Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Roots

This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. Roots. It's who we are.  

Well, as an adoptive mom I believe that nurture plays a large role in who we become. How we are raised. Those daily lessons, interactions, and snuggles are quite important. 
 
BUT, as an adoptive mom I believe that nature plays a large role in who we become. How we are made. Those spindley things called DNA are quite important.

I don't see how we are whole without either of these...nature, nurture. Let's talk nature. If we ignore our roots, aren't we denying a large part of who we are? And isn't that important? It's something I've struggled with because we know so little about Callie's roots. We know Micah's roots. We see Micah's roots. But for Callie, for the time being, there's so much that is unknown....

The truth is, we can survive without knowing our biological background. It's not essential to life. Nurture is. For children who aren't spoken to, touched, or taken care of...the results are catastrophic. It's visible. For those children and adults who don't know their biological background, they are able to still function in society...so does it make it less important? Quite frankly, there's probably a strong argument that it's NOT has important, and I see those points. But my job as a mother is to nurture and love my child so much that they have no choice but to feel successful in life...true success...I'm not talking about high paying jobs, name and face plastered on billboards and magazine covers. I'm talking about they feel so much love that they are able to successfully accept others, give their hearts to others, and have a relationship with their Father in Heaven. That's success to me. And so as a mom, I find it my job to make sure my children know that I love ALL parts of them...including roots that may not have been formed by me. If I never talk about those, without knowing it, I could be sending a message that I don't accept or love those roots, those parts of my children, as much as those parts that identify with OUR family. 

We entered adoption with Callie as an open adoption. We lost contact with Callie's birthmother soon after. But that doesn't mean we can't still have an open adoption. How? We are open about who she is and where she came from. We are open with our hearts and our love for all who are a part of her life. We celebrate every part of her and hope to one day reconnect with her roots. And she knows it. Open adoption with Callie means we are supportive of her path and are hopeful that it leads back to her birth family one day.  

My article of our how can be supportive of that journey, and why we should be, can be found on Adoption.com here.

I can't believe this was a year ago! Callie will be seven waaaay too soon!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More To Do

These are the states I've visited. I didn't count the ones that I've only driven through. In my book, that shouldn't count. I needed to have actually done something in these states. Visited. Looks like I have a lot more to put on my to-do list!


Create Your Own Visited States Map

Monday, November 17, 2014

Back then...

We used to be young. 
Really. 
We were.




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Recharging Hope in the Adoption Process

About a month ago an opportunity itself. I was offered a writing position at Adoption.com, one of the largest (if not the largest) adoption websites out there. They are a highly respected website that offers advice and support to birth families, adoptive families, foster families, those who have been adopted...it's an incredible resource and community. And I was offered a position as a Storyteller. I'm beyond excited about the opportunity to write weekly about one of my passions, and today, my first piece was posted.

Frequently when others ask me about adoption, it seems to have a negative tone. Let me rephrase that...not adoption, rather, the adoption process. "Ugh, that must be so hard." I brush it off normally and share the positive parts of it. But you know what? It is hard. It's REALLY hard. So, today my post discusses what I do when Happy Jenny becomes Overwhelmed Jenny. You can click the link to read what we do to Recharge Our Hope. Though I write specifically about adoption, these are things I try to do whenever I start feeling discouraged and hopeless.

Read it. Share if you think it would help others. And enjoy this beautiful November day!





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Love

On Sunday after church, I took this picture. Sammy was walking around and I was trying to capture her cute face. It wasn't working. I figured that none of them would turn out but at least I had tried. When I stopped to look at the hundreds I took in about 20 seconds time, I found this one. At first I thought it was cute and moved on. But all day I kept going back to it. I couldn't stop looking at it. And I still can't. There's something about it that I adore.

Sammy as the focal point makes sense. In many ways our family revolves around this one little girl. Everything we do is done after consideration of Sammy's needs. She's special, and that's ok. It's good. We are learning patience and compassion. Callie and Micah have both taken an especially deeper tenderness towards her lately. I'm not sure what it is, but Callie is always trying to comfort her, calm her down, hug her, play with her hair. She's sweet with Sammy. Micah has been mimicking Callie's ways and it's been beautiful to see this little toddler love his older sister so gently.

I love her hands curled upward. Well, in many ways I despise it, but those hands are precious to me. They are held upward, toward her heart. They are curled into tight fists and curled inward at her wrists. These hands don't serve her as my hands serve me. What she wants done is not accomplished with these balled up hands. They struggle to put food in her mouth properly and cleanly. They do not hold onto objects very well, and once in her hand, they don't release what is being held. For that reason, she has to use the force of her arms to fling it out of her hands. She reminds me how much I take my hands for granted. As I sit and quickly type my thoughts, she struggles to open her hand. For the past week or so, I've been giving Sammy massages before going to bed. I rub out her legs and feet. I finish by rubbing her arms and hands. She becomes so relaxed allowing her hands to unfold and remain free from pulling tight tendons. This has become a special time of day for us both. She falls asleep almost instantly after her massage and I walk away feeling the love you only feel after giving service to those you love.

I love the light that is shining in through the curtain. It creates a soft glow around her and I'm reminded of the light that only the Savior can provide. I see this light in Samantha. I wish I could say that I see it constantly. I don't. My eyes are veiled at times from my own inability to look beyond the moment. Sometimes the teeth grinding or the squeals that are so loud they pierce my ears, or the daily tasks of life get in the way of seeing the light of Christ emanate from her eyes. But occasionally I stop and see it. I stop and absorb it. I have always felt like Sammy is surrounded by angels. I believe that to my core. It's not just a belief, really. I know there is no way she could be where she is today without angels protecting her. She has a reason to be here. She has a mission to accomplish, and I feel really blessed to be a part of that. I do believe that one day, I will see her robed in so much light that I may be blinded by it. That it won't be until I'm sufficiently purified that I will be able to see her fully as who she is. Oh, I truly believe she will be among those who will usher me to my Savior. I love her so much.

I love her little smile and long face. Quite frankly, she is one of the most beautiful children I know. Hey, I get it. People stare of her sometimes. They are surprised by her unusual looks. But she is stunning to me. I think it goes back to that light that shines from her pores. Her soft skin, her rosy lips, her honey streaked hair. She's so beautiful to me. I love all her imperfections because it's who she is.

I love Micah in the back. In his church clothes still, walking with his little Micah swagger, I love his blurred image behind her. It completes the picture for me. He's the visual reminder that in our family, we've all got each other's backs. We're there for one another. We will protect and love no matter what. We won't step out on each other. We will be there. There's a lot that could happen in this lifetime, but we'll be there for each other.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It Never Ends

Cooking. 
Cleaning. 
Packing lunches.
Laundry.
Vacuuming.
Dishes.
Scrubbing.

It never ends. When children live in your home, this whole cleaning business never ends. You try to teach. Ohhhh you try to teach them to pick up after themselves, to make their beds, to put their dishes away. Miraculously some of these life lessons actually stick. But a vast majority of the time, Mom is cleaning up all. day. long.

Or not. And on those days/weeks, the house is a mess until Mom (me) lets out a huge exasperated sigh and decides enough is enough...and she gets to work to clean it up all.

Last week we were visited by angels. They appeared to be your average young teenaged girls. But lo, they were great with spirit and zest for life! They showed up at the door ready to work. As a part of a service challenge they were doing at church, they came to the door and were asked to be put to work! (Did I already mention they were angels?) They did the vacuuming, cleaned my windows and sliding glass door, dusted, organized the dvds and filled the empty cases with the correct video (Whaaaaat?), and picked up the toys off of Micah's floor. It was incredible. And I love them for it.

Kirsten and Eliza

Their fearless leader, Lisa
 When I went to put Micah to bed that night, what did I find? A family of stuffed animals reading together. Nice touch. It was pretty darn cute.


But remember what I said about the cleaning never ending? Well, the very next day, this is what happened.
"Me? Are you looking at me?" says the sweet little boy.
And Sammy thinks, "Don't you dare pin this on me kid!" 



Callie, the ever-willing helper, cleaned it up with me and vacuumed the room. Oh those angels were kind and thorough, but they are no match for my children!

Monday, November 10, 2014

BYU Hat

Recently Micah's best friend, Grandpa, gave him a BYU hat. It was a nice gesture. He didn't think about it too much until, boom! One day. That hat became the most important thing in this boy's existence! We can't leave the house without his hat. He has to wear it around the house, while he plays, while he eats, while he plays hoops. The boy maaay be obsessed.






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