Is it the same?

My first entry isn’t probably the one it should be. I should probably start with a background story or some history or detail but that’s not what is on my mind. What’s on my mind is a question that must be running through many people’s heads but only a few are actually asking…

“Is it the same?”

I’m so happy to report it is. Those of you that know me, know what I’m talking about… those of you that stumble along this blog won’t. What some are asking, especially when maybe they’ve had too much to drink is, “Is it the same? Do you love or feel the same way about your adopted child as you do your biological children?” I know, you might think I’m lying for the sake of “whatever”, but I’m not. The answer is yes. Yes, I look at her round face and chubby cheeks and think; “those are just like mine when I was a baby”.  If that makes you sad, I’m sorry. I’m not saying that carrying a biological child, one that is made of up of our DNA isn’t something I would like everyone to experience; it certainly is. However, my love, attention, fears, desires and just day-to-day emotions are the exact same as they have been with each one of my children.

You might even find that odd, because we didn’t know for certain we were going to be adopting! That story is for another entry on another day, but we didn’t spend months picking out a name, or anticipating the arrival of our adopted daughter. She was basically brought into our lives overnight and we fell in love with her.

She arrived at our door on a Wednesday night weighing 7 pounds and was 19 inches long. She came with very little – and as soon as I scooped her up out of that carseat, I was hooked. The thought that this was going to be my child – ugh! Words couldn’t come close to describing that awesome feeling! It’s been that way the whole time. I’ve never minded getting up with her, soothing her, changing her, feeding her.  Whatever it was I did with my other 3, I’ve maybe even appreciated MORE with this one, because I feel like she’s an absolute gift. The present that nobody was expecting: that trip to Hawaii times 10, Disney World x 1000 – whatever it is for you that’s how the last 4 months have felt to me.

Early on, after Phoebe arrived, one of my fabulous friends said “okay, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to ask this or not but I’m dying to know… is it the same?” I have to say, I LOVED it when she asked because it was the first time I had answered that question! And I answered it with a resounding YES! She giggled and was so excited! Since that day, we’ve had others that haven’t quite come out and asked it but they word things like, “It’s nice that you were willing to take this on.” This floors me every time! I’m not sure why; I guess I see where they are coming from… we do have a kid that is in COLLEGE! Why would we WANT to do it again?? But in all honesty, my husband and I never even batted an eye.  We were full in, with NO hesitation. It’s like one of those things where God was moving and we were ready to just jump on his train. I like to refer to like this: “We have been discussed adopting for the last 21 years and God was finally exhausted by it, so He just said, ‘Here. Here’s the one I want you to have, now go… raise her, love her, enjoy her, discipline her and make sure she knows who I am.”

So that’s where we are. We are a bit older than we were when we had our first, we are perhaps a bit wiser… that seems like an improvement, and we are ready. Our hearts are full and we are ready to take on parenting an infant once again with excitement!  Phoebe, only 114 hours separated us, (and I had a picture of you… so in my mind only maybe 48 ;)) I hope you know, you are never something we felt like we needed to take on, you are an absolute gift and treasure. I hope you know I will love you, I will yell at you, I will discipline you, I will make mistakes and Lord willing, I will ask for forgiveness when I do. I will encourage you and look for the talents God gave you and try to nurture them, you are my child – the same as the older ones and I am forever grateful for that. And to my other 3: You are my gifts as well. You may not have come into our lives as miraculously as Phoebe did; you were all very planned and desired. I’m glad you get to see that each time one of you came home from the hospital, we showed you the same sort of love and affection you observe us giving Phoebe.  Every time one of you came into our lives we have been in awe. God has been so good to us, even through the losses and difficult events we have experienced with childbearing and pregnancy, He was right there growing us with each one, shaping us into the parents He needs us to be for each one of you. My hope is you will know… the amount of space you each take up in my heart is the same.

Yes, I’m thrilled to report it is the same.

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The Ravenous Rat

Wake up, head to gymnastics, ballet, tap and jazz class every Saturday morning. It was convenient because all of those classes were held at the same place every Saturday morning where my friends and I danced and flipped for many, many years together. I always enjoyed it. Honestly, I have no idea what my mom did during those hours, I suppose she went to the grocery store or ran other errands, but our town was so small, I’m not sure what else she might have accomplished, I’m thankful I still have the ability to ask her.

As soon as my mom would pick me up from my morning of creative classes, conveniently ending right before lunch, we would hurry home and begin preparing lunch for our farm help. Yes, the pig farmer, hired help on Saturdays to clean out the barns, move the livestock, fill the hayloft and whatever else needs to be accomplished on a fully equipped pig farm where the pig farmer also works a “city job”.  A week’s worth of physical labor had to be completed on Saturdays and it was usually done by boys that lived “in town”.

Our house was old and small, it wasn’t like one of those big two story farmhouses you see on TV getting a makeover; that was my Uncle’s house down the road. Our house was a small farmhouse with a cold,wet basement used primarily for making smelly milk replacements for premature pigs, calves, kittens, puppies, rabbits and just about any other animals in need of tender care. It also stored our freshly canned vegetables and fruits, a deep freeze full of frozen pork, wrapped in white butcher paper and labeled with a black sharpie indicating which cut of meat we could find inside and my dad’s work clothes. There was usually a puddle of water somewhere on the floor.

On a farm, not only do you have the animals you desire to have, but you also acquire the animals and rodents you don’t want to have. At one time, my bedroom used to be the end of the house, it had a window that looked out onto a porch. When my family needed more room, the window became a bookshelf and the porch became a bedroom. At night, I could often hear the mice running up and down the inside the walls. Sometimes, it was as though they knew my head was right on the other side of the plaster and they would begin to dig. Thankfully, I never had a mouse crack the plaster as far as I knew, in hind sight it was probably because several layers of wallpaper made it nearly impossible, but truthfully,  I think I secretly grew fond of listening to their scampering at night and their tiny squeaks.

However, one Saturday afternoon as we were preparing our spaghetti feast (because what else do you feed a crew of growing city boys?) a scratching noise began.  It was coming from the ceiling and right over our very large wooden table. The sound grew and grew and before we knew it, the scratching was beginning to produce scant shavings that fell from the ceiling. My mom, never being one to enjoy farm aroma or mess or animals of any kind really… had a high pitched shrill as she yelled for my father. As my mom shrilled and my dad sauntered into the kitchen, he recognized the scratching and crumbling pieces of the ceiling, now falling to the table and knew it was an aggressive and colossal sized rat in our attic.  Within minutes that tenacious rat; smelling the delicious food my mom and I had prepared, was beginning to make his way rapidly through the ceiling hoping to join the Saturday crew for a bite.

My dad, being the resourceful dad he is, ran and got his shotgun. Yes, I grew up on a farm with guns.  The guns were always clean, never loaded and most of them were locked away. We had gun safety sessions and rules and blah blah blah… guns were dangerous and we knew it and I never remember seeing my dad shoot with anything more than a BB gun, but on this Saturday morning I found out how my dad intended to use his shotgun. He loaded it and stuck that barrel right up into the ceiling where that little rat was sticking his nose down enjoying a waft of delicious Ragu and country sausage and BAM! He never smelled again. He had no idea his afternoon lunch plans would end so tragically. I remember holding my breath at what had just happened. My dad was constantly loading the attic with traps, live traps, traps that caused pain and even poison, but somehow those little boogers could multiply faster than a duck on a June bug.  If you are familiar with the scene in the Disney movie Ratioulle, when the old lady shoots the ceiling and then the ceiling collapses and thousands of rodents are exposed? Yeah…every time I watch that movie, I immediately think of our little farmhouse and just imagine that is what it could’ve been like.

My dad had some of the funniest solutions growing up and sometimes he still does. Yes, that shotgun bullet not only went through the ceiling, and killed a mammoth sized rat, but it also shot a hole right through the roof.  Our Saturday morning lunch was only derailed momentarily but that eager rat ended up also causing one Saturday morning to be spent patching the roof. Simple and memorable and not surprising to those that know my dad.  Occasionally and quite out of the blue stories like these will run through my head and I will be forever grateful for the boring, long and lonely days as a kid on a foul smelling pig farm. Saturday mornings were some of the most routine days of my life and probably some of the most memorable.

 

Changing a Mindset

Many of my friends on Facebook saw my status yesterday, where I made a post about twin babies, due in December and their mom is strongly considering placing them up for adoption. I guess it would depend on where you stand and your perspective, but many of you would not be surprised by the mass of people that respond to a post like that. There are others, though, who would be shocked to see how many hopeful people are dreaming of the day a baby is available for them.

It broke my heart. Honestly, it was overwhelming how many people had already spent so much time and money putting themselves in a position to be ready at a moments notice. If they happen to find a birth mom willing to bring a child into this world and then graciously hand it over to someone else to love and create a family with.  The cries of each person that contacted me, the hope, the sheer panic to do whatever it takes to be first in line or even be in consideration… The stories of failed adoption attempts, the stories of countries changing guidelines, rules, regulations, expense… on and on and on. Very few even wondered if I knew anything about the situation or the health of the babies or the circumstance in general. They didn’t care, they had the hope of a baby, two in this case,  joining their home and life – they were willing to take on whatever that life might bring, because they want to be parents.

As birth parents, we don’t know what we are going to get, do we? I, like so many of my friends have had kids with serious birth defects, genetic disorders or other health conditions, there are no guarantees – none. The same goes for adoptive families, sure there are some that aren’t willing to take on babies with known birth defects however, there are plenty who are. These potential parents are merely hopeful it’s going to be their child and their child will bring no guarantees whether it is birthed by them or not.

I ended up on my soapbox in private messages with a couple of people because the more messages that came in, the more aware I was and the larger the burden I felt for these families longing for even a glimmer of hope for a new family member. I honestly started to feel physically hot.  My mind began to race with a reoccurring thought, “If we could change the face of abortion by even 10% – 10% is all I’m talking about… if we could just find 10% of the women considering an abortion, due to shame or embarrassment and save the pregnancy for just a few more months, it could change the world for at least 3 sets of people.”

The baby of course, would be given life, and could grow up to positively contribute to this world. The adoptive family, would have their world rocked because the very thing they lie in bed at night and dream of,  would come true. And the birth mother, she could know that she did something more difficult than most of us can imagine. Something so selfless, that it should be honored and considered admirable among her community.

But why isn’t this the scenario we find? Is there really so much shame and guilt in this society over bringing a human safely into this world? I thought that is what everyone wanted; to have their dreams come true and help others see their dreams fulfilled? I don’t know about you, but I just find it hard to believe that we can’t reduce the abortion rate by 10% and increase the adoption rate by possibly even 8% in this country. I would imagine it wouldn’t really be an equal number because my guess is, many would decide to keep and raise the child for themselves. But if our mindset was altered just a bit, and we lived out trying to really help one another… couldn’t we become a society of dream granters?

I guess more than anything, I would like to urge us to be careful when we speak. Do we convey such disappointment in our children or those in our community that they truly believe abortion would be an easier and safer way to escape our judgement? Rather than facing our opinions on their decision to carry a life and possibly give it away? I’m stuck here, I know there has to be a way to do this. Making many of those potential families dreams come true. I’m sure there are plenty of points to argue with my logic or my ideas, believe me, I do… but at the same time, could we spend just a few minutes with people who would do almost anything to have something so many dispose of, out of fear and possibly a lost reputation? I think we could change the world for good for so many people if we just had a slight shift in our mindset on this one.  All I know for sure is; I’m so glad our world was rocked by that tiny human that entered our hearts and home this way.  And I wish I could make it happen for everyone else that longs for it.

Changing a Mindset

Many of my friends on Facebook saw my status yesterday, where I made a post about twin babies, due in December and their mom is strongly considering placing them up for adoption. I guess it would depend on where you stand and your perspective, but many of you would not be surprised by the mass of people that respond to a post like that. There are others, though, who would be shocked to see how many hopeful people are dreaming of the day a baby is available for them.

It broke my heart. Honestly, it was overwhelming how many people had already spent so much time and money putting themselves in a position to be ready at a moments notice. If they happen to find a birth mom willing to bring a child into this world and then graciously hand it over to someone else to love and create a family with.  The cries of each person that contacted me, the hope, the sheer panic to do whatever it takes to be first in line or even be in consideration… The stories of failed adoption attempts, the stories of countries changing guidelines, rules, regulations, expense… on and on and on. Very few even wondered if I knew anything about the situation or the health of the babies or the circumstance in general. They didn’t care, they had the hope of a baby, two in this case,  joining their home and life – they were willing to take on whatever that life might bring, because they want to be parents.

As birth parents, we don’t know what we are going to get, do we? I, like so many of my friends have had kids with serious birth defects, genetic disorders or other health conditions, there are no guarantees – none. The same goes for adoptive families, sure there are some that aren’t willing to take on babies with known birth defects however, there are plenty who are. These potential parents are merely hopeful it’s going to be their child and their child will bring no guarantees whether it is birthed by them or not.

I ended up on my soapbox in private messages with a couple of people because the more messages that came in, the more aware I was and the larger the burden I felt for these families longing for even a glimmer of hope for a new family member. I honestly started to feel physically hot.  My mind began to race with a reoccurring thought, “If we could change the face of abortion by even 10% – 10% is all I’m talking about… if we could just find 10% of the women considering an abortion, due to shame or embarrassment and save the pregnancy for just a few more months, it could change the world for at least 3 sets of people.”

The baby of course, would be given life, and could grow up to positively contribute to this world. The adoptive family, would have their world rocked because the very thing they lie in bed at night and dream of,  would come true. And the birth mother, she could know that she did something more difficult than most of us can imagine. Something so selfless, that it should be honored and considered admirable among her community.

But why isn’t this the scenario we find? Is there really so much shame and guilt in this society over bringing a human safely into this world? I thought that is what everyone wanted; to have their dreams come true and help others see their dreams fulfilled? I don’t know about you, but I just find it hard to believe that we can’t reduce the abortion rate by 10% and increase the adoption rate by possibly even 8% in this country. I would imagine it wouldn’t really be an equal number because my guess is, many would decide to keep and raise the child for themselves. But if our mindset was altered just a bit, and we lived out trying to really help one another… couldn’t we become a society of dream granters?

I guess more than anything, I would like to urge us to be careful when we speak. Do we convey such disappointment in our children or those in our community that they truly believe abortion would be an easier and safer way to escape our judgement? Rather than facing our opinions on their decision to carry a life and possibly give it away? I’m stuck here, I know there has to be a way to do this. Making many of those potential families dreams come true. I’m sure there are plenty of points to argue with my logic or my ideas, believe me, I do… but at the same time, could we spend just a few minutes with people who would do almost anything to have something so many dispose of, out of fear and possibly a lost reputation? I think we could change the world for good for so many people if we just had a slight shift in our mindset on this one.  All I know for sure is; I’m so glad our world was rocked by that tiny human that entered our hearts and home this way.  And I wish I could make it happen for everyone else that longs for it.

March for Life thoughts

So hey, the March for Life is tomorrow and according to my newsfeed we are encouraged to use our voice, so I thought I would share mine here.

I don’t think it would surprise a single friend of mine on facebook that I am what people call Pro-Life. Yes, I would like pregnant women to choose life and I honestly wish adoption were more of an option discussed than abortion.

When we adopted Phoebe, our phone went crazy with calls, emails and facebook messages from men and women I didn’t even know; but had heard our story and after years of unsuccessful attempts of adopting they were reaching out to a stranger. They each wanted me to take down their name and number and they would tell me their specific story and how badly they wanted a child, but there just aren’t many available. In the United States, it is estimated that there are approximately 1-2 million people trying to adopt and 1.3 million babies are aborted each year. Only 4% of unplanned pregnancies are given up for adoption. The problem I had was, I didn’t have this pocket or this place to find women like Phoebe’s birth mom. It broke my heart.

Personally, I find women that choose giving a child up for adoption after carrying it to term heroic. I can’t imagine what that must be like for them. Viewing someone’s life that you have never met, as more important than your own for a little while and then parting with it because you know it’s better for the child, is astonishing and in my opinion should be praised.

I see no advantage in shaming any woman for an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, at that point it does no good. I also find no good in anyone shaming another woman that has chosen the route of abortion, my guess is she was already scared to do it anyway.

I would also like to take the opportunity to use my voice to straighten out a little cliche line that I often see people use. The foster care system is not full of UNWANTED children. The foster care system is full of WANTED children and that is why they are there. Foster parents wait YEARS to adopt children because the birth parents are fighting for them. They want them and are given EVERY OPPORTUNITY imaginable to gain their kids back. If you need specifics I can get them for you but that is a different topic altogether though and I feel better just getting that off my chest. 🙂

I am hoping this year to continue my research and dialogue with many people from both sides of the issue, that frankly, know a lot more than I do about these things. But at some point, I’m hoping, if even 10% of women that choose abortion, chose adoption instead it would change the world for good in so many ways and be such a celebration of life.

Here is a blog I wrote when Phoebe was 5 months old, you can see a glimpse of a message I wrote to her birth mom. I hope using my “voice” helps give you a peek at my heart and the heart of many of my pro-life friends. Read whatever news you want, but know there are people out there willing to care for the child for their whole life. Our family is better for having Phoebe. She has rocked our world and if you ever meet her, she just might rock yours as well. She is the happiest baby I have ever seen in my life. She is comedic, she is caring, she is funny, she is independent, she is even ambidextrous, she has the most beautiful curly hair, and she is a person that may change a corner of her world by just existing. She has certainly changed mine. Be good to one another facebook friends, we only have 1 shot.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

https://oldmommadenew.wordpress.com/…/09/25/dear-birth-mot…/

 

This was originally posted as a status on facebook

The country and the state of fake news

Originally posted to Facebook:

And you thought you might get by with only ONE wordy post from me today… haha! Nope. Sorry.

Today was an amazing day. I was busy most of the day but my thoughts were focused on a variety of things I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now.

I think we all know there is a large divide right now, we had a March earlier in the week and we had one today. There is a wide range of beliefs regarding both events and the events of our country period. I think we can all agree on that.

One of my sweetest and most trusted friends is an immigrant. We were talking last week about everything under the sun, including politics. One thing that struck me and has echoed in my mind this week is when she told me her 3 greatest fears for America. Do you know her 3 greatest fears aren’t even in my top 5? And guess what, It doesn’t make her concerns or fears less real or important. It just makes me realize even more, if we don’t start engaging in some really serious conversations where we actually listen, we are never going to get a handle on this AND… ALL OF OUR FEARS ARE GOING TO PLAY OUT MUCH SOONER UNDER ANY ADMINISTRATION.

I think we can agree on a lot of things. One thing I hope we can agree on is that we all appreciate the truth.

So, We the people, need to take our country back and hold honesty and truth at the forefront for our media and our leaders. We need to hold them accountable. We need to call them out when they write with a slant. When they find a bizarro story of a crazy group of people and write like it represents an entire population, we need to tell them they are wrong. When someone disagrees, there is no name calling. Period.

Basically, If you don’t assume that because I consider myself an evangelical, I am part of the Quiverfull movement (a term I just learned today) then I won’t assume you want to walk around wearing a plastic vagina bodysuit.

I’ll start and call out to my people and hope others on both sides will do the same. We are to be peacemakers. Be peacemakers.

Here’s an article I thought was very insightful and represents this principle well. Christians, let’s go first.

My opinion on Beauty and the Beast of 2017

Guess what I saw today? Yep. Beauty and the Beast… are you ready for my review? Well, if you are read on… if not, scroll on by.

Here goes in number order but not necessarily in order of importance:

1. The costumes were Phenomenal!!!! WOW!!! WOW!!!

2. The set and scenery and everything about the castle and the village – stunning.

3. I had no idea so many stars were in it! That was fun!

4. Don’t throw things at me, but Emma Watson’s voice sounded very “pop” when she sang and no one else did (similar to the new Annie) Whatever it was, that was distracting to me at first, but I got over it. And she was adorable.

5. In the scene where Gaston decides to Kill the Beast, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus when the crowd turned on him. See John 18:38 – 19:27 in the Bible.

6. I missed a couple of scenes, cause I brought Phoebe and we had to change a diaper so I am not sure what I missed. But overall, she sat very well. She didn’t even get scared, but “phant” was with, and he just makes her world a better place naturally.

7. Assuming I didn’t miss something major (again, I may have so don’t string me up if I did) I think the controversy wasn’t really about Disney’s first gay character – I think it was more Will Christians take the bait? I’ll be honest, I almost did – I mean, as a parent I am to navigate what my kids see and how I introduce life to them. Again, I may have missed something – but if I didn’t, what I saw was nothing. Until the last 1.5 seconds of the entire movie, the idea that La Fou had a thing for Gaston wouldn’t have actually been evident to me. If I had not heard of the controversy I wouldn’t have even looked for it. It would’ve gone right over my head. At the very end, you see La Fou dancing with a woman (partner dancing) and then the next time you see him during the song, he surprisingly finds himself dancing with a man.

8. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are living in new and uncomfortable social waters for many. This doesn’t come as a surprise to our Heavenly Father and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. If you aren’t comfortable seeing this movie or supporting it – then don’t. And please continue to issue warnings about things that others might want to be aware of before introducing certain topics or subject matter to our kids. It makes me think of that childhood song, O Be careful little eyes what you see – so please keep that up! But at the same time, please be careful about speaking so boldly and adamantly about things until you know for sure, it is what you think it is. I honestly left and told Sophie – I think that was more to see if we would take the bait than anything.

9. It’s hard to know when to speak and when to stay silent. I feel that way about this post…

10. Because I need 10 points.  Continue to love your kids, your neighbors and those around you whether they like Disney movies or not.