maybe this is how it’s supposed to be

April 27th, 2010

we just finished dinner.  josh is at soccer.  the boys are playing memory in the living room.  amelia is doing her homework at the dining room table.  i am sitting with her, helping her when needed.

i don’t feel like a mom.  at least not the way i thought i would feel when i used to think about being a mom.  i feel somewhat disconnected, like this is someone else’s life.  and then i thought, “maybe this is how it’s supposed to be.”

maybe every mom feels this way.  maybe they don’t.  in some ways it’s like how i feel about being an adult.  every time i drop my second grader off at school i think, “how is it possible for this 17 year old kid to be trapped in the body of an almost 34 year old?  and i am dropping an 8 year old off at school?  i am not old enough, mature enough, responsible enough to be doing this.  this is crazy!”

i often wonder if my disconnected feeling is due to me being an adoptive mother.  i often wonder if i’d feel more connected had i birthed my children.  and then i think, “maybe this is how it’s supposed to be.”  and then i remind myself that it is supposed to be this way.  that God ordained for it to be this way.  that He made me, made my children, and then in His sovereignty, formed us into a family.

so i sit here at the dining room table, blogging and helping my second grader with her math homework.  and while i don’t know how i should feel, i do know this:  i wouldn’t want anyone else helping her(except maybe josh if he was home) and i am helping her because God made me her mother and i love her.

on being the hands and feet

March 10th, 2010

“for I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’

“then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  when did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You?  when did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’

“the King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’”  ~matthew 25:35~40

friday, february 19th started just like any other day.  josh left for work and the kids and i left for school. we pick up one of amelia’s friends on our way to school and when we pulled in her driveway, my cellphone rang.  it was josh.

me~”hello?”

j~”hi.  i just got let go.”

me~”what?  are you serious?”

j~”yes.”

me~”what are you doing?  do you have to stay?  can you come home?”

j~”i am coming home.”

me~”i am so sorry.  i love you.”

j~”i love you too.”

i cried.  i prayed.  i called my best friend.  i called my parents.  i called my sister.  i came home.  i hugged my husband.  i cried.

i sent an email asking for prayer to the ladies in my discipleship group.  the following are some of the messages i received:

“oh no!  yes…i’ll pray!”

“consider it done.  it would be my honor to pray with you.”

and an actual prayer that brought me to tears.  the hands and feet of Christ just lifted my family and i in prayer.

we had plans that night that we now weren’t sure we were going to keep.  i shared the job loss news when our cancellation was decided.  our friends were so kind and understanding.  another set of friends immediately reached out and invited us to a low-key, carefree dinner at their home.  they have two boys the same ages as our boys and the kids all love to play together.  we accepted their invitation.  being hit with something so heavy in the morning, it was so nice to have an easy evening. the hands and feet of Christ just hosted us in their home.

the next day, as i went to get the mail like i do every day, i opened a card from one of the friends we cancelled on the night before.  i read, “how wide and how long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” ephesians 3:18 on the outside.  and on the inside, “praying God’s heart brings your heart an even deeper way of seeing and knowing the depth of His love for you.”  and attached to the card was a giant eagle gift card.  i stood in the middle of my driveway and cried.  the hands and feet of Christ just sent me ‘money’ for food.

and that night i saw a dear friend who gave me a gift, a beautiful purple glass ball.  the card along with the gift said the following, “put me in your window and let me shine…just to remind you of His love and guiding hand over you and your family at this time.”  my dear friend being the hands and feet of Christ by reminding me of His presence.

that monday i sent an email, requesting prayer, to the ladies i lead in our young mom’s group at church.  again, some of the messages i received:

“my husband and i will definitely be praying for your family and for God’s leading for a new job. thinking and praying for you all.”

“i’m so sorry to hear the news. i will definitely life you and your family up in prayer.”

“i am so sorry to hear this news.  we will definitely keep you in our prayers, and please let me know if there is anything at all that we can do to help you out!”

“i’m praying for you, josh and your family! my husband unexpectedly lost his job eight months ago and this week he’s finally getting to decide between job offers. it’s been a long wait, but the one thing we’ve seen over and over is that the Lord provides. He has been faithful during all of the unemployment, and has really blessed us — spiritually and materially — through other people. i hope this will be over quickly for all of you, but that most importantly, you’ll be able to truly find rest and peace in Him.  ‘my God shall supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.’~philippians 4:19″

“i’m so sorry.  i just stopped and prayed for you and josh.  we have been there, and i know it’s hard news to hear.”

“we love you and are here for you if you need anything, even a date nite!”

“i am sorry to hear this- i have been through it and it is tough- is there anything you need?”

“we will definitely pray for your family.”

“i’m so sorry, kirsten.  i know it’s hard– we went through a similar situation last year. it was overwhelming to see the way God provided.  i’ll be praying that His hand will be just as evident in your lives.”

the hands and feet of Christ were offering prayer, support, and reminders of the promises in His Word.

at church that wednesday morning, february 24th, as i was setting up for our mom’s group, a sweet, sweet friend of mine handed me a starbucks gift card.  “i know you don’t need this,” she said, “but i thought it would make you smile.”  the hands and feet of Christ just unexpectedly touched me in such a special way and yes, made me smile!

as i got things started that morning, i made a brief announcement that we were doing okay and i thanked the ladies for their prayers and kind words.  i made some other announcements and opened our time together in prayer.  just as i started to introduce our speaker i was caught off guard by a prayer being offered up for me.  the hands and feet of Christ stood embracing me in front of a room full of women. i thought i was going to fall over, but instead i was held tightly as my dear sister in Christ spoke beautiful words to our Savior on my behalf.

after our time that morning, this same sister told me she was bringing dinner to our family that night.  we’ve never had anyone do that before.  i told my friend that i’d be out her way in the afternoon and i could stop by to pick up the food.  the hands and feet of Christ just prepared a meal for my family.

while at my friends house she told me she asked the other women in our mom’s group if they’d be willing to prepare meals for us as well.  she didn’t inform me that she was going to ask them because she knew i’d say ‘no’.  she was right!  the hands and feet of Christ reached into my community and rallied support in our time of need. the responses from many were immediate.  the hands and feet of Christ in my community responded to our need in an overwhelming way.

that friday we received another giant eagle gift card, this time from my in~laws.  their card read, “before the Lord began your day…He carefully planned each step of the way.”  and my mother~in~law added, “we often suffer, but we are never crushed.  even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.  in times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.”~II corinthians 4:8~9(msg).   again, the hands and feet of Christ just sent us  ‘money’ for food and encouragement from God’s Word.

the meals started coming from friends at church and a friend that i’ve had since jr. high also offered to bring us a dinner.  people taking their time, their resources, to provide for my family and i, i have never felt so awkward and so humble at the same time.  and i started to see how God’s provision really can come through other people.  through other people being the hands and feet of Christ.

last wednesday, march 3rd, during our mom’s group Bible study, we were talking about God’s promise of friendship, psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”  i was able to share with our study leaders how overwhelming it has been to receive such blessings from the other women in our group.  through tears, i was able to express my gratitude to those who had been the hands and feet of Christ to myself and my family.

thursday march 4th started as a rough day for josh and i.  some large bills needed to be paid friday and we had barely enough money.  add to that wondering what would happen once that money was gone and we were trying not to worry.  i believed with all my heart and mind that God would provide.  i didn’t see how, but i chose to trust.

i thought it would be good for us to get out of the house a little.  after we dropped all of the kids off at school, we decided to go to wendy’s for lunch because they have a 99 cent menu.  i thought spending a few dollars would be okay.  we spent $7.36.  then we went to the at&t store to get josh’s cellphone transfered from his former employers control back to ours.  he didn’t have all of the information he needed so off we went, feeling pretty discouraged.  we meandered through the mall and then picked the kids up from school.  once home, i pulled up to the mailbox and inside found an envelope marked ‘the smith family’.  i recognized the writing, my best friend’s, and thought, “what did she do?”

we unloaded the kids and i went inside and opened the card.

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and inside the card was an abundance of gift cards~giant eagle, red robin, mcdonald’s, and even some money.  i stood in my kitchen and cried, and cried, and cried.  i called my friend and couldn’t even get words to come out of my mouth.  talk about God’s provision through others.  i don’t know who donated to our plight, but i do know that many of my fellow believers were being the hands and feet of Christ as they made their donations.

that night another meal was provided by a dear friend.  along with the food, she brought various things: body wash, cereal, cookie mix, deodorant, muffin mix~because she had extras of these things, a pizza hut gift card and two, TWO bottles of coca~cola.  through my tears i tried to convey my gratitude.  she reached to give me a hug.  as i wept in her embrace she thanked me for being able to walk this road with me.  the hands and feet of Christ walking with me on this unknown road.

i am overwhelmed with God’s provision.  i am overwhelmed with the love and support we have received from others.  i literally cannot find the words to express our gratitude.  my prayer is that the Lord will reveal to each and every one of you just how He has used your prayers, your hugs, your reminders of His Word, your meals, your donations, to be His hands and feet to us.

“how beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news and the love of the King
how beautiful the hands that serve
the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth
how beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ”
~twila paris

january 2010

March 9th, 2010

my last post was kind of heavy.  a lot of people in my life have been dealing with very heavy things lately.  infant death, a father on the verge of death, a grandmother in the hospital after an accidental fall, a mother who has been suffering from the effects of a stroke almost three years ago, job loss-the list could go on and on.  a lot of my thoughts are pretty heavy.  although, they are also very hopeful.  hmmm.

so, to avoid more heaviness, i thought i’d sort of do a month in review via pictures.  just random ‘life with our family’ stuff.  i’ve been having big thoughts, big awakenings.  posts for another day i guess.

so, here we are from january.  the kids watching a tow truck pull the neighbor’s car out of the snow, playing with amelia’s microphone(notice her adjusting it for wilbur as if he couldn’t figure it out on his own),  the gingerbread house the kids made with grammy and gramps(orville did not want to be in the picture),  the gingerbread house after our dog got to it, me (with a bottle of coke!!!) at fondue night, finally remembering to get a Christmas tree bag(after forgetting for the past three years) and joking it was for the kids(which they thought was hilarious!), legos, legos everywhere!, having mother/daughter night & breakfast with amelia, playing with fruit by the foot at grammy’s, josh rummaging through the island drawer at grammy’s(something he’s known to do at least once a year), our trip(eating subway for lunch)to a somewhat local mall so i could go to a bareescentuals boutique, josh and the boys pretending to fall asleep while amelia and i were in the bathroom(men!). 

i’ve been closely following my friend kate’s adoption journey.  she shares an amazing story.  she is a very gifted writer.  she just adopted an adorable little boy.  you should take a look.  her heart is beautiful.

my baby is 5

February 3rd, 2010

i have been looking to write since my last post in october.  posts have been thought of, never started.  posts have been started, never completed.  my little boy turns 5 tomorrow and it hurts.

my little boy who was 15 months old when he came home.

my little boy who slept in a crib, wore diapers, used a pacifier, ate with his hands, sat in a highchair, wore a bib.

my little boy who started walking the day before he came home.

my little boy who needed me to help him walk because he was really, really wobbly.

my little boy who learned how to talk, use silverware, use the toilet, go up and down the stairs-all with me.

my little boy who started school, learned to ride a bike, slide down a slide, swing-all with me.

my little boy who loved to have me sing the ‘sleepy baby’ song,  one i made up just for him.

my little boy-the closest i’ve been and will likely ever be to having a baby.

my little boy, my little baby, turns 5.

i can’t believe it.

you always hear about how fast kids grow up.  and it’s true.  it’s a little hard for me to comprehend that our other two children are 8 and 6 1/2 already.  but it’s really hard for me to comprehend that our youngest is going to be 5.

my heart hurts for all the time that has passed.  my heart hurts because he’ll never be that little, little boy again.  and at the same time, my heart rejoices for all that he has become, for the second chance at life that he has received.  my heart overflows with love for the sweet boy he is and for the sweet and kind man i pray he will become.

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happy 5th birthday little one.

advice?

October 16th, 2009

a sweet friend, who is  also walking the painful road of infertility and heading toward adoption, recently shared some of why and how her heart is breaking at this time.  how do we handle the time we missed in the lives of our children before they came to us?  she wondered if i had any advice for her.  i am sharing my response on here because i think it’s important for those of us on this journey to know that there are others of us who do understand.  each of us has our own unique journey to take, but we do share some similar experiences and heartache.

“advice?  oh, i wish i could just take this away from you because i know how painful it can be. it has been all encompassing for me.  i feel a loss for the child i never had and i feel a loss for what i missed out on with the children that i do have.

i, just about an hour ago was sharing with a dear friend that i have spent time over the past 6 years grieving a baby that will never be.  it seems so absurd in some ways, to say goodbye to something i never had.

and, there are many days, and sometimes multiple times a day, that my heart breaks for what i missed with my kids.  sometimes i look at their sweet faces and get so sad because i didn’t know them as babies.  in a lot of ways i can’t even imagine amelia and wilbur as babies because there are no pictures of them before amelia was 3 1/2 and wilbur was 1 1/2.  with orville we have pictures from when he was 2 months so i know what he looked like, but i never held him or bathed him or smelled him.

i know that while i missed so much, i get to be a part of more than anyone else.  who my children become will be because of how josh and i work with the Lord to raise them.  and from the moment they came home, until the moment they return to the Lord(or the moment i do)i am the one they will call mom, the one they’ll cling to when they need something, the one they’ll rejoice with when something wonderful happens, etc. sometimes thinking about all of this helps me, and sometimes it doesn’t.  but, for all i did miss, there is so much i get to see.

this adoption/infertility thing really is crazy.  it is.  it just flat out is.  there are moments it makes total sense and then there are moments where i can’t figure out anything at all.  and somehow, in the midst of all of the craziness, is our God.  the God of the universe.  the God who made me, made josh, made amelia, made wilbur, made orville, made you, made your  husband, made your little one.  He is there.  and He knows exactly what He’s doing.

and while most of me gets that, there’s a big part of me that doesn’t.   and then i remind myself that it really has nothing to do with me.  it’s all about Him.  and in His infinite wisdom, He has a plan that is good for me and josh and amelia and wilbur and orville and you and your husband and your little one.

and most importantly, i know He loves me and i know He loves YOU.  and i know when my heart is breaking and when your heart is breaking, His breaks too.  and He watches us and listens to us and sends people to hold us because that’s what He’d want to do.

if He were physically here i have no doubt that He’d scoop you up into His arms and say, “child, I love you.  I am so sorry this is so hard for you.  I know your heart is breaking.  I know sometimes you struggle to take one more step.  but, trust Me.  lean on Me.   I have a plan for you.  I know it doesn’t all make sense now, but someday it will.  I promise.”  and He’d wipe away your tears.

remember when you shared these jeremy camp lyrics with me?  “there will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears.  there will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face.”

what a journey!

there’s an 8 year old in my house

October 15th, 2009

amelia turned 8 on the 10th.  i can’t believe she’s 8 years old.  people always say kids grow up so fast and i am starting to understand that.  it’s a very happy/sad kind of thing.

we had a nice day as a family and we had a wonderful evening celebrating with our extended family.

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she started the day coloring and even made herself a birthday card.

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this little munchkin was just relaxing on the couch when i looked up and realized he won’t always fit on the couch.  my heart was sad for a few seconds.  i will miss the little him when he’s that big!

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i hope he doesn’t outgrow his smile!  oh, those cheeks!

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josh was outside cleaning the outside of the dinig room window.  shelby couldn’t resist saying hello and getting her head rubbed.

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the first card of the day came all the way from columbus.  thank you feathers family!

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next amelia opened a scrapbook from josh and i.  she made some pages over the summer and they need a home.  her next project will be making some pages about her 8th birthday with the new stickers that were hiding inside her scrapbook.

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next, a new baby doll!  since this child came home, this is one thing she has consistently asked for.  she brought a baby doll to our house with her, but she has always wanted another one.  we were at sam’s club a few weeks ago when she spotted this one.  she was so drawn to it so we decided it was time.  she was so excited to open it.  then she had a mini-photoshoot with it.

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someday, Lord willing, she will be such a good mommy.  especially if she learns from my mistakes.  oh how i pray she does!

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while waiting for everyone to arrive, our little guy couldn’t figure out how to do something on the leapster.  instead of asking for help, he burst into tears.  big sis was by his side in seconds to help.  she was so gentle and sweet.  guess she’s learning already!

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birthday dinner with cousin will.

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princess figurines from uncle nate.  so fun!

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wilbur running to grab a present for amelia.  he was a bit over excited while everyone was over so josh put him to work being the “birthday santa”.

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a new Christmas dress from grammy.  oh, she looks so beautiful in it!

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just cute!

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i kept noticing orville picking up the wrapping paper and tissue paper off of the floor, but i didn’t think about what he was doing with it.  when i went into the kitchen to get the birthday cake ready, i found this.  he was throwing it all away.  so precious!  he said, “the bag kept falling over and i had to keep standing it up.  it’s really full!”

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a princess cake for the princess.

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a princess pose for the camera.

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5th birthday~2006

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6th birthday~2007

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7th birthday~2008

we’re even.  she had 4 birthdays without us, now she’s had 4 birthdays with us.  we’re praying she celebrates at least 90 more!

memphis kiddie park

October 5th, 2009

last Sunday we took advantage of the overcast, chilly weather and headed to memphis kiddie park.  it’s a wonderful little amusement park made just for the kiddos.  we’ve been here before, our first time in august of 2006.  the kids had only been home for about 3 months.  i looked through our pictures of that trip.  i can’t believe how little the kids were.  they really have grown so fast.  here’s some pictures from last weekend and three years ago.

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first ride, the roller coaster!  it’s the oldest standing steel coaster in north america(just in case you can’t read that on its’ sign below).

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josh was a trooper and rode with the kids so no one would have to ride alone.  i can’t let that happen, at least not on the first ride of the day!

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after the roller coaster it was time for “comets”.

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then they were off to the boats.

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we took a ride on the train.  it circles the park.  can’t believe i made it into a picture!  well, i had to ask to make it in.

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we saw snow white on our ride.  never knew she lived in ohio.

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next we were off to the merry~go~round.

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amelia found a horse named arielle.  only a princess horse will do for the princess.

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then the kids took an airplane ride.

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and enjoyed the ferris wheel.

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next they took a leisurely drive.

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then it was off to the horses.

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with no one really in the mood for amusement park hot dogs for lunch, we went to taco bell with plans to return to memphis kiddie park after.

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the kids wanted to ride the roller coaster again.  this time they went by themselves.

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then they rode the spinning cars which didn’t really spin very well.

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with only enough tickets for one last ride each, they all three chose the roller coaster again.

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i am glad we made the trip this year.

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it looks like amelia will be too big for most of the rides by the time next summer comes, but she’ll still get to ride the roller coaster!

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