Saturday, August 1, 2015

Three Months Official

Three months of blog catch-up is more than this summertime mother of five has time for-- so you get pictures and one-liners!

We finalized our adoption! Someday (I'd like to say in a couple weeks when school begins) I'll find time to put my emotions from Adoption Day into words.

We celebrated by crossing state lines- WITHOUT notifying our case worker!

And we got a little silly away from home.

Miriam danced in her recital- a big kid in the LATE show this year.

And Amos rocked out on stage with her.

We sent the kids to camp, Grandma's and Auntie's house while we hit the California coast to celebrate ten years of marriage.

We walked Golden Gate Bridge

And slept on cliffs above the ocean

We started to pray about and plan our next chapter. I have to say, I'm pretty excited about the next leg of our journey!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Letting Go of Me and Expectations. 11 Days and Counting...

This week, I gave up my last "me" commitment. I finished my last religious education class and told my team lead that I wouldn't be teaching next year. Ten years of Wednesday evenings spent sharing my faith with the children in my parish... ten years is a long time. Maybe too long, or maybe I'll be back one day.

For now, at least, I felt unable to offer consistent quality to my class. And those kids deserve quality. There were weeks when I felt like our conversations and lessons were divinely orchestrated, weeks when I was inspired to create beautiful prayer stations and opportunities to connect to Christ. There is no doubt that my church kids learned more than Sacraments and Saints. Together, we grew closer to God. And it is SO VERY HARD to walk away from those weekly meetings.

I too often forget that what I am doing at home IS God work. When I forget that fact, I usually find myself failing at my calling. And it is difficult to admit to myself that managing my motherhood might be all that I am capable of in this season of my life. Resigning myself to a life lived solely for my family is pretty scary, but deep down, I believe it is where JOY waits.

The world tells me that I need to reserve some life for myself, and there is truth in that, but there is also temptation and confusion and blurred lines that are easily crossed. I don't always WANT to give up my life before foster adoption. I don't always like the work in heart-healing. I don't always like the reality of healing broken hearts because I stumble and fumble through the darkness of it every day. I make mistake after mistake, and sometimes I feel myself start to lose my footing. I all-to-often forget that these hearts are fragile and do not truly mean the hurt that they cause. When I forget, I get so wrapped up in surviving the war that I also forget that I am not the one who has to fight it. I don't have to fight my kids, I get to team up with them and fight FOR them.

If all goes as planned, we will finalize our adoption in just 11 days. We have spent the last few weeks going through misery and darkness. We have been hot-lined and investigated. My son has called me horrible names and thrown countless tantrums. We have had days and days of silence. We have realized that we don't really trust in our workers (because when you're being investigated, it's hard to really trust that they all have your back even when they say they do). In the last few weeks, we have accepted the worst-care scenario for our son's future and made arrangements and agreements on how will expect to handle it should we find ourselves there. And by the grace of God, we find ourselves at peace these days. Yes, we are prepared for a life where we aren't always able to help our son by ourselves or within the walls of our house. But we are hopeful and trusting in God's healing mercy. We are anxiously awaiting the finalization of our adoption so that the dust can finally settle and we can begin to fit the broken pieces back together.

Monday, April 6, 2015

We Asked... An overdue story.

We knew that Miss A was ready for adoption. She would talk about the future years with the assumption that she was ours and we were hers. But when it came down to being able to actually say the words that fourteen year olds must say, she couldn't quite voice that she wanted to be adopted. 

Amos and I felt it important that she knew that we LOVED and WANTED her, and that it wasn't a favor we were doing or a work of charity or anything of the sort. She is a blessing in our life, and we didn't ever want her to think that we were anything but grateful for her. 

We decided to tell her so.  

Early on a Sunday morning, I packed a tub of chalk into my purse and snuck off to the park where we first laid our eyes on our precious kiddos. I walked to the exact spot we stood waiting to visit with her social worker, unaware that our daughter was literally within reach of us. 

I spent a few minutes sketching out a simple message:

From the moment we first saw you... We have loved you.

Amos and I had planned this day for weeks, and I was so nervous and unsure of how the events would unfold. I was nervous that this would be too grand a gesture for our A... nervous that is would be too small. Nervous that we were wrong, and that she didn't really want adoption, and that we would make her feel terrible for saying no... or trapped into saying yes.

After church, we left four of our kids with my parents and headed out for an afternoon with Miss A. 

The day began with brunch at a "fancy" restaurant. It was outside of Miss A's comfort zone, and I was sure we'd made it too obvious that we had a plan in the works. 

Afterward lunch, we faked a necessary run to the next town over and a "spur of the moment" visit to the park. She had just been asking us the day before to go, so it was an easy sell.  

We walked around the pond, did a little swinging, and then headed to the car where we had left a board game. I suggested that we sit at the picnic tables to play for a while. After a skeptical look, Miss A obliged and followed us toward our proposal spot.

We gave her a moment to notice the colors on the ground, read her name, and realize that her entire day had been carefully planned for this moment.

Then Amos presented the ring we had searched for. We told her that we loved her, that we were incredibly blessed that God sent her to us, and that we didn't want her anywhere else but with us in our family. Then we asked her if we could adopt her as our true, forever daughter. I watched her eyes begin to well.

And then...

We waited...

And waited...

After a minute or ummmms and oh my goodnesses.... , I suggested that we sit and play our game. It was an incredibly awkward half hour. The question was out there, unanswered. Amos and I weren't able to talk about how to proceed except for a few glances. We joked and played our board game, but we were really just waiting to see what happened next.

We packed up the game pieces, and I held back to let Amos take the lead. We walked back to our spot, and after a moment, Amos asked gently, "So what do you think?" She said, "I think... YES"

Amos placed the ring on Miss A's finger. We hugged, we cried, and we took pictures. Then we headed to our favorite coffee shop (where we'd taken A on Meetcha Day) to celebrate.

I knew that our sweet girl felt special, but I wasn't sure if she'd given us a yes freely until I started to hear her tell other people about her ring and the proposal. From then on, it was easy to talk with Miss A about name changes, about how we thought life would be outside the system, about our dreams for the future of our family.

We are still waiting for a court date to be scheduled, but we all have peace. Adoption isn't an IF anymore. It's only a matter of WHEN.