Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Joys of Parenting...

Things never cease to surprise me.

As I'm sitting here trying to get caught up on some things, job searching, laundry and watching Parenthood on Netflix.

They just had the scene where a child "Max", who has Aspergers and frightened of all things fire, demands to go out trick or treating. The parents argue back and forth, over every minute detail, knowing that he's never been able to do anything like this before - or seemingly even come close. They tried to manipulate all the different variables they could to make sure their son was not scared, and could have a successful outing. They bickered, took precautions and manipulated before and during the events. The anxiety levels were clearly high as they tried to preempt and anticipate all known and unknown variables. 


There was one BIG Haunted house that they'd agreed to stay away from. But all the little cousins wanted to go to that house. Max said he could do it too. The parents said no. They gave all the different reason why this was a bad idea. They were scared of ruining it for him. Scared of allowing him into a situation he would have no opportunity for success. 

I know that feeling. Oh how I have lived that. When it's hard. When life gives you an unregulated season. You try so hard to do what ever you can to make it just a tad bit easier on your kid. To make sure you aren't putting him in a situation that he can 'fail' at, because then things just spiral out of control. It isn't failing. It's the fall out from being afraid, and the oh so very very very fragile confidence meter that gets smashed and effects his every movement throughout the days to follow.

So we do our best, to make sure they are in a situation that there is little opportunity for failure. Little opportunity for triggers. Little opportunity for unknown variables. We stay in the safe. The known.

Max went to the house, came running down the stairs screaming in excitement for his Mom and Dad- to show him the goodies they gave him. Clearly surprised and happy- the parents embraced him.

I broke down in tears. I broke down with my lip splitting open from the smile on my face. So happy for this fictional character, known as Max.

Every day is a Surprise around here. Everyday, even the hard ones, he does things, that I'm reminded, I thought he'd never be able to do. He functions at levels so high, I thought he'd be a teenager before he got do do some of the things he does.

It is hard. Hard. Hard. To stand back. Let him explore. Let him have space. Let the variables intrude. Let the unknown and opportunities for 'failure' surround him.

It us unimaginably breathtakingly beautiful, so see him manuever and find his way through all the obstacles and 'succeed'. New things. You can literally seen that confidence meter as it grows and gets less fragile with every success. With every decision he makes on his own. With space to run and explore. With the spiral that brings him down, passed right by. My son is amazing. And he works so hard at every new experience. He works hard at making good choices. And he never fails to recognize the moment. God is good.

*I say all of this knowing that, part of that growing confidence also means that his inhibition wanes in many areas. That may mean that he gets out of bed far earlier than me and gets a snack, reads a book, turns on the tv and picks up the phone to call someone to ask them to pick him up after school... at 7am. I'm sure my retired, sleep late parents loved that. As much as I had to tell him that was not ok... I was really happy that he COULD WOULD do it. He is amazing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Parenthood Makes Me Cry...

Both literally and the tv show. Looking back I've been posting some hard heavy stuff lately. That's part of what's been circling the drain known as my brain these days... but the other part is what has kept me absent. Big giant happy tears. I'm really enjoying this lately. Enjoying. Enjoy. Joy. Finally, most everyday.

I'll post pictures later, but I wanted to post this, so that in a day or two, when my emotions, hormones and positive purposeful parenting has gone down hill, and I've found myself screaming like a banshee feeling like we've been in the pit of H. E. double hockey sticks forever... I will have this as a record / reminder that it isn't true. That things are really good. Hard. Difficult. Intense. Scary. but oh sooo very very sweetly good.

Look at his confidence in this walk. Oh my goodness. I'm so grateful. So grateful to be a part of his life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Friends

Before the mom's knew what was happening. Before the mom's were even in the picture these two had each other.

















Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Fear...

Preparing to travel to Ethiopia was the kneebuckling part of the journey for me. At least, until the point the bags were checked in at the airport. (I didn't even care that they told us upon checking in that there was no way they would arrive in Addis... whatev')

Little whispers in my ear. Little images in the night. Thoughts of the "What if" scenarios. But one- one scenario stuck. I could see it happening. Here the voices. Picture the room. Even now when I think back on that 'scene', I picture my fear scene- not the real one.

I prayed. Oh brother where art thou, did I pray. Great big sobbing, giant tears on my knees, pull the car over, hide under my desk, can't speak for hours pray & tears. What do I do God, when this happens? What do I do?

You see, I'd seen it so clearly, over and over again. I'd prayed about it over and over again. That I thought for sure- I 'knew' it was God, preparing me for what was about to happen. So much so, I almost repacked my bags 100 times preparing to have to stay in Ethiopia indefinitely.


In my mind, God was telling me - His family wants him back. I thought "for sure", our family meeting would culminate in me hearing that now that he was healthy and would live, they would like for him to return home to Wolayta.

Knew. For. Sure.

I'm admitting to you here and now, that I made a photo album of pictures and thought of a hundred others tactics to sneak into that meeting and use, for when those words were spoken. I really did.


In the end, the album and all other tactics stayed home. Did not even make the flight.



I don't think I ever voiced this out loud. Because that would make it too real. But that sneaky suspicion that God was preparing me, his new- little- baby- know- nothing- Christian, was ever present, and precipitated every action, word and thought in those months.

What would I do, when it happened?

  • Now, in reality- most of us know that 1- the agencies have prepped the families over and over again that they can not expect such things nor say such things. And 2- they would never translate it, even if they did. In fact, I'm sure many of them have used the "look at what America looks like" "school" "food" "easy life" tactics to win over the families. Which is yucky and sucky and makes me feel like a nasty "ho' for only now realizing the manipulation I participated in- even if it didn't happen in front of me. NOW I KNOW. 

Just for a moment- forget about the agency interference. Think about what would you do in a moment like this?

It's scary.

"Sorry Charlie. Court says he's mine now."

"Umm. Ok?"

What?

That's where I was from November to January. Stuck in a - what? Where? Should I do? Now?

That was my fear. That was fear, knocking on the door. It wasn't God speaking to me, giving me answers on how to be prepared to manipulate, take the baby and run scenario. It was outright Fear.
  • God didn't put that there. But, heck yes, He allows that. He doesn't save us from all our fears. How else are we stretched to grow? How else do we grow deeper in faith?

*******
Fear. Pain. Growth.

It's a common theme on this journal o mine.

*******

I do not know what I would have done- had that scenario actually played out. I don't. But that is where my heart went upon reading, the now long absent, posts from a place call simplicity blog. It smelled like fear.

And I wonder, if that isn't a good question, we should be asking the first parents. Or should adoptive parents, at least pose the question before themselves? I don't know. I really do not know. I will never know- until the situation is staring me in the face. I hope I take the God paved road. I hope I take the ethical route. I hope I take the road the empowers rather than oppresses. I hope. and I hope. and I hope.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Year over year...

Yup. Same wagon.  Yup. Same young man.



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Black. White. Grey. Justice is a God thing!



Stewing. Brewing. Praying.

For almost a week, every quiet moment I get, my head fills with with with.... well... honestly...

Anger.
Self- Rightousness.
Prayer.

Pretty much in that order.

I thought I was ready. But I'm not. As I sat down to right it out I knew I needed to sit, go to church and pray on it one more day.

Of course, what I have to say, means nothing to this situation. I'm sure of that. I'm also reasonably sure that God's Will, will be done here.... but.... things were done, in the name of Jesus Christ, that, I believe, to be wrong. And that, my friends, is not kosher ok with me. But, they will be held accountable. As will I. This I know.

I have actually been to their blog before this crisis. I may visit it more often.

I want to believe that God's presence was so over powering they simply said 'yes God' and did his will. But, but... but... it sounded like fear. It sounded like surrendering to the fear.

I believe they "knew" they were acting "properly". I believe they are God fearing, Go Jesus loving people act in the Holy Spirit folks.

I believe every. single. one. of us fail at living that out every. single. day.

I believe adoption is a knee buckling, kick you when you're down, put fear in your heart like you've never thought possible, beautiful, scary, righteous, very tricky, reprehensible, blessed, praiseworthy, morally trying, painful, fulfilling, test your faith in God and all humanity process.


That doesn't stop with 'homecoming' or 'finalization'.

I do not want to be an ASSuming ass, as I have been known to be. I want to learn from the mistakes of those throwing mud on people, threatening damnation and twisting verses as if they were only meant for them.

I know it is possible to give rise to the oppressed, and still be an oppressor. I'm quite sure, that is what many most all unjust wars are predicated upon. I'm quite sure that was not how Jesus lived.

I know some will respond to that statement by saying "Yes! This is a war. It is the devil we are at odds with."  ummm- perhaps. But let us remember, that God loves that family. Each and every one of them, regardless of where they live. And Jesus was not an Oppressor. Jesus didn't build a kingdom by showing riches, benefits, heirs and genealogy.  Jesus showed love, grace and mercy.

I believe that some human laws, regardless of black & white or grey areas, are truly unjust and therefore MUST be broken for the sake of humanity.  This is CLEARLY NOT the case here.  (I do not use bolded font often).


This is a case of a family saying, "stay away from my kid. She is one of us. She is not available for adoption." This is a case of privilege showing up in abundance to intimidate, squander, oppress and manipulate. Showing 'evidence' of their 'haves' in order to deflate and humiliate the 'have nots', berating them into succumbing. It is torture. Torture they used to get the answers they wanted.
*************

Most of the week, I didn't feel like I could show my 'face' here until I could garner some clear thinking. But the more I thought, the more judgmental I became. The more protective I felt of my friends for sticking their necks out in the name of justice. But it didn't seem right, writing a post to simply back up my friends. Its more than that. (this, they already know.)

I read the original post. Presumably, just as they were deleting comments. Before many/any edits were made, before they changed the title (check link address vs. title now) and before it was removed entirely. My first instinct, was not ANGER. Did you hear that? NOT anger. By nature- I tend to be pretty hot headed angry. And reading those words, .... i got turned inside out and my Christian heart responded. All I could think about was a fear / real possibility I'd long ago suppressed. All I could do was pray about it for days. The last 2 days I've tried to forget about it. Maybe tomorrow. Although-- maybe not. Maybe this was it.

********
Edited to Add:  3 minutes after posting this, I log into fB and this is sitting at the top of my news feed from preacher Joyce Meyer:
Faith and love work together. Faith is energized by love, and we cannot expect our prayers to be answered if we are angry at someone or have unforgiveness in our heart. -Joyce (Mark 11:24-26)
 Ya- well, maybe that's what I'll work on tomorrow.