Complicated Contradiction

Mothers' day

When you are involved on any side of adoption there seems to be this complicated contradiction. The joy is unbelievable. Yet, the pain is unbearable at times. Each person involved experiences it. There can’t be adoption without loss. Yet, there can’t be adoption without gain. The biological family experiences it. The adoptive family expriences it. And the adopted child experiences it.

The contradiction between the loss and gain of adoption. The loss, the gain.
The bittersweet, the beautiful.
The loss. She lost her baby. My girl lost her connection of 9 months. I lost my chance to carry my child.
The gain. She gained the family she desired for her baby. My girls gained a family to grow in. I gained my purpose.
Both times we brought home our babies I felt caught. Caught between imagining the sorrow of their birth families and living the joy of having a precious baby in my arms to hold. Knowing my gain meant another woman’s loss. Knowing my loss meant a shattering in my child’s life. Knowing my child’s gain meant turmoil they couldn’t possibbly understand. Knowing my child’s loss leaves an emptiness I can do nothing about in my own strength.

Each time my baby cried, I wondered, I still wonder, are they crying fresh tears or are they lingering tears of the life they once knew. The first season of their life. The season their hearts remember, even though their minds do not.

The bitter with the sweet.

The trauma with the healing.

The loss with the gain.

The shattered with the reconciled.

What Satan meant for destruction, God used for His glory.

Dear One, I know Mother’s Day or any holiday for that matter can be painful. It’s supposed to be one way, yet you look at your life and it’s so far from what is “supposed to be”. Can you ask God to show you His glory? Right in the midst of messy? Right in the midst of the broken? Lord, show us your glory. Reveal to us Your sweet in our bitter. More of you, Lord, Less of me. 

What I Learned in January

Psalm 25:4-5, Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

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What We Read This Month:

My Father’s Dragon Trilogy by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Robert Serva

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater

Indescribable by Louis Giglio

The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos

What I Read or Listened to This Month:

Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado (I love Max Lucado. This book will not disappoint!)

Your Teenager is Not Crazy by Jeramy Clark (When your almost teen recommends you read a book she heard about, it’s usually a good idea to listen to her!)

New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp (This has quickly became my favorite devotional, ever!)

Launch (a podcast on iTunes about an author going through the steps of writing and publishing a book series)

My Learning This Month:

Bracelets = Time Together

Exactly a year ago, God began working in me to establish one on one time with my girls. I wrote a blog post called, Talk Time. Almost immediately after implementing Talk Time with my girls, I saw benefits: more peace between my children, more peace between me and my kids, more compliance from my kids, a greater knowledge of my kids’ interests, and an overall smoother running home. So why in the world would a mom ever fall away from this wonderful solution? My kids didn’t stop wanting this time with me. We didn’t stop enjoying this time together. We never saw the benefits of this time together diminish. But, one day, our schedule was full…too full, and Talk Time got pushed aside. Then, 2 days passed and still no Talk Time. Then stress and tension began to creep back into our home, and suddenly time together was the last thing anyone of us wanted.

Fast forward a year and we are back to the beginning of January 2018. Much learning and growth has occurred in our family in the last few months with the help of an amazing adoption parent coach. But, my one on one time with the girls was NOT happening regularly. The parent coach shared with me the idea of using bracelets for the girls to exchange for time with me

This is how this works: Each morning, I place three rubber bracelets on the breakfast table at each girls spot, along with their daily vitamins. They place the bracelets on their wrist. When they want time with me, they are to come to me and request time with me and hand me a bracelet. Each bracelet equals 10 minutes of uninterrupted time with me doing something of their choice. They may even choose to use all 3 bracelets at once, equaling 30 minutes of time with me. The key is that it is just me and the child, it’s their choice of activity, and they must request it. So, when we have family game night, they would not need to use their bracelets for that. Also, going over to the park as a family, would not count.

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So rather than just setting the good intention of having Talk Time, we now have the visual, tangible reminder of the bracelets right on the girls wrists. As well as the plan for them to initiate and take the risk of asking me for time. I do enjoy this time, but I have to admit that when I am about to start the laundry and one child comes to me and says I want to use a bracelet now, I do struggle at times. But, what I have found is that 10, 20, or even 30 minutes of time goes quickly! I am able to pick back up what I was doing, or what I was doing gets pushed aside, while time with my girls does not get pushed aside.

A wise, good friend, has encouraged me several times with the phrase, “You will never regret time with your kids. You will never look back and regret the energy you put into your kids.”

Is sibling rivalry rearing its ugly head in your home? Are you having a hard time remembering the last time you had individual time with your child? Is your schedule so hectic it seems impossible to carve out time with your children? I encourage you to implement the bracelet plan.

Let us remember our children are gifts from the Lord!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

 

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Attaching

My child doesn’t trust me. My child doesn’t trust me. My child doesn’t trust me. The words haunt me. Torment me. Cause an unending grief.

My child whom I gazed at all hours of the day and night as a newborn. My child who cried for hours and hours each night in my arms. My child who stole my heart from the moment I heard of her existence. My child who captivates my attention with her many gifts and talents. My child who serves her family.

My child was wounded before ever making her presence known on this earth. My child’s heart and brain were told this world isn’t safe. My child’s fight or flight response was on alert when she should have been experiencing the safest place she will ever know.

My child lost innocence too soon. My child faced toxins too soon. My child experienced stress too soon.

But, my Father is faithful. My Father is gracious. My Father is healer. My Father is hope. My Father is sovereign. My Father is true. My Father is righteous. My Father is all-knowing. My Father is all-seeing.

My child doesn’t trust. My child doesn’t trust. My child doesn’t trust…yet.

Looking in my child’s eyes each time we speak. Carving out one on one time, devoted to her. Refusing to engage in arguments. Seeking to understand her past and present. Becoming a consistently safe, available person in her life. Verbally and physically reminding her that NOTHING can separate her from my love. Praying daily to my Creator…her Creator.

My child comes to me. My child opens up to me. My child seeks me in times of trouble and joy.

My Father listens. My Father heals. My Father brings unity. My Father holds all things together and

my Father has not and will not ever leave my family. Amen.

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What I Learned in November

Psalm 25:4-5, Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

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What We Are Reading in Our Homeschool:

The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos
The Story of the World Volume 1
The Aesop for Children by Milo Winter
Indescribable: 100 Devotions abut God and Science by Louie Giglio
A Tree For Peter by Kate Seredy
Tree in the Trail by Holling C. Holling
What I Am Reading or Listening To:
20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge
Joni by Joni Erickson Tada
The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
Sacred Parenting by Gary L. Thomas
The Honestly Adoption Podcast
Learning in November:
  • Eye Contact
Just simply looking my children in the eye and requiring them to look me in the eye when we are having a conversation is bringing about healing and connection. This past month, my husband and I learned that some of the struggles we are facing as a family are due to a need to improve attachment for our children. A parent coach we are working with explained how eye contact conveys and builds trust. Our goal is to not talk to our children unless we are looking them in the eye. The other half of that, is requiring them to also look us in the eye when they speak to us. This requirement initially brought about frustration for our kids at times when we told them, “I am sorry, I cannot hear you,” whenever they forgot to look us in the eye. But, as time has gone on, the frustration is gone and we are each reminding each other of our goal to connect through eye contact.
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. Matthew 6:22
  • Jumping on the Trampoline

Another piece of learning the parent coach is helping us to understand has to do with our children’s brains. Due to our children’s unique beginning in this world, their amygdala is quite sensitive. We are learning it’s like an overly sensitive smoke alarm, constantly being on alert. The amygdala is responsible for the perception of emotions. One way to help activate the front portion of the brain and build on logic and problem solving is simply jumping on a trampoline. This brain learning is so exciting and it’s really another chance to be amazed and in awe of our Creator. He truly is a master creator, full of creativity, wisdom, and love.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

 

  • Sharing in Grief Brings Healing

About a year ago, our oldest daughter came to me and asked, “Mom, aren’t you sad sometimes that you never got to be pregnant and have a baby?” I thought for a minute and my mind immediately went to the idea of not having my children as my children. I looked her in the eye and replied, “No, I am so thankful for the children I have. If it happened any other way, I would not have you two!” But recently I began thinking about her question once more. I started to see it as an invitation from my daughter to share in her grief. Of course, in an ideal world, she could have stayed with her biological parents. They would have been healthy enough to care for her and she never would have had to suffer separation from them. But, that is not what happened. So, she has grief. My new response to her question is now, “Yes, I am sad I didn’t get to be pregnant with you. I am sad I didn’t get to know you in my own womb. I am sad I didn’t get to feed you healthy foods. I am sad I didn’t get to protect you from stress and other toxins you had to face in the womb. Yes, I am sad.” We cry and hug and then our bond is more pure, closer, filled with more trust. Thank you, God!

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4. 

 

What have you been learning this month? What is the Lord doing in your life?

 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

 

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