why i love a motley crew, and no, i am not talking about a hair band from the 80’s….

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***Disclaimer – I wrote this right before Thanksgiving and never posted but it is a great, relevant post so I have to share it!!***

I always wondered why that band (Motley Cru) gave themselves that name. I mean, motley, or mottled technically, means varied. Mixed. But the band, well, they are neither varied nor mixed. They all looked exactly the same, had the same priorities, and sounded pretty much like every other band in that genre in that timeframe.

Not gonna lie though. Yeah, I listened to them. When I was like, 13. Heck, that’s when I saw Winger in concert. Headin’ for a heartbreak alright….but whatever. I digress.

Thanksgiving is coming up. And every year I open it up…everyone is invited. Literally. I once invited the single manager of a Gymboree kids’ store. This year? So far we have friends whose house is under construction, neighbors with a husband who just had surgery, friends from NJ who will be staying with us (yay!!), some local friends, and my mom. Typically we end up with a last minute addition or cancellation as well….we just never know.

And I like it that way.

You see, my kids’ grades are coming out any day.

And I don’t care.

I have gained 10 pounds (crap ok 13) since we got back from China.

And I don’t care.

I experienced rejection (AGAIN) from family.

And I don’t care. (ok, I care a little.)

I was able to get a brand new car.

And I don’t care.

You see, all the little good things and bad things that make up our daily lives are really, in the scheme of things, SO insignificant. Do you recall your social studies 5th grade test scores? Does the car you drive reflect anything about your character? Does the achievement of your kid make it easier to pay the bills? Does the rejection of a friend or family member make you more or less of a person?

No.

At the end of the day, I want to live one way and teach my kids to live that SAME way. Aspire to good grades? Aspire to hard work and ambition? Aspire to perfectly seamless relationships? Aspire to health and fitness?

Yes.

Live for these things?

No.

I live for two things. Love God, and love others.

So when I open my house and make my apple pie and reach out to those who reject me and ignore the added pounds gained because of laying around bonding with our new little one and hug my kid because he worked hard for that C or drive a car that I hand over to the babysitter to drive the day after I get it because it is JUST a car…..all of that is about others. Loving others. Nothing else matters. Not grades or money or cars or weight or perception.

That’s all I want my kids to know. To learn. To absorb. That their home should be a place of joy and refuge. Not of judgment or conditional love or expectation. And I want everyone else to feel it too. That they are welcome. And loved. I love God because He first loved me. And I love others because He tells me to and at the end of the day, or the end of our lives, really, what else is there?

A letter to those waiting, and those who are WATCHING those who are waiting…

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A friend of mine has officially hit the two year mark. An anniversary you say? Yes. But not a good one. Today marks the two year anniversary of the date she started waiting to be matched with her baby. And as someone who last year hit that SAME awful milestone? It sucks. No question about it. If you are waiting, KNOW WE KNOW IT IS SOOOOO HARD!!!

Now, here is the thing. Some folks think I did not wait long, and that is super preposterous. My heart knew as soon as we returned from our first adoption that we were to go back. So I started the process, spoke to the agency, and filled out the preliminary forms. Filled out the medical conditions checklist. From that point on, my heart was waiting. And 2 years and 2 1/2 weeks after we filled out that MCC, we saw our daughter’s face for the first time. Maybe you just started waiting. Your jaw just hit the floor saying, “TWO YEARS??? I could NEVER go two years!” Never thought I could or would have either but yes, God’s timing was perfect. We see and know that NOW but let’s keep it real shall we??? That knowledge is all 20/20 hindsight. It did NOT make the wait any easier (oh, and many people have been waiting, ARE still waiting, at 7 1/2 years now so really 2 years ain’t that bad.)

But probably even harder than the wait (ok, maybe not), harder than the knowledge that your child is out there somewhere, was the CONSTANT, seemingly UNENDING commentary from sometimes critical and sometimes well meaning people asking me questions, debating my choices, second guessing and minimizing the decisions and processes we came to carefully and deliberately. My husband and I chose a girl. Chose specific medical needs. Chose SPECIFIC aspects and that is OUR business and our reasons were well considered for OUR family dynamic and what we could handle and why.

So rather than belabor the point, I am going to express the typical comments being passed around the adoption community and explain the problem with each one. If you are waiting, or have been matched, or are home with your kiddo, THINK. Read these. Pass them along. And consider before you speak (or type) these kinds of comments.

1.) “Why don’t you add things to your medical conditions checklist?” Think. Do you REALLY think we WANT to wait so long? And do you REALLY think that heck, after 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, we did not reconsider and add every medical need we possibly could? Sure. Those waiting a few months who expected a faster match can learn a lot from people sharing that spina bifida can be a pretty manageable need! But I assure you, by the two year mark?? We have memorized every word on the MCC. We know more about the “minor needs” options than you, the person who was just matched after a 4 month wait, could possibly fathom. And we have read every best case scenario of the more major needs, hoping we could accommodate more options.

2.) “Well, this (fill a medical need in the blank) is a really minor need. Why can’t you add this to your list??” Oh my gosh, you JUST saved the day and gave me a revelation I never expected!!!! Um, yeah. That is sarcasm. Again, like number one, we KNOW already. But a.) what is minor for some people is not minor for others and b.) what may be minor to everyone may still need certain levels of care, attention, or skills of which the parent is incapable of giving, for a variety of reasons. Here are two examples. CL/CP (cleft lip/cleft palette) is not, in my mind, a minor need. Not even remotely. The sheer number of surgeries, follow up, dietary issues, not to mention additional things often associated with this need (remember – this is a need most associated with fetal malnutrition which also affects brain and physical development and a host of other things…) make this a need that is not for the faint of heart. If you have signed up for this need thinking, “Oh! We just need to fix his lip – big deal!!!” then you have a possibly very long and challenging (and depending on your insurance,) COSTLY, road ahead of you. Or maybe, like ME, you live in a small town with incredibly limited options for care, early intervention programs, pediatric physical and occupational therapies, and the like. This leads to number 3.

3.) Next up? Many needs, whether you would consider them minor or not, are not an option for me but because of where I live. Being here would make it impossible for me to care for that child they way he or she would deserve. And finally, I had 4 kids already. I am NOT a Dugger where all the older kids parent all the younger kids. So taking on a more time involved need when I have other kids already with special needs is not something that would work for the way I parent. On top of that, I have a husband who travels regularly.

4.) “Why don’t you change agencies? So and so agency has a TON of girls and matches everyone in 3 months or less and has a small list of waiting families and has the youngest boys and will transfer your dossier right away!!” Sure. Let’s throw away the 18 months we have waited and start from scratch with explanations that could be about agencies who a friend of a friend used. Uh huh. Young minor needs girls are fewer in availability than they were 10, 5, 2 years ago. Than they were 6 months ago. FACT. Every statistic in the world validates this. I know of two agencies who are minimizing files and altering information. One is under review, another one is about to be. (And no, I won’t tell you.) I know of others who closed for financial issues but really were fined and could not afford it. I know of one that closed that was small, and could not meet the demand of families looking for girls and waiting so long for files and therefore could not do business. There is a reason to go with a specific agency. We have those reasons. Some of us find our kiddo on an advocacy sight or page and we switch. Some of us don’t. But to throw away thousands of dollars and tons of time because the timing is not preferable and is quite a trial is not an option for most of us.

5.) “Why don’t you want a boy? Can’t you consider a boy? That is so selfish and hurtful to not consider a boy!” DO NOT SAY THIS TO ANYONE. PERIOD. Family dynamics play into this. True story….I had someone message me (Carmelita of course), a few months ago. She  asked if she could actually call me. I gave her my cell and we chatted. Well, we chatted AFTER she could talk and breathe between the sobbing hysterics. She had just taken a major bashing on an agency specific Facebook page because they are waiting on a girl only. She got the classic statement, followed by comments about the selfishness of refusing to consider a boy, how if it was a biological issue they would have no choice etc. She shared from the depths of her heart…Her husband’s grandfather and father were both molesters of little boys, including her husband as a victim. Both still alive. His family is riddled with pain and dysfunction. He had decided never to have children, because although he felt no draw to pedophilia, he lived in fear of ever following in the footsteps of his perverse and abusive family. He met her, they married, and after several years considered adoption. They chose China, and he will only have a little girl because his fears run deep and that is the end of the story. She left the Facebook page (obviously) and was depressed for two days before she reached out to me. I told her these unknown strangers have NO right to judge her, her husband, or their motives. This precious broken man lives in fear of ever hurting a child but she could never share this. Her heartbreak was SO sad to me and was a huge reminder that we do not know someone else’s life. For some families it is the household dynamics, hand me down clothing, sharing rooms, and more. Either way, this is something THEY came to. And I assure you, they know there are far more boys waiting than girls. It is what it is, for whatever reason, and trying to guilt people into something so personal is intrusive and rude, no matter how well meaning you may be.

Look, we KNOW you probably want to help. And heck, share these things, but maybe without directing them to anyone. Maybe without pointing out what they may already know. Maybe without telling the person who has waited over a year and KNOWS this stuff. Just think. Really ask why you need to share this, and think about HOW. And maybe consider that the person you THINK you understand, you don’t really know at all.

internet confusion leading to the illusion that apparently, i told the world i pooped my pants.

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Soon.

One day soon, I have no doubt, “I” (note the quotes) will proclaim to the world that I have pooped my own pants. Or maybe that “I” picked my nose and ate my tasty boogers. Or “I” like to put my toe jam on my bagels for a nice snack. Fill in the blank with something disgusting and surely yes, that will be the status on my Facebook page once my kids figure out they can take my phone, and update my status on my behalf to something inappropriate and yet properly humiliating.

But it has not happened yet.

So I was quite confused the other day when my husband came home and said, “Leah? Um, did you poop your pants today?”

“Yeah, no. Not today. Not ever actually. Why the sudden curiosity into the function of my bowels??”

Ken replied, “Well, I was asked today if you pooped your pants.”

“For the love of pete who is asking you if I pooped my pants? I mean, why isn’t someone asking you if I cooked a delectable meal last night? Or even if I had recently gotten botox? Why in the world did someone ask you if I pooped my pants? What is WRONG with people?”

“Nothing is wrong with people. Apparently, you posted online that you pooped your pants.”

“I most assuredly DID NOT POST ONLINE THAT I POOPED MY PANTS!!! Are you KIDDING me???? If I did poop my pants, for REAL, I would not tell you, much less post it on the internet!!!” And yes, my voice was raised, and incredulous.

“Well they said you posted online that you pooped your pants.”

” (*&(*$&#*&))O()#%*Y#$I#I()(**) ”

After more discussion, it came to light that someone called a friend of Ken, and somehow mentioned to him that I had mentioned online that I had pooped my pants. And in crossing paths with Ken that day, he thought to ask Ken how I was feeling, due to the fact that I had pooped my pants, and then posted about said pants-pooping online.

It took me a good 4 minutes of deep thought and reflection. And at the end of that time, I almost died laughing. Something I do on a regular basis on Facebook is post funny movie quotes I come across because they are really funny. And they come to mind, sometimes right after watching the movie, but sometimes at totally random times like stop lights. Or parent teacher conferences. Or during a tennis lesson. And in this case, I quoted a hilarious line from a movie called “The Other Woman” where the philandering husband is given a secret and excessive dose of laxative in a restaurant which results in a public pants pooping. He returns home in bright red pants and explains to his wife that he had a “fecal incident.”

I thought that all of the quotation marks, different names, and further commentary on the quote made it clear that I was not the one doing the pants pooping, but apparently it was not obvious enough.

So world, both local and global, know this. I share much online. Heck, maybe too much. But on the off chance that I ever DO poop my pants, I will not post about it. I gotta keep a little mystery, people. Come on.

quick nighttime thoughts….

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need deliverance? what is your affliction? we all have the need and we all have the weakness…..

Consider my affliction and please deliver me
Plead my cause and redeem me
Salvation’s not for the wicked
For they don’t seek your word
Great are your tender mercies Lord

Revive me, according to your loving kindness
Revive me, that I may seek your word
Revive me, according to your loving kindness
Revive me, oh Lord

—-Jeremy Camp—-

some new and needed additions to Murphy’s law….a quick mid week laugh

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Let’s get right to it, shall we??

1.) Chip dipping. If you dip your chip, repetitively, you will not actually get more on it than the first time you actually dipped it. Unless you are truly “scooping” you will not pick up additional volume, flavor, or sauce/dip. Thus, the need to stand beside the dip bowl with your chip or carrot, gently dipping it, repeatedly, into the same spot, will yield no better results than your original one time dip, despite the thought process behind this. Additionally, those waiting to dip their own chips will become exasperated, and you may get punched in the face, particularly when said dip is at a premium.

2.) Your kids will be healthy. For 4 weeks straight. Then your husband will leave for a week and someone, heck, maybe everyone, will get sick. This is also when your car will die, and then you will use your husband’s car while your car gets fixed, only to ALSO have HIS car die. Oh yeah. This is also when you will come home from school drop off to find your electricity shut off. ALL DAY. And for your phone to go missing. And for the baby to start fighting nap time. When your husband comes back in a week, the baby will have no problem napping, all kids will be healthy, cars will work fine, and just as you get a new phone reprogrammed, installed with your vital running music, someone will call and say they found your phone.

3.) Your kid has been sick for over a week and a half. No fever or puking, and since you are not the mom who puts her kid on antibiotics or runs to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle you let it run its course. Until you approach the two week mark, and your kid is up all night, hacking up a lung from a new sudden case of smoker’s cough, and you make the appointment to see the doctor. Within 5 minutes of confirming said appointment, the coughing starts to cease and kid starts to feel better. **note this also happens during number 2.

4.) New Year’s resolutions, most of which coincide with the desire for people to get fit and healthy, currently coincide with Girl Scout Cookie season. The Girl Scouts need to step up, make some decisions, and change the daggone time frame of their cookie sales. Oh, and the same applies for the Super Bowl and its affiliated parties and nacho filled celebrations.

 

no platitudes for the loss of a child and how to handle a broken mommy’s heart…

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Don’t say it.

You know, that platitude you want to say?? Just. DON’T.

The blog I wrote about the other day, the choice of parents to treat a child who is possibly dying and the treatment could kill him or maybe prolong life and the choices and how Jesus even asked for relief and the comfort that brings….that post…Well sadly the sweet little boy passed away last night. Here is the post….

https://thesweetfamilylife.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/an-agonizing-decision-and-the-definition-of-true-torment-a-very-tough-post-and-prayer-for-xavier/

But really this post is about a lot more than that now. Let me explain something here clearly….a mom is a mom is a MOM. And you are a mom FOREVER. That never changes, goes away, or diminishes in any way. The number of your children does not change whether you are currently raising all of them here on this earth. And when there is a miscarriage. An accident. An illness. An adoption disruption. THEY ARE ALL THE SAME. You might say, “But that makes no sense. I mean, she was only two months along! Not like she even felt the baby move or anything yet!” or “She didn’t even give birth to the kid!” or “They only saw the child in pictures. They never even got to bring him home!!” or “She only lived with them for two years. And she was even ‘their’ kid, right??”

WRONG.

A million, billion, quadRILLION times wrong.

A mother’s heart is a mother’s heart forever. I knew at 6 years old I just wanted to be a mom. And the moment my boobs started to hurt for no reason. The moment I moved forward with paperwork. The moment I first puked. The moment I got an email. The moment I saw two pink lines….I WAS A MOM. And will forever be a mom, to that child, wherever he or she is now, yesterday, and forever. That is, miraculously and beautifully and sometimes, yes, heartbreakingly exactly how it is.

So yes, the child in the post above, sweet little Xavier, was adopted. And yes, they knew he was seriously ill when they brought him from China and into their lives. And yes, they only had him for two years….he was and is and will forever be their child and that pain will always exist and live on. But so will he. In them. In his birth family. In the hearts and lives he touched all over the internet. Which is also miraculous and beautiful and yes, heartbreaking. My prayers are with your family, little boy. You? You are great and happy and healthy and whole with beautiful shining cheeks and glowing healthy body. So no worries there. But the mom left behind? My prayers will be with her, a woman I have never met, for quite some time.

an agonizing decision, and the definition of true torment…a very tough post and prayer for Xavier

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I know of someone who is, this literal very moment, dealing with the unimaginable.

She is a mother. Her son is dying, She went through the effort, pain, agony, joy, and more of adopting a sweet little boy from China who did not have a great prognosis for long term health and life. But she was called, and knew he was her son. And he has done well, has thrived, for about 2 years. Home, with his forever family, however long forever is to be. But he has been so healthy. And the joy has been so great.

But he had a cold that wouldn’t quit and finally, about 10 days ago, entered the hospital. A nasty virus that became RSV, and it has caused the little man all sorts of trouble. Pain. Difficulty breathing. He then started filling up with fluids and endured kidney failure. (oh, and I am simplifying here…) On steroids, full sedation, breathing assistance, he was swelling with so  much fluid they thought he would literally burst and finally, dialysis was started. A small sliver of hope.

Then the next trial…a small spot on his hand by the IV looked a little bit nasty…it quickly blossomed and spread, a new virus, flesh eating, the bad kind. Is it in the bloodstream? Maybe. Surgery needed….but surgery could literally kill him.

So this sweet boy, a warrior who has overcome so much and done so well and thrived so well, was now at that moment of crossroads. Surgery could kill him. Lack of surgery could kill him. What really, becomes the choice?

And this precious warrior mom….the agony. She stated, “I am selfish. We are doing the surgery.” She then also posted, “We also pray that God makes him whole or takes him home.”

Now, here is the thing. Mom after mom then got online and exclaimed, vehemently in many cases, that no, she is NOT selfish – she is a MOM. But I am gonna go somewhere here. It will seem wrong for a minute but I promise I bring it around so stay with me here.

She wants her son. She wants him for her. For him. For her family. So by definition, yes, the decision is selfish. But now hear this my friends and internet folk around the literal world.

THAT IS OK.

You know what I go to?? You know what I think of as I consider sweet little Xavier, in surgery right now, his family around and waiting and praying, and the internet world abuzz?? I think of the truth of Jesus. In the garden, mere moments, hours, from being arrested, unjustly accused, unjustly tried, unjustly sentenced, unjustly punished, unjustly tortured, and then ultimately, unjustly killed.

He asked, He prayed, He begged….He asked that this cup be taken from Him. He pleaded with His Father, He pleaded with the Almighty, with the part of Himself who was sovereign while He lived as a man, He wanted to relinquish the responsibility if possible. He asked for a reprieve. He asked for a pass. You see, He knew what He was to face, what He was about to endure. And HE DID NOT WANT IT.

But.

He knew the ultimate victory. He knew the benefit. And He embraced it. So He remained sinless, while still asking the Almighty for the saving of His self, His humanity. His being.

This sweet mom. This wonderful woman. She can seek hope for the self. For her desires. For her heart which as every mom knows is fully entwined with that of her children. She can seek it and try and make the most brutal decisions. And that is all ok. She is without fault or blame. She is the picture of love and beauty in this situation, despite the trial. Despite the decisions. Despite her wants and needs and hopes. She will also be the picture of ultimate redemption, regardless of what happens with her precious son. God’s will, and not ours. We can ask, and try, and be “selfish” without it being sin. Without it being wrong. And that gives great comfort and hope. Or should, to all of us.

Right now, I pray that anyone reading this would pray and echo Kenlyn’s prayer….Join me in this prayer, right now.

“God, we ask that you make Xavier whole, or that you take him home. Ultimately, he is to be healed. Do it Lord in the way that brings you the most glory and honor. May Xavier’s family be united. Strengthened. PROTECTED during this horrific time. And may somehow you become more obvious in your love and grace. Allow us a glimpse of the why. Because we don’t know, and can’t understand. But ultimately, we must trust. In your truly sovereign name, Amen.”