Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cherish the Time I Have Left

These past few days that I have been home on vacation, I've come to scary realization. My eldest baby is growing up and we are running out of Christmases in which she will still be living with us. Where did the time go?

Her boyfriend of almost six months is here in town on PTAD until January 3rd and has been spending as much time as he can with her. He's a wonderful young man and he treats her very well; it's just really hard to see her dating someone. He also outdid the husbands this year on Christmas morning. He gave her three different small rocks that he had written "I Love You" on. These will be something that she will treasure, especially during the long stretches that they're apart. Where did the time go?

As Tyler opened his presents this year, his first Christmas with us, I couldn't help but recall each one of my child's first Christmases with us. Jessica was 5 months old, and she managed to get sick on Christmas morning. She slept on a blanket next to the Christmas Tree. Vanessa was just 8 years old and had been living with us for 5 months. She was amazed at our traditions and really enjoyed our Advent story every night. She was a little nervous on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but was pleased with everything that we did. Suzanne was also 8 year olds and had been living with us for 6 months when her first Christmas with us arrived (last year). She went along with the flow of things and was only slightly nervous on Christmas Eve. She was in awe over how many presents she had to open (we had a significant number of presents for all of children donated to us for Christmas since we were foster parents; we were very blessed).

As they opened their gifts one at a time, I couldn't help but feel a little sad, as I realized that one by one, they would all be leaving home and starting their own family traditions. I also realized that as boyfriends, husbands, etc. begin to join our family (as well as adding more children through adoption), there may not always been enough room to have a formal sit-down breakfast. We figured out a way to have 20 people cozily sit down for breakfast, but we'll have to resort to paper plates and plastic utensils, or have two sets of different style dishes and silverware. I'll also need to get up a lot early to make enough food! This year there were 11 people for breakfast.

So, after feeling melancholy for a few moments, I made a resolution. To enjoy what little time that I have left with them and cherish the moments that arise that I'm able to spend quality time with each one of them. I've decided that these next few days that I'm off that I'm not going to focus on what I want to do (scrapbook), but look for opportunities to spend time one on one with each one of my children. Today, I took an opportunity to spend a few moments with Jessica and I helped her clean her room. We were able to laugh together about some of the strange things that we found in her room and tease each other about our definitions of "clean". Amazing how dissimiliar these definitions were!

This week is flying by, and I'm sadden by this, but I'm going to make the most of the time I have left.

(I have to share this right now, Jessica, the boyfriend, Suzy, and TJ are all in the kitchen with TJ and Suzy singing Christmas carols quite loudly to the teenagers while Jessica makes the boyfriend dinner; couldn't ask for anything more!)

God has blessed me with a wonderful family and I need to make sure that I am cherishing it. Next week Mark and I will be celebrating our twentieth wedding anniversary and I am extending my resolution to include him also. I want to cherish the people that God has given me as my family.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again!

After almost 5 weeks off of work, I headed back to work last Monday. I left Vanessa in the very capable hands of herself, her older sister, and my parents stayed with them two days (they have the Tuesday and Thursday shifts which is also when Vanessa's homebound teacher comes over). It was hard to leave that first day, but I do believe that the three of us (Jessica, Vanessa, and I) were ready for a break from each other.

God has been the great provider to us. He provided peace during the time of chaos in our lives, provided comfort when I felt that I was not able to do anything else, and He restored Vanessa's health much quicker than we could ever imagine.

To say that Vanessa is doing very well on her road to recovery is an understatement. She is anxious to get back to school, but she still needs to be released by the doctor. I suspect that she'll be back to school by December. She is slowly building her strength and stamina back up, however, her incision is not healing as well as it should be. We have two areas that are of concern. I took her back to the doctor just to have it looked at last week and he agreed that these two spots were not healing like he would expect. We are now working at trying to keep any infection at bay. We're cleaning it, keeping triple antibiotic ointment on it, and covered at all times. So far, so good. She goes back to the doctor next Wednesday for a full examine (this one was just an incision check that I had called and requested). I am hoping at this visit he will be able to clarify exactly what Vanessa's limitations are and to help her understand these. It will take a full year for her recovery and she will have some limitations during this time.

As far as work goes, my employees did great while I was gone and I believe that they were glad to have me back. I say were because I have come back with a new perspective on work and my expectations for them. I had quite of bit of time to think upon the challenges that are facing us at work while I was off and tomorrow I will be raising the bar for them. The feedback I've gotten from them so far these past few days is "do we get college credit for going back to school?" I've given them several assignments that we will be discussing at our staff meeting tomorrow. I don't think that they are looking forward to this. Especially since one of their assignments was to give me their definition on Customer Service as it relates to their job. It's going to fun, at least, I think it is. I'm trying to keep it positive as I work to position us into a place where no one can compete with how well we do our jobs so if (when) the time comes for us to defend our work, we will be ready.

While I am "Back in the Saddle" at work, I'm still needing to balance work, school, home, etc. and I just haven't been able to find my "rhythm" again (yet). I also managed to get TJ's cold and that wiped me out for three days. I rarely call into work sick, especially on a Monday, yet I had to this week. The children enjoyed the three days that mommy didn't have a voice. We're praying that Vanessa doesn't get it. We are trying to keep her as healthy as possible by limiting her exposure to others. Fortunately for us, TJ stays away from her right now for the most part, so I'm the only one so far who caught the cold he brought home from preschool.

We are working through TJ's continuing medical/psychological issues, which have all of us very frustrated. He does have a diagnosis now, anxiety, but at this point, only time will help. That, and us being consistent and loving him. It is so sad to me that a barely three year old could suffer from anxiety. He had a very rotten start in life and I really wish that all of this love that everyone in this family pours onto him would make it all better (NOW, PLEASE!). But, patience is required (darn it! Here we go again, Lord, trying to teach me patience. I thought that I had already had this lesson!). We hired an attorney to assist us in the adoption paperwork, so we're hopeful to have his adoption finalized in early Spring. We have many issues to work through before the adoption is finalized to make sure that he has all of the support in place that he needs to continue dealing with his medical/psychological issues once he's officially ours.

As we look forward, we are so blessed as a family and are looking forward to spending time with extended family over these next several weeks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"I want to be a Clone"

I WANT TO BE CLONE is a Steve Taylor (contemporary Christian artist) song back when I was in high school (over way too many years ago). It has been forever since I heard the song, but this past week, I kept saying it over and over, as I actually felt like I needed a clone of me. I was struggling with the realization that I was unable to be in two places at once, yet I needed to be.

As I was driving home from St. Joseph's Hospital Sunday night after leaving Vanessa's side, where I had been for the past 36 hours (with a 4 hour break), my heart was breaking and my tears were flowing. I desperately wanted to stay by her side and care for you (daddy was staying with her), because, after all, care-giving is what us moms do best. However, during my 4 hour break at home that afternoon, I had spent some time consoling TJ after he awoke from his nap to find me home and he started crying "My mommy, my mommy". He even got really angry while I was holding him and rocking him and he climbed out of my lap, went into his closet and closed one side of it, screaming "I want my mommy". My absence from home in 36 hour stretches was taking its toll on him. He had also regressed in some other behaviors as well.

I knew my going home for that Sunday night was what TJ, Jessica and Suzy needed, but Vanessa needed me too. I had hit that infamous wall of sheer exhaustion and emotional wailing. As I was ending my nearly 25 minute drive home, I suddenly felt at peace. I had been listening to KLove radio and a song (that I now can't remember what it was) was very comforting, reminding me that God is always here, taking care of my needs. As always, the encouragement that I was needing was given. My tank was empty and God filled it again. All I needed to do was ask (which was what I had been doing through the tears as I was driving home).

Vanessa is now home and yet I still struggle with not being able to meet all of my childrens' needs as she requires a lot of care. I am still exhausted, but thankful that at least everyone is under the same roof now. It has been awesome having the meals continue to come each night (I was finally able to begin enjoying them, as I was eating at the hospital each dinner time) so that I can focus on my family and not have to worry about the meal planning and fixing.

I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who have surrounded us in prayer during this very difficult time. Vanessa is in a lot of discomfort and pain and my heart breaks every time she is crying or frustrated about not being able to do hardly anything for herself, but we know with each passing day, her body will continue to heal. God has been so good and faithful to us.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Count down is almost at Zero

It is 10:10 PM and less than 6 hours I will be waking up (if I sleep at all) in order for Mark and I to take Vanessa to St. Joseph's hospital for her spinal fusion surgery. We are all going through a lot of different emotions right now, especially Vanessa. I am impressed that she has is handling as well as she is.

Vanessa got to see her two biological half sisters tonight and that was a huge blessing. Their adoptive father has offered to assist us in dealing with Vanessa's pain management once she is home (that is what he does) and come to find out, he is at the naturopathetic college just down the street from us every Tuesday so that we won't have to drive too far. It was nice of them to drive from Gilbert just to see Vanessa for about 30 minutes with a three year old and a four year old. TJ found some new playmates! Vanessa was relieved to hear that her mom had made contact with their adoptive mom about five months ago and that was she still clean and had just started working.

Vanessa's surgery is scheduled to start at 7 AM on Thursday, October 1, 2009 and should take about 5 hours. They are fusing her spine between the L2 and the T3 (or L3 and T2, I can't recall which it is). She will lose some range of motion, but not too much. Her hospital stay will be 5 to 7 days, with 1-2 days in the ICU. One of us will be with her at all times (Mark and I have worked out a schedule so that I am able to spend the majority of the evenings/night time at home with TJ and the other kids as we are trying to find that balance, plus Mark can sleep anywhere, I am not so lucky).

We appreciate all of the prayers of our wonderful family and friends. And very thankful for everyone who is providing meals and child care for our children so that we can focus on taking care of Vanessa. We have meals lined up for Friday through Monday, college age girls are assisting with the required over age 18 supervision for Thursday morning and the weekend with lots of back-ups in place and lots of prayers. We are so blessed!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Even Jesus asked...

I'm having trouble sleeping these days. I have so much spinning through my head and it has been keeping me up at nights. Tonight is no exception. I'm not worrying about things, I'm just thinking about them, running different scenarios through my head, trying to plan ahead for the next few weeks and making sure that everyone's needs will be met during the time that Vanessa is in the hospital and when she first comes home. I am a planner, you should see how I plan a vacation. Mark used to be irritated about how well thought out and planned every trip was, but has now learned to appreciate it, as everything is a known and it helps the kids prepare as well. (Yesterday, I met someone who is actually more of a planner than me, Mark didn't think there was anyone who could be more than I was).

Along with the spinning head, I feel down, and at this moment, alone. I think the alone feeling is coming from the fact that the house is quiet (I'm in a room without the baby monitor in it), which is a rarity and something that I'm not used these days (it's amazing how it seems like TJ has been here forever and it's only been 8 weeks). It's also 12:12 AM on Monday morning, which is why I am alone. I do know that God is with me and this is a great time for me to reflect on my relationship with Him and look forward.

I don't like what the future has in store for my family these next few weeks. Vanessa is not doing well emotionally. We have never had a really good relationship and it is certainly not getting any better these days. There is a small part of me that has asked God, why Vanessa, and couldn't she be passed over. I felt guilty for asking and then I was reminded that when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethasame, He also asked if the cup could be passed, but then He said that God's will be done. Sometimes we just need to ask, even if the answer is no.

This is God's will my family's life right now and I know that no matter what, He is control. I give Vanessa to Him, as well as our relationship. It's not easy, but I do it willingly. I have come to realize that I can't do anything on my own, no matter how much I try or want to.

I appreciate everyone who is praying for us and for those who have offered up assistance during the time Vanessa is in the hospital and beyond. God is good and we are blessed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It May Be Crazy, But It's My Life and I'm Loving It!

God is enough; God is enough. I've been having to say that a lot today.

Phoenix Children's Hospital is going to be a place that I am going to become very familar with over these next two months. TJ is going in for an MRI on his brain to see if he is actually having seizures (it could be what we're seeing is a coping mechanism; crossing our fingers) and an MRI on his lumbar to check for some gastro. issues. Unfortunately, due to his young age, it will require sedation. YIKES! I don't want my baby under sedation! But, we need to get to the bottom of things, so, I'm out of the boat, walking on the water towards Jesus with my head held high. Everything was scheduled today and he goes in on September 1st; check-in time is 1:00 PM, he is scheduled at 2:00 PM.

As if that wasn't enough of a hassle today trying to get two different departments to schedule their tests at the same time on the same day for TJ's MRIs (which I was successful at!), Mark and I took Vanessa to her regularly scheduled orthopedic surgeon's appointment to see how her scoliosis is doing (she has been wearing a back brace for over a year now). Now, we are not in denial, we have been keeping mental track of how well she has been responding to the treatment and the fact that with each visit the curvation is steadily increasing instead of staying the same, has prepared us for the slight possibility that the brace is not working.

Well, the visit went as we expected, not hoped. Her curvature is significantly worse since the last visit (up 4 degrees) and she is now well within the recommended surgery range for spinal fusion. YIKES squared! What that means is they are going to go in and put pins and rods in the upper part of her spine to straighten her spine out. Her surgery has been scheduled for Monday, October 5th at Phoenix Children's Hospital at 7 AM; check-in time at 5 AM. She will be in ICU for at least the first twenty fours, her stay will be from 4 to 7 days. She will miss about 3 months of school and it will take her a full year to recover (she won't be able to lift anything over 5 pounds for an entire year). Phoenix Children's Hospital has a great spinal fusion program; we get to tour the hospital ahead of time and she will be able to see all the different machines that she will be on and having to use, as well as be able to ask any questions that she may, as well as us being able to ask questions. I will also be able to stay with her during her entire stay (they even have a washer and dryer for families to use!).

So, that is just a portion of my crazy life today. There is the depressed sixteen year old (her marine boyfriend headed back to Camp Pendleton for 3 weeks of MT training and then he will going to Randolph Air Force Base in TX for more training). Not happy about the age difference, he is very nice young man, just think that she is way too young to be thinking that he is her future.

I was trying to get a paper done for school, but the on-line library database won't let me open up any pdf files, so I gave up for the evening. It has allowed me the opportunity to rethink my day and start planning how I am going to manage to get everyone where they need to be and cared for while I'm at the hospital during Vanessa's entire stay. In the quietness, I was reminded that in troubled waters God is there.

Did I mention that after the orthopedic surgeon appointment we had to rush home to meet TJ's home therapist and CPS case manager? They stayed over an hour and were very supportive of not only TJ but of our situation with Vanessa and they both spent time talking to all the kids about things that they have seen with TJ and how having him around has affected them. It was great that they see us a family unit, not just TJ and mom. They are both so excited to see how much he has progressed since he was removed from his previous foster placement and how much his emergency receiving placement and we've been able to do for him. It was at his emergency receiving placement that he finally started interacting and talking and now that he's with us, he's non-stop chatter and go!

As I told TJ's team tonight, this is my crazy life, I love my children and I love my husband and I wouldn't have it any other way. The reason why I wouldn't have it any other way is that I have full confidence in knowing that God is Enough. He has my back, and everything else. I am blessed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

God gave us TJ and took Grandma home

On July 9, 2009, Tyler James (TJ) joined our family, bringing truth to our motto, "One At A Time". We picked him up from his emergency receiving foster placement, along with his personal items and headed home. After lunch and his nap, we headed for our visit, Grandma Eley. She was coming home that day from the hospice facility to enjoy her final days at home. She had seen pictures of TJ from our earlier visits with him, and she was very excited to see him in person, as was the rest of the family who was at her house that afternoon.

We left for vacation the next day for 8 days to beautiful Hawley Lake, AZ (where the high is the high 70's and you use a fireplace to warm up your cabin in July). We had a great time getting to bond with TJ, as well as spending time with my parents, who were in the cabin next door to ours. We came home on Saturday, the 18th and Mark immediately headed over to see Grandma (we had been calling in a regular basis to check on her). On Monday night the 20th, she went to see Jesus.

TJ turned 3 on July 21st. We celebrated Grandma Eley's 91st birthday on July 23rd. Through this time of sorrow, the unconditional love that God has allowed our extended family to experience through TJ has been a huge blessing. Although we no longer have Grandma with us physically, she will always be in our hearts, and we have TJ that we can share our memories of Grandma with.

TJ is adjusting very well to being a part of our family and we are adjusting well to having a toddler in our house for the first time in thirteen years. We anticipate making TJ a legal part of our family next spring. We still need to wade through some legal stuff and a waiting period before we can file the petition to adopt him; however, we are his forever family.

TJ does have some mild medical issues that we are working through right now; he is in the process of being scheduled for a MRI, which will require sedation. The MRI is to rule out a seizure disorder. He also have some GI issues that require daily medication to his drinks 2 to 4 times a day, which is no easy task to accomplish. Please pray for him and the specialists that are working on helping him. We do not have any authority in his treatment plan, we have to follow what we're told, so although we don't like the idea of the MRI and don't see a need for it, we are doing what we're asked and praying for TJ. The specialists at Phoenix Children's Hospital seem to have TJ's best interests at heart, which is a comfort to us.

We are stepping out of the boat and trusting God to take care of TJ. We continue to grieve for our loss of Grandma Eley, but know that she is now in heaven, able to walk with her head held high and is with Mark's mom. We are so thankful to all of our family and friends who have been so supportive during this very stressful time in our lives. We are blessed!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'd Rather Live in a Box

“I’d rather live in a box than live with this family” is what my youngest adopted daughter informed me Saturday morning. I have to say that there are many times that I feel the same way. Being the good mom that I am (or I try to be), I tried to talk with her about why she felt that way. When she wouldn’t even talk with me, I asked her questions like, where would you get food, how would get your clothes clean, how would stay cool in the summer, etc. That didn’t work, so I tried from a reverse psychology perspective – you don’t like here because you have a full size bed, you get to go to the movies, you get to go on vacation, etc. Still didn’t work, so now I wait for her to finally feel comfortable enough to share with me what is going on in her head.

While I wait, what I am supposed to do? That was the question that I posed to myself this morning as I replayed this conversation during my quiet time with the Lord. Then a scene from my favorite movie (“Fireproof”) came to mind, Kirk Cameron’s character, Kaleb, is reading his bible, praying and going about his day to day business in a God seeking manner while he waits for his wife to see this wonderful change in him (some time I’ll share how much this movies means to me) and a song is playing in the background, “While I’m Waiting” sung by John Waller. I played the song on my IPod (thank you wonderful husband for having hundreds of inspirational songs at my fingertips!) and listened carefully to the words.

I then thanked God for the opportunity that has He given me in allowing me to be a mom to my children, and I realized what I needed to do to help my youngest daughter. I need to worship God and patiently wait for Him to continue to grow me and provide me opportunities to reach each of my children. I know it won’t be easy, but God is enough and He will help me.

I’m including several key phrases from this song, hoping that it brings you some encouragement as it did me today. It is a beautiful song and I apologize for not being able to include all the words, so please look it up!

I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
I will serve You
I will worship
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

And I am peaceful
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait

A little update from my last blog about Timmy who was at the Cleveland Clinic. He had brain surgery last Thursday and was released from the hospital on Sunday and should be heading home to Tucson tomorrow. I continue to pray for Jim, Stacy and Timmy (as well as the rest of the family) as Timmy continues to recover. Praising God that Timmy is doing so well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hit the Ground Running

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were wonderful days for me, as I was on my respite trip in Tucson, enjoying the beautiful Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. It was a relaxing time, although I didn't get much sleep as we stayed out (too) late hanging out with friends of Mark's from his current and former places of employment. Our children called us quite often, so it was hard to miss them since we talked a lot. They did have a great time with Aunt Julie.

This first picture is of a waterfall that is right behind the resort that runs through the property. The second picture is the back side of the resort.

I came back from my respite trip on Wednesday and I hit the ground running. I immediately started laundry, unpacking and checking work email. We then had a licensing site visit from our Adoption/Foster Care Licensing Agency (AASK) at 4:00 PM. We learned that our red file staffing for a three year old little boy had been postpone indefinitely. God is enough, so if this little boy is for us, then he'll join us in His timing. If he is not our little boy, we will continue to pray for him and his new family. Until we know for sure, we will be praying for his current situation.

I worked two very hectic days at work on Thursday and Friday. I am still in limbo as far as whether or not I will have a job come the end of July, but God is in control. I have actually come to think that I might not make such a bad stay at home mom as the job market is not the best right now to be looking for another job. Financially the idea scares me, but I will do my best to get out of the boat and not sink if I end up receiving my RIF notice.

Even though my life has its own little challenges, there are those of my family and friends who have much bigger challenges in their lives compared to what I'm going through. I am very blessed and I have much and I want for nothing (except for maybe more time in each day - LOL).

In my last blog I mentioned that I was going to be spending extra time interceding in prayer for my family and friends as they go through challenges. I am especially prayerful for little Timmy as the doctors in the Cleveland Clinic try to determine why he is having seizures and the best way to stop them. His mom, grandma and one sibling are with him there, while the rest of his family is at home in Tucson as his length of stay could run into multiple weeks. I can't imagine having one of my children being ill and undergoing tests and my husband not being able to be with us during this time. Through this challenge that they are going through, their eyes are still focused on God and His plan for their little boy. I pray that the doctors are able to diagnose him quickly and come up with a treatment plan and reunite this family and I ask that you join me in this prayer.

Jeremiah 29:11 is my life verse and it brings me great comfort in knowing that God has a plan for me and my family, as well as little Timmy. And God is Enough.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Time for a Respite

For some reason, these past few weeks have felt more challenging to me than normal. I've decided to list some of them (some of these I blogged in great detail earlier), trying to figure it out why I have felt that it was more than the normal challenging.

  1. Mark and I have spent numerous hours communicating with our children, helping them understand the errors of their ways and how to learn from them.
  2. My work has been more stressful than normal. And I found out on Thursday that there are lay-offs in the near future and the number of people will be high, so July 1st I may not be employed anymore.
  3. The end of school year had Mark working in overdrive with little sleep until yesterday.
  4. My most recent college class got off to a rocky start as the on-line website experienced a huge outage the first week and this is a reading and paper writing intensive class which are causing me great frustration.
  5. I am still recuperating from my severe upper respiratory infection from several weeks ago, as I've been having respiratory issues again these past two weeks.

I know that all of these issues in my life were for a purpose and God was once again reminding me to let go and let Him, as He is enough. However, I'm tired. I haven't been getting enough sleep and I haven't been able to spend much time on my marriage. Between that and not feeling well, it's no wonder that the normal challenge feels more than just normal.

How fortunate for us that God's timing is perfect. I'm at my limit and next week, I am leaving my three children in the care of their wonderful Aunt Julie and heading down to Tucson for three nights. I get to relax at the Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort while Mark attends a conference there. I do plan on working on my school work so that I don't get behind, but I'm bringing some scrapbooking along with me.

I take a lot for granted, as I have other friends who are at their limit and aren't going to get any respite time and I am very thankful for this opportunity. My focus during these four days will be spending time with God, while restoring my health and energy so that I can be the best wife and mom as we head into summer and that I will be a better prayer warrior for my friends. I will intercede in prayer on their behalf that God will continue to strengthen them and bless them in all that they do and that they will not get discouraged.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mother to the Next Level

Mother to the Next Level - That's how my friend Jennifer labeled my last twenty-four hours earlier today. And she isn't aware of the continuing saga tonight.

Three adopted girls, 15, 12, 9; two are from the foster care system, with the 9 year old having lived with us for only 11 months. I forget! My bad! I forgot that it can take years to feel safe and secure; as it seems to Mark and I that all our children have been with us from the beginning of their lives.

Last night we served a "family" search warrant on the room shared by two of them. We found what we had named in the search warrant along with some other "borrowed" items. I had forgotten briefly that our behavioral specialist says that we live in the Land of Perjury, and that I had specified in the Den of Thieves. Well, after serving the search warrant, our living location had been confirmed. Once we got everything returned to their rightful owner, it was time for the jury trial. Tried and found guilty. Sentencing was completed by 11:15 PM; she will have to do the chores of the victim for the next four Saturdays under their supervision.

I thought the drama was over. My bad for thinking. Tonight we discovered that our web safety program wasn't set with the correct settings for one our children. They had viewed some very disturbing web sites in a manner of 10 minutes last night while I was tending to another one of the children. Now, before you point fingers, our computer is in the main family room and we do have a great family safe web program. That is, if the settings are set correctly. We had recently added this family member and evidently copied over the wrong profile's safety settings. So, back to the Land of Perjury in the Den of Thieves we go. However, the trial and subsequent sentencing were over by 9:40 PM, so we made some progress (however, we also started much earlier tonight than last night).

So, for all of you who are wondering, yes, I still have my sanity. Yes, I shed quite a few tears these past 23 hours. Yes, my knees are sore from praying so much. And Yes, God is Enough! He gave me a little glimpse into how damaged one of our children really is from having been exposed to some not so nice things before coming into our lives. We have a lot of work to do in trying to help this little one heal and learn to trust. I am so thankful for this little glimpse tonight. And it opened up a door for me to share something with her that I had been longing to tell her about her biological mom, but I never found the right time and tonight, God provided it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lesson's Over; Time for the Test

God is Enough... God is Enough... Still not feeling it... Maybe if I keep thinking it I'll start believing it...

Today was a very crummy day for me at work. For those of you who know me very well, you know that I LOVE MY JOB! (And for those of you who don't me all that well, I'm not being sarcastic, I really do love my job.) I have a great group of men who work for me and we make a great team. We have accomplished so much in the past two years since I became their supervisor. They accepted me right away and (still) respect me. And today I found out that I may no longer be their supervisor and could be forced to take a position at a lower level.

The reason is not due to anything that I've done, nor is it related to our current budget crisis; it is more of a retaliation issue that may result in my being removed of my current duties. My immediate supervisor and director are very supportive and are doing to do whatever they can to make sure that I stay in my current position, but it may not work.

I cried when I read the email that instigated this relevation and I was angry at the person who initiated the email. I was also very sad that I could be losing everything that I worked so hard for and I knew that my employees would be very upset if they lost me, especially for this reason.

I managed to compose myself and finish out my day and accomplish the tasks that I had set before me. I then climbed into my SUV and the tears immediately started flowing and they flowed all the way home and well after I walked into my house and sat on my bed.

My eldest came in and sat down on the bed next to me and asked me why I was so upset, so I shared with her. She was very sympathetic and asked me if I had prayed about it (which I had just finished doing when she had come in) and she said that she would pray for me and this situation. I felt so comforted at that very moment. As she left to finish getting ready for another visit with her bio. mom and half sister, she also said that maybe it was time for me to be a stay at home momma. I did not fall off the bed from shock that these words of wisdom came from my eldest, but I'm glad that I wasn't sitting on the edge or I probably would have.

We left and stopped by Mark's school to pick him up so that he could join us in our trek out to Chandler. His first comment was how excited he was for me, because I am so happy in what I'm doing, that if God takes that away from me, that He must have something totally spectacular to take its place.

Okay, I'm feeling it now. God IS ENOUGH! If I lose my current position, it won't be the end of the world and I've trained my employees to carry on without me and I have been working on training each of them to do my job when I'm not there, so I have no doubt that they will be fine without me. Whether I move to another position or I lose my job completely, GOD IS ENOUGH and I'll be just fine. I also forgive the person who is behind all of this and can't wait to find out what is in store for me at the end of this latest test.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

God is Enough, Really!

Today was a great day! Sure, I had the normal "I hate you" attitude (she didn't say it aloud but the way her head was spinning and the smoke rising, it was easy to tell that was what she was thinking) from one our children before they walked out the door the school. Not the way I like our mornings starting out, especially as they are leaving for school. I feel sorry for the first person they encounter along their journey from our house to school, which is Ms. Janette, our wonderful crossing guard!

But, it was still a great day! I came to this conclusion after I had cried about this "beautiful" interaction with one of my daughters, to another daughter (and was shocked that she felt I handled it quite well) and had started my day at work by glancing at all of my friends' Facebook updated statuses. I do this every morning via my blackberry while I'm waiting for my work computer to log me on and load up my email so that I can start my daily ritual of putting out the fires that occurred from the time I left until we closed at 2 AM. As I was glancing through them, one caught my eye. It was from my favorite Christian music composer. His status was:


Thanks Michael for this reminder! He is enough for me! It is with this great reminder that I was able to put aside my grief and focus on my tasks at hand and go through my extremely crazy day that ended up with back to back meetings the entire day that all but one was a walk-in. So I got very little work done, but I survived without being the slightest bit stressed (which is NOT my norm on days this like).

I am focusing on that and remembering not to be disappointed or frustrated in the things that I don't have (and really, really want, puhleez!). God is enough and even at this moment I cling to that. We found out today that we are possibly expecting (the way us fost-adopt families do it) and we will know in three weeks whether or not we are going to have a new addition to our family sometime this summer. I won't be disappointed if this child is not ours when the decision is made as to which family best meets this child's needs. God is enough!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day as an Adoptive Mom

Yesterday was Mother's Day. And for me, it was a stark reality check, as I am not the biological mother to any of our three children, as all three are adopted. Granted, I know that I am not their biological mother. However, I somehow forgot that until Friday. After all, I love them as much as I would love them if they were my biological children (I hope).

As I am no novice at Mother's Day as an adoptive mom, I do dread the school Mother's Day art project. I try to prepare myself for not getting the token art project, as in years past, these are sometimes addressed to bio. mom and sometimes to me. (The oldest child has been with us since she was 2 days old, but is no longer doing these token art projects, a lost art in high school). This year was no exception. Out of the two children who did art projects, one was addressed to bio. mom and one was addressed to me. Woohoo! I got lucky this year! That was until the child who did hers to bio. mom realized that we didn't have a way to get it to bio. mom, so she gave it to me after all, telling me to ignore the first page. After I read the first page, I realized that this heartfelt note really did belong to bio. mom and I kindly gave the art project back to her and suggested that she put it in her keepsake box with hopes that someday she would be able to give it her bio. mom. My heart was broken after reading the note to bio. mom, as my child misses her, even though it has been many years since she's seen her. That is a void that not even I can fill, no matter how much I want to. I took a "mommy time-out" and headed outside to cry my eyes out.

As the weekend progressed, we celebrated as a family by going out to dinner on Saturday night and then going to the Matt Maher and Shane & Shane Concert. We had planned to eat at a nice restaurant and then attend the concert. We forgot that we live with a teenager who struggles with the concept of time. So, fast food it was. The concert was awesome and the girls loved being able to meet Matt Maher afterwards. He was really sweet to them.

Sunday was a nice morning at church, followed by lunch at Cracker Barrel with Nana and Papa. We then stopped at the Mesa Cemetary to visit Mark's mom's gravesite. Our youngest daughter had a hard time understanding why were there, but that wasn't important. We were there as a family, support Mark.

We then headed to Nana and Papa's for dessert and to exchange gifts. I got individual cards from each of the two younger children and a beautiful card from Mark, along with a set of dessert plates that I had picked out (I've learned from 19 years of marriage to get the catalog or website and mark what I want - it saves on the amount of time spent in return lines at the store). My dad made me a leather bible cover and my mom gave me my Grandmother's thimble to add to my keepsakes of sewing tools that I have shadow boxed in my living room. The comment that I overhead my oldest say, "I hope mom didn't notice". Well, mom did notice that there wasn't even a signature on any of the cards from her , not even in someone else's handwriting.

As I have spent the last twenty-four hours trying to process through all my emotions of this weekend, trying to figure out how and where I fit into Mother's Day, I realized something. It isn't about me, it isn't about them. My job is train them up in His way's, not mine. Nowhere is it written in the Bible that moms get a special day of recognition. At the end of the day, I just need to look back and see if I've accomplished my task.

This life lesson that God is teaching me is very painful, but I am so thankful that He finds me worthy of the trouble.