Saturday, July 30, 2016

Adoption: Sometimes Love Takes (A Long) Time


Again, the approach of our one-year anniversary of receiving our new children into our home had led me to lots of introspection.  The week before we picked the children up I told the children we already had, "Just give it a year.  Things will be really different in a year.  At first it will be hard and strange, but after a year it will be okay."

I was wrong.

It is really different now than it was at first.

In many, many ways it is better.

But after a year it is not okay; it is still hard and strange.

The kids are starting to call me out for my mistake.

I haven't known what to answer except to ask, "Would you give them back?"

And my angriest children say, "Yes!"

.
.
.

I would not give them back . . . most of the time.

I would not give them back.

They are ours forever.

It's just taking far more time to feel that forever connection than I thought.

So I'm giving us all another year.

And perhaps, after that, another . . .

Until forever.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Adoption: Anne of Green Gables is a Lie

*A long time ago, I was advised by Brother's therapist to write about and share what I'm learning about adoption.  I've had a hard time sharing my thoughts, but recently a couple of thoughts have coalesced into a sort of organized form.  Here's one of them.



Anne of Green Gables is one of my best friends.

I've loved her for over 30 years, and I know her better than I know myself.

I've spent time introducing her to my daughters, hoping they will love her as much as I do (they don't seem to, but that's okay because it means she's more available to me when I want to spend time with her).

Every time I read her story, I am filled with a sweet peace and joy.  I walk around the house smiling over her childhood antics, inspired by her young love, and determined to follow her tender example of motherhood.

I just love Anne.

However, her life, her innocence, her healing, her everything is a lie.

Kids who are abandoned, abused, and adopted simply don't act like Anne.

They certainly have the potential to heal and love and be loved as Anne does, but their road is far rougher, far less sweet than hers.

We are approaching the 1 year anniversary of the arrival of our newest 4 into our home.  We have all grown so much!

But we are also battle scarred and sick at heart . . . and many of us are sick in mind and spirit.

It has not been a funny year where our worst troubles have been arguments with friends or ineffective hair care products.

It has been a gut-wrenching year where our simplest troubles have been arguments with friends and finding the right hair care products.

I still love Anne.

Her story is fiction.

But I love fiction.

The best kind of fiction teaches truths wrapped up in the made-up stories.

Truths like how Marilla was constantly stumped with how to best teach and love Anne and how she messed up often but had Matthew to help make up the difference.

Truths like how Anne was so exuberant that sometimes she made foolish choices but really she had good in her heart.

Truths like how forgiveness and apologies and working hard together matter.

So it doesn't matter than Anne of Green Gables is (sometimes) a lie.

Adoption is much, much harder than her darling story makes it out to be.

I still love Anne.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Word is "Wait"

Photo taken and edited by Pixie
 I've watched for several years now as various bloggers choose a word to define/guide their year.

"Hygge" has been popular recently.

I noticed "inspire" for a while.

"Aligned," "passionate," and "joy" are other words I've seen and read all about. 

I've never once been interested in jumping on the bandwagon.

However, I've recently been praying in preparation for the upcoming school year, and I've gotten a single word answer to most of my questions.

How can I be a better mother?

Wait.

How do I best meet the needs of ____________ (fill in the blank with each child's name)?

Wait.

What changes do we need to implement this school year?

Wait.

That's a hard one--I feel pressed to make decisions!

But I also feel peace about waiting because the advice to wait seems to be directing me not in waiting to make decisions, rather in making decisions that allow room to wait for kids to heal, grow, and be ready.

When my temper flares, and I'm scolding a child the voice presses into me, "Wait."

When I'm in a hurry (I'm always in a hurry), I feel the word, "Wait."

When I'm inclined to say "no" I think about waiters and waitresses and how waiting on someone is serving them.

And I'm realizing that I'm receiving personal, perfect, loving counsel from my Father in Heaven about how to become more like Him, how to teach my children who He is, and how to manage our homeschool.

So, I'm adopting a word.

Wait.

In this word I will learn patience where I am usually impatient--,
I will learn service where I am sometimes selfish--
I will allow room for change instead of pushing--
I will watch for the miracles outlined in Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 
I will wait upon the Lord . . .

actually, I will learn to wait upon the Lord.

(I have a lot to learn.) 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

2015-16 Reading List

I just realized last night as I was reading aloud to the kids that it is officially the start of the new school year--at least as far as our state defines a school year.  Some years ago I adopted the state's start/stop definition to help me organize our reading list, so it's time to archive this list and begin a new one.

The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks by Nancy McArthur
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Little Pear by Eleanor Francis Lattimore
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking
The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff
Tirzah by Lucille Travis
The Adventures of Buster Bear by Thornton Burgess
Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
50 Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
All About Sam by Lois Lowry
Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
Owls in the Family by Farley Mowatt
You Come Too by Robert Frost
An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
The Mozart Question by Michael Morpurgo
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ancient Greek Myths and Legends by Philip Ardagh
Michaelangelo by Diane Stanley
The Storybook of Science by Jean Henri Fabre
The Winged Girl of Knossos by Erick Berry
The King of Men by Olivia Coolidge
The Great Brain by John D Fitzgerald
The Story of Science: Newton at the Center by Joy Hakim
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster
The Secret School by Avi

Day by day, the reading we do together seems so insignificant, but cumulatively it adds up to good experiences all the way around. 

It's clear that I was catering to Nature Angel and Little Princess this year--re-reading some old favorites that they missed the first time around--but I think quality literature is quality literature no matter how old you are, and truly, the older kids had a good time feeling young again as they listened in to books they hadn't visited in 5 or 8 or 10 years.

I know I did. :)