Saturday, May 24, 2008

Can I be Any Prouder?

Veritas Academy has an awards ceremony on the last day of school. They recognize all of the students who have made A's the entire year. I knew Sarah had made good grades this year so I got all the boys dressed and we went to the ceremony. They started with the cum laude award and her name was not called. I thought okay it is not done yet. Next came the magna cum laude, and still nothing. I did not think she was getting summa, so I am sitting there thinking, "Great I did not need to come. We have a social worker visit this afternoon, the house is not ready!" Bruce was saying, "I can't believe they missed her.I am going to talk with someone about this." Then, they start with the summa cum laude and her name was called. We were so proud of her. She stood up there beaming. My favorite part comes after the ceremony, though. She comes running up to us, her dad picks her up and starts congratulating her on getting the highest academic honor, her response, "Guess what else happend today! I passed first grade!!" I informed her that is kinda a given with the summa award. I guess we need to work a little in the common sense department.

I was also very proud of Isaac today. Academics do not come as easy for him. We spend hours working on things that Sarah just gets. He could have been very jealous of her today. But, he was almost as excited as she was. He was so afraid we were going to be late and miss it. He helped get the boys dressed and had them waiting for me. He helped get them all in a seated. He sat on the edge of his seat waiting for her name to be called. He was a proud big brother.

At the end of the ceremony the headmaster starts to pay tribute to the teachers who are not coming back. My husband can get a little choked up sometimes,so I whispered for him not to cry. Isaac heard me. When Bruce went forward he received a standing ovation. Guess who was crying. Isaac says to me, "Mom, your being a hypocrite. Your the one crying." Again, I was so proud of my husband. His decision to leave the school has been difficult. He is very excited about our future plans, but it has been a difficult few days.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Adoption #2

I was not planning on doing a post on Post Adoption Blues, but since I mentioned it in the last post I will address it. When we were going through all of our classes they made us read a book on this. We read it and kind of laughed it off. We were thinking here they go again trying to make a problem out of everything. Well, ladies I was slammed in the face with this. This is very personal and I have debated sharing it, but believe it is something most people do not even know exists. The silly thing with me is that I experienced it with Isaac, but made up excuses so I did not expect it with Micah. But it happened. There are many theories as to what causes it, but I will just tell you my theory. With an adoption it is very rare that you bring the baby home and everything is just peachy. If you do an international adoption, it is usually final before you leave the country, but you have a whole host of other issues. The babies do not automatically know you are their parents, therefore they may not come to you with open arms. It can be stressful to go through days, weeks, or months of trying to bond with a child. Things like this cause the bubble to burst sometimes. In our case we adopted domestically each time. Isaac was two and full of personality. He called us mom and dad the first day he lived with us. I held Micah 2 hours after he was born. I then stayed in the hospital with him most of the time and he was released to me from the hospital. We had no bonding or attachment issues. So, what's my problem? With domestic adoptions it is very often the case that you are at risk to lose the child for some time after getting them. You can go the foster home route to protect yourselves and some states do not have waiting periods. But, for both of our adoptions that has not been the case. We could have lost Isaac for almost 1 year after getting him. With Micah we are still waiting. Chances are very slim, but to a new mother who is operating on little sleep, even the slightest chance is hard to deal with. You love these children so much and want to make plans and dream about future holidays and things. But, there is always this cloud hanging over you wondering if your future holidays include this child or not. On good days you realize nothing is a guarantee and you function as normal. On bad days it consumes you. Thankfully, I am having more good than bad days lately. I mentioned lack of sleep. Isaac had night terrors for the first 6 months of living with us. No one slept. We know now that was probably the way his grieving presented itself. Hear me on this. Just because there was no labor for me, does not mean Micah automatically slept through the night. People forget I have a newborn. I get comments like, "You look so tired. Is everything okay?" I am not asking for sympathy or playing the martyr, but come on! Common sense here people, I have a baby. Some people will say we did this the easy way. At least I started out rested, right? NOT!! I am going to go through a little bit of the time line here. I arrived in Hawaii at midnight, birth mother was induced early the next morning, she labored until after midnight and then had a C-section. I was with her a lot of this time. After the C-section she called me and I immediately went to the hospital and was there most of the time until she and Micah were released. All of this while having major jet-lag and going through the emotional ups and downs with the birth mother without my husband being there to lean on.(He joined me later.) One of the most difficult and exhausting things about this adoption was bonding with a young woman in such a beautiful way, but at the same time knowing my joy was causing her pain. Micah then decided he really did not want to sleep at night so, for most of our time in Hawaii I rested during the day while he slept. If you were wondering, that is why we did not come back with a tan.:) The one day at the beach did not go well for Micah so we did not try it again. Then, we flew all night to come home to more jet-lag and 4 very excited children. So, no, I did not start out rested. Anyway, this is a very long way to say that I believe these blues come from the reality of how emotional and exhausting the adoption process is. I do not know, but it is my theory. I did not go through all of this to get pity. We chose this way and may do it again one day. I only mean to clue you in a little as to the reality of what goes on. It is hard. It is exhausting and sometimes yes, it is depressing. In the end though, just like with a biological child, you forget it all and get lost in the joy of falling head over heals in love with the child. Just know sometimes it is difficult and adoptive mothers can sometimes use a little encouragement too. By the way, don't tell my husband that I said we may do this again one day. I have almost convinced him that I am done, but every once in a while I think maybe one more.:)

I know this post does not flow very well. But, I have an excuse, I have 5 children and have not had a full nights sleep for almost 3 months now.:)

I Am Loving It!!

I am love, love, loving my new front loading washing machine. After multiple floods, even after we thought it was fixed, we had to just get a new one. I was not even going to approach the topic of a front loader. Summers are tight on the finance side for teachers. My husband though, decided he would like to save me a little work and went with the front loader. He was thinking 5 kids = lots of laundry. Also, 4 boys = REALLY dirty laundry. So, I am doing less loads and I really do think these machines get them cleaner. He keeps telling me, "Happy Birthday, Christmas, and everything else." I say, "It is not like I turned the washer upside down on poked holes all over the place to make it leak from every corner, but thank you!"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It is a Calling- Adoption #1

I believe adoption is a calling and just like any other thing God calls you to do, sometimes it involves trials. I am going to go a little further here and say that I believe adoption is a calling for everyone. Do not get all upset on me here. Just listen a little longer. Doesn't God call us to take care of the widows and orphans? He may not call you to actually adopt them, but He does tell you to take care of them. We used to attend a church which really taught this well. How many times did I hear Pastor Bob say, "If you are against abortion, then you have to be for adoption. If God did not call you to adopt,support those who are doing it?" That is where I feel people miss the calling. You see, God also calls us all to missions. We do not have to be in another country on the mission field, but no one would argue that we should not be supporting those who are. The first thought that comes to most people's mind would be financial. Adoption is expensive. It is ridiculous in a lot of ways, but it is the reality. So, yes, if you have it, help those who do not. Someone said to me once, "If you can not afford to pay for the adoption, than how are you going to raise the child?" That, my friends is an ignorant comment. I do not believe those who think this are aware of the facts. Most people who have children everyday do not have $15,000 to $30,000 or more sitting around burning holes in their pockets. So, monetary gifts to help those who are adopting is great, but there are other ways. (I want to add here we have been very blessed by friends and strangers who have financially helped with both adoptions.) I noticed something different about the days and weeks after having my biological children and bringing home the adopted children. After having a child everyone is there to help. You kind of get a free pass for a few months. Everyone knows to not ask anything of you because you are healing and adjusting. I have found I have to be much more vocal about saying no after an adoption. After having a biological child it is assumed I need time to adjust. When you adopt it is like life goes on as normal. I will admit both times we adopted I was not fully prepared for the impact so that does not help matters. But this is just another way to fulfill this calling. Be there to help the mother. Make meals, help with house work or errands, or have the other children over. Most people do not realize this, but there is something called "post-adoption blues." It affects women in the same manner as post-pardom depression. Obviously, it is not caused by hormones, but it is very real. There are several opinions as to why it happens. I do not know what I believe, but I do know it happens. I will write more on this in another post, but know that the months following an adoption are a great time to help the family. I need to say we have received a lot of support. I am talking in general terms and telling you a lot of what I hear in conversations with other adoptive parents.

Another very important way to support adoption is being there for the birth mothers. Trying to convince a pregnant teenager or adult to not have an abortion when she knows she will be shunned by the church is not an easy thing to do. I believe we will not see a change in the abortion rate until we reform how we react to birth mothers. I am always amazed at the people who think it is almost heroic of the adoptive mother to have a relationship with the birth mother. Yes, it has to be different for each situation and a lot of times that means pretty tough boundaries, but these women made the very difficult decision to part with their child. They do it because they love them. Some people will call it lazy or not wanting to change their lives for the baby. It can sometimes appear that way, but I look at it another way. If you were to say a birth mother should not have given her child up, then you are saying the child should not be with the adoptive parents. Doesn't God place all children in the right home, biological and adoptive? These women need support. They need someone to hold their hands through dr.s appointments, praying with them through labor, and supporting them as they sign the paper work. They need friends to help them start over. Do not be afraid of them or judge them. They are sinners just like you and I. They can also be forgiven just the same. I know a lot of times there is abuse and parental rights are terminated. These women need to be held accountable and that is obviously a different post.

As you can tell I am little passionate about this issue. I am sorry if I come across too strong.

Monday, May 12, 2008

So, So Busy

I am still here. We are all okay. It has just been crazy busy. In the last two weeks we have had a field trip to Philadelphia, the one year old turned two (and since it is a Cinco de Mayo birthday dad likes to do it big), a washing machine leak which caused several floods in the basement before we knew what happened (Still not sure if it is fixed.), and worked 2 12 hour days at the PA home school convention. Needless to say blogging is on the back burner. We have a busy few weeks still as we prepare for about 200 hundred people to descend on Lancaster County for our online end of the year gathering. Therefore, I will still be hit and miss. This is the one time of year that we get so busy I feel like I am spinning. Thankfully, we know it is coming and can prepare for it. We are able to plan enough help and special things for the children that they do not seem to miss a beat. While it is all a lot of fun and something we look forward to, we are always glad when it is done.So, if I can get to my adoption posts in the next 2 or 3 weeks I will, but if not, I will be be back soon.