Monday, July 23, 2012

new life

i have been gifted a HUGE blessing from God tonight. thank you to those of you who prayed for me. God has shown me what grace is and what it feels like to genuinely extend it to someone else. i also learned how to love and forgive in a way that i had no idea existed. the situation with the hurt i had been feeling is over. for me it is resolved. please join me in praying for the other person-that they would feel peace and love as i do.

i have gone through a fire and come out on the other side with peace and wisdom. i have learned so many things about myself. i tend to have a low self esteem, but tonight i am proud of myself and the woman that the Lord is shaping me to be...like a bonsai tree. He is pruning and trimming my soul to make it healthy and able to bear good spiritual fruit. i feel lovely. i can't say that i have experienced that feeling many times if ever.

i am a NEW creation.

i am excited about sharing my wisdom with my children someday. i have new skills to teach them. 

i am also excited for when God calls me home. before, i always worried when i thought of death. i would pray that God wasn't through with me yet. i was not done. i was too dirty and soiled to stand before Him. 

news flash!!!! i will always be in beggars clothes before Him, but now i understand and accept His vast love. His forgiveness. His Grace. His promise. 

i eagerly await the day i get to be near my Heavenly Father. i am ready.

for the sake of my children i hope He has plans for me still. i hope He has work yet for me to do for joyous i will sing His praises and answer His call all the remaining days of my life. while i wait, i will continue working towards being a better person, full of compassion, mercy, and love for all my fellow man. i will continue to grow in my faith and be a blessing to this world.  

meanwhile tonight, while He raised me up to be NEW and restored peace to my life...in His faultless plans, he has called a young sister in Christ home. my soul weeps over the loss of nicole.

LORD COMPASSIONATE FATHER, WE COME BEFORE YOU WITH MIXED EMOTIONS. ON ONE HAND, WE REJOICE IN YOUR PROMISE OF EVERLASTING LIFE KNOWING SHE IS WITH YOU...ON THE OTHER WE MOURN THE PASSING FROM THIS LIFE OF YOUNG NICOLE. JEHOVAH SHALOM, PLEASE BLESS HER FAMILY AND LOVED ONES WITH YOUR COMFORT. REVEAL TO ALL WHO LOVED HER THE PLAN YOU HAVE FOR HER EARTHLY LIFE. HELP US TO SEE YOU IN TIMES OF SORROW. FOR HOLY HOLY HOLY ARE YOU LORD. AMEN.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

hurting

last week we were away visiting my sister. it was a much needed respite from my life.

we went per request of my hubby. he had a gnarly week planned and asked if we could get away while he was going to be in the weeds. so he was able to work a 73 hour workweek without us being in the house messing up what little sleep he was able to get.

added bonus.. it was a great chance to spend time with my mother and sister's lovely family. it was a perfect opportunity to have the new cousins meet each other. after all, it had been three years since our last visit-too long. it was fun. it was blessed. we will even do it again next summer-God willing. 

BUT, it was also a good time to escape. you see, i have been hiding.

there is someone in my life that violated my trust and said some pretty awful things about my parenting and my adopted children. i know they said it as a defense mechanism, but it put me into a protective state. i spent days crying. sought pastoral counseling. had nightmares. i second guessed God's decision of allowing us two more children to raise. it generally put me into a big ole funky depression.

i stopped writing about adoption and instead focused my blog into more of a scrapbook style. that way this person could not use anything i wrote to their advantage. also they couldn't gain access into my personal life. i was living in fear of what they would do to me and my children. they already had tried messing with my support system.

i considered changing churches. i considered making my blog private. then i thought if i made myself invisible, maybe they would go away and leave me in peace.

today when i took a look at what was really making me depressed...it was the hiding. being evasive with those i was closest to so that they wouldn't mistakenly share information with this person.

i avoided my blog. i forced myself to add blog entries for my stalkers...i mean fans...i mean bloggy friends(i love you all-you know).  the entries were fluffy. there wasn't anything wrong with them. they even probably were a blessing to those whom enjoy reading about our family and how we are getting along.

my blog is my way of getting my thoughts and feelings out of my head and into a place where i can gain new perspective. it is my therapy. why would i let a personal conflict change that? 

yes, fear was a factor, but also, i didn't want others knowing what was going on. i didn't want to hurt the person who was wronging me. i didn't want to use my blog as a weapon. but i did. it was a weapon that hurt me. stuffing my life has damaged me. it distanced me from those who love and support us.

so much has happened in the past month. happy stuff....hurtful stuff...adoption stuff.

so in an effort to reclaim my life, self-esteem, and writing therapy...i will write again. it may not always be funny. but it will be real. it will be mine. hopefully it will help someone else reading it. maybe it will speak to someone who is on the fence about adoption. maybe it will raise up another person who is having a tough day. perhaps it will break another's heart and cause them to champion the plight of the orphan. at the very least, maybe it will move people to lift us up in prayer. 

i prayed just before God told us we were adopting. i said, "LORD, USE ME TO BE YOUR HEART, HANDS, AND MOUTH." He did. just a few short weeks later we started our adoption journey.

so i say now...

LORD, USE MY BLOG, MY COMMUNICATIONS, AND MY EVERYDAY INTERACTIONS TO DO YOUR WORK. USE ME TO SHOW COMPASSION, GRACE, AND JOY TO THOSE WHO NEED IT THE MOST. HELP ME TO GET OVER MYSELF AND BE BOLD IN ALL THINGS FOR YOU.

so now i share...

on our trip to my sister's home many things came out. i knew that by adopting older children, we would hear stories of hard lives coming from their own lips. their lives had to have been hard. no matter how clean and beautiful any one orphanage may be, human life-orphans' lives are not valued in China.

one night i was playing with B and i tapped her rear end with a plastic hanger. just a tiny love tap. she swung around to face me with a challenging look in her eyes. she ripped the hanger from my hand and said, "in China, they went like this and this to me. all over me. i no love hangers." as she proceeded to whip and strike the air Mommy Dearest style and then pointed to her arms, legs, and back. my heart stopped. if she hadn't been able to see me, i would have fallen to me knees. DEAR GOD?! i calmly asked her, "so they hit you with hangers?" and she nodded miming the act once again. i told her that i would never ever hurt her. she is precious to me and i love her and i will not let that happen to her again.

someone beat my sweet girl. the joyful light of my life. they beat her. i did something in play that brought up these ugly memories. my heart broke. again, i knew that there had to have been awful experiences. i had prepared myself for the grafting of "hurt" children into our family. but hearing it and seeing her whipping the air. i will NEVER get that image out of my mind. what if we hadn't said yes to adopting her? would she still get beaten? what would have become of her when she aged out? would she be a beggar? a prostitute? sold for body parts or slavery?

there are some that hold the opinion that adopted children's lives and stories are for them alone. they own them and it is not our right to share them with others. i have tried to be respectful. but really? if your heart isn't broken for the orphan hearing real life stories...if you think adoption is for others and not for you. take another look. can you do without big vacations every year? can you do without grandiose ideas of what your empty nest/retirement will look like? can you imagine loving a child whom you did not birth? can you get over the race to store up earthly treasures?

i am not saying adoption is for everyone. it isn't. but helping orphans is our call. every one's call. give to charities like smile train, or donate to personal adoptions. there is a family racing to bring two teenage girls home and a chip-in fundraiser going on. go give something. http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/
there is a family working to help raise awareness in India http://humbled-aerni.blogspot.com/
there is a family that just found out that their teenage daughter has brain damage sustained as an infant in China... http://whenlovebringsyoutome.blogspot.com/

what are you doing? is it enough? i say these things with love and not condemnation. my eyes were blind up until a couple of years ago. i don't condemn anyone. i love the orphan. i will advocate for the cause as long as i draw breath.

because miracles happen when we do.


even though my child is starting to share stories of her former life, she also has the capability to love.

other people have been used as instruments of grace. Tim danced with B in China and then passed her off to me. she danced about a measure and then let go, but it was the first time she touched me willingly. you can read about it here...full disclosure. it was only day two of having the children and i was having a tantrum about being in China that day... http://www.provided4.blogspot.com/2012/03/meltdowns-and-progress.html

then B hugged my mother goodbye one night and i teased her that she had never given me a hug...she then gave me my first one. http://www.provided4.blogspot.com/2012/04/state-of-my-heart.html i get goodnight hugs every night now. still no kisses...maybe someday.

well, now God has used my sister and her children for our next breakthrough. the night before leaving NE we told the children that we would be returning home the following day. B cried. what crying? over leaving? does this mean she attached? it is every parent's fear that their child will have attachment disorder. not being able to attach to caregivers causes many issues. scary stuff...here is a wikipedia link... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_disorder#Diagnosis

being able to attach to caregivers is the one thing we all hope our older or hurt children can do. it means that they have a fighting chance of having meaningful relationships and/or marriages. it means that they might be able to be good parents someday. without the ability to attach these things are in question.

so, back to my story...the next day B sobbed leaving my sister's house. she calmed down after a trip to good old McDonalds. shameful tactic, but we had to eat and it did make her stop sniveling. E too for that matter. that night we were unable to get one hotel room, so we divied up the kiddos. mom took E and A and i took the other two. B approached me and asked for a hug. i complied, to which she promptly broke down sobbing. she hung on to me for dear life. i sat on the bed rocking her back and forth while she wept. she said, "i love aunt lori. i love amara, zach, luke, mary...." oh precious Father...she has attached. after she dried her tears, she snuggled with me and watched some television. the dam has broken. now i can't get her off of me. it used to be S who was always all over me. now it is sweet B. A has to compete with two sisters for mom's lap now. i rejoice in it though.

before our trip, i was not allowed to comfort B. if she was sad or hurt she would turn away from me. she hid her tears. they were shameful to her. if i tried to hug her, she would present her back to me and would not hold onto me. know what? she even has been asking for zubbers on her tummy and neck before bed. kisses are getting closer. i wonder whom God will use to open her up to kisses from mommy?

so the graft is taking with that one.

now for the other. S is wayyy more involved than i thought she was initially. her English is not really coming in. she uses phrases, but only as exclamations. she can say some prayers, but i don't think she knows what she is saying. her learning disability is severe. she is almost 14 and cannot do simple math without counting on her fingers. she has watched an ABC video a half dozen times and still cannot recall the sounds they make. i wouldn't have noticed the slow progress if it wasn't for B. she knows her phonics after watching the DVD a few times. she speaks in sentences. she describes things and communicates memories clearly. S cannot seem to learn anything without great difficulty. she kept to herself mostly while at my sister's. she spent hours sorting legos into bins of like colors or shapes. yes, she hugged and kissed her cousins, but that goes with attachment disorder too. affection for anyone. she seemed to like their dog the best. she didn't shed one tear when leaving. just went along with us without any emotion. she is a mystery to me still. i cannot figure her out. looks like some level of Autism. i am seriously struggling with how to school her. where to get her evaluated. how to get a diagnosis. and on and on.

the beauty of it all is that i know God has it all figured out. when i struggle with one child, another gains headway. when my bio kids are having a tough time, God sends in family and friends to lift them up. all is well.

in regards to my personal trials...God is teaching me how to deal with adversity in a manner befitting a Disciple. He is showing me a way that isn't in our nature. i will take what i have learned about myself and others and share my wisdom with my growing family. He gives all Good Gifts for a reason and when we have trouble seeing the Good, we need to keep our chins up, because looking up is looking towards the One who can do all things.




Tuesday, July 10, 2012

meeting of the cousins

between my sister and i there are 15 children. my mother has not been with all of her grandchildren together in over 6 years. it has been fun to have everyone (except for the husbands) under one roof finally.

meeting my newest niece for the first time

the first day we just visited and let everyone get acclimated to the chaos. by the time we ate dinner and found places for everyone to sleep it was well after 11 PM.

the next day we visited the Omaha Zoo, where my oldest nephew works. a perk of the job is free admission for family members. it was over 100 degrees, but we managed to stay indoors for most of the time. we heard that a giraffe has escaped its enclosure earlier in the day, but had been corralled by the time we got there. that i would have paid to see! we did get to see a baby giraffe and sea lion that had been born recently...too cute.

my sister and i with our children-ages ranging from 5 weeks to 17 years old. well, the kids that is. i am not telling our ages without a signed gag order.

being silly in the desert dome

cooling off at a fountain

touch tank exploring

looking at a whole lotta crab

cuttle fish

A cooling off standing over the air conditioning vent. everyone took a turn puffing up their shorts and dresses.

video

even though it was a melt your shoes kind of day. we had fun. making memories with family is second only to worshipping the Lord with those you love.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

road trip

my mother and i decided to take an impromptu road trip to see my sister and her family. they live over 1300 miles away. so without much planning except for a few phone calls back and forth...


 "wanna take a road trip?"


"ok, when?"


"next week?"


"sure."


then a couple of calls to my sister...


"want some houseguests?"


"sure. how long are you planning on staying?"


"ummm...don't know...four or five days?"


"ok. as long as you don't mind my busy life."


so it was with almost no plan that we hopped into my father's truck and headed out.


it took three days of travel. not one meltdown. not one yelling incident. never once did i raise my voice. no traffic. just a peaceful three day trek over the 4th of july. blessed i would call it.


we left on tuesday july 3 at 9 AM. we stopped in ohio around dinner time and had a lovely Chinese food dinner and crammed 4 children and my mom and myself into one hotel room for the night.


day two we were back on the road around 9 AM again. this time we stopped in iowa for the night. we ate at Cracker Barrel and then swam in the hotel pool. they didn't have a room to accommodate all of us, so i had B and S with me and mom took E and A with her.


the third day we also got on the road around 10 AM. we stopped in iowa for lunch at this neat rest area. it was a museum type of rest stop dedicated to windmill energy. too cool.





standing at the base of a windmill vane in 95 degree weather






too big to fit it all in the picture
looking up 
we saw trucks driving in both directions carrying the vanes-this one pulled into the rest stop and everyone ran to snap pictures 
picnic lunch under windmill inspired shade awning

there were windmill farms all around us in every direction. so peaceful. so cool. so blessed to have the opportunity to see this surprise on I 80.