Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I need to listen to them.

Ladies' Prayer was on the calendar for this morning, so my mind was on my Lord and all He has done for me. Many of those things I have written about previously, many I will be writing about in the future, and many, I will not post via my laptop or any other computer for that matter. Some have happened and are permanently ingrained in my mind. Some have been stored in my memory only to be brought forward at the perfect time. Some (many I am sure) have happened and have been forgotten, never to be thought of again. I am glad God does not expect me to keep a record of everything He has done for me.
I have to say, if I were in His position, I wouldn't be so gracious. For example, as I have written about, AG has had difficulty with kind words towards her brothers and sisters. We adhered to the old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." This morning, daughter number 2, finally chose shed compliments on her siblings. My heart was so used to giving her consequences, I had to consciously remember to praise her instead of reprimand her. God is not that way, He longs to forgive us and praise us. At the same time He helps us to grow, to become men, women, boys, and girls in whom He can be proud of. He gives us every chance along the way to choose the right path. When we go our own way, He provides a way back. There is always an "escape hatch" from sin, always an opportunity to turn around and go the other direction. I am thankful for His patience with me. In turn, I need to share the same patience with those in my life, whether they are dear to me or some one whose name I don't know.
It's ironic, when I sat to write this message, my head had me going in a very different direction. Instead, my heart was lead to these thoughts. I needed to think them. I needed to read them. I need to listen to them them.
Now, I am off to fold laundry.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We are family.

Tonight we had a party, no, it wasn't any one's birthday, it was an anniversary of sorts. Four years ago today AB and AG came to live with us. Little did we know, they would be a permanent part of our family. Little did we know, we would fall in love with the woman that brought them into this world. Little did we know, not only would they become part of us but many others would join with us as well.
Tonight we celebrated, three very different families who share a common bond, that is our children, along with the woman who made this all possible. I know for a fact every parent there was blessed to be chosen, by God, to love these siblings. I am also blessed that our home gets to be "family central". We have more nieces and nephews now. EB and EG now have more cousins, aunts and uncles than they began with. Holidays became not only more complicated but more exciting. I love watching our newest members begin to integrate into this crazy, chaotic, comfortable enigma, we call family. I love to think about what we, as a whole, represent; everything good, everything forgiving, everything loving. Without question, without worry, without fear, we are family.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

He's right, he does.

Ropin' and ridin' was on the calendar for today. We took a drive out of town about an hour and another 15 minutes down a dirt road and ended up at a free range cattle ranch for the owner's, our friend, 40th birthday. JB fell asleep, thankfully, on the way down and when the dirt road started taking us for a ride, he woke up with the biggest grin of excitement. That's our boy, he definitely keeps us busy. This boy has no idea he is two, he will take on his 13 year old brother without a thought. He doesn't understand why he can't carry the gallon bottles of milk or help move the couch. When one of his older siblings are being reprimanded, he is right there repeating the parent's words. So, sitting upon an animal 50 times his size, piece of cake. Standing next to a six foot tall man he waits his turn to hold the lasso in his tiny little hands. When it came to handling the branding iron, I am thankful, JB allowed his big brother to do the captaining. A child like that keeps you on your toes. This boy has no fear, except when it comes to automatic flushing toilets. I think he said it best when he looked at me and spoke these words, "Mom, I make you tired." He's right, he does.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It feels normal

My how the kids have a way of keeping me busy. I know, that sounds like an obvious statement but sometimes I need to hear it to remind myself why I don't accomplish everything I think about doing. Most of the time six kids feels normal, just like two, four and five felt. Other times I feel like I am surrounded. In fact, at church the other day I was holding JG while walking through the lobby, with every step I took, all of the rest of the kids were right beside me. I made a quiet plea to my friend for rescue from the sea of youth when she said I looked like a Verizon commercial. Great, I have my own "network". Now, if I only had those extra minutes. Sometimes I need to remind myself that the twelve "Mom"s I've heard in the last ten minutes came from more than one child. There are days when a "low roar" is all the quiet I can hope for. You know,I wouldn't have it any other way. I love hearing the excited voices fill my van after school. The conversations overlapping at the dinner table are like music to my ears. The crescendo of laughter ringing down the stairwell, warms my heart every time. Sure, I relish the sound of silence when my dear husband takes the kids to school. I do find myself stretching my own bedtime a half hour or so later just to hear my thoughts. And I am wonderfully blessed each time some one mentions how well behaved my children are. But, who wants quiet, perfectly behaved children who leave you alone? My kids do a great job at being kids. Sometimes they make my job easy, sometimes, they make it difficult but they always make it exciting.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pop Compliments

We have a child who is having a serious problem with words. She is having a hard time saying positive things to her siblings. In our home, if you don't have anything nice to say, you lose the privileged of words. We have enacted this consequence on numerous occasions with said child, so, because she obviously needs practice in saying nice things, we have invented "Pop Compliments". Similar to a pop quiz, pop compliments can be sprung on you at any time. When your name is said in conjunction with this new disciplinary tactic it is your job to tell each of your siblings something you like about them. If you have difficulty with this, then you must be tired so your bed time is bumped up. We are still working on the offending child. (who has gone an entire day saying she can't think of anything, a long time for her not to be able to speak to her brothers and sisters) Being one of my strong willed tykes, consistency is the answer. Hopefully, by this time next week, she will be able to sing the praises of her siblings. Until then, the house will be a lot more quiet. I should enjoy the peace.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My heart was stirred.

"Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord." We sang this lyric in church this morning and it stirred my heart. Waiting upon the Lord, how good am I at that, I wonder. These past few years I have been living what God has set before me. We said yes to our calling to do foster care and I didn't need to wait, life just happened to me. After JG was born my life took a turn, patience and time would be in my future. All of a sudden, this steam train of a life has come to be more of a touring train. JG is only 16 months old but her delays are becoming visible. For a baby with Down Syndrome she is very strong both physically and willfully, both are very exciting to me. But, we are already experiencing the waiting, when will she say her first word, when will she get her first tooth, when will she take her first step. How wonderful it is to know the answer to all of these questions, "All in my Lord's timing." The thing with JG is, there will always be waiting, but, as the song promises, I will get stronger. What an exciting life God has set before me and I get to live it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A wee bit of Wii

My day was a bit busy and inspiration hasn't hit me yet. So I am posting a video of two of my boys playing Wii. AB and JB are having a ton of fun but JB is too little for the video game. He plays right along though. The video is short so, I hope you enjoy this wee bit of Wii.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I am truly blessed.

There is a beautiful young woman in my life, in whom I see my Saviour's work every time I am with her. She has lived a life no one wants for their little girl, but she had no other options. The things she has witnessed can only be comparable to what I have seen on TV and in the movies, but she is sweet and even naive at times. The person she was, I would have literally crossed the street to avoid any contact with, but I love her. My children love her and she loves them, after all, she has given birth to three of them.
The mother of my children is what I call her and that is how she introduces me. What my Lord has done in our lives is amazing. I have not heard of a foster care experience that measures up to ours. What more can an adoptive mother ask for but some one who knows the biological history of her children. What more can anyone ask for than to watch the metamorphosis of a life from something that would make you cringe into something that makes you cry. I am truly blessed and I hope she knows.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I saw a man...

As I was driving down the road I saw a man walking with his back toward me. I don't know what reminded me of him, my Dad didn't make it a habit to walk down the streets of my town. The clothes were not anything like he would wear. There wasn't a way to this man's gait that resembled that of my father's. It was just a thought, I won't see him walking, anywhere. I miss him.

But, I get to see him every day, in some way, through my children and not only those I gave birth to. Without knowing, or even understanding, each one of them honor him as they live their lives. Some emanate my father through their poetry. Some remember him through their stories. Our youngest son still prays for him. When they notice rocks or the geological terrain, they honor him. When they paddle a kayak or play football, they honor him. Day by day, I see him. I hope, in time, they too will see that my Dad lives within each one of them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today, I had a helper.

As I sit here, my mind is blank. What did I do today, I know I was busy because I don't remember very much down time at all. My day was consumed with JB and JG. My two year old son enjoyed having me almost all to himself. He was my helper, "helping" do laundry, "helping" vacuum, "helping" clean the bathroom, "helping" lose his shoe, "helping" stay awake during nap time, "helping" make his sister fall over, you know, "that" kind of helping. Well, at least he had no fits today.
Yesterday, though, my passionate third son had a melt down all because I wouldn't open the sliding glass door. No, I was not making him stay outside for a punishment, nor was I being lazy and not wanting to get out of my chair. You see, not only is he my third son but he is my third "strong willed child". Don't get me wrong, I love the strong willed aspect of my children, most of the time. This day, he was outside wanting in, others attempted to open the door only to send the child reeling on an emotional water slide, you know, the super steep ones that once you start there is no turning back, you are fully committed to hurl your body down ten stories on a thin layer of water, but, I digress. JB, needs control as do the majority of 2 1/2 year olds, and he only wanted Mom to open the door, absolutely no one else would do. Now, with kids like JB, EB and AG,when you take a stand conflicting with the way they believe life should be, you must hold fast and firm, show no fear and win the battle. It is not so much being right or finishing on top as it is being consistent. These kids need consistency and will test and test and test to make sure the rules have not changed. I have to say, the most memorable moment of these hysterical hysterics was when he slid the door open so he could ask me to open the door in his nice sweet voice, when I said he could open it, he was back to the fit like he had never left it. Now, that is strong willed.
Today, though, he was a helper, and, tomorrow, he goes to school.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Time to Breathe

I don't remember a day when I felt so accomplished so early in the morning. By 10 this morning I had vacuumed, washed, dried and folded 3 loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen counters, loaded the dishwasher, had dinner ready for the oven and had JG's developmental specialist here for an hour. I did all of this with a 16 month old, a two year old and a sick six year old at home. It helped that dear hubby took the older three to school this morning. I posted my pleasure on one of those social networking sites when a friend decided that the last time I experienced such a euphoric moment must have been around four years ago, when we only had two children.
Yes, we actually went from two to six children in a matter of two and a half years. I think I am just now recovering from the tidal wave that hit my life. It was five years ago around this time, that I mentioned the desire I had to do foster care. I had spoken of it a few times during the prior couple of years and boy was I surprised when my husband answered, "I think I could do that." We began to pray and felt God was overwhelmingly confirming this new direction for our lives. We asked EB and EG to pray about it also, telling them we would have some hard kids come into our home, we would love them, and cry when those children left. We new our children would sacrifice the most, sharing toys, their rooms, as well as their parents. After a few days they both joined us on the "foster care bandwagon". Many things happened that year that had us almost afraid of not taking on this challenge. It was undeniable that we were to open our home to children we had no idea where from.
Twelve months passed when along come AB and AG, our first foster kids. After the next two weeks, we offered our home to them forever. The adoption was towards the end of that year and early the next year we found out their half brother was born and due to be removed also. We welcomed JB into our family when he was only five days old. A year went by and we were looking forward to finalizing his position in our family when we found out we were pregnant. JG was born three months after JB's adoption.
There, that is just the skeleton of our lives and the reason I have jumped on the blogging train. Honestly, it has been a whirlwind and I can not remember half of our adventure. If any of you do, please feel free to share on this blog.
So, yes, I feel accomplished today and thankful for the crazy roller coaster our Lord has put our family on.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Just a little deeper.

Well, the day is almost up as well as Christmas break. The kids and hubby all go to their respective places tomorrow while the house and I will see a little less action. Actually, only three of the kids will go back tomorrow the younger three will be home. JG is 16 months, JB is 2 years (he goes on Wednesday) and AG is 6 (she is sick).
I am choosing to keep my children's names private for quite a few reasons. First, I don't want anyone to gain information due to their names. Second not all of my children are biological. A few have birth fathers whom we have not built trust with as of yet. So for my family's safety, they, as well as our last name, will remain privy to those who know and love us. I am excited, though, for you to get to know each member of our family in time.
Our children are EB 13yr boy, EG 12yr girl, AB 9yr boy, AG 6yr girl, JB 2yr boy and JG 16m girl. The first two as well as the last one are biological. My other 3 we adopted after being their foster parents. My youngest has Down Syndrome and has been our biggest surprise. For parents who thought that two children would be enough, God has definitely filled our cups to overflowing.
Along with our children, our lives are filled with caseworkers, therapists, doctors, nurses, social workers, birth families, adoptive families, school, and church and we wouldn't have it any other way. One day, I will tell you how each child came to be in our family. Only one was planned by us, the rest were on the Lord's timing. What a wonderful life God has planned for us.

Jumping In!

Hello everyone. Today, I am undertaking something I have wanted to do for a long time, blogging. I have no idea to do or what I will say, so thank you for sharing this journey of documenting my life and the lives of my family. My goal is to add an entry everyday, whether a note, a story or a photo, in hopes of keeping up with my six kids and my husband (with out embarrassing them too much). Really, I am doing this because our lives have been so crazy and amazing the past few years, it is hard for me to remember what happened yesterday, let alone a month or year ago. Today's entry will be a photo as we are "Jumping In" to 2010.