Sensitivity

I don’t want to be misunderstood about my personal impressions of the adoption process on this side of the coin, or to ignore the other side of the situation where a loving mother is trying to find a place for her child- a child that she loves and wants to give them the world. After I posted yesterday a friend from my small group sent me the following message from her perspective as a birth mom.

“I was just reading the post technicalities. It’s very interesting to read from that side of the adoption process. One of the things that struck me was you described mothers sifting through books like car shopping. I guess I had never thought of it like that and can certainly understand why you might not feel “good enough” or want to be compared to other parents.

In my own experience giving up my son at 17, I also had to read through profiles and compared parents. Any number of them would have loved my little boy. But then, I ran across one profile that I was drawn to like a magnet. There was no other profile after that. I was not a woman of faith at that time, but looking back I have to believe it was a direct intervention on my son’s behalf. When I read this profile, I didn’t choose it because they had been waiting a long time or lived on a farm or had kids or didn’t have kids or any of the other general details of their lives. It wasn’t any of the details except this one….that they were very involved with the church and believed Jesus Christ was their savior. That is the sole reason I chose them. In fact, compared to everyone else (the one thing that you were expressing a fear about) these people shone like a bright star. These people lived their lives in such a way that they included that as a priority in describing themselves, not just passively mentioning they were Lutheran or something like that. That, even as a non-believer, was what I wanted for my son.

Interestingly, they told me at our first meeting that they worried they would not be good enough. And I don’t know if God guided my words or what, but I softly responded to them with tears in my eyes and said, “you have opened yourselves to give my little boy a good home, you are more than enough.”

I love this response it represents the care of a mom who knows that this is going to be a painful decision for the future of her life even if it was a good decision for the baby. It is interesting too that her chosen family felt inadequate to ever be “good enough” for this gift. We feel the same way- how can we ever be deserving of such a gift? Who are we that we deserve to be given a life? Maybe that is where the dislike of comparison shopping comes in for me- would we ever be chosen? Ultimately, I believe that my friend was drawn to that profile by the Holy Spirit and that he had that particular family picked out for that child.

In the next few posts I will share a little about our adoption experience that failed as well as our trip through matching with embryo families and the Holy Spirit’s work in divinely creating families.

Bouncy Balls

sony_bravia_ballsWho doesn’t love a bouncy ball? We sure do at our home. We almost had a whole party just around bouncy balls but we switched to Hot Wheels just in the nick of time. We couldn’t completely leave out the bouncers that we had purchased (many of them say class of 2012 and they were about 2 dollars for 144 of them!). 

ballsa Balls1

The balls made their appearance to the delight of the boys. Of course gleeful little boys and girls rolled in them. Threw them all over the floor and creating a fort out of a small table. (Typical) The kids also like to put their feet in them when they are in their basket and pretend it is a massage.  balls5 balls4 balls3 balls2 Balls

An obscene amount of balls is more than anyone needs. Yes, this would be the American mindset- more is better.

Enter very large ice cream Sundays and over sized….well, just about everything.

Today’s ball reference is due to the behavior of my 4 year old who can be a lot like this video:

http://youtu.be/KMl5l6mOySU

Ever tried to stop a bouncy ball or catch one in a small room after it has been thrown with full force? It jumps around bouncing equally off of walls, ceiling, the floor and anything else or anyone else in its way.  Tonight we ask Luke to go brush his teeth and in true bouncy ball fashion he ended up hitting about 5 different things before he made it to the task of brushing his teeth. Do anyone else’s kids do this?

“Luke, go brush you teeth”

Luke-

Jumps off the bed

Goes to the piggy bank on top of the dresser

Heads over to the box of books

Heads in to the bathroom to potty (well, at least he did that one right)

Decides he needs to find his blanket

Gets to the sink but is distracted by the different kinds of toothpaste.

Gets the paste on his brush

Brush in hand goes to get his marbles from the rocking chair

Oh, don’t forget the HOT WHEELS that he HAS to sleep with

Turn off the light

Turn on the light turtle so the blue light from the stars will be on the ceiling

Find the moon on said ceiling

Finally brush teeth.

Ok, so you can call this poor parenting, not having an exact order to every single bed time ritual, or you can call it exhaustion energy (we get that second wind when we are distracted), or just call it stalling. Either way, it’s pretty funny to be honest. On the surface it is funny but underneath there is the need for Luke to obey “Right away, all the way, with a good attitude, Everyday”. That is really our desire but we get lost because he is so stinking entertaining through this little shenanigan. Sometimes after the first tangent or second we will give Luke a gentle reminder of the need to be obedient immediately. Tonight that prod didn’t work so I did the counting thing- now listen, I know the kids need to obey immediately but sometimes we find counting works. I didn’t realize until tonight that may be because Luke sees it as a competition between himself and the time. I said “Luke you are going to get a spank in  3………..2………..1………” I had barely made it to 2 when he had his brush to me with the paste so I could load it up for him. I hand the brush back to him and you know what that stinker said?

“Mommy, count down my swat again for me to brush.”

Really, did he just say that? Really, he just said that! With the gleam in his eye and the biggest broadest smile on his face he wanted to race the clock again. Yes, he has received occasional swats for safety issues and obvious defiance so the threat of it is real. Paul coined the phrase swateez……my son speaks swateez……it motivates him. Maybe because he knows we mean business. Kind of like a bouncy ball that drops into water. It is stopped in its tracks- no more banging off of everything.

I am kind of like Luke from time to time. I want to do everything but THE thing that I need to do. I am just not 4 with a charming personality any more! He certainly is a lot cuter disobeying than I am. Then again, he won’t be 4 forever and no boss is going to motivate him by counting down from 3 to 1, then again…….

Keep Running (or chasing your little bouncy ball)!

Holiness without the Halo

Holiness withotu the halo

Holiness

Holiness, what a word. Lexi and Luke (6 and 4) can never remember the meaning despite several attempts at instruction on this topic. It is somewhat difficult for a young one to understand. Goodness, it is difficult for adults to understand never mind children. So here is the object lesson that finally drove it home………

My 4 year old is really funny but then again, aren’t all moms biased to the humor in their own children? A couple of weeks ago everyone was tired after Sunday school, Lexi was hungry, mom and dad were extended and only Lukie was raring to go. As we exited the children’s wing of the church my “spirited” son began to whine “But mommy, what about worship”…….He continued to fuss and pitch and whine that we were not going to “worship”. Sweet Lexi (understanding that the service would mean that we wouldn’t make it to her beloved Mazzios that day) put her arm around Luke and rightly stated “Lukie, we can worship in the car, on the way to Mazzios……We don’t have to be IN the worship SERVICE”. Of course I am not sure that she was thinking about coming in to an intimate time with her Savior in the car to pizza restaurant all of 2 miles away but she does understand that there are many kinds of worship. As we exited those plate glass doors I looked at Paul and the decision was made- how would we or should we deny our 4 year old worship? In all honesty, Luke loves the music, particularly the drums and he really would prefer to stay in the service for just the music part then slip out. We do this sometimes, and I think it is necessary at times. I have no condemnation on those that stay for one service nor do I believe those that religiously attend both are any better or worse than others. There is however, blessings in corporate worship beyond the fact that we have been commanded to take part in it. There is a discipline, a soothing comfort in the ritual of meeting with a church body for worship.  So yesterday, we headed for the service, sat down front and to the right, like we always do and Lexi’s attitude soured more and more as we got closer to our seats. Luke, on the other hand, was joyful. As we arrived at our seats Lexi continued to frown all the more due to my not having pen or pencil for the children’s bulletin so she could at least “entertain herself”. As we began the musical part of worship each child wanted to be held. At 6 and 4 I wonder when they will stop wanting to be held through music. I don’t mind it though, they will grow up soon enough. Luke enraptured by the drums did his best to sing along in his daddy’s arms, Lexi (after a nudge from mom regarding the need for a heart change) sulked and turned to worship along with us. She can read now, so the ability to sing along is improved. In all honesty, the kids were not trying to misbehave they were just simply tired and I was pushing them at least another hour away from their beloved alfredo pizza that awaited them at Mazzios.

I knew we would have a guest speaker today, our pastor had facebooked it. I am likely the only person that wanted to hear the guest speaker as a result of our pastor’s facebook post! In any case, here we were about to hear from the 82 year old Stuart Briscoe. You can read his bio here:

http://www.tellingthetruth.org/about/Bios/Stuart.aspx

Jill and Stuart

Of course, I had heard his name however I had not read any of his books. I knew that he was not unknown to our church and that his wife was ministering in the prison about 40 miles from our town. Stuart assumed the stage and began to speak in an old English accent. There is just something about people from England and the way they speak that automatically draws you in. This, and the classic story that we all know of the little girl in Sunday School whose teacher describes a squirrel and asks the class what she is talking about. Of course, the Sunday School answer for everything is “Jesus”. Paul and I have even been known to say “I think it’s a squirrel but I am going to say Jesus” when an answer is obvious. Lexi, on the other hand, had not heard this story. She was able to settle and listen (praise the Lord I didn’t have a pen) and I look to my right and Luke has comfortably laid his head on his father’s chest and the two of them drifted peacefully to sleep. Their sweet little snores bringing snickers to our friends just in front of us. No matter, they had worshiped- Luke in the way that he wanted to, and Lexi was in for a treat.

You can hear his sermon by following this link:

http://www.templebiblechurch.org/sermon_downloads

and I urge you to find an hour and listen. Some of what he said will likely not be translated into voice because it was the hand demonstration that left the indelible impression in Lexi’s mind.

What is holiness? Adults will likely rattle off “set apart” and indeed that is what I had been trying to have Lexi remember- We are set apart for God’s purposes. Mr Briscoe used several other phrases and methods of explaining holiness. The one that sank in with Lexi and that she continued to do for the rest of the day was the image of a man who has “cut his finger off”. I guess this is a common thing for grandpa’s to fold down one finger and pretend like it is gone, and to the wonder and amazement of their grandchildren, they can replace said thumb or finger with the slip of the wrist. You all remember that gesture?

 

thumb

Other than being set apart, holiness actually means “cut off”, the verb to cut, as in the thumb being off the body. The church is “cut off” from the world. Another Stuartism (or Briscoeism) that I really like is that we are “something else”. Those in Christ are “something else” entirely. Of course, none of us are made perfect and we continue to pursue holiness day by day but in stature and countenance we are “cut off” from the world. Later, at aforementioned Mazzios, I asked Lexi (and Luke who had sweetly slept through the whole thing) what it meant to be holy. Putting her hand up and showing her daddy (who had just as sweetly slept as well) how her thumb was missing she said “set apart, cut off”. “What does that mean?” I asked her. With a shoulder shrug she said “I am not sure”. We further discussed this being cut off and set apart. What she can’t understand at 6 I pray will become clearer and clearer to her as she gets older, I pray the seeds of this sermon will bring forth fruit later in life.

I am very thankful for the object lesson in the humor of Stuart. I hope you will take time to enjoy him (with your children) as well.

Here is a link to buy the book:

http://www.amazon.com/Holiness-without-the-Halo-ebook/dp/B0076C6MMU

In conclusion, how did Mr. Briscoe say we are to continue to become holy? Well, ultimately it may just come back to that age old Sunday School answer.

Jesus

Specifically the passage of

1 Peter 1:13-25

Be Holy

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[b] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,“All people are like grass,and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;the grass withers and the flowers fall,25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[c]

And this is the word that was preached to you.

I will get back to the adoption progress tomorrow, until then……

Keep Running!

Disjointed

As I look this over I see that the blog seems a little all over the place without a specific order to it. Tomorrow we will “start at the start”. That was almost a year ago now when we started this journey and take it from day 1. See you then.

5-17-12 (2)

 

The Long Absence

For 8 months this blog has been silent. It is a funny thing how one feels that they have nothing worthy of saying or of someone else reading. That said, I have decided now, somewhat in hind sight to record the missing elements of the past 8 months. Over the next few weeks I may blog about current events, our past events and the lessons learned along our adoption journey coupled with the pain of its experiences. I have been private (that is highly unusual with me) in my interpersonal relationships when it came to this journey but now it is time to speak, to give a voice to the joys and the pain that are wrapped up in the journey. Where do we begin? Let’s start with our Oklahoma* babies.

DSC_6187

                                             Oklahoma* Babies
It was a joyful day on October 1st, 2012 when I received the following email:

“Congratulations, you have been selected! Your biography and photo collage were out for consideration by Danny and Krista* (names changed), who live in Oklahoma*. They have now contacted me and said that they would like for you to adopt their five (5) embryos. Accordingly, please find attached their family profile. The embryos were frozen in February of 2004; all 5 are at the 2PN stage. The eggs were retrieved from Krista when she was 36 years old.”

I can tell you exactly where I was when I opened the email. I was connected in my car via wireless card to my internet- I still remember the back street that I was going down when I received the email. I was in tears, I was over joyed, I loved this family immediately, after I called Paul to get his opinion on the potential match I was quick to place an over emotional phone call to Nightlight. I called our adoption agency- Nightlight Christian Adoptions and ask to speak with Kelly, I will never forget the sweet secretaries voice on the other end. “Is everything ok she asked?” I stated yes, yes, it was all just wonderful. Why I broke into tears I do not know (it would be consistent with who I am and how my emotions run).

Here is part of Danny and Krista’s letter that gave a window into the heart of a family that loved their children and desired for their frozen embryos to have a family that would love them and as their letter to us states….

“Our prayer is that we may offer these precious little ones to you in hope that you may be able to give birth and enjoy the child of your dreams…..Our prayer is that they will be loved and brought to the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

All I needed to know is that we had one common goal to introduce our children to the Savior in the prayer that they will one day trust him as their Lord. In this, we would agree and be aligned and over the next few months our lives would be intertwined from a distance.

Embryo

What I didn’t know at the time and really until I am researched to write this post today another amazing event happened on October 1st 2012 that I knew nothing about nor would we for months to come. As only God can today again I was brought to tears by the realization of the date OCTOBER 1st 2012 would soon become a large part of our family’s life…….apart from these sweet embryos.

More on that later.

Enjoy your Saturday- we are driving back from picking up the kids from “Grandma Camp”.

I’m Back!

I have stepped away for a while. I thought when I encountered some challenges then I would run to my blog write about them and work them all out. Instead I have found myself in a hole for the majority of the summer. Where have I been? What about those grandiose dreams of blogging daily and “creating content” that all those bloggers talk about is so important to get followers and to create something of themselves. I have not had good boundaries this summer.  That is what it really comes down to, I did not take the time to write and the first little bump in the road I caved with my desires for this blog.

Where are we with our adoption? On May 31st we had our home study interviews and received the preliminary report back in July (tough wait for me). Returned it that night with some small changes due to inaccuracies (my husband’s brother’s name etc) and we are waiting on the final product. Several things have happened during this process of reviewing ourselves. Have you ever read your own home study? I am not perfect and I am super honest about not being perfect- apparently I am really honest to my friends too! Reading about yourself from your own home study is humbling. People can say 100 great things and then I see the one thing I need to work on and hone in on that as if it is the only thing present. I need to more of this- self-reflection, asking other’s what they see in me and how to improve.

Today we are on our way to a campground for family camp. This is our first family camp experience. I am so excited to be with the kids and to spend some time reading while cooling off by the pool. My current books are Maxwell’s   21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and Shepherding Your Child’s Heart (again). Here is a picture of the kids as they were singing together. So sorry it is blurry!

 

 

Here is the camp we will be lounging at this weekend. More pics from our own camera soon! Especially 80’s Prom Night!

Gotta go shopping!

 

Finish Strong!

 

No Boys Allowed!

      “Please dear Lord, don’t let me have a boy!”    

These were the words I naïvely said when my little girl was two and I found out that I was pregnant with my second. Boys were never in our plans. Why you may ask?  Daughter in laws…. I didn’t want to fall in love with my little boy rear him to adulthood only to be surmounted by a young girl who now gets all his attention. Selfish huh? Yes, but absolutely true- we had planned to have all girls. Of course, God had other plans for us and His plans are perfect.

About 4 years ago I was working with Jr High Youth at my church. I was pregnant with a baby- about 14 weeks and I would find out that week what I was having. This baby too was a girl; I had fixed my mind that boys were not in the plans for us! I wanted sister dresses, girls to play together, everything in our house was pink, play kitchens, bunnies, dress up, flowers, pink cars, and pink toothbrushes. Pink Pink Pink Pink! Let me return to my morning in our youth building- we had a guest worship band that morning. They were high school students and really good. My eyes moved from the drummer to the lead singer to the bass player and the guitar. Each one of these boys, I’m sorry young men, was a Godly example to their peers. These boys were making good decisions, using their gifts to Praise the Lord and they were leading others, even though they were youth. I kept watching the drummer, the son of my physician, one of 7, he has the stature of someone years ahead of himself (maybe because of his older brothers, I don’t know). I don’t know him, I worked with the girls, however he was the example that God used in my heart to let me know it was all ok and his will is perfect. As I watched this drummer I held my growing tummy, closed my eyes to sing and I knew, in an instant, this child was a little boy. Not only did I know the sex of the child but I knew that it WOULD be just fine. Tears filled my eyes with thanksgiving for the work of the Lord. After church I told my husband that we would be having a boy and it was confirmed a few weeks later with an ultrasound that indeed it was a boy, and he was PROUD of it! From that moment on I was excited to have my boy.

This boy is definitely a world away from his sister- even if he did play with pink toys for the first year of his life. He acts nothing like her. He is grumpy, loud, busy, and amazingly gifted in electronics. Not only that, but he LOVES his mother. There is nothing like the love of a son, he wants to snuggle and cuddle and he is ALL about mommy! I am not sure where the next part of this story goes but for now my son is our DJ (with his Ipad) and he loves music. Every morning at church my son pulls and tugs my hand to go IN to the service. He is a 3 year old who is off the growth chart of a 5 year old and clearly cannot sit through a service but he wants to go.

What has this little boy mesmerized?

WORSHIP MUSIC

No lie, this little one has an affinity for music, he is constantly playing with his guitar, drumming on a drum pad or hitting anything and everything with his drumstick. He is even drawn to the piano. This mother’s day, as I sat with my big boy on my lap he intently watched the musicians, as he does every Sunday morning. I don’t have some big meaning to all of this except the wonder of our Savior- giving us exactly what we need when we need it. This little boy radically revolutionized my heart; he won it with his tenderness, his enthusiasm, and his loving spirit. I am SO THANKFUL that God had a plan to allow me to have this little boy. How silly I was to ever want to miss this blessing.

Baby dedication was also this morning and as I sit and watch the sweet babies, I cannot help but look to the future- what will it look like next year? Will we have another part of our family? Will we still be waiting? What will our home look like? One thing that I can tell you is I want more of both- boys and girls! Will God give us siblings? Who knows!  One other thing I know for sure is I trust the HIM who formed me in my mother’s womb and every day was written in His book before one of them came to be.

Praise Him From Whom All Blessings Flow.

Happy Mother’s Day!