Monday, September 27, 2010
Adoption is beautiful. It doesn't matter if that child is brown, white, African, American, Guatemalan, Chinese, etc. A child is a child is a child, and when a child is in need, it's so beautiful when God meets that need with a family. What's not so beautiful are some of the ugly attitudes about adoption. Now, I just want to preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I have absolutely nothing against international adoption--I think international adoption is wonderful, and if God so leads our family, we will enthusiastically pursue international adoption at some point. Now that the disclaimer is over, I have to say, I am heartily sick of the prevailing attitude among adoptive/potential adoptive parents that international adoption is somehow a superior form of adoption over domestic, because children domestically supposedly aren't in need. It makes me quite angry when I hear proponents of international adoption say that the children in US foster care don't experience real need the way children in other countries do. I think this view is bred largely of ignorance. Children in foster care have real need. Children are 11 times more likely to be abused in State care than they are in their own homes. So much sexual abuse takes place in foster homes, as victims come into homes unequipped to deal with their needs and then mimic the things done to them towards other children. It's hard to get actual statistics, as not many children are willing to talk about sexual abuse they've experienced, but it does appear that few children escape foster unscathed by sexual abuse. Nationwide, an estimated 30,000 adolescents age out of the foster care system each year. According to the Child Welfare League of America, 25 percent become homeless, 56 percent are unemployed, 27 percent of male children end up in jail. In fact, 80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system. There are wonderful foster parents out there. There are also abusive and neglectful ones. So please don't tell me that the needs of all the children in foster care are being met, so we shouldn't waste resources helping them. I personally know children who have suffered physical abuse, medical neglect, and sexual abuse while in foster care (for the record, I also know children who were loved and treated quite well in foster care, I just know far fewer of them). When a child is not able to receive basic medical care, enough food to eat, or have a safe place to sleep at night, their basic needs are NOT being met. So there are holes all over the argument that US adoption isn't as important as international adoption. This though, I really think is secondary to the most important motive in adopting any child (anywhere in the world) Giving a child a family--a place to be loved and cherished, a home. That is the most important issue. And there are children all over the world, from your very own city to the other side of the planet with this need. You either have a passion to help children in need, or you don't. If you do, you'll advocate for children all over the planet, not just from where you assume (and in your opinion) the most need exists. God told us to care for orphans. Period. He didn't include a global map with push pins showing us where the most important orphans reside. They're all important. Every last one. So many beautiful ways to show God's love to the world. The whole world.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
This cartoon is my life right now. Even though I have 2 kids, it perfectly depicts my life (my 2 can feel like 4 sometimes, and I have more than double the dogs shown in it anyway!) Lately I've been really hard on myself. I'm really tired. Stressed out. Whiny. I keep telling myself to buck up, pull it together and be the fantastic mom I always knew I would be. Then the other night I was reading a blog where a woman mentioned that she had 6 kids in 6 years. I chuckled to myself and thought "I hear you. I had 2 kids in under 2 years!" Then I realized: I had TWO kids. In UNDER TWO years. No wonder I'm tired!! 1 year and 9 months after bringing home our daughter, we brought home our son. Parenting older children is a little different than parenting a newborn. It's like learning how to swim by being thrown in the deep end of the pool. So yeah, I'm ALLOWED to be tired. I've been a mom for only 2 years. It's ridiculous to think I'd have this motherhood thing down perfectly. My kids are happy, clean, well fed, educated, and secure. That's something to be happy about, rather than looking at all my failings. It's been a difficult year to boot. My hubby was gone to the Middle East for the first 1/2 of the year. Then as soon as he came home, we met, and brought home our 8-year-old son. We've faced a myriad of problems in getting our son the healthcare he needs, and we've had to deal with a lot of bureaucrats along the way. Under normal circumstances, getting used to parenting (and homeschooling!) 2 kids at once would be tough, but when you add the other stressors, I think I'm allowed to be tired! The problem is, when you adopt, there are a lot of people watching you. Of course there are the social workers, that's not such a big deal. The big deal is all the people you know. Many are watching because they're contemplating adoption, and some are watching out of curiosity concerning this whole adoption thing. Unfortunately, some are also watching and waiting for you to fall flat on your face, so they can say "I told you so!" That's a lot of pressure on an adoptive family who are trying to wade through issues of attachment and adjustment. I feel like I always have to have a giant smile on my face and tell everyone how incredibly wonderful EVERYTHING is. That's just not true. I LOVE my kids, but adopting older children (and by older, I'm referring to any child older than newborn) is very challenging at times. I'm okay with that. I know God has called me to this. I guess my fear is that other people aren't okay with it. I'm worried someone will see how hard this is sometimes and decide not to help a hurting child. I'm scared people who are unfamiliar with adoption, when they see our family's imperfections, will blame it all on adoption, and wag their tongues about it. I hate that when I'm having a rough day sometimes, I find out someone's been telling other people that I clearly got in over my head. I fear that if my family doesn't appear perfect, that people who have been looking for a reason to treat my children differently, will pounce on it. We're doing okay though. My kids are happy. They're healthy. They enjoy life. I enjoy them. Yeah, I'm tired. What mom isn't? No, they're not always perfectly behaved. What child is? So I've decided to care less about what other people think. If someone decides not to adopt because it holds challenges, then I would have to say their heart isn't in the right place to do so anyway. If someone is judging that I'm in over my head or I wasn't cut out for motherhood because I'm tired and overwhelmed at times, they can go...well, never mind, but suffice to say, despite my love for animals, it applies to the horse they rode in on too. And if someone decides to treat my children poorly, they should think twice, because this Mama Bear isn't in the mood to take prisoners right now. Tongues can wag until they fall off. I've decided I don't care anymore. I love my family, and I'm so happy with the way it is. Before the beginning of time, God chose these children as mine, and me for their Mama. That's good enough for me. I may be tired, but I'm happy. The only thing I need right now is encouragement...not wagging tongues. Hi, I'm Laura. I'm tired, overwhelmed, I occasionally totally blow it in motherhood, and I'm completely imperfect. But it's okay. God's working amazing things in my life and the lives of my family members. He is good. All the time.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Long time, no blog. I guess that's what happens when you meet and bring home your 8-year-old son. The past few weeks have been a wild ride. We've had some wonderful times and some not so wonderful times. Daily I have felt immensely blessed to be chosen by God as the mother to both my children. Daily I have questioned my abilities as a mother. My hubby and I have been married for over 11 years. We have weathered some tough storms. We've spent long periods of time apart due to the military. Handling crises doing those periods of aloneness really shored up my confidence. Prior to motherhood, I would have described myself as a confident woman who could handle nearly anything thrown at her. Motherhood is...humbling. I absolutely cannot handle it on my own, and daily I question whether I was meant to be a mom. The more I think about it, the more I think that is the number one reason God decided to make me a mother...instantly, to older children who are filled with pain and grief at that! So many days I am at a complete loss as to how to handle certain situations. I can NOT do this on my own. I am a very stubborn woman. I am always looking for ways to be more self sufficient. Meanwhile God is always throwing things my way that defy self sufficiency. There has certainly been a pattern. God has given me something I cannot handle on my own, I turn to him for help, then once the crisis has passed, I've said, "Hey, I made it through. See, I can handle anything!" Until now. Now God has given me something that won't end. It's daily. Daily I find that I must seek him, because there's absolutely no way the challenges will end. Seeing as how my children will (hopefully) outlive me by quite a bit, I will daily be seeking him for guidance in my relationships with them for the rest of my life! I knew children would be a blessing in my life when I felt God's call to motherhood. I had no idea though how much of a blessing and challenge it would be in my relationship with God. I still struggle so much with trying to go it alone. There are many times when I'm feeling hopeless and in despair because I know that I'm not up to the task, and I forget the world isn't on my shoulders; it's in the palms of his hands. I am so grateful that he doesn't give up on this stubborn, hard hearted woman, but keeps showing me his love every single day. Going into motherhood, I never pictured that the more my children would lean on me and look to me, the more I would find myself looking to and leaning on my heavenly father. He didn't make me a mom just because I wanted it, or my children needed it; one of the reasons he did it is because I needed motherhood to mold me into the person he wants me to be. It's one of parenthood's greatest surprises.