Monday, September 27, 2010

true confessions of a crazed hormonal maniac

The Amazing Super Mom is chilling out.

Here's why:

From what I understand, baby girl eating her quota is something she will just do, when she is ready. It will happen. Like so many other things, potty training, labor, reading, riding a bicycle, it will happen. I can work with her, but I also need to trust what the docs and nurses are saying and not blow a small gasket every time she doesn't finish a bottle.

I have no real idea what a gasket is or what it takes to blow one or what the consequences would be if you did in fact blow yours. Do we all have gaskets? Are they easily replaced?

My other children are fine. Even the littles will be okay. I am only one part, albeit a significant part, of my children's safety zone. They are not missing me all the time. The youngest misses me when she wakes up. (My friend said she's in her own personal groundhog day.). The Show misses me when he's sleepy. But most of their world is in tact.

Time and everything related to it is within the realm of the King's authority. I can trust Him. He got us down here at the right time, He will get us home when we need to be there.

I think the scariest part of adopting is the question, 'will she change her mind?'. She didn't. She is hurting now, but was resolute throughout the process. Heck, if she wasn't grieving, we'd worry about her a whole lot more. There's a word for that kind of strength: denial. Doesn't make it easier. Does make it less scarier.

I made me a whole milliliter of breast milk. Yippee!

It is starting to feel like that little baby girl in the NICU is mine. One nurse, who I'll call Tammy, cuz that's her name, treats me like the mom (as opposed to the illegitimate sneak), and I practiced introducing her to a couple of the nurses as "my daughter".

And I think, but could be wrong, but I think the baby in my belly kicked me, and that is a miracle that always reinforces my conviction that God can do anything. He can make something from nothing. He hung the stars and spread out the heavens like a curtain. He is weaving a human in my unseen places. He is worthy of my trust.

Therefore I will not fear.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

stream of consciousness

No particular subject here. There are things about adoption I was prepared for, I think. I was ready to be uncomfortably examined in the home study. We were. I figured to pay through the nose. We have. I assumed there would be a lot of waiting and praying and a great deal of ups and downs. All true.

I didn't expect other things. I didn't know I would love the baby's mama the way I do. I didn't realize that our adopting would draw such a wide range of emotions from people, loved ones and complete strangers, both positive and negative, as it has. And I didn't know how I would feel right now, in the hours after the papers were signed that say that the child I prayed for has been released by her mother, because she thinks this is the best thing to do for her child, that it would hurt. I hurt for my baby girl's mama, for her aunties and cousins and friends.

It doesn't feel like a good thing. It feels selfish and wicked, that these people are hurting and that, in a way, I'm part of that pain. True that she made her choice before we were in the picture. I (and the attorney and adoption agency and the social workers) told her several times that she didn't have to do it, that she could change her mind. Her friends and family (and a couple nurses, I think) encouraged her to consider other options. It was her choice.

That doesn't help her heart right now. Or theirs. Or mine. I feel like I took something precious from someone I love and do not want to hurt. When she was hurting in labor, I wished I could have taken it from her. Now, again, I wish I could hurt for her.

Is this how Jesus feels? For us all?

How marvelous, how wonderful
And my song shall ever be
How marvelous, how wonderful
Is my Savior's love for me

Saturday, September 25, 2010

from the field

This reminds me of a reporter sending back news from the field of battle or what have u, befor the internet, I mean.

(Side note: I know there is potential for negative stuff on facebook. But I am so thankful for it - best way I know to mobilize prayer at all hrs across the nation)

All r doing better, out of icu, moved to less intense part of nicu, eating real food/formula, may go home in next few days.

God is great and greatly to be praised.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

news from the aforementioned abyss

First off, sorry about my last post, was falling asleep @ end so didn't finish the point. Second, I'm blogging with my phone from a hospital room in florida, hence the lazy texting style typing.

The abyss refers to the big unknown, not any part of it. I am with our birthmom, who is resting. She is dealing with some pre-eclampsia things so the docs are gently and carefully (read slowly and tediously) inducing her labor.

She is lovely and sweet and gracious even tho she feels lousy. We had time alone to talk about some of the things that we needed to - good for me, good for her.

We came w/o knowing when baby would b born, not b'cuz we thought it was necessarily time for baby, but out of a desire to be with her mama. And I am so very glad we did. It has been precious.

She is going to give me a bracelet so I can c baby when I want to; she wants me in the room when she's born; and I'm going to cut the cord.

My husband is here with #1 and #3 sons, they saw the sunrise on the beach, took naps in the hotel room, and went shopping for a gift for our birthmom. They have been up here some, but are trying to give her some privacy. She has two close friends here also.

I am in awe at God's grace and her strength. There is much grace and peace in this room. I am blessed.

More later.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Standing at the edge of the abyss

Well that's what it feels like. I remember in the movie StarGate (which I doubt anyone reading this watched) the main character standing at the star gate, wanting to go through, more than anything, putting his hand through and withdrawing it, hesitating.

I'm there. I'm standing at the edge of something I have greatly desired, and I am very nervous.

I am not nervous about becoming a parent. Though each child is unique and wonderful, and becoming a mother is new each time, I am not afraid of that.

My nervousness exists on several levels, and these are in no particular order:

I am nervous about being the mom of someone who doesn't look like the flock of 10 I've accumulated. I don't even know what her birthparents look like. I have no idea what her features will be like, her coloring, let alone her personality or likes and dislikes. She is completely unknown to me. (Ironically, she is the only child I have known the gender of before meeting her.)

I am nervous about the journey, the hospital, the staff. I'm nervous about going to a strange city with two boys and husband, leaving the majority of our offspring at home and figuring that out from the road. I'm nervous about if I have what I need, if I have packed well (I know they have kitchen sinks there, but will it be the right kind??).

I'm nervous about meeting our birthmom. I've talked with her, prayed for and with her, and loved her from a distance. But there is still a great deal of insecurity about this relationship. I do not fully know why she is placing her child for adoption. I want more information, but do not want to risk making her feel uncomfortable or used.

I'm nervous about breastfeeding a tiny person while I am pregnant, not knowing if I will have enough milk for her (assuming her language skills won't be quite up to, "Mom, may I have a bottle of formula, you're not making enough here." Planning on picking up some helpful equipment, but will I have time before we go.

But really, what I'm really nervous about, is that tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, I'm going to be joining another culture, perhaps one that doesn't particularly want me in it. Oh, obviously there are many, many black people who are perfectly fine, even pleased about transracial adoption. I have had several discussions early in our journey with black friends and neighbors who were very encouraging.

But I went to the grocery store tonight, which is one of the places I go when I want to be the only white person. For one thing, I was racially profiled, I think. Two guys, one younger, one older, independently hit me up for money. They didn't approach anyone else. Of course, I may have been pregnant profiled. Or I may have been the most approachable candidate.

At any rate, being at my grocery store in my part of town just makes me wonder how people there will respond to me when, instead of bring my apricot skinned daughter in, I bring my chocolately skinned daughter in. Will it reject me, accuse me of stealing its children? Will I be able to train my girl to be comfortable in different cultures, even different expressions of different cultures.

So I'm nervous, but I think exhaustion is going to beat out nerves this time.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


When I had my first baby, I was completely unprepared for the way that I loved her. Immediately, irrevocably, unconditionally, love. Here was this teeny tiny person whom I'd never met, the nurses kept calling her by the name I gave her, and calling me "Mom". She was a complete stranger. She did very little, nursed, cried, pooped, peed, spit, slept. That's pretty much it. But I was immediately smitten with the deepest, strongest, most pure love I had ever experienced.

As I prepared for the birth of my second born, I was concerned (I'm not kidding), knowing how much I loved my first, how could I love the second less. But I didn't think it was possible to love that way again, and at the same time.

Then my son was born and I was reminded of the story How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when "the Grinch's heart grew 3 sizes that day" - my heart grew and I found I was capable of loving 2 humans in that amazing way.

Of course now, having grown so many times, my heart fills my entire rib cage. And I have anticipated that when I meet my baby girl, currently residing in her birthmom's tummy in Florida, I will also fall completely in love with her. We have prayed for her, longed for her, prepared for her, gone through all kinds of weird adoptive self-examining form-filling out for her - I will love her.

The surprise for me is how I feel about her mother. I have talked to this woman twice now, for a total of maybe 20 minutes. I've been praying for her and others for months, and praying just for her for a couple weeks. I've been nervous about talking to her, I've thought about what it would be like, I've tried to imagine how she feels.

But I didn't know I would love her. I just want to hug her. I can't wait to meet her. She is a treasure too. I knew this, that the mother is as precious as the baby, that Jesus died for her, that He loves her, that she is important to Him. But I have, in the last couple days, experienced how much He must love her, and I'm overwhelmed with love also. I had no idea.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

This post is not an adoption update.

The reason it is not an update is that there is not any more information. I do not know if the birthmom we have been praying about will choose us. Sometimes I think that it is good for her to take her time, she will make a better decision, and will be less likely to regret it. We were blessed with a visit from my husband's family this weekend, and I am glad to focus on them, and not either be sad because she didn't choose us, or distracted because she did choose us.

I am aware that everything is in God's hands, and that He alone is our Rock. No matter what we see or hear or don't see or don't hear, we are safe in trusting in the Lord. He Himself brought us to this place. We are trusting Him for whatever the result will be and however it will come to pass.

In the meantime, the mode is *thankful*. I give thanks for what He has done and what I believe He is going to do. I thank Him for the big and small ways He has spoken to us, provided for us, and led us. And I am thankful that, because He is and will always be faithful, that what He does with us and with the baby He made somewhere for our family will be perfect and acceptable and good.


Mawwiage is what bwings us togevah today. Vat bwessed awwangement, vat dweam wivin a dweam.

Here is what I have learned about marriage, especially in the context of having a whole lot of kids.

I am my husband's helpmeet, not the other way around. God did not put him here or put us together so that he can give me a break when he comes home or so he can serve my needs and take care of me. I know that's not a very liberated point of view, but I think it is biblical. At the same time, the same Bible says he is to lay his life down for me the way Christ laid His life down for the church. But it is not my responsibility to get him to lay it down. Which brings me to the next thing.

My husband answers to God, not to me. I love the verse in Proverbs that says the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and He turns it whichever way He wants it to go. The reality is, I am not the best judge of which way his heart should go. I am not his judge.

When we have an issue, which is often enough, here is how I handle it. I shut my mouth until I'm done being hot about it. It won't do any good to fire off at him in the midst of my anger anyway, he doesn't respond well to my emotional outbursts. So then, sometimes not till after he falls asleep, I pray about it. But my prayer is not, "Please God change that man."

My prayer is more like this: God, I give him to you. Do whatever You want with him. Make him the way you want him to be. Draw him near. Show him Your love for him. Help him know You as his Friend. Teach him everything he needs to know about being the kind of husband You want him to be. He belongs to You. I give you all his time, all his energy, all his resources. I trust You with our marriage, with our children, with my heart.

And no matter how worked up I am, during the course of praying for my husband with words of honor, respect, and love, God always heals my heart and brings me to a point of trusting in Him to take care of me, my husband, and my marriage.

Another thing I have learned is not to diss my man in public. (Diss is short for disrespect.) I heard someone say a fight is over when you can both laugh about it, so we try not to talk about a fight until we can both laugh about it. But I do not (I used to) bring out the dirty laundry in front of people while we are still working through it in an attempt to get other people to agree with me and help my husband see the error of his ways.

A wise woman builds her house, but a contentious one tears it down with her own hands. (Proverbs something) I learned this from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, believe it or not. One of the habits is about production/production capacity. Basically, if you want your marriage/factory/goose that lays golden eggs to be productive, you have to take care of it and invest in it and not abuse it in your attempt to increase productivity. If I say unkind words to or about my husband in an attempt to get him to be the husband I want him to be or have the marriage I want to have, I have actually depleted the strength of the relationship instead of increased it. I have weakened my house with my own hands.

Here's what I haven't learned yet, or at least put into practice: I haven't learned how to keep my house in such a way that he delights in coming home. I haven't learned how to receive any negative feedback from him without either becoming depressed or angry or immediately breaking down in tears. During those times, I struggle with honoring him in front of our children, and sometimes I turn some of my frustration toward them and become a less pleasant mother.

I'm a more consistent cook than I used to be, but so often I operate in either survival or comfort food mode, so I struggle to feed my family in as healthy a way as my husband desires. He is a much healthier eater than I am, and is in much better physical shape than me. You can blame hormones/pregnancy/nursing if you like, but the reality is, he is much more disciplined than I am, and it shows.

By the way, lest anyone be intimidated by what I have learned, please know that I learned it because I used to be LOUSY at it. I disrespected him in front of people, I literally kicked him out of bed, with my foot, in an attempt to "not let the sun set on our anger". I would badger and bully and yell in an attempt to get him to respond, all in the name of "working it out", not understanding that the reason he didn't say anything was because what he had to say would hurt me, and he didn't want to hurt me. Rather than hurt me, he kept his silence until he could speak in love. I just blasted him.

The thing is, since learning to trust God with our marriage, to save working through issues until an appropriate time when I had control of my tongue, to pray when I'm frustrated and angry and to honor my husband publicly and privately - I'm a way happier chick. I would have thought I would just be frustrated. But God really is faithful. He really does hold my husband's heart in His hands. Even for someone whose husband is unsaved, God is still God over his heart.

I figured, if God is enough for the single woman, for the widow, for the orphan - He is enough for me. I put all my eggs in one basket. He is all my joy, all my strength, all my hope. Sometimes He meets my needs through my husband, and I'm thankful. But He also fills my heart lots of ways. The important thing is that my gaze is fixed on Him, not my husband, not my children, not my sisters or parents or friends or projects, just Him.

Nuf said.

So tweasuwe your wuv . . .

Thursday, September 02, 2010


I'm not going to lie to you. It's been a long day of not knowing anything, and here I'm writing at 9:32 p.m. and I still don't know anything. But I have peace.

I remember an old Larry Norman song, "we need Your strong love and strange peace." (Love Larry Norman, by the way. Love.) And I do, I have a strange peace. "My peace I give to you, not as the world gives, do I give to you." The peace that passes understanding.

But one of the strange ways I've come by my strange peace is through the voice of my children. Now the Bible says, "Out of the mouth of babes You have established praise for Yourself," and "Your young men shall prophesy," and we have the example of the boy Samuel hearing God's voice, so we ought not be surprised when God speaks through them.

Over the last year or so, we have begun to pursue something we call family worship, or a family altar. It started out with just a story from Egermeier's Bible Story Book, and a prayer. We have all our children involved, so we use the story book, not the actual Bible, although I do read that with the school aged children. Anyway, later we added worship, where one of the older kids plays a song and we sing, and we added listening time, when the older child plays a song without singing, and we ask God to speak to us. We close our eyes and wait, not very long. Afterward, I write in a journal anything anyone has heard from God.

And I'm convinced that my children mostly hear from God in what they say. The four-yr-old usually says something like: God wants me to be kind or obey or share my toys "with one another" - which sounds right to me. Sometimes they have pictures that I have no clue whatsoever what they mean. Once Claire saw a flower every day for a week. We stopped having listening time for a while after that, because I didn't know what to do with that flower.

But many times they have words that seem good at the time, and later turn out to be sort of profound. Example: Nick said two different days recently that the birthmom would be "wise". He explained that maybe she would think since we had a bunch of kids that maybe we would know what to do with 1 or 2 more. But he used the word wise, not a word he uses in his day to day. Then last night I was looking at names, for the sake of naming the child, and read the listing for birthmom's name - in the book I was using, it meant wise discerner. The point is not the exact meaning - those vary somewhat with what book you look at. The point was confirmation. He had said the birthmom would be wise, and the name book said she is wise. I thought that was pretty cool.

Today, several of my children just said, this is our baby. But in the middle of that context, with the tide going happily that way, one said, "she might not pick us, but even if she doesn't we'll be blessed," and another said, "I think God is saying 'tomorrow,'" when we had been told we would find out today.

Now that wasn't something I wanted to hear, but I wrote it down and tucked it away. And as the day wore on, with nary a phone call or e-mail, except from people who love me, saying, "do you know anything yet?" And as I was desperately trying to be patient and trust in the Lord, I found I was okay, and had peace. Because this morning, my son said, tomorrow, and my other son said, she might not pick us, but we'll be blessed anyway.

I will sleep in peace. I hope I know something tomorrow. I hope I know a yes. But if it is no, we will still be blessed. I know, because God told Nick, and Nick hears from God.


Today is an exciting day.

(Disclaimer: I know that there are lots of ups and downs on the road to adoption and that this up might be followed by a huge down and that lots of people have lots of obstacles . . . but I'm sharing the up here, and you can enjoy this part of the journey with me if you want to.)

Today another birthmom will receive our profile in the mail and will decide whether to allow our large and growing family to be her daughter's forever family. So what? Families are shown to birthmoms all the time, right? We have some friends who were shown to something like 15 birthmoms over a period of 2 months. We've been shown to 2, maybe 3. So why do I think this day is such a big deal?

Well, part of it is the situation. We are the only family being shown to a woman who is not raising her other children. She has already been told about our family and still wanted to see our profile.

The other reason I think this might be it is because of God things. Little things, but significant to me, things that are God's fingerprints, I think. Things God has spoken to me, to my children. Ways He has changed my heart and prepared me.

I don't know if it will happen for sure, but at this point, I'm praying that God would close the door if this baby isn't for us. We are also praying for spiritual, mental, and physical health for our baby and birthmom, and for God to take care of details like dates, dollars, accommodations, and care for our other children while we go.

God is so good, God is so good
God is so good, He's so good to me

God answers prayer, God answers prayer
God answers prayer, He's so good to me

I love Him so . . .