll have this song to remind me of those things.

If you haven't had the privilege of hearing the latest Switchfoot release, check it out here, you'll be glad you did.

LOVE ALONE IS WORTH THE FIGHT

I'm trying to find where my place is, I'm looking for my own oasis
So close I can taste this, The fear that love alone erases

So I'm back to the basics, I figure it's time I face this
Time to take my own advice

Love alone is worth the fight 

And I never thought it'd come to this, but it seems like I'm finally feeling numb to this
The funny thing about a name is, You forget what the reason you were playing the game is

And it's all an illusion, a 21st century institution
So I'm headed down the open road unknown

And we find what we're made of through the open door
Is it fear you're afraid of? 
What are you waiting for? 

Love alone is worth the fight

We're only here for a season, I'm looking for the rhyme and reason
Why you're born, why you're leaving, what you fear and what you believe in

Why you're living and breathing, why you're fighting it and getting it even
Let's go headed down the open road unknown

Here we are, here we go where the road is our own
Hear it calling you home
Here we are, here we go!

Love alone is worth the fight