Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Once Upon an Idiot

I am using much self restraint to not talk about summer and how it’s right around the corner and how we only have less than a month of school left and…….. May?  Can I talk about it in May?  Okay. May.

These weeks just keep whizzing by and I am always surprised that I am not writing.  One day I’ll be able to tell all the stories of why I am drained of all my energy to WRITE.  And why there are days that if I wrote, it would do no one any good- especially me and specifically my, kiddos. ; )  I wouldn’t have one edifying thing to say except, “I need Jesus.”  One day, I can tell you ALL the stupid things I’ve done as a mom and the wisdom I am gleaning— it turns to wisdom after about 20 years, yes?  So come back in 20 for the wisdom part.

However, I think today, it’s safe to share this particular “stupid”.

You’ve heard me talking about our parenting roles changing— and you also probably know, me and change are like oil and water, unless it involves pillows and seasonal things around my house.  Other than that, oil and water is a positive separation.  I am slowly trying to widen some boundaries and try out some new things. That means saying “yes” to my kids regarding things that never even crossed my mind-  more than once.  There is a show that came out a couple of years ago that I remember seeing the previews to and thinking, “How creative. I wonder if it’s something we could possibly watch as a family?”  Woke up the next morning and never thought about it again until about 5 months ago when Julia asked me if we could watch it.  I said I would look into it.  It was holiday time and it took me too long to do the research- my bad- but she mentioned it a couple of more times so I went onto Focus on the Family’s Plugged In app and checked it out.  Once Upon a Time.  It was rated “PG”.  Hmm.   Okay, so I read about a few of the episodes.  There were several so I didn’t read them all— which equals, “I did not do thorough research.”  {And to be fair, I did not know -what I know now - I should have been looking for.}  But what I read seemed fairy tale-ish enough to me.  It was free on Netflix and a Friday night at home was coming up so we made a plan to watch the first episode.  I knew it was still “iffy” because WHAT on television besides the Duck family, home improvement and cooking shows is safe to watch?!  Maybe I am exaggerating.  Maybe I am not.

To get to the point, so none of you who watch this show with or without your kids feels judged by me, the HUGE problem was that the pilot undermined the fabric of the way God put our family together.  By adoption.  My research fell short and the 47 minute show was LONG.  Possibly the longest 47 minutes of my life, curled up on the couch with my girl tucked under my arm- and B under Jeff’s.  Hit pause and talk?  Stop the whole thing entirely and talk?  Was that more awkward or just let it play out?  Jeff and I exchanged silent paragraphs over the heads of our kids that night.  Thankfully, he was in charge of the remote.

We’ve talked honestly—and now because of their ages— quite frankly about their adoptions. They’ve had lots of questions, many of which have been difficult to answer, but we’ve committed ourselves to answering truthfully.  They cannot understand it all but we know - and we tell them-  their birthmothers loved them— still do— and placing them with us was an act of love and sacrifice Julia and Brighton won’t understand until much later.   God’s plan for them is good and He always meant for Jeff and me to have the privilege of being Mom and Dad and those are cherished, significant roles that we will never take for granted.

This is completely skewed in the pilot of Once Upon a Time.  The adoptive mother {modern day} is the evil wicked witch {fairy tale day} who cursed the whole kingdom and the birthmother is the Savior of the fairy tale kingdom— finding this information out from the son whom she’d placed for adoption.  He rebels against his adoptive mother {Of course, he does.  She’s the EVIL wicked cursing queen.} and desperately tries to bond with the birthmother- who, in this particular episode, isn’t interested at all.  It’s painful to watch, people.  And more awkward than you can imagine watching with your children whose story includes adoption.  I so get that people who are removed from adoption wouldn’t catch on to this— and that’s okay and completely understandable.  I didn’t.  Before.

This is more about one of my more stellar moments as a mom— not necessarily trying to educate people on the many movies and TV shows that highlight adoption or “misplaced” people in a dark light.  Adoptive mom or not, we’ve all got our work cut out for us as we parent and as we help our kids/families make good choices as to how to spend our time in front on the screens we all love so much. My research was shoddy— I couldn’t even prepare them as I like to do if I think something might surprise them.  All of our sweet kids have insecurities and vulnerabilities that can be painfully aggravated by the world’s agenda— and it can come from anywhere.  It’s not possible to shelter them from all of it but we can put forth a heroic effort and engage them as we encounter it.  Talk, talk, talk.  Ask, ask, ask.  Get them alone. Spend the time.  Don’t shy away from any topic.  Be a safe place and listen.  Do your homework so you are ready.  They will feel more secure when you do.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Settling In {Adoption}

I am off to the Gladney Luncheon this morning to celebrate adoption with some of the sweetest ladies I know. {Thank you, John and Alison!}  Adoption has many faces and thirteen years ago, it filled mine and Jeff’s life with the happiest grin we’d ever known.  And twenty one months later, we saw that same big grin again.  Our family IS because of adoption- because of the selfless decisions made by two young women.  Words are absent from this world that express my gratefulness for and admiration of each of them.  Julia and Brighton’s first heartbeat was in their wombs, but God has given me the gift and privilege to care for and nurture their tender hearts for as many days as He’s planned for me.  There are some days that they speak the hard words— saying they wish they had grown in my womb, been birthed from me, their mom.  And some days, I find them speaking bravely about adoption, expressing their gratefulness and being as comfortable with it as they are when settled in on the couch listening to Jeff read.  Those conversations are sacred, almost, and a part of their growing up story.  I am counting on some of our most difficult exchanges being ahead of us— and that’s okay.  I feel we’ve had some good warm ups.  No matter what all that looks like or how well or poorly we participate in those conversations and however they choose to feel about how God made us a family, it won’t change the fact that they are valued and loved as part of the Sanders family.  Nothing they say or do can or will ever change that.  They are stuck with us.  They are Sanders.

Maybe it has but I never remember this yearly luncheon coinciding with Easter week, but I woke up thinking about that today.  I awakened thinking about the strong language used in the Bible when our relationship to the Father is described.  Adoption.  One of my favorite passages is from Ephesians.  Paul wrote:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  {Ephesians 1:3-6}

“IN LOVE, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.”   As fiercely as I feel about my kids, NOTHING can compare when it comes to the Father’s love for us.  What we are anticipating this Easter week, THE event of all time, and as my kids sang all summer from T-Bar M Camp- THE game changer— His willing death on a cruel cross and the EMPTY TOMB Sunday morning is EVERYTHING.  Jesus made it possible for me to be a daughter of the Father.  And it was His PLEASURE and WILL.  He delights in me.

May YOU feel delighted in by the Father this Easter.  The expression of His love towards us trumps all.  You are valued and loved as part of His family.  Nothing you say or do can or will ever change that.  Settle down into that.  You are His.