A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Home life, domestic vs. international - our choices.

Hi all,

Life is good, busy and rocking along. We are in the groove of decluttering, spring cleaning, looking towards maybe starting painting in rooms of the house that have not been repainted in many, many years.

You have to know, when we bought our dilapidated farmhouse (it sure was then), the entire upstairs needed a LOT of work - and that is where the children's rooms are, so it was a HUGE priority. We put a TON of work into that, and now all that is left is cosmetic stuff in the schoolroom, and then taking down a small wall between two bedrooms to make a "boys dorm" for when all our boys are together.

But, what that also means is that we were so burned out on painting and what not that we did not address the main floor. It is eggshell, old paint, and certainly ready to be brightened up. I am one that I hate to put up things until I really have a plan, and decorating is not only not my strong point, but it certainly isn't my priority! So, things are quite often still hung on the nails that were in the house when we moved in, up safely, but not very aesthetically. But, really, why bother when we will just be painting and then doing it all over again. So, it has sat. This winter we got the bathroom in a much better condition and actually quite cute! And I think I am nearly ready to tackle the rest of the house! Whoo-hoo!!!! Maybe once I am done working quite so much, then we can get it done. Right now it is simply keeping up with the daily necessities of life, but I am dreaming.... Dreaming of paint and organizing and all that... The wonders of life!

I have also had on my mind questions that people have asked us recently. I get the impression that people wonder why we have chosen to adopt internationally instead of domestically. Let me set that record straight - we actually were half way through the homestudy process to adopt from foster care when we learned of the boys we are adopting. We knew that we were going to adopt again. We thought from the US. But we have also long said that a child with diabetes would be a very good addition. We have the medical experience, we have the training, we work with the specialists, we have been doing this for nearly six years. I remember what a learning curve there was with learning to care for Kiley - and it is a constant thing. It really rocked our world, but now it just one more thing that is part of our lives. We could easily manage another child with diabetes and provide a good and healthy home for that child.

So, when we got the email - it came through some sort of circuitous route, we still haven't figured out how it got to us exactly - well, it was very clear to us that this was a good answer. We knew we could really help this child. It didn't matter that he was on the other side of the world - again. We knew that we had special skills for this particular child's needs. Not to mention that we are already adoptive parents of older children, a transracial family already, and we have children from the same country with the same language! We knew that we could adopt both brothers, that we could integrate them into the family.

Where the boys were had very little to do with our adoption decision, that was nearly irrelevant. It was the particular experience we had to offer that was the reason we chose this particular adoption. It wasn't about place. It was about the particular need.

(And adding in the little girl was basically because we really felt called to another child who might not be adopted otherwise. It is scary to know that there are 143 million orphans worldwide, and most children older than toddlers will not be adopted, ever. Never know the security of family, love, etc. In fact, most children over 12 months of age are considered "special needs" and the chances of them getting adopted significantly decrease as they get older. In all honesty, I am so thrilled that there will be another female in our family, as I am feeling very outnumbered by all the testosterone!)

I in some ways feel a bit guilty that we are not adopting from the US. It isn't because we don't want to, but it just has not worked out. We have been foster parents for nearly seven years, and have had several children come and go. The going is so very hard. I know there is a need here, but we also know what we are facing to do that. We may very well do that someday, but not at this point, obviously. I do believe that God does call us to particular children, to particular situations. I strongly encourage the people I talk to to look at both options. There is a benefit to both. We are placing no bets on where we go from here. There is no way for us to even think about ever adding more children to the family, when our three are not home and transitioned yet. We may very well decide that "eight is enough", but we have learned the hard way to not try to predict that before we have been in the thick of things for a while. (Hence our secondary infertility - we thought we knew what we wanted. Time changes many things, as we have learned.)

So, I don't view one method of adoption as better than the other - they are very different. There is a need all over the world, in our country as well as others. It is about the child. I love the story of the starfish:

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

The old man smiled, and said, "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one."


This story has been circulated around the web in many versions, usually with no mention of author. It is said to be paraphrased from "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley, 1907 - 1977.

When I asked my eldest adopted son about his feelings about adoption, he was very frank. He agreed that it was difficult, that there were things he missed about his first country, that there were many changes and it wasn't easy. (He was adopted at 12.) I asked him directly if it was worth it - his life experience made him the best judge, in my view. He was absolutely astonished, insisting that it was very worth it and he was very happy, and that knowing it all, he would be happy to do it again, even knowing how difficult it was at times. Just like any child, he doesn't always appreciate being parented, compromising as you do in a family and all that developmental stuff. But, he belongs and is loved. And he loves us in return. I agree with him, even on the toughest days. All these children are a gift from God and we are honored to share this life journey with them, however they came into our family.

Now, on the other hand, we have run into several folks in the last few days who, when they hear what is happening in our lives, insist to our faces that we are crazy. I know that they laugh and don't really intend it to be negative. I am learning that this is OK. It does sound ludicrous - eight children all within five years of age of each other. Yeah, it does sound wild! (Now, on the other hand, at least we didn't have all of them together in diapers or anything - it is different!) Adding three children to the family at one time, not to mention the medical issues. I have to readily admit that there are moments that I think about it and start to hyperventilate a bit! LOL! I never, ever thought I would be the mom to five boys! But, I also know that it is a day at a time journey. We will take each day as it comes and work through it as it comes. Phillipians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Well, I think I should be done rambling, it was just what was on my mind tonight. We have spent part of the day fundraising for the adoption - hooray for rummage sales! I also spent part of the day at the hospital as my grandmother was brought in again. It is hard to watch as age takes its toll on the people we love, and at times to feel helpless. She will be in the hospital for a day or two, but sounds like everything will be fine, but it is obvious that she and my grandfather need more assistance. The family is pulling together and I look forward to the day when I have more hours to offer.

So, I leave you with this: Phillipians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Love to you all!

1 comment:

Anna said...

You explained the whole blog in your title.
People just need to cultivate their own respect for you.
And when they ask questions that are clearly none of their business Mom would have the answers for you.
She would simply say, "Why do you want to know?"
You cannot educate everyone.
Knowing that, it ALL goes back to respect.

Funny that you wrote about stuff needing to be put up.
I changed all of my pictures yesterday, and rehung lots of them. (Took me all day to get that done too).
Then a late trip to Woodmans.

I bought a can of porch paint for the front. (Almost had heart failure when I saw the price too, but it HAS to be done).

When I lived on Jaworski Road in Chase, we also removed one wall making a very big bedroom with an extra room for tv and such. That, back before Sam and Zoe had my Little Miss Valerie. What a difference one little wall made!
Good luck with that all.

Casey, Jenny Mella and even Nykquee are heading down to Texas as I write here. Nyk is a paramedic so I won't worry overmuch about Casey, knowing she can take better care of her than I ever could in an emergency.