Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have been reading and devouring numerous books again on adoption and the challenges that often follow.  I had read, knew so many who walked the path of adoption before us and thought I was prepared for whatever came next.  I wasn't.  Just like when you become a parent for the first time.  You are sure you are so ready but there is nothing that can completely prepare you for what happens after the baby leaves your womb and is placed in your arms.  Your world is forever changed! 

So it is with adoption.  You think you are ready, you have prepared, you have read until your head is about to explode yet nothing prepares you for the daily walking out of parenting children who carry hidden wounds.  I am constantly reminding myself to separate the behavior from the child.  Abandonment, whether it be through death or by choice, is a wound that is treacherous at best.  I find myself so often feeling like I am on the edge of a slippery slope.  I know the behaviors and words aren't truly directed at me but my feet start going out from under me and before I realize what is happening I am tumbling down the slope - in my heart and mind.  Words that aren't meant to harm come from both our mouths and we find ourselves in each others arms crying tears that heal.  I find myself telling her so often lately, "We are never going to leave you.  We are in this forever.  I will NOT leave you no matter what!"  Maybe I shouldn't utter those words since I can't truly guarantee them but as much I can control I will be with her for the long haul.

Today she wanted to talk again about her first home and first mom.  She has spoken often of her first mother lately.  It's as though she desperately needs to make a connection with her.  We speak of her death and try to sort through how and why she died.  As I have been reading some different books lately I am learning the fantasy world a lot of adopted children live in.  They make up a world about how things happened, why they happened, what their first family was like, etc.  It makes sense to me as she talks and processes.  She has said recently that she really wishes her first mommy wouldn't have died because then she could still be with her.  I felt a momentary prick of something akin to jealously until I realized that of course she should wish those things.  I should feel free to affirm those feelings in her and I did.  I told her I really wish her first mommy wouldn't have died so her little heart wouldn't hurt. 

A few days later she told me I am the best mommy she ever had.  If my boys said off handed remarks like that I would chuckle and move on but on this particular day I stopped and thought to myself, "I wish that innocent statement didn't carry the weight that it does."  She of course wasn't comparing me and her first mother but it struck me none the less.

It pains me that children carry deep wounds.  I carry my own.  One thing I am praying:  is that we are agents for His healing love to touch and start making the open wounds in her heart close up and develop a scar.  You see, a scar can be touched, even hit and it won't re-injure or cause pain at the sight of the previous injury.  That is when you know healing has taken place.  If poking and prodding the affected sight still causes you to wince and grimace from the pain then more healing needs to happen.  I know this to be true in my own life.

To my two daughters who have come to me and carry the pain and scars of abandonment:  you are loved deeply, truly and completely!  My heart hurts for you as I carry a similar wound.  My wound may not run as deep but it is still very tender.  Maybe God brought us together to be agents in each others healing.  I love you both!

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails!"  ~1 Cor. 13:4-8

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where I've Been....

Summer has been moving at a frantic pace!  Something I am not especially happy about since school will be here again far too soon for my liking.  Our days are spent working on our little property with me continuing to dream of moving more in a homesteading direction.  I am sure I romanticize the concept in my mind but it doesn't keep me from dreaming and planning.
 I make my rounds in the morning to check on my garden and see what has changed from my evening rounds.  Of course nothing changes but it is therapeutic all the same.
 We have been eating an abundance of fresh green beans!  Not sure there are many things that taste better than green beans with a bit of brown butter on them!  Yum!
 At the far end of the "big" garden the boys have their pumpkin patch!  So far this year things seem to be growing well.  They have 35 mounds of seeds planted and are hoping to make lots of money this year.
 Our newest addition - Mittens!  This was the last part of Eden's birthday present and everyone is enjoying the playfulness that a kitten brings. 
 Hot, hot days made more bearable by splashing in water.

 All three girls crowding me out of bed early in the morning.  Can't say that I mind too much!  The days of snuggling little ones in bed will be over before I know it.
 Reading books together while I start the bedtime routine with some of the girls.  It always makes my heart happy to see that they can be in close proximity without fighting.
 Judah took the next 2 pictures of the butterfly.  He is entering a contest for national geographic and took my camera outside to see what he could capture.  This was his first time with the camera in hand. When I downloaded the pictures I was stunned!  These are just 2 of many that were beautiful!  We may have a photographer on our hands!

 This is what happens when Heidi is unattended in the bathroom for 5 minutes!  She rounds up all sorts of toys and takes them "swimming."  And when she is being slightly reprimanded (because really she didn't hurt anything it was just an inconvenience to me).....
 ......she responds by trying to make me laugh!
Eden loving her baby!!  She is so sweet and helpful with her although she has a hard time being gentle. 

Our disappointment of the week was waking up Monday morning to find that some dumb animal had found our meat birds and helped themselves.  Out of our 10 meat birds that we were raising to butcher there is only one left.  So sad.  I was more mad than anything!  Even though ultimately they would have met their demise in another month it was so disappointing.  A new order for chicks will be placed today or tomorrow and we will start over.  A trap has been set and hopefully the guilty culprit will return and will be caught.  Lessons learned, better fencing will be bought and hopefully we will have some yummy chickens in our freezer soon! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mark's Sister

Some of you know about Joyce's accident and some of you don't.  Before I go into the story let me preface it by saying Joyce is a huge proponent of biking and bicycle safety.  She does a great job encouraging others to ride safely and working to make sure folks have the necessary safety gear.
 Tuesday morning Jo had a very bad bicycle accident.  She had lent her bike and helmet to a friend who's car was getting some work done.  She had been taking the bus to work but missed the bus that morning.  She grabbed her mother's bike from when she was a teenager and took off.  Long story short: on the bike trail there is a tunnel.  As you leave (or enter the tunnel depending on how you are travelling)  there is a corner that you cannot see around.  Joyce collided with another bicyclist at that point on the trail.  A landscaping crew working nearby heard the collision,arrived to the scene immediately and called 911.  Mark's youngest sister Grace was about 10 minutes behind Joyce on the trail and happened upon the scene. 
                                            Hannah, Joyce and Grace from left to right

She was assessed at our hospital here in town where she was found to have a basal skull fracture behind her right ear with some bleeding on the brain.  She also had a fractured orbital bone.  At that point she was transferred to Geisinger in Danville for further evaluation.  She did NOT need any surgeries but was kept for observation.  She is coming home this afternoon/evening!! 

Having a sister who works in a pediatrician office and having multiple relatives in medicine I know how critical it is to have head trauma.  When Mark first called to say she had an accident, was bleeding out of her ear, etc I almost vomited!  Knowing she was coherent was probably what kept my breakfast in my stomach.  I am very aware tonight of how blessed we are that Jo will recover without lifelong implications. 

She is a beautiful, beautiful soul and has one of the softest/compassionate hearts!  Our kids love when she babysits and they were worried they wouldn't recognize her.  We love you Joyce and cannot thank God enough that you are still completely you and here with us!

Wear helmets everyone!!!