Honestly

So I’ve been considering writing a detailed blog post about my thoughts about the whole refugee thing and then I thought about making it a Facebook status but I realized that I am writing these blogs so my kids have documentation about the things I think about, so blog post it is. Now, if you aren’t a Christian… just move on. This isn’t really for you.

I have read both sides, I read all the stuff (or try to) that my liberal friends post and that my conservative friends post and my mind is spinning most of the time because have you truly done this??? Both sides can take the exact same story and it doesn’t even seem to have any of the same details by the end.  Until the media can gather facts without a spin, I will read them but I will take it with a grain of salt. All of it.

On another note, I am also kind of tired of reading posts about Christians and which ones are more Christ-like than others… BLEK! THAT in itself is not “Christ-like.” So Stop it. Just because you are convicted to open your arms wide open does not mean that your brothers or sisters in Christ don’t have their own convictions – ones that, dare I say, Christ might have burdened their hearts with? I actually think compassion is the easy part of this all. I hope my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ feel a GREAT DEAL of compassion for these refugees and ANYONE that is displaced or threatened.

I think wisdom may be the thing that is harder to find in all of this. So if your brother or sister in Christ is cautious, maybe you should listen, maybe you have the gift of compassion but they have the gift of wisdom – remember we are part of one body and that whole, “I’m not part of the body cause I’m a foot and not a hand thing?” (It’s in 1 Corinthians 12 if you want to read it again) Our mission is to make disciples of all nations and yes, we are not to fear… I get it. But I can’t help but think, Jesus sweat blood at one point, do you remember that? And it wasn’t cause he was ready to joyfully embrace what was happening at that moment.  He was Jesus and He was anxious. So do not mock or discredit the fears of your fellow brothers or sisters because they don’t actually have the same fearless abandonment that you display.

I am in awe of those that continue to post and write and speak that they are ready to die, because if they are brutally murdered they did it because they were a servant, just like Jesus would want them to be – just like it’s no big deal. If that is truly your heart well then good for you because you have been gifted in an area not even our Savior was.  I also am not on the train with those that are absolutely not wanting to help these refugees in their distress!  I would actually prefer we remain One in Christ and act like it. My personal opinion would be we should pay attention to the whole body. Our politicians were put into place, voted into place, to convey our wishes. They are here to help protect us. Now, if some of the them have cause for alarm – from both parties, this is not a one party deal if you are really paying attention – then I say we pause for just a second and think about that. I do not in any way, shape or form believe we shouldn’t help those that need our help. But we need wisdom as to the best method so that we remain a place that can help those that need to seek shelter and refuge. It is also my personal opinion that we wipe out ISIS completely so we can just stop this whole conversation and then safely and joyfully help one another.

Kids, this is considered a late night rant by your mother. Now, won’t this be embarrassing when I look back at this, Lord willing, in 20 years. 😉

That Morning When You Just Feel Funky

Do you ever wake up and just feel funky? I can remember feeling this way, even when I was a kid.  It rarely happens anymore, but it hit today and well, I just didn’t like it. I woke up, nothing out of the normal happened, Gus came into my room and crawled in bed with me, Brian was already up and heard the baby and brought her in and the three of us laid in bed before getting our day started by snuggling. I could tell though, something just felt eh… different.

All of my insecurities seemed to shout at me this morning… every one of them. Do you ever have that? I am certain it is “normal” but yuck! It’s that fast forward thing your brain can do – but it’s actually just playing moments of the past over and over in your head and it seems like you just covered the last 20 years of awful moments in about 2.3 seconds. As I type I wonder, maybe I’m alone on this one?  But something also tells me I’m not. And I just did a google search about feeling funky and it turns out many people have written many things like, “483 easy steps to get out of that funk and feel better” (that’s sarcasm for those of you not familiar with its frequent use by me) so it’s been confirmed – I am not alone.

Those moments that are playing over in my head, I handed over to God and told him I was leaving them at His feet and I wasn’t picking them back up. Do you know those moments? Those tend to be the ones that play the loudest on funky days. Ugh. I don’t like them, I didn’t like them when they happened and I certainly don’t like them stuck on rewind and repeat. Anyway, that’s where I’ve been today. No other shoe dropped that I’m aware of, although I was certainly waiting for it. Clearly, that was a waste of my time. If you have ever dealt with anxiety, don’t you think that might be the most frustrating part of all? That you realize it’s a time waster? Good moments passing you by because you are stuck in anxiousness? Ew. Yes. Yuck.

I know God doesn’t want me to spend even 2.3 seconds of my day on those things. I must hope everyone that I care about knows I love them and truly care about them even if sometimes I don’t show it the way I am expected to. It’s days like these I wish I could give everyone I know a big ole’ hug and just say “You matter to me whether you know it or not”. The crazy thing about these funks is that you can learn a few things when you are in them.  Today, oddly enough I saw a young man walking out of a nearby neighborhood in his full Portillo’s gear.  Hat, pants, apron etc… he looked very much like he was on his way to work and he was late. I didn’t know him and I had 2 young kids in the car, so I called my husband and told him about the young man and asked if he would try to find him and offer him a ride.  Brian was happy to do it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find him by the time we got off the phone and he headed out of the house, although he did drive down several routes looking for the young worker. I hope someone else gave him a ride.

Today, I seemed to be in tune with all of the moments I had failed. Failed to write a thank you note or send a card when I should have, failed to do this or say that when I was supposed to.  Times when I failed to offer to buy someone’s dinner and I should have, times when I’ve said words that hurt someone even though that was never my intention. But I think it’s because of those moments that I noticed the young man walking, my senses were aware and heightened. I wanted to help and I wanted him to have a better moment.  I am hoping I can build on my insecurities.  I want to be able to speak truth and wisdom to my friends and family,  I want to pour myself into them, but leave more than enough at home with my family too. Sometimes in my darkest moments I find myself to be the most thankful. It is then that I quickly realize even with all of the dumb moments of my life – they are seemingly small in someone else’s. I also realize in those moments that I want to do better. I want to stop being selfish.

I want to do this:

Philippians 2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

and this:

Philippians 2:14  Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

I want to remember the next time I wake up feeling funky, I’m not supposed to stay there… but I am supposed to pay attention and be aware I’ve got some serious growing to do.

The Connecting Piece In a Greater Story

So in my typical, impulsive fashion I decided to cut my hair off. I have a favorite stylist, Sarah, but because she is my favorite stylist, she is apparently everyone else’s favorite too.  I can never get in to see her when the urge or impulse hits me to do something bizarre, like cut off a foot of hair. However, I sent Sarah a text message one night and said “What is your next availability for a cut?” Knowing all too well she would reply with something along the lines of “Dec. 11th” (currently it’s October). But because she is my absolute favorite and a treasured friend and a wonderful human being I asked in my impulsive fashion anyway. Her response came and she said “How about tomorrow at noon?” Clearly the stars had aligned in my favor ’cause I had nothing on the calendar preventing this divine appointment and now I was set to have something fabulous done to my hair! It was almost like Christmas Eve, okay maybe not that exciting but close.

I arrived at the salon with baby in tow and Sarah was running a bit behind, which really was no biggie to me, I had nowhere to be so I just waited. When she was ready for me, we excitedly started talking about the kids and giving each other updates and that’s when she said there was a new client in the back and I needed to meet her.  See, this new client had a bad color job done by someone else and her friend had referred her to MY favorite stylist to fix it and just by chance Sarah had a cancellation and was able to fit her in.  The same day she had an opening for me. Coincidence? I think not. Well, the next thing I know this new client and I are sitting next to each other and exchanging adoption stories – shocking I know.

She told me about her two beautiful children, she had adopted.  She had been their foster mom since they were born and had fought to keep them for four and a half years.  She was a foster mom, but these kids needed her to be their mom forever and she is… she is now their forever mom. Four and a half years of loving and caring for two drug addicted babies and not knowing if they will be taken from you is probably enough just to make most people shutter – it just sounds like self-inflicted torture to be honest and I have a feeling at times, my new friend might have felt that way.  She then went on to tell me that she had just recently received a two month old baby boy who was born addicted to Heroin. She made it clear that she had no more fight left in her – she was content with the two beautiful children she had.  The case worker for this new baby boy, convinced her that this baby would go straight to adoption – easy peasy – so she opened her heart and her home to this sweet baby boy who needs so much care for his tiny body to adjust to life without street drugs.

Can you guess where I might be going with this story? The adoption hasn’t turned out to be so easy peasy after all. See the man that is currently married to the heroin addicted birth mother is incarcerated for a long list of things including physically harming people. He served a 9 year sentence already and I believe is waiting to see what his next sentence might be. But guess what? Even though he might not even be the one that “fathered” the child… he is technically the baby’s father because he is married to the drug addicted mother and he has decided, he wants the baby. Yep. In prison, he wants the baby. I hope you are somewhat like me and thinking… how does that work? And what is he thinking?

I was at the Doctor today and because I was there for my annual appointment, the nurse I see every year was slightly confused as to how she missed my entire pregnancy. So I began the adoption story and discussion. We actually discussed several avenues and aspects of adoption and for whatever reason I told her my new friend’s story.  I have a feeling she might have been speaking from experience when she said “He wants that baby because he is selfish. He is bored and has nothing else to fight about in his jail cell. He needs something to distract him and this is it. It has nothing to do with that child other than it is a distraction and the thought that lingers in the back of his mind saying; what if one day that kid turns out to be something, I need to be able to claim him.” I’m pretty certain with the way she spoke, this was not the first time she had thought about a situation like this. She appeared as though she had some working of knowledge of circumstances like these.

Soon my nurse left and my doctor came in and she was so happy to hear about our adoption and how smooth the process went and somehow we also got side-tracked with a conversation that landed on birth moms.  She offered her opinion that it was the most self-less thing a woman could do. She looked very reflective in thought, I could tell that she too had thought about adoption and unwanted pregnancies many times over the years. She said she had been in obstetrics for over 30 years and that over time she has noticed more people used to carry their babies to term and give them up for adoption than they currently do. She said “Today, they just pretend it didn’t happen.” She went on to say, occasionally she will have a young 19-20 year old girl that gets pregnant and wants to continue with school and she will carry and give the baby up but it’s rare anymore. She seemed to almost share my conviction that as a societal whole we are not to condemn lifestyle choices such as the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s of the world, yet we have set some pregnant women up with so much shame and condemnation that they would rather try to pretend it just didn’t happen and choose to abruptly end a viable pregnancy.  It appeared, by her reflective tone, that she is often the only confidant some of these women ever have once they make the choice to “pretend it didn’t happen.”

In our somewhat brief meeting, my new friend at the salon had shared a specific phrase that tends to “ruffle her feathers” so to speak. I heard this phrase at one point during my visit to the clinic, “Well, she just needs to stop. She’s needs to stop getting pregnant.” See, it ruffles my new friends feathers because, if the mom of her two kids, (and hopefully a 3rd very soon) had just stopped; she wouldn’t have the beautiful children she is madly in love with! Adoption is often the only way some families are made.  I was actually caught off guard when someone at the clinic said it to me.  It actually felt like an attack on me! For probably 2 seconds I felt like saying “Wait a minute, if the birth mother of my child would’ve stopped, we wouldn’t be having this beautiful moment where you are so enthralled with my happy and beautiful baby!” Now let’s be clear,  I am not advocating for drug addicted women to continue to reproduce while they are using drugs. However, in the case of my new friend, this cocaine/heroin addicted woman is the reason she is able to even hold the title of “Mom”. So, let’s be careful what we say to adoptive moms.

I am also not condemning anyone that might be reading this post that has had an abortion… why would I? It is currently legal, it’s an option and it’s done and over with.  I am talking about a choice that is certainly also legal, has been tried and true and seems to be highly under-used. I know of it’s under-use because I have received several calls from heartbroken couples, hoping I somehow have the magic key to unlock the pain of looking into empty spare bedrooms and the longings to fill big spaces in their hearts.  My point in writing this is because I’m learning so much right now.  My eyes have been opened in ways they never have been before. I want to leave these words and thoughts for my children and let them walk along with me as we go on this new path. In the Bible, we are told to take care of the widows and the orphans. James 1:27 NIV says: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Looking over several Bible commentaries on this verse, it looks like this verse literally means to take care of the orphans and the widows. 🙂 The passage conveys more meaning than that in its entirety, but the Matthew Henry commentary describes a portion of the meaning behind the verse this way, “Compassion and charity to the poor and distressed from a very great and necessary part of true religion: Visiting the fatherless and widow in their affliction. Visiting is here put for all manner of relief which we are capable of giving to others; and fatherless and widows are here particularly mentioned, because they are generally most apt to be neglected or oppressed: but by them we are to understand all who are proper objects of charity, all who are in affliction. It is very remarkable that if the sum of religion be drawn up to two articles this is one—to be charitable and relieve the afflicted.” (emphasis added is mine)

We are attending a fundraiser next week to help bring about awareness and raise money to help people adopt babies and children. This fundraiser helps to live out this very verse. Not everyone is in a situation to open their homes to longing children and helpless babies, but together we can all be aware that families, so many families are willing and able to provide homes and care for these babies when they are available.  There just seems to be a shortage of ones that are truly available. Ones that the mother is willing to say, “Just because it’s not my time to provide for this child doesn’t mean someone else can’t or won’t.”  In my opinion, and it’s just that… my opinion, my new friend who is caring for the heroin addicted mother and incarcerated father’s child; are not at a point right now to be parents to this tiny baby boy who desperately needs so much. A selfless deed would go very far in all of their lives right now. A simple signature would be all it would take to do what is best for that precious child.

My favorite stylist wasn’t available by chance the other day just so I could receive my cute new hairdo. My stylist was the connecting piece in a greater story about two women that have a hearts desire to care for orphans; regardless of how or by whom they came into this world. There are families and young couples – hoping right now that another women, who has just received the undesired news of her pregnancy will choose, even though the timing is off… to carry to term and simply sign a paper. Breathing life into a new child, a new family, a home, a bedroom, safe arms and loving hearts. And also allowing themselves to take a big breath and sigh of relief knowing, even though the pain is very real, they have just become a part of a small population, many might label, the most selfless of all.

Dear Birth Mother,

As you can imagine, I’ve spent many of my days over the last 5 months thanking God for our little girl, but I wouldn’t have this little bundle of goodness if it weren’t for the mother that cared for her first. I’m not going to give you the details of her birth mother’s story, those will be held private for Phoebe. She may share or not share, whenever she feels appropriate, it’s her story.

But let’s just talk about birth mothers in general. Heroic? I might say yes. To love someone so much that you provide safety and shelter and then do the most selfless thing imaginable… give it away. You slept uncomfortably, you vomited, you stretched, you grew, you burped and belched and struggled with scars and C-sections and whatever else came with the safety and shelter you provided and yet when it was all over you didn’t even keep the reward for your scars. You gave it away. When I think of birth mothers, I can’t help but think of a story that fascinated me as a child – it was my favorite one, the story in the Bible where Solomon is the King (the wisest of all time if you aren’t aware) and two women come into his court.

1 Kings 3:16-27New Living Translation (NLT) Solomon Judges Wisely

16 Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled.

17 “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house.

18 Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house.

19 “But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it.

20 Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her.

21 And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.”

22 Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.” “No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king.

23 Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other.

24 All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king.

25 Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”

26 Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child—please do not kill him!” But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”

27 Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!”

The real mother was willing to do the most difficult thing, give her child away and hope safety was provided for it. She was going to turn it over to a liar and a thief – all to save her precious child’s life. She assumed it was better off in those conditions than dead. Isn’t that interesting? I’m not going to get into the debates of today… but you can clearly see where I could go with this. Just because someone can’t give a child the life you think it deserves, it still deserves life.

In a world where we promote not judging others, where we cram things in other people’s faces – all in the name of being different and unique, do people who find themselves pregnant still face “judgement” of others? What if we started there? Human conception has been around, since the beginning. Literally THE BEGINNING. All the way back, you have women, unwed women, women subject to multiple husbands or affairs etc… pregnant. Why on earth do we, in 2015, pass judgement on someone for being pregnant even if their circumstances aren’t ideal? Why did we forget to fight for them and the life they carry inside? When did it all go wrong and we made them feel so insecure or ashamed that we planted the idea in their heads that somehow discarding of this precious life was a better idea?  Are you and I actually part of the problem?

Well I would like all of you reading this, if you know someone that is with child to help them. Connect them with a support group; they are out there. Buy a package of diapers, wipes or babysit the baby while they go to the grocery store alone for a few minutes. I would also like to encourage anyone carrying a baby, there are women out there that can’t… CANNOT have what you have and they want it so desperately.  Women and men, sit in their beds at night praying for a child. They search the internet looking for a baby to love, to raise, cherish, photograph, feed, clothe and bathe. They have a home with all of the “securities” but can’t physically gain what you have and don’t know what to do with.  I would like to see more stories about that.  No judgement, it’s honestly too late at that point, right?  Pregnant when you don’t want to be? Go ahead and provide safety and shelter for the life you have been given and then if you still think it’s not right for you, selflessly give it away. Adoption is really a gift to everyone.

Birth mom, most likely in todays society, you can stay in touch if you want and have that child’s utmost respect. Adoptive mom, you get the most amazing gift – the life you have longed for and dreamed about. And precious baby, you are surrounded by those who love you and are your biggest cheerleaders.  Some have hoped and prayed for you before you existed.  Birth mom, you chose someone else’s life to be more important than yourself. You put their needs in front of yours, cause that’s what moms do.  You did it and they will respect you and appreciate you and even have love for you.

I don’t know personally what our future holds for our daughter’s birth mom and our interactions with her, but I can share a portion of the letter I wrote to her just a few weeks ago, about 2 weeks before our adoption was finalized in court.

Dear ___________,

The story of this baby has just begun and that story begins with you and your love for this life. I am so thankful for the love you had for her and I know it’s a love, you will carry with you all the days of your life. I promise I will be the best mom I can possibly be to this gift and I hope that you are proud of the child and the adult she becomes. She fits perfectly into our home in her pink bedroom – full of gifts and treasures – from the people that see God’s goodness in her. And she fits perfectly into our hearts, we can’t imagine life without her. I am honored and humbled to raise her and I thank you for the opportunity. I pray you are blessed in the days to come and that Jesus becomes your friend if He isn’t already. I pray you recognize no matter what comes into our lives – God will redeem it for good into His plan.

Thank You Birth Mom,

You have my respect and adoration –

Missy

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 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… 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 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.