Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Unadoptable

The smile on this kid lights up the world.

Call it morbid, but sometimes I think about what my life would be had we not adopted Tyrus. It makes me well every time. Obviously, we had many childless years, but the presence of Ty has returned them to us as his laughter and growling take up so much room. Imagining him with another family, even Rebekah and her family, is too much to bear. He is a part of us, now, and the undoing of what's been done is too inconceivable to think about.

Ben and I carry those thoughts into our conversations about foster adoption. We've been talking about it a lot.

There are so many children waiting for families and there is a great urgency in my heart to do something. And by something I don't simply mean adopt as many children in our lifetime as possible (although that's coming!) These kids need advocates. They need voices shouting their names from rooftops and families enveloping their hearts in love. I've been hearing and reading stories that would make your lunch turn. A daughter missing feet because her "mother" left her on a snowy porch, in only her underwear, for hours at a time. A son that was thrown out the window in a fit of rage. A Ukrainian orphan that was deemed unadoptable by her country.

I heard a message, this week, on the love of our Father that produced such violence in my spirit, I had a difficult time functioning through the rest of my day. I walked away shouting, Lord, there is no man, woman, or child on this earth that is unloved, unwanted, or unadoptable. No exception. Yet, the world and church alike, prove me otherwise, every single day...

There are so many things I could say, here, but I want to keep this specific to what the Lord's showing me toward adoption. I've been chewing on my prayer for the last two days and I realized, tonight, that unadoptable labels exist...because families like ours use them. Ouch.

Sure, we get a gold star for even considering foster adoption in the first place. A red one for looking at sibling groups and even a green one for embracing diversity, but what about adopting a child over the age of 12? Unadoptable. A baby addicted to methamphetamine? Unadoptable. A teenager that has severe emotional or health issues? Unadoptable.

The reality is that these kids are labeled unadoptable because there are few families willing to adopt them...including mine.

That was a pretty hard pill to swallow, tonight. Yes, more families should be concerned about the foster crisis in our country. Yes, more adoptive families should be willing to look outside of domestic adoption. But, I can't change the hearts of other families...I can only work on mine.

Tonight, I'm saying, Lord, change me. Help me look at all children as your children. Affix new labels on their heads.

I stand by my initial prayer. Through the eyes of Christ - unloved, unwanted, and unadoptable children do not exist. If only the rest of us could see the world that way...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Rebekah!

Since Ty can't sing Happy Birthday, yet, we had to show off the tricks he can do!

video 


video 

We love you so much, Rebekah, and hope you feel all kinds of wonderful, today!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Joy in Color


Joy and gladness in full measure. Complete and overflowing.
                                                                                                           ~ John 15:11

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Looking for Input

I am gearing up to attend a strategic planning seminar, this weekend, for a local foster adoption agency/ministry that is in the final stages of becoming licensed.  You will definitely be hearing more about this from me in the days to come, as I'm super excited to be a part of something so cool. The mission of this group is simple: Bring Christian families and waiting children together. They've committed to providing no-fee adoption services, education, and support programs that tear down walls to adoption. It's important to note, here, that I'm talking about foster care adoption - meaning, the children you would consider adopting are "waiting children;" parental rights have already been terminated.

Here's what I'd like to know from you (all off you) and I'd really like you to answer honestly, without holding back. I'm going to take all of your comments to the seminar, this weekend, so that we have a pulse on how families really feel about adopting through foster care.

Here's what I'd like to know:
  • Have you or would you consider foster care adoption?
  • If the answer is "no," what are your reasons/reservations? 
    • Is there something specific that would change your answer (i.e. If I had a larger house with more bedrooms)?
  • If the answer is "yes," do you have concerns?
    • What kind of support would help ease those concerns?

I really appreciate and value your input. Feel free to send me a personal email, if you'd like your answers to remain private. I look forward to sharing more about this initiative!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Answering Comments

Looks like this is becoming our set time together. I like it. I look forward to it. It's Sunday night...my homework finished, the house clean, laundry done, one little boy sleeping, one big boy watching football...quiet time for me.

I wanted to address a few comments in my last post, some I allowed; one I did not.

I had two anonymous comments that were very much in the same vein. The first said... I think the constant contact might be good for Ty but not for the two of you. Maybe you should just update her once a year or so... and the second...If the adoption was closed then maybe you would not have all these feelings and feel like you are upsetting Rebekah. I think that open adoption must be too much for you.

I allowed both comments because although I find them self-protecting, I don't think they were written in meanness.  It wasn't all that long ago that I was on the other side of adoption. Some of the words in my earlier posts make me cringe, knowing what I know now. For Ben and I, the door of adoption was one full of hope and eagerness. I, admittedly, spent more time thinking about the future of our family than about the woman who would be making that happen. It wasn't until we met Rebekah that reality hit, swiftly. Knowing that, allows me to lend grace, easily, to those not walking this path. Our culture has not been educated on adoption. In most realms it's still a hush-hush topic. I can say that, confidently, because most people get uncomfortable when I tell them Ty is adopted. I don't have rules about where and when I share that information, but it does come out naturally (and often) because it's so much apart of our family. 

Back to the above comments. If the relationship we had with Rebekah was rough and uncomfortable, even controlling, we would still pursue open adoption. Being a good mom is about doing what is best for your children - no matter how it makes you feel. Rebekah considered her feelings when contemplating adoption, but her preference for her children (all of them) trumped the breaking in her heart. Her example is one I strive for; I want to love Tyrus the way she does. To say contact might be good for Ty, but not for the two of you is contradictory of love. If it's good for Ty, it's good for us. Of course, keeping Rebekah at arms length would have been easier at times, but there is freedom in truth. When it's all laid out in the open - when no secrets or animosity exist - when love is the motivator, God can do anything. Just look at what he's done in our family. I'm allowed to think and feel and wonder. Everybody does. I just choose to expose my stirrings here, for all of you to read. I choose to do it because I know God is using me to help change the face of open adoption.

I would also like to say that I agree with Ms. Anonymous. Open adoption is too much for me. Any love you see portrayed or displayed in my life is from one source alone...and nothing is too difficult for him.

Anonymous commenter #3 did not get her words posted because they were mean and malicious and received nothing but a big eye roll from me. All I want to say is that abandoning mothers are mothers women that leave babies in dumpsters and let perverse boyfriends have free rein in there homes. Tyrus will never use those words in conjunction, when describing Rebekah. Enough said.


 The last response is to a question that Love You Already posted. She talked about having a strong bond with her daughter's birth mother in the beginning, but then life took over and their family solidified. She wrote...It's only been within the last few days that I've started to face the same reality you write about. It's not an easy truth to accept...I try to have the same, open heart...but I am hurting. Do you hurt too?

Such an honest question and one I'm happy to answer. When it comes to Ty's adoption, my relationship with Rebekah, and my security as his mother, there are no hang-ups. No hurts. I never wonder about why I couldn't carry him or why it had to be this way. It took us a long time to process our infertility and allow God to fully heal our hearts, but once we were able to see clearly, we knew that God had us on this road for a reason. There aren't many families doing what we are doing...and he needs us, especially in the foster adoption arena.

That being said...I hurt. Most days my heart is in a state of rest, but there are triggers that threaten to take me back to dark places and they're unpredictable. Sometimes a friend getting pregnant with #2 or #3 is no big deal and sometimes it's a crushing blow. Sometimes I can be in a room of mothers swapping pregnancy stories and sometimes it makes me want to run. Sometimes I can pack Ty's items away in anticipation on what's to come and sometimes I weep over the loss I feel, not knowing if I'll see them again.

There are other things that always sting - women talking about "trying" (as if it's no big thing), teen pregnancy, rough home lives, ungrateful parents, etc. I hope that one day this part of my heart will turn off. I hope that our family is so large that infertility is a near-forgotten past, but for now, it remains a constant thorn. I'm reminded every month at what my body should be able to do and can't.

Most days I'm pretty good at taking thoughts captive, remembering God wrote my future, and enjoying life as it is. Don't ever beat yourself up for feeling sad or uncertain. It's life. Just keep pressing on and know that new days will always come.