Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Obviously

An occurrence that happened earlier today: I was speaking with a new friend and had the baby with me. The friend's 6 year old suddenly ran up to me, and said in the loudest voice possible: "You have a BROWN BABY! And you are A LIGHT MOMMY!" I said, "yes, that's true." I mean, it is pretty obvious.

The mom-friend was completely mortified, embarrassed beyond belief. She admonished the child and started to explain adoption. The mom was saying that sometimes, mommies and daddies can't always take care of their babies. Not wanting to mislead, I had to clarify and explain fostering. I said that I am the "extra mommy" who is taking care of the baby until the mom and/or dad gets better.

I thought the incident went pretty well. I mean, the baby and I do look different, and young children without filters are apt to point out such differences. It did not insult me. (should it have insulted me? I really don't think so. The child was simply stating a fact.)

However, it prompted two lines of thought for me:
1. My children, and others in similar situations, are growing up thinking that "un-matching" skin tones are fairly normal, if not the norm. I'm glad that they will not be ignorant or close-minded in this regard.
2. It gave me a teeny tiny glimpse of what might happen on the playground in a few years if the baby is adopted by a "light" family. In this case, there wasn't any kind of bias or prejudice, the child was simply stating a fact. What if there was prejudice? How would I have reacted? What would have been the appropriate thing to say to a six year old then?

I know that the best way to combat prejudice and hate is with kindness and love, so I guess I will try that next time.

That is what I will be thinking of, going forward.

I try to be aware of what it is like for "brown" people, how they are sometimes viewed differently.... and it just makes me sad that there have to be such great distinctions and divides in our society. Why can't we all just be one race, the human race? Of course we all come from different backgrounds, we have varied cultural and religious experiences, and that's all fine and good. But I wish with all my heart that people could be more colorblind and less prone to judgement. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful

Today I am thankful for many things. One of the top things on my list is family.

One of my little people is celebrating a birthday this week, and we are so very thankful for him.

Thanksgiving is often a time of reflection. When I was growing up, my granny had a tradition that she called "pass the corn." She'd place dried corn kernels in a dish, pass it around the table, and have everyone say out loud, what they were thankful for. Usually she'd ask us to say something nice about the person sitting next to you as well. This year, as in the past 10 years since I've moved away, I missed out on that little tradition.

As our extended family grows, so does the distance between each of us. (I do have two dozen cousins, after all.) And although we are all spread out, don't always keep in touch, and too often miss or forget the details of each others lives, we are still family. We still care about each other. We rejoice, weep,mourn, and celebrate with one another. Especially this time of year.

So, whether you are celebrating this thanks-filled holiday alone, with a small group, or a large one, be happy.You are privileged if you have an abundance of food on your table, a comfortable bed, warm clothes, along with all the other American amenities and freedoms that we take for granted. There are so many others in the world who don't have as much. These are the people I am thinking of tonight.

Take care.
Drive safely, everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"When?"

Today, the hardest question posed to me is not "why?", but "when?"

My 5yo just asked "Mommy, do you know when the baby is going to leave?"
"Well, she's going to have a visit today, so she'll go with Ms. ___ for a little while, and then she'll come back."
"But do you know when she is going to leave and never come back?"
"No, I don't know."
"Did anyone tell you what day it would be, when she will leave and not come back?"
"No babe, no one told me when that day will be."

I was tempted to add "or IF that day will come", but I didn't.
We'll cross that road another day.

We have told our kids that "foster" means "for a little while", but it's something I've said a few times to them, not every day or every week. I didn't know that it was so firmly entrenched in the 5yos mind.
And although there has been mention of "adoption" lately, I try not to get the children involved in the complex adult details, setbacks, and legalities of foster care, so as far as I am aware, they don't know much about the baby's case, except that she is with us. For now. For today.

As the old saying goes: Today is a gift, that's why it is called "the present". Really, if you think about it, who of us has been promised more time than the present? Sure, we all think that we are going to wake up tomorrow, and then next day, next week, month, year, etc, but life doesn't last forever. We don't know what tragedy or hardship awaits us in the future. Foster parenting has taught me to hold ALL my kids, not just the "foster" ones, with a lighter hand. Because in the end, they are God's children, not mine. He has ultimate control over them. So, while I think that I have some measure of control in their day-to-day lives, it is really He who is the ultimate authority, over all of us.

I can take comfort in this fact. Even on the days when I get supremely angry, I am PMSing, I am running on 4 hours of sleep or less, and I've been so busy taking care of other little people's needs that I have neglected my own.... HE is God, His ways are not my ways, and His plans are far better and grander than my own. Nothing I say, do, or think will change or hinder the God of the universe (no matter how royally I mess up on any given day).

And that, my friends, is a truth that I will rest in.

So, for today, I will be patient and not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own. Now I'm off to read Matthew 6 again....

Monday, November 10, 2014

How many kids do you have? Are you done having babies?

I felt that I needed to share this today.
This other mom's post reminded and convicted me that 1) God has a different plan for each of us, 2) there is a God-ordained reason why each of our families and each of our stories are different, and 3) that we should encourage and celebrate these differences, instead of acting as if we are in constant competition with one another.

And as for the size of your family, it is really is up to you, your husband (if applicable), and God.

For quite a few years, I thought that God was only going to give us one child. Even though my season of miscarriages happened over 7 years ago, I still remember the sting when people would ask "So, how many kids do you have?" or "How many would you like to have?"

Over the past 13 years, beginning with our engagement, Mike and I have spent many hours talking and dreaming and imagining and preparing for what we thought our family might be like. We've been through tough times and have had to make some difficult decisions as to whether or not we should limit our family size. Through an unexpected and high-risk pregnancy, secondary infertility, several back-to-back miscarriages, a baby in ICU, 2 kids under 2, losing a dear friend to SIDs and another friend to stillbirth, and now foster parenting, we seem to have run the gamut of issues faced during the "early family" years.

In this stage of our lives, some people wonder why we have more than 2 or 3 children, and some people seem to expect us to keep adding to our family indefinitely. Either way, I hope that we would not be judged about our family's size, and I would hope that no one else feels judged by their family size either.

We are not in competition with each other. Instead, we need to live in community, with compassion.

Here's the heart of the matter, an excerpt from the original post, and it is exactly what I needed to hear today:

"And so the question for me... and for you, is this:
Can we lay it at the altar?  Can we trust in the outcome being glorious no matter what? Can we relinquish control?
Can we walk into the next season with thanksgiving for the baby years? Can we be content in today?
Because if that is what God is asking, go in obedience. And go in grace."

Here's the link to the full article: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2014/11/done-having-babies.html

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

frustrated

I am so frustrated. I am trying not to let my fears, insecurities, and anxiety get the best of me... but some days, and some moments, it does. As a mother (and a foster mom), there are days when I wake up, and before my day even starts, I am bombarded with negative thoughts. Thoughts such as "I can't accomplish half of that to-do list. I certainly won't get a shower today. That mountain of laundry is too much for me. I can't even feed these kids a healthy meal!" I feel like I am failing before I even begin!

It's a good thing that each day gives us a new start, or I don't know how I'd get through the horrible ones.