Friday, August 25, 2017

Learning to be Momma to this one

I had been officially licensed for one month when I walked into the hospital room with an empty car seat.  I had no idea what I would find.  I had talked with his placement worker the night before over a fuzzy connection as I stood in the middle of the woods at Cub Scout camp.  We talked for maybe ten minutes.  She answered any question she could, but the truth is she didn't know too much.  Even so I said I'd pick him up the next morning, just after a pit stop at home for a shower.



I stopped just in front of his room.  The door was open just a crack with the lights off on the other side.  I looked up and down the hallway expecting somebody to greet me, but there was nobody around.  Taking a deep breath I slowly pushed open his door and walked through.  He was to my right swaddled and sleeping.  He was the tiniest baby I had ever met.  To my left was his health board saying he needed to be left in his crib to sleep leaving me to sit in the rocking chair quietly beside him.  After a few minutes but what felt like hours a curly haired, smiling nurse introduced herself and told me I could pick him up.  It was six hours of learning how to care for him before she sent us home.

The blanket he came home from the hospital with.

Three weeks later I found myself in the same hospital with two big boys and very sick baby boy.  He had been throwing up for the last 24 hours.  The weight he had lost proved my instincts were right, nothing was staying down.  After an X-ray and a ultrasound it was agreed that the hospital would be our home for the next few days.  Strong man picked up the big ones and I made up my bed on a cot.  The waiting, worrying, and fighting of a Momma began.

Trying to read a book while I waited to meet with the doctors.

The waiting...
... Test still being done at 11 pm Friday night.
... Pacing our room while I waited for them to come back from putting his IV in.
... For morning to come while I held him each time he vomited so I could talk with the doctors.

More tests

The worrying...
... As his throwing up became so scheduled and regular I could catch it saving him a change of clothes.
... As the surgeon never came to see us simply looking over his charts, making choices I disagreed with.
... Sitting in the waiting room while he was finally in surgery.

Going to surgery

The fighting...
... With doctors to move his surgery up a few days.


My boys were birthed to me whatever comes our way is all part of parenthood.  This boy is different.  This time I went to classes and made my house ready for inspections.  For this boy I got a phone call asking if I was willing to take him as my own for a few months.  I chose him and everything that comes with him.  It may only be for a time that I get to be his Momma because he could go home with a single phone call, but after this weekend I have no doubt that there is no end to the depths of love I have for this guy.

We love, because He first loved us.
~ John, friend of Jesus

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Love unconditional

Dear Baby K,

Man of the woods birthed me into motherhood every day for the last nine years.  Laughter has taught me to live life with an open hand.  You are teaching me to love like I've never known love before.

Seven days ago at about this time I was laying eyes on you for the first time.  You lay asleep even if it wasn't peaceful you slept just the same.  I sat in the dark room learning as much as I could about you, realizing that no matter how many people I talked to I still wouldn't know you like I did my older two, but I was determined to do my best.  You came home and quietly slept while I checked on you often.  It didn't take long for me to learn that if you fell asleep while drinking your bottle you needed to burp.  Or that you would always choose cuddles over eating so I sometimes needed to hold you in my lap facing me if I wanted you to eat.  I quickly learned that you sleep through most everything as long as you feel snug in a swaddle.  I know you prefer a bassinet to a crib.  You don't seem to need to rock like my other boys did.  You are you're own person.  You and I we're getting to know each other.  Last night when I came home from work you were happy to see me.  You have taken my heart.

I don't have words to articulate the love I feel towards you.  I know that someday in the months to come you and I will part ways.  On that day my soul will ache and my tears will flow for you.  For now I wake with you every few hours and tell you it's all going to be alright when you cry because of a gas bubble.  I change every dirty diaper with a happy heart because it's what you need, it's what a Momma does and it's what love is.  This love you are teaching me is an example of God's love for man kind.  The way he created a perfect world, loving us enough to give us free will, the ability to reject Him.  It's a beautiful thing, a precious gift actually.  He knew we would walk away and still He loved us.  You won't be rejecting me, but you will be leaving me.  Yet I am compelled to love you with all of myself knowing that my heart will soon break.

I'm thankful for the way you are reshaping me into a better person.  My hope for you is that no matter what you will always know you are loved.  Thank you for teaching me to love with my whole self sweet boy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I'm compelled, I can't help it.

Boys,

You need to know some things about me.  I never imagined having kids and if I did I never imagined I would find joy in being a mother.  I never imagined that I would have a dream job and resign so I could be a stay at home mother.  I never ever imagined I would be willing to foster somebody else's children.  All these big life changing things I never imagined that now bring me unexpected fulfillment.  I do find joy in mothering and I do love being at home with you guys.  I am beyond excited to love children that need to be loved for a time.

In recent years I have gone back to the basics as I read my Bible searching for what religion means to God.  I've found that what He wants most is for us to take care of other people.  James says straight up that pure religion is to visit the orphans and widows (James 1:27).  Jesus says that feeding the hungry is just like we are taking care of him personally (Matthew 25:40).  Isaiah says if you want God to hear you then give yourself to the hungry and help the afflicted (Isaiah 58:9-10).

In the past I had gotten so caught up in the programs and the events and the people right in front of me I forgot to find the hungry and the hurting.  I didn't see the afflicted and if I did I couldn't make time for them because I already had a group of people.  But now I have time.  Now I feel the urgency to help.  I'm compelled to do this.  I'm called.

I'm old enough now to know that it's the unimaginable that brings me the most joy.  It's not the dreams I have that give me a full life it's the journey to knowing God more deeply that brings the joy.  Now as I have spent time reading and time reflecting on life I'm ready to welcome a foster baby into my arms, to love like my own for as long as she will need it.  I'm ready to take the risk of saying goodbye and giving her back to the very people she was taken from.  I'm ready to teach her what love is, that's it's unconditional. I'm ready for long nights and blurry eyed days.  I'm ready for appointments and dirty diapers.  I'm ready to feed the afflicted and visit the poor.

Boys, as you grow I hope that above all else you follow God.  I hope that you say no to your dreams and yes to His calling.  May you find joy in all the adventures you never imagined.  I beg you to say yes to what is pure and what is true.  You've got a good start with this journey of fostering.  We decided this as a family.  You are as open to the hurt as we are.

I love the men you are growing to be and I know you'll be excellent big brothers.  I'm excited to walk this road with you.

Love,
Momma

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nine

To the one who birthed me into motherhood and has held my heart close for the last nine years, I adore you.  Over these last few weeks we've been on an adventure of a lifetime, discovering the land of our ancestors, the land of the rising sun.  I've marveled at how much of a man you are becoming.  You are after all half way to 18, half grown, but sometimes I forget that your hands are almost as big as mine.  On this trip you wouldn't let me forget.  You were respectful always and thought constantly about other people.  It made me smile, seeing you pay attention to the details, even in such a strange place, remembering what you've been taught.  I love that about you, how detailed you are.

You asked to go to the zoo and so we did.  It was a very fun day.

You are named Man of the Woods and live up to that name so well.  We were in Japan at the busiest time of year for them during the 'Golden Week', an entire week of holidays.  We saw the Imperial Palace, and giant statues of Buddha, we went up to the top of the tallest tower in the world, we saw kites that were the size of a standard room, but your favorite part of the whole trip was the few hours we spent at the Pacific Ocean.  It's the natural and the simple that bring you the most joy.  I hope you never grown out of that.

At the Pacific Ocean.


Over the last 12 days I got to glimpse the man you are becoming.  You walked like a man, never needing to hold my hand.  Even though the places we visited were shoulder to shoulder packed, you never needed the security of it.  You ate everything I put on your plate and asked to try what wasn't initially offered to you.  You remembered all your manners.  I realized that, in our small town, it's good to always expect you to let grown ups go first, but when in a busy train station, I needed to let you know it was okay to cut in front of them sometimes.  I'm proud of the glimpse I saw.  You're going to be a good man full of respect for others.

You are a pro with chopsticks.  Every meal we used them and you conquered them.

This coming year you are going to enter the fourth grade and I suspect will continue to do Cub Scouts.  I bet you'll keep fiddling around with your uke making music just for fun. Lego's will be your favorite past time as they have been this year.  As you're Momma I'll pray that you keep making good choices.  I'll focus on teaching you more of the why it's important to do what's right.  We'll keep plugging away at your reading skills and you'll keep blowing my mind with your math smarts.


My prayer for you this year is this: May you stay strong and learn to focus especially on the things that bore you such as school work.  May you use the knowledge you have in a wise way.  May you always put others first for the sake of love.  May you continue to be your unique self, loving life to it's fullest and constantly wanting to learn.

You are proud of this photo you took of Mount Fuji.  It's the one photo you insist everybody sees.

I love you more than life.  There are no words to tell you how proud I am of the man you are becoming. Here's an interview with your nine year old self.


What is your favorite color? Dark Blue
What is something very special to you? God
What is your favorite word or saying? "Guess what, in Minecraft..."
What is your favorite thing to do? Climb, run, and play outside.
What is your favorite memory from this past year? Japan, all of it.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I don't know

Thursday, April 13, 2017

You started this whole journey and I kind of love it this way.

Dearest Man of the Woods,


About six months ago you walked into the living room to have a deep conversation with me.  I'm not sure why you were thinking about it, but it's been life changing for me.  It was short and you were to the point.  I wanted to share it with you because your words went straight to my heart.  Here it is:


You: Mom, there are kids that don't have parents to love them right?
Me: Yes that's true.
You: But you're a good mom and Dad is a good dad so why don't you love them?
Me: Wow I don't have a good answer.  That's a very deep thought.  I'll think about it.


You see since your brother was a little over one I have wanted a daughter.  As you know my pregnancies were hard so your Dad and I decided not to have any more children.  We had talked about adopting.  I had even done research into it, but the cost of a private adoption is more then we can afford.  I had just decided that some dreams weren't meant to be.  The only thing we hadn't looked into was adoption through the state.  Dad was open to foster care, but I had always been against it.  That is until you and I had this conversation.


Your opinion means a lot to me so when you suggested that I loved you well and should share some of that love with another child.  It made me stop and question my motives, why if I was so open to a private adoption I wouldn't be open to an adoption through the state.  After a few months of thinking and praying it over I decided you were right.  Now six months after you and I had this conversation I don't just think this is a good idea I'm over joyed at the idea.


Thank you for asking questions and giving me your thoughts on life.  You are a good man with a good heart.  I'm looking forward to walking this road with you where ever it takes us.  I love you my son.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I feel in color

I never knew it until that morning I woke up to find myself surrounded by grey walls.  The wall that had the night before been a soft yellow in the morning was grey.  That was the day my search for joy began and my first realization that I was sick had begun to sink in.  Since the beginning I have taken the time to capture color. To soak it in for those days I cannot see.


I have learned that joy is the color of dandelion yellow.





Sadness is wet river rock grey.




Peace is yellow color that reflects off the lazy river water on a sunny day.



Excitement is the white of a bubbling brook.



Happiness is the garden green.



 Thankfullness is the red that signals fall.


 Grace is snow white.



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A new journey, a deeper life

I bought her first book before she was a guest on the morning show.  It sat in the store under the sign new authors.  It was shortly after I woke up that morning to a grey world beginning my search for joy.  A friend had recommend it to me.  She said it was about this woman's search for joy and maybe I would enjoy the read.  I bought it.  She was right.  It is because of One Thousand Gifts that I started counting.  On those dark days when I couldn't feel joy I saw it and recorded it for a good read later on when I could feel it, for a hope I could hold onto for that moment.

About six months ago my personal demon caught me off guard sending me into a short lived but an intense mania.  Since then I've been fighting for joy and hoping for balance to return.  Shortly there after she wrote another book, The Broken Way.  I tried to buy but it was sold out.  Once I finally got my hands on a copy I sat snuggle under my quilt ready to read.  I couldn't make it through the first page.  She has a way of painting with her words cutting straight to the soul.  I had to write so I could remember (Read it here).  Turns out that's the challenge of her book remember your brokenness.  Something I'm already doing as I have been revisited first by Mania and more recently by Depression.

Here's to a new journey, a challenge, a deeper life.