Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Whole Decade (with Molly)

      My blog is dedicated to family life after adoption.  A huge factor in adopting and adapting is siblings.  One of our siblings is having a birthday today.  Today my Molly is 10.  Every parent thinks their children are amazing.  And they are.  God made all kids to have their own little personalities and quirks.  Molly isn't just amazing and quirky.  She's exceptional.  The night she was born (at 3#11 oz, after an ambulance drive and an emergency CS), she proved to the world her strength and character.  The NICU doctors told us "She's early, she's tiny, she's going to need help breathing....okay her breathing is great...she'll need a feeding tube....well, she's figuring out sucking, so we'll go ahead and pull that there other tube out too."  I always felt that if I wasn't her food source, she really didn't need me.  She was always just so  strong and determined.
  Those traits are still hers.  Earlier this year, she told us that she would raise her own funds to go to Rwanda on a Visiting Orphans trip. We shouldn't have doubted her.  She has her trip raised and enough extra to begin providing extra food for Kimisagara.

Busing tables at Pizza Ranch for a Rwanda fundraiser.  

         Years ago, before she was old enough to start school, Molly got bored with me.  She'd taught herself to read and had long passed the preschool stuff.  As I was learning about her being "gifted," I was told that frequently, gifted children lack sensitivity or the ability to relate to their peers; that they can become overwhelmed with the problems of the world and that sometimes making friends is hard.  Molly has overcome this, and although she is always writing a new story about rescuing near extinct animals or making adoption mandatory, she still offers the new girl to jump rope with her crew at recess.  The girl can't fit into any stereotype.  Love that. 
   I love that Molly does her own thing. A couple of weeks ago, she wore new Toms for the first time.  I had warned her to watch her step (she's more than a little klutzsy and frequently day dreams, a bad combo) while walking home from school.  Then I watched her step into some mud.  And sink a bit.  I was mad!  I scolded her and she said, "Mom, I never want to be a girl that worries so much about how I look.  I wanna be myself."  So many lessons there!  After discussing the difference in cleanliness and hygiene, not to mention wasting her parents money on shoes, my heart to swell a bit to know that she has this sense of self. 
Is this vintage?
      There are a lot of reasons to celebrate big sis.  When Molly became sister to 3 brothers, she took on noise, stress, chaos, inappropriateness, nudity and frustration.  There have been many times that she has had to wait  a long time to tell me about her theater class or the newest story she's writing because of the dysfunction under our roof.  Every time that I am have a pang of guilt about that, I look at her patiently helping Etienne with his letters or giving Zeke a "warm up" snuggle and I know that she gets it.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


     It's difficult for me to write right now.  I want to be truthful and I want to stay transparent.  I want to express our new found hope; but not discount the daily battles that our boy is still working on.  It's such a fine, fine line.
     My mind thinks of all my friends in our trust based parenting group; the parents that get what I mean when I talk about my giant 6 yo moving his body like a toddler.  The moms that understand the heartache of fighting for a child, day in and day out, that doesn't believe he is worth fighting for.  I want to transpose some of the glimpses of healthy that we are getting more and more and more of.  I want those families to know God is bigger than the hurt any child has endured.  God may not fix it now but He sees and loves and knows each of these babies by name.  As they were, as they are and as they will become.
     Etienne only slept a few hours last night.  Once he needed all his sheets changed, he just couldn't settle his body or his mind back down.  He was in the unreachable place.  I think we both fell asleep just before dawn.  Needless to say, our morning was rough.  Tears over the shape of his Afro and that the toothbrush was "too wet."  Any parent familiar with the hardcore attachment stuff will know what I did.  I hugged him close.  I whispered words of Isaiah to him.  I made him stay right next to me.  This is where we have new hope.  He listened to me and he heard me and he felt me.  He stopped fighting me, he swallowed his tears and he said he was sorry.  I could reach him this morning.  He got out of that unreachable place.
     Those moments, they break my heart all over again for him.  They make me forget our long night and the endless laundry.  They remind me of where we have been and they give me more strength than a restful night of sleep could ever do.

"Great is your faithfulness; Your mercies are new every morning." -Lamentations 3:23

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

10,000 Reasons..

...for my heart to sing

  • waking up without tears

  • being a part of it. "It" being the group, the family, the activity, everything.
  • greeting me 
  • clean walls
  • no "misplaced" shoes, earrings, gloves. Okay, no misplaced of anything in a pair
  • dinnertime lasting forever.
Look at their faces. So into the conversation.  A little hoarding going on, but mostly just lovely, lovely chatter,
  • the siblings complimenting E, "Buddy, good job! You just walked down the stairs!"
  • Ryan telling me that I haven't cried in days.
  • Feeling loved.  All six of us.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fresh Paint

   For Christmas, my folks gave me the gift of painting.  Our stairway was more than an eyesore.  Homes with four kiddos are going to look a little rough,  but the wall hangings had been deliberately knocked off (resulting in drywall damage), most of the time Etienne flung himself down the stairs which meant all kinds of markings.  And lets not forget the endless battles with crayons, markers and pens.  Needless to say, I was thinking that this paint job may just be a waste of time.  Six weeks later, the walls are great.  E says things like, "I used to be that way..."  So beyond words grateful for this.
  And even more grateful for this.  I don't like angry or stressed, right?  We took this tonight, in the midst of some hardcore attachment parenting.  Etienne had a no good, very bad day at school.  One at which I know the other adults in his life were glad for the bell to ring.  He came home hyper, loud and looking for destruction.  We did our high protein snack, our 10 minutes of decompressing, our 20 minutes of jump roping.  We did our "brain builders." He stayed within a couple feet, always touching me.  And I didn't lose my mind.  I wasn't counting the minutes until Ryan got home.  This is evidence of God's grace.
  Because let me tell you, attachment parenting is hard.  Most kids that need down and dirty, Connected Child stuff, they are exhausting and frustrating beyond words.   No one really wants to do this intense stuff day in, day out.  Until a few weeks ago, when E needed me holding him, spending every second with him, giving him a ridiculous amount of one-on-one attention, I was gritting my teeth.
  So when E found love, his mama did too.  I have known for a long time now that I would jump in front of a train for this kid.  But now I would do it kicking and screaming and shouting at how good God is; how blessed that I get to be the mama that would die for him.

Monday, March 4, 2013

This is Better

     I sent Etienne to school with 2 apology notes and a check today.  One was regarding a broken bookshelf and a shattered box, the other a Junie B Jones book (who lets him check that out anyway? Really?!).  His report card was less than stellar and he was angry at us for going to a Maroon 5 concert without him.  All that is okay.  Sure, we expect him to be respectful, to represent Christ to his teachers and his peers; and I am pretty sure Jesus wouldn't crash into furniture, leaving it shattered but still "being the first in line, Mom."  (Insert Molly trying to tell him about the "first shall be last" here).  But....this is better.
    Thursday night, Etienne sat in the bathroom, praying, as I sat exhausted on the floor listening.  He had been more than a little insecure about his brother having a birthday and a lot of extra attention.
 "God, thank you for my warm house and for mac and cheese.  And please help me be potty trained.  Please strike life into people. Amen."
     I thought I misunderstood him, so I asked what he meant about striking lightening into people.  
"Not lightening, Mom! Life! God can strike life into people and that is what I was thinking when I told Keagon about God."
           "Huh?" Me, still on the floor in the corner, wishing someone else was hearing this.
"Well, everyday when I am telling Keagon about God, that is what I was praying.  He thinks we came from Adam and Eve, but I keep trying to tell him.  Tomorrow I have to tell him about Jesus on the cross."
     He went on to tell me his conversations with his friend that had been going on all week.  This child, this 6 year old, this boy that probably wore his  teacher out today, exasperated his sister and had me praying aloud for patience.  This kid who just a few weeks ago (!) never said he loved me and absolutely doubted his worth in Jesus.  This boy that can't sleep through the night and worries about a hangnail yet gets his hand stuck in the van door without a flinch.  This is our son that we have been fighting for.  Sharing  the gospel at recess.  Holy awesome!   There aren't words.
     I tear up thinking about this battle and how God always, always wins.  There have been many times in the last couple of years that I have physically found my own fists clenched and ready to fight for this child's heart;  I have felt so strongly that there was a spiritual battle going on for his soul to be all ours.   We know that God has plan for each of his children, and we have known for some time that someday, Etienne's redemption story would blow people out of the water.  The water is rippling here.
     So I know that we need to deal with the broken furniture and missing library books, but I don't care.  In the big picture (as my dad says), it doesn't matter.  Etienne has found love.