Friday, March 22, 2013

The Ministry Of Motherhood

"Why are you adding more when you already have 6?"

You can only imagine how many times that question has swung my way over the past several months.

And my answer? Um, all I have to do is snuggle into Lincolns chubby cheeks for a second and my ovaries start firing off eggs. I'm an odd one. A collector of children.

Not really, I don't say that although I should, yes? I usually just respond with a "why not" or a "yep, we're crazy like that."

I get why people ask those questions though. And I would imagine that every mom gets why people ask those questions, because every mom gets how hard her job is. It's like when you have a newborn, and you're a week postpartum, and you haven't showered or brushed your teeth, and the baby is crying while your other kids are fighting, and the washing machine just ate your last pair of hospital net underwear.

(Not that I know what that is like.)

There is never a part of me though that views adding more kiddos to our family as "inconvenient", I feel like we're only moving forward with God's plan for our family.

Does changing diapers, filling sippy cups, wiping noses, cleaning up crumbs off the floor, and folding load after load of laundry always feel glamorous? Not at all. And would I love to have a full conversation at the park without having to tell my children to stop eating the mulch? Sure. But that's not my life right now...

Like I've confessed before, I have many days when this mom gig feels mundane and redundant. Let's just all go ahead and admit that some days kinda suck. C'mon, raise your hand, some days being a mother sucks the life right out of you and all you want to do is run screaming from you're house. It's ok to admit it, you're safe here.

Motherhood is hard. That is a simple fact. Some days more than others.

It's kind of like a roller coaster...with only tall hills and loops...and you just keep going up the tall hill anticipating the other side, and then after the rush of going down the hill it throws you for another loop. Yea, it's kinda like that.

Foster care is also like that, a roller coaster that never ends. Yesterday we had a visit with their mom, she decided to show up, and we all sang Cumbaya. Not really. The reality is that there is never a time that it doesn't sting a little when they run to her and all of the sudden I fall into 2nd place. Not going to lie, it actually stings a lot, especially with all we're dealing with with the girls.

But for some reason a child instinctively wants their mom to love them, regardless of the ugly past. That is the power of a mother's love.

I even find myself caring about their mom in a mothering way. Don't get me wrong, this woman can make me crazy, but like I've mentioned before, she's pretty young and never really had a mom. So I stand in this weird place where I want to keep her girls, but I also want to reach out and love her as well. I even found myself in the grocery yesterday buying her prenatal vitamins (because yes, she's expecting again. Don't EVEN get me started.). She feels like the enemy sometimes, but that motherly instinct to love her always trumps the bad feelings. Us mothers can't help it, its running through our tired veins.

The deep down ugly truth is that I often just want her to go away even though I know God's plan is best, and  even though I know they are not really mine. But they feel like they're mine. Until we see her. And then I am humbled right into the background of the whole story. But that is the thing, mothers often are changing lives and keeping things going behind the scenes of everyday life - there is not a lot of recognition, but He sees us.

We are mothers. And we love relentlessly, even when it seems crazy. And it is indeed crazy!

Right now, motherhood is my ministry. It's how I serve, even when it feels so, so mundane and ordinary. But shaping lives is anything but ordinary.

The world tells us that we need to keep defining ourselves with things, and people, and money, and a "better you!" But God has already given us a defining role, and the more I embrace it the more I find my true self - right here, in this calling to be a mother.

Whether you're in the baby stage, or the school age stage, or the waiting for your kiddo through adoption stage, it's always a moving forward with God's plan of motherhood stage. And that's a good place to be.

So today, and tonight, and the next day, and the following years after that, I will continue on this crazy road of mothering. The hardest, but by far the most rewarding road I've been on to date.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Some More Of This And That

- There are only about 71 days till Summer vacation. Just in case you were wondering. The pool, the sun on our faces, it is BLISS. Can not wait! And no, I'm not sure yet how I will do the pool with 8 kids, but I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out :).

- Love, love, love you guys for your encouragement and advice on the possible seizures A is having. We go this morning for her EEG, and as far as I know, we won't have results right away. She is having a "sleep deprived" test so we couldn't put her to bed any earlier than 11pm, and had to wake her by 5am. Sweet mercy, this child needs her sleep or things get ugly - so it's probable that both of us will be crying by the time the test is over.

Send chocolate and sarcastic humor.

- Just to fill you in a bit... we found out last week that her "delays" are pretty significant, so that could all play into the staring spells she is having. Basically she has some receptive, processing, and communication issues going on - all part of what He intended for her even though it seems REALLY unfair right now. And honestly, shes been through a lot, so that could play a part as well. She has a long road ahead, but I know she'll be ok :). She is a sweet little trooper, and I know He has a great plan for her!

- I love them more and more everyday. Which scares me because, well, it's foster care. Just had to get that out.

- On to lighter things. We had the school carnival this weekend and the older girls were so excited. Reason #249 to have a big family: you always win a cake at the cake walk when you're kids are involved. Great odds, people.

- I bought these cosmetic bags for a couple friends at Christmas, and then saw not long ago that the lady dropped the price to $15! So cheap, so stinkin' cute! It makes me happy.

- Oh, before I forget - I am changing my twitter, facebook, instagram, etc over to the name "Filled To The Brim". Remember a few months back when I did a blog makeover? Well, it's time to take the name change full circle...I've put it off long enough. So just remember that it is still me in your news feed! Same savvy crew, only a tad different :).

I can hardly loosen my grip from "Savvy Little Women". It's where we come from, it's who we are, it's in our blood.

Too far? Sorry.

- I've wanted to hang some new things on our walls. You know, just change things up a bit. But then when I go to do it I get all scattered - Should I hang new pictures? A canvas? Modern wall art? An oversized fork?
I went with pictures, seems simple, but I like simple.

- Alright, I'm off to try and keep A up until the test. Praying, praying, praying for the best!

Back soon, friends!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Love Big

So I turned 32 over the weekend. And you know what? It doesn't feel much different than 31 :).

And my anxious-flyer self even hopped on a flight home all by myself on Sunday. I know, I'm growing up so fast.

I spent the weekend in Atlanta with some friends at the Created For Care retreat for foster and adoptive moms. We spent 48 hours talking about how to "love big" when it comes to our kids and through the ups and downs of parenting kiddos from hard places. Lot's of info and lot's to take in, but it was really good :).

It also ended up being a much needed reminder that He is still pursuing me, as I pursue a new normal for my family right now. It's SO easy to get lost in the shuffle of day to day life as a mom, and it was really refreshing to remember that I am part of the story too - that my heart matters to Him as well. Goodness, that is so easy to forget when you are giving yourself completely to these little loves day in and day out!

My mommy heart had been struggling so much from carrying the weight of our situation. I do not like crying in public, but I could not keep composure in some of these sessions, friends. I have been so fearful of loving big and losing time and time again - but lately I have started to feel a release from that. I just feel this peace about loving as much as we can, even though the future isn't clear. Because if we don't love these kids, then who will? And if we don't love in the darkness of this world, then what use are we as Christians?

He is faithful and with us every step of the way. That's all I could ask for in this mommy journey.

Last week I had a Dr appointment for A. I know I've mentioned that we have been worried about some things going on with her, and I believe we have found some reasons. The issues seem a tad bigger than just delays, and the team at our childrens hospital believe that she is actually having seizures - at night and several during the day in the form of what looks like a total "zone out".

So. Huge deep breaths. (And maybe some wine.) Both seem to help.

Monday morning we have an EEG scheduled for her and we are praying for the best - that they aren't seizures, and that things are better than they seem. But if they are indeed exactly what they seem? That's ok too. His plan is the best plan for our journey. I feel at total peace about that.

We saw the mom last week and I'm still feeling that compassionate feeling inside me for her, even though I hate her choices. She grew up much like her kids are, and I have to literally force myself not to embrace her when she talks about it. Because friends, I just want to hug this woman for some reason. I think I'm about to cross the line of what I "should" be doing, to what I feel like He would want me to do. And that is to love as big as we can for as long as we can - and right now I feel like that includes the kids and her.

We'll see where that goes.

Like I've said, I may get burned, but I don't think choosing to love someone who needs it is ever a bad thing. Jesus loves me even though I don't deserve it, and that is what I keep thinking of when I think of her.

And honestly, I have been seeing that there is a possibility that He led us here to just love, maybe not adopt. I don't view it as loving and losing anymore, I view it as loving as many as we can for as long as He lets us. I need to let go of my plans and embrace His perfect story for our family. Adding a little one forever would just be a bonus :).

In other news, we have a school carnival this weekend, it will be a first for C. I can not even begin to tell you how excited this child is to do the "cake walk". Makes me smile! Although I think we could go into cake overload if all the children play - gotta have boundaries, people.

But really, are boundaries even realistic when it comes to cake?

So anyway, that's kind of what we've been up to. I'm determined to get the laundry completely done and put away today after being gone all weekend. But let's be honest, relaxing with the kids sounds SO much better :).

Back soon!

Monday, March 4, 2013

A List Of This And That

- I would love to update you on a great visit with bio mom from last week, but I can't. And I'd love to jot down some details about things that wouldn't surprise you yet still shock you, but let me just say this; she is very upset with the workers about her situation, security was involved, and it was ridiculously ugly. So we are still taking it a day at a time, I am frustrated with her decisions, but the girls are safe & loved, and He is still in control. 

- We got all the kids dressed Sunday morning and went to church, it's only our 2nd time to brave it with our new normal. A wore some tights and she thought they were SO great, she calls them her "crazy socks" :)...

- I am leaving this Friday to fly to Atlanta for a Foster/Adoption retreat called Created For Care. I am super excited to get away for a couple days but also super nervous to leave all my loves. Oh, and I MIGHT be a semi-anxious flyer. So you can pray for my nerves :).

- I come back on Sunday, it's my birthday. I'll be 25. Or 32. Or 30. Or 28. Or something.

(alright, 32.)

- Ella has started "getting ready" in the bathroom when we leave the house. It has begun, Lord help me.

- I went into Target, and big surprise, I came out with things I didn't need. But for real, these owl boxes make me HAPPY, and they are on sale for like $7...

- I posted on Facebook last week that we made these Black Bean Brownies. And seriously, it's almost funny how good they are. I don't know why this recipe makes any sense, but believe me it does.

- I SO appreciate the advice and emails (I'll be writing back soon!) I got on attachment issues. You all are great. For reals.

- Some of the kids are now crying and fighting over what sounds like a bean bag chair...but it could be anything. Gonna check out the madness and then make dinner :).

Till later, friends!