Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Revelations of RAD

Sometimes it is hard to see things, when you are so close to the situation and your view is skewed.  My view of RAD is skewed.  It has been a HARD 5 yrs since our RADish came to live with us.  We knew we were her last chance before going to a girls home and I couldn't bear to send this doe-eyed little blue eyed girl away.  I thought we could heal her with stability and love.  LOL...that's what I get for thinking.  God has a plan, He has a purpose and His purpose was for us to raise this little girl, in His light.  Let me say...we have tremendously failed because we were trying to do it in our power and might and not in His.  

Over time, it has affected every aspect of our life.  We didn't seek His counsel, we sought outside counsel through therapists, friends, family, the internet, books, etc.  We didn't seek His face.  We were (and are) aware of this, now....after 5 yrs.  I had a long talk with G and I explained what we had done and what we hadn't done.  We wanted to put a bandaid on her past, love her, show her a real family and we "assumed" that would fix her.  Reality check:  WE CAN'T FIX HER.  Nor do I really have the desire to fix her anymore.  I'm tired.  I'm tired of the fighting, I'm tired of the constant struggle, I'm tired of the pain, I'm tired of the yelling.  I.Am.Tired.

In the Word, it states that when we are weak, He is strong.  I am weak, therefore I look to Him for my strength.  We can't fix her, we can't change her past.  It is what it is and God has a purpose and a plan for the past that she has had.  He will use it, eventually, to His glory.  We have made a difficult decision (for those with kids with RAD, you know what that means)...we have decided to *gasp* home school her :/  I had no intentions of EVER bringing her back home.  She needed the break from us and we needed the break from her.  Problem is, is that, in school, there is a daily reminder of her past.  There can be no healing when you, literally see, members of your past.  I fought with God.  I had my plan.  I didn't want to stray from my plan.  It was my plan, it was a good plan....yet He had other plans.

He chose to bring my son home.  He chose for my son to come into this home with new eyes and to see the G the way He sees her.  In doing that, I have gotten a glimpse of who He sees in her.  He allowed the scales to fall off my eyes, for a moment, and allow me to see the child that He created.  Abinet LOVES her.  Not just a little, but a whole whole lot.  He is concerned with her whereabouts, he wants to play with her, sit with her and in the still of the night...I hear him call from his room to her room "I love you G."  He loves her for her.  He doesn't know of the scars, the last horrid 5 yrs, the thoughts of sending her to a Christian boarding school, the thoughts of "why did we say yes."  We said yes to this broken child because He said yes to us.  God chose me, I have asked His Son to come in my heart and heal the brokenness.  He took the "last chance girl" and He gave me a chance.  He gave me unconditional love and He heals without bandaids. I see clearly now.  I see how He has used my new son to show me the love of His Son.  I am in awe.

So, I surrendered to His plan.  She, along with the other 5, are home schooling.  it has been okay, though we have our moments.  I have, though, a daily reminder of God's love of us, broken "last chance" children and I'm grateful.  I'm grateful that He sent His Son to die for us and I'm grateful that He sent my son to show me how to love.  I will have bad days, I will have good days, and I will have days where I wonder what on earth He was thinking to call me to this task.  I'm confident, that as long as I have a solid, growing relationship with my Master, that I can accomplish anything He gives me because He leads my path.

Allow Him to lead your path.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Different ends of the spectrum......

As I sit here, holding my youngest son because his belly hurts and my oldest daughter because her heart hurts....I realize that I really *am* a parent.  I know, shocker, since I have 6 children, but my kids range from 16 to 5 and here I am, consoling them both for completely different reasons.

I am saddened, on so many levels.  This is his first "tummy" ache and due to the communication lapse, I can't use my words to comfort him, but I can use the power of touch.  Sitting, holding, playing with his hair, rubbing his belly....he feels so safe, so loved and so secure that he drifts off to sleep.  It sends my mind racing on the years that I missed...was he comforted in his village when he was sick?  Did he get held, at the orphanage when he was sick?  Did the nannies, at the transition home comfort him?  I don't know.  I do know, that he was well loved.  He was *so* loved by his mom, that she not only gave him life, once, but twice by allowing him to be adopted.  I am humbled at her strength.  I also know, that he was loved at KVI.  There were *so* many children.  Last count, I heard was 83 kids ranging from newborns to 12 & 13 yrs old.  They did the best they could, with the resources they had and their hearts broke for each and every child.  I also know that he was VERY well loved at the Transition House.  The nannies adored him and our friends Woudneh and Betty and their 4 children came often to be a consistent face of love and comfort.  I will be forever grateful to them for caring for our son, when we couldn't be there.

Then comes our oldest.  So anxious, so beautiful, so honest and caring.  I'm so blessed to be her mom.  She reached the magical age of 16 and now, it is time where she can "say yes" *if* a boy asks her out.  Yet, that hasn't happened.  She questions herself.  Her looks, her personality, her traits, her likes, her dislikes and how she can make herself more 'date-able'.  I've been there, I've been 16.  I've been the girl that no one wanted to date.  It is hard.  There is no way to make that better.  What I tell her, over and over is that she is beautifully and wonderfully made.  That she is perfect, just the way she is and that she doesn't need to change for anyone.  She needs to be herself and if a boy doesn't like that, he can walk on because she is worthy of someone's unconditional love.  Still, she aches because someone broke her heart.  He was noble about it and prayerful of his decision and there was never really anything happening other than a friendship that had the potential to blossom.  She was understanding and stoic....until she wasn't.  Then, she needed her mama to hold her and to tell her that God has a plan and a purpose for her life.  That he has a wonderful man that he is preparing for her and she is being prepared for him.  That patience, is indeed, a virtue and as hard as it is, she has to stand tall, remain strong and realize, that this isn't the end of the world (although she firmly believes that it could be).  

So, I sit here, holding my oldest and my youngest...reveling in the fact that God gave me these wonderful children and how blessed I am to be their mom.

Thank you, Lord for these children. Help me to raise them in Your light.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Discipline...this is a word that gets people passionate.  People certainly have their own views of it and they (for the most part) aren't afraid to express themselves on the subject.

Discipline has "evolved" around my house, over the years.  When we had our oldest daughter, she rarely was disciplined for any reason.  She is a born pleaser.  She was meticulous in her thoughts and her actions and all we really had to do was look at her, or snap and she would melt in the floor crying.

Enter our second daughter and she was a bit of a whirlwind.  We should have named her Trouble because that is what she got into.  On a daily basis.  She was not afraid to push the limits and do it with a grin on her face.  She didn't respond to "the look" or to "the snap".  She responded best to swats and even then, it was a short lived.  She is a firecracker.

Then, our world began evolving...we had Boo.  Boo struggled with some autistic tendencies when he was younger.  He would SCREAM.  You look at him, he would scream.  He wanted something, he would scream.  He was a daredevil and could figure ANYTHING out that had a lock on it.  He had sensory issues, texture issues, social issues.  Swatting him was permission for him to go and smack others.  It didn't work with him.  Raising our voice would open the door for intense screaming.  Time outs worked, occasionally. He was a hard nut to crack.

I believe that Boo prepared us for what was to come with our other children.  Not that we think spanking is bad, because we don't.  We didn't hit out of anger, we hugged and loved and explained afterwards and we felt like that was the best way to go for our family.

Our next children were 6 and 2 when they came to live with us.  They were children from foster care and so we couldn't spank them.  We had to be really really creative.  Our 2 yr old didn't do anything to warrant any discipline, whatsoever.  He had limited speech and was simply learning how to play and be a normal kid.  Our 6 yr old, well...she had a lying problem.  Then there were the rages, then there was the self mutilation, then there was the aggression, then there was the diagnosis of Reactive Attachment disorder, PTSD, ADHD, ODD, ABCDEFG.  How do you even begin to discipline that?

We took things away, she didn't care.  We'd put her in time out, she'd sit and sing.  We'd put her in the corner.  She'd eat the wallpaper.  We tried therapy, that was a joke.  Nothing works with her.  It still doesn't work.  We still struggle with what to do. My goal, to make her life as simple as possible.  She has limited clothes to keep her from being overwhelmed with choices and freaking out.  She has broken so many dressers stuffing dirty clothes in them. Now, we don't have that problem.  She has enough to get through the week and we don't vary.  I fix her plate, for supper.  That eliminates her need to gorge.  We have very limited outside activity for her. This reduces her sensory overload and helps with her behaviours.  

Now, we have our son, from Ethiopia.  With the language barrier, it is again, hard to decide on an appropriate discipline.  He is rough.  He plays rough and he gets angry and expresses his anger in rough manners.  We are working through that.  When we get onto him, he shuts down.  He won't look at you.  He becomes stiff and distant.  Eventually, he comes out of his shell and we try to explain to him what he did wrong and how we do it correctly.  I don't know how much gets through to him.

Times are a changing around here. Kids are older, groundings take place and we are still working through the process of our RADish and our newest.

Sometimes, we as adults, are disciplined by our Father.  A lot it are natural consequences to our sin and it is so so hard.  I look back and I know when I was disciplined and how I was disciplined, but I certainly learned my lesson.  Sad thing is, is that I will probably make that mistake again.  I will quickly forget the pain that I went through, yet I will remember once I make that mistake again.  I'm so thankful the Lord never gives up on me.  He loves me enough to discipline me, yet He never leaves me or forsakes me.  What a blessing to be loved in that manner.  I pray that I love my kids in that manner, as well.


Monday, January 9, 2012

These are the days of my life

Life, it is a funny thing.  Sometime, I feel like God is sitting up, on a cloud, looking down and laughing at me.  It isn't a bad thing, but I have all these ideals, yet I choose not to consult Him.  He has His plan, for me, shakes things up a bit and then snickers as I fumble around trying to make sense out of the things that have occurred.

Do you ever feel like that?

I have questioned, I have cried, I have begged, I have pleaded, I have resorted to my own ways to finish things and finally, I sit back, let Him work and things get "fixed" in His time.  I still have the consequences of my actions, and it stinks.  Whoever said that God doesn't discipline the ones that are His, has never been in my house.  

I struggle with idleness.  I found, before I started work, that I would sit in my chair and delegate.  What are kids for, if they don't do things around the house.  I simply didn't know how bad I had gotten, till I began work and didn't have "time" to properly do anything.  Laundry piled up, the house always smelled, trash was overflowing, teeth were yellow (kids, not mine), forms didn't get signed because they were under a pile of bills and junk mail.  I vowed that if the Lord were to choose to let me stay home, then I would not let things get out of hand.  I've done well.  I've done things, my kids keep their rooms clean and they help me, but they don't have sole responsibility to do them on their own.  I've kept supper on the table, more times than not, laundry is caught up, bathrooms smell good and teeth get brushed twice a day.  I'm happy.  

I still have trials.  I still have a RADish that is difficult to parent.  I'm now homeschooling 4.5 out of 6 kids (I work some with Little Man and my RADish is still in PS till May).  I have papers graded, I have curriculum and schedules laid out.  I'm there, I'm prepared, but I still struggle with my thoughts. I struggle with my idleness.  I still feel as if I'm not doing enough and I crave approval.  I got angry with Big Daddy because the words "thank you" don't come out of his mouth very often.  I want to hear that, but my worth is not found in Big Daddy.  It is found in He who loves me and died for me.  I need to remember that not only am I doing things for my family, I'm doing them because this is what the Lord has given me and I'm, in turn, doing all things for Him.  

I never want to paint my family as a family of perfection who follows the Lord, no matter what.  I wish we were that family, but we aren't.  We have attitudes, puberty, whining, fighting, smart mouth, wanting to date, finding balance kind of family.  We love the Lord. We want to do what is in line with His will, but we fail, everyday.  On the flip side of that coin, everyday is a new day.  It is a beginning where I need to pray for God to guide me and convict me during every moment of the day.  Will I do that, every morning?  No.  Will I aspire to do that?  Yes.  

Everyday is a new day....make your crazy day count and realize that even when you screw up, you are still loved beyond measure.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Reclaiming my life

It has been a ROUGH 2 yrs.  I tell Big Daddy that this adoption has, easily, shaved 10 yrs off my life.  It was well worth it, my son is worth it, but it took a toll on my life and the life of my family.

My mama says that I'm a lot like my daddy.  I have an "emotional closet" and I go in there, put my emotions on the shelf and then shut the door.  Then she stated that "one day, your shelves are gonna fall and we all need to look out."  My simple phrase is "I don't want to talk about it."  I do that to everyone, including Big Daddy and it irritates him and my family.  I don't mean to irritate, but I don't want to sit and think about the things that have happened and rehash them.  To me, it doesn't do anyone any good.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I'm told I'm wrong all the time LOL.  That's okay.  I'm gonna try and work on that.

My shelves haven't fallen, yet.  But I am aware of the emotions that I have put on them.  Through my Wednesday night girls class, I learned that I have everything in me that I pray for.  Wisdom, patience, kindness, strength, etc.  It was given to me the day I accepted the Lord as my personal Saviour.  So there really is no need to pray for God to give me these attributes.  I just have to ask Him to help me dig them out of the concrete because He who lives in me, already gave them to me, years ago.  

Armed with that knowledge and being aware of the emotions I have stashed on the shelf, I am setting out to live as I should.  To be the woman that the Lord has called me to be.  To be the wife, the mother, the daughter.  I have it in me.  I do need the Lord's help and guidance, though.  Digging into the Word and maintaining constant communication with Him is the key to growing.  I want to grow in Him.  I want to be able to shake the dust off my feet, in certain areas of my life, and walk with my head held high.

This is exciting, it is an exciting time.  I'm excited.  I'm ready.  Maybe it is my age...maybe it is that God has finally chipped the scales off my eyes. I don't know.  I just know that the past is just that, the past.  I can't redo anything or change anything.  Tomorrow is not certain, He may decide to break through the clouds tomorrow and claim what is His.  I must live for today.  I must make today count.

Make your day count.  


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Learning new things and reflection

Everyday, Abinet is learning new things.

He is learning about safety.  We don't go and play in the road, we don't stick our fingers in the outlet.  The stove is hot, the oven will blow steam in your face HOT HOT HOT, food is hot (please blow on it first).

He is also learning to try new foods (he loves everything but hotdogs, chocolate and chicken noodle soup).  We found out, last night, that he loves carrots :)  Who'd a thunk that one.  Veggies aren't his favorite, but he will eat at least a tablespoon full.  He loves bread and chicken nuggets.  Mashed potatoes, he had to learn to love.  I believe he thought it was for babies, till he realized we were all eating it and saying "yum yummy".

He has learned how to use safety scissors, copy shapes and he knows most of his colors.  I am learning things, through his eyes and seeing how "cool" things look for the first time.  I was blessed to be able to have biological children and to see new things from a baby on up...this is different.  Watching a 5 yr old experience life, unlike he has ever seen before, is amazing.

I find joy in hearing the laughter of my kids...all of them.  It is organized chaos, around here and I'm loving every minute of it.  I feel, that at moments, satan tries to steal my joy.  I feel like I have these little mini-crisis' around me.  When, in reality, they aren't crisis' at all.  They are satan coming in and stealing my joy.  I will stand firm and I will claim His promises and believe His promises.  I will, with the guidance of my Lord, learn how to put things in their proper places and realize, that this time last year, I felt I couldn't walk another step and this year, I'm watching my kids play outside...laughing and enjoying the Lord's creation.

We've had quite the start to the new year.  It is almost comical the things that have happened, but I must find my joy in the Lord and run my race with perserverance and not look back.  Keep my eyes forward.  That is hard to do, for me.  I internalize so much and I overthink things too much.  I need to stop that and line up all things according to Scripture.  Isn't that what we are supposed to do, anyway?  What lines up with the Word is Truth, what doesn't is not truth.  That sounds so simple, when written, but so hard to do when girly emotions get in the way.  Strength has been given to me, it was given to me when I asked my Saviour into my life.  Now, I must dig down deep and regain the strength that I feel I've lost over the last couple of years.  Focus on my family and making sure their needs are met and growing in my walk.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

He has brought home my son.
He has fulfilled his promise that He placed in me when I was a child.
He has given me a home.
He has given me a wonderful family.
He has given me my husband.
We are healthy.
We can worship freely.
He has provided us with a wonderful church family.

There is so much is He who deserves all the praise and the glory.  Without Him, I am nothing.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy Happy New Year!!!  I'm SO happy to see you.  The last couple of years have been....challenging....that is one word, I can say a few more, but due to the fact that I must be careful of what I say, I choose to say "challenging".

It has been a couple of years of lots of pain, lots of trials and lots of searching.  Searching for truth.  Trying to believe what I've been taught and have learned throughout my life, as a Christian.  I can now, with no uncertainty, say I know what it means to have faith the size of a mustard seed.  

I was asked to explain, one day, in Sunday School, the journey that I have taken with our adoption.  My pastor (also my Sunday School teacher) asked if I could verbalize the highs and lows.  I'm one to stifle emotion, the best I can.  I have always felt that crying was a sign of weakness (thanks daddy for the policeman mentality) and that it is better to keep things to myself rather than "share."  I'm not a share-r.  

I was sitting, in class, next to my black sunshine and I could feel the emotion coming up from my toes.  I looked at Big Daddy and I knew that I was fixing to lose my composure.  He touched my hand.  I couldn't look anyone in the eye, but I looked at my son.  My highs, the child sitting next to me, hands down.  My lows....I tried to explain it this way, but in my head it made lots more sense, so I'm not sure how it came out of my mouth.  I simply stated, that had it not been for my husband, my sister, those who prayed for me diligently, the love of my children and the knowledge and love of my God...I would not be sitting in that chair, at that moment.  Period, the end.  That is hard to admit.  

I guess I didn't realize how low my lows were and how much they affected every aspect of my life.  I do know, however, from hearing other people explain my disposition, that I wasn't very good.  That saddens me.  I know my strength is found in the Lord, but I didn't really know where my Lord was.  I thought He had left me, but then there would be a glimpse of His presence and of Him working.  That small glimpse, of Him, kept me going, even just the shell of me.  I could get out of bed and function.

I now know that He didn't go anywhere.  It was me that went.  I veered from His path and I learned that that is not the path I want to go down.  It was very dark and lonesome.  It was hard and dry. A very very sad place to dwell.  I let life pass me by, I let my kids pass me by, I worked on autopilot...just enough to get by.  I would hear Peach say "mom, you don't smile anymore."  That cut me to the core, but I understood what she was saying.  I had lost my smile and I didn't know where it was.  I would get voice messages and texts from Peach (who is 13) that stated "claim it, mom...believe it.  It will happen."  The strength of a child carried me.

Also, on this journey, I found myself feeling guilty for having a good day.  I felt like I needed to stay in the pit of despair over our journey and to have a good day, I was somehow slighting Abinet.  What a lie from the pit of hell.  Wow, the fact that I fell for that, wow....  As my sister pointed out, his life has not changed one bit.  He gets up, he eats, he plays, he naps, he eats more and then he goes to bed.  This was his life.  He knows know different.  I do because I've been to his country and then I've been home...2 way different places and I knew what he was missing, but he didn't.  He was happy, healthy, loved and well taken care of.  I'm very very thankful for that.

Another "low" and "high", at the same time, was getting pictures of him.  I loved seeing him, but I didn't like seeing him grow up through pictures.  Seeing bumps, bruises, scars, rashes, tears, laughter, joy, happiness....I was missing all of that.  I missed him losing his first 2 teeth.  I missed a very long time because of the choice to follow self instead of allowing God to do His will, I interjected my will.  It was the natural consequence to me being selfish.

I have praised His Name, everyday, for allowing Abinet to be in our home.  I praise Him for the easy transition, for the love that he shows us and for being able to love him freely.  I thank Him for being healthy and funny.  For eating and sleeping, for simply breathing and being.  He completes our family and why the Lord allowed us to wait for 22 mths, is beyond me.  Why every.single.thing that could go wrong, went wrong.  He has a reason, He has a purpose and His ways are higher than mine.  I may never know, this side of Heaven why this all happened.  By the time I get to Heaven, I won't care.  Right now, I sit in joy, I sit in peace, I sit with a smile on my face to have all my children under one roof.

I still have so much to learn and I'm anxious to learn it.  I'm anxious to see what tomorrow brings and what this new year brings and then I'm reminded of this verse that pierced my heart so many years ago.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Phil. 4:6

So, here's to the new year and being anxious for nothing.