November 30, 2015

Day 100

So if you read the past ten posts ten times, that would equal 100.  Can I admit that God gave us exactly what we could handle, and it didn't include me blogging for 100 days in a row?

Women who can raise a brood, write, cook, and teach are of a superhuman race.

I'm deciding, for my own sanity that I have stepped up my blogging and that's the best I can do right now.  There is a season for everything and this is my season of wading through teen, tween, and toddler at once.

For example, every other Friday I teach Chemistry lab at our homeschool co-op.  It means leaving the house.  Yeah, you thought there would be more to that sentence, but there wasn't.  Leaving the house is a big deal in itself, especially in the morning, with supplies for a lab and necessities for baby survival.  I arrived an hour before class to get things set up.  Everett has model United Nations for an hour before lab, and the other bigs watch the babies while I run around.  I stopped on the way for donuts and bagels, a Friday morning tradition.  I raced to drop Everett off, and unloaded the van.  Baby strapped to my chest, toddler in the stroller, glassware and breakfast were stowed underneath--I was on top of things.

In the scramble to get out of the house, my meticulously packed diaper bag, which is actually more like a diaper suitcase, was left behind.  My 'on top of things super mom' bubble deflated.  It was replaced with the 'I can't handle things and even left the diaper bag at home' storm cloud.

On a more positive note, I didn't forget a baby.

November 28, 2015

Day 10

Christmas list time is upon us.  I hate them.  I hate the list making and the gimmies that arrive with the Target catalog.  I hate that I don't have the willpower to break the habits of list making has become Christmas in our house.

Every year I hope for better Christmas wish lists, along the lines of...
1-Goats, bunnies, and chickens from World Vision
2-Donation to Children's Hopechest
3-Yarn to crochet warm hats for homeless of Cleveland...
You know, an idyllic child who puts others far above self and gives sacrificially without being asked.

I can't expect our children to do what I've never been willing to do myself.  Can I?  Though I don't sit down with the 300 page Toys-R-Us extravaganza and a black sharpie, I do send out a list to my family.  I collect the lists from my children and work to satisfy each of their desires.  Since, somehow, they will grow up as loving and satisfied adults if we give them everything they ask of us.  Right?  I'm still working through this generosity vs greed thing.  I wouldn't call any of our children greedy.  I daresay, if we had a family meeting this week and argued for spending all of our gift money on Jirigna and Dirbe in Ethiopia, they would agree that we don't need a thing and we should give to our friends in need.

But, I would have to decide to hold that family meeting.

Every year I feel the same way.  I'm always excited to do something.  We send donations to build a well one year.  We buy some supplies for a school the next.  None of those gifts required a sacrifice from our family.  That's where I get stuck.  I'm unwilling to ask our children to give up the 'magic' of a Christmas morning spent opening gifts.

I would love to hear from any of you who have figured this out.  I have only two years left before we send Everett out into the world as an 'adult' and I still haven't figured out how to be a good parent during this Christmas season.


November 25, 2015

Can I call this Day 9?

I am a failure as a blogger.

Two months ago I felt guilty about not finding time to write.  Slowly, with the madness of life, that guilt slipped away until I didn't give writing a second thought.  Then, I talked to my Grandma.

I love my Grandparents.  My only complaint is that they don't live next door.  We don't see each other often and we rarely talk.  I take full responsibility for everything.

She mentioned my blog.  She mentioned me writing for 100 days.  Her excitement...and my failure.  Not really, she didn't mention anything about me failing.  She just mentioned that she wanted to hear from me.  So, I dusted off the laptop and decided to write.  This update is for you, Grandma.

I suppose I should begin with where I left off.  We still have seven kids.  Life is still quite chaotic.  I'm exhausted.  Seth is exhausted.  We are functioning slightly above survival mode.

The biggest update would be that the babies' week long stay has turned into nearly three months with us.  Our new norm is hard, I can't lie.  It would be a disservice to moms out there who are struggling with littles and bigs and schooling and life, for them to hear me say, "This is a piece of cake."  This isn't a piece of cake.

This is hard.

I let things go that I would have been on top of three months ago.  My sliding glass door has dried dog snot on it.  If you know how I feel about prints on windows, that's a biggie.  I know it really doesn't matter in the long run, so I let it go.  Or I remind Josiah to scrub the window, "...and I'm not just talking about at your eye level, I'm talking about that nasty jelly hand print encrusted with dog snot that dried there last week!"

So, I'm calming down about how the house looks.  Not to say we live in a pig sty, everyone does their chores, but I can't be everywhere, so I have to trust that trash is emptied and litter boxes are scooped.  That's one thing that is hard.

The other real hard thing is not knowing what is going to happen.  That seems like a stupid statement, since life is full of uncertainties.  This is a different uncertainty.  Today, seven children, tomorrow...five?  What's going on with the babies' mom today?  Is she making choices that are bringing her closer to reunification?  Is she straying?  Will they be here for Christmas?  Will they be okay next week at their aunt's?

It's hard, because they aren't our children.  And, we don't want them to be.

As much as we love adoption and what it has done in our lives, it comes from a terrible heartbreak.  This is the first time that we have stood on the other side of the adoption story.  For each one of our children, we have come AFTER their loss.  We loved them and adopted them and they were ours.  We love these babies, but they are not ours. 

You will never pray more often for a person as when you are raising that person's children.  That is the underlying reality of our days--we are raising someone's children.  I don't have time to think about it during the busy days.  When I'm snuggling with a chubby, tired baby in his last moments of being awake, I think of his mom.   I pray for her, because she's missing these moments.  His first birthday.  Cutting four teeth.  Eating solid food and climbing up stairs.  He will walk soon and she will miss his first steps.  That's heartbreaking.

Her little girl calls me, "Mama" and runs to me for comfort.  These are healthy behaviors and it's good that she has them, since she needs a 'mom' now.  But it's sad that a family she didn't know three months ago has become her familiar comfort.  Her mom missed her second birthday, saying goodbye to her binky, and watching her language explode.

That's hard.  Then there's the diarrhea for eight days and waking up at night.  Seth wearing a mouth guard because he is grinding his teeth.  Josiah enjoying the shrieks of anyone younger than him, so his favorite past time has become taunting babies.  That about sums our house up.

Screaming, pooping, and mouth guards.  And occasionally, screaming while wearing a mouth guard because the dog just ate a poopy diaper.  No joke.