September 28, 2012

The Out Clause

*** I've sat on publishing this post for several days now, because it's hard to be vulnerable and admit your own fears and shortcomings.  However, in this space, I try hard to be brutally honest and the fears that I have about fostering fall into that brutally honest place- especially as we've been inquiring about adopting children who've been in the system for a long time or who've had MANY placements.  Contemplating parenting these kinds of kids really makes you think about what kind of person you are and what you are made of.  Please be kind.***

If I'm being honest, can I tell you what the scariest part of foster care for me is?  Since we are awaiting our first placement, I can only speculate what the experience will be like- but for me the scary part is not navigating birth parent relationships, or lice, or court appearances or even creepy, disgruntled mama's boyfriend showing up on my doorstep.  Nope- those things don't scare me a bit.  In fact, I'm almost conditioned to think that might be normal.  What gets me is "the out clause".

That little thing they casually mention during class that says if a kid just isn't a good fit that you can essentially give "2 weeks notice" and walk away scares the crap out of me.

I am the last person in the world to judge someone about a disruption.  It's part of adoption and fostering.  I get it.  I know there are people out there who would like to rake parents who disrupt a placement over the coals and tell them that they are bad people who "quit on a kid."  To be truthful, there was probably a day when I would have passed the same judgement.  And then I met moms who have actually had to dissolve an adoption.  The situations were never easy.

If you look online at "second chance adoptions" (this is often what adopting a child who has previously been adopted and disrupted is called) the nice tidy little bios of those children always do make it sound like their adoptive parents just quit on them.  They say things like "child bites".  And as a mom, our instinct is to say, "Hey!  Wait a minute!  All kids bite.  That mother must have been awful to send her kid away because he bites.  I'd never do that!  That kid deserves better."  But I can guarantee that there is always more to the story.  I used this biting example because last week we called about a child who's very profile read this way.  I thought we could handle a biter. I mean, "Charlie bit my finger" went viral so biting is not a big deal, right?  But when we dug deeper, it was revealed that this child has severe schitzophrenia and the voices she hears tell her to wake up in the middle of the night and bite the family's pets until they die.  And she's done it.  And many times the voices tell her to hurt the babies in the house.  None of that was wrapped up in that nice little bio we read online. 

The family that adopted her didn't know of her mental illness before hand and as much as they loved this little girl, the area where they lived did not have the kind of mental health services that she would need.  And she needed to be in a home where there were no animals or younger children- not only for the family's safety, but also to keep this girl from continuing the cycle of shame she had when she hurt someone.  It wasn't good for anyone.

The story is the same so many times- especially regarding sexual abuse.  I am a firm believer that children can recover from sexual abuse.  It's not a reason not to foster/adopt kids.  But when children who were once victims then become perpetrators, it's more often best for them to not have younger siblings in the home.  And sometimes these things aren't discovered until it's too late.  While there are lots of things that you can change in your life to accomodate your kid's needs- the number of siblings you already have isn't something that's going to change.  Sometimes the combination just isn't right.

No one in a great situation ever just wakes up one morning and decides to disrupt an adoption just because.  It's never that black and white.  There's always more to the story.

So judgement about disruptions is not something you'll find here because it's not a road I've walked and I can't imagine how difficult it is as a mother to have to make that decision.  But it scares me that this seems to be such an easy option in fostering.

If you are a relatively new reader here and you aren't super familiar with our whole story, you may look at our kids now and think that we are living in a fairy tale. While life is ridiculously good right now, it hasn't always been this way. Here is the back story in a nutshell:

Family wants a baby from Africa.
Family adopts the most adorable two year old on the planet.
Two year old has been through an insane amount of loss, suspected abuse, is nearly starving to death and has a whole host of medical issues that naive parents never anticipated.
Two year old is extremely pissed about following rules and having siblings and having to adapt to a whole new life. (Understandably so!)
Two year old is fully capable of making meaningful relationships yet chooses not to use those capabilities.  Instead, he uses the only tools he has to cope: manipulation, anger, violence, selective mutism and withdrawl
Family stays in a state of chaos and spins their wheels trying to figure out what to do.
It takes nearly TWO whole years to equip this precious child with the tools he needs to function in a family, in school and in social situations.
Many ups and downs happen.  Times of closeness and then times of serious regression occur.
Meaningful, safe, healthy relationships are FINALLY achieved.

If you'd like to read between those lines, this mom nearly lost her mind in the mix.  I documented it here and people either got it and appreciated my honesty or they criticized me and wished me ill, so there's no need to rehash it all.  The truth is, until you've lived it, you don't realize how much it wears on you.  Proving yourself day after day is exhausting.  The reason that I put in there that our son was capable of making relationships is because I recognize that some adults have damaged children so badly that not all kids are capable of making meaningful relationships by the time they get to their new families.  Ours was and it was a matter of teaching him, showing him, and proving to him over and over again that we loved him and that he could trust us.  It was by far the hardest thing that I've ever done and I'd even venture to say that ours was a very NORMAL adoption experience.  We weren't an extreme case.  You hear me?  NORMAL.  But still hard as hard can be. 

There were so many times when I wondered if we'd make it.  I wondered if we'd ever feel like a family.

I wondered if I'd ever stop punishing myself or stop feeling guilty about our whole situation.  I wondered if Miles would ever act like he loved me and actually mean it.

Looking back on it now, if there had been an "out clause" I wonder if I'd have taken it.  I wonder if I'd have had the opportunity, if I'd have given up.  There were days that I might have.  It's hard to admit that- even in retrospect.  Two and a half years later, I have the perspective to look back and see that our son was capable of developing the skills that he needed- BUT AT THE TIME, I DIDN'T SEE IT.  I didn't feel like I was what he needed and was convinced that I'd never be what he needed. 

BUT- because there was no other option- we plowed through.  Not because we are awesome people, but because we got help.  We discovered that we had some rockin' therapists in our area.  We got medical interventions and developemental interventions.  We had a school system that was willing to bend over backwards to accomodate all the quirks in our son's IEP.  I see now how lucky we are- so many families don't have those resources.  And sometimes even if those resources exist- paying for them would nearly bury a person.  Last year at tax time, I added up that Miles had to have nearly $100,000 worth of medical proceedures, surgeries, doctor visits, therapies and medications in 2 years. Yes, you read that right.  That's a one followed by 5 zeros.  Thankfully, we had decent insurance and a state that provided lots of services and a savings account to help make that managable for us.  But what about the people who don't have those things? 

I know without a doubt that without those things, we'd still be drowning.  And how long can you drown before you give up?  I don't know the answer.  As women, we are capable of managing things that seem impossible.  But there's a fine line between managing something and doing what might be in the best interest of a child who might do better in another setting.  But what about the healing?  If we hadn't hung in there and persevered, we'd have never gotten to the good.  AND THE GOOD IS SO GOOD! 

I wish that I was one of those people who could look at the bleakest of situations and trust that things will work out.  I wish that I could see these kids who kill their pets or who abuse their siblings and say, "Yep.  We'll just love them through it.  These kids have been dealt a bad hand and we'll just love them through it."  I'm so glad that there are people out there who do think that way.  Those kids need and deserve that!  I don't fall completely on the other side, though, and believe that tough cases are hopeless.  I believe in healing.  I believe in being molded and refined.  But I also believe in evil in the world.  I'd put myself right in the middle of those two schools of thought.  And sometimes the middle is an awkward place to be.

It might not make sense to anyone but me, but these questions take up a lot of space in my brain.  Maybe it's partly the fear of the unknown.  Maybe it's worrying that we aren't equipped.  Maybe it's worrying that we'll hang on too long in a bad situation or go the opposite way and pull the trigger before we ever get to the good.   As we prepare to take in more kids who've been through some major things (after all, kids don't end up in foster care because their lives are awesome), I anticipate that there will be lots of times that we feel like we are drowning again.  And I anticipate times that will be amazing and so stinkin' good for our family that we'll wonder why we didn't foster kids years ago.  But the unknown is scary and that "out clause" looms heavy in the back of my mind because that fine road to walk between sticking it out and giving up is precarious.  And when real lives are involved, those decisions become nearly impossible.  And I have three other children to think about. And, and, and...  So while I typically feel all Pollyanna about fostering and how awesome it's going to be, sometimes the what if's crawl in and take over my brain and I get fearful. 

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just get this show on the road and make the unknown, well, known?  

September 24, 2012

All Things Great and Small

Our lives are rolling on in awesome fashion these last couple of weeks.  In this case, many, many monumental things are happening!

Most importantly, my baby girl accepted Christ last week.  She and I went with her bestie and her mom to a Secret Keeper Girl event at our church.  If you've never heard of this, it's an event that talks to young girl and tweens about modesty and true beauty and believing that you are exactly the person God created you to be.  The message was one that I absolutely think all young girls need to hear.  And then at the end of the service, Sadie responded to the invitation to give her heart to Jesus.  As a mom- WOW- there is nothing quite like that feeling.  It deserves it's own post but right now I can't quite come up with the words to do it justice.  I know that she has her whole live ahead of her and that she will undoubtedly fall away at times, but it was so neat to see that little girl make such a big decision.  I'm sure that the magnitude of it won't be clear to her for years to come, but the foundation is there and I am so proud of her!

 
 
The other MAJOR thing that happened is that we bought this:


 

The Terry's new home will be on this 5 acre patch of heaven.  We are so excited!!  This is something we've been dreaming about, saving for and planning for years and it's finally happening.  Our house will be between those two gorgeous sycamore trees and we'll spend the next 50 years watching the deer off of our back deck.  We are hoping to begin construction in about 5-6 weeks and move in the spring.

And in the last bit of monumental stuff- Noah scored his first goal in soccer!



And in the not so monumental...

We determined that we've probably set a record for the world's most obese guinea pig.  Even after careful control of his diet, Phil will not stop growing.  I am convinced that he's actually half guinea pig and half regular pig.


We won some cheap tickets to an amusement park at a charity auction.  Our kids had never been to an amusement park before and I think they thought they'd died and gone to heaven!




 




There are lots and lots of big things on the horizon in this house!  I'm trying hard to turn the stress of all the upcoming decisions into excitement and remember to enjoy the process.  Y'all remind me of that next week when I'm totally freaking out, will ya'? 

September 19, 2012

Free Range Kids

Our kids are soooooo over this selling our house thing.  (Frankly, so are we!)  It would be nice to know where we are going and just get there already.  It would also be nice to stop keeping this house "show ready".  But we are trying to remember that we can't control the timing of this whole thing and that perhaps the reason that it's taking so long to sell our house is that the Big Man upstairs is just not ready for us to stop making memories here. (And by Big Man, I mean God.  Not a giant we keep locked in the attic.)

It seems like our Sunday afternoons are spent going to Open Houses or driving around looking at the listings our realtor sends us.  I could drive around and look at houses (or pour over house plans) until the cows come home.  The kids- not so much.

Last night we wanted to go and look at a piece of property that is a potential building site if we decide we are up for building a house.  We knew we needed to get creative if we were going to keep the kids from melting down when we announced that we'd be going to look at it.  We threw on their helmets and put their bikes and scooters in the van and told them we were going "exploring".


Not a bad place to go "exploring", huh?  People can knock Kentucky all they want- with the no teeth and no shoes jokes- but I think there is no where in the world more gorgeous!

We walked all over the property and the kids decided where they would put tree houses and forts and tents and campfires in case we ever "settled this land".

We took a little break on the fence and the light was so beautiful that I had to catch a picture of my loves.


After having such a bad week last week, it was great to get out and walk around and watch the kids dream big dreams and play like the carefree people they are.  





I think they were destined to be free range country kids.  They got off the bus this afternoon and asked if we could go back there to "explore" some more tonight after dinner.  Whoever said trickery in parenting is bad has obviously never actually raised children.

Also, they've never seen the parental benefits that come from all that "exploring".


September 15, 2012

Cranky!

Y'all, I am cranky.  There is no other way to say it.  I've been cranky all week for no good reason.   It's not hormonal.  It's not that anything bad happened.  I think I was just due a cranky time. It's the kind of cranky that makes me completely irrational.  Like right now, the "h" key wants to stick on my computer and instead of wiggling it around to figure out what is lodged under there, I just want to pick up my computer and throw it.

I'm definitely cranky...

I'm never mean to service people.  In fact, I usually let people walk all over me.  However, during this cranky phase, I've been absolutely psychotic.  We had to have a new roof put on our house.  Six weeks ago, I paid the roofer in full and they promised to have our roof on the following week.  (Not smart, I see that now)  After a week passed, I called to see where the work crew was.  They explained that with all the storms in the area, they were having a hard time getting the shingles for the roof.  No problem, I said.  Have a nice day, I said.  Can I make dinner for your family, I said.  We did that dance for another 4 weeks.  But then, during cranky week, when I called and got the same runaround, I raised my voice to a level so shrill that only dogs can hear and went on a rant about how you don't cash someone's $5000 check and then not put a roof on their house.  I may have threatened to call the Better Business Bureau, the company president and the national guard if they did not put a roof on my house in the next three days.  And wouldn't you know, that roof got put on ASAP?  I actually looked at myself in the mirror after that phone call and did my best Hulk impression, "You won't like me when I'm angry!"

I'm definitely cranky...

It's the kind of cranky that makes me watch my husband watching political news hour after hour and makes me contemplate gouging his eyeballs out so he can no longer watch TV.  Last week, so in love.  This week, eyeball gouging. 

I'm definitely cranky...

It's the kind of cranky that makes me go in the bathroom at a Target and flip out about the hand dryer.  Why in the world do hand dryers there have to blow so hard that they make your hand fat flap around?  I mean, my hands are about the only parts of my body that aren't covered in cellulite and here Target has to go and wreck my hand self esteem.  During a normal week, I'd giggle about all that flapping hand skin.  During cranky week, I'm tempted to tell that thing what it can do with all that hot air. 

I'm definitely cranky...

My too do list is all in SHOUTY CAPITOLS.  I can't even tell myself to remember to pick up garbage bags and dog food nicely.  It's all PICK UP GARBAGE BAGS, which just seems to make me frantic.

I'm definetely cranky...

Thhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... there goes that "h" again.  Damn h.

I'm definitely cranky...

This week when the children did that "I can't find my shoes and the bus is 10 feet from the house" crap, instead of calmly trying to help them find them, I did the, "OH MY GOD!  IF YOU ALL WOULD JUST PUT YOUR FREAKING SHOES WHERE THEY GO WE WOULD NOT DO THIS EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING!"  Not a good mom at all this week.  This same thing happened regularly when I lamented about how they feel like they need to eat dinner every night (didn't I just feed you dinner yesterday!) and how they think they need to wear clean clothes. 

I'm definitely cranky...

When the kids got the brown clay and made dozens of "pellets" and then ran all over the house pretending to poop these pellets like they were guinea pigs, instead of laughing I said, "SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!  YOU JUST MADE OUR WHOLE HOUSE LOOK LIKE IT'S COVERED IN POOP! AND YOU DID THIS ON PURPOSE?!"  See, shouty capitols took over my mouth this week.

I'm definitely cranky...

I even got cranky about my crankiness.  I tried to tell myself that people out there have real problems and here I was getting all bent out of shape over hand fat and fake poop pellets.  It didn't help.  It only deepened the cranky.  It's a vicious cycle.

However, if I were to show you our week in pictures, it would look totally lovely.  Just goes to show you that the highlight reel doesn't always show the true story.  Case in point:

Look!  We got a new roof!  Isn't it gorgeous!


Look!  We went to Bingo for Books Night at School. 


Look! We had ice cream cause we are AWESOME!



Look! Noah got picked to perform in front of the school board and he rocked it because my kids
are flippin' geniuses!


Told ya'.  I think I'll take the highlight reel!  I told myself when I woke up that this was the last day I am allowing myself to be cranky.  We'll see how I feel about that decision in the morning!  :-)  In the meantime, y'all pray for my kids and husband who have to deal with me!

September 11, 2012

From One Sister To Another

We've been chatting with our kids a lot about what fostering will be like.  When we went into this, we thought we'd only be open to adoption and the kids got into their heads that whoever ended up in our house would be there forever.  Now we are undoing that.  We are teaching them phrases like, "Our foster sister will probably only be staying with us while her Mommy is getting ready for her" or "Sometimes we will only get to love on our foster sisters for a little while". 

I was talking to our social worker about this and she made a great point- if the oldest gets it, she'll teach the others how to feel about it.  So we are continually working at preparing our Sadie's heart for how this will go in hopes that it will trickle down to the boys.  After all, this is a family endeavor. As we are family in waiting, it's great to see how our kids' hearts and minds are processing everything. We talked to Sadie about some of the emotions that kids who come into our house might have.  We explained to her that they might be scared, anxious, nervous, shy or sad about having to leave their home and come here.  Shy, nervous and anxious are things that Sadie relates to well- as she's just a natural born worrier.  She said, "I think I'll write a letter to them so they know they don't have to be scared. "  So Sadie took to the computer a few weeks ago and wrote a letter to her future foster sisters that (with her permission) I wanted to share because it was just so precious!

From Sadie:

Hi,

My name is Sadie.

When you come to our home we will love on you, take care of you, and make you happy!

We have a bunch of people & pets in this  house. First is my dad Kamron. And my mom Megan. Me. My brothers Noah & Miles. My guinea pig Phil & my dog Emma.

We will share a room if you want. We can go ride bikes, jump rope, run around in the back yard, and play with the neighbors. Some of our neighbors can be aggressive, but we don’t play with them because they are determined to do something bad.

At my school, we have a lot of fun. Maybe you will like it there. At recess I like to play on the jungle gym. And sometimes I do the monkey bars. I can skip bars on the monkey bars.

The rules in our house are: be kind to one another. Listen to Kamron and Megan. Pick up after yourself. We don’t do very good on that rule. Or going to bed on time.

What we like to do as a family is play board games, play in the yard, play tickle monster, eat, roast marshmallows in the backyard, watch Amazing Race, and go camping with our Papaw. Sometimes we joke around.

Sometimes when Noah and Miles are bugging me, I go in my room and lock the door and start reading a book. I like to read a lot. Or when Noah and Miles are bugging me, I go and watch TV in my mommy and daddy’s room.

Some of my favorite things are reading, and math. My favorite character is Hello Kitty. I LOVE Hello Kitty! I like playing with the boys. I like going to school. But I don’t like waking up early! I ride the bus to school and I ride it home.

We go on vacations very often. Sometimes we go to Florida and Mexico to the beach. But my favorite part is the pool! We go to Great Wolf Lodge to the waterpark. My favorite part is the water roller coaster. It goes really fast. Maybe you can come on trips with us!

I really like to play with Phil. In the morning when I wake up for school he is squeaking to death! He sounds like a mouse getting squeezed by a boa constrictor! Only louder!

I can’t wait to meet you and when I do iknow we will have fun!

Love,

Sadie

P.S. if you don’t like HELLO KITTY I like any other character except Elmo & Fred!(I'm not allowed to watch Fred.)

September 10, 2012

Mugshot Monday- Anniversary Edition

My Mom and my Granny split kid duty this weekend and the mister and I headed off for a romantic weekend away KIDLESS to celebrate our anniversary!  I *may* have been so excited, that I did this while singing "Born Free" in front of the hotel:


I could only do it once or twice because I made a commitment to wear my non-old lady panties for the special weekend and those do NOT lend themselves to multiple cartwheels.   I think my approach even impressed my husband.  Look out Gabby Douglas.

But on to more important things... We had a great time being away together commemorating our 10 years of marriage!  We had massages and we went horseback riding!



We had a nice dinner out and got dressed up like respectable people!



We slept in (blissful!) and stayed up late giggling and playing cards in the hotel room and listening to bands in various spots in the hotel.  We also had a blast exploring the grounds and taking in the sites.


Holding up that dome is hard work!
When you set the self timer on the camera, you just never know what it's going to catch you doing.




We checked on the kids via text message over the weekend and here is what was reported to us:

1.  Noah wants a baby (sorry kid- this is NOT going to happen)


and 2.  A camel walking down the street lost it's footing and almost fell on Miles.  (yes, that was a strange text to receive!) 

But don't worry, all camels and kids were fine.  Overall- it was a FABULOUS weekend celebrating our 10th.  Here's to the next 10!


September 07, 2012

10 Years

Ten years ago today, my friend, Jessica, and I woke up at the crack of dawn.  We went out to a farm and set up a zillion tables under a beautiful tent.  We spread out tablecloths.  We made center pieces.  We were a giant sweaty mess (all before 9 am) with a to-do list a mile long.  It was the morning of my wedding day!

I was young and poor and my parents had just gotten divorced so I really wanted to be a good steward of their money and do as much wedding stuff myself to save a buck.  For days and days Jessica and I worked our little fingers to the bone trying to make it perfect.  (She's awesome like that!)

Me and Jessica in 2001
With only a few hours to go until we all needed to begin getting ready for the ceremony, I ran to my mom's house to take a quick shower.  There was just no way we were going to get it all done!  I walked in to see my groom sitting on my mom's couch looking dazed, anxious and like he'd been shot with a tranquilizer gun.  He took a look at me all sweaty and disheveled and asked what I'd been doing.  "Sweetheart,  I've been out there making our dream wedding happen!  Can you do x,y,z to help me get finished?"  He looked at me with pure panic in his eyes muttered, "BUT I'M GETTING MARRIED TODAY!"  (Ummm, me too buddy, but chop chop!)

Bless his little, scared, nervous heart.  I'd be nervous marrying me, too!  After all, we were babies- just 21 and 24 years old! We had no idea what marriage meant!  All we knew is that we were crazy about each other and never wanted to be apart.  We knew we'd be broke, but we didn't realize how hard it would be to pay the bills on love.  We knew we wanted kids way down the road, but we didn't realize that "way down the road" was God's secret code for us getting pregnant just 5 months later.  When the preacher asked us in pre-marital counseling what we'd ever do if we had a special needs child we said, "The right answer is 'love it', isn't it?"  without a thought about how freaking hard that would be!  To sum up, we had no clue what we were doing. 

We'd been dating for about a year and a half when that precious boyfriend of mine took me out to the Old Spagetti Factory for dinner.  I was wearing an entirely too short black skirt and a blue button down.  He was wearing jeans and a blue sweater.  It seemed like any other date night- except that the boy was acting weird.  I even wondered if he was mad at me because he was just so quiet that night.  After dinner, he took me on a carriage ride through downtown Louisville.  The carriage driver would not shut up, but it didn't bother me.  I thought he was just telling us cool stories about the city.  But Kamron was trying for some romance and the man's mindless chatter was not setting the mood.  He leaned up and asked the guy if he minded keeping his commentary to himself for a little bit.  It was then I began to suspect something might be up because usually Kamron is too easy going to let something like a tour guide's talking bother him.  He sat there being quiet and nervous and finally took a deep breath and got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.  I thought that never had two people been more in love.  I could not keep my eyes (or my hands) off that boy.


Us (as really young pups) taken the weekend after we got engaged
We set the date for the wedding for almost a year later- September 7, 2002.  I bought my dress off the rack at a discount Bridal shop (with a wad of ones I'd been saving from waiting tables) and felt like the most beautiful woman in the world in it.  I helped my mom pick out her dress and I've never seen my mother look more stunning.  I felt like our wedding was the most perfect wedding that had ever been recorded in the history books. 
Our wedding day was so special!


Me standing on the staircase in my grandmother's house.

Be still my heart.

Arriving at the ceremony in a carriage with my dad
 
Walking down the aisle
 
The ceremony

Married!
 



Dancing our first dance to our song- Led Zeppelin's "I'm Gonna Crawl" (sexiest song ever recorded)  We may also be the only people alive who used this as our wedding song. 

We said those same vows that everybody says.  We promised to love, honor and cherish in good times and bad.  I meant them when I said them, but the depth of those words is something that has grown over time.  When you say those vows with starry eyes in front of God and everyone- you never think that there will be bad times.  You never think that there will be times when you both don't even want to look at each other- much less be married to one another.  You don't think about the times where you call your best friend so ticked off and tell her that you wonder what in the world you are doing with this person.  You don't realize that the "in sickness" part means loving someone through post partum depression or the man cold.  You don't realize that those hypothetic special needs kids you talk about in pre-marital counseling will one day become your two boys and you don't stop to think how therapy and doctor visits and day to day care will take a toll on even the strongest relationship.  You don't stop to think about how laundry and household chores and stress at work and stock market crashes and paying bills and struggling though days with no money in your bank account will conspire against your marriage.

But you also don't realize when you say those vows, how you will grow deeper into love over the years.  Not the fall in and out of love ooey gooey junk- the real stuff.  Like the love that grows exponentially the first time you see your spouse give birth or hold their child for the first time. 



Or how that love will grow when you watch him playing songs on the guitar to a baby in a swing.  Or how when you see him dance with a tiny infant around the living room you feel like your heart is going to burst. Or how you feel when you see him teach your children something that you never could.  Or when you watch him grow over the years to be an incredible father. 


You don't realize how much that love will grow when that man thanks you for sacrificing your life outside of your home so that you can stay home to take care of the babies that just seem to keep coming.  And you don't realize how much you'll appreciate how hard he works so that staying home is an option for you.

Or how it didn't occur to you ten years ago how much that love matures and multiplies when you overhear your husband praying with his kids as he's putting them to bed.


And you don't realize how much deeper you'll love him when he makes a folder for you of instructions for "just in case" something happens to him and how much you'll appreciate that he  wants to take care of you so badly that he's willing to think about things that aren't fun to think about.


You don't realize how much you'll love him when you come to him with this crazy notion of adopting and fostering kids and he puts your dreams and desires ahead of having a carefree and easy life so that you can fulfill your life's passion.


You don't realize how much bigger your love will be when your firstborn brings home a perfect report card and you look at each other and marvel that you made that TOGETHER.


You don't realize that watching that man show his sons how to swing a bat will be sexier than flowers and tight jeans.


You don't realize how much more his "You are so beautiful" will mean to you now when you are 31 and not quite as perky than it did when you were 18 and skinny and stretch mark free.



Nope- you don't realize when you say those vows that all those superficial things you feel on your wedding day fade and what you are left with are little moments- moment that show you the real character of a person. You don't realize when you say those vows how 10 years of snotty noses and falling asleep in front of the tv and fighting and holding hands and taking kids to and from school and picking up things from the grocery and going on vacations and taking kids to the doctor and watching swim meets and good times and hard times all pile up to build a life.  This is never the life that I would have imagined for us 10 years ago.   It's better.  I'm so glad that God's plans for our marriage and our family were better than anything I could have dreamed for myself.  

Kamron Terry- thank you for building this crazy, amazing life and this incredible family with me.  You are the only one I'd want to ever be on this journey with.  Happy 10th anniversary!  I love you.  -m


To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.

~ David Viscott ~

**In honor of our 10 years together- there is a Vintage Pearl Faith, Hope, Love Ring giveaway going on our Millions of Miles facebook page!
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