Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Filled with Joy

J-u-s-t as we were all settling into the "new normal" with not having all of our kids under one roof, with one being in college now, life changed AGAIN. If there's one thing I know to be true it is that I am now in an ever-changing season in my life. And you know what? It can be a wild ride! Some days the great adventure has me feeling quite young. Other days I think it ages me by the moment.

Then this photo came. And I was moved to tears. Not tears of sadness. Tears with a depth of worship that are hard to even articulate. To look here at the gift God gave me, in this son ... embracing the one he loves, with the gift he has given her ... there really are no words.

Today, commitment is foreign in our culture. Even within the church. We are hardly committed to anything or anyone. Relationships are traded in as quickly as a used car. People often don't even know how to respond to commitment. How can it be in our culture that it's somehow "normal" to flutter in and out of trial-relationships and yet somehow peculiar to wait for ONE. The one. Makes my head spin. But this isn't the season to address that. No, just as seasons change, for our family this is the season to soak up the blessing. The blessing of JOY.

Mommas of sons . . . LOVE them WELL. Embrace the opportunity God gave you in raising a SON. Cultivate a relationship with them during all the years God gives you with them. For one day, they may pull you aside and tell you they have found her. And then one day down the road they might call you from afar to tell you . . . she said YES.

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

Monday, January 9, 2012

When we Doubt after We've Said YES to the Fatherless

So what happens when the doubts creep in? After you have said YES to the Fatherless. After all the long and rigorous process ... every mountain climbed ... bruised knees, bank accounts and all. When you get to the other side of this amazing thing called adoption and it really doesn't look like what you had envision. When you're too scared to tell your friends {even the closest ones} how things are really going.

What do you do when the medical needs you were faintly aware of turn out to be WAY more than you ever dreamed?

Or the family you had prayed for to accept your new family member in fact does not accept them?

How about the financial disaster you in no way could have been prepared for?

Maybe the strain you find your marriage in, because you are all stretched so thin, causes you to doubt this was really worth it.

What about the peculiar behaviors that now make up your every-day-life that are far heavier to deal with than the books ever hinted towards?


News Flash = not all adoptions are smooth. Most are far from it. Many are like living in a trauma center 24/7.

I think sometimes we're afraid to talk about the dark and the hard, because we aren't sure if it's safe. Quite frankly many families that TRY to talk, learn real quick it often ISN'T safe. We'd hate for our friends to know how badly we're struggling cuz what if that would discourage them in their own journey, or, GASP ..... cause them to doubt saying YES.

There's really only one place we can go. We have to go back to the One that adopted us. The One that CHOSE US. The One who SACRIFICED for us. The One who gave up EVERYTHING for us. The One who KNOWS us {and the child we said yes to}.

You see, early in the adoption journey we often become convicted of what our role should be in response to the Fatherless. We find comfort in the verses that talk about how the Father cares for orphans. We get real familiar with statistics and the need. We acquire this realization for what He did for us, His sons and daughters in need of a Savior ... in need of a FATHER.

But what we don't see ... what we can NOT see ... until later into the journey is the dark and the hard and the down right ugly. We have NO IDEA just what adoption cost the Father. We have such a shallow understanding of how deep and ugly and dark our own sin is. But the beauty is that it's in that place where we can understand EVEN MORE SO how much He truly loves us. He NEVER gives up on us. He never stops PURSUING us. He never LEAVES us. He is there for the long haul. Through each difficult and twisting turn.

Do you know He's there for you? Have you stopped recently to just bask in the TRUTH of His Word? He already KNOWS you can't do this on your own. He isn't consumed about the areas you have fallen short. He wants you to turn your face to Him and let Him HELP you. He CREATED the child you said YES to. He knows their complex needs. He doesn't require you to fix everything ... to fix anything ... just lean into Him and rely on Him as Father to you both.

Psalm 33:21-22
"In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you."

I'm really thankful that my daughters now have a father. But I'm most thankful that they have always had a Heavenly Father.

Lord, help us to look to YOU, our Father, and draw our daughters to you every opportunity we have. Help them to know of your GREAT LOVE for them.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Are you Focused?

Ever get distracted? {please oh please say it's not just me!} I'm a major multi-tasker. Why do two things at once when you can accomplish three, right? Yes, indeed, sometimes that drives my dear husband bonkers. To a certain extent, a Momma must be able to juggle a lot of things at once to care for her family. However our culture pushes this to an extreme. Even if you choose to NOT have your family maxed out and over-committed you can fall into the pit of spiraling-circle-chaos.

At the start of each new year I like to take time to really seek the Lord about what He has for me for the next season. I typically start meditating on this come Nov/Dec and by Jan I want to have it clear.

Right now we have kids in about every stage of life (except the baby stage - oh how I MISS that!). Between that, extended family needs and a bunch of chaos it's been really hard for me to focus. In order to really focus I must weed through all the good things, the really great things and even the incredibly wonderful things. It's just plain hard. Can you relate?

Phil 3:13&14 says this:

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end
of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."

How are you doing in the area of focus at the start of 2012? Are you striving for the end goal? Is it clearly in sight? Does your calendar reflect what your focus is? How about your bank account? Would the people who daily witness your actions be able to know what is most important to you?

Sometimes it's fear that keeps me in that clouded state. I know what the Lord has for me to do, but am crippled fear. Sometimes it's not knowing what steps to take. Other times it's just being consumed with distractions.

Lord, help me to really focus in on what is most important. What matters to You. What you have called me to do. Help me to remember that even the mundane things that take up my day can be opportunities in which to serve you, worship you, honor you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

When the Word Birthmom Seems More Like Burden than Blessing

Over the years we've come along way in the adoption community of showing respect to birthmoms. Many of my fellow adoptive friends do an amazing job of finding ways to honor their child's birthmom. Talking with your children {beginning at a young age} about their past, THEIR story, is so very important. The beginning of each year my thoughts are drawn extensively to both of our daughters birthmoms, as its the time of year we celebrate our daughters' birthdays. Often I have Thoughts of Her . . .

However, what happens when its very difficult to honor that woman? What happens when you're parenting a child that was abused by that woman?, neglected by them?, or despised by her? What THEN? It is critical that we don't put anyone in our child's life up too high on a pedestal. Even birthmoms. I realize that might rub some the wrong way. News Flash: not all birthmoms are loving individuals. Not all birthmoms became part of the adoption triad by making a loving choice for their child. In NO way is this a post to bash birthmoms. If you've visited here much, you know that I'm very passionate about them. And while I think many families are doing an amazing job of showing honor {as they should!} ... I know other families out there struggle to know how to deal with this issue. Perhaps they are faced every day with the harsh realities that came from the decisions their child's birthmom made. They see the toll that those decisions make on this child they are raising as well as other children in the family that it impacts.

So what do you do? How do you make sense of it all? How do you communicate with your child about their past? I think we have to start at the beginning.

  1. We have to remember that ALL of us are human. That we ALL sin. That we ALL fall short. Every single one of us. Yes, especially including adoptive families. We're ALL sinners. We will ALL let these precious children down in one way or other.
  2. We need to commit to walking WITH our children on this journey. We can't fix it. We can't make it all better. We can't wish it away. We MUST walk WITH them. Even through the mucky waters they will no doubt travel through.
  3. We must take every opportunity to speak LIFE into our children. Yes, they each had a birthmom whose womb they were conceived in, but it is the Lord who ultimately gave them LIFE. We need to keep that as our focus. No matter WHAT has happened in our child's life we can give HIM thanks for giving them LIFE.
  4. Don't give up. EVER. The One who called you to adoption, IS THE ONE who will NEVER leave you or your child. THAT is what you can stand on. That ALONE is bigger than drug/alcohol exposure, neglect or rejection. Your child NEEDS to know you're in this for the long haul. And remember, you are not a super hero. You are HUMAN. Don't walk this journey alone.
Maybe you are one facing this issue and you feel alone. You're afraid to speak out because you hear so often in all the great books of the "correct" ways to honor birthparents. Please know, you are not alone. Your child needs delicate honesty and tons of love from his/her new family. He/she needs a safe place to grieve, to heal, to blossom. Be encouraged, dear adoptive parent .... no matter WHAT has ever happened to your child, they have a loving Heavenly Father who KNOWS, who CARES and who will ALWAYS be there.

Feel free to share in the comments below. I would be honored to hear from you.