Thursday, April 29, 2010
This morning I found out that a mom at our church passed away, after a year and a half long battle with cancer. She leaves behind many friends, a loving husband, a very close extended family and 2 small children. I didn't know Lisa well, but I am close to some that were close to her. Her illness and death alone could keep me weeping, worrying, praying and writing for weeks. How did she deal with knowing that her kids will grow up without their mom? How will those kids go through the day-to-day with this huge hole in their hearts? How will it affect them into adulthood? How did she grieve her own loss at knowing she will be missing the rest of their lives? How will her husband single parent two hurting children while dealing with his own grief? Why am I so lucky that I'm still here? How would my family deal with something like that? Are there things that I need to be doing to prepare for the worst--logistically, emotionally, financially? How will Lisa's family truly celebrate her niece's wedding tomorrow? Is it possible to have a normal childhood after losing a parent? Again...why do I get to rock my children to sleep tonight and Lisa doesn't? It's NOT FAIR.
I've also been reading about adoption--so then thinking a lot about it. Oh my word, there are LOTS of conversations about adoption taking place. Just do a little blog hopping and your mind will be spinning with the complications and beauty of it. Opinions and aspects and positions and benefits and ugliness and healing and encouraging that I was completely unaware of prior to this spring. And some of it makes me smile. Some of it makes me defensive. Some of it makes me angry. Some of it confuses me. BUT IT ALL MAKES ME THINK. In the past few years I've noticed myself doing more listening about controversial topics and less talking. Partly because there are few issues that I KNOW well enough to be passionate about, but also because it is rare that I view an issue as completely black and white. In my view, there are positive and negative aspects of practically every issue on earth. Adoption is no exception.
In her most recent post, Robin is helping me think about my future child's first mom--my responsibility to her, my respect for her, and how both of those behaviors will affect my child greatly. April's post is such a good reality check for me. I need to keep hearing from adoptive moms that no amount of research and study can truly prepare you for the heartbreaking aspects of adopting a toddler. But that doesn't mean you don't prepare anyway, and it doesn't mean you don't adopt a toddler! But she also gives hope and points out that all the best intentions in the world do not equal a good adoptive parent. Hard freaking work makes a good parent. Period. Speaking of adoptive parents, this blog I found from April's, and it has some great, deep stuff. Hard stuff. Hard questions about adoption and motives and actions. Things that I need to read, like how being an adoptive parent will usually (I'm sure there are exceptions) be harder than parenting a biological child. Trent and I both read it, and I'm so glad we did. I feel so blessed that I am allowed to participate in this discussion at the BEGINNING of our adoption process. To read and talk and LISTEN.
So, to answer my own question: is talking learning? I think CONVERSATION can be a part of learning. But a conversation includes talking and listening. So, [raise my invisible glass] here's to conversations and blogs and moms and babies and parenting and adoption and unfairness and a God who knows and sees all and allows the unfairness to exist in hopes that He will be glorified in it all.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Both children: Ho-hum. La-di-da. Getting kinda bored.
Sydney: Hmmm, I wonder what would happen....
Sydney:...if I just took my finger and poked Carson veeeeeery lightly, but for a reeeeeeally long time?
You'll notice there are no pictures, because the scene became volatile, and the camera was removed to an elevated place of safety.
Another recent occurence at the T household: our DVD player died. RIP. No, we will not be replacing it with a Blu Ray. No, we did not even have the cash on hand to replace it with a regular one. Yes, I did have plans to buy one on Craigslist for $15. But then we found out that Trent gets to choose from a list of gifts for completing 5 years of work at the Hospital. Guess what one of the gifts was? Yep. It came in the mail yestserday. I'm sure it is of the HIGHEST quality and will last us well into retirement.
But while we waited, this was our DVD watching method:
Evidently, the movie made him angry, or maybe he was reliving the situation earlier with his sis.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I am loving reading all kind of blogs that talk about adoption from different angles, but of course I'm especially drawn to blogs by parents who are or have adopted from Thailand. The night we first realized that we were very seriously drawn to Thailand as our child's birth country, I went googling. :) I found THIS BLOG by Kyle and Robin. I spent at least an hour reading back through their postings and their adventure with Tea. I was completely captivated. See, my favorite thing to do with these blogs is scroll back and back until I find the postings about their trip to Bangkok to meet and bring home their kiddos. It's fascinating, thrilling and heartbreaking reading these stories. I immediately commented on Robin's blog and corresponded with her a bit. She's already been a help to me. Their positive experience with Holt and with Thailand got my heart pounding, feeling it was like a confirmation. They brought Tea home the same month I gave birth to Sydney. As soon as they were able, they applied to adopt another little person from Thailand through Holt. They are awaiting travel approval for little brother, Pea!
Chandra is a blogger who found me! She and her husband adopted a beautiful daughter from Thailand, Penny, and it has been so neat to read about Penny's homecoming to her forever family. Penny's a little older than a lot of the children adopted from Thailand, and she seems to be doing so well.
It's especially fun to read about a family who just recently had their "gotcha day" with the child they've been praying and waiting for. This family have been home with their little Button for one month! I love Rosemary's honesty, documenting the good and the difficult aspects of having a newly adopted toddler in the house. One thing I really was glad to read was from a post Rosemary wrote while they were in Thailand. Each adoptive family gets the opportunity to meet the foster family who has been caring for their child for many months. This particular foster family has fostered 10 children with Holt Sahathai Foundation, and 8 of the children were able to be returned to their birth families. Two (including Button), were adopted to American families.
This is great news to me, because it tells me that our agency works hard to find the best solution for the child. They do not match a child with adoptive parents unless they have exhausted all possibilities for them to be cared for in Thailand. Part of the reason it takes the better part of the child's first year before they are matched with adoptive parents is that the agency and the Thai government are confirming the child's status as an orphan, and making sure that adoption is the best choice for this child. Hearing this story about the foster children confirms what I've read many times on Holt's material: they find families for children, not children for families. I love knowing that by the time we are matched to a child, we truly will be the best choice for him. And I can already feel in my gut that pursuing and waiting for him (or her) was the best choice for us!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Carson is 4.5 years old. He is smart as a whip, if I do say so myself. He's constantly saying things that impress me or crack us all up. For instance, if you didn't see it on facebook, here's a classic, random Carsonism: "Mom, a T-Rex wouldn't want to eat me. I don't have enough meat on me. [pause] A T-Rex would definitely want to eat you." Thanks, Bud. A few weeks ago I saw him diligently drawing and I asked him what he was working on. "I'm making a map of our house. To show you where you're allowed to go." Of course you are!
Mr. Carson is also my biggest challenge. He has a will that is stronger than iron and quite a little temper. I know in my heart that this will serve him well as he grows, but some days? It leads to the undoing of our household! I am learning every day what works and doesn't work in raising this child o' mine. And I know that a lot of his, uh, let's call it "fiestiness," he saves for me. For instance, I can not suggest (and never, EVER choose) an item of clothing, a certain pair of shoes, a television show to watch or a snack for him to eat. 99.9% of the time he will automatically say NO, and say it strongly and loudly. I cannot casually ask if he will please [put shoes on, turn the light off, get in the car, pick up that toy] because his reflex response is to fight, and fight hard--to the "death" so to speak. So, I have to get creative in my parenting. And by "creative" I mean "tricky." I have to trick him into thinking what I want him to do is really HIS idea, and is actually what HE wants to do! Like I said--it's a learning process every day! But he also shows us that he is a SWEET boy many times a day. He is kind to his sister, he loves Jesus, he prays for his new baby brother (he's pretty sure it will be a brother), and he wants to please us and make us proud. Which he does very often!
These are just some random pics from a Saturday when we took a family bike ride to Subway, then took our sandwiches for a picnic at the park. The kids really did have fun, even though this picture indicates otherwise.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Right now we are completing the pre-requisites for our home study/family study/adoption study--it has different names. We each got fingerprinted, answered about 96 essay questions (My form turned out 6 pages longer than Trent's. Neither of us was surprised.). We asked friends from different seasons of life to fill out an (also very long) reference questionnaire, we got letters confirming employment, bank & tax statements, etc. We are right now waiting for our dr's appointments, where we will each have a complete physical and HIV & TB tests. When those forms are turned in, we'll pay our fee and schedule our interviews with the social worker. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to know we are ready to pay that fee. THANK YOU to all of you!
I've also been blessed to find/be directed to a few other adoption blogs, which I'm obviously very interested in. It's an added bonus when I discover one that is well written and finds a way to communicate what I've been feeling. THIS is a must read. Gwenn is an adoptive mom and also happens to run a small orphanage in Haiti. This post about adoption is heartachingly beautiful. As Tara said, I wish adoption weren't necessary. But until that's the case, I like what Gwenn said.
there would be no orphans in the world.
After reading the quote above, Steve and I lost sleep, partly because it made us sick with the injustice of it, but also because we were filled with excitement. Something new, something risky and not quite within our control was working itself out in our lives. We dreamed and prayed, cried and celebrated. And here we are, standing at the cusp of the bravest and most unconventional adventure we've ever attempted. And already we can sense the joy, like the salty ocean air that hits your nose even before you can see the water...
Why orphans and widows? Because we’re just like them: we were lost, without hope… strangers in this world and slaves to sin. But no more. We are sons and daughters now. We have a family… an eternal family. And in that family we have an inheritance much richer than ANYTHING the Trumps or Waltons could provide; we have the promise of eternal life. And because our Father — our Adoptive Father — loves us so much, He allows us to help him right now, to serve on the front lines today in His great redemptive work, to bring other brothers and sisters into the fold so they too can share in that great inheritance. What an amazing privilege, friends!
And through Nicole's blog, I found It's Almost Naptime--gotta love that blog title. They are selling shirts as a fundraiser that say "I'm adopted--Ephesians 1:3-14." Part of that verse was a reminder that "...He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us to be adopted as his sons, through Christ Jesus, in accordance with His pleasure and His will."
(FYI: we will NOT be partaking in a debate about predestination on this blog!) This may not mean much to some of you, but to me, who has spent hours thinking about the concept of adoption, the identity issues, the grief, the loss, the gain, the system, the risks, the benefits...this means a lot to me. Why? Because my adoption by my Heavenly Father was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because adoption, with all of it's brokenness, is a step towards wholeness. Adoption is beautiful. I thought I was beginning my first journey into it, but these bloggers, through Scripture, reminded me that this is my second time around. I'm just participating from a different angle of the triad. And I could not be more grateful.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Big deal #2 was going to an Easter egg hunt with Mimi and Bapaw Phil. Of course it was raining, so the hunts were divided up into age-appropriate banquet halls! Since our Easter morning is always super busy (and super early) I dressed the kids in their getups on this day, so I could take some pictures. Sydney needed a little coaching to figure out the goal of this strange tradition, but soon she was on a roll. Things really sped up when she realized she could put the basket down and use 2 hands.