Friday, June 26, 2015

Moments of Sanity

There are moments that God strategically places in my day that remind me that I have not completely lost it.  You know those times when you say to yourself, "I just might make it through this day." I call these moments of sanity.
Being able to pour AND drink a second cup of coffee ranks pretty high on that list.  
We pulled out a stack of books earlier,  sat on the floor, and enjoyed some sing-songy picture books - the kind that make you sway and giggle.  I love to read to kids.
The sink is clean, and the laundry baskets are empty.  Mind you, that will not last for long, but remember, these are MOMENTS of sanity.
Maddie and Kyle are playing without fussing, and their play involves music, costumes, and creativity.  These two may survive middle school together.  
Anna, Sawyer, and Reagan may be playing with a live cricket in the basment, but they are not breaking anything or screaming at each other.  For now.  Moments, friends.

I am smiling at these gifts of moments.  I complain too often, and my days often turn into a struggle.  Today may have some bumps in the road, but that is okay.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Adoption Reality

Once upon a time, there was a mom and dad.  They had four children.  In both the mom's heart and dad's heart, there was a longing to extend their family.  Not too long after a sweet conversation over a pizza lunch, the mom and dad knew that another little one would join them within the year.  Their little girl grew for about twenty weeks in the mommy's belly and forever in her heart.  Yet, this little one never got to meet her mom and dad, but rather saw Jesus first.                                                                                The mom and dad now wondered how this empty feeling would even come close to healing.  They knew that God's plan was perfect, but they did not know what that plan was.  At the moment, all they knew was hurt.  As the months passed, God was doing something special that would involve patience, time, and trust.  In the past, the mom and dad had opened  their home to other children and a young mom.  God had already been planting a seed for what seemed to be the next step:  foster parenting. 

After mounds of paperwork, hours of classes, and multiple home visits, the mom and dad became what God had been planning.  They were preparing to open their home to two other children, who, though were not born physically into the family, were welcome as the mom and dad's own children.  God used those two little ones to prepare the mom and dad for fostering with the plan to adopt, but those two little ones were not the ones God had planned to join the family.  
The mom and dad waited for weeks.  Then the phone rang. Two more little ones, a blond haired little 19 month old boy and his sister, a 9 month old, blue eyed little girl needed a home.  They entered the mom and dad's home and hearts on August 23, 2010.  
Each day together was another step in forever, though there was no certainty that forever for these little ones would mean life in this new home.  Many visits, court appearances, and red tape turned into months and years.  
As the mom and dad parented their family of six kids, they received a call that now another little one, a sibling to their newest children, was to be born the next summer.  Two children now became three.  Six children would now become seven.  It would take more waivers and more paper work.  God was doing something.  
As the mom spent precious time in the hospital with this newest little one, a boy, her heart grew even more.  Sadly she watched the heart of the birth mom break as her son rode away. God's plan is always perfect, but this plan was not pain free.  
The next year spent with three in diapers and little sleep stretched the mom and dad thinner than they thought possible.  
In another home, minutes away, lived another little boy, a big brother to these who came to live in this new family.  He longed to be with his brothers and sister.  The mom and dad saw his heart break even more each time they met.  God moved again in their hearts and plans were set for him to join them as well.  Eight children was not the original plan, but it was a good plan.  
Over the next three years, the mom and dad were put through much turmoil as accusations ensued and threats of removal were voiced.  Court appearances weighed heavily as the mom and dad made themselves present time and time again.  Humanly, the permancy of these four children in the home of this mom and dad seemed impossible.  The state seemed the big, bad monster who could roar loudly and wreak havoc.  
God became very big to this mom and dad.  When at their whits end, God said, "I can go further."  When nothing made sense, God said, "I know what's going on."  When life hurt, God said, "I am your healer." 
Trial was set for January.  The mom and dad headed to the courtroom supported with prayers around the world.  It appeared by all accounts that this trial would go the limit.  There was no deal to be made.  As the snow began to fall, court was closed for the next day.  Trial would have to wait.  Waiting had been the name of the game to this point.  Yet waiting was just what was needed.
Day two of trial was met with a renewed heart.  God had brought the birth parents to a point of decision that would change the future for many.  The mom and dad sat quietly as the birth mom shared her hurting heart and her desire for these four little ones to remain where they are:  together in this new home.  She voluntarily gave up her rights to parent these children anymore.  
Numbness described the feeling as this mom and dad walked back to their car.  Adoption was now a possibility, a probability, an answer to prayer.  God is good all the time, so he would be good had the outcome been different.  However,  this change of events showed a gracious, patient, loving God who chose to grow the family of this mom and dad by adoption.  Again the mom and dad sorted through more paper work, doctor visits, and home visits.  The final hearing was set for June 12, 2015, only a few months shy of five years since that initial paper work had been completed.  
As all eight children  with their mom and dad entered the courtroom, they were joined with friends and family, hugs and handshakes, tears and kisses.  The road to adoption leads through valleys deep and dark.  Its twists and turns may leave you in confusion and frustration.  Questions may have answers, or they may not.  Yet, in it all, this mom and dad saw God like they would have never done had they not said yes to Him five years ago.  
Adoption is final, but it is not the end of the story.  This mom and dad now celebrates a big family of ten.  They celebrate a bigger God.  

Maddie's Poem - "Mice"

Words are a gift.  Today, I was gifted with this sweetness from Maddie.  She sat in our kitchen, green marker writing on a simple, lined paper.  Her words would not change the world, but they certainly made me smile.  They did not take long to write, and they express a simplicity of ideas.  Please enjoy this step back to childhood.  Savor the words.

I was walking through the house
When at once I saw a mouse.
He ran across the floor.
I looked, and there was more.
One's name was Nick.  Another's Span.
But when I saw a blue one, I took off and ran.
As I ran I stubbed my toe.
It hurt so bad.  Oh no!  Oh no!
"Mice! Mice!" I cried.
At that moment the more mice I spied.
I decided to follow them as close as I dare,
But then the mice climbed into my hair.
Turns out all they wanted was a ride.
Then I was sorry that I had cried.
Nick became my pet.
I'll never forget the day when we met.

Monday, June 15, 2015


They walked into our life three days shy of Aly's thirteenth birthday.  Almost five years later, we will celebrate the fact that they are ours forever.  Adoption is a reality.  
Aly is now closing in on eighteen.  She has never been a teen without these littles.  Now her steps down the aisle, Pomp and Circumstance playing, remind me that our time with her is short.  Graduation sends her proudly to the next step.  College begins in August - nine hours from home.
Two very emotional events for this momma.  I am sure that tears will flow.
How do I say all that is in my heart?  Journaling and blogging jog special days and silly moments.  They remind me of yesterday's hurt too.  
We were not sitting on the sidelines simply watching life's game.  We were players in the scrum.  
I have watched Aly develop as a team player, though she received bumps and bruises along the way.  I watched her pour her broken heart on paper.  Her words speaking truth, expressing her soul, preparing her for tomorrow.  
I have seen her give in but not give up.  She has allowed God to show her how to intensely love unconditionally.  She has fallen in love with learning, with purpose, with life.  
Our family may be difficult to love.  Aly has practiced when to fight and when to be quiet.
The harshness of life has served to soften her heart.  Her sweetness blesses all of us.  

It almost does not seem fair that both adoption and graduation occur on the same day.  Then again, the coincidence is perfect.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Prayers From the Car Seat

God is in the process of healing hearts one day at a time.  My littles continue with weekly visits with their bio mom.  Each week wounds are reopened.  Each week hearts are torn.  Each week my heart bleeds for my children.  
Glimpes of yesterday and expressions of misguided hope presented on the way to school this morning.  Therapy from the driver's seat was limited as the drive was short.  I answered questions the best that I could, but I knew that the answers were not grasped.  
Then she prayed.  
My littlest girl sat behind me in the bus.  I could not see her, but her sweet voice rose with the simple question, "Can I pray."
When will I learn?  Of course, that is the answer to all this craziness.  God is slowly healing her heart.  It will take a lifetime, but he will heal.  If only momentarily, she grasped that God was the one to whom she could talk.  He was the one who had it all together, always.  
Interestingly, she spoke with experessions of praise and thanks.  It would have been easy for her to set her demands.  She is a normal kid in that her want list is long.  Yet, God to her was someone who had already blessed her in so many ways.  She chose to focus on today, on what she had, not what was missing.  She knew that God could help her with her day.  In her moments of sweetness, she was trusting him with her tomorrow as well.  
We are still going to have craziness today to be sure.  My kids will lose it.  I will lose it.  

Thank you, God, for holding it all together.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Summer 2015 Ideas

The rain is still coming down on a chilly spring Tuesday, and I am brainstorming for our summer fun.    That is normal for moms, right?  Last summer was the first time I planned Schroll Camp.  Honestly, it was more for my survival than for the kids.  Pinterest is a double edged sword for moms though.  If you are not careful, you can plan yourself straight into insanity.  My role as mom is not to be my kids' cruise director.  Neither do I have an unlimited budget.  Who does?  That said, I do have children who thrive on a plan, a structure.  They have difficulty imagining.   Their young lives have had to deal with things beyond their age.  Structuring play is a good thing for them.  Therefore, it is a good thing for me.

I did not accomplish all that was on my plan last summer, but that was fine with me.   We did well.  With a plan set, I knew what the go to ideas were for the week.  I found myself stuggling less to come up with ideas since I had already worked out the overall plan.  The kids found it exciting each week as the theme changed.

So, here are some ideas that may or may not work.  I will not get to all of them, and I am far from setting up the summer.  I would love to hear what ideas have worked for you.  What are some inexpensive things you have done with your kids that you would definitely do again?

Shore trips weekly
Philadelphia walking tour
Basement redo
Mexican week
Kindness week
Craft week
Tech free day/week
Company at least twice a month
Camp weeks for older kids
Family hikes - waterfalls
Water week
Backyard movie with popcorn
Make paper boats and race them
Fly kites in Vally Forge
Visit farm/farmers market
Photography (learn a new skill, scavenger hunts, photo books)

Let me know what you think.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maddie's Words on Spring

Flowers in the Spring

Flowers in the spring
Have a lovely song to sing.
Their petals growing tall and wide,
It's hard to put their song aside.
The stem is the chorus.
The petals are the verses.
People carry flowers' song in their pockets
The song is really magic,
Stored in the ground,
And the bugs are the one who spread the sound
When the sun shines bright
And the flowers come in sight

The magic of the song is revealed.