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Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkins and Motivation

It's amazing how quickly a child can scarf down his lunch when there's a piece of candy waiting for him at the other end. Candy is a pretty hot commodity around here since the kids don't eat it often. And when they gain a big stash all at once, they get one piece after lunch and one after dinner. So you better believe when they have an opportunity arise, they seize it.

We went to our church's Trunk-or-Treat last night. This was no ordinary Trunk-or-Treat. I heard they were expecting around 10,000 people?? I think that was a conservative estimate. The event was held at the county fairgrounds on the Speedway. Pretty cool! We got there right at starting time, and there were already a few thousand people there, I'm sure. Here's a picture of my father-in-law pushing the girls through the sea of people:

We also did some obligatory pumpkin-carving over the weekend. The weather could not have been more perfectly delightful. We decided to take advantage of the girls napping and had the boys clean out their pumpkins and draw faces on them. Then Superman cut them out...ain't no way we were gonna let those boys go free with carving knives (even though J-Man is pictured below with a pumpkin carver)...ahem.

The pumpkins got me thinking...just about how we all have gunk. I mean, we all have things that we'd like to scoop out of ourselves. And don't tell me you don't...because that would be lying. None of us is a perfect pumpkin. I'm just glad we have a Lord who is willing to take us--gunk and all. And that I have a Savior who will take away as much of that icky stuff as I'll let Him. I mean, if I want to hold on to the sticky stuff, He won't fight me on it. But I think we all know we'd all be a lot happier if we just let the gunk go.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I {HEART} Adoption!

It's funny how I don't remember knowing anyone who was adopted when I was growing up. It must have just been invented since I was an adult, because there weren't any people who adopted "back then." Or, maybe it just wasn't talked about as much. Yeah, maybe that.

Even before Superman and I adopted the first time around, I really didn't hear people talking about adopting, or being adopted, or why chocolate is one of God's divine creations. Oh wait, strike that last remark. That's a whole different topic.

As soon as we opened that door, however, it was like the Lord decided to let a shower of touching personal stories from complete strangers come gushing through the opening we just unveiled. I met people in the grocery store, at the park, at church, and at one point in my Bible study there were 4 woman out of 10 who had adopted! Just me opening my mouth and saying, "We're going through the adoption process" catapulted me into some new realm of existence among the adoption world. People were open. People were sharing.

Many people, including some extended family had great concerns about us adopting, especially since Mr. C was still less than a year old. It would be too much to handle (which it almost was at times). Mr. C would be neglected because of the attention we would have to give the new child. We should just have our "own" kids so we wouldn't have to deal with other people's mistakes. (Yup. A family member said that.) Mr. C would be permanently scarred (heck, he probably has a better chance of turning out normal by having so many siblings!) And a plethora of other discouragements I like to call "the Enemy's attempts" at thwarting the Lord's will for our lives.

I have friends, a surprising number, who are in the process of adopting. I can't begin to say the rejoicing my heart feels when I hear someone is adopting. It's easier for someone to say, "I've always wanted to adopt" (which we hear all the time) than to actually go out and do it. Just today I had a friend tell me she and her husband dropped their paperwork off at an adoption agency. And it made me cry. Ok, I wasn't full-out balling, but I did get a couple tears welling up in my eyes. There's just something about adoption that starts a shiver of glee in my insides. I giggle. I twitch. I get giddy. And I love it.

Discouragements abound when one goes through the adoption process. There are classes that still need to be taken, paperwork that still needs to be filled out, references that still need to be submitted, patience that needs to be learned, and the myriad of other things that one must do in order to help a waiting child. And I think that Satan (yes, he is real) delights in our dismay. But oh, the joy that you feel when you meet that child. That ONE (or two, or three...) special child(ren) the Lord has knitted in someone else's womb only to be raised by you. Cherished, adored, and loved by you. It is a fruit like no other. The sweetest, most wonderful fruit you can imagine.

Oh, how I {HEART} adoption!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Refined Sugar Is Not My Friend

So this has nothing to do with adoption, or birth parents or really anything related to kids. Unless you want to relate it to the sugar addiction I've battled since my youth. Ok, so it really hasn't been a battle. I lost a long time ago. But I'm coming back with a vengeance. I may have lost {many} battles, but I shall not lose the war!

I've tried a few times to kick the sugar habit. I've been through detox. I've quit eating sweets for months at a time. And then I decide to reintroduce that wonderful stuff back into my life. I'll just eat sweets once a month...just once a week...just once a day....just once an hour. And then, once again, somehow I've been overtaken by my taste buds to delight in the wonderful sugary-ness of baked goods or candy or ice cream.

The problem isn't that I just eat occasional sweets. The problem is that I don't know how to stop. It literally is like an addiction. I can't eat just one cookie. I love to bake. I mean, I love to bake. It makes me happy. But by the time the first batch of cookies is done, I've already eaten like 3 cookies worth of dough. And then I'll just have a couple cookies since I have to make sure they're safe for the rest of the family to eat.

I'm lucky in that I do find great pleasure in running. I'm not overweight by any means, but a few months ago, I was reading through the book of Philippians, and I came across this verse: "Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and...their mind is on earthly things." (Phil. 3:19) I don't think I'm a glutton, but when I have sugar in my life, it tends to take over quickly. And I shouldn't be ok with that. If I spent as much time focusing my mind on the Lord instead of how incredibly tasty my baked goods are, I would be a much better person.

So, I've decided to make a life change.

I'm not cutting out baked goods or sweets or yummy foods. But I am making a conscious choice to be conscious of what I'm putting into this temple the Lord has given me. Superman is one of those people naturally drawn to healthiness (lucky duck) so he was on board to try this with me. So we're now on day four of our "no refined sugar" kick. I want to see if I feel different, better. I have had chronic pain in my joints for years and years and I want to see if making this dietary change happens to help. I've tried pretty much everything else, so why not this?

I don't expect to cut out all refined sugar forever. I know there will be times when I will enjoy a sweet delight with a friend. And I'm not going to force our kids to never eat sweets. Halloween is, after all, just a few weeks away, and there are birthday parties, school parties, and just fun at friends' houses. But, we will be aware. We will be sensitive to how we are treating our bodies. When I can, I will substitute natural sugars for refined sugars in my baking. I will do my best to treat this body with the respect it deserves and to be thankful for it. I have no right to abuse it!

Anyone else want to join me?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On Birthparents...

When J-Man came to us, his parental rights terminated about 2 weeks later. Being new adoptive parents, we had no idea how the process works, what to expect, etc. Our social worker told us the mom had 60 days to appeal, but that she most likely wouldn't. And, she didn't. Thankfully.

We did discover, however, while perusing the documents detailing J-Man's life, the names of both birth parents. This got us thinking. Wouldn't it be great if we could have some photos of them? I mean, I'm not adopted, but I often long to know more about my dad's history since he passed away in 2000. I know he carried with him stories from abroad, where he grew up in India. I wished he had shared his language and his culture with us more. I can only imagine how those feelings would be magnified if I had never met my birth parents and didn't know who I looked like. I would imagine there would be a hole somewhere in me...longing to know who I came from, where I came from, whose nose I had, whose eyes I had.

So, with that, we decided to hire a private investigator to track down J-Man's birth parents and get some photos for us.

It took a few months, but in the end, we ended up with one photo of birth mom and a silent video of birth dad. Along with that came a good supply of info on both parents. We have those items locked up in a safe that's only for J-Man's eyes. No one else in our family has ever seen it, not even our other kids. When he's ready to share it with people, he is welcome to do it. Occasionally, we open up that safe, show J-Man who is birth parents were and remind him just how much we love him. We remind him that God put him in our lives, that we CHOSE him because he was the perfect boy for our family and that any time he has questions about where he came from, he can ask.

I'm so happy we made the decision to get those photos. We hope to update that file in a few years just so we can keep tabs on them; that way if J-Man decides when he's grown that he wants to find his birth parents, he won't have to trudge through 20 years of mystery to find them.

M-Dog, N and G were all such a different story--since we did visits with birth mom for awhile, I just asked (through the social worker) for her to bring photos and a letter to each of the kids at their last meeting. She obliged, so they each have something from her. We also set up an e-mail account so both the birth parents could send messages at any time to the kids.

I'm curious to see whether our kids will have a desire to find their birth parents later in life. As much as I want to hold on to them as "my own," I know that it's not my right to hold them back from something so important should they decide they need to discover their histories.

What are your feelings on this?

Monday, October 12, 2009


I've had a number of interesting comments and inquiries from people over the years. Now, I generally don't get offended by people's remarks. I think they are usually completely innocent and come from genuine curiosity. It would just be nice if people could naturally know that some of these questions should be asked in private, not right in front of our kids...we have made a commitment that we don't talk about the kids' histories with anyone, including family. Their stories are their stories to tell, so the dirty details remain between us and them. And usually, that's what I tell people when they ask about specifics of the kids' pasts.

When walking around with the boys at this age:

"Awww! Are they twins?" (Um, I know they look a lot alike, but....)

"Are they quadruplets??" (Seriously!)

"Why don't you just have your own kids?"

or, in another instance, sympathetically said, "Oh, you couldn't get pregnant?"

"He (referring to J-Man) would be better off in foster care than in a white family" Yup.

"How many more kids are you going to take?!"

"Why doesn't someone just sterilize those kids' mom??" (I can understand this question given birth mom's history, but still--not a great question to ask in front of the kids!)

"He's probably acting that way because of his past."

"Is he/she a drug baby?" or, "Was he a crack baby?" or, "Was his mom on crack?" or, "Did their mom do drugs and alcohol?"

"Why did the kids get taken away?" (which, by the way, I think is a valid question, I just don't really want to share that with people.)

"There can be a lot of problems that manifest themselves when he gets older."

"There's nothing you can do--genetics play too big a role."

I really am ok with inquiring minds. As a matter of fact, before we adopted, I was probably a lot more likely to ask some of these questions to people. I enjoy talking about adoption and our kids. But I don't enjoy people assuming things about our kids just because they've come from foster care.

So, for those of you out there who have adopted, what has been one (or more) of the most outlandish questions you've received?

Everyone else, what do you think?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

We have a winner!!!

Congratulations to Obladi from "0 to 30 in 90 Days"!! You've won! You've won!

E-mail me at the addy on the right-hand side of my page and let me know your mailing address and which prize you choose.


Thanks everyone for participating in my giveaway. I'll be doing another one sometime before Christmas, so make sure you keep checking back!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Family Needed

A dear fellow adoptive mom and blogger who I have recently had the pleasure of coming across is going through a horribly horrific time. Please read her post HERE and spread the word if you know of anyone who can help this family.

Last Day to Enter the Giveaway!!

Enter HERE !

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ok, people! It's time for a giveaway!!!

That's right! I said GIVEAWAY!!

I told you when I got up to 10 followers, I would do my first giveaway, and that you wouldn't be disappointed.'s the deal.

1. You post a link to my blog on your blog.
2. You leave me a comment here, on THIS entry.
3. THAT'S IT!!!

I will randomly pick a winner (out of a hat...or bucket...or kids' hand) on Saturday morning and post the winner here!

And the BEST part:

You get to CHOOSE what prize you want:

A $20 Starbucks gift card


a *SURPRISE* gift package valued at $20!

You decide!

So get to it, gals! These prizes are burning holes in my pockets!

Lookie, lookie!

My new friend over at The Accidental Mommy gave me an award. I have no idea what this means, but I'm following the directions because if I don't, I'll have bad luck for 7 years and my nose will fall off, right?

This award does come with a few rules;
Answer the survey below…you can only use one word answers!
Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers!
Alert them that you have given them this award!
Have Fun!

Where is your cell phone?- Someone needs to call it – purse.
Your hair? -cutting
Your mother?- quiet
Your father? – died
Your favorite food?-pizza
Your dream last night?- yes
Your favorite drink? water
Your dream/goal? – therapist
What room are you in?- family
Your hobby?- running
Your Fear?- heights
Where do you want to be in 6 years? –cruising
Where were you last night? – asleep
Something that you aren’t? manly
Muffins? blueberry
Wish list item? housekeeper
Where did you grow up? california
Last thing you did? typed
What are you wearing? clothes
Your TV? on
Your pets? chickens
Friends? great!
Your life? draining
Your mood? nonchalant
Missing someone? nope
Vehicle? van
Something you’re not wearing? eyepatch
Your favorite store? target
Your favorite color? red
When was the last time you laughed? 12:45
Last time you cried? september
One place that I go to over and over? toilet
One person who emails me regularly? family
Favorite place to eat? claim jumper

Here are my nominees: -- the source of all things gift-related

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The "G" is for...


My pixie-like,
tad bit high-maintenance

As much as I'd like to show her incredibly delightful face, since we're still not finalized, I decided against it.

Miss G is the consummate completion to our family. As I stated here, I was initially freaked out about the idea of bringing another child into our house. And although it has definitely been a challenge (to put it mildly) at times, having a sister for Naomi has been like eating a warm cupcake and discovering there's oozing chocolate in the middle.

G is definitely a mommy's girl right now. But that's completely by her choice. Superman is just waiting for her to realize the power she has over him (not that he would admit that). She won't go to anyone else if I'm around without screaming bloody murder. But, I have hope that she won't be 16 and freaking out that I'm going to disappear when I go around the corner. Although at that point, I'll probably wish she did.

G is so darn adorable. I mean, really. When I referred to her as a pixie above, I wasn't really exaggerating. She has these dainty features and this cute smile with little dimples that just make her look like a mini-angel on earth. Sure, she's high maintenance right now, but that's ok. She's earned it.

She's so close to walking (which, by the way, I thought she'd do at least a month ago since she was standing on her own before crawling...). I think once she actually gets the confidence up, she'll be good to go.

She's turning one this month. So strange. I remember when we first got her at 6 weeks old, I felt like her first birthday was soooo far away. But, here it is coming up!

Her parental rights were terminated a few months ago, and now we're just in the appeal process. Birth mom has appealed every decision possible with all her kids, so it really was no surprise. We're just in a waiting game at this point hoping that 6-9 months from now our family will officially be complete!

So, that wraps up our kiddos. Would you like to know the dirty details of Superman?

My Sweet N...


My tough,
"girly" girl.

She was seriously made in Heaven just for our family. Of course, all of our children were, but it is just so apparent with her.

Superman and I had always said we were just going to have boys. We knew it. We had Mr. C and J-Dog, and just knew that we would continue our tradition with just boys. We didn't know what to do with girls. I mean, I am one, but for some reason, I just couldn't picture myself as a mom of a girl.

But then N came along. I fell in love with her. And Superman, who said if he ever did have a girl (which he wouldn't) he wouldn't treat her any differently than his boys. Of course. But that little lady has wrapped that man so tight around her finger I think her circulation is getting cut off. She just has to bat her eyes at him and he melts into a blubbering mess. Oh, we never knew what we were missing.

Having a girl changed our home forever. N is a tomboy at heart. Having three older brothers has ensured her citizenship in the City of Toughness. She falls down hills, gets blood, bonks her head, wrestles with her daddy (and {adoring} brothers). But, but...she loves pink. She is like a magnet to all things glittery, shiny and feminine. She loves purses and shoes. She's a girl. And I *love* it!

She loves her daddy like nothing else. Which is funny since for the first few months after she came to us, she couldn't handle him even looking at her. She would cling to me like nothing else. But now, if she gets an ow-eee, it's to daddy she runs. That man holds her heart, and I could not be happier. Seeing the tenderness she has brought to him fills me with sheer delight. Those two are molded together. She is the perfect daughter for Superman...the perfect balance of guts, spunk and tenderness.

And to top it off, after getting her little sister G, I've been blessed to see the nurturing, mothering side of her, and it's oh, so beautiful.

And tomorrow I will present our sweet little G!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

{Parenting in a Fishbowl}

I came across an adoption blog the other day titled, "Parenting in a Fishbowl," and now I can't find it for the life of me. I followed a link through someone else's blog, but I can't remember who.

At any rate, I thought that title was so fitting for our life.

We've finalized with all the kids except G, so we're still considered "foster parents."

G falls and gets a bump on her head...gotta e-mail the social worker. She gets sick and I take her to the doc...gotta e-mail the social worker and get a form filled out...and proceed to send it in. Have to give G Tylenol for her fever...gotta log it in. We're due for our "disaster drill" (which, by the way, I think is a great idea, I just don't wanna have to report it and log it...)

We want to go on a vacation...gotta e-mail the social worker. Want to go on a cruise to Mexico with the kids...oh, wait! We can't take G out of the country.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Our homestudy expires this month, so we had to re-do a bunch of paperwork, renew our CPR, take a water-safety course (even though we don't have any bodies of water in our yard), get updated references, and a number of other titillating pieces of red tape.

But the thing that bothers me the most is having to report to someone about *everything.* Having a social worker come every month to "check" on us, and knowing that G isn't technically ours is an emotional drain at times.

I gave up a long time ago trying to set up a "love boundary" with our kids. I realized when J was placed with us way back when that I could either give 100% or nothing. There was really no "middle ground" for me. I couldn't hold back my love while waiting for finalization.

So, here I am. I forget that G is still a foster child. She's legally not ours yet. She's technically someone else's.

I understand why the powers-that-be have to keep tabs on kids in the foster care system, I'm just ready to be done. It will be a seriously awesome day in our house when we get that piece of paper saying she is ours. Seriously. Y'all better watch out that day, cuz the world's gonna shake with the joy that leaps from my core.
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