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Yesterday caught me by surprise. One of my younger ones came home from school and quickly spiraled down into a very loud, dysregulated state. I tried everything I knew, gentle words, loving touch, food, rocking, sensory support (deep pressure, tight hugs), giving space, offering a change of environment (sometimes a shower is calming). Nothing. I couldn’t seem to help him out of the swirling vortex.

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Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. AIDS has personally impacted our family because some of my children were orphaned due to AIDS. HIV (which is not the same as AIDS) affects our family every day because some of our children live with HIV – and live well, I might add. With proper medical care and truly life-saving medications. we expect our  children with HIV to have long and healthy lives. 

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Our weekend has been filled with so many good things. We’ve had lots of time with our kids, great food, laughter, singing around the piano, and a few Christmas movies. Annarose’s Share Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success; shopping, cooking, and serving the dinner were all great fun. My two favorite parts of the day were being in the kitchen Wednesday morning cooking with a crew of volunteers and serving pie later that evening. Who wouldn’t want to be the person giving away pie?

The weekend has been a long stretch of fairly unstructured time, which often presents challenges for some of my kids. Dimples and Sunshine had a friend over most of Friday and on Saturday, Dimples spent the afternoon and evening with Aunt Michele. It was enough of a diversion to keep us in balance.

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Today I bring part three of a  four part series from my guest, Sarah. When I published my post, Have We Made Attachment an Idol, she wrote a comment so insightful and beautiful that I asked her to develop it into a guest post. That post was so rich that I asked her to expand it, and before we knew it, we had a four part series. I am very honored that she is entrusting her story to me – it is tender, raw, and hopeful.

[Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2]

Within days of arriving on the west coast I met Kevin. He was unlike any boy I had ever met. He was impossibly silly and sagely wise. He was over-the-top ridiculous, a bookish introvert, a natural leader with an enormously kind heart and even bigger dimples. I had always been attracted to clean-cut volleyball-playing types but there was something about this guitar-playing, scruffy-faced, plaid-shirted, ripped jeaned and pony-tailed guy. I was smitten.

That he had also been through his fair share of ‘stuff’ made it all that much sweeter. By Halloween we were officially dating and we spent our first year talking until sunrise, sharing the stories of our childhoods, and the dreams for our futures. He made me feel safe, heard, respected, comfortable, adored and loved.

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We’re kicking off Advent this Sunday, and in celebration I have a very special giveaway.

You all know how much I love Advent and Christmas. Our house sits on top of a hill with our driveway coming off the highway, so lots of people see it as they come and go from town. Each winter we wrap our porch in white lights; I love driving up my driveway and seeing our house glowing with warm light.

I’ve often thought that we should put a large star on our barn to represent the birth of Jesus in this special season, but constructing something  has not made it to the top of our priority list. Then a wonderful thing happened. I was given the opportunity to review a large outdoor nativity set from The Outdoor Nativity Store.

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How was your Saturday, friends? I wasn’t feeling great, so the long list of tasks I intended to accomplish remained untouched. I felt guilty, like I was squandering the day, but Russ assured me it was okay to rest, so I did. The day turned out to be a gift.

This Wednesday Annarose is once again putting on a community Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of people. Last year, Share Thanksgiving was a huge success, and this year we expect it to be even bigger. Word got around that that there was turkey and all the yummy foods that go with it. And homemade pies — lots of pies.

Part2

Today I bring part two of a  four part series from my guest, Sarah. When I published my post, Have We Made Attachment an Idol, she wrote a comment so insightful and beautiful that I asked her to develop it into a guest post. That post was so rich that I asked her to expand it, and before we knew it, we had a four part series. I am very honored that she is entrusting her story to me – it is tender, raw, and hopeful.

[Be sure to read Part 1 first ]

The awkward dance with my new family continued for the next 11-years.  I belonged to them, and them to me, as much as we were all emotionally and spiritually able.  Given that a few of my universal truths had just been shattered – that my mom would always be there, that the world was a good and safe place, that God would take care of me – I wasn’t exactly entering my new family with much equity in my emotional & spiritual savings account. 

Part1

Today begins a four part series of guest posts from Sarah. When I published my post, Have We Made Attachment an Idol, she wrote a comment so insightful and beautiful that I asked her to develop it into a guest post. That post was so rich that I asked her to expand it, and before we knew it, we had a four part series. I am very honored that she is entrusting her story to me – it is tender, raw, and hopeful.

The school bell rang and I skipped home alone under the warm September sun. Our apartment was dim and quiet when I arrived and I found my mom lying in bed, her grown niece, Caroline at her side. They looked as if they had been crying. They told me that we were moving to Caroline’s house that night.

My cheeks flushed a deep crimson. This was my fault.

 

speaking C2L 2014

I spent the weekend at the Called to Love retreat with 180 adoptive and foster moms and I have to say, those are some beautiful women. Every day these moms lay down their lives to love and serve children who have come to them for innumerable reasons. Many of the children are from truly “hard places,” little ones who’ve experienced trauma and neglect that has hurt them deeply. Mothering hurt children is a task that brings us to our knees, sometimes multiple times a day.

To worship with them, pray with them, learn, laugh, and eat together was precious. I was honored to teach twice, once in a breakout session and again in the general session Sunday morning. As I looked out at my fellow mamas, I wished we were sitting together in my kitchen drinking coffee and sharing our lives. There were so many stories of God showing up in amazing ways to meet the cries of hurting hearts. I won’t mention how many times I choked up as I spoke – whew! Jesus reaches into our hurting hearts and gives us his love and strength to press on.

the day we met Eby

the day we met Eby

Eight years ago this month we received our referrals for Eby and Little Man. Through a strange series of events, we also received a referral for another little boy, but we were only approved for two children. I, of course, fell in love with all three of them.

In Tariku’s referral pictures, he looked small and fragile, while Eby looked sad and scared. Little Man was a tiny baby with big eyes. I wanted to scoop them all up, love them, and make them part of our family.