A Friend Tribute

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When I was younger, I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what type of friend was good for me. And over the years, I’ve learned that the definition of a good friend is different to almost everybody. Besides sharing likenesses and a willingness for friendship, the most important things to me found in a friend include trust, respect, openness, acceptance, and even loyalty to some degree. (I also am a fun-lover, so please back out now if you are the uptight kind.) After having some failed friendships and disappointments, I’ve learned that others do not always find these attributes at the top of their own lists.

I’ve also learned that it is sometimes hard to spot a good friend. Maybe you can pick out people like this from your past. I certainly can, and I was most definitely a “bad friend” at one point or another too. Without going into details of course, a few friend “types” quickly come into my head…

Fake friends, for example. You know them, I’m sure. They are the “friends” who only come around for the fun and bail when times change or get tough. These are people who may drop you as a friend for another…or maybe they are just the back-stabbing, information-seeking type. For me, these types of friendships are truly the most heartbreaking since the relationship did not obviously appear one-sided in the beginning.

What about forced friends? Granted, these friendships aren’t nearly as messy, but they are sometimes equally as dreadful. Time has never stood more still than when I’ve had to try to relate to someone on a totally different wavelength than myself. Certainly we’ve all been in this situation. A friendship like this might exist because of your children or spouse.

Anyone have a friend that only comes around when invited or when your help is needed? This is also known as a one-sided friendship. I usually avoid these. People like this really do not have interest in investing the time and energy it takes to be a friend.  Personally, I don’t have a need to constantly only “help” out, or to prompt and encourage a friendship relentlessly. You are either in or you’re out; you’re with me or you’re not. Honestly, can a decision be made already?!

When I moved to town H four years ago, I had almost given up on having really good, lifetime friendships again. Although I desperately missed the groups of friends I shared so many memories with in the past, I figured being a mom and my children’s socialization were more important than me relating with someone on a regular basis. And although I am a pretty extroverted person, I can easily be introverted as well, and instead delve into a project rather than try to “make” friends. Thankfully, town H did not disappoint me, and I am now blessed with many I happily call Friend!

I have a totally rad group of friends! And yes you CAN sit with us. We aren’t that type of group. We are women from completely different backgrounds and ways of thinking (yes, you will know our opinions…or at least mine-sorry, Ladies!). These are women that I completely respect, admire, and love. Our bonds are almost family-like, although sometimes I think that they are just as strong because unlike family where our ties are pre-chosen, we choose to be friends. We choose to love each other regardless of our imperfections and oddities. We choose to step-up when everyone else is stepping back. We choose to share our flaws, our fears, and our secrets. We support one another, regardless of the situation, and give honest advice and feedback. I feel energized after spending time with a group so fun and rich in experience and warmth.

Unfortunately for me, though, I said see-ya-later to my dear friends of town H recently. I am very sad to see this chapter of my life close. I credit my growth as a person to my friendships with these Girls, and am thankful to have grown as a woman alongside of some of the best. I have gained confidence from their encouragement, and peace from their welcoming spirits.

I have also grown as a mother. I am more trusting of others and more relaxed as a parent. I am so appreciative to have had many friends love my Littles with much gusto and acceptance.

I have grown as a friend. It feels good to share your time with others and ponder different viewpoints. Although I try to be non-judgmental, I continually am challenged by my friends to re-evaluate my stances and look at things in different ways. I am forever grateful for their openness and respect for my beliefs and values.

Beyond words, I am also blessed to have such beautiful, close friends of whom I share many similarities and enjoy many of the same interests with. There is nothing like spending time with someone who “gets” your insanity and appreciates your eccentricities; being in the company of someone who laughs with you and cheers you on. Friendships like these are truly once-in-a-lifetime, and I will cherish forever the memories and moments shared with the friends who have touched my soul, made me happy, and gave me hope.

Life is different now without my friends a text away, without my extended family close by, and without the familiar comfort that town H brought to me and my family daily. The joy of our day-to-day routine has faded some, and the excitement that a new school year normally brings is clouded with uncertainty. The realist that I am does not believe that friendships comparable to what I’ve described will be found in city G, our new “home”. Right now, positivity in our house is low and we are questioning why we have been placed in such an unfamiliar and far-away place. Of course, I am NOT complaining about our placement here (especially since I firmly believe we are to be held accountable by our own decisions), but instead am waiting for its reason, and reluctantly looking ahead for our new “normal”.

And although I am sure it will come sooner than I think, today I am grateful to have memories and hope that were brought to me courtesy of friends who loved me regardless, treated my kids like their own, and who shared their lives and hearts openly and honestly, and without exceptions. Especially now that my days are quieter, I treasure these memories made with my town H friends; thankfully praising Him for putting them alongside me for a short while!

Until we gather again, Ladies!

<3

OPLT friend quote 1 OPLT friend quote 2 OPLT friend quote 3 OPLT friend quote 4

 

Another School Year Past

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I am way behind on my blogging…I have completely missed my goal of writing at least once every other week. To the few of you that follow us…I’m Bbaaacckk…for today anyway! Thank you to those who actually read and encouraged me to get back on the horse!

Friday is our last day of school here! At that time Baby #1 will be officially going into third grade, Baby #2 into first grade, Baby #3 into junior kindergarten, and Baby #4 will be just over 15 months old. It is true when they tell you that time flies after children are born…it really has. The beginning and end of each school year always hit me pretty hard. They are a staunch reminder of how fast my kids are growing up and encourage me to reflect on my role as their parent.

As I look back on time passed, it makes me sad to recall the many mistakes I made as a new parent and annoyed by some ill-decisions I make each day. I find it hard to break the cycle, if you will, when it comes to child rearing, and repeatedly fall for the endless ploy that somehow there is a perfect parenting style to be found. Although I know there is no such thing as a “perfect mother”, it frustrates me that my grace can be lacking, my pace is sometimes hurried, and my tone is sporadically harsh. I feel like my efforts to conform to today’s idea of family perfection (ie. a perfectly healthy and active lifestyle, beautifully adorned and well-behaved children, a meticulously decorated home, and a high social presence within the community and among friends) are often thrust at my children and therefore periodically setting unrealistic expectations for them.

Obviously, these are my issues…and I’m working on them!

If you are like me, you sometimes may find yourself to be overwhelming to yourself…yes, you read that right. I constantly question ALL my decisions based on current research, others’ experiences, my preferences, and the list goes on. If you can believe it, occasionally my past decisions based on all the above criteria turned out to be just plain wrong! The experts were wrong! I was wrong! How could I get something like research or data completely incorrect?!

And sometimes I just can’t get past the control I lose yearly as each child grows a little older and a little more independent of me. I question whether I did enough to instill a sense of faith, worth, respect, loyalty, confidence, humbleness, and kindness. I miss their former reliance on me and the abundance of affection they once shared.

From time to time my example at home is poor…I can’t always maintain a perfect home, keep up with our laundry, make time for each child alone, and I am pretty sure my husband and I haven’t had a date without the kids or other obligations during this past year and beyond. There are days when I don’t get to the shower, let alone look respectable to a chance visitor.

Sometimes I wonder what my children actually see when they look at me. And if I happen to snap at one of them over something petty…well that just has to be an ugly sight.

And yet somehow my children are thriving…Fishing 2014

To you, my Little Ones, you amaze me and have changed my life forever. You are why I awkwardly strive to be a better person and a more competent mother, and why I question my motherly example on a daily basis. Despite the flaws I carry with ME regularly, I could not be happier with how YOU are turning out. Here is what I see in YOU:

Baby #1, my oldest, my Golden Boy and our Supervisor… The potential I see in you astonishes me. Although I absolutely love how well you follow the rules at home and adore your respectable nature, I hope someday you will not follow our rules so literally and be courageous enough to step outside of your comfort zone and take a chance. I pray that you will never lose your sense of kindness and determination, and that people will continue to find peace with you and your loving spirit. Please do not take others’ criticism to heart. May your strength always be your obvious love for all people.

Baby #2, my only girl, Bunny as I call her… Every challenge I ever faced as a child I see in you. I feel your quiet nature and lack of confidence. You desire more than anything to love and be loved. I hope I am always brave enough to share with you my mistakes so that you are spared of their consequences. May we as parents continually encourage you to let your beauty from within shine out, as beauty like yours is not something you can buy, but is something shown to others. I feel special to be one of the few people to know the real Baby #2. Let your light glow amongst those who appreciate your soul.

Oh Baby #3, or Bear Boy, my challenging one… Fortunately for you, stubborn is found on both sides of our family. Luckily, though, your funny ways make up for the tests you give me daily. I love your fiery side and rash spontaneity, however please don’t let your fun override your intellect. Under all that independence sleeps an intelligent boy full of ideas and beautiful animation. Use your personality for good and seek those who want you to succeed. My momma’s boy, you are. Don’t ever let life dull your spunk. Your outgoing nature takes over every room.

My newest Love, Baby #4 or Baby Boo… I sometimes wonder how we got so lucky to have you placed with our family. You are my patient one; your perseverance amazes me. You love all kisses and hugs, and only you would be so gracious as to enjoy my singing. I love how you gaze at me like I am the most amazing human on the planet. I continually pray that I will be enough mother for you. That I will have the strength to be your forever advocate and warrior, and provide you with sufficient faith and hope to get you through challenges that lie ahead. Keep passing on that smile-it is contagious!

The blessing to be called Mom by four very different children, all with varying gifts and challenges, is humbling. Even when I am at my worst, I look at them and know that tomorrow is going to be a better day. My kids keep me determined and soft. When they look back one day, maybe they will see that my love for them was complex; that I wanted them to live in a beautiful, clean, and organized home filled with family and friends, but this balance was sometimes hard for me to find.  I hope they understand instead that our cluttered, modest home and occasional searches through clean laundry piles were such so that I could get them to an extra activity or play group. Recalling our sometimes hurried life, may they smile and miss the chaos and love they had at home. And when they only rarely get to spend alone time with Mom or Dad individually, may they be grateful for the moments we spent TOGETHER, as those times are few and far between too.  Our challenges and struggles I am beginning to embrace…

I’m slowly learning that there’s no need to be perfect to be a good mom; that it is better to influence my children with my presence and best efforts at home.  Therefore, it is important for them to see me accept my own personal imperfections and failures; may my affirmation and resolve give them the courage to confidently live their own lives imperfectly, contented, and determined.  As this school year comes to a close, I am at ease letting SOME of my previous insanity regarding our children’s upbringing slide so that we are able to enjoy life to its fullest in our home. As much as I long for the ideal life so eloquently implied by other bloggers, I cherish the reality I have here and am thankful for OUR REAL, perfectly imperfect life.  Someday maybe my kids will relish in their past too!

A related thought…

“You are enough.  Not because you did or said or thought or bought or became or created something special, but because you always were.”

 <3

 

Traditions Anew

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We decided to quit celebrating holidays the “traditional” way this year. In the past, we (meaning multiple family members and my husband and I) had indulged our children with gifts from Santa, the Easter Bunny, and even the Tooth Fairy. Although it was fun to see the temporary delight on our kids’ faces when ‘Santa’ came to town, a part of me was a little disappointed in myself…that we (meaning my husband and I) had let the excitement for material things during holiday time go too far; that we had played a part in materializing our children and somewhat distorting their view of some very important religious holidays.

Both my husband and I grew up in Christian homes. In recent years, we both have noticed that religious festivals have taken a backseat to “holiday” celebrations, and that many choose to celebrate holidays abundantly and with little reverence to the historical meaning behind these yearly events. Now by stating this, I am not criticizing how anyone chooses to celebrate their holidays. I am just questioning why anyone would celebrate a holiday, such as Easter, if the person has or desires no ties to the past of its celebration.

Since Easter is just around the corner, I decided to clarify historically (notice I did not mention religion here) WHY Easter is really celebrated to see if I was missing something regarding the upcoming holiday and its hoopla.  I found the following on Wikipedia (Yes, sorry for my lack of sources!):

Easter is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

Easter is also linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are identical or very similar. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the churchand decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb.

Wikipedia also had much to say about the Easter Bunny:

The hare was a popular motif in medieval church art. In ancient times it was widely believed (as by Pliny, Plutarch, Philostratus, and Aelian) that the hare was a hermaphrodite. The idea that a hare could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary, with hares sometimes occurring in illuminated manuscripts and Northern European paintings of the Virgin and Christ Child. It may also have been associated with the Holy Trinity, as in the three hares motif, representing the “One in Three and Three in One” of which the triangle or three interlocking shapes such as rings are common symbols. …Additionally, according to legend, “a young rabbit who, for three days, waited anxiously for his friend, Jesus, to return to the Garden of Gethsemane, little knowing what had become of Him. Early on Easter morning, Jesus returned to His favorite garden and was welcomed by His animal friend. That evening, when Jesus’ disciples came into the garden to pray, they discovered a path of beautiful larkspurs, each blossom bearing the image of a rabbit in its center as a remembrance of the patience and hope of this faithful little creature.”

After quickly reading through those historical summaries, it was obvious to me that Easter is most definitely a historic and religious celebration! Therefore as a Christian, I certainly do not want my kids to be JUST excited for the gifts and the splendor, but for the true promise of salvation that Easter brings.

And to be honest, I am really SICK of living the lie and playing the expectation game at holiday time.

If you know me well enough, you know I HATE to lie. I am NOT saying that I haven’t lied (because that would not be true!!), but I don’t like to do so. Lying is misleading and manipulative; and it ultimately leads to MORE lying. After some hesitation, we decided to end for good our fibbing regarding the fictional holiday characters, and instead embrace the true gifts to our children that each holiday brings by itself.

I was really expecting the worst…tears, dramatic questions, disappointment. As I sat at the table with my oldest three children sometime after the New Year, I told them that there was something important that Mommy wanted to tell them. I started with Santa and explained that he was not real, that he was an imaginary figure made up to encourage giving and good spirit at Christmastime. I explained that since we are Christian, we celebrate Christmas for the sake of Christ’s birth; and because of what Christ did for us through his birth, life, death, and resurrection, we want to be giving and joyful all year round. At that point, they started to cut in with questions… ”so the Santa we saw at Grandma’s is fake?” someone asked.

“Yes.” I answered.

More questions… “And the ones in the movies aren’t real?”

“No, they aren’t real. Santa is just for fun. Jesus is the reason for all the holidays.” I explained.

“Even the Easter Bunny?” asked my oldest (who I thought may have already been onto us).

“Also fake. Daddy is the Easter Bunny. He gets up really early and puts out the eggs. You see, the Easter Bunny and Santa know what you like because Mom and Dad ARE Santa and the Easter Bunny.” I answered.

Baby #2 then hopefully chimed in,”I get it, Mom. YOU are Mrs. Claus and Daddy is Santa.”

“No, Dear, we just pretend we are. Our family can still pretend at holiday time, but the characters are not for real. We celebrate Christmas and Easter because Jesus was born and died for our sins.” I continued to review.

And surprisingly, that was it!  No tears.  Their complete understanding and total acceptance came forth. After a few hugs, they were even on to a new topic! And I think I felt almost a sense of relief from them; that they finally understood who these magical people were and how they knew everything about them.

Occasionally now, my kids will tell ME what they want from us for Easter or Christmas. And when Baby #2 lost a tooth she said, “So Mom, you can just pay me now then.”

Pretty awesome. How I love the sound of truth!

By reading this, I hope you decide to examine the importance, focus, and REASON for your holidays. For us, the truth is found in history and its relevance alone is meaningful to our family.  Religion has deep historical roots.  Even when I attempted to put it aside in a mini quest for different Easter origins, I found no other explanations.  Understanding the history of our holidays and the importance of religion to our family’s spiritual health, we decided to minimize the pomp of imaginary characters and the subsequent high expectations of materialism. And like choosing to be Christian, we also choose to celebrate historical religious festivals with less grandeur and more hope and thankfulness.

At our house, we will still pretend to have these fictional characters visit during holiday time because our kids are young and it is fun! We will definitely NOT be focusing on the importance of their visits or gifts, however, but instead on each holiday’s truth and their hope that lights our way…even when we lose it.

John 3:16-17  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”

 

 

A Dresser Redone

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I’ve had this project in the works for a while now…like since this past fall. As usual, my endeavours were taking up a little too much space in the garage (and we needed more room for a separate project), so I decided to get this piece cleaned up and ready for use!

Do any of you remember seeing this picture on one of my social media sites??

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It was at the end of somebody’s driveway with a BIG free sign next to it…SCORE!

And, I FINALLY have it complete!

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It is now residing in Baby #2’s room! She picked out the purple color herself!

Refinishing a piece of furniture is not rocket science, however it will take time and patience…and maybe some fix-it work from your husband (one of these days he may trust me with his power tools)! On this piece in particularly, the drawers needed a little TLC.  Luckily, my husband was able to adjust them in a short amount of time.

As far as the finish work goes, the following are MY steps to completing a refurbishment! I am not sure if MY WAY is the BEST way or even the recommended way to refinish a piece of furniture. The directions I will describe are a combination of what I have learned from family members over the years and also from my own personal experiences.  Please take note of all the SANDING if you would like the paint to last…

1.  There are two keys to a perfect finish.  The first is to fill in any holes or divots with your choice of wood filler. The second is to SAND THOROUGHLY! After filling in any dents or holes and letting the filler dry as directed, I started to sand this piece with a coarse grit sandpaper (like 3M brand 60, for example).

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Please note that you want to sand well enough so that either the original paint is removed or it is very well scuffed. This dresser was a little tricky to refinish as some parts of it were not solid wood and had warped some.

2.  After sanding thoroughly, I wiped off the sanding dust and put on the first coat of paint. Some DIY’ers choose to use a primer as their first painting step, however, I usually just sand VERY well and use MANY coats of paint instead.  By mistake, the paint that I purchased this time had primer in it, though any brand of latex paint-with or without primer-will do in my opinion.

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3.  Once the first coat of paint is dry, I sanded AGAIN! I chose to use a coarse grit paper here once more, however, it is unnecessary to sand so well that you remove your first coat of paint.

4.  AGAIN, I wiped off the sanding dust and painted another coat. Between paint coats now, I sanded with fine grit sandpaper.  And repeated.  I did four to five coats of paint on this dresser and sanded in between each. You will notice the coverage of your paint increasing with each coat. Once it is to your liking, sand lightly once more to prep your surface for the clear coats.

5.  Choose a clear coat to seal, protect, and improve the paint’s finish. I picked a satin finish for this dresser.  Using as directed, I sprayed four total coats of clear polyurethane.  Before I sprayed the fourth coating, I lightly sanded AGAIN for extra surface smoothness.

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6.  I lined the drawers with some wall paper I purchased at a garage sale a while back.

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7.  To save on cost, I also kept the original drawer knobs (they are metal), and purchased a can of spray paint to freshen them up a bit. Eventually, I may decide to add glass hardware; however I am happy with the outcome of these for now.

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This project was somewhat time-comsuming, but was EASY, and almost anyone could do it with a little effort!  If you are a beginner, try refinishing a smaller piece first!

In case you are interested, I have detailed the cost of the refurbishment below:

  • Dresser: FREE!
  • Paint: $19.97 (-$4 rebate!!) x 1 Gallon (which I also plan to use for another project) = $15.97
  • Wood Filler:  I already had.
  • Sandpaper: I already had.
  • Polyurethane Finish: $5.97 x 3 cans = $17.91
  • Spray paint: $3.27 x 1 can = $3.27
  • Baby #2’s reaction to the finished product: PRICELESS!

TOTAL: $37.15 (plus tax)

The final outcome!

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Thank you for your interest in my project! <3

 

 

 

 

Sevenly: A Company With A Cause

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This coming Friday, March 21st, is World Down Syndrome Day; a day quite significant in our household for obvious reasons.  As parents of a child with Down syndrome, it is important for us to recognize the opportunities this group of people has, and be an encouraging source of information and support to those who may be just beginning their journey.

With that in mind, I was VERY excited to see that Sevenly, a company with interest in people and the power of product influence, has teamed up with an organization vested in Down syndrome this week!  Each week, Sevenly joins with a different charity in order to raise awareness for them.  For each item purchased on Sevenly, they will donate $7 to the week’s cause.  This week’s cause just so happens to be the International Down Syndrome Coalition; an organization that offers support to those caring for individuals with Down syndrome, directs caregivers to groups in their area supporting those with Down syndrome, and guides to appropriate resources parents who want to make an adoption plan for their child with Down syndrome.

SEVENLY MERCHANDISE EXAMPLES!!

More Than Blood Boyfriend V NeckAdopt Flowy Racerback Tank

LOVE!!

This is merchandise unique for an amazing mission!

And yes, I ALREADY ORDERED!!

There are MANY other items offered on Sevenly currently, most of which are not Down syndrome specific.  As you can see, the shirts above would be appropriate for anyone with ties to adoption.  Other items include clothing for all ages, artwork, jewelry, and MORE!  Items that are on their web-site presently will be available this week ONLY!  New items are offered weekly and are distinct for whichever charity is featured.

If you are able, please check Sevenly out this week to support a cause very close to our hearts!

**No compensation is given for my recommendation!

Our Open Adoption’s Evolution

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After my husband and I sat through open adoption training for our agency, we were a little overwhelmed.  And honestly, we were quite negative about the whole deal.  The panel, filled with adoptive families; discussed how close they were with their birth families, how the two families (birth and adoptive) spent weekends together actually enjoying each others’ company, and how their birth moms even BABYSAT their adopted child (!!!).  If you are like I was, you may be a little bit stunned right now.  We understood and wanted our future child’s birth family to know about their little one, but more along the lines of pictures, emails, and a handful of short visits, but quality time together?  That just didn’t seem normal…or comfortable…or enjoyable.

However, when we met Baby #4’s birth parents in our home before his birth, our thoughts maybe started to change a little.  Conversation between us was rather easy, and although my husband and I didn’t fully understand at the time why they would want to place their baby for adoption, we felt that their motives were sincere and trustworthy.  There were also MANY similarities shared between our two families; from our food and political beliefs to our laundry detergent and hobbies, our families definitely shared more connections than differences.

I can’t say that Baby #4’s birth has really changed our relationship with them, either.  Initially, I thought that we may become more protective of our baby and want to limit his time with his birth family, but that has just not been the case.  Fast forward this entire past year and you will find that we have gotten to know our birth family quite well.  We’ve celebrated birthdays with Baby #4’s birth brothers, and have met some of their extended family.  Our kids act more like cousins than they do fairly recent acquaintances.  Baby #4’s birth mother and I occasionally talk on the phone and by text; they have been kept abreast of all of Baby #4’s health difficulties.

Baby #4 with some of his birth family…DSC_0012-001

Looking back, I wish I could’ve seen what our relationship may have looked like after a year.  You see, for most of the first half-year, my husband and I were focused on Baby #4 and the changes within our home.  We were filled with mixed emotions, and although we thankfully celebrated Baby #4′s arrival; we were also saddened, and grieved for him the loss of his birth family.  As I look back at pictures from those early months at home, I can’t help but be overcome when I think about the enormity of Baby #4’s placement with our family.  Jody Landers said it perfectly when she stated, “A child born to another woman calls me mommy.  The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that priviledge are not lost on me”.

Until recently, though, we were blinded by our own new situation and change; our thoughts didn’t comprehend the struggle our birth family must have went through when deciding to place Baby #4 with us.  For them to have known in their hearts that their baby belonged with another family must have been heartbreaking.  I can’t imagine the difficulty and sheer selflessness that a birth family must go through to find a family suitable enough for their baby…and then be expected to find one good enough just by looking through various family profile books.  It is humbling to think that Baby #4’s birth family felt a first connection with our family solely by looking through our family’s book.  Trusting our family with one of life’s most treasured gifts is an honor like none we have ever received.

I no longer think about why our birth family could not keep Baby #4; nobody, myself included, really needs to know or understand their decision.  I do not doubt the love that Baby #4’s birth family has for him.  I’ve seen the looks his birth mother gives him when we are all together, and I can feel the love that both birth parents have for our little guy.  I know the decision made to place him with us was probably one of the hardest ever.  I can even feel the love and appreciation that they have for us, which is probably similar to the feeling we have for them.  We love them.  Unconditionally.  Like family.  They willingly gave us our fourth baby; a life that will be completely different from that of any other.  One that will mold and form over time encompassing characteristics now resembling both families.  Knowing that Baby #4 will have knowledge and connection with his birth family fills my heart and gives me peace.

It is amazing to think that just a little over a year ago; we knew nothing of our future birth family.  While we waited to be matched to a child, the ‘birth family’ was more like an idea than a relationship, and something we did not feel would come naturally.  As our families continue to build lifelong bonds and relationships, we extol the important role our birth family plays in Baby #4’s life, and are thankful for their willingness to participate.

Adoption isn’t about the perfect situation…the perfect birth family…the perfect adoptive family…the perfect baby.  Adoption is about two families coming together to support a life that is entrusted to them at different times.  It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t always happy, and frankly, it can be a little complex.  But it is worth it.  Baby #4 is worth it.  All children are worth that risk.  <3

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