Sunday, November 30, 2014

Life Managed

When I was in college, my piano professor, Mr. Miller, had a handwritten sign in his office.  It read "The same God who protects you from the flames of Hell ought to be able to handle this week's worries."  I liked it so much at the time that I wrote it in the front of my Bible.  And I still like those thoughts today.

The last week or so has been jam packed with things to worry about.  Zeke had an appointment at Mayo to take off his cast which required an overnight stay and figuring out life for the rest of the cew while I was a away.  Thursday was Thanksgiving, which we hosted.  We decided we had just been gone too much and our kids needed us to stay home.  So we invited others instead.  My mom did a lot of the heavy duty cooking and others brought food to share but it still required a bit of thought and energy.  We've decided that we need to finish a bedroom in our basement in order to solve the current issue of three big kids in one small bedroom.  The current sleeping arrangements are somewhat like stacking cordwood, with Conleigh on a trundle in the boys' room and zero walking room once that trundle is out.  Conleigh really needs her on space and we are hoping that having her own room will help with some of her finicky sleep habits.   However, we only decided this in the last 2 weeks or so and the guy who is doing the work for us is going to be ready to start on Monday.  (As in tomorrow.  As in we needed to do some major reorganizing of the basement so that there was room to work.  As in we needed to have a plan in place for exactly how much of the basement we would finish, what supplies we would need, etc..  As in I found myself at Menards on Black Friday trying to order supplies for an actual construction project while hordes of others were hurrying to buy cheap gloves, toys, and cooking pots.)  Since our Christmas decor is currently stored in the basement, it also seemed pressing that we get it all out and get it up.  (Lest you think I'm pulling off some amazing Martha-esque stuff-we have a very small tree this year, our nativity, three live poinsettias, and another predecorated tree on the porch.)  Last, I've  been sweating a bit about Zeke's finger.  He is now castless and has a splint to wear when he plays and sleeps.  But I am paranoid that it is starting to drift off to the side again.  The cast has been off less than a week after 8 weeks of being casted.  It should be just fine.  But I can't help looking at it and feeling like it is not quite right.  I don't know if the scar creates the illusion of being slanted or if it really is starting to drift again.  I  will be calling Mayo and sending pictures tomorrow but until I know for sure that this silly little finger is doing just what it is supposed to, it stresses me.  Oh and did I mention that our car registration is up and it would not let me do it online so I now have to head to the courthouse to get that taken care of?  Thankfully it's not like a big city where it can take hours but it's just one more thing I have to get accomplished tomorrow.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the to do list for tomorrow.  Oh how my mind can fixate on the amount of stuff.  It gets stuck, turning over each item despite knowing that this accomplishes nothing.  Fretting and worrying are easy to slide into because fretting and worry are really just control dressed up in a fancy gown.  Feeling like you have things under control is a soothing thing.  Babies like pacifiers; grown ups like control.   So the moment things start to slide, when the facade of control starts to crack a bit, it's easy to try harder to grab a bit more control or to just melt into the moment and cry.

But God's got it.  He's already conquered huge, amazing stuff in the spiritual realm.  Our pastor's Sunday message on Isaiah 53 need to echo a bit more in my ears.  

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

God's plan of salvation for the world laid out through the cross-the piercing of His son, a movement of heaven and earth for me to be near my Creator.  A crazy plan that turns death and the natural order of things on its head.  The Godman steps down into my world and quite literally makes Himself a bridge, trampled on by many, worn down with each step, pushed down by our clamoring to get to the Father, but still a solid place to set your foot.  Pierced, crushed, afflicted, punished, dead.  But not finished.  If He somehow manages to throw off death, if He somehow manages to cover my bare naked soul with His sacrifice, if He manages that, then He can surely handle the chaotic days of life on earth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Zeke on Shadows

"Ya know, you can't run away from your shadow?"

"Well, only if you turn off the lights."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

15 Months

Finally got around to trimming up Kai's hair since the very little on the top and lots on the side was resulting in a weird Bozo the Clown meets Donald Trump look.  He looks a lot older, I think.  I had been putting it off for quite a while despite having talked about it with D and the kids just because I wasn't up for trying to hit a moving target with a sharp object.  In fact, I had said to them, "Well it can wait because no one wants to chase a baby around with scissors."  After coming home yesterday and seeing the hair cut, Kenson remembered those words and was quite taken aback.  "Mom!  You really chased him around with scissors!?!"

Kai will be 15 months on the 28th and is busy, buys, busy.  He rarely sits sit and loves to keep up with the big kids.  He can climb on chairs, barstools, and all of the kids' beds.  (Which means he is able to "jump" on the beds by bouncing a bit on his feet and then plopping down on his bottom.)  He has progressed from sliding down the slide to trying to walk down it.  He waves hi and bye.  He signs all done, more, and eat.  But he does none of those on command, only when he feels like doing it.  He has said words that sound like mama, Kenson, Conleigh, dog, all done, hello, hello buddy, and hi.  He still loves baths but also loves cheese, yogurt, grapes, green beans, peas, mixed vegetables, and suckers.  (He tried a dum dum sucker at Halloween and now knows that if the big kids are eating something with a white stick, that he wants one too.)  He hates getting out of the bath and napping.  He also "dances" pretty much anytime he hears a catchy tune.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Easy Peasy Fall Banner

When I was teaching fourth grade, my fellow teacher, Kelly, did this awesome Martha Stewart craft with her class as a collaborative project.  She had each child bring in nature items and they then used those to construct a nature collage that read "Happy Thanksgiving."  I loved it so much I copied it when I taught first grade.  I loved the year one of my first grade boys collected the shells of a bunch of different beetles.  Creepy but beautiful at the same time.

With the big kids gone at school and the cast limiting us, Zeke's been a bit hard to entertain this fall.  So I remembered this project and had him help me make it.   Super easy and as long as you can stand copious amounts of Elmer's glue, it's a no fail project.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hard and Glorious Adoption

For a bit now, I have wanted to write a post about some of the hard and glorious things about adoption.  Maybe because we're dealing with some hard stuff right now with one of mine.  A pretty certain post traumatic stress diagnosis has left me feeling sad for my child, a bit overwhelmed by the need for healing, and a bit wore out because of the day to day grind of behaviors that come from anxiety and a heart hurt by trauma.

But I just didn't really have the right words.  Then I read this.  Someone beat me to it.  Adoption is hard and glorious and hard and sacred and hard and joy filled.  The words of this sum up so much of what it is really like to be an an adoptive parent.  So many of the hard parts of healing that she writes about, I have experienced.  And yet I've been witness to so much of the joyful parts too.

We as adoptive parents enter that journey of redemption with them, we take on their pain, we take on their grief…..
We sit with them when they are crying and grieving
We watch them glaze over or shut down when there may be too many people around, or they have too much stimulation. 
We take them off the playground because some other child has startled them so badly its reminded them of being in the orphanage and they can’t stop crying
We sit with them during night terrors, not allowed to touch because that will set them off even more.
We sit through pediatric, dentist, ENT, cardiac, orthopedic, and so many other specialist doctor appointments while our child flails and cries and yells because their only experience with doctors has been rough and hurtful, and without compassion..
We fill out form after form that serves as a constant reminder our child was once an orphan because we don’t have the answers for family medical history
We get to hear “they are so lucky to be in your family” when when we know nothing about their past wast was lucky….
We find we can’t put footed pajamas on our child because our child was restrained at some point in the orphanage and this triggers terror 
We get asked question after question about their “real parents” 
We get asked what’s wrong with our kids feet, or eyes, hands, or head
We hear them yell “don’t leave me mommy” when we leave to run an errand, knowing they remember being left by their birth mom
We get stares and second glances and questions about how much our kids “cost”
We have to go to their rooms to see if they have woken up in the morning because they have learned not to cry upon waking, because no one comes
We find food under their pillows, stashed away in their rooms because the fear of running out of food is still so fresh in their little minds
We sit with them when they cry that cry that takes our breath away
We love them through the screams and tantrums and screams of “you’re not my mommy”
We see them regress and shutter at the sound at someone speaking Mandarin or their native language to them.
We rub our hands on the back of their sweet heads, so flat from being left in crib for hours on end – a reminder for life that they were left alone, left too long….


We get to see them blow bubbles for the first time
We get to see them slide down a slide and play on a play ground for the first time
We get to see them try a new food for the first time
We get to see them slowly gain trust in us
We get to hear our deaf child say “I love you” after of weeks of hard work and determination to communicate.
We get to see them try cotton candy for the fist time and see the cutest sticky faced grin!
We get to see their hair start to grow, their little ribs not to show so much, and they finally get to be “on” the growth chart at the doctors
We get to see them gain the strength to sit up at 24 months of age, to stand, and to begin to walk.
We get to tell our story to complete strangers and see them smile
We get to see their lips turn pink for the first time in months after their heart surgery
We get to see them light up around their new brothers and sisters, establishing relationships that will last a lifetime! 

We get to experience all their “firsts” through their eyes

For me, these words speak volumes about the realities of adoption and the hopefulness that adoption can bring.  For whatever reason, right now, I've been stuck in a lot of seeing on the reality of a hurt heart.  But there are glimpses of hope and bright dashes of resilience.    

I know this looks like not much to most.  But it's hope and healing, fashioned out of craft foam and Elmer's glue.  See that candy.  That's from a kiddo who values food a lot.  Who picked through her Halloween candy to find a Reece's to put on Papa's because that's his favorite.  Who just asked a question of a counselor last week, who wanted to know if you can get unadopted.  Who was told no.  Who wrote the answer to that on a notecard to bring home to her brothers.  Who then wrote the words "foreaver" next to the words "Dad" and "Mom."  Hope, healing, joy-it's there.  It really is.