October 05, 2015

Life in Facebook Posts

All the things we've been doing for the last MONTHS according to Facebook posts.  I always have good intentions of blogging regularly.  Yes, I do.  Those fall apart.  Dear children's babybooks, this is as good as it gets.


 Love.  (from our annual Fourth of July bash)  ***aside*** Kamron shaved his head.  Seriously.  I still can not figure this phenomenon out.  I know this is "the thing" to do when men of a certain age begin to lose their hair, but I. Just. Don't. Get. It. 

July 9:  Hard night at football.

 July 10: Went on a walk tonight in search of beauty (and serenity)...Found it.

July 12:  Scarlett- age 8: So how do you get a baby in your belly? Pray and drink a lot of milk?"

 July 13: Two at church camp. Two about to beat the crap out of each other in full pads and helmets. We are nothing if not extremists.
July 16th:   LOCAL-ISH FOSTER AND ADOPTIVE MOMS... Several weeks ago a fellow adoptive mom told me she didn't know any other people in her real life who had adopted- they were all online. And I thought to myself, "WOAH! Maybe there are others out there who need a tribe?!" Tribe building is my favorite. After all, we have some unique parenting JOYS and challenges and we need each other. So I said to myself, "Megan, two things you do really well are bake brownies and invite people over." From there, I added "open a bottle of wine" for good measure. So if you are a LOUISVILLE/SHELBYVILLE KY area foster or adoptive mom, I just want to have you over to my house. I'm thinking July 16th. Help me spread the word, I want no mom left behind. No agenda here. If you want to tell us your kid is the best kid on the planet, we will rejoice with you. If you are about to send a foster child home to a rough situation, we will be sad with you. If you want to figure out how to navigate school family tree assignments, we'll brainstorm with you. If you just want to come for the brownies and wine and keep your mouth shut, I'm all about it. Basically, I just want to assemble fabulous women. Let's just build a little local community. If you'd be interested in coming, leave a comment below. Or if you know a mom who might be interested, tag her here. I'll send invites out with my address to anyone who is interested. I can't wait to see how this little experiment turns out...

****For the first meeting, we had over 20 moms.  For the second, we had none.  Which means people either hated the first one or they got SO MUCH SUPPORT they didn't need any more.  I served candy corn (classy) for that second one.  Which basically means I drank all the wine and ate all the candy corn with my mother.  Wine and candy corn is a totally acceptable dinner.

July 18th:  (From Kamron's Facebook)  All is right in momma's world again. Just delivered her Noah home from camp

 July 19: Learn to care for your child's hair, the adoption books say. Doing hair is a time that is ripe for bonding, they say. When I finally write a book, the chapter on transracial hair care will read, "endless hours of My Little Pony and hearing your child scream 'you are killing me!' repeatedly does not a bonding moment make." But dammit, my parts are getting freaking awesome. ‪#‎itsagoodthingshescute‬

July 20:  First sleepaway camp with a buddy. 

July 21: Maggie thinks she's a people.

July 22:  Great weather for a game!

July 23: We have two, little, spotted baby deer living in our woods who are starting to come out to play a lot in our back yard. It feels like Christmas every single time they peek their curious little heads out of the tree line.

 July25: My parents wore all their Eagles records (then cassettes) out. Don and Glen and the boys have always been one of our faves. Hanging out with my mom (my mom is funner than your mom) at The Eagles tonight.  Also, Don Henley is still the ultimate silver fox.

July 27:  Beach Babies  (in Hawaii)

July 29: Pulled off the road at a gorgeous beach and got the privilege of swimming with dozens and dozens of giant sea turtles. It was one of the most amazing things we've ever experienced. (Except miles who hates animals- he chilled on the sand) ‪#‎makingmemories‬

July 31:  (From Kamron's Facebook)  I'm a lucky guy. The "scenery" is beautiful. And the background isn't bad either! 
***he scored major points with that sweetness***


August 2:  I love these little adventurers! at-Napali Coast, Kauai

 August 4:  SISTAHS!  *** one of my favorite photos ever*** (as Hanalei Bay)

August 10:  I am having a minor (ok, major) panic attack about middle school. All my cute little elementary kids are wiping off their tennis shoes and putting their supplies in backpacks. And it's all good. But the middle schooler... Who is still sweet and innocent and who actually still likes me... I've been warned she will come out of that school on the first day all angsty and weird. And so today I'm feeling like elf... We will eat tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can and snuggle and soak it up...Because all the people have convinced me that in 36 hours she will become an unrecognizable monster and I will have all the tears and gnash my teeth about WHERE ARE THE YEARS GOING?!?! ‪#‎helpmetomcruise‬

August 12:  I'm usually doing a happy dance on the first day of school- this year I went down the rabbit hole of "next they'll be going to college and getting married and moving out and TIME IS MOVING TOO FAST." Lord, I pray these children will not be as dramatic as their mother. And that they will be kinder than necessary to everyone they meet. Amen.
First day of sixth, third and third grade. (Doing something a little different with Miles this year so he starts in two weeks)

August 12:  Miles has decided that starting school two weeks later than the others and being an "only kid" during the day has its perks. GranMary and Papaw David had him over for breakfast and he didn't have to share them with anyone. Then an afternoon on the pond bank with his great-granny. It's good to be king.

August 15:  These two lifelong besties survived their first week as middle schoolers. That accomplishment needs a sleepover for sure

August 17: Reading with Miles... He's cracking me up. The word we are trying to read is "parents". He says:
Pair of pajamas?
Pair of nuts?
Pair of noodles?
"No Miles. That word is parents."
"Huh? Are you sure? I think it's pair of nuts."

August 20:  Went to buy school uniforms this morning. Or as Miles calls them... School boy costumes. 

August 21:  There are few things cuter than my mother. Also, those leg muscles. For real.

August 24: So, Jen Hatmaker's new book arrived in my mailbox today. As I'm reading through it I keep thinking about all my girls I want to pass this on to- because I love to give my friends words to read (as evidenced by the ridiculous amount of text messages they endure). In high school I thought that I'd never in a million years want to stay in this "god forsaken town where people go to Walmart for FUN". But now, I wouldn't trade this small town life surrounded by people who love me big and who let me love them big right back for anything. 

August 29: EAGLES WIN!  Go Miles #30

August 29: A night out with friends.  I love these women. 

August 30: Sometimes twist outs accidentally take a wrong turn toward mad scientist.


September 3:  "Mom, every time I walk into the chapel at school I get the coughs. Lots of coughs. I think I've got an allergy to mass." - Miles, age 7.

September 7: 13 years ago, this hottie and I said "I do". There's no one else I'd rather be on this adventure with. I love you, Kamron Terry. Happy Anniversary! 

September 9:  Our power was out for thirty minutes, and all hell broke loose. No batteries. Not a single flashlight in our house worked, we only had two candles that weren't burned down to nothing. Children lost their ever loving minds because it was SO. DARK. AND OMG WE HAVE TO SLEEP IN THE DARK! I gave many speeches about children all over the world who don't have power blah blah blah. Essentially I learned in those 30 minutes that we utterly suck as people and that the stockpile of cooking oil and spaghetti noodles that Kamron keeps in the basement for the apocalypse is USELESS. We will last exactly 25 seconds when the zombies take over the world. God bless America. 

September 13: We seriously *NEED* a pygmy goat. (with my Dad's pygmy goat, Bucky)

September 18: "Mom, the next time I get my hair cut I'd like it to look like a farm. You know, how the fields have lines in 'em when they get mowed? That's what I want it to look like." 

September 18:  I just dropped off my baby (and all her darling friends) at her first school dance. Listening to a group of nervous 11/12 year olds is pretty much the best, most hilarious, most awkward thing ever. Love her.

September 19:  TOUCHDOWN MILES TERRY!!! Saturday mornings should come with a side of Xanax for the mothers. We ❤ #30

September 19:  From my mom's Facebook-  Our team raised $7,455 for Bike to Beat Cancer! Thanks to all who gave and those who came out to support the ride  (my mom with the bike and our whole extended family)

September 21:  I have been three weeks without soda. In related news, my coffee consumption is up 5073% as are my attempted murders.

September 24:  Noah wakes up 20 minutes before all the other kids every day. The two of us have breakfast together and snuggle and solve all the world's problems before 7am. This morning, over our Cheerios, he says, "I know I've heard it a million times but tell me the story of how you and daddy met and fell in love again." He grins all the way through it every single time. I can't think of a better way to start the day.

September 27: About a year or two ago, Sadie became obsessed with baking and decided she wanted to become a pastry chef. She has spent all of her free time this week writing a business plan for a "bake shop" she wants to open after school in our town. She's consulted cookbooks, business books, studied kitchen chemistry, priced out ingredients and printed business cards. Her birthday is in a month and all that's on her list is a kitchen-aid stand mixer. 

September 29:  When your children hear the new Selena Gomez song and are certain the lyrics are "I'm farting carrots" instead of "I'm 14 carats" hilarity will ensue.

September 30: You guys. I just can't even. The people who have invested in my Sadie her whole life... It's overwhelming. Over the last few weeks as Sadie wrote her business plan to open a bakery, we never anticipated how many people would want to encourage her. Those of you who messaged for our address to mail cookbooks and her darling math teacher who placed the first official order for the bakery... And then Grandma Neeter gifted her with the much desired mixer!!!. I just want to cry with how well people love my littles. Gosh, we have a great village.

July 04, 2015

Happy 7th Birthday, Miles!

Dear Miles,

Happy 7th birthday!  You are so stinkin' loved.  This year you celebrated five years in our family- we can't really remember what life was like before you were here. I'm sure we must have been really bored because you keep us so entertained!

Some highlights from your last year:

*You started and finished first grade.
*You played baseball on a team with Noah and Scarlett.
*You cut your dreadlocks off (that you'd been growning for YEARS!) in an unfortunate lice accident.Your whole look changed and mommy cried a little. Never fear, you say you are going to grow them back out.
*You made lots of new friends this year.
*You went on a boys only trip with daddy and got to go to your first professional baseball game.What you remember most about the trip, though, is that the hotel played a movie on the ceiling about megalodons and now you are afraid one will come and eat you up.
*You got to go to Florida TWICE and both times you LOVED jumping waves in the ocean.  Before this year you were always too afraid to get in.
*You spend hours making up elaborate games with all of your action figures.  You are very into battles between super heros and Ninja Turtles.
*You have your own sense of style.  Most of the time when we are in the house you have on the following outfit:  Shorts, sleeveless shirt or a jersey, one glove, one shin guard, toboggan, football hement and batman cape. It's rare for you to just have on "regular" clothes.

* You never sit still.  Ever.  A couple of years ago, when we were in the car, Daddy told you to stop fidgeting.  You couldn't hear him very well so you said, "Huh?"  He replied, "Don't fidget!"  And you said, "DADDY!  I AM NOT A PIDGET!"  So now when you are extra squirmy, we say that the pidget is in full effect.  This was definitely the year of the pidget.  

* You are kind and thoughtful and so adored.  

Miles, we love you to the moon and back.  You are such a great kid and we are so lucky to get to be your parents!


***Every year, I interview each of my kids on their birthday.  Usually, I ask the same questions every year so that I can watch how their answers change (or don't change) from year to year (2014) (2013) (2012) (2011)  (2010).  Sometimes I toss in a few new ones so that I can make sure to catch their little quirks and thoughts! ***

Mom:What do you want to be when you grow up?
Miles: NLF superstar football player
Mom:  What else would you maybe want to be?
Miles:  Be a dentist.

Mom: Do you want to get married when you grow up?
Miles: *looks mortified*  Yeah.  I mean almost every boy kinda has a girlfriend.

Mom: Do you want to have kids one day?
Miles: yeah
Mom:  How many?
Miles: Ummm, 4.
Mom: Why would you like to have four kids?
Miles: Because it will be easy to keep up with them.

Mom: What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Miles: That most of the time I am happy.

Mom:  Tell me some things about yourself?
Miles:  I like to play with my toys and basketball, football, jumping on the trampoline, air hockey and baseball.  I like to play games and that's all.

Mom: What is your favorite thing to do at school?
Miles: Math and recess and especially gym and computer lab

Mom: What is your favorite joke?
Miles:  Winner winner chicken dinner and guess what chicken butt.

Mom: What is your favorite thing about mommy?
Miles:  You care about other people.

Mom: What is your favorite thing about daddy?
Miles:  He likes to play with us.

Mom: Who are your best friends?
Miles:  Grant, Amias, Macy, Caroline, Max and Mia

Mom: What is your favorite holiday?
Miles:  Valentine's Day because it's filled with hearts.

Mom: What is your favorite thing about having a brother and sisters?
Miles:  So I don't get bored and I can play with them.

Mom: What's the worst part about siblings?
Miles:  I don't really have a thing to say about that.  Well, I might have one thing.  Sometimes we fight.

Mom: What do you think that high school will be like?
Miles:  I don't know.  I don't know what college or high school will be like.

Mom: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Mile:  To Kennethia's (his aunt)

Mom: If you could make up your perfect day and do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Miles: I would get up, do my exercises, jump on the trampoline, play with Maggie (dog) and play football, basketball and then go over to my friend's house.

Mom:  What is your favorite memory from being six?
Miles:  My favorite memory is playing beach football with my cousins when we goed to the beach with GranMary and David.

Mom:What's one thing you really want to learn how to do?
Miles:I want to learn how to be a real dentist or scientist.

Mom:  Why are you so cute?
Miles:  Because since I cut my hair it's cute and because I was born like that.

Current Favorites:
color: green
toy: Ninja Turtles
movie:  Cars 2
TV show:  Doc McStuffins
food: cheeseburger
candy: Smarties
book:  Simpsonville Elementary yearbook
song: The Lion Sleeps Tonight
sport:  football and basketball
ice cream: blue raspberry


July 02, 2015

Hey, Weary Foster and Adoptive Moms- I See You (and God sees you, too)

***This was originally written as a keynote speech for the Together In The Trenches retreat for weary foster and adoptive moms. ***

Parenting is a tricky thing.  It is the best of times and the worst of times.  The most joyous thing imaginable and also the hardest thing imaginable.  It is taking tiny little humans and helping them grow and become all that they want to be.  It is rejoicing when they work really hard and do well on a test or learn to do something new.  It's watching life through eyes of wonder.  It's caring enough to discipline and worry and lose sleep.  It is feeling like your heart could burst and break sometimes both in the same day.  And sometimes it's lonely.  I talk to so many foster and adoptive moms (and just moms in general) who feel lonely and isolated on this journey.  This one's for you.  

I struggle…   A couple of months ago I had lunch with my mom.  It was a day that my kid’s school had called and said, “Mrs. Terry.  Your child pushed two kids and then threw a stack of papers at her teacher’s head.”  Before we adopted the school used to call and say, “Mrs. Terry.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG!  We just wanted you to know that Noah’s lunch account was overdue and you needed to put some money in there.”  Oh my gosh- I miss those calls!!!!  So there I am after getting one of those crummy calls from school. The night before my kid had run away and given me the whole, “I’m sick of being in this family bit”.  You guys know this bit, yes? I was crying in the restaurant.  Servers love that by the way. *not*.  No one wants their kid to be that kid.  And yet- here we all are.  Our kids hurt and so we hurt.  I was telling my mom about what a fraud I felt like knowing that this retreat was coming up and I felt like I needed to be able to tell you all something profound and wonderful and hopeful and all I could think of was “My kid just tried to hurt her teacher... with paper.”  My mom gave me a little piece of advice.  She said, “Show up and do it anyway."  Sometimes us moms, we just need to show up, everyday and know that other people just show up too.

So you showed up. And I showed up- and here we are.   And I know that was not an easy task.  Because you are doing the hard jobs out here.  You are managing those phone calls from school.  You are kissing boo boos and giving hugs and making lunches day in and day out. You are throwing junk under the bed and in the closets before the social worker shows up.  You have to call 13,000 approved respite providers before you can even leave the house.  You probably got in a fight with your spouse right before you left the house and on the way here you wondered if it was even worth it.  Is any of this worth it? But you still did it.  You showed up.  And you move heaven and Earth just to show up for your kids every single day.  Even when you don’t want to.

I have had a lot of days when I didn’t want to.

Let me tell you a little bit about our family.  There are six of us- me, my husband, and four kids.  My husband and I were married about 28 seconds before we found out we were expecting our first child. So we had a kiddo and then a few years later we had another one.  One that cried all the time. And I was DONE. I mean done done.  I wasn’t even really sure I liked being a mom, which was strange- because all I’d ever really wanted to do was be a mom. A few years after pronouncing we were done, adopting was on my heart.  I’m sure like many of you, it felt like God’s true calling on my life. It was kind of crazy because we only knew one or two other families in real life who had adopted and then Monica and Chandler on Friends. After a year of me talking to my husband - he would say arm twisting- about adoption he finally said, “Ok.  Look into it.”  So what I did was get out the yellow pages.  This was in the olden days of yore circa 2008.  I looked up our local foster care agency and called them up and said, “Hello. My name is Megan Terry and I would like to adopt one of your boy babies.”  Bless my heart.  It’s dangerous when we don’t know what we don’t know, isn’t it?

We ended up adopting from the Congo and brought home a two year old son in 2010 and we named him Miles.  Our son was darling and teeny and insane amounts of precious and... he didn’t look at me in the eye for over a year.  I knew from about a week off the plane with him that I was the very worst mother who had ever lived.  What in the world had I done?  We would go to church or Walmart or pretty much anywhere and that little rascal would perform the most elaborate song and dance for all to see and then the minute we’d get in the car to go home he’d shut off completely or would try to literally claw my eyes out.  I thought I had lost my mind.  I felt utterly defeated.  I thought I must be doing every single thing wrong for a tiny kid to hate me so badly. My marriage struggled.  I saw my husband hold that little boy and instead of feeling so happy about how much they loved each other I felt jealous and bitter and mad.  Before long I was full on depressed.  The kind of depressed that makes you think, “If I get in the car and just drive away from all of this would anyone even miss me?”

I cried out to God and heard NOTHING.  I felt like God was playing some kind of sick game with me.  During our adoption process I had never felt more sure of anything.  I felt like for the first time in my life I felt like I was doing exactly what the Lord wanted for me.  So here in my weakness and my desperation, I felt completely abandoned. Honestly, I got so angry with God I turned my back on him.  I was too scared to tell anyone how badly I was struggling.  After all- everyone around us had been praying for this precious little bundle so how dare I now tell them that it was all just crumbling.  It was very isolating.   Finally, I must have hit rock bottom because I lost my will to hold it all together and when people started asking me how I was doing I started telling them the truth.  That felt so good that I wrote about how hard this adoptive mom thing was on my blog.  I thought people would run.  Some did.  Some didn’t understand what in the world we were going through but for the most part mom after mom looked me in the eye or wrote me emails and said, “Me too.”  There is so much power in “me too”.    

At home, I kept going through the motions.  Every day I got up, got out of bed.  Took my oldest kids to school and sat and stared at the child in my house who loved everyone but me.  It rocked me so deeply that I couldn’t even really make sense of who I was anymore.

It was a random Tuesday the day the light came back on.  I had been going through the motions for 18 whole, long, awful months.  18 months of feeling like a terrible mom.  Like any person at all could be doing a better job at this adoptive mothering thing than me.  By now, Miles had started Head Start and I was sitting at the end of the driveway waiting for the bus to bring him home from preschool.  Every day before that, he would get off the bus, dismiss me completely, walk in the house and get a snack and I’d walk in behind him feeling tense and defeated and riddled with anxiety.  But that day?  Oh that glorious day. He walked off the bus, looked me in the eye and said, “You are here every day when I get home.”  And he took my hand and walked me in the house.  Like no big deal.  But that teeny little sentence was the beginning of healing for our relationship.  We began to build trust.  And out of trust, love was eventually born.

If you look back at your darkest times, isn’t that where you usually find your truest life lessons?  Looking back on that time I learned more about patience and commitment than at any other time in my life.   But more than anything, I can look back and see that God had not abandoned me- but he gave me this reassuring feeling that his love for me had not one thing to do with what my kid thought of me or how my “mommy report card” measured up.  God loved me the entire time and he loved me so much that he carried out his promise to see me though even when I doubted him.  God’s view of me didn’t change a single bit no matter how worthless I felt. And that child has come to be the most loving and joyful child I’ve ever encountered.  

You guys, Jesus is about the funniest person I know.  Cause as soon as I started to find joy in the journey of mothering again, he was all, “Megs, what about foster care?” Oh that Jesus.  He’s hilarious. So we fostered for a bit and felt like the most disastrous foster parents that ever lived. (Do you sense a pattern here?) At one point we had two kids in our house named Sadie.  What in the world?  We were calling kids by first and last name in our own home.  Sometimes foster care is just weird, can I get an amen?  

And then for giggles he said, “Megs there’s this  girl who’s adoption is being disrupted.  Do that, mmmkay. ”  This is Jesus’ version of a mic drop.  That’s how we got our fourth child.  I would like to hashtag everything in my life after that to this point #jesustakethewheel.  I was right back in that eternal circle of waiting for any tiny amount of light to break forth from that darkness again.  But this time I was armed with the knowledge that Jesus is crazy about me even when no one else is.      

So how do we reconcile the crazy reality that is our everyday life with the peace and joy Jesus wants for us?   How often does the enemy enter our lives and whisper lies to us?  How often does he steal our joy?  How often do we feel like EVERY other woman on the planet is doing this mothering gig better than us?  We live in an age where we know more and have more access to things and knowledge than ever before.  But I’d venture to say we are less joyous than we’ve ever been.  But we want everyone to think we are so freaking happy! Look at our cute little families!  We feel like we have to compete.  We look at pinterest and facebook and instagram and we gage our worth against the pinnacle of other people’s made up happiness.  We feel less than… 140 characters at a time. I can guarantee you the nights when I was happiest and feeling the most connected with my kids and my husband or my friends- it didn’t occur to me to leave that moment to instagram it.  Do you ever wonder what would happen if we put our real life foster adoptive mom life out there for everyone to see?  What if we were all a community of truth tellers- the bad as well as the blessing? People would think we were insane.

And then we have the flip side.  On our secret boards and advice groups we see people unload their real life.  We get a front row seat to other moms’ pain.  And I still do the comparison game.  I read a story from a mom who’s child tried to light the house on fire or who’s new foster placement put their newborn baby in the hospital.  And I think, “OH MY GOSH!  I CAN’T EVEN SUFFER THE BEST!”  You guys?  What in the world is this? We try to one up one another even in our pain.  I seriously doubt that when Peter got to heaven, Jesus said, “Yeah, Peter.  Crucifixion is no joke.”  and Peter said, “For realz, you should have tried it upside down.”   This is NOT God’s hope for us!!  God designed us to be in true community- not this falsified version of competitiveness in our joy or our suffering.

When we look for our worth in others, we are going to be disappointed EVERY SINGLE TIME without fail.  As adoptive and foster moms our worth is a tricky thing.  We confuse our worth with how well we are attaching to our kids and how well they are attaching to us until it almost becomes an idol.  We put our worth in our kid’s hands who will not hesitate to tell us we are unloved, unliked and not the “real mom.”  We put our worth into the hands of strangers on the internet who adopt 15 kids at a time and make it look effortless.  We gauge our worth by how many printouts we took to our last IEP meeting or how many connected discipline books are on our shelf.   It’s so easy to feel completely defeated when we look at all that people are doing around us.

Our kids are hurting, and it’s easy to feel like we are failing because we can’t heal all those hurts on a timeline that suits us.  We look at their behaviors and sweetjesusonabicycle- we expect ourselves to have this super human strength and never get upset and never get torn down by the hurt they unleash.  We forget that “mom” doesn’t mean perfect because it feels like everyone around us handles those behaviors so much better than we do.  We see the chaos in our own homes and feel like if we can’t even get a handle of what happens in there how could we even mean anything to anyone.  We believe the lies.  We buy into the guilt when we admit that we’ve googled things like, “I don't like my kid” or admit to ourselves that sometimes we just feel like the babysitter. We walk around feeling like icky, rundown versions of the people we were created to be  because we’ve looked for our worth in things that are not JESUS.

Jesus tells us he knit us together.  Jesus tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Jesus tells us that he is working all things out for the good of those who love him.  You hear that?  Working things out for good- EVEN IN THE TRENCH.

We look to the Bible and time and time again Jesus looks at us in our weakness and our wretchedness and says things like, “My grace is sufficent for you.” “For my power is made perfect in weakness.”  He tells us in Isaiah that “you are precious in my eyes and honored and I LOVE YOU.”

Do you ever look at your child that gives you the most trouble and just think, “Oh my gosh.  I wish I could just shake you and make you realize how loved you are and how I’m going to go the extra mile for you every time.”  Do you think God wants to do this with you?  The God who spoke life into the universe created YOU- especially.  He knew the kids you were going to have in your house long before they were ever created. Long before any trauma and loss befell them.  Not one thing in this universe happened without his permission.  It wasn't God's plan for these children to need to be adopted.  He loves their first parents infinitely. But when life's complications stepped in, he allowed you the priveledge of entering into life with these kids and their families.

You who yells at your kids sometimes.  You who feeds them cereal for dinner on the regular and calls it a day. He still picked you.  You who hides the good chocolate in the closet so you can get it when you slip in there to cry.  You who has lost your temper.  You who has said things you didn’t mean.  You has neglected your spouse because the kids are draining the life out of you and you just need a minute alone.  He still picked you.

You who has had thoughts so ugly you can’t even say them outloud to another human.  He picked you.  You who worry that you are messing up birthparent relationships.  You who want to fall apart when you see your child cozy up to another woman while giving you the cold shoulder.  You who feels like carrying your child’s hurts and burdens and resulting behaviors may very well crush you.  He picked you.  And he’s got you.  Even when you feel like He is so far away.  He’s there.  Loving you.

If we’ve learned anything from walking the road that we all walk it is that love does not fix everything.  So that love of Jesus- it doesn’t mean that we won’t struggle.  Wouldn’t that be amazing if love was enough to conquer all?  Not one of us would be here... in the trench if only that was true.  But God’s love holds us while we figure it out and while we gasp for glimpses of joy.  Just like our love holds our kids, while they struggle and figure things out and look for happiness and stability in their lives. Our kids are precious and amazing and so worthy of being loved... and so are you.

My friend D. is one of those people who is that dad that you think “WOAH.  This dad has got his stuff together”.   One day I was on a conference call with him and I said, “D. , you really just seem so natural at all of this parenting hurt kids gig.  What is your secret?”  And he said the most profound wisdom I’ve ever heard.  He said, “You know.  Not a day that goes by that I don’t I think that my life would be so much easier if we’d never adopted some of these kids.  Every day I think that.  But immediately after that I panic because if we’d hadn’t said yes to these kids we wouldn’t be in the center of God’s will for our family and to me that’s a way scarier place to be than where we are.”

Wow.  I think about that daily.  When my life seems so hard and I feel defeated and I get utterly sick of theraputic parenting and cleaning up pee, at least I can say, “Here I am Lord.  In the center of your will for my family.  It is so messy and chaotic and so so so hard.  But you’ve promised to not leave me or forsake me in the middle of this.”

And he’s not going to leave you in the middle of your hard either.  We know that these children are so precious to their creator and he’s going to see it through in his time.  So while we are waiting on his time, remember that you’ve got this.  He picked you to do the hard stuff.  HE knows your worth even when you don’t see it.  He knows your value even when you don’t feel it.  You are desired and chased after by the God most High.  In other words, God is telling you that you are all that and a bag of chips.  Everything to the contrary?  That’s from Satan.  Tell him to get behind you and quit stealing your mama mojo.  Because mama- you are the stuff.  You’ve got this.

June 19, 2015

So Many Things

It's strange watching your kids grow up.  There are so many times where I look back on the days when they were babies and I think, "WOAH!  That was so much work!" That work just shifts around as they get older.  It takes on a new life as they grow and get "their own lives".  My kids now have their own activities and friends and clubs they are in that have absolutely nothing to do with me.  We are finding ourselves very much entering that "chauffeur" phase of parenting.  It is so different from that stage of parenting where you spend endless weeks on end at home with little ones.  The rare night at home or the weekend off feels foreign right now.  It's fun and exciting and it fills me with pride to watch my people do their things- but it's also exhausting.  Our nights are filled up constantly.  But the days?  The days are slow and lazy this summer.  Lots of hours playing and running in the sprinkler and reading good books and swimming and doing all the wonderful things that not having school brings.  I'm worried that in the future when I recall this season of life, I'll remember it as a tough time- so I want to make sure I document the beautiful times, too.

Sadie seems to be our busiest kid right now.  She just "graduated" from the 5th grade.  At her 5th grade promotion ceremony, each child had to say what accomplishment they were most proud of this year.  In front of all her classmates and their families, she admitted that what she was most proud of is that this is the year that she gained control of her anxiety.  I found that to be so brave.  

 5th grade promotion

As a result of getting the anxiety under control, Sadie found all kinds of desire to try some new things.  It's such an incredible thing to watch because she's always wanted to be the kid who just blended into the wall and never try anything new.  We tried to say yes to all the things because we really wanted her to find something to do that she was passionate about and to try to encourage her to take some risks- and not to worry so much about failure.  She tends to be a perfectionist and we tried our hardest to encourage her to just try, even when she wasn't going to be the best at something.  When she sets her mind to something, she goes after it.  She tried our for the school play and got a huge speaking role AND a solo and she pretty much just stole the show.  

She tried softball and horseback riding and playing the flute in the band.  She learned that she totally hates the flute, but she stuck to the commitment she made and played for the whole school year.  On the last day of band she cheered, returned her flute and will probably never want to play an instrument again.  You win some, you lose some.

More important than anything else that she did this year, (or her whole life for that matter) Sadie made the decision to be baptized.  She approached us over a year ago about wanting to be baptized.  We helped her process what a huge decision that was and talked about it for many months to make sure that she understood the magnitude of what being baptized meant. She asked that my Granny Sadie baptize her since Granny is truly the spiritual backbone of our entire family.  She invited all of her friends (and even her teachers) to come to church that day.  People showed up in droves to support her.  That child single handedly got over 40 people to church that morning.  She stood up in front of all of them and tearfully read her testimony and talked about her need for Christ.  As a parent, there has not been a time in my life where I have felt more proud of one of my children.  It was a spectacular moment in time for our whole family. 

The two Sadies.  My heart nearly bursts every time I look at this photograph. 

Miles signed up for football.  In his own words, "I've waited my whole life for football."  He's been conditioning in the middle of the night for the last year.  Sometimes I wake up and hear him rustling around upstairs and I'll find him doing push ups and sit ups.  His obsession goal is to make his muscles so big, they "explode".  He's getting close.  

This is how Miles laid his clothes out for school every single night before going to bed.  Seriously.  

It is all sports all the time.  He's our only kid that is wired that way.  His Daddy loves it.  Those two spend HOURS watching games together.  Talking about games.  Thinking about games.  When there is not football to obsess over, he lets basketball suffice.  Or baseball.  Or pretty much any other things with a ball. 

This is the game he made up called Willie Cauley-Stein. 

There is very little non-sports related news to report.  He's lost teeth.  He's insanely cute.  He finished first grade.  School is just that little thing for him that takes away 8 hours a day away from his sports time.  Boys are pretty much the best. 

Scarlett is super into writing and drawing.  I think she has at least a dozen notebooks going at all times with her drawings and writings.  

She would make a great fashion designer... or tattoo artist.  She will spend hours drawing just the right details on her character's clothing or accessories.  
She's playing coach pitch baseball with her brothers this summer.  Much to her surprise, she actually liked it!  It's fun to watch her have a good time.  At the last game she hit a triple and outplayed her brothers like a boss. 

She switches back and forth between girly girl and fearless fierce warrior seamlessly.  I think that ability to adapt to different groups of people will serve her well.  

For many months, she begged me to style her hair into a mohawk.  She was really feelin' herself with that mohawk.  She just ate up all the attention that got her.  

 One of the things that cracks me up the most about Scarlett is her ability to sleep anywhere.  When she gets tired, she's out like a rock. Sometimes when we go places, we just pick her up and move her from place to place.  

Scarlett tries so damn hard.  She has a work ethic that puts my other kids to shame.  Most things take her twice as much effort as other kids and she just doesn't give up.  She just keeps going.  

Noah is going through a phase (I call it a phase but it's lasted four years or so now) where he is just stuck to me like glue.  The phase now includes him wanting to take pictures of us together constantly.  My phone is full of mommy and Noah selfies.  Hundreds of them.  It's getting out of control. 

 Watching Sadie play softball.  He is her biggest cheerleader. 

We had to wait a long time at the pharmacy for prescriptions one day.  Noah found the pads and instead of reading "Poise" he read it as "Pose".  So he did.  

Summer means he's busted out his summer uniform of white tee shirt and shorts.  Wonder where he gets that?  

2nd grade play.  Abraham Lincoln and a mechanic walk into a bar...

As for me, I was asked to be the keynote speaker for a retreat of about 100 adoptive and foster moms last month.  It was called Together In The Trenches. (If you are from the Louisville area, you NEED to go to this next year) I said yes to the event back in the winter- back before I knew I was going to need a hysterectomy or that our lives were going to include residential treatment facilities and my poor husband needing to take a billion days off of work to take care of all the things.  Leading up to it was very trenchy.  As timing would have it, I got up in front of all of those amazing women to speak just 8 days after having my uterus yanked.  I think my pants were unbuttoned in this picture.  Just whatever. Talking to other moms is about my favorite thing in the wide world, so there was no way I was going to let a little surgery stop me. 

Thankfully, I made it through and it was an incredible experience.  I over-shared, cried and told all of my best "from the trenches" stories and tried my hardest to give encouragement for the journey.  It was such an honor to get to attend this retreat.  I met so many women doing the hard things, raising the hard kids.  True heroes in my book. 

All the women, laying hands on one another and praying over our families and our lives.  
Powerful stuff.  

Not long after that, I took a long weekend to spend with my besties.  Our friend, Cami, turned 40. Her husband arranged for several of us to fly in to Phoenix to help her celebrate.  He took their kids away and we invaded her house.  It was blissful!  Four days of laughing... it was good for my soul.  I pretty much have the best friends a girl could ever want. 

And a few more pictures for good measure of some of the rest of the things going on in our lives...

Kamron turned 37.

My mom and I tried to do a cute jumping photograph on our way to cheer on UK during the NCAA tourney.  As you can see, we don't jump well. 

Sadie was chosen to take our Congressman on a tour of her school. 


A night out watching a baseball game.  Otherwise known as the night we ate all. the. cotton. candy.

My childhood best friend came into town.  We hadn't seen each other in about a million years.  She came in the day before Sadie's baptism and helped me cook brunch food for 40 people.  We blasted Trisha and Shania and partied in that kitchen like it was 1999. 

My people got lost at Old Navy. 

 Hubby started a new band and they had their first gig.  They were pretty darn good, if you ask me.

We went to go see The Rolling Stones.  For as long as I've known Kamron, he has wanted to see them.  When we were driving a few weeks ago, we were talking about how going to a Stones concert would really be something to see.  On a whim, we decided to just go!  It was everything we'd hoped it would be :-)  Mick's still got it.
Last day of 5th, 2nd, 2nd, and 1st grade. 

From our front porch...

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