We celebrate a lot in our house. With four children, there’s always a birthday right around the corner, but on top of those, we’ve been known to celebrate potty success, OT goals being met and our favorite, Adopt-a-versaries.
Adopt-a-versary is a word I created to recognize the anniversary of each of my children’s adoption days. Many people call this day the Gotcha Day and regardless of the name, it’s a day worth celebrating!
June 28, 2013 marked the final (I think!) adoption for our home. Our youngest came to us almost exactly two years earlier and our life went from hectic to sheer chaos. She was a long-awaited addition as we knew of her existence for many months before we actually got to hold her in our arms. From the moment she arrived, she was smiles and unrestrained love.
We prayed for and over her for months prior to her arrival. I debated, begged and pleaded with God unsure if I could handle another child. He comforted me and eased my fears. He prepared my heart for my soon to be family of six and He reminded me that He has a far greater plan than I could imagine. I gave Him control. After all, with three children already, I didn’t have time to take the reins!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Jeremiah 29:11 is my life motto. I hold tightly to it when I’m feeling overwhelmed, uncertain or straight up scared. Jeremiah 29:11 can be your lifeline, too. God has plans for us! Plans to prosper and not harm us. Plans for hope and a future. Honestly, what more do we need than prosperity, safety, hope and a future? Nothing! With God, and His promise, we have everything. It’s an absolutely beautiful and calming realization.
Four years ago when I walked out of the courtroom with four children under the age of three, many people thought I was crazy. Many people, including myself, wondered how I would do it. Emotions flowed freely and I felt blessed, ecstatic, loved and full. Satan wanted me to feel stressed, scared and overwhelmed, but I leaned solidly on the knowledge that God has plans for me and my family.
Today, I celebrate my baby – a spunky, planning, flipping, cartwheeling, baby-loving daughter of the King. Today, I celebrate obedience, believing in God’s promise and love. The beautiful, soul-filling love of a God who makes the perfect plans, heals broken hearts and has blessed me more than I could have ever imagined and far more than I deserve.
Today is a day worth celebrating.
Am I too strict? Not strict enough? Am I scarring my kids for life? Am I molding respectable adults? Surely I’m not the only parent who struggles with these thoughts on a regular basis.
Most days, I have no idea how to answer any of them.
Recently, my children have been testing limits. A lot. They’re testing limits inside the home, outside of the home, with us and with others. It’s exhausting and quite honestly, I take it personally. I immediately wonder what I am doing wrong for them to behave that way and beat myself up with how I’m failing them as a mother. I don’t allow room for the simple understanding that they’re children learning their way in life.
The reality is, if it didn’t bother me, I’d be doing something wrong. If I didn’t discipline them for their choices, I’d be failing them as a mother.
Proverbs 13:24 NIV
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
The one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Do you see the beautiful encouraging power in that sentence? Not only is God detailing the need to discipline our children, but the mere fact that it can be found in His word is evidence that He knew it would be necessary.
Discipline is necessary. Love associated with discipline is spoken of several times in the Bible. Loving discipline is what teaches our children that there are consequences for their actions. Loving discipline is what molds respectable adults.
Satan, not God, works in telling us otherwise. Satan feeds our minds with the lies that we’re doing something wrong because discipline is necessary. Satan steals the love from the situation and taunts us with self-loathing.
Satan is the problem, not our children.
This post is a part of Five Minute Fridays. http://www.fiveminutefriday.com
Write for five minutes on the prompt ‘steady’.
The first thing I always think of when given a new prompt is some cliche phrase. This week, the prompt is ‘steady’ and my brain immediately thinks of the phrase “slow and steady wins the race”
As much as I didn’t want to go that route, here I am going there because it is so true. Slow and steady DOES win the race. How often do we rush ahead trying to manipulate God’s timing because it’s not matching our own? How often do we attempt to skip steps in God’s plan because, quite frankly, it’s just taking too long.
It’s imperative to slow down and when we do, we win the race. We win God’s grace and blessings. He has beautifully, perfect plans for us and our haste decreases our ability to see the beauty. When we’re speeding along, rushing from one destination to the next, we’re missing so much.
Steady. Slow and steady. This life is not a race to be won, but to be steadily enjoyed. When we seek joy in the path he has laid before us by being steady in our pace, we’re honoring Him. We’re saying “I trust you, Lord”.
Today at the breakfast table, my children were arguing about who their “real” brother or sister was. They are still young – 8,7,6 and 6 – but the term “real” makes my skin crawl. They’re not negating the relationships they have with one another; they’re simply wondering about their birth connections. It’s natural, it’s developmental and it’s nothing short of hard.
I thought I would have a bit longer until they dove into the tough questions about adoption. I was so wrong. My oldest began asking questions at the age of three. The others followed suit pretty similarly and now we go through phases of questioning and phases of silence. It’s easy to forget my children are adopted because in my eyes, they’re just my children. They don’t forget. Even if they don’t talk about it all of the time, their little minds are working hard to process what it all means. They’re working to understand the complex nature of their lives.
When the argument broke out at the breakfast table, I took a deep breath and prepared for battle.
“You’re all brothers and sisters, but you two came from the same belly and you two came from the same belly.” I explained. This appeased them momentarily, but I could see the wheels turning in my oldest daughter.
“Well, where’s my mommy now?”
“Your mommy is standing right here with your Cheerios, but your biological mother, that’s the name we use for whose belly you grew in, is in Heaven.”
“Wait…my mom died?!”
“What did you do, steal us?”
“No honey, it’s called adoption. Your biological mother knew that we would love you and have a happy life with you so she wanted us to adopt you.”
This was not new information because we’ve been open about their adoptions since it happened, but as I watched her process, I felt a little guilty. On a very basic level my statement was honest, although I know that someday I’m going to have to get into the nitty-gritty details of their adoption. I dread that day. These fleeting conversations are difficult enough and I don’t want to imagine what they’re going to look like when their minds are able to comprehend more complexities.
As I wiped sweat from my brow thinking that I had survived this episode of tough questions, I hear that same daughter whisper to her brother, “Hmm…I wonder why our momma gave us away.”
I’m pretty sure my heart audibly broke at this point. We try not to use the phrase, “gave away” in our home. It sounds too negative and although the situations around my children’s adoptions weren’t ideal, I will never deny them the knowledge and truth that their biological parents loved them.
“Your biological mother loved you so much and she didn’t think that she could give you a happy life. She knew that we really wanted a baby and would love you and help you have a happy life. She wanted you to be adopted.”
I’m a writer. I play with words for fun and yet can barely complete a coherent sentence when faced with these questions. How do you convey the sacrifice, the heartache, the joy and blessings of their situation in a way that they understand? I’ll spend years trying to figure it out.
The best answer I have is love. Your biological parents loved you so much that they allowed us to adopt you. We love you beyond explanation. What more do they really need to know?
The world sees me wearing many hats. The world doesn’t see the blaring neon lights of my subconscious labeling me a fraud.
When I’m told that I’m such a good mother, I wonder if they know that I just lost my cool when my youngest asked for the hundredth time what we were doing next.
When I hear that my husband is lucky to have me, I wonder if they know that I just huffed and puffed because he left crumbs on the counter …again.
When I’m complimented on the job I do, I wonder if they know that I’m actually useless without the people surrounding me.
These are the hats my subconscious flaunts. These are the hats that I feel I’m hiding from the world. If they knew my struggles, my anxiety, my failures, my sin surely they wouldn’t be throwing compliments my way.
As mothers, wives, professionals, friends – as people – we are so hard on ourselves. We spotlight the negative and dismiss the positives. We see ourselves as impossibly broken and imperfect beings. We are imperfect people striving for the love and acceptance of an imperfect world.
The reality? We are impossibly broken, imperfect beings, but we are God’s impossibly broken, imperfect sons and daughters
God loves us regardless of our imperfections. He sees into the darkest corners of our heart and past the blazing signs of fraud, liar and imposter in our minds. He loves us anyway.
Romans 5:8 God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Christ died for us. For the fraud, the liar, the imposter, Christ died. We will never be good enough for this world, but even in our imperfections, we are worthy to God.
The world sees me wearing many hats, but He sees into my very soul. His is the only acceptance I need. You are worthy is the only sign that needs to light my subconscious.