Knit Together By Adoption, Day 9, “What Makes You Smile”
I wish I could make a collage big enough to show you all the faces of adoptive moms and dads whose lives have been transformed as we have changed our lifestyles together. It would be so big that the faces would all be tiny blips!
These are the faces of adoptive parents who know what it feels like to be burnt out and run down. Faces of parents who poured it all out and lost track of the importance of self care.
These faces make me SMILE!!! These are the faces of parents who said “Enough is enough”. Not only did they start putting top notch nutrition in their bodies, they gave it to their kids too. The transformations that occurred are mind blowing!!
Healthy parents, healthy kids, healthy families!! That’s what makes me smile today.
And helping others rise up out of the dust, that makes me smile even bigger!! My hand is always extended, ready to help.
Knit Together By Adoption, Day 10, “The day I go off on a tangent because this is what is on my heart”
I remember this day like it was yesterday. This was 2 years ago today. It was a gorgeous fall day in Kansas City, and we went to our favorite park in front of the Nelson – Atkins Museum.
Earlier that summer I was sick. Really sick and run down. 4 adoptions in 4 years, walking Emma and Aiden through bonding and adjusting to life in a family, spending a year in the hospital with Mattie (and countless other hospital stays after that), and almost losing him in June of 2013. I had nothing left in me.
My friend Carolyn, who had walked a similar adoption journey reached out. And I grabbed her hand and said yes.
This day represents me 3 months after saying yes. I had lost weight (that was nice), I think I had gone from a size 10 to a size 6. BUT this photo represents what I am really grateful for.
I saw this picture later that day and just cried!! This was me! The happy, free Mom who had more than enough strength and energy to run fast with her sweet boy on her back.
There’s MORE for us, Moms and Dads! We weren’t designed to burn out. Our bodies are meant to carry us with strength if we give them the fuel that they need and learn how to lessen our stress load in healthy ways.
My hand is out if this story resonates with you. If you’re tired of feeling sick and tired, I’m here. And I’ve been there. It’s no fun.
Knit Together By Adoption, Day 11, “Bonding and Healing”
You have gone without a mommy for so long. Now you are discovering what it means to have a mommy. A mommy is not someone who dresses you and feeds you and washes your face. A mommy is someone who holds you and whispers sweet words in your ear. A mommy is someone who looks you in the eye, even when it’s hard for you to look back, and reveals LOVE through one glance of her eyes. A mommy kisses you and holds you when you fall down. A mommy rejoices when you learn new things. A mommy tells you over and over again that she loves you and will never let you go. A mommy sometimes goes out the door, but she always comes back.
You are starting to figure it out aren’t you? You are starting to trust me a tiny bit aren’t you? I think you might be very sad that you have missed out on having a mommy for so long. I think you might even feel a little bit angry. I think you’re afraid. Afraid it won’t last. Afraid I will go away. Afraid you will have to go away. I think your heart is overwhelmed with joy and sadness. Overwhelmed with love and fear. I think all of those crazy emotions you’ve never felt are raging inside and sometimes you don’t know what to do with them.
And now you suddenly find yourself craving what you never knew you needed and in fear that it might not last. You’re trying to soak it all in as fast as you can, and then you overload and your little heart can take it. I will keep telling you that I love you. I will keep reminding you that I always come back. I will stroke your hair and kiss your cheeks and whisper my prayers in your ears.
Sometimes your demands are hard to bear, and I wish I could somehow whisk away all your pain and all your sadness with one breath. Sometimes I feel confused and helpless too. Sometimes I don’t know what you need, but I do my best to give you what I think is best. Sometimes I fail miserably. Sometimes I feel the triumph of love. I’m done taking it personally. I know it’s not about me, but it’s all about the pain inside of you. I’m here. I can take it. I will convince you that I will be here forever and you will be ok.
We are responsible as parents for these three hearts. We have been entrusted with nurturing and caring for them. Talking to them about their adoptions has always been part of our family story telling. Part of our history.
It was never a secret. I began whispering their story to them from the start. “Once there was a little boy named Aiden. He lived far away in Ukraine, and he needed a Mommy and a Daddy. When this mommy and daddy found out about Aiden, they said, “We will be your Mommy and Daddy,’ and we hurried as fast as we could…”
We look at pictures as we tell the story. We ask, pointing at a picture of 2 year old Emma, “I wonder how you felt?” Emma replies, “I was sad. Face looks sad.”
Always sharing only what was appropriate for their age and congnition. Sharing it as a love story, yet not shying away from the bittersweet.
In adoption, there can be no pretending, no secrets. But in the telling of the hard parts, their hearts must be kept safe.
We are still telling the story. Still walking them through. As they get bigger the story grows deeper. As their understanding expands, their questions become bigger. We are there with them, feeling it all.
For two of my children, there will be some hard questions one day. How I tell the story now will impact how those questions and the answers that follow will be processed.
These hearts are precious to me. There is fragility and brokenness that must be felt and healed. And we are the ones who stand holding both the bitter and the sweet in our hearts.
*photo courtesy of Dorean Beattie, throw back to May 2009
Knit Together By Adoption, Day 13, “The 93%”
There is a statistic that states if 7% of the 2 billion Christians in the world would adopt, the orphan crisis would end.
The question posed today would be, if that happened, how could the other 93% help.
GIVE: Giving to the cost of adoption is clearly a huge area of need. 100’s of people got behind us donating to our adoption funds 4 times. Our children would not be with us today without those gifts.
SERVE: Today I want to address the area of service to adoptive families.
I want to honor these beautiful people who represent at least a dozen total, who served our family by giving of their time the year or two following our adoptions of Emma and Aiden.
They served weekly in our home, taking the kids on play dates, playing in the back yard, doing fun projects with them, watching them so John and I could have periodic date nights. They were the hands and feet of Love. They are our family.
This gift of service is such a valuable gift for anyone in the 93% to consider. We couldn’t have done it without these precious ones.
Service can also involve other practicals: helping with housework, lawn care, fix it jobs, meals, laundry, etc.
This ministry was set in place by my brother-in-law Derek and his wife Renée through the ministry of The Orphan Justice System. We are forever grateful for their vision and action plan!
Day 14: PRAY FOR PARIS
Knit Together By Adoption, Day 15, “Miracle”
I’m full of tears before I even write.
This is a miracle. This child.
The miracle began before he was born when the planned abortion didn’t take place. The miracle continued when he overcame so many time I’ve lost count- so many illnesses and surgeries, a heart that stopped and came back.
But do you see the miracle, the biggest one. The miracle is who he is. The miracle is the sparkly, shiny love that bounces off of every human soul he touches. Yes, I speak in present tense, not past.
Miracle of all miracles happens in us when we are able to ask God to help us see things from His perspective. When we release our idea of how things should be and surrender saying, “This makes sense Somewhere.” It is in the letting go of the angry “Why’s” that space for peace and connection is made. Sacred space where the loss of a body does not mean the loss of connection to love.
The miracle is choosing not to die when all of life seems to have exploded into a cloud of pain and sadness. The miracle is reaching above it all. Learning that finding happiness and pursing peace doesn’t end the deep journey of grief, it simply allows the heart to survive it and maybe even rise stronger and more compassionate because of it.
Would I have chosen this, if I were writing the story? Hell, no! I would have chosen to have my sweet boy rise up one more time. I would have chosen to grab his beautiful body in my arms and feel his heart beating against me.
The miracle today is that I am alive. The miracle is that I’m learning to love my boy in this present moment where only spirit remains.