Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Not-Adoption

The making of a family can be a mysterious thing.

17 years ago I thought God would be building our family through adoption.  Though I agreed to six months of fertility treatments to satisfy my husband's need to know we had "done everything we could", I had already set my face and heart toward adoption.  I was 100% convinced this was God's plan for us.  We initiated the process of adopting a little girl from China.

No-one was more stunned than I when I became pregnant.  The shock was so deep it took several days to sink in.  Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled and ecstatic that this experience of pregnancy and child birth was going to be mine after all, but I had been so sure it was not for us that it took a while for my brain and heart to catch up with one another.  I was considered of "advanced maternal age" and while it was not a high risk pregnancy in any truly medical sense, we felt it wise to put the adoption on hold.

My next plan was one by birth and one by adoption.  Birthing one didn't mean we couldn't still adopt, right?  We desperately wanted at least two children.  Both my husband and I grew up with siblings, and that was a gift we wanted to give our new little daughter.  We viewed the child God had given us as a miracle (of course, each life is!), but I still felt very much like an infertile woman.  Surely I would not have more children by birth, would I?

cough, cough..... yes, God has a sense of humor!  He then gave us 4 healthy boys in fairly rapid succession with, sadly, several miscarriages in between.  We were immersed in babies, diapers, and joy so great that at times I ached with the sweetness of it.  We savored every single moment and every single experience of parenting little ones.  We learned.  We made mistakes.  We grew.

We came to trust God with the size and timing of our family, and with the method of building it.  We learned that His ways are higher than our ways, and His plans far better than our own.

Fast forward several years.  Job loss and financial hardship were also part of God's plan for our family, and I slowly began to release my dream of ever adopting a child.  It just didn't seem feasible.  Plus we were becoming decidedly "medium" (our pet word for middle aged!).  Maybe it had never been God's plan for us.  Maybe it was our own "solution" to our initial infertility.  Maybe God gave us adoption-loving hearts so we would have more compassion for the children of the world; and so we would act on that compassion through prayer and giving.  Through the years many of our friends and relatives adopted children, and I rejoiced in each of their amazing God stories.

My yearning to parent another child gradually gave way to deep contentment with the family God had built for us.  I was settled in my home as the "happy mother of children" and life was full.  Surely we were done?

Never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that God would complete our family through the brokenness of another one.  Never would I have dreamed that He would, literally overnight, plop a half grown child into our family and make her ours.  Never would I have guessed how deep and real and strong and fierce my love would be for a child not of my womb.

God has woven her so completely into my mother-heart.  In truthfulness, there are many hard moments... times where the reality of her past bleeds very heavily into her present.  She has learned a worldview very different from mine, and though hers is changing, sometimes the change comes with a heavy price.  Fighting for her future makes me battle weary at times.  In the course of weaving her into our family there are "dropped stitches" ~ and we have to face the pain of pulling out a few stitches and going back to weave them in correctly.  Sometimes she and I are very sure of each other.  Other times we are not.

But God is making it very clear ~ this is His plan for us.  This is His doing.  The family He is making of us includes her.  Technically it is not an adoption.  But it is family.

God's ways are mysterious beyond description and I am in awe.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday's Thankful THING!

Today in the mail each of the children received a letter from my parents.  They were numbered and needed to be read in order.  The final note told that they were coming for a visit in May!!!!  We are so excited!

Yes, this photo was staged, but the excitement is very, very real.

We love you Grandma and Grandpa, and can't wait to see you! We are so thankful for God providing the means for you to come!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday's Thankful Things

I am thankful for...

Our great God



My children

My children worshiping God together through music!

Wordless Wednesday ~ When Little Man Makes Lunch!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our Week in Review

Last week wrapped up our study of the Civil War.  The middle schoolers and high schooler learned about the final battles of the war, the surrender, and how Lincoln's assassination set a different stage for reconstruction.  Our younger two boys finished reading in depth about Abraham Lincoln.  We recorded a great docu-drama off the National Geographic channel called "Killing Lincoln" and watched that as a family.  (Disclaimer:  one rather violent stabbing scene, and another graphic barn fire and shoot out during which Booth is killed.)  Very, very well done.

Son G (8th grade) is writing a 5 paragraph essay on the Battle of Gettysburg,  Son L (7th grade) is writing a 5 paragraph essay on Robert E. Lee, and son C (fifth grade) is writing a 3 paragraph report on Abraham Lincoln.  Those papers will all be finished and turned in this week.

New daughter H has been formally withdrawn from her public school and is officially a homeschooler now!  She received her new Math U See Pre Algebra book in the mail this week and has been very excited to start that.  As excited as I have ever seen her about math!! :-)  I have been working on a school plan for her that will fill in the gaps she has, while allowing her to learn at her own pace and in the manner that best fits her style.  It's a work in progress, but we are slowly getting there.  It is quite a thing to take a middle schooler out of public school mid-year, unexpectedly, and plop her into a homeschooling family!  By God's grace we are all doing pretty well with the adjustments, but the flow and rhythm of school is not yet what I would like it to be.

We took a fantastic field trip this past week to a special presentation by our symphony orchestra!  It was specially designed for students, and was masterfully m.c.'d by the conductor.  We all enjoyed it immensely, but probably me the most!!  Symphony orchestra has always been one of my dearest loves....I do not think my sweet husband knows how deeply orchestra music resonates with me.  If he gave me nothing but orchestra tickets every birthday and Christmas for the rest of my life, I would die a happy woman!   (local friends, hint, hint)

(a note to Grandma...Little Man has since had a hair cut and looks quite snazzy now!)

We had a girls night out this week, and stamped home-made cards!  Great fun, and lots of beautiful cards to show for our effort.

I'm not a huge fan of grades, as they are often an artificial representation of what the student actually knows, but if you will allow me a proud mom moment regarding grades...daughter G received an A as her mid term grade in chemistry!  She worked HARD for that grade, and I am pleased that the letter grade shows how her hard work is paying off.  Her chemistry teacher is fairly tough (and it's NOT me!), so it was definitely an earned grade.  Great job G!!  We are proud of your work ethic!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Can't believe it's been a whole year since THIS amazing birthday celebration!  But time has a way of marching on.  We had co-op the day of my birthday, so I took a party with me to class!  (these are most of my students.... 3 were absent).

I asked for a "card shower" from my family, and this is how sons L and C interpreted that.... 21 cards made from notebook paper, with one sentence of appreciation on each one, showered down upon me!  Love those boys!

One of my boys was not feeling well the evening of my birthday, so we reserved my cake and ice cream until the next day when he could join us in the actual eating!

How truly blessed I am!  So many, many things to be grateful for.....

Lord, thank you for the gift of life, and the gift of age.  Thank you for my family, near and far, who have loved me and love me still.  Thank you for my incredible friends, who speak truth to me and love me no matter what.  Thank you for Your sweet presence, and for Your mercy.  Help me to cultivate gratitude, and to notice Your daily blessings throughout this next year.  I love you!