Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful day filled with love, laughter, and connection with friends and loved ones.  Here is a picture of my crew as we were “trying” to take a decent picture.  As you can see, my husband and I just gave up on getting the kids to take the process seriously, and just went with it.  And, I’m so glad we did!  Merry Christmas!

Bailey Family 2015-38
photo credit:  www.freedom-photography.com

Four Things Every Child in Foster Care Needs This Christmas {Adoption.com article}

I recently wrote an article for Adoption.com regarding things that every foster child needs this Christmas.  Honestly, it was hard to narrow down to just four things as children in the system need so much.

“The fact that foster care is needed and necessary in our communities should not fall lightly on anyone’s heart.”

To read the article, follow this link: 4 Things Every Foster Child Needs This Christmas

Blessings!

Caroline

this is a picture of adoption

Bailey Family 2015-28.jpg
Photo credit:  http://freedom-photography.com/

Here is a recent picture of my children.

This is a picture of three lives brought together through difficult circumstances.

This is a picture of children who found themselves caught up in some of the despair of the world.

But…

This is also a picture of hope, and of love.

This is a picture of the answered prayers of many.

This is a picture of life.

This is a picture of adoption.

Momma-in-Waiting {Part 5}

Dear Momma-in-Waiting,

It is that time of year again, isn’t it?  Images of happy children during the holidays are flooding your social media threads, but you are still waiting, aren’t you?  You are trying, with every ounce of your soul, to make the world seem simple, but you are in the most complicated battle of your life.  Appointments, tests, needles, counseling, hope, disappointment, prayer, tears, anger, confusion, frustration, and countless moments of utter heartbreak all seem to color the path to which you walk.  For some of you, there are no needles, no appointments, no tests, and no tangible sense of hope.  Barrenness has settled in and made you its home.

You are a Momma-in-Waiting, and the world seems to be passing you by.

You hear others speak about their babies.  You view their first pictures with Santa, and watch videos of them singing Christmas songs.  They are all growing, aren’t they?  They are learning new words, discovering the excitement of first steps, and giving their Momma’s an array of challenges on a daily basis.  Yet, there you sit.  Listening, smiling, even laughing at some moments, and looking upon their babies with a longing that is only matched by your own determination to get through this season of your life.

You wonder, “When will it be my turn?  When will I hear first words, see first steps, and be challenged day in and day out?  When will I get to experience a Christmas flooded with the laughter of children?  When will I no longer be a Momma-in-Waiting?

You are dwelling in that seemingly lonely place.  This time of year is especially hard, isn’t it?  The holidays, New Year’s Resolutions, fresh starts, and images of children splattered across almost every single piece of media only seems to remind you of what you long for…

a child…

your child…

your blessed answer to prayer.

Dear Momma-in-Waiting,

When your friends are trying to avoid pregnancy, you are screaming for it.  When your friends are complaining about pregnancy, you turn your ears away.  Your heart sinks in a bit, and you just want to silence their words.

It took me many long years to meander my way through the thickness of barrenness.  It seemed an even longer journey to until my number was called and I knew that I would be a mother, forever….when adoption called my name.

It’s not easy.  You know that all too well.  It is not understood.  Nothing seems to be anymore.  Infertility is truly one of the unexplored territories in the human existence.  The ones who travel through it understand, but the ones who do not, really have no clue.

Even after adoption and the gift of three children, I still find myself thinking back to my surgery.  Sometimes, I still wonder what my birth children would have been like, or look like.  I wonder if they would have had resembled my grandmother, or had the dimple of my husband’s chin.

If there are a few words of comfort that I can offer (and I’m a woman of many words, so this will be hard for me) it is, do not stop praying.  Do not stop seeking the ends (whatever they are) to meet your goal.

If, at the end of all the medical trials, you are told your only hope for motherhood is to adopt, it is okay to grieve this.  It is okay to cry fountains of tears over barrenness.  I know I have.

It is okay to get angry, question why you are battling this stupid war taking place in your body, and wonder if the very Lord you have staked your eternity in has forgotten about the life you are living on Earth.

Dear Momma-in-Waiting,

One day when things seem to make more sense, you will look back on this time in your life, look up to the heavens, and say, “I get it now.”  You will be able to share your Christmas pictures, wait until the kiddos are asleep to put out gifts, and plan for months how you are going to surprise them during the holidays.

One day, you will wake up on Christmas morning to the sweet excitement of…

a child…

your child…

your blessed answer to prayer.

 

The Real War on Christmas

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Okay, full disclosure here –

I get annoyed by the Facebook posts, and other media sources, regarding the “War on Christmas” that seem to be so present during this time of year.  They all seem to be so wrought with media hype, and offer yet another way to draw a line between “us” and “them”.

If anything, these types of things cause me to consider a bigger picture of what the war on Christmas really is.  As Christians, we celebrate Christmas because of Jesus, and the birth of hope, love, and sacrifice to our world.  In my opinion (and I may be completely alone in this), the “War on Christmas” is present every day, not just in the month of December.

Let me explain.  When we eliminate forgiveness of others from our lives; yet, claim Christ as our Savior, then we are at odds with the very reason we celebrate this season.  Through Christ’s birth, life, and death, He set the ultimate example of forgiveness, and the model to which we should mold our lives.

When we fail to speak of Christ and share how He has changed our lives, we completely diminish the truth of the reason why He was born into our world.  It seems we tend to get more riled up about a Starbucks red cup, than we do at sharing our passion for the blood of Christ that ran red down the Cross.

When we get caught up in the verbiage of whether it is proper to say “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays”, we miss the opportunity to speak these precious and truthful words:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.  -Isaiah 9:6

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. -John 19:30

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. -Luke 2:11

The energized quests for sales during this season, the stress of whether we should stay home or go somewhere on Christmas day, and the worry about whether we have done enough, bought enough, or decorated enough, all seem to be polar opposites of Christ’s humble birth.

When we hate simply because we think we should, our witness of the love of Christ grows dormant.  His love is not sewn when we choose hatred.

Personally, I have never been told not to say “Merry Christmas”, nor have I ever been offended by someone saying “Happy Holidays”.  I believe there is real Christian persecution going on in this world, I really do.  However, I refuse to believe that purchasing overpriced coffee drinks in a plain red cup (which I am totally guilty of) is far from persecution.

The “War on Christmas” (or so it is called) that media outlets seem so driven for us to consume is much less troubling to me than the real war on Christmas that we struggle with each day.

Jesus is not found in a red cup, nor is He represented by whether we choose to wish someone “Happy Holidays”, “Merry Christmas”, or not.  Christ dwells within our hearts, and in Him, we are rooted in love.  Let us not forget that.

The real war on Christmas is on full display in the battlefield of how we treat other people, how we fail to forgive, how we focus on things other than Him, and how we silence the opportunities to share the redemption of Christ.

 

 Author’s note:  So, I know some of you who have taken the time to read this might be a little bothered by it.  That is okay.  I stumbled and stewed over my words and reason why I felt the need to express my opinion.  I am FAR from a theologian, and I struggle daily with being a good and faithful servant.  This is just my own rambling thoughts of something that has been on my mind for a while.  Thank you for reading it, and I am open to learning from you and your opinion!