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Quarantine, Family, and a Book Launch

Hello, friend! Are you easing out of quarantine or sheltering in place? For me, it feels more difficult to figure out what to do now that restrictions are changing.

I have big news coming about the book, but let me fill you in on family first!

Since I last posted, Annarose returned home from Mexico for the duration of quarantine. It was very hard for her to leave but the board of her organization said it was time. It’s a joy to have her home. We’re spending lots of time together and even tackling some projects like painting the living room. She also has a gardening job and is enjoying working a few days a week.

Russ and Isaiah have stayed on their regular work schedules. Claire is wrapping up her senior year of high school and working two days a week as a barista. The boys are finishing school and eager to get out to see friends and play basketball. We’ll see how soon that can all happen.

I’ve continued working a lot. With preparations for the release of The Connected Parent, a weekly podcast, the Hope Circle, interviews, and more, my days are overflowing.

And just to make life more exciting, I completed a program to become a Certified Enneagram Coach! The Enneagram is a fantastic tool for personal, relational, and spiritual growth. More news about this to come.

With The Connected Parent coming out in a little more than a month, Harvest House Publishers is gearing up for a big book launch. We’ll be forming a Launch Team soon to help spread the word about the book. I would love to include you! Watch my OTM Facebook page for information, or shoot me an email to let me know you’re interested. [email protected]

Here are a a few resources I’ve created in recent weeks:

Trauma Free World – Learn why you might lose compassion for your child and how to get it back.

A Theology of Hustle podcast – I was a guest on this great podcast.

The Adoption Connection podcast – We’re continuing to release a new episode each week. Here are a few highlights:

Exploring the Complexities of Transracial Adoption with Tara Vandewoude

Pandemic Schooling Advice from a School Counselor with Maria Hansen-Quine

Adoption and Foster Care Book Reviews Just for You with Lanaya Graham

The Enneagram and Adoption with Jeff and Beth McCord

Please subscribe to my weekly email to stay in the loop about the book launch and every other exciting thing! Use the form just below this post or in the sidebar on the right of the page.

I know these days of quarantine have been hard, but if there’s anything we know as parents, we can do hard things!

All my love,

Lisa

Staying Connected While Staying Apart

My friends, it’s been far too long since I’ve written to you. If I had a blog post for every time I’ve thought about writing, you would already be tired of reading.

How are you? How are you holding up?

Do you feel the uncertainty of these days? It seems we swing back and forth from, “Let’s stay home and make cookies!” to “This is serious and people are dying.”

Many times I’m not sure what to feel.

A Christmas Moment I Still Think About

With the sorority sisters gone for the holiday, we emerged into the beautiful house.

It was 1991 and we had three children ages 4, 2, and seven months. Believe it or not, we were house parents in a sorority at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Graduate school had motivated us to drive across the country with a toddler just a few years before. I took a pregnancy test somewhere around Illinois and life as a soon-to-be family of four began.

Money was painfully scarce. It’s humbling to admit, but I used to pray that someone would invite us over for dinner after church so we could eat something really good. Then something amazing opened up to us.

Remembering Kalkidan

I wish I was one of those people who dreamed of loved ones in heaven. It’s only happened a couple of times since we lost Kalkidan. This was one of those times.

Our family was gathered around a table. I was sitting at one end and the table was long with so many of us together. We were talking and laughing when Kalkidan ran into the room. 

Shouts went up, “She’s here! She’s here! Kalkidan is here!”

She ran to me, crawled into my lap, and rested her head against my chest. I kissed her forehead, my cheek brushing against her curls.

For a moment I felt warmth and joy, then I felt myself begin to surface from sleep, and I realized it was a dream. I tried to hold on to it, to sink more deeply into the dream and let it flow on, but it was gone.

I wanted to reach for Russ, rest my head on his chest, borrow some of his courage, but I also didn’t want to wake him when his alarm would do it soon enough.

I drifted back to sleep.

I woke again in the morning with a deep sense of sadness.

Today (10/29) is Kalkidan’s birthday.

This should be her senior year of high school and she should be walking next to Claire at their graduation next spring.

But even as I type the words “should” I sense that’s not quite what I mean. This all should be true, but only if I can have my own way. The fact is, I don’t get my own way, I can only walk in God’s way.

His plans are better, even when I don’t understand. I bend my knee to him– I trust him.

But that surrender is not easy; sometimes I have to fight for it. I’m reminded of a story in the gospel of John. Many of Jesus’s disciples had turned away and he asked the twelve if they were going to leave too.  Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, you are the holy one of God.”

I see no other way than to trust Jesus, the holy one of God. I can’t imagine living through a tragedy like this without him. But that doesn’t change the reality that grief is hard.

C.S. Lewis wrote,

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.

Grief is an animal I can’t control.

Sometimes it’s powerful and overwhelming; I feel crushed under its weight. Other times it’s a small wave of sadness that almost feels right and good because it means I haven’t forgotten.

The first two years after we lost Kalkidan, I was overcome by a feeling of fear. Or maybe it was a sense of confusion, like it just couldn’t be possible. To be honest, I still feel that way some days. But there was fear and a sense that the world was no longer safe.

C.S. Lewis goes on to say,

I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.

At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in.

That invisible blanket was very real in the early years – I was different after the accident. Nearly five years later, I know I will never be the person I was before losing Kalkidan. There is no getting back to the way it was before, or who I was before. I’m forever changed.

And that feels right to me.

Some of my children have gotten tattoos as symbols of how they have been changed and what God has done. One tattoo says, “it is well” the other “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” I don’t have a tattoo, but I’m marked by changes in who I am and how I relate to the world.

Of all the things that weigh on me, I don’t want Kalkidan to be forgotten. Her life shaped mine in so many life-changing ways. Her life may have touched you too.

Today we are remembering Kalkidan. Thank you for letting me share her with you.  #rememberingkalkidan

If you have lost someone you love, I’m very sorry you are walking through this too. I send you my love.

With courage and hope,

Lisa

Help Your Kids Manage Their Schedules With This Simple Tool

Kids need simple tools for managing their schedules. They often become very anxious when they don’t know what’s coming next. This is magnified in kids with early trauma.

I’ve been using this low-tech, back-to-basics tool for many years. It’s so simple, I’m almost embarrassed to share it, but it just might be useful to you!

 

Although I made this short video last January, the beginning of the school year is the perfect time to try this.

Also, don’t miss the opportunity to join me in The Hope Circle where we recognize the hard and celebrate the beauty of adoption. It’s the perfect place to renew your hopeful, courageous heart and become the mom you’re meant to be.

Doors to this membership site close September 14, 2019, and space is limited.

Have a fabulous day, friend.

With courage and hope,

Lisa