Monday, May 31, 2010

More God Talk

Tristan is on a full blown God kick right now. Almost like his numbers and letters obsession that he has had for quite some time. He has moved his sights and interest on to God. I remember the two older boys going through a similar phase but not having the same perception or logic as Tristan. Here are some of the things I have heard from him lately.

*God has a race car. He has a black race car!!
*God is 500 years old.
*Jesus and God are everywhere. But not Noah. He is on the ark.
*I will be as tall as God when I am 90.

And today he told me that when Eden is three she will be white. ???

Yesterday, I was talking to Eden and telling her what a beautiful girl she was. I asked her, "Who made you such a beautiful girl? She replied, "God did. But who painted me?" I found that comment so endearing. I asked her if she didn't like her pretty brown skin but she assured me that she did. I told her I thought she was perfect and that God painted her a beautiful color.

This morning at breakfast Eden and Tristan were talking once again and I wish I could remember the whole conversation but alas! I have forgotten most of it except for Eden's closing remarks. She told me, "Yeah...God made everything. He made Donkey Kong!" I didn't burst her bubble so for now she thinks God created Donkey Kong - not Nintendo.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another Watery Day

I am working on another adoption related post but who has time to construct thoughts after a busy day. We loaded all the kids up for church, came home to eat a quick lunch and then it was back to the park to spend 3 hours playing in the sand and water. We had a grand time but I am now very tired. Or as my kids like to say - pooped!! other post will stay in the draft mode until tomorrow.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Existing Family Unit

I am finding it difficult to put into words what rolls around in my head regarding how adoption and adding more children can affect the existing family unit. Modern psychology tells you that messing up birth order can be extremely detrimental. It also says that it is difficult for children to not get lost in larger families. It is difficult to meet their needs if there are a lot of children pulling for you time and attention.

I often deal with feelings of inadequacy as a mom. I think most mom's do. I am coming to the conclusion though that a good mom, not even a super great, creative, spontaneous mom, is better than no mom at all. A child who has been waiting for a family, praying every night for God to give them a family isn't going to be super upset if their mom isn't the coolest on the block. If she has arms that are willing to hold, hug, soothe and comfort they will be delighted.

While I am sure there is some truth to children not getting as much attention in larger families it doesn't have to be true of you. Fear always has a measure of truth in it or it wouldn't be believable. I look at friends and family members who have two children and it is obvious that their children get more, do more and usually have more. But usually, and I am not saying always, the things that our children may miss out on are more materialistic in nature. They may not get as much stuff (although they have crazy amounts of stuff), they may not get to go as many places (although they get to do a lot) but is that all bad? Now, in their minds it can seem horrific at times.

What I notice is that my children may have to sacrifice a little bit more and they may have to be a little more content. And I really do not think there is anything inherently bad about that. We may spend more time at home than the average American but I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with that either. I am hopeful that my children learn contentment. I am hopeful my children learn that spending time together climbing trees, playing basketball, helping one of the younger ones into their swings, pushing each other on swings, playing in the sand......I am hopeful they will learn simple joy in simple life.

Adding more children, whether biological or adopted, always adds a new dimension. It takes a while for everyone to get comfortable again. It does eventually happen though. My older boys ask often when we are going to adopt again. They are old enough to understand that is hasn't been the smoothest ride with our daughter yet they are perceptive enough to understand that life isn't just about their wishes/desires. They haven't completely grasped eternal value versus momentary happiness because I am just learning this myself.

The bottom line is when you decide to add to your family there is going to be some upheaval. Some children who have an easier time and some who have a harder time. There is wisdom in assessing how things will all work out. The danger is in letting your fears dictate your decisions.

Hopefully this post has made a little sense since I have worked on this numerous times. And if it doesn't make sense just try and decipher something.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Fun

I am interrupting my "adopting fears" posts much like I interrupted my routine today. You see....I lack in spontaneity (which I have confessed before) so today I decided to shock the socks off my kids and mix things up a bit. Normally, when Judah gets home from school it is homework time, fixing dinner time, clean-up the house time, etc. But what does a mom do when it is unseasonably warm and the kids are cranky? She loads them up and takes them for a short swim before dinner. It was well worth the effort and I listened to a chorus of "thank-you's) on the way to the park. They were most appreciative. Makes me want to surprise them more often. Making a run for the water!!
The two munchkins taking a more relaxed approach at swimming than their older brothers.

Shane jumping out of the water.
Judah and Shane taking turns jumping, diving, falling into the water. Looked so fun!! My excuse to not join in the raucous fun was that I was holding Heidi. :)
My tentative son. It took him a good 40 minutes to venture past his knees but soon he was on his belly swimming around.

Castle building. I love nice free parks to swim and play!
Occasionally you look through pictures and you are stunned by the beauty of your children. This is the picture that took my breath away today. She is turning into a little girl and leaving the toddler years in the dust! She is too beautiful for words!! Look out boys......she will man handle you!
Today it is back to the normal routine. There is something comforting in the predictability of my days. Yet there is something invigorating about mixing things up and being spontaneous. I am going to attempt to be more open to mixing things up this summer for the sake of my children!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fear of the Cost

There is cost involved with adoption. Both emotional and financial. I want to just look at the financial part since you all know some of the emotional cost we have walked through. And what we have been walking through with our sweet girl is mild if you want to start comparing our story to other people's stories.

I read something so thought provoking last week. So this is not original with me. One of the biggest things that stands in the way of people pursuing adoption is the financial cost. But what if we started looking at the cost in a different way. What if we viewed it as ransom. The money needed to ransom a child. Could be your child, the child of someone in your family or the child of a friend. Could possibly even be the child of someone you don't know. If there was a ransom needed to free your child what would you do? To what lengths would you go to free them? To what lengths would you go to help someone you love ransom their child? Because in reality there are millions of children being held captive. They are held captive because of circumstances, poverty, abandonment, death of parents, etc. These children have experienced mind-numbing loss before they are blessed enough to be part of a family. They are captive to emotional pain that only loads of love can begin to heal. Persistent love. Exhausting love.

And that my friends is how I have decided to look at the cost of adoption. As though I am paying a ransom. After all...."just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." A ransom comes with a price, a sacrifice, a decision to maybe deny yourself something in order to free someone. I could go on but I don't want to beat this to death.

In other news....Tristan is still trying to figure out how old God is. I can't even begin to explain that He is ageless since I can't quite comprehend that myself. So he is still stuck on God being either 19 or 30. And today he informed me that when he is 90 he will be as tall as God.

So...there you have it!!

This is Going to be Long

So much on my heart and I'm not sure how to get it all out. So many thoughts swirling around so bear with me. I try so hard to get my feelings and opinion out without judgement but I don't know that it always works too well. When you hear things opposing something you are passionate about it becomes hard to keep your words full of grace.

Yes....I am talking about adoption and so much of the ignorance that surrounds it. I will not even get into the idiotic comments Pat Robertson made regarding adoption. I cannot begin to understand how he could say what he did on national television. So contrary to the heart of God, to the heart of adoption, to the essence of the Gospel! I vacillated between anger and sadness. He has missed the heart of it all. God's blessed forgiveness of us, His gracious acceptance of us as we are, His invitation of adoption to become one of His children - it is a beautiful love He has given to us! maybe I will address some of his comments. His comment of "You just don't know what you are getting. You could have a child with brain damage, a child with a disability. You need to count the cost." I would like to ask him why those children are considered less love able? Weren't they knit together in a womb just like myself? Aren't they one of God's lovely children? Do they deserve to be put away in a crib to never be touched because they have a disability? What about all the beautiful children on Reece's Rainbow? My heart aches for them. Waiting and waiting to be rescued. And for them it literally is being rescued from a life of being institutionalized. I commented a few weeks ago about Adeye who was adopting two beautiful little girls who had been on Reece's Rainbow who have down syndrome. One of which has been confined to a crib for her entire 5 years of life and who weighs a mere 16 pounds. Please please take a few minutes and head over to her blog and let your heart be expanded and blessed. I want to almost beg you to go read her last post about Hailee. And take a few minutes to go look at the children on Reece's Rainbow - maybe God has someone He wants to be in your family. I think sometimes "I don't know that God has given me the capacity to deal/handle a child with special need." And then I think, "I believe that is one of those cop out lines. So easy to excuse myself if I don't have the capacity to do something." Again....not by our strength but His, right?

Pat made another comment along the lines of, "You have to remember. It isn't like going to the pound and getting a dog. Adoption is for life." What??? Did you honestly just compare adoption to getting a dog? Craziness!!

How about the comment that they may have demonic influence. Last time I read the Gospels it was pretty clear to me that Jesus came to bring freedom to those in bondage.

I am not trying to trivialize issues that can present in adoption. And there are things that are unique to parenting adopted children. And sometimes a child has a very difficult time adjusting and there are life long struggles. Oh, he said so many things that made no sense. I mean there is always a risk, right? If you didn't want uncertainty and risk in life than I suggest you stay away from the whole parenting thing no matter how the child becomes your child.

Lets face it: most of what holds us back from stepping out into unknown territory is fear. Am I right? I am not speaking just of adoption here but so many areas of life. The what if's, the worst case scenarios, the unknowns, etc. Isn't it all fear that keeps us bound to the life we know? If we are truly honest with ourselves isn't it fear that keeps us from stepping out and doing things that have eternal impact? And who exactly is fear from?

I am pretty sure that the number one command in scripture (as in number of times it is present in scripture) is "Do not be afraid." "Do not fear." If that is the command that shows up in scripture the most times it tells me that we as a people tend to be ruled by fear and allow fear to make decisions for us. I am certainly not exempt from this battle in my own life. I have spoken about my battle with fear before.

My goal this week is to try and blog about different fears that surround adoption and then get off my soap box for a while. I will return to everyday life at our house. My husband may even do a post finally. He has had some great things to say lately and I told him it is time to make a guest appearance. Some of things I want to talk about is the fear of the cost, fear of how it will affect the family unit that is already present, I am too old, etc. I really welcome feed back too. Oh...and within the near future I am going to do my very first blog give away!! So stay posted......

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dental Clues

As I mentioned in my last post we made a trek to the pediatric dentist to have some teeth cleaned and bring home bags of goodies. We have a great pediatric dental practice here and one of our friends happens to be one of the dentists. I had called ahead of time to talk with them about the possibility of narrowing down Eden's age from dental x-rays. Something I had done some reading about.

We have become increasingly suspicious that she is older than what her assigned birth date says she is. So many things made me think she was closer to 3 1/2 years of age instead of just turning 3 at the end of May. I know her birth date was an estimate so there could easily be some discrepancies. Here is how the x-rays help.

When a child is about 6 months old their secondary teeth begin to form. It takes 3 years for the crown of the secondary teeth to completely grow. After the crown is complete the root begins to form and that takes another 3 years. So when a child is 6 1/2 years of age their secondary teeth are finished forming. Now, there can be some wiggle room but generally across the board this is pretty standard.

As we were talking in the waiting room he said to me, "Before looking at x-rays, if I had to guess her age by looking in her mouth and assessing her I would say she is at least 3 1/2 years old." But he didn't want to assume anything so we went ahead and did the x-rays. He placed her pictures next to Tristan's and started explaining them to me. He showed me how Tristan's secondary teeth were completely formed and how the root was beginning to grow. He will be 4 in July so this made sense. By the time you are 3 1/2 years of age the roots would typically begin growing.

We then looked at Eden's. Sure enough. Her secondary teeth were also completely formed and roots were starting to grow. Her x-ray's looked almost identical to Tristan's! It was kind of crazy looking at the similarity!

So...based on the pictures of her teeth she is most definitely 3 1/2 years old and probably closer to turning 4! And here we will celebrating her 3rd birthday in 2 weeks! The dilemma is now what?

We are going in for her well check in a little over a week so we will have a good chat with the pediatrician. Our hunch is to not change her birth date at this point. There isn't really a reason to change it at this point unless we felt like it would be beneficial in when she begins school. But if I am homeschooling her for the first year or two it wouldn't really make a huge difference. I can start her a little earlier if I want. Where it becomes tricky is a little later - when puberty hits! If she is quite a bit older than other girls in her class she may begin developing earlier and that can be a bit traumatic if you are feeling like a spectacle.

Does anyone have any thoughts? We want to do what is best for her and in the long run if she is 9 months older than what we originally thought it isn't going to have a huge impact in her adult life. But she may feel some effects later in life if during her formative years she felt out of place.

It just feels nice having things confirmed for us. So much of who she is told us she was over 3 years old already. Knowing that our hunch was more than likely correct feels good. I feel like my mothering instinct has lead me correctly yet again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Logic of Children

One of the best parts of being a mom is the funny things my children say. And so today I am dedicating this post to some of the cute things from the past week or so. I really should write them all down since I forget them so quickly.

I took everyone but Judah to the pediatric dentist on Monday morning for Eden and Tristan to have their check-ups. We did learn some interesting things while there which I will write about soon. We are seriously questioning Eden's age due to her x-rays. Like I said, I will write about that another day since today is all about my children and their cute logic.

In the waiting room of the pediatric dentist is a big playhouse thingy (for lack of a better description). You go inside of it and can climb up into a second floor and look out windows that have plexi-glass over them to prevent children from tumbling out onto the floor below. Eden plastered her face against the window and said loudly, "Mom. Tristan is a boy because he has a penis!" I quickly and vigorously gave her the shhh signal with my finger over my lip and didn't bother to look who had heard since I was a little pink. I am just hoping that most everyone was busy reading their magazines.

Tristan is asking a lot of questions about God lately. Last night he said to me as I was tucking him in bed, "How old is God? Is He thirty?"

And on another night as we walked into the house he said he was sure God would hit his head walking through the door because He is too big.

Shane was reading his children's Bible yesterday which is in story form. After laying on the couch and reading for a while he said, "So far this Bible is pretty good."

While doing his math this week I asked Shane how adding by 7's was so easy for him. He was supposed to look at a number and increase it by 7. He was flying through them and I was kind of baffled. So when I asked how 7's were so easy for him he said, "Because of football. Every touchdown and field goal is 7 more points." Turns out watching football has its benefits.

Judah went to check and see if our neighbor's grandson was at his grandparents so he could come play. He didn't come back for a long time so we went looking for him. (maybe I already told this story) When I found him I said, "What is taking you so long. I was getting worried." He said, "Oh.....I guess I got distracted by the ducks." He saw some ducks and he was following them to try and see where they had a nest.

One morning while waiting at the end of our driveway for the bus to come and get Judah we were both mentioning how we wished the bus would get there soon since we were chilly. He said, "I bet they didn't have buses in the 1200's or the 1900's. " I started laughing and he said, "What? They didn't even have cars 100 years ago."

And that is one of the many reasons I enjoy being the mom of these cute children.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rainy Days

I sit here this afternoon while Heidi sleeps and the other kids are watching a movie feeling uninspired and completely unmotivated to fold the laundry that waits, to scrub the kitchen floor that threatens to not release us from the stickiness of spilled milk and to instead curl up with a blanket and a book. But alas! If I don't do the work today it will be glaring at me first thing tomorrow morning.

Rainy days seem to slow me down in multiple ways. Yes. I become unmotivated to do my work because I feel sluggish but I find I am more contemplative. My mind doesn't churn as much. I am not looking at my to-do list because I am ignoring it completely. This gives me time to think beyond right now and time to recall those things I tuck away in my heart and mind to bring back another time. I find myself reminding myself that life is fleeting and trivial things like sticky milky floors hold no eternal value whatsoever. But holding my kids, responding to them in patience instead of irritation and letting them watch a movie just for fun is what rainy days are for. To slow me down from my constant spin cycle.

So I am basking in the quietness and thinking about life. Have you figured out what makes life worth living? Have you figured out what you want to spend your energy on? Have you decided what in life is worth going after? I wrestle with this on an almost daily basis.

Yesterday I saw a post on Erin Henderson's blog ( about a little baby born on mother's day who needed to be placed immediately. I thought, "How many people would put aside their comfort to jump at the chance to provide a loving home for this baby girl?" And yes....I did inquire about her but I knew there wasn't a chance since we do not have an updated home study. My point is this: why are people so scared of the risks? Why can't people see the depth of need and put aside their fears to embrace a child?

I read something yesterday that for some reason unlocked something in me. I can't explain what it did internally except that it solidified what I feel I am here on this earth to do. There is a blog of a woman that I follow regularly. She is in her early fifties and still bringing children home. They have 3 biological children and 7 children who are adopted. She inspires me because she gets it!! She wrote on mothers' day the following: If you notice Psalm 127:3 says, "The fruit of THE womb is His reward." It doesn't say whose womb....just THE womb. All children are a reward from Him!

I don't know why this blessed me so tremendously. I think because so often I feel alone in my thoughts that my children are a reward. So often I hear annoyance in people's voices when talking about their children. And trust me - I get annoyed plenty with my kids!! I am human! And sharing space with many little ones can get taxing at times. My question is if scripture is clear children are a reward, that they are a blessing why do we try to hold God at a distance? Aren't we always asking Him to bless us? What if He is trying and we are resisting? What if the blessing is in having to sacrifice more of you in order for Him to strengthen you and equip you to parent another child?

I just love that all children are a reward!! And on that note if you have a few minutes (or more) take the time to check out I don't know the last time I have been so touched by a story. The heart of this couple is refreshing and inspires me to not think so narrow minded. Just read March and April posts if that is all you have time for. My heart has been enlarged and has made me appreciate the heart of the Father even more. Because I think they portray His heart incredibly well. You will be glad you took the time - I promise.

Now it is off to tackle my list! I am going to scrub some floors and fold some laundry and reward myself by curling up with a book later tonight when the munchkins are in bed.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

You Know Summertime Fun Has Arrived When...

Your daughter presents herself with a head full of sand....
When the same daughter shows up at the kitchen door attempting to blow on a ram's horn with hardly any clothes on and mud covering her entire body.....

When your son arrives on the heels of his sister quite distressed at his messy state....

When your find your children playing at the muddy creek which is the culprit for the mud that covers your children at any given time on any given day....
When you find your daughter playing in the water again (and the jug with the holes is the one peeing this time - thank goodness)
When you find your son riding his bike after a long hiatus from his injured leg...yippee!!
When you find your son spreading dandelion seeds all over the yard when his father just sprayed those exact weed/flowers a few days earlier...
And summertime fun tuckers out little ones. Is there anything more precious than a thumb sucking babe?
I take no responsibility for the children in this photo. Must have been a rainy day.

Sweet child!
Dirty child!
Dirty and sweet children.

Heidi with her little cupcake on her first birthday!

I think this expression is priceless!! Oh....the glee!
Unsure of the mess and the sweetness! That is okay though. We found Eden under Heidi's chair literally licking up the crumbs. I didn't know whether to laugh or be grossed out so I laughed!!
And that, my friends, is why I haven't posted in a week. We have been a bit busy with many, many baths! And doing loads and loads of laundry since my children think they need to change every time they get wet! And I did find Eden out on the little bridge one day stark naked!! Good thing we do not live next to a road or people would seriously wonder about us.