Sometimes I think maybe we'll stop with the one kiddo we have.
I'm loving the balance of friends, family, and work I have going on right now. (I'm still working on not spending too much time on the internet before bed, but that's another story.) Why upset that, right?
The dream of chaos and multiple kids still lives somewhere. It pops at times I have 3 adorable little boys on my lap, all clamoring for attentions and wanting to read, play, giggle...but there are usually other adults around at the time, so I'm not solely responsible for every child at all.
But then there are times like last night.
We mistakenly gave Nolan too many oranges. After several doctor's visits and too many prescriptions, we discovered that one very good way to keep his recurrent and painful diaper rashes to a minimum is to cut down on the acidic foods he was eating.
Yesterday was too many oranges (He loves them) and screaming when he needed his diaper changed. The kind of screaming that breaks a mama's heart, the kind that makes me want to do anything to make better.
I held him tight and I didn't want to stop, even though he just wanted to read books with Daddy and then go to bed.
That kid really irritated me that night with his scratching and clawing and biting. But then that face and those cries.
I am going to try my best to explain what is happening in my heart because I think it is (slowly) changing the way it needs to to get to being a foster/adoptive mom.
Because sometimes Nolan makes me mad (with the scratching, clawing, biting), so I turn away until I gather my composure. I bite my lip. I'm not perfect, but I don't hit him. I don't physically retaliate. I want the best for him, and that includes teaching him ways to cope other than physically hurting another living being.
As he cried and I tried to make it better, even though his butt hurt so much and I couldn't immediately make it better, I really couldn't help of thinking of all those stories we hear about kids being purposely hurt, the moms who don't turn away, who retaliate way too much. And all the stories we don't hear.
I know I have "a bit" of a savior complex and that's not entirely good, and I know I can't change everything for everyone, but I also know I need to be the mama of just one of those kids. I need to whisper in just one of their ears that they're safe with me, that I love them so, so much, no matter what, always.
It's inevitable (I think).
I'm sitting here with a cup of coffee while Nolan naps. There are maybe a thousand other things I could be doing, but I think I just need to sit down with this coffee and pour my heart out a bit. You know, like I might if you and I were curled up in some cozy coffee shop with steaming cups, good childcare, and some free time.
My heart is just...heavy. But not in a bad way.
We are moving closer to adopting. I am looking for a job that will help to pay to bring my baby (who might not actually be a baby, I don't know) home while still having the flexibility to nurture him or her into feeling like they are home. It's a challenge, but I'm trying.
I read this post this morning. It's about a family's visit to an orphanage. Because pictures aren't allowed, the author paints a picture with her words. Those words just kind of sit inside like a rock, weighing me down.
I lifted Nolan from his crib soon after; I couldn't help but think about how he'll be as a big brother...and be excited.
Motherhood has changed me in more ways that I even considered.
I'm going to tell you something, and I think you might think I'm crazy. I think this because I really didn't understand these thoughts before I had them myself, but...thinking about calves being taken away from their mothers so the moms can be milked to make me cheese and yogurt is breaking my heart lately.
I went vegetarian a few years ago (then stopped, started again, stopped...), but even then, it had nothing to do with the animals. I did not really care about the animals.
I don't know if it's because I have my own baby (who's not a baby anymore) or something else, but I do care now.
The whole motherless babies thing is killing me right now.
I just want to snuggle all of them or know that someone else is doing that. I want them to feel and be loved. I don't want them to feel abandoned or betrayed or hopeless.
I want them to know what it feels like to melt into the arms of a person who really, truly loves them and will hold them as long as they need.
If you're interested, here are some great adoption-related blogs I read
Have you ever been to a conference?
Often the participants in a conference are there because they all share something that makes their hearts beat stronger. Conferences can be empowering, inspiring, energizing, and refreshing due to that tendency alone.
Recently, I came across a conference that could be really just perfect for the adoptive mother or the adoptive-mother-in-the-making. I'm not sure it will work for me this year, but just in case it might work for you, someone you know, or someone who you know knows, I just had to share...and quick! because I'm out the door to catch up with a dear friend of mine very soon (and I haven't even brushed my teeth yet!)
Christian families all over the world are being called to grow their families through adoption, foster care and love from afar through orphan care. Throughout the journey, different needs arise--some times, we just don't know where to start--and other times we are just tired from all that is required in these callings filled with new approaches, lots of healing and much required extra love. While your hearts have been called to care, YOU were also created to be cared FOR. We want to not only support these families by equipping them with adoption resources, but most importantly provide resources to encourage them in their walks with their Heavenly Father who led them to this amazing calling.
Registration opened today and is already to more than half-capacity (which is why I'm in such a rush to tell you about it!)
But I couldn't just ignore her, and neither could a lot of you.
There were parties, prayers, and mushy hearts.
So many mushy hearts, several families wondering if they could be her family.
One was. One that wanted to adopted Anika earlier, but was previously told,"no."
And if you're still wanting to be involved? You can continue to contribute to Anika's adoption fund here.
I'll be adding the funds raised by my own friends and family today; I'm thrilled to report we made our goal (and even surpassed it, I think?).
What's next for me(now that the party is over and Anika as found her home)? My prayer right now is that I will meet each challenge I come across whether or not fear exists in me. Other than that, I'm not sure what's next.
But I know this: Anika is going home,and friends? That is something to celebrate.
If we're friends on facebook, you might notice...
A "Great Things for Anika" party has been posted.
I am jumping-out-of-my-skin excited.
If you didn't receive an invite and want one, (please!) let me know.
If you're too far away, but still want to participate, you can do so here.
That's all for now- I'm off for a weekend of celebrating my brother!
I have a lot to learn.
Yesterday, after reading Love's post, you know what I thought? I thought that little girl still lives in my heart, but also? I don't think I could do one of those parties.
I'm telling you, I have big dreams, but also big doubts.
I posted Love's idea on my Facebook page, not even saying I'd be having my own party. But friends chimed in, saying they wanted to attend the party. Before I posted here. Before I invited anyone (which hasn't actually happened yet- I'm hoping to have details posted by this evening because I'm off to Pittsburgh for the weekend tomorrow morning). Before I'd fully stepped out of my chicken suit. My dear sister wanted to co-host to make the party even bigger. Another friend wanted to attend and also host her own. It's overwhelming, in the very best way (every time someone expresses interest in being involved, by heart swells and my eyes well up with tears...and I wonder if this is my niche?)
Did she know? Did all those people know...that I was scared, that I needed a kick in the butt, some assurance, an injection of confidence?
You know what scares me the most about doing stuff like this? I can't do it alone. I have to ask for help, and my, how I don't like asking for "favors." However, I'm finding that working together to do something big is part of the beauty of this whole adoption thing. It requires humility and faith, both of which I could use a lot more of.
Especially if I believe in community like I say I do.
Especially if adoption is going to keep taking up so much of my heart like it is.
Just over 2 weeks ago, I signed on to Twitter.
[I do have a Twitter account. I don't use it a whole lot. ]
I happened across a tweet from Love that alerted my attention to a little girl who needs a home. The little girl was tugging on Love's heart, and she just had to put her fingers to keys, typing out a need.
I wanted to be her mama. I imagined bringing her to church and letting her run around in the usual chaos that occurs after the service and introducing her to all the amazing kids I know. Holding her close and making sure she was loved.
I'm not sure I'm meant to be her mama.
I'm not ruling it out. I think anything is possible. But with me about to lose my job in 2 months and then transition to stay-at-home mom status (because that is what Tim and I want for our family) and us being first-time parents, the timing for us just doesn't seem right. We're not sure we could provide financially and emotionally for two cherubs at different stages right away.
[I'm confident I will adopt. Maybe I will adopt several children into the patchwork family I'm dreaming of. But maybe not this year?]
But for some people, the main adoption barrier is the cost of the actual adoption. Anika's is $33,000. Pretty steep, huh?
So when I read Love's post today, I'm certain the word "thankful" is not enough to describe what was (and is) going on with me. Love is advocating for Anika- spreading fundraiser parties to help raise the money needed to bring the little girl I'm so in love with home (wherever that may be).
Maybe I can't be that little girl's mama, but I can help bring her home to whoever is. I'm so grateful for that. So grateful that there were tears. In my office.
I'm also tears-grateful for my sister, who volunteered to host a double party with me.
You know what that means? It's going to be fun. A lot of fun. And there will be good food involved.
More details to come.
If you're local, and you already know you want to come if you can make it, send me an email or let me know in the comments, ok?
Happy Thankful Thursday to you.
He threw out the suggestion of doing something big with it, with little idea of what he meant by "big."
I threw out the suggestion that I would love to support someone who is raising money to adopt.
Which led to the two of us thinking that we just might save the money we would have given to a church to bring home our own adopted child.
It's kind of world-rocking to think about actually bringing a child home (to stay.)
I am well aware that I am often coming up with ideas that don't necessarily lead down the planned road
(like becoming a yoga teacher or adhering to the approximately ten different eating plans),
but we are serious about this one.
We have been for years (and years).
I have been thinking for a long time now that there are many good reasons why I'm not a mama yet.
Despite the desire.
Despite my deep-rooted love for children and family.
Among other reasons, maybe I just need to make sure that I go through with adopting a child
before I give birth
if I give birth at all
because I will undoubtedly regret it if I ignore that tug,tug, tug on my heart to bring some motherless child home.
I'm pretty sure I'm meant to be a mother (one day).
I'm just not sure I'm meant to carry a child inside of me.
(And that's quite alright.)
There is lots swirling around in my heart and my head right now.
I'm wondering when my adoption journey is going to start. I'm reading Timothy Keller's Generous Justice; I'm thinking about church, traveling, and how I think I'm at least a little bit Hebrew at heart ( and how fitting it is that I was named "Sarah."). I'm thinking about money and how it's not really mine- it's God's- but how does that play out in the living part of life?
I'm thinking that I'm just this girl- this girl who is really not that outgoing or charming, who is at least a little bit cheesy and second guesses herself a little too much. But great stories are full of "just this girl"'s who said "yes" to something scary.
And I like great stories.
Years ago, I spent 3 months in Kazakhstan living with a local family. There was so much to be scared of there. There was a lot of new and a lot of different. And while I like a good challenge, I have a chicken heart and...any challenge I've taken has happened because I either didn't realize the challenge or I firmly told my chicken ways to "go AWAY!"
I remember one beautiful day in Kazakhstan. Every one was jumping creeks and fences and climbing rocks, and I was afraid to try. But there was this boy at home (he had my heart), and I knew he would have told me to just do it. To not even think about it, and just go.
So I did. And it felt great. It felt great to knock my silly fears down , just do it, just enjoy.
This is how our lives have been. The fears, the cheering, the prodding, the relief, the exploring, the wonder (and struggles, but they seem of little consequence when compared to all the rest).
Tomorrow, we celebrate 4 years of marriage. One day, I think that 4 years will seem like a drop in the bucket, but today? Well, today, I am grateful for how much deeper and stronger our relationship has become over those years...and I'm looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead for the two of us.
One day I'm going to be a mama...I'm pretty sure.
What I'm not sure of is whether all of those kids I'm already so fond of will carry somebody else's genes around. At least some of them will. Adoption, to me, is just part of my story. It will happen, but I haven't arrived in that chapter yet.
But the stories (especially the ones I read about here) get me so excited, and sometimes I get the opportunity to participate. I know there are people out there that feel the same way I do, and I know there are people who feel the same yet do not feel the pull to adopt. Those people that still want to participate...even if it's not time or maybe it'll never be time.
So I write.
Recently, I was introduced to an opportunity to give, to be a part of something beautiful quite easily. Jeannette decided to host a fundraiser for this cutie pie.
His name is Cliff. He lives in an orphanage and Eastern Europe, and he has Downs syndrome. And Jeannette? She gets excited about adoption, too. So excited that instead of waiting for other people's stories to come along and be a part of (like me), she did something better- she decided to try to raise enough money so that when a family- Cliff's forever family- comes along, all of that money required just to take him home? Will be taken care of .
So, here's the deal. If you want to be involved, click here. I recommend reading the post (it is fantastic and says so much that I didn't say here), but if you really don't have time to read it but still want to give, scroll toward the bottom, click on the "chip in" button, and give a dollar. Really, no amount is too small.
(Thank you, Love, for passing on this opportunity to me.)