Friday, November 27, 2015

Dont Get Stuck in Traffic

Happy Thanksgiving! I know that was yesterday, but we still have so much to be thankful for!

Every other Thanksgiving we travel to the city of choosing for my dad's side family reunion. Oh how things have changed!! Two years ago when we made the trip we were picking up our kids, whom we had only seen 2 times before that, and headed to the hotel where they would meet part of their new forever family. Talk about overwhelming. As we made the drive this time I was extra thankful that we didn't have to pick up our kids from their foster homes, that we were enjoying a nice quiet (mostly) ride down the highway, and that my kids were genuinely excited to see their family members. I AM thankful for foster homes. Good ones are always needed and to those who nurtured my kids out of a very dark place on their life we will always be grateful. I am thankful for family and how it seems like my kids have always been a part of our family.
*funny story*
Miss E has had a lot of boy attention lately (goodness I don't know if I'm ready for that but she is handling it well with all our mommy daughter talks), but my cousins little boys just love my kids, and vice versa. But her boys are 4 and 5 and they just LOVE Elva. They don't quite get that she is a friend who is a girl and not their girlfriend, but needless to say she has been the subject of many disagreements among them ;)

So the reunion this year was in the same hotel as last time. We had a lot of fun and... Well not so fun but glad to remember them bc we are in a better place - memories to reminisce on. Such as, the first time they met my cousins and how they latched on to them; how much fun it was to fix Elva's hair for the first time ever and trying not to cry as I realized this little girl would be mine, the funny noted the kids wrote to use during the luncheon, how much Waylon wanted to be around my grandma, the not so fun time Robert had of lifting the hotel bed onto his shoulders to pull out Waylon, how I was so nervous to be with my kids that I could barely eat, and all the nervous but fun moments of seeing them smile, dealing with behaviors, but through it all realizing we are a family now.

On our trip we had the chance to stop in and say hi to Waylon's old foster dad. They couldn't believe how respectful he was and how much he has trimmed up! I can't help but smile at getting to remember where we have come from, but we definitely don't want to get caught up in the past bc it is the past. Elva continues to ask me questions about how she was as a baby... I'm getting quicker at just making up what I want to imagine of her as a baby as if she was with us. I like those moments.

There are still so many kids who need families. Pray for those kids. Pray for foster homes. Pray for adoptive homes. Will we add more kids to our family- only God can tell. For now, be thankful.

1 Thesselonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

When the Good Feelings Hurt

I've had a lot to chew on the last few days. Not physical chew but emotional and mentally. I don't ever want my kids to look back at this and be mad, but I hope they can see and hear the unending love I have for them and how much I want to choose to love them more and more through all the rough patches we've faced. And if by writing this I can help someone else cope with the circumstances they are facing then that will all the more be worth it in the end.

Now... I know I'm not the only parent who looks through their kids' journals... Yes I did it... So I can't be looked down upon too much... But I was cleaning, like epic cleaning with the trash can and clearing out drawers and bins and you name it, and it just so happened to be bookmarked and easy to open. So I read a page or two... I mean who isn't curious what their 9-10 year old son would write about... And this momma had a sudden punch to the gut kind of moment as I read the words "I miss my real mom and I HATE it."
There is so much emotion in that phrase. From longing to disappointment to rage and despair. For this little boy to write those words, how he must be hurting inside. And for this momma to read them, they cut a little deep.

I understand these feelings will be there for him and her as they get older and start to wonder more and more and as they get in trouble and start to question us and as I'm reminded that they have come from such a hard place and should not have had to go through what they have. But at the time they sure didn't add to already insecure feelings I was having. So I looked at the date of the entry and knew that it had been written during a time of unfortunate bad decisions on his part and he was on restrictions - so no wonder he was having these feelings. But for a kid who never ever talks about his past, these words were actually good. I hope he is more willing to let his emotions come out in a safe way such as this.

I didn't read everything. I was done and put the journal back where I got it from. Immediately I took it to prayer. What better thing to do but pray over his room and the journal itself. The enemy can try to use this to pull me down and even remind him of the bad, but I know that my God can use it for good.

Something I want to mention: I am totally fine and I mean it! I get a lot of lovely messages after post these things that it'll be ok and that people are thinking of us- thank you, for some days I go to my alone place and just cry bc I don't know what to do anymore, but that's just a bit of reality, and other times I feel strong and able to just brush it off. My God has supplied my needs and satisfied my heart. No matter what may try to bring me down, He is stronger. But we sometimes have to admit our insecurities and rough times for true healing to take place.

Someone on fb the other day said something along the lines of "you look like you have such a wonderful life" to which in thinking "you obviously haven't read my blog". Yes my life IS wonderful and I'm overwhelmed at times! But the real us is a story of two very broken and making-it-work-for-the-moment-or-two-or-fifty kind of people. We aren't proud of how we handle some situations and we are happy to have just survived others. We love our children and will happily cry a thousand and fifty billion trillion (that's what E would say)...a lot of tears for them if it means helping them see how much they are loved by Christ. I wanted to be a mom. I didn't know ALL the stress that came with it but God made me for this and will help me through it. Plus the moments of "i love you"s and kisses and hugs and snuggles make it all worth it.

Love never fails.
-1 Corinthians 13:8

I promise another blog to come out sooner!

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Different Kind of Conversation

Let me start this out by saying that kids in general are just funny. They make you pull out your hair and sometimes scream or bulge out your eyes a bit, but then they do the funniest and sweetest things that just melt your heart and make you want to pull them closer.

And they ask some random questions too, don't they! Our little E, does ask us some pretty far out there things. Lately we have just been pointing to her brain region as a symbol for her to try and use her own good senses to answer the question. So now she has started trying to point at her own brain to see if she can get it to start working haha! W usually just gives me these weird confused looks, shrugs his shoulders, and walks away, hehe. Kids ARE funny and are so curious.

This brings me to this particular topic that has always scratched the surface in our home and until recently has always just been pushed to the side. The topic of their first mom, birth mom, other mom... Whatever term you want to use.

It's awkward to talk about her. I really don't understand my feelings toward her and I've never even met her. I believe a lady named Jenny Stotts wrote a short blog about the love/hate relationship she feels for her sons birth mom. I shared this recently on Facebook but she basically says that she hates her (his birth mom) when he cries uncontrollably or says he hurts or when he gets a bad medical diagnosis... But then she says she loves her for the child she birthed and the way he hugs her neck and smiles. What a confusing mess of emotions! And I totally get her!
I've seen just a handful of pictures of the kids' mom. And every time I find myself overcome with anger and hate. Yes hate is such a strong word, but I'm being honest. I usually avoid all talk of their mom if I can. My usual response is oh say a prayer for her and then let's go get cookies! I just can't bring myself to face her as a subject yet with the kids.
The other part of me, the God part, takes a more reasonable stance and thinks "forgiveness". I have prayed and had many long talks with God about forgiving this woman and I don't know if I'm totally there yet but I'm really close. (Please remember we are still less than 2 years into this).

It's just hard to wrap my mind up in it. I'm mad (let's not say hate) at her every time the kids don't understand something that is so obvious, or when they get so uncontrollably angry at the smallest things, or how my daughter can't sit still or be in control of her actions unless medicated. I'm mad at her for the memories they carry with them from the day they were taken from her and the cold emptiness my son shows when someone brings her up in conversation. I'm mad that it hurts them to have class assignments about family heritage (although they have done so good with really adopting our family and its history as their own), or when someone has a baby shower and my little girl asks me if her mom had one of these for her. I'm mad whenever I see reports of other women being arrested for neglecting their child bc all I can see is my kids' mom on that report and her name and her face. I'm mad that she got the first years of their life and took it all for granted as she signed them away to a stranger. It's maddening really.

But I also appreciate her for choosing life instead of abortion. I love her for realizing she wasn't able to be the best mom for these kids and for having the courage to sign her rights away for them to have a better home. I love her for providing me the chance to be a mom even if it has come with all these tears. I appreciate her for giving me these beings with their little hands and little feet. Yes it's hard most days to just forgive and try to forget what choices she made and how it so impacted my kids' lives... But who am I to throw a stone at her for her sin when I have sin of my own! She is to be loved, though it may take me a little longer to get there fully, she is to be loved.

So all this was brought out of me on Friday night. We had the kids in the car and W was talking about how happy he was for his friend whose aunt just got out of jail. {as soon as anyone talks about jail or prison or whatever it immediately makes E uncomfortable}. So E says "I wonder if our mom is still in jail?"
My poor W just sighs and says how he doesn't care. This is followed by some awkward silence and other parts of the conversation that I can't say, but how much hurt there is makes it hard to love someone who put that hurt there, especially when it's your child that hurts. All I want is for someday my kids to be able to say "it's ok, I forgive her."
Adoption is not easy, but so worth it. We just have to go through some different kinds of conversations.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Monday, August 31, 2015

This Is What It Means To Be Family

We are still alive. I still have this blog. And it's time I get back to it!

I have had many people ask me over the past few months just how things are going with our family and some who have asked about my blog... I honestly just got into the swing of life and let other things distract me. But I feel it is time to return to the blog scene.

First of all, kids are doing great! This doesn't mean it's easy and we have had many interesting challenges come up that makes me wonder... Is this a normal kid thing or a behavior you picked up from your past? But regardless, they are doing so good. More on them in a minute...

Second, we have had some big changes! We moved to a bigger home (by the grace of God who allowed this opportunity to come to us, we are in no ways able to be in this home without it being Gods plan), we took some exciting trips (see point three), the kids started a new school, and we got a new puppy, Chloe! Well she's five so not really a puppy but I still refer to Sadie and Chloe as my puppies :) Sweet Chloe has had a rough life of abuse and neglect, so we had to foster her and then work through much patience to get her used to our home and family. I guess you could say our experience with children from hard places made us a good fit. Chloe is my little shadow at home but she is scared of everything!

Third, we went to DisneyWorld! What a true gift that was to get to take the kids and Roberts family to the magical land of Disney :) the kids had a great time and so did we, even though we had to deal with a few meltdowns (such is our life) it was still so worth it! And the kids haven't stopped talking about it so we know they had fun!

Update on my sweet girl: she is 8... That is a terrible and beautiful thing. She is so happy and goofy... Like way goofy... And loud... Always very loud... And turning into this pretty cute little ball of girly energy. She loves God and still loves to draw. Her imagination is a bit... Out there at times and she usually asks me the dumbest questions... That sounds mean but really she asks some beyond weird and just kinda dumb questions... We just laugh and smile and say "use your brain hunny" and she usually gets it.
She has started 3rd grade and I love her school and teacher, but I don't want her to be this big yet. Oh and she still does piano and gymnastics which keep us busy:)

And now for our very handsome boy: I cried and cried when he turned 10. I cried when they both started school but as I though about him being a 5th grader it just got me emotional. I love how he has started to try... To try and follow the rules, try and be respectful, try to change his year around... In the beginning, he would never try anything like that or be willing to learn from his mistakes. We have plenty of our battles, but to think back a year and some, he has come so far. He is learning to love Jesus more and more and recommitted his life to Christ at VBS camp this summer! People if you don't know God and are MISSING IT!
He is enjoying football and loves loves loves to be outside with his friends. I am proud of him and can only hope he keeps learning in all the different ways there are to learn.

Our family is basically busy but filling our lives with the things that matter most to us! I promise I will update again sooner than later. I ran into another mom who was licensed through our agency who for various reasons experienced an unexpected loss and trial concerning the adoptive journey. She said to me "Yall made it look so easy". I realized just how much more there still is to share. My friends, my family, and anyone else who found this post for whatever reason, please don't forget you all have a story to tell when you give your life to Christ. Big or small He can use your life for His glory. I hope He can continue to use mine.

Till next time!

"You have filled my heart with greater JOY..."
Psalm 4:7

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Once upon a memory- 2014 tribute

ok so we have been literally iced in for the past two days with Robert only leaving the house yesterday to slip n slide to Walmart and buy groceries (thank the Lord or we would have eaten canned chili and frozen breakfast sandwiches for New Years... Gross) so instead we got to enjoy ringing in the NewYear with our brother Isaac, his friend, and my kiddos. Poor Waylon has been sick but we managed to have our own balloon drop, sparkling cider and cotton candy drinks with noise makers. It wasn't the crazy and loud fun we usually have at our church celebration but it was fun nonetheless!

So even with the ice apocalypse, I managed to miss out on blogging which I would like to keep up in 2015 so yall hold me to it!!
Here is my tribute to 2014 bc we all know it was a very exciting year!

- we finished 1 year of being parents in December and its amazing how much things have changed. I remember having late nights full of fits and screaming and hair pulling, biting, yelling, name calling, and behavior that I have wiped away from my mind. That was all just the first few months... Then slowly the behaviors changed to laughter and still disobedience and some testing of boundaries, but now we have the occasional crying from punishments that are more life teaching than anything and lots more smiles at bedtime.
- I salute 1 year of being a mother and a father and although our waist lines have increased and the knots in my neck are bigger, I wouldn't change a thing. I hope to increase play time and decrease stress time as a parent in 2015.

- 2014 marked one year without my grandpa, Slim. I still miss him and my other grandparents greatly and visit their graves often. It has been fun to teach the kids about their new heritage and they have caught on to some stories and I believe are getting a good idea of the family they never got to meet this side of Heaven. I hope to pass on many more memories of these great influences in my life to the kids in 2015.

- 2014 was also a year of weddings! Robert and I both had cousins that got married and I had a few friends tie the knot. Each celebration was a time of firsts for the kids as they met ALOT of friends and family. I hope to make more memories with extended family and my friends from further distances in 2015.

- I think the biggest moment of 2014 goes to June 25th, our Forever Fanily Day. Walking out of that court room and knowing we could officially celebrate our new lives with our kids without fear of losing them was the best feeling! We look forward to a big celebration for our Forever Day in 2015.

- if I (Jennifer) had to pick one favorite moment from 2014, it would be when I was watching The Little Couple on the couch one day with Waylon on one arm and Elva on the other. I remember thinking... This is exactly what I've always wanted to do with my kids and its happening! That moment made mommy life so much more real :) I hope for more mommy moments in 2015 where the world just stops.

- Robert's favorite moment was the moments after the finalization and going to six flags to celebrate. He really felt like a dad during those moments as the kids would grip his arm bc they were scared on the rides. He hopes to take them on more adventures in 2015.

- 2014 was also the year we officially went from "Rob" and "Jen" to "Dad" and "Mom"... It was the year we went from couple activities to piano and gymnastics and basketball and football... It was the year I finally got to hear "I love you" as a mom... And I'll be honest, I didn't know how long it would take for those words to be sincere from these kiddos who had trusted many and been broken much... So hearing I love you from them is still such a sweet sound. I hope to cherish every "I love you" and "mommy" I hear in 2015.

- I can't forget my favorite moments with our "other" children... The youth group. From camp to sleepovers to lock ins to road trips to Bible studies to everything... This group shows how much they love our kids and we couldn't be more grateful to those who have stepped out and helped us survive this year. I'm also happy for the growth we have had with new members... I hope for bigger joys and lasting commitments for a Christlike lifestyle that will infect other teens and point them to the Creator in 2015.

Well that's all for now! No looking back and no regrets, I just have to be the best mom, wife, sister, friend, daughter, physical therapist, coworker, etc. that I can be... And do it all for the Glory of God.

2014. Done.
2015. Begin.

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper, not to harm, plans for a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11