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.

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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.

Stop Comparing Love Stories

 

This was originally written more than a couple of years ago as a Facebook “note” but then I had someone request it because they remembered reading it and wanted to do so again. Anyway, I decided maybe I would just add it to my blog entries for my kids and anyone else interested.

So, here’s my story. My parents met when my mom was 14, at my Uncle’s gas station. My mom lived in Mississippi and my dad in Illinois. They wrote letters to each other until they couldn’t wait any longer and got married when my mom was just 18 years old. My parents have now been married 55 years and counting.

My dating story is completely different. I didn’t really date in high school, I was very busy being silly with my friends. Actually, I did have a few dates… like the real ones. You know, where the guys wonders if you want to go to the movies and halfway through the date you decide, what in the world am I doing? I can’t wait to get home to tell my girlfriends how awkward this is!!!

When I went to college, things changed. I met someone and at our first meeting we decided we literally couldn’t stand each other, until the next day we saw each other again… and we laughed. From that moment on we became best friends and were pretty much together all of the time. We had SO MUCH fun together all of the time. It was great and I was head over heels for this one and he was the same. I won’t tell you the next few years were a bed of roses… cause they weren’t. Circumstances caused us to question our relationship and we would break up and date someone else and then quickly realize how much we missed each other and no one really could ever compare.

I see so much on social media about dating and the wrong things to do and the right things to do. It has to be so confusing for the Christian teen these days. I LOVE that so many of the young people around me are trying to truly seek what the Lord wants for their lives and they aren’t trying to date just to date, or they aren’t bouncing from one bad relationship to another but sometimes I see such extreme caution that I think… how in the world will you ever know? I know, I’ve heard it all (or close to all of it) about Courtship vs. dating vs. whatever new trend or Christianese thing worked for someone else but I would like to challenge all of the youth out there to stop paying attention to someone else’s love life! It’s not your story. It’s their’s! Please stop comparing. Please stop coveting. Please. Just Stop.

The only thing I remember my mom ever telling me is that I should not be unequally yoked. That was it. Her complete guide to dating, was don’t date someone who doesn’t believe what you believe. You know that the boy I met in college, that quickly became my everything was Jewish? Jewish. Hey Jewish people are great…I mean, Jesus was a Jew… right?! But, let me state this a different way… I was a Baptist, Pig Farmers Daughter. For those familiar with Jewish traditions and beliefs, you will know this is not really “Kosher”… hahaha! See what I did there? After we had dated on and off for more than 4 years… his parents wanted me out. It was awful. They wanted me out of their son’s life and would do just about anything to get me out. I started to think about having a family with this man and what it was going to look like. If only I would’ve listened to the ONLY piece of advice my mom gave me about dating this would NOT be an issue. I had given my heart away, so now what do I do? *Insert here – “kids, listen to your parents they actually know something.”

My thoughts raced about what our future together would look like… we were now in our 20’s I had a full-time job and he was lying to his parents about our relationship to keep the peace at home. I’m sorry ladies, but really? If the guy you are dating or want to date, doesn’t resemble Rocky yelling Adrian’s name then my advice is… you need to look somewhere else. Seriously. The guy you end up with should want to show you off to everyone like he just caught the biggest and best fish in the ocean. This is the way you should feel. He should defend you to anyone, including his family.

So, at this point, I’m disappointed and frustrated. The cuteness and fun is being sucked out of the last 4+ years of my life and it is beginning to get pretty weighty. I took my students on a field trip to a pumpkin farm and the guy driving the tractor called me and asked me out. Guess what? I went. I know… I had a boyfriend! I’m a horrible person! I get that. But here’s what happened. I liked him. He was nice. He was polite. He had beautiful eyes. He showed me a future in a matter of minutes. I like to summarize it like this… we discussed potato salad and mayonnaise and decided to get married. Yep. That’s it. I told my Jewish boyfriend I had gone on a date. He sped away quickly in his red Nissan Sentra and didn’t call me for 2 months. In that 2 months time, my new boyfriend bought a ring just 3 weeks after our first date. DID YOU HEAR ME? He bought an engagement ring after 3 WEEKS of dates! I have no clue what you call that… is it dating? Is it courtship? Is it insane?? I don’t know.

We discussed mayonnaise and decided to get married. It was just the right time for both of us. We liked each other. We enjoyed each other. We had jobs, we had things we wanted to do and he wanted to find Jesus. So we got engaged just 2 months after our first date and we plan to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this December. We have 3 beautiful children and parents that love us. We love each other, support each other and I can’t think of anyone that I would rather do life with. When we lost our son Henry, I couldn’t imagine what my life would’ve been like without him. He is the best dad and husband. He loves Jesus with all of his heart and serves other people in a way most people can’t even fathom. When other people talk about him, they use words like the most honest, trustworthy, genuine, and sincere… I like to throw cautious and a rule follower in there also for those of you that REALLY know him.

But that is MY story. So please young people, stop comparing your life to your peers. Please stop comparing your love story to someone else’s. You may not look across the room and know the moment you laid eyes on each other that this was the spouse God intended for you! I will guarantee no two, love stories are the same or should they be. I am pretty certain there is only one thing you need to be certain of… are you going in the same direction? Do you both want to seek after God and His desire for your lives? Do you both want to trust Him? And do you want to treat each other like you just caught the best fish in the ocean or won the biggest prize at the fair? And do you both like mayonnaise or miracle whip?

img_4204Just because Kissing Dating Goodbye has worked for some, doesn’t mean it’s your story. Just because you dated the wrong guy/girl doesn’t mean you won’t find the right one. Just because you date someone doesn’t mean you are going to marry them. You just might not. I’m sorry to break it to you. It’s just true. It may not work out the way you expected it to or the way it was described in a book. It may just work out the way God intended it, if you are seeking what is best by Him. Trust in His timing. Trust in His plan. Date for years or date for what seems like a minute, but once you decide to commit to marriage. Commit. And please stop comparing your life to someone else’s. Let their love life be theirs and yours be yours.

What If I Surrender?

Praying can be scary. Have you ever thought that? Most people find comfort in praying for help – they cry out to God to fix this or that, they ask him to mend things, to give them peace, to gain wisdom, and a plethora of other things along these lines. But every once in a while you can communicate and surrender events just like you are supposed to and later reflect on what that might actually mean.  The reality can send a shiver down your spine and goose bumps down your arms.

I lived in the “what-if” stage of life far longer than I would like to admit.  My childhood was filled with “what-if” thoughts.  I was a homebody, I never wanted to leave my mom’s side… cause, What if?  Throughout my life, I’ve felt like my “what ifs” also made me a negotiator with God, which has honestly always disturbed me. God, you can do this – but not that, cause THAT is off-limits.  Negotiations like this filled my mind for years, have you ever done this?

The concept of surrendering situations and life events at the feet of Jesus is beautiful. We know we are called to do this and it sounds wonderful, but most of us seem to find ourselves picking our concerns, fears, events or whatever it is back up and beginning the “what-if’s” once again.

“True surrender will always go beyond natural devotion if we will only give up.  God will surrender Himself to embrace all those around us and will meet their needs, which were created by our surrender.  Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God.  Most of us have only a vision of what this really means, but have never truly experienced it” Oswald Chambers

This spring, a young man I didn’t know as well as I would’ve liked, passed far too soon from this life for many of his friends and family. He was a young man who filled himself with anything focused on gaining souls into the Heavenly Realm.  His parents found note after note and prayer after prayer displaying this.  They even found a note with this type of surrender, the one that says “whatever it takes Lord- bring them back to you” Wow! Whatever it takes. Whatever. That means no control, no stipulations, no “what if”, just surrender.

Absolutely surrendering so freely to say or imply; whatever you need from me Lord to make them find you, do it. That’s total surrender for someone else’s gain. It’s completely selfless. He was displaying the  John 15:13 verse that says “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” or it’s living out 1 John 3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

Have you been communicating with our Heavenly Father with the purpose of saving souls into the heavenly realm? Have you been so burdened to pray for something or someone to the point of “whatever it takes”? Has God burdened your heart, like he has mine for a ministry or even a potential one? Maybe it’s the total surrender He is waiting for?

Isaiah 41:10 ESV :  fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.