Prayer for peace

Tonite I choose … consciously and deliberately choose … to be angry with the mancubs’ birth mother.

If she had only stuck with and worked her plan.

If she hadn’t harmed the boys, put them in danger, neglected them.

If she had only been a M-O-M to them …

If …

Then my 8-year old wouldn’t have had the confrontation with his friend at school today that he had.

For whatever reason, they started comparing their pain: his friend is about to have another surgery – he’s had too many to count and I imagine having to deal with the pain of surgery & recovery is super hard.

But to state it is more painful than being ripped away from your birth mother? That’s too much for me.

And it was too much for my son. I don’t have the whole story, but I think it may have gotten a little physical.

My youngest was 3 when he and his brothers and sisters were removed from their home. And despite all that he went through with his birth mother, there’s always going to be a part of him that wants to be with her.

I can respect that.

I cried on my way home from work tonite because I knew then as I know now that there will never be anything I can say or do that will completely take away his or his brothers’ pain. As much as I wish there was a magic wand or a special potion, there isn’t. He & his brothers and their sisters didn’t deserve this.

But it happened.

Their sisters are safe in a city far away from the birth family, as are our boys.

My prayer for the children … our boys and their sisters … is that they all will sleep peacefully tonite and every night.

And know they are safe.

And loved.

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Wildflowers

I remember a time growing up when our family was displaced from our home at Castle AFB (California) so the floor tiles could be replaced. I don’t remember where we were living for those few days while the floors were being worked on. What I do remember is coming home from a neighbor excursion with a huge fistful of wildflowers for my mom. The smile on her face, the twinkle in her eyes, the feeling of pleasure I received from experiencing her happiness imprinted itself onto my brain and I’ve never forgotten it.

Texas weather is fickle but the wildflowers always know when it’s time to bloom.

The mancubs have begun bestowing gifts from the field and yard on me. The sweetness and joy in their faces as they deliver their treasures melts my heart. Every time.

… even when the oldest brought in a dandelion ready to release its seeds with the slightest breath – that one got bagged & tossed before its’ progeny could land in fertile soil

These boys … my boys …

My prayer for them today is that they’d never cease to wonder at the beauty around them. That they receive as much joy in giving gifts as they do in receiving them. And that they remember these moments of their childhood when they’re older & smile.

The Journey

We’re in the “final stretch” of the adoption process. With the stroke of the judge’s pen in just a few short weeks, we will officially be a family of 5. This has been a journey of a lifetime filled with a lot of waiting, prayer, and tears.

Sweet Husband and I will celebrate 33 years as man & wife later this month. As I raced down the aisle (true story: the priest had to gently signal to me to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n) to enter into covenant with Sweet Husband, did my twenty-something self ever imagine we’d begin the parenthood journey to three boys ranging from 8 to 11 the same year I was contemplating retirement?

Um … no.

And yet …

As we began this part of our journey well over a year ago, I remember wondering two things: were we “too old” to become parents; would there ever be anyone that would call me, “Mom.”

Now there are three that do: They’ve been calling us “Mom” and “Dad” since our second meeting early this past summer.

The moment they stepped through our front door, a few things became our reality:

Reality #1: this parenting gig is tough!  I was commenting to a colleague not long ago that I’ve never known a person could be this tired. She, a grandmother, laughed.

Y’all, Sweet Husband and I are old! A good friend texted us a few weeks after the mancubs came to live with us asking how we were doing. I responded, “We’re half the age of Abraham & Sarah and three times as tired!”

We belong to a sweet group at church called “Old Parents with Young Kids.” The group appealed to us initially because of the name.  Once we met them, we knew it wasn’t just the name of the group that was appealing. Turns out while all of us are older parents, we’ve all become parents through different avenues of adoption. While we only meet once a month, they’re one of our critical supports and we’re so thankful to have them in our lives.

Reality #2: you’re only too old to do something if you think you’re too old. Not going to lie, there have been plenty of moments these past months Sweet Husband and I wondered if we did the right thing because we are, admittedly, old.

Reality #3: these boys are worth every ounce of energy we pour into them; as perpetually exhausted as Sweet Husband & I seem to be, they have our hearts. This Mama Bear will move mountains so our cubs can grow into men who, as our Pastor said in a recent sermon series, “love God and have a job.”

Reality #4: I had forgotten how children view the world. Why is forgetting so easy?  I’ve lost count of the many moments over these past several weeks now burned permanently, indelibly, in my mind: The exuberant exclamations of, “Mom, you’ve just got to come see this butterfly, it’s so beautiful!”; giggles coming from the living room because of whatever silliness is happening on TV; sleepy snuggles from the youngest after a hard day of playing and working in the yard with Dad. And the questions! I pray these three never lose their love of learning and asking questions … even when neither Sweet Husband nor I have any idea of the correct answer.

We’re thankful this part of the journey will be ending soon and even more thankful for the beginning of our new chapter as an official family of 5 in early 2019.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

 

Searching for Norman Rockwell

Deep down, I think everybody wishes they had the perfect family gathering with everyone in their best clothes and the fancy linens & wedding gift china, all sitting down to a fine feast with all the trimmings. The truth is, nobody’s perfect: the plates might not match and the table cloth most likely has a few stains that just.won’t.come.out. Doesn’t matter. What makes the meal? The people sitting together to enjoy it.

Those of my family that are in town this week will gather at my parent’s house in a few hours and enjoy a fine Thanksgiving feast filled with lots of good food, wine, and conversation.

It’s been a year of changes in my family: marriages, pregnancies, welcoming new family members. Finishing goals, pursuing dreams, entering new career fields. Preparations for children, both biological & through adoption, waiting and waiting and waiting … wondering how.much.longer … and waiting some more.

Through it all, despite our different interests & beliefs, we’re family. We’re a far cry from perfect to be sure. But we’re real. And we all support each other in whatever we’re involved in, however we can. We are here for each other. Not just on the special gathering days when the meals are fancy but also on the tuna sandwich & corn chips days.

Real life. So much better than a painting.

“As ready as I’ll ever be”

These past few months have been a whirlwind of activity at the Casa …

  • new job
  • Sweet Husband graduated with his Master’s
  • accepted to seminary
  • we’re adopting

Let’s take a moment to absorb that last bullet, shall we?

Sweet Husband and I are going to be parents. Of a sibling group. We promised not to limit God and so however many He gives us, we’ll take and call our own.  We’ve found a group we’d like to be considered for. So we keep praying.

I’ve been asked if I’m ready for this. Is anyone ever ready to be a parent? My consistent response?

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

I am so impressed with how Sweet Husband is leading us through the process. He’s so ready to be a father and he’s not wanting to wait any longer than is necessary.

My Quiet Times this past month have been all about getting off my keister and sharing my story. My story of how good our God has been to me: of the incredible grace He’s bestowed on me and Sweet Husband, of how much He truly loves us and has choreographed each divine encounter through both my life and this adoption journey.

And so, here I am, reading Sweet Husband’s sent-just-now text:

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He doesn’t know how much these 8 words mean to me … but God does.

Now that is amazing Grace.

Do not be afraid

To all my friends living in fear of the unknown, I hear you.

I feel your pain & anxiety.

I get it.

Because I’m living it.

And I’m asking you to do something with me …
Focus on this: Jesus told his disciples to get in the boat and go on ahead of him.

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. – Matthew 14:22

True, then the storm came and they struggled.

I can apply this to my unknowns, as in, my current circumstance. When I met with my accountability partner in mid-January, I shared with her I believed He was giving me the “green light” to move on, which is something I’d been praying about, wrestling with really, for almost two years. When confirmation came in a form I would have never expected, I knew the time had come.

And yet, change is scary. And I was angry. Really angry. Why? If I was moving forward with His blessing, why the anger, why the hurt? Why.the.struggle?

Because change is scary. Trust is scary.

Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. – Matthew 14:24

But it’s going to be okay. Because he sees me struggling in my storm of the unknown & he’s there in the midst of it with me.

About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. – Matthew 14:25

Jesus was walking on the water. Jesus was with them in the storm and yet … he walked on the water. In it with us but not a part of it.
His words to his disciples then are just as true now …

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” – Matthew 14:27

So … I’m trusting his promise: he’s with me in my circumstance. And we’ll make it to the other side.

Spring Break 2016

I love Spring Break. But not for the reasons I’m sure most people love Spring Break.  I don’t typically sleep any later or make any extravagant travel plans. With the exception of a few days spent out of town on daytrips with Sweet Husband and my Mom, I stay pretty much within the confines of our neighborhood. Okay … within the confines of my house.  It’s an introvert thing.

I love Spring Break because it allows me to be reflective.  And, with everything that has happened in the last several weeks, this has been a good time to a) work through the panic of the unknown; b) allow myself to dream about what I’d like to do since there is a possibility, albeit slight, my seventeen year tenure in the field of education may be ending in a few short weeks; and c) spend wonderfully relaxing and encouraging time in the Word.  Because really … who but God knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone on June 16th (the day after my current school contract … and my job … ends)?

This Spring Break, unlike the sixteen previous Spring Breaks, found me dreaming big, only-possible-with-God dreams. Dreams where making money didn’t make it into the equation. Dreams that begin with … “If nothing is impossible then … ” and continue with “What is my passion?” and  “Where is God calling me to join Him?”  Dreams that consume me so much so that, while I know I need to continue trolling the HR sites of the area school districts for  teaching and administrator jobs … if God is calling me out of education, I know it’s going to be okay. Everything will be okay.

My reality? I’m scared. But I’m also incredibly hopeful.  And I know God is chuckling a little over all this.  You see, I already had a plan in place to retire from education at the 20-year mark.

God simply moved the timetable up a bit.