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Misplaced Blame

October 12, 2017

Haven and Frank.

These two became fast friends today.

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Their interaction with one another was something that I will never forget, and something that I felt compelled to share.

Anytime I spot someone wearing a hat indicating that he/she served our country, I try to make sure to go over to shake their hand, and thank them for their service. So, when I spotted a U.S. Navy hat while we were eating lunch at Iguana’s today, I extended my hand to the gentleman wearing it, and thanked him. He cheerfully and firmly shook my hand. Then, he took one look at Haven, pointed at him, and smiled. He was silent for a few seconds. Then, he said that seeing his face took him back to the day that he got to watch the peace treaty take place between the United States and Japan. He told me that he got to witness it, and he will never forget it. He said that he had witnessed Japanese suicide bombers fly into his friends’ ships during the war. He said that he vividly remembers seeing newly-released, emaciated American POW’s who had survived the brutality of the Japanese prison camps walking toward him, toward freedom, and how he had been told to pair up with one of them to keep him from overeating (which, he told me, was common for POW’s to do after months/years of starvation). He kept looking at Haven. And he kept saying, “War is such a terrible thing”. I told him that I could only imagine the terribleness of it all, and that I have made myself watch Ken Burns’ documentaries on the Civil War, WWII, and the Vietnam War, just to grasp, in some small way, the sacrifices that so many have made on my behalf, and my children’s behalf. He had a hard time taking his eyes off of Haven….and, eventually, with a smile on his face, he asked Haven to sit on his lap for a bit. Haven joined him and his family at their table for a few minutes. I conversed with his family as Haven just sat happily playing with his toys on Frank’s lap, as he looked down at him. He adored Haven. It was so clear. So clear that I insisted on taking a photo of the two of them together before we left. Frank was more than happy to oblige.

Though Haven’s facial features clearly reminded him of the facial features of the men who had done some horrific things to his comrades, things that he clearly had a hard time forgetting, he had nothing but love for Haven. There was no misplaced blame. No misplaced anger. Not even a hint of it. And it resulted in something truly beautiful.

In our heated political environment these days, I can’t help but notice that misplaced blame is killing us, in many areas.  It really is.  I think Haven and Frank’s message to us today was a simple one.  Just imagine what could happen in this country if we could stop misplacing blame, and misplacing our anger.  Just imagine.  Friends, it could result in something truly beautiful…

 

An Early Request

October 12, 2017

She wants an Instax camera to bring with her to China. So, she wrote an early letter to Santa…asking him if he could bring her one before we leave next month. She even included some photos of River to “prove to Santa that we are really going to China”. Not sure how this is going to turn out for her, but I’m thinking that Santa is going to have an awfully hard time turning down a request as sweet as this one….

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Insufficiency

October 11, 2017

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Insufficiency.

She came to visit me shortly before Sidney’s birth.  I can remember feeling her weight bearing down on me during those weeks right before my daughter’s fragile, beautiful life was entrusted to me.  I felt ill-equipped, and questioned my ability to tackle the daunting unknowns ahead of me and the newness of motherhood.

She visited me shortly before Jackson’s birth as well.

Shortly before Grace’s adoption.

Shortly before Morganne’s birth.

And shortly before Haven’s adoption.

Her unwelcome visits have always had the same effect on me.  I lose my appetite.  I start nervously nesting.  I start to doubt my capability to love a child in the way that he/she needs to be loved.  I start to question my ability to be the kind of mother that he/she needs me to be. I start to wonder if I can truly meet all of his/her needs in the way that they need to be met.

I begin to feel incapable.  Ill-equipped.  Unqualified.  Unprepared.

That’s the place in which I find myself today.

Like clockwork, Insufficiency has stopped by for a visit.  I’ve left the door of my heart cracked open, and she has found her way in, once again.

As we draw closer to welcoming our sixth child, River, into our family, I can literally feel the weight of insufficiency bearing down on me.

But, thankfully, I know the remedy.  I have learned how to find relief from Insufficiency’s burdensome weight.  I’ve been in this place before, and I have learned how to keep her from taking up permanent residence in my heart.

Do I channel my inner Gal Gadot and try to intimidate Insufficiency by convincing her of the depth of my strength?  Do I try to persuade her into thinking that I’m the invincible Wonder Woman?  Do I spit out some passionate declarations, infused with phrases of female empowerment?  Do I boldly declare that the wells of my fortitude run deeply within me, making me more than sufficient for the task at hand?

No.

So, what’s the remedy?

The remedy, for me, is simple.  But, it is a remedy that I must administer daily to my soul during times such as these.

I have to look Insufficiency right in the eyes and explain to her that I am, indeed, insufficiently suited for this thing called motherhood.

The remedy isn’t found in convincing her that I am sufficient, and that I can do this.  The remedy is found in an admittance to her that I am not sufficient, and I cannot do this.

The remedy is found in forcibly taking her face into my hands, shifting her gaze toward the One who IS sufficient, and telling her that I am entrusting my children into His care.

The remedy is found in forcibly admitting to her that I am NOT sufficient.  But, I know the One who is.  I know the One who is able to sufficiently meet my children’s needs, both seen and unseen.  And my job, as their mother, is to point them toward Him.

I have to continually remind myself, especially during these times when another child’s entrance into our family is just over the horizon, that my job as a mother is not to sufficiently meet all of my children’s needs.  The truth is, I cannot meet all of them.  I can meet many of them.  But, not all of them.  No matter how hard I try, or how much I would like to believe otherwise, there are areas that my human hands simply cannot touch within the hearts my children.

But, as I trudge deeper and deeper into this thing called motherhood, I have found great peace in knowing that, contrary to popular belief, it is not my job to meet every single need that my children have.  My primary job, as a mother, is to introduce my children to the One who can meet all of their needs, and then some.

Our Sufficient Savior.

Jesus Christ.

~The One who is able to see the wounds inside the hearts of the three children who have come to us through adoption, and is able to dig deeply within them to patch them up.  He sees the wounds that even I, as their mother, will never be able to fully see or understand.  He has an all-encompassing understanding of their pain, their trauma, and their loss.  He can heal them in ways that I never could, on my own.

~The One who knows exactly what life is like for my eldest son, who falls on the autism spectrum.  He knows what it is like because he wired and created his brain.  He knows the struggles, He understands him, and He is able to carry his burdens far better than I ever could.

~The One who knows the difficulties of a life lived with brittle bone disease….who understands the extreme pain and setbacks that our little boy has faced during his five years on earth, and will continue to face as he navigates through life with an incurable, life-altering affliction.

~The One who knows the unpleasant role that anxiety has played in the life of my sweet eldest daughter, and how it has been a thorn in her side from the get-go.

~The One who knows how to help our daughter not just live with the limb difference that she has been dealt, but to triumphantly overcome it in every way.

~The One who knows every detail about our soon-to-be son’s life.  The abandonment.  The heart defect.  The major surgery.  The month-long hospital stay, without parents by his side.  The recovery.  The healing.  The two years spent in an institution.  The emotional and physical trauma.  He knows all of the details of his life.  The (literal) heartbreak he has experienced.  He knows every crack, every crevice, every hole.  And He knows how to fill them all.

~The One who knows how much brokenness is wrapped up in adoption, but also knows exactly how to bring about redemption and healing on levels that I never could, as a mother.

~The One who knows each and every need of each and every one of my beloved children, and loves them more deeply than I ever could.

~The One whose steadfast sufficiency has proven to be the sustaining force in my life, which gives me every reason to believe that it can also be the sustaining force in the lives of my children.

By this time next month, I will most likely be holding a Travel Approval from China in my hands.  And for the third time in my motherhood journey, I will be packing my bags, gathering up paperwork, and tackling my mile-long preparation list as I draw closer to welcoming a sixth child into my arms, through the miracle of adoption.

Chances are, Insufficiency will be my constant companion as I trudge through those preparations.  Chances are, she will bring me to tears, a time or two.  Chances are, she will paralyze me, from time to time, as I continue to imagine my life with this soon-to-be son of mine, about whom I know very little.

The unknowns.  The how’s.  The what if’s.  They can certainly become overwhelming, at times.

But, I am not afraid of Insufficieny’s next visit.  I am ready.  She has come at me before, and she will probably come at me again.  And when she begins to afflict my soul, just as she has in the past, I will administer the same remedy that has continued to sustain me over my (nearly) twelve years of motherhood.

I will administer the remedy by nodding wholeheartedly in agreement when she tells of my insufficiency as a mother.  And, when she finishes, I will whisper, “Amen,” under my breath, knowing that she is right, and knowing that it’s okay.  In fact, it’s more than okay.

I am insufficient.  My children cannot depend on me to fully meet each and every one of their needs.  But, they were not created to be solely dependent on me.

As their mother, I am not fully sufficient.  I never will be.

But, I don’t have to be.

Because He is.

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“We need to recognize that we are not fully equipped to meet all of our children’s needs, and that our greatest priority as parents is to gradually transfer our children’s dependence away from us until it rests solely on Christ.” 

(Craig Groeschel)

 

 

Silent Tears

October 10, 2017

Didn’t sleep well last night.

Got to have a few minutes of face time with River just before heading to bed, and he was NOT happy.

Cried off and on the whole time.

Very hard to witness that from the other side of the world.

Bryan was recording it, and he sent me the video this morning. I pulled it up and watched it with Haven.

Before I knew it, he had silent tears streaming down his perennially happy face.

Didn’t say a word. He just watched River cry, and cried along with him.

His mind doesn’t remember any of the time he spent in an orphanage. But, clearly, his heart still does…and seeing that this morning broke mine. 

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#adoption #beautifulbutmessy #somuchpain #somuchloss #butsoworthit

Mighty to Save

October 9, 2017

My heart was full this morning. 
This girl has been singing from the moment she learned how to talk. I can remember hearing her sing full songs (on key) as a two-year-old, and praying that God would take her voice and use it for His glory someday. This morning, as I watched her sing a solo in a large sanctuary full of people, it became clear that God is doing just that. So thankful that He has given her this gift. And so thankful that He has given her to us…

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What a sweet, sweet sound this song must have been to our Savior’s ears…

BLASTIN’ BLUEBERRIES!

October 8, 2017

Great season, girls! You proved that hard work pays off!
💙💙💙💙💙

~ Tourney: 2ND PLACE

~ Team Word: EFFORT

~ Team Quote: “TIME+EFFORT=RESULTS”

~ Record: 14-4 ~

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Woo Hoo!! Hendricks County 10U Tourney Runners-Up!! 🏆

Gracie and the Blueberries knocked my socks off today. They played 5 games (yes, 5) and battled their way into the championship game. They gave it all they had. Left it all on the field. Walked away completely exhausted, but with some beautiful new hardware in their hands. So very proud of all of them!!

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Dads have to make tough decisions sometimes. So do coaches. He happens to be both of those things to both of his girls. Today, he couldn’t be with Gracie at her tourney because he needed to be with Sidney at hers. He hated to have to make that decision, but he loved listening to Gracie recount the entire day for him as they sat on the couch together tonight. He sure is proud of his Blueberries for doing what they did this weekend…

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A Pillow for River

October 5, 2017

River’s special pillow arrived today. 

Can’t wait for him to try it out in a couple of months in his very own bed, in his very own home, with his very own family.

It features the names of everyone who helped Sidney and Grace with their adoption fundraiser.

They’re so grateful for each and every contribution that was made toward their upcoming travel expenses. And they’re so ready to bring their little brother home…

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