Q and A Part 1
Now that you have experienced parenting foster children, bio children,internationally and domestically adopted children will you give us the high and low in your opinion of each situation?
That is a question that would take more than a blog post to answer I think. I've tried to be pretty honest and vulnerable over my years of blogging with our experiences with each of these things but hindsight does offer some perspective lacking at the time as well. Some simple truths that stand out are.....every child is so unique, and some kids it seems are more "unique" than others requiring a whole new set of parenting tools. Just when you think you've got it figured out you enter into a new phase.
Adoption is not a condolence prize for people who "can't have their "own" kids". It isn't second best, or pretending to be a parent. Adoption comes with it's unique challenges, particularly when children are adopted from difficult histories, but even with biological children I am very well aware that they certainly come with unexpected challenges as well. I have learned that although the bonding process is different with children I carried in my womb for 9 months, than it is with a foster baby that I have no idea I will eventually adopt, or with a new child who is 6, my love for each is just as genuine, and grows just as deep and passionate. It has amazed even me. The one thing I did miss with my adopted children is not nursing them as infants (or in Elijah's case..not knowing him as an infant).
Love is first and foremost is a decision, that sometimes means loving actions proceed loving feelings.,..but that feeling eventually comes. I have deeply loved each of the children I have had the privilege to care for... from the tiny little guy in blue sleepers in the previous post who stayed with me for two weeks, to my son who lived an hour outside my womb. Saying goodbye to any child I've been a mama to is hard, so hard....but it has also been so worth every bit of heartbreak I had to carry to have also experienced loving them.
I don't know if we'll foster again in the future. We need to put it on hold for a bit anyway, because of Elijah's insecurities and fear of coming and going...but I would love to again. I also love permanency, and adoption.
I'm glad that we have been able to experience both adopting one of our foster children, as well as diving into international adoption and all that goes with it. My eyes and heart have been torn open in so many ways as I see the vast need for children to have loving families both here and abroad. The positive of foster adoption was that it didn't cost us any money, and we had our daughter with us while we waited...the down side was waiting on a gov't system to process the adoption, and all the uncertainty that goes with knowing they could move her or change her long term plan at anytime. The pros of international adoption for us was that we had a chance to see God carry us through something that we had no way to accomplish on our own. We had a chance to stretch our faith, and learn to wait, and grow to love a child we had never met. Both were nothing short of a miracle in my eyes.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this article: http://www.kellehampton.com/2013/04/a-faith-for-my-children.html
My first reaction to that blog post is that it's very sad, on so many levels...and I kind of don't want to bring it any more attention. My other impression is that she has a very sweet family, and beautiful blog. She writes eloquently, honestly, and with humility.
It's sad that she has viewed, or been taught that the Bible is a book of stories and moral lessons. It's sad that she has viewed Christianity as a religion of rules and ways to earn our way to God, and seems to have very little grasp of the true gospel of grace (which includes the very real problem of our sin, rebellion and death). Without that foundation it makes sense that she would reject all the rest because it's meaningless. It's sad that church is viewed as a place or an event. It's sad that she represents SO many in my generation that have turned away from Jesus, to embrace a self designed spirituality that worships a self created love god. It's sad that she, like so many else, has been burned, turned off by, and seen through religious legalism and hypocrisy that defines so many churches...left with a bunch of disjointed pieces to try to piece together without a guide. Maybe the "bath water" was so murky with all of those things that she never quite saw clearly the "baby"...the Treasure. Jesus for who He is. I pray that she, and the many like her would see that her experience, her doubts, her failures, her hurts with have very little to do with God's great pursuing love that is faithful enough to save even those with faith the size of a tiny seed. I browsed through the comments and became even more saddened. I am greatly encouraged however that there ARE churches (Jesus' people living like family, loving God, on mission together loving others) like the one we are members of that are healthy, and full of young passionate followers of Jesus who were often once "I left the church and "organized religion" people. It doesn't have to be a choice between cold, fear based religion or psuedo "I'm a good person" spirituality....somewhere beyond all that murky bath water is the prize. One book that I've found very helpful and really enjoyed reading this month is "Stop asking Jesus into your heart, how to know for sure you are saved"...the title is a bit strange sounding, but I promise that the book isn't. It's very refreshing, easy to read, and filled with SO much basic but profound theology. It discusses some of the pitfalls and blind spots of modern evangelicalism, as well as deep lasting faith bolstering assurance of God's goodness and sovereignty...even in our questioning and wanderings.
I guess my question would be, how do you do have the energy?? =)
Haha, I wish I did! Some days it's a struggle and I want to sit in the middle of my laundry mountain and moan in defeat. I struggle to get out of bed with the Littles at 6 am. The short answer is coffee....I wish I had some superwoman exercise regime or special diet to report that keeps me in tip top condition but I don't. I sometimes stay up to late at night, enjoying the peace and quiet of my house, with too little respect for the next day's relentless demands. Self discipline to get enough sleep goes a long way. I try to remind myself to treat my body like a tool. When you have a demanding job to do (like parenting) we need our tools in decent functioning condition. I have to remind myself to steward what God has graciously given me. When I notice I'm feeling really chronically sluggish I start taking supplements again...particularly some iron and B vitamins I notice make a difference in my energy level.
What it comes down to for me is rarely a lack of energy but a lack of motivation, feeling overwhelmed, selfishness, or just plain laziness...these things can be paralyzing if not dealt with by finding my joy in the reality that I have been served, and loved so well by God. When I daily die to "self"...my own agenda, my own comfort, my own idol of appreciation, I am able to take my eyes of my self and put them back where they belong. Jesus, my Sabbath, my rest.
And with that, I shall go to bed..
Good night friends,