however motherhood comes

While watching my oldest son compete in his last gymnastics competition of the year, my dad struck up a conversation with the lady sitting next to him. As usual, he bragged about his grandchildren.

As I was off taking pictures, the conversation between my dad and the lady turned into one about adoption. He learned that two out of her four children were adopted. When I returned to sit down, he shared about their conversation. As she and I sat and visited for a bit, I learned a brief history about her adoptions, and I shared a bit about mine.

Similar to new mothers sharing birthing stories, I found myself enjoying this kindred conversation. Both of us marveled at our sons. We both shared with joy in thinking about what our kids have accomplished given their difficult entries to our world. We also both expressed great gladness in being adoptive parents.

This experience reminded me of this quote by Valerie Harper,

“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.”

This day, I give praise for the miraculous, wonderful gift of motherhood.

The Case for Kids

I have run across some Facebook statuses, blog posts, and other humorous social media updates that point to all of the benefits of choosing a life free of the “burden” of parenting.  While I understand where the authors of these posts are coming from, and even, the convenience in many ways of not having children, I have weighed the benefits of a life with children versus one without.

My husband and I had the choice to pursue parenthood.  There would be no “accidental” pregnancies in our lives.  I am infertile.  He knew that going into our marriage.  This is something that would not change.  We also had the choice to pursue a life without children.  We could have stayed in our quaint two bedroom cobblestone front home, and traveled the world.  We could have spent our lives on a seemingly perpetual date.

We did not choose this, though.  We pursued adoption because we wanted to share in the experience of parenting.  Because of this, I’ve come up with some simple, and yet relevant, reasons why life with children (however they come to you) is the best thing ever.

Once you become a parent, 

  1. you begin to value the simple things in life. 
  2. you are suddenly thrust into a world of humility.
  3. you learn that there is nothing more satisfying than self-sacrifice.   
  4. you are gifted with simplistic examples of love.  
  5. you are reminded that grace is a gift freely given, and one that you need to work on giving.
  6. your life is enhanced in ways that you never thought was possible.  
  7. the artwork on the refrigerator is the most priceless piece of work you have ever seen.
  8. your own health becomes more important.  
  9. you are given the gift of multiple second chances by the same little humans who love you, need you, and whose life is dependent on you.
  10. you work harder, sleep less, and do not regret either of these.
  11. your heart; the one that has led your decisions throughout your life, is now being led, moved, and persuaded by the little beating hearts walking right next to you.
  12. you are reminded that each day brings a new opportunity to start again, learn something new, correct a bad habit, and let your imagine soar.
  13. you are surrounded by the opportunity to remember and embrace those magical moments of your own childhood.
  14. you are reminded of how hard your parents must have worked to raise you, provide for you, and give you a life of opportunity.  Or, in some situations, you are reminded of how void your childhood was; thus, you are being the change needed in the next generation of children in your family.
  15. you gain a simplistic and innocent sense of humor.  (All it takes in the mispronunciation of one word by your child, and suddenly, you are giggling.)
  16.  you know that the most important job you have is being a parent.  You defend it.  You protect it.  You speak up for it, and, you are proud of it.
  17. you know you are the most important person to your children, and by this, you are nearly overwhelmed with unspeakable love.
  18. you are greeted with happiness, told that you are loved, and freely given tokens of love on a daily basis.
  19. every moment of life, from going through a car wash to traveling to an adventurous destination, is filled with excitement and exhilaration.
  20. you begin to see glimpses of your own future, and you fight for it.  You whisper hope into the ears of your children.  You teach them to love without judgment, and dream without borders.  You tell them that the world is open for them, and to seize their dreams.  You long for them to embrace their own sense of the world, and yet, you hope they do not forget where home is.  

I used to think, or at least give off the impression, that life would be okay without children.  Deep down, though, I knew I was missing out.  I grieved for something to which I did not even fully understand.  I just knew that I did not want to enter into my Heavenly home with missing the valuable experience of being a parent.

When I see the Facebook statuses, blog posts, and other humorous social media updates that depict why a life without children is better than a life with children, I find myself defending the plight of parents, the needs of all of those babies who have made their way to our lives, and the hope of our future.  I could go on and on about the importance, hardship, yet joy of life with children.

As a child, I was not promised parenthood.  I actually never visualized it.  Instead, I hoped for it.  I prayed for it.  And now, at the age of forty-two and thinking through the past thirty-one years of my life, I cannot imagine not fighting for parenthood.

My friend, if you are reading this wondering if you should get pregnant,  pursue IVF, become a foster parent, adopt, or, if you should choose a life without children, I want to tell you that there is nothing more challenging, yet, more incredibly rewarding than being a parent.

I will never stop challenging those who consider children as less important in our world.  Sure, movies may be easier to watch, going out to eat might be a little more quiet, traveling may be relaxing and exotic, and you may have more down time to sleep in, and embrace your own hobbies, but this blogger, this parent, and this child of God, will always support the case for kids.

IMG_2576Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.  Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.  -Psalm 127: 3-5

Ten Years from Now {a letter for my daughter}

My daughter, I look at you and wonder where the years have gone.  You are getting taller, losing your baby fat, and seeking out things that intrigue you.  Ten years from now, I hope you will stumble upon this rambling of mine.

As a 5-year-old, you are bright-eyed, strong-willed, and quite the little drama queen. You organize my closet like no one’s business.  You worry about whether or not the pets have enough to eat, and you are already slightly obsessed with teenage musicals.

You push my buttons, and seem to enjoy it.  Yet, at the same time, you make my heart melt when I see your sweetness arise.  I watch you as you watch me.  You mimic my every move, and ask often, “When will I be old enough to….?” IMG_2616

My daughter, as we commemorate your adoption anniversary, I want you to know a few things.

Ten years from now when you are 15-years-old, life will look a little different from now. You will be sitting in a high school classroom possibly wondering if you are good enough.  You might look in the mirror and only see imperfections. You might even be hard on yourself, find things you want to correct, and maybe even wish you looked different. I did, too.

My daughter, ten years from now, I want you know that you are beautiful.  

Your beauty is beyond compare as there is no other girl in the world just like you. Your eyes, your hair, your skin tone, and your body are exactly what they are supposed to be.  They are pieces of the magnificent puzzle that make up who you are.

Your beauty is more than skin deep though.  Your beauty comes from the inner part of who you are.  It comes from that place where your deepest whispers of the heart are heard.  It bristles at your ideas.  It captures your dreams, and it carves out a spot in the universe just for you.

Ten years from now, your 15-year-old self is a person I cannot wait to meet.  I look forward to seeing where she wants to go in life, what captures her heart, and where her hidden talents are found.  I anticipate watching her try on fancy dresses for school dances, and listening to her giggle at the sound of a boy calling on the phone.

Ten years from now, please tell me if I am hovering just a bit too much.  Please let me know that I might just be getting on your nerves.  I already consider the trials you might face in high school, and wonder if you will see yourself with the same set of lenses that I see you.

I do not want you to feel the sting of rejection, or the intimidating glare of another girl at school.  I know though, that I cannot shield you from these things.  I can just build you up to be the confident girl that you deserve to be.

If someone tells you that you are not good enough, please say, “I am better.”  If someone tells you that you are not welcome, please tell him or her, “I’m sorry that you are missing out on a friendship.”

If you hear that you are too skinny or too fat, remind yourself that true beauty is not seen with the eyes. True beauty is experienced in those moments of tenderness between two friends.  It is felt when you are doing exactly what your heart wants you to do.  It hovers when you are showing kindness to those who need it the most.

True beauty does not have a physical image.

As I think about our adoption anniversary and scroll through the many pictures of you we have saved on our computer, I gaze with awe at how amazing you are.  You are exactly who you were created to be, and, we are exactly the family we were created to be.

I will never be able to replace your birth mother.  Your daddy will never be able to replace your birth father, but know this, you are deeply loved.  You were chosen.

Today, tomorrow, and ten years from now, I will always defend you, and stand with you.  I will always celebrate the day you came to me, and the moment I held you for the first time.

Ten years from now, I want you to know that…

You are beautiful.  You are hope fulfilled.  You are so worth it.  You are loved.

 

Tragedy and Joy

During a phone call yesterday with the birth mother of one of my kiddos, she said, “When I tell people about ***, I tell them that I don’t feel like I lost a child.  I feel like a gained a daughter and son-in-law. I know I would never be able to give *** the kind of life that you have given ***.”  She gasped with excitement about how well her child of birth is doing.

Her words have remained with me today. I cannot help but be completely humbled by the blessing(s) I have been given through adoption(s).

Is it possible for tragedy and joy to collide?  

I think it is.

In some ways, adoption is part tragedy and part joy all mixed in together. Tragedy and joy. Despair and happiness. Grief and hope. Such opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, and yet, a shared experience between two parties whose only connection is the precious life of a child.

If the beauty of adoption is ever questioned, please, take a look around at the children who have been adopted. They are the joy of eager grandparents, the hope of waiting mothers, and the happy fulfillment of sought after longings.

Birth mothers and adoptive mothers share a similar journey – tragedy, joy, despair, happiness, grief, and hope.

I simply cannot think of anything more beautiful.

Thread of Adoption

photo (26)Our kids really do not know much of life before each other.  Our son was just over 2-years-old when a nice lady knocked on the front door and delivered a brown-haired beauty in a car seat.  He just knew he had a sister on the way.  He even proclaimed it during a car ride to preschool one morning.

Adoption brings together strangers.  Strangers, born from other wombs, connected through the predestined establishment of sisterhood and brotherhood.  It binds hearts to each other.  It creates brothers and sisters.

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

IMG_0151

IMG_0456My children’s relationship is not any different from other sibling relationships.  They are each other’s first friend, first playmate, first person to blame for wrongdoings, and first person to lean on when needing to convince mom and dad of something.

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

Sometimes, they hurt each other. He gets just a little rough.  She gets just a little dramatic.  He seems to always be in a hurry. She seems to take her own sweet time. Sometimes though, they hold hands and run together.

They are each other’s sounding boards about what Santa might bring, or if the Easter Bunny is actually real.  Sometimes, they even try to convince each other to ask Santa for the same presents so that his elves have to “make” two of everything.  (Or, at least, big brother has to ask Santa….)

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

IMG_0050They explore worlds, both real and imaginary.  They seek out new adventures, create whimsical and wonderful characters, and fight the bad guys as a united team.

They get dirty, cause messes, and  create life-long memories of the fleeting days of childhood.

IMG_0646Through adoption, their childhoods have been given refuge from the hardships that this world can bring.

Their little lives move along with the changing of the seasons.

In this home, and in this family, they find warmth, opportunity, and the occasional chance every winter to throw snow on IMG_0660mommy.

(Sometimes, mommy throws it back on them.)

Two children.  Two reminders that love exists, and life is worth it. Two children who, without adoption, would have never known each other.

Two children, born of other birth mothers, forever sealed in love through adoption.

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

They know their stories are a little different from their friends.  They have asked why they don’t have the same birth mothers.  They have even announced that they have birth mothers to total strangers at the grocery store, which makes strangers a little uncomfortable.  And…makes my heart smile.

They question why some of their friends only have one mother.  IMG_1059Often, they ask about their birth mothers.  They want to know their names.  They want to know if they are dead or alive, or if they have a home.  They want to know where they are.  My husband and I answer every question to the best of our ability, and with loving honesty.  We answer them because we know that our comfort with their histories will only help them as they grow up.

To be honest, I love my children so much that it saddens me to know that they were not able to grow up in their families of origins.  Sounds strange, huh?  I know.  Yet, I know that in the great and mysterious workings of the Lord, we found each other.  We found them, and, they found each other.  Brother and sister.

Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread.

I am thankful for my children.  Adoption has made me a mother.  I am also thankful that they have each other.  They have something that my husband and I do not. They have the shared experience of adoption.  I have been asked over and over if they are “real” siblings.  Yes.  YesThey are very real siblings.  They were brought together from the tragedies of lives lived in chaos, and from the belief that every child deserves a safe, and stable place to set roots, sprout wings, and fly.

375917_341839525907009_1617492878_nSometimes, just sometimes, I catch moments like this one above.  Moments of tenderness. Moments of affection.  Moments of a relationship formed through the great miracle that is adoption.  

photo (27)Soon, very soon, adoption will offer them just one more “forever” sibling to discover worlds with, to blame for wrongdoings, to make messes, to throw snow on mommy, to talk about birth mothers with, and to love.  Brothers and sister.  Forever.

 Adoption weaves together lives with an unseen thread – a thread of beauty, patience, and prayer.

For this, I am truly thankful. 

Love Changes Lives (Happy Birthday, Son)

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.

The night you were born was beautiful.  Your birth mother wailed in agony of labor pains, while I laid in my bed wallowing in my own kind of labor pains.  There was beauty in both of these moments.  One was painted with strokes of joy, while the other, strokes of despair; and yet, both were beautiful.  I did not know that my tearful prayer that night collided with the birth of you.

Two days later, we were asked to take you in.  Two days later, I held you for the first time.  I cannot think of anything more amazing than that.photo (5)

Love knows no boundaries, no genetic markers, no birthing, and no blood lines.  Love takes hold of opportunities and transforms them into beauty.

Before there was you, it was just me and my infertility.  Before you, my heart was only half-developed. Before there was you, I only knew one layer of love.

Love grabbed a hold of me the first time I saw you…instantly.

In an instant, I was separated from infertility for the first time in more years than I can remember.  For the first time, I felt whole.  For the first time, I also felt complete fear.  I feared loving and losing you.

I wished I would have been there the day you were born.  I wished I could have heard your first cry, held you while you welcomed Earthly air into your lungs, and whispered loving words to both you and your birth mother.  I would have been there had I known your circumstances.  I would have stood by your birth mother as she was told she would leave the hospital without you.  I would have done this because I honor her, and I love you.

I prayed for you the entire time we were fostering you.  I petitioned the Lord on your behalf, and on your birth mother’s.  How could I love you, and not want your birth mother to experience the same kind of love?  How could I look at myself in the mirror everyday knowing that I had been gifted with you, and not for one moment, want the best for her?  How could I allow love to overfill my heart, and not have any leftover for her?

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.  Love took a hold of me the moment I saw you.  

Love still takes hold of us.  It tempers us in our moments of frustration.  It claims us in our times of messes.  It wraps around us in our seasons of sadness.  Love holds us together in our moments of hardship, and it leaps with us in our times of joy.

picture 40Love seizes my heart time and again when thinking of you.  I happen to believe you are one of the most endearing, unique, and important little boys that has ever existed.  You are wonderfully ambitious, loving, spirited, and an incredible child of God.  Please don’t forget how beautiful, and deeply loved you are.

I don’t consider these past seven years to be lucky ones.  They are much more than that.  I consider them to be ones that have proven that nothing compares to the capacity that love has to intervene in our lives.

Happy 7th Birthday, Son.  You’ve given us seven amazingly beautiful years.

Love knows no boundaries.  It does not comprehend genetic markers.  It has no birthing or blood lines necessary.

Love truly takes hold of opportunities and transforms them into beauty.

Love changes lives.

I still think of you, birth mother

photo credit: http://www.freedomphotography.smugmug.com/
photo credit:
http://www.freedomphotography.smugmug.com/

I still think of you, birth mother.  You are always with me.  Each embrace, each kiss, each smile, and each moment of growth, I think of you.  This week marks the fifth year since the adoption of my son…our son, and yet; I still think of you.

It seems like a lifetime ago since we talked about him.  I remember our talks while taking turns rocking him.  We were in love with the same child.  Our love for him opened the door for our relationship.  You are the one who started loving him the moment you knew you were expecting.  I’m the one who prayed for a child to love. How could we have known that while I was praying for a child to hold, you were carrying my future son?

How can I ever thank you, birth mother?  How can I ever tell you how grateful I am that you chose life?  Because of your life-affirming choice, I am raising a bright, energetic, and spirited boy who filled the paleness of my dreams with color.  Your son was my first baby.  Your son was the answer to my deepest longings of the heart.

Your son is the embodiment of a life lived outside of oneself.

It is not a mistake that our process to get approved as foster parents took nine months; nine months of our child forming in your womb, nine months of our anxious thoughts, nine months of your difficult circumstances, and nine months until we met for the first time.

I remember that the first thing you said to me was, “So, that’s what you look like.”  Your words humbled me, birth mother.  There I was, a stranger, embracing your son, holding him in the middle of the night, and caring for his every need.  While I was doing this, you were wondering who I was.  My prayers to our God was for His will to be done, and for His strength to get us through whatever path we would end up walking.

I know that our path was probably the easier one.  Yes, we worried, we cried, and we prayed, but we ended up keeping your son.  We ended up becoming his forever family, his mommy and daddy, and his future.  Yes, we had it easy.  You, birth mother, you walked the difficult road.

You, birth mother, you must have felt the pain of loss that first Mother’s Day without the acknowledgement of him.  You, birth mother, must have felt an ache in your heart that went unfulfilled.  You, birth mother, must have longed for a different outcome; and yet, you did not fight the decision that was made.

You and I both had our hands tied.  We both had to adhere to the decisions made by others about the child we both loved deeply.  Together, we both had little control.  Together, we both had hopes of raising him.  Together, we both loved this child.

I still think of you, birth mother.  I still wonder how you are doing.  I still see you in him.  I still think of your kindness to me. There I was, a young foster-mother holding your son, and yet, you embraced me. You were kind to me.  You were interested in me, and you thanked me for the love I gave your son.  I don’t know if I could have done that.  I don’t know if I could have been as kind as you were if the tables were turned.  I just don’t know.

Thank you, birth mother.  Thank you for the courage it took to not fight the inevitable.  When I was told that you had decided to not fight the courts anymore, I fell to my knees in grief and in joy at the same time.  I cried over the hardship of the decision you must have made.  In that moment, I knew my life was forever changed.

In that moment, I knew that you truly loved your son.

It has been five years since your son became mine forever.  It has been five years since tears fell from my eyes while the judge was announcing our adoption.  You were on my mind that day, birth mother.  Our journey together ended that day; although, it will never really end.  As long as our son has life, I will think of you.  You will always hold a place in my heart. I will always remember your smile, your laugh, and your kindness.

Your son…our son…is a treasure.  He is a delight.  He loves dirt, bugs, art, gymnastics, basketball, and fishing.  He is always coming up with the most creative ideas out of simple household items.  He is a willful, curious, loving, and loyal boy. Oh, he has his moments of challenging us, but he is a wonderful son.  He is a child that has left his footprints on the hearts of many.  He means the world to so many, and is richly loved.

I still think of you, birth mother. I still see you in him.  I still think of our talks,and the mutual love we held for our son.  I’m doing my best to raise him in a way that will honor the difficult decision you made.  I want him to be a man of integrity, a man that nurtures life, and contributes to goodness in this world.

We have a beautiful son, birth mother.  Thank you, birth mother, thank you.

Out of the Ashes

Photo credit: http://freedomphotography.smugmug.com/
Photo credit: http://freedomphotography.smugmug.com

Looking at the image above of my family causes me to think of how blessed I am. We are a family filled with lots of love, lots of trial and errors, lots of do-overs, and lots of moments that leave us laughing.  Looking at the image above makes my heart happy, and yet, it also makes my heart a little sad.

I know that sounds strange to say it makes me sad, but truthfully, it invokes a sliver of sadness.  It is not my children or my husband that do this to me.  It is the thought that my family…my everything here on Earth….was created out of the terrible circumstances of others.  The birth parents, grandparents, cousins, siblings, and other relatives that will not be pictured on the couch together with my children are on my mind.  My children will most likely never be embraced by their birth grandparents.  We have some limited contact with a sibling of my daughter, and we send letters to my son’s birth mother, but these things do not replace or ever will replace growing up in their families of origin.

I love the little ones I’ve been charged of taking care of.  I love them so much that my heart can’t help but break for what their birth parents have or are going through.  Substance abuse, mental illness, instability, homelessness, severe impoverishment…you name it….these are the things that make up the lives of birth families of the sweet ones I tuck in at night.  I know that the Lord formed my family.  I know that He took the messiness of life’s problems, and created the portrait of love above.  I know this.

Adoption has blessed me in some many ways.  It has fulfilled that deep longing to live for and love on a child.  It has broken me, humbled me, and rebuilt me again. Taking in someone else’s child has brought me to my knees in tears and in prayer. It is complicated, requires full attention, and yet, it is beautiful.  It is beautiful.

Still yet, my heart aches for those out there with whom my children come from that are missing out on the hugs, kisses, temper tantrums, scrapes, good dreams, bad dreams, and longings of children learning who they are in the world.  It was not meant to be this way.  Fathers and mothers were not meant to abandon their children, have severe addictions, or struggle with mental illness.  Still, here I am benefiting from these tragedies.

People may look at our situation and think, “What a great thing that has happened for them.”  I think that way too, but still, in that quiet place of my heart, that place that is secret, I grieve for my children’s birth mothers.  I carry them with me.  I think about them when celebrating the goodness of my children.

I know the day will come when my children will learn and fully understand the circumstances that opened their paths to our hearts and our home.  I know that day will be hard.  It saddens me.  It worries me, and it humbles me.  It also builds my courage to do a better job as a parent, to try each day anew to meet my kids where they are at, and to gently guide them as they grow.

There’s a lot of love on the couch in the photograph above.  There are moments of utter chaos and craziness that comes with three young children.  There are moments of exhaustion, and moments of exhilaration   There is definitely plenty of happiness that goes around.

There’s also a family sitting there that has shed tears, whispered prayers, and spoken hope.  There are two parents who know that out of the ashes of mistakes, darkness of addictions, and pain of regrets, this family…our family….was created.

More than ADHD

His 1st art exhibit at a local community center!  (one of his many talents)
His 1st art exhibit at a local community center! (one of his many talents)

A pitiful sounding knock on the front door told me that my son was coming inside a little earlier than expected.  When questioned about the time he had outside, he told the story of being “told” to go home because he didn’t want to play the game the other kids wanted to play.  My heart sunk a little.  I know that he was probably leaving out a few details, and perhaps he was being a little aggressive, selfish, or anything else that a boy can be, but I didn’t really care.  My heart hurts when his heart is hurting.

A few minutes later he got mad at his sister for a trivial thing, erupted into tears, ran to his room, and shut the door.  We gave him his space, but eventually my husband went into his room to console him.  I’m not sure if we ever will know the full story of what happened with the other boys on the street, but obviously my son felt like an outcast.

My maternal, bear-like instincts kicked in immediately.  Truth be told, I wanted to march right across the street, ask what happened, and why my son was the only one not playing outside with them.  I didn’t though.  I stayed in and stewed a minute within myself trying to come up with the right words for him.  I eventually said, “It’s okay if you don’t want to play tag or anything else they want to play.  You don’t have to go along with what they want to do all of the time, and the next time they come over and ask if you if you want to play, it’s okay for you to say no, if that’s what you want to do.”

I don’t know if that was the right response.  It’s hard to teach a child to stick up for himself/herself in this age of “bully-hood”.  I want my children to stand up for themselves, but at the same time, I don’t want their stance to backfire and for them to be labeled.  This is not the first time he has been let down by the kids on the street.  I witnessed a few of them making fun of him and not “allowing” him to play with them.  On that day, I spoke up and said to these boys, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, please don’t say anything at all.”

I have not really ever written about the challenges we have raising a son with ADHD.  A part of me feels as though I’m betraying him a bit by even mentioning it.  Yet, there is another part of me who needs to reach out about parenting a child with it.  Prior to seeing “it” in action, I got caught up in the thinking that “every child is hyper/he’s just a boy”.  I’ve learned through first-hand experience that raising a child with ADHD is difficult.  It causes social problems, potential behavioral problems, and can affect self-esteem.

I know he can be impulsive at times, might not listen with intensity, makes friends and loses them quickly, and always seems to be one step ahead of his peers.  I also know that he gets bored with repeated play and does tend to play by himself a lot.  I’ve heard comments suggesting that he just needs to be disciplined, or he needs to act like other boys, etc.  When things like this are said, it stings a bit.  I’m not excusing any of his social or behavioral challenges because of ADHD, I’m just keenly aware that there are certain symptoms that go along with the diagnosis.  Even I find myself struggling at times with patience in having to redirect him numerous times about the same thing over and over again.

With all of that being said, I also know that he is an incredible child with an inquisitive mind, a tender heart, an artistic streak, and a will as strong as steel.  He’s a unique little guy who loves life and loves his family.  His mind is constantly creating new ways of doing things.  He can make a project out of scraps and comes up with ideas of how to use various items around the house for future pieces of artwork.  In other words, he’s a Super-Boy!

If only others would see him through my eyes, maybe he would be understood a little bit more.  I know all of the reasons why he entered protective services at the age of two-days-old.  I know his history and the history of his biological family.  I know his struggles, his insecurities, and his talents.  I know his desire to have solid friendships as well.  He will never fit into a box that others may want him to, including the box I might desire for him at times.  He is more than ADHD – so much more.

I also wonder if we could all take a look around us and see each other the way our Heavenly Father sees us.  He sees us through eyes of grace.  He knows our past, our insecurities, our struggles, our talents, and our desires.  He also knows that our past does not dictate our future, and our failures do not outweigh our successes.

Who knew the rejection of playtime outside in the middle of America would cause me to think about all of this?!?  It seems that life can throw so many parenting lessons at us, and the Lord’s wisdom abounds in these teachable moments.  It also reminds me that we need to continually build our children up.  We need to be bold enough to tell them just how incredible they are not just because they are children, but because they are diverse and talented with their own set of gifts to offer to the world.

Raising a child with ADHD presents challenges on a day-to-day basis.  It doesn’t just go away over time, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how it will unfold in my son’s life as he grows into adolescence.  One thing I do know is that my love of him pales in comparison to God’s love for him, and that is something I can always be sure of.

Are you parenting a child with ADHD?  If so, what are some strategies you use to increase social skills and reduce any other types of behaviors that come along?

My children, I promise…

photo (37)My children, I am not a perfect mother.  Some days, I’m not even a good-enough mother.  I cannot promise you that I won’t lose my temper or get disappointed at times.  I cannot promise you that I will have all of the answers, save you from any pain, and agree with your choices.  I cannot promise you that I will be walking here on this Earth with you for all of your days.  I won’t promise you these things either.

The commitment made by my own mother to me while growing up, and even today, has spilled over into your lives as well.  Through her, I witnessed what it was like to put someone else before one’s own needs.  Through her, I learned that children should hear that their dreams can come true with hard work and heart.  Through her, I learned to not allow one’s circumstances dictate one’s future.  Through her, I learned that it is okay to not have all the answers, and that someday the answers might just be found.  Through her, I learned to not walk away from commitments and family.

My children, I promise you that my overwhelming love for you will stay with me until my last breath.  My protective instincts will linger throughout your growing-up years, and even while you too are feeling the instinct to protect your little ones.  I promise you that I will try my very best to take care of myself so that our days will be long together.  My desire to put your needs above mine, to sacrifice, to provide, to want more for you, to imagine better for you, to work harder for you, and to be your biggest cheerleader will not fade with time.  I will pray for the Lord’s protection over you.

Each day is a gift from the Lord that presents me with the opportunity to steadfastly work on this art that is called motherhood.  

My children, I may not be a perfect mother.  I may not even be a good-enough mother on some days…but….I’m your mother, and I will not walk away.  That is something I can promise.