Archive - August 2013

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Becoming Mommy Part II
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It’s a mess. But I have a good reason!
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If they only knew
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So… how was Lola’s first day of school?
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Potty Talk

Becoming Mommy Part II

Nine weeks ago Calvin and I walked into a dark civil affairs office in China. My heart was freaking out. We were about to meet our brand new 5 1/2 year old daughter. Our only knowledge of who she was came from a 36 second video, a translated report from her orphanage and 15 photographs. As we rounded the corner I caught a glimpse of her, blue eyes staring at the ceiling, moving slightly, and looking scared out of her mind.

IMG_0954IMG_0965In that moment I thought… can I do this? Seriously. Can I do this?? Can I mother a child who has been blind and institutionalized her entire life? She’s going to hate me. Approximately 4 seconds later I was face to face with her. Overwhelmed with Love. And God whispered: No. You can’t do it. But I can. This is your daughter, she has always been your daughter.

IMG_1281I’m going to promise you one thing right now. I will never use God to over dramatize anything in my life. When I say he spoke to my heart in that time of doubt, he did, he was with me.

Adoption, for our family, is a spiritual thing. God led us to adoption, he walked with us in the process and he now sustains us as we work toward healing with our children.

It may seem bold… or maybe even shocking to think that I questioned whether I could mother our daughter in the moments before meeting her. But I think that every mother experiences this quick shock before beginning her journey. I remember looking at 2 pink lines after being married 6 months and having just started grad school. It wasn’t just morning sickness that made me want to throw up! The thought of shaping, molding and raising a human being is crazy overwhelming. I wasn’t ready. Calvin wasn’t ready. Seriously,  no one is ever really ready to be a parent. We think we are ready to deliver that baby or get on that airplane but we have no idea what is waiting on the other side. A life that is totally dependent on YOU. And if that life decides they don’t like to sleep you are really in trouble.

Fortunately, each time a child has become mine I’ve fallen madly in love with them. I’m the mom that smells my kids. I love the outside smell, the post bath smell and the plain old kid smell. Not every mom bounces right into motherhood. I’ve seen many friends struggle with postpartum and post-adoption depression. I know without a doubt that entering motherhood can be the most difficult thing one does in life. I also know that things will change drastically. Life will never be the same. Ever. (because it will be better! You just don’t know that in the beginning.)

But, motherhood, with it’s struggles, joys and pits of despair is the most rewarding thing I could ever choose for myself. I’m growing people. I’m impacting people. God is pouring his spirit into me as I pour everything I have into these 4 littles. There’s not much left of me at the end of the day. But I’m fully comfortable saying that my life is not my own.

To read more on my path to motherhood, check out my first Mommy blog post.

It’s a mess. But I have a good reason!

I had to take a couple family leave days this week. Lola really needed me at school. I’ve been doing things like hiding in the back of classrooms, stalking the halls and ducking when she looks my way. It’s a bit ridiculous. I’m probably arousing suspicions all over the building. We are trying to allow her to function independently in her school setting… but if there is a problem I get to materialize out of thin air. Like a spy.

Today, I was actually able to head home for a short time. I had some great thoughts about cleaning the house. I even swept the dining room floor and loaded the dishwasher. Taxing I tell you. I started to think… man this stay at home mom gig could be pretty sweet. Drop kids off, grab some coffee, blog a little, MAYBE clean a bathroom, paint my toenails. This is not what I did today, but it certainly sounded ideal.

Here’s the thing. Because I work outside the home as well as inside the home I can tell visitors things like “I’m that mom who works all day. So when I come home I spend all my time with the kids. That’s why our house is such a wreck!” I’m also guilty of saying “they are only small once, I’ve got to enjoy them instead of doing dishes all evening!”

While these things are totally true, they are also totally comical because my work has become my house cleaning crutch, and I’m completely okay with this. I decided today that if I ever did become a mom who worked in the home all the time I would probably have to clean. And if I worked in the home all the time I would lose my super great excuse that garners sympathy from every visitor.

So that settles it. I’ll be at work tomorrow.

If they only knew

As I took my children to school this morning I couldn’t help but enter that crazy zone that only moms know. And when you have several small people to think about the crazy zone gets even crazier. Add one level of crazy and worry for each child. So that puts me at crazy zone level 4.

Fortunately, this morning, the crazy zone visit led to my love for my children. And my love for my children led me specifically to my love for Lola and Liam. Adoption is a difficult journey that leads to healing. I couldn’t help but wonder what would change if they really knew how deeply we love them.

What would happen if they knew…

When they cry our hearts pound into overdrive, and our legs can’t move fast enough.

When old trauma is triggered and they spiral away from us, hiding every emotion, digging into the deepest pit… we get a shovel and go after them.

When they push away just to test the boundaries of our love… there won’t be any boundaries in sight.

When they worry we won’t come back… we will. Every time.

When they reject our love, when they don’t understand our love, when they hate our love. Our love. Our never-ending, far-reaching, crazy zone, momma love WILL persevere.

Adoptive moms are like the chewed gum on a hot street in July. We are tired and worn, but we stick and don’t let go.

And we love our kids with a fierceness that won’t be matched. We have crazy eyes and bad hair. (At least I do.) And we, in all our talk of big, never ending love are not the heroes of the story.

Our children, who may never fully understand the depths of our love, are the bright shining stars of this story. They have endured and will endure. They wake up each day, overcoming the one before. And their triumphs fuel ours.

We work and chase and love each day because they are so worth it. Above all, if my kids, all my kids… knew one thing, it would be YOU are worth it.

So… how was Lola’s first day of school?

In a word. Terrible. In two words? Really awful.

Lola isn’t ready for school. We’ve been home for almost two months. My desire would be to keep her in the attachment bubble a bit longer before trying school. However, she really needs vision services and ESL. She also desperately needs peer models. I also work full time. Just typing that makes me want to scream.

It’s just hard right now. Everything is hard. And please, before you think it, we are not “regretting” anything. We are not worried that God led us down a path that leads to destruction. We know we have found our daughter. Plain and simple. And now we are doing our best to love her and get her on the right track. It’s not an easy thing. But the best and most meaningful things are NOT easy. God calls us in the deepest, hardest situations. And within the pit we see his face. That’s where God lives ya’ll. In the pit. With us.

Potty Talk

Last night as we read books, all six of us piled into Elliott’s bed, I thought to myself “yes, this is what I hoped for in life.” It didn’t matter that a very tired new Kindergartener had just exploded into sobs and kicking fits over needing to take a shower, it didn’t matter that the almost 2 year old was crying and begging to eat… even after eating ALL EVENING LONG. It just didn’t matter. There I was, surrounded by the nations, reading, and smelling the sweet smell of freshly washed kid hair.

Our family is a potty talk family. I’ll be open about that. Everyone likes to joke about gas. And poop. And most recently they love to talk about gas in Mandarin. Lola is into the potty talk as well. She started the trend when she announced, in Mandarin, that I had passed gas on the plane to Beijing. She followed her comment with giggles of delight. Too bad we weren’t in America yet. No one would have understood. But alas,  we were in China. And the surrounding Chinese folks now had the impression that the white lady in 13B couldn’t handle her Chinese food. And I totally didn’t. Just so you know.

Growing up my mom didn’t allow us to say the typical words for flatulence. We used… get ready for it… beep. Yes. Those who joined us for a ride in the car would get the privilege of hearing laughter inducing phrases like “who beeped?” I carried that phrase into my college years where people responded with “were you a Mennonite or something?” Do Mennonites say Beep? I would love to know.

There was a song as well. I believe I sang it when I was four. “Beep! Beep! Matisco!” Add a jump and a chicken dance style wiggle and you’ve got it going on. Gosh. We were so weird. I think my Dad made up the song. He’s just one of those Dads. Funny, silly. My kids love their Papa. Except he doesn’t say beep anymore. Unless he’s making fun of me. I mean… I really don’t think I started the beep talk.

So back to last night. We don’t say beep during our potty talk. We don’t say punt (or however you spell that). And we really don’t use the “F” word. You know… Fart. We simply say… pass gas. That’s it.

Someone in the pile of six passed gas last night. And Calvin, the heathen that he is, said the word. Yes. That word. He said Fart. And Charlotte reached up and punched him in the mouth.

Yup. She punched him square in the mouth.

Because we are now free-wheeling parents of four we didn’t discipline her. We couldn’t stop laughing.

So. My question is. What do you say when someone passes gas?

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