Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17

Thursday, December 30, 2010


A new year is upon us. So many people see a new year as a new chapter to be written in their lives. They often speak of making a difference in their lives. I wonder how many people have considered making a difference in someone else's life. There are many, many ways to do this, but I'm going to focus on one in particular. Every single week of my life, I run into someone who tells me they've always wanted to adopt from foster care. I don't know anyone though who has actually done it afterwards. I've pondered a lot the reasons for this when there are so many children in foster care waiting for families. I think it's fear. It's makes sense--it's a scary journey. You wonder What if a social worker doesn't think I'd make a good parent? What if the child doesn't like me? What if a child we bring into our home hurts another of our children? What if he/she has RAD? What if the trauma they've experienced has ruined them? These are all questions I struggled with before we adopted our son. I felt sure though that it was what we were called to do, so I had to step out in faith. Along the way I found some great resources to help answer a lot of my questions. The best one was this: Resources for Parents Adopting from Foster Care --there you will find statistics like the following: FOSTER CARE STATISTICS * Currently, there are approximately 425,000 children in foster care in the United States. It's estimated that 115,000 are eligible for adoption. *In 2009, about 57,466 children were adopted from foster care. *69% of parents who adopt from foster care are married couples, 31% are single-parent families. *Median age of child in foster care: 8.1 years. *Race/ethnicity of children in foster care: 38% Caucasian, 30% African-American, 22% Hispanic, 10% other. *The average child in foster care goes through three different placements and stays in the system for about 30 months. *Each year, about 26,000 children age out of foster care. As well as a myriad of personal stories from those who have adopted children from foster care. Check it out. If your thighs don't shrink in 2011, it's not that big of a deal in the great scheme of things; consider making a change this coming year that will truly make a difference in someone's life.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


My husband and I were married 10 years before we added children to our family. During that time we established a lot of traditions within our family. Now that we have kids, it’s so much fun to introduce them to our traditions!

Christmas went well. The kids had a great time, even though I was loopy, medicated (due to an allergy-induced sinus infection again), and extremely grumpy! If you’re one of those people who thinks you have to make the chaotic trek to Grandma’s house for Christmas in order for the kids to have an enjoyable Christmas, I assure you it isn’t so. We enjoyed the same quiet Christmas at home that we always have, and the kids loved it. This was CJ’s first Christmas with us, and it was so much fun seeing all his firsts...he’d never heard any of the traditional Christmas songs we love listening to, never baked Christmas cookies, never eaten tea ring, never celebrated advent or the 12 days of Christmas, never been to a Christmas eve service, or driven around for the sole purpose of looking at lights. He loved it all (he kept saying “You‘re the BEST!” every time he participated in one of our traditions), and can’t wait for other celebrations. Especially New Year’s Eve.

My husband and I are very old people inside much younger bodies. We established our New Year’s Eve tradition early on in our marriage, and have never deviated from it. The perfect New Year’s Eve as far as we’re concerned, is to fill the table FULL of yummy goodies (cheese, crackers, cookies, sushi, fruit, veggies, dip, sparkling juice, etc.) , get into our jammies, watch old (or really funny) movies, eat our goodies, and go to bed when we feel like it (Hubby and I are usually just slipping between the sheets in time to share a new year’s kiss)

You wouldn’t think the old fogy New Year’s Eve celebration would appeal to 8-year-olds, but it does. Big time. ZeZe loves it. She’s been telling CJ about it, and he can’t wait. I can’t wait either. Family traditions are the BEST :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Peace on earth would be nice, peace in this home? Priceless!

If you're a trauma Mama, you're probably holding your breath this week. As I'm sure you've come to realize, holidays can be tough for the traumatized child. I'm by no means an expert at all, but we've found a few things over the past couple of years to be helpful: 1. The first one we learned very quickly (the hard way), is not to overwhelm trauma children with gifts. I know you want to shower them with presents. I know. I know they may have had very little to call their own in their short lives, and you want to make up for it. I know. You just have to do it carefully. We still shower our kids with gifts...we've just learned not to do it all on Christmas morning! We give gifts to the kids throughout the month of December. It makes a huge difference. 2. We have to keep some semblance of normalcy (or as normal as it gets in this house!) during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. So, being a home school family, we continue to do school, and try to maintain as many routines as possible. It sounds mean to continue to school over Christmas break; I promise it's nicer than it sounds, because they're craving routine. They need it.

3. Even though things are really busy, we make an effort to make sure each child gets one-on-one parent time...even if that means just heading to the store or gas station alone with a parent. Now that you have received the wisdom from a totally inexperienced novice, go read some really really good advice from Essie the Accidental Mommyand Christina at Welcome to My Brain

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sandpaper isn't this rough...

It's been a very rough day. Couple days, actually. I have no words/thoughts that aren't dismal/defeatist, so how about a little Christmas music?

Friday, December 17, 2010

To put you in the mood...

Stress Related Weight Gain...

My pants aren't fitting well at all. I've gained 8 pounds. It's stress. Not my stress, my kid's stress (unfortunately, it still ends up on my hips!). CJ's therapist has been having him talk about the really bad experiences he's had. CJ hates this. He dreads it. He's scared of it. Even thinking about thinking about the bad things makes him look ill. It hurts so much. It's so hard to be soothing, comforting, and confident, when he tells me these awful things and I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. I love my son so much. It hurts so badly to know the pain he's endured. I would do anything to go back and experience the terror and pain for him. But I can't. And sweets abound this time of year, so I end up trying to eat away the pain for both of us.

He is so courageous. I encourage him to talk about the painful things and I explain that it will help him heal. I tell him I'm right here for him when the memories are scary. He believes me. That's huge. And he shares the scary stories, even though it seems almost unbearable for him sometimes to have to recall them. He is so brave.

Today was a tough day for him, and he handled it so well. It was tough for me too, and though I handled it well on the outside, it was a lot harder inside. So I ate a couple Christmas cookies --not great for my IBS or my waistline(when your metabolism is as slow as mine is, even a couple cookies make a bad impact!). Then we went for a walk, which was much better for all of us.

Words cannot express how grateful I am to God that CJ is safe now. That he has the opportunity to heal. My heart breaks for other children who are out there right now, in horrifying situations and in unimaginable pain. Join me in praying for a place for these children heal, and please consider the possibility that you may be that place.

I am utterly in love...

Check out the giveaway for this beautiful piece of art here. What I wouldn't give! It's gorgeous!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Both my kids surprised me today. Both have moved around a lot and had very few things to call their own , or have been given things and had them taken away (like my son's foster mom, who gave him a bunch of Christmas gifts last year, then didn't allow him to take them to his new home.) So my kids are very possessive of their things. Sharing is often difficult for them. At the same time though, they know firsthand really rough experiences--especially the scary feelings of uncertainty in not having a permanent home. They each received a little money for Christmas this year, and I asked them if they'd like to use some to help others. I was awestruck and delighted when they both enthusiastically agreed. CJ wants to give some of his money to the shelter where we got Mercy, while ZeZe wants to donate some of hers to help people in Haiti.

There are creatures hurting all over this world. I know this isn't a great financial time for anyone right now, but if you have some money to spare, I encourage you to use to it help others. You don't have to give hundreds. If you have 5, 10, 15, or 20 dollars, it can make a difference. I'm sure you can readily think of ways to use your money for others. In case you're having a bit of trouble coming up with ideas, here are a few:

1. Ask your church or other religious organization for ways you can help those in need in your community.

2. Donate to your local animal shelter. They don't just need your money; donate your time volunteering, blankets, food, or toys.

3. Consider sponsoring a child or giving a one time donation to Compassion International.

4. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is a great place to help.

5. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a wonderful organization that helps to bring foster children together with adoptive families.

I don't want to overwhelm you with the world's needs, I just want to show you a couple ways to help, so I'll stop there. The needs of the world are great, and you are small; but if we all pitch in together, we can make a difference.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What do you do when it's dark and blustery?


...you can curl up on the couch:

...you can bake cookies:

...you can play inside until your room is a disaster:

...you can bake more cookies:

...you can stare at the pretty lights on the Christmas tree:

...you could curl up in the chair for a nap:

...you can thank God for the opportunity to be inside surrounded by critters and kids when the weather is crummy :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This post by Jennifer at The Least Complicated nails it. Go read it. Seriously, she says it better than I ever could have.

Parenting children who have experienced trauma becomes your new norm when you're in the midst of it, but at the outset of adoption, many people expect it to be all unicorns and rainbows. Few understand the reality of what they may face. I'm not trying to scare anyone away from adoption. Just because something is difficult, doesn't mean it isn't amazing and worth it. God doesn't usually call us to what's easy and comfortable.

It's also amazing the things you discover you can deal with. The other night, I was telling my husband about a woman who's blog I follow:

Me: "I really admire her. Her kids have some significant issues, and she's always there for them, always determined to help them heal. I'm not sure I could do it. I mean we're talking peeing in retaliation, becoming violent during unbelievable meltdowns, pathological lying, stealing--seriously, I don't know how she does it."

Hubby: *stares at me, with odd look* "Now name something we haven't dealt with in our very home."

Me: "Uh, yeah, but her kids are different. Seriously, it sounds worse."

The only difference is that my kids are mine, and I love them. God has brought us together, and he's equipped us for the job. Of course it helps too, that I've seen a lot of healing in my kids. Particularly with ZeZe, who has come such a long way in the past 2 years. That helps a lot too; that experience helps me to know there's a light at the end of the tunnel with CJ.

Adoption isn't unicorns and rainbows. It's hard and it's amazing. I would take the gritty truth of it over rainbows and unicorns any day (well, most days, anyway!). When you've been through hell with your kid, and you come out on the other side together, it creates a bond like no other.

Monday, December 13, 2010

163 Million Minus One...

I'm sure you've heard the statistic that there are 163 million orphans in the world. Well, now there are 163 million....minus one :) CJ's adoption was finalized via telephone on November 22nd, 2010. He now has a family forever. No more shifting from home to home. No more trauma. Now he can be on a path to healing and come to know security. Please pray for all of us as he learns what forever means. Yes this post is late. Life has been overwhelming. Parenting children who have been traumatized is a lot different than parenting children who have not. The past couple months, parenting CJ has required of me nearly all of my time (including my blogging time!)...and the rest of my time has been devoted to making sure ZeZe doesn't get lost in the shuffle! We've made some progress lately (or at least I think so) so I'm optimistic that maybe I'll be able to sneak in a little blogging time in the coming weeks.