Oxygen Mask Moments

I have not looked at my blog in over a week, which is unheard of. I know I’ve said it before, but my days are so full that I am not really keeping up. Thanks to my family and friends, I am holding things together, but this is a season of what I call, “Oxygen Mask Moments”.

When I fly, I rarely listen the the safety instructions, but I have always been struck by the instruction to place the oxygen mask over your mouth before assisting your child. Presumably that is because if you pass out while trying to help your child, neither one of you will get the oxygen you need.

It was amazingly wonderful and amazingly difficult last summer when we added three new children to our family. They were incredible, but the adjustment was huge. I realized that I had to take in oxygen, or take care of myself, in order to take care of them. I felt a little guilty about not pouring every single ounce of energy into the children, but I knew that we were all going to suffer if I became more worn out. Two months after Dimples came home, I began to feel more like myself and I continued to feel better and better as the months went on and my energy returned.

We have been home from Ethiopia for 3 1/2 weeks and I’ve reached the point where I have to sleep even if I haven’t read my email, written on my blog, corrected math pages, or made a grocery list. I also need to exercise because it will reduce my stress even if I feel that I don’t have time. I need to eat well – which is particularly hard when I’m tired. It takes much more effort to make a salad than finish off Little Man’s cookie. Truth be told, I’m not even trying for salads right now; baby carrots will have to do. I also need to see my friends and family, and if I can’t see them, I need to call them.

I have determined that when a friend asks if there is anything they can do to help, I will simply say “yes” every single time. I may not know exactly how they can help, but once they step through the door, something will be readily apparent. Today a young friend came over and played Uno with Dimples while I ran a few errands. It was a relief to know that she was occupied and happy. Tonight our fellowship group met and my sweet friend told me I could come completely empty-handed, so not only did I get a break from my little ones, but we had good fellowship and food with our friends. I also had a very special surprise when my dear friend flew over from Seattle for a 24 hour visit.

There are many joyful moments in our days, and camp was fantastic! I hope to blog about it soon, but in the meantime, I’m going to put myself to bed and look forward to a productive family work day tomorrow.

Thank you so much for checking in. I’ll be back soon.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Angela
    September 6, 2008

    SO fun to read your posts again! I wish I could’ve been at camp and met you face to face!
    We leave for ethiopia in the morning, and your post was just what i needed to read. Thank you! I will say ‘yes’ when people offer from now on, since you are leading by example! 😉
    I feel like I know you from reading your blog, and I talked to Jennifer when she got back from camp and she loved meeting you!
    Keep breathing in… and I will try to as well!!
    Much love!

  2. Andrea
    September 6, 2008

    Oh Lisa, you are great and thanks for being so truthful. I can’t imagine how you do it all but you do. It will be nice when people ask to help you and you say yes. Since I am your age, I do agree with the exercise. It makes such a difference when the exercise is included in the daily routines. I wish I could live closer so I could help you. I would love to give a lending hand. Love ya!

  3. nancy
    September 6, 2008

    Lisa! Glad you are home. I don’t know if you remember me, but my daughter Eden and I stayed with your family at Addis Kidan fr a few days. Your family’s story is totally inspiring!

  4. darci
    September 7, 2008

    praying for you this week-may your oxygen tank be overflowing. 🙂 thanks for sharing, even in the midst of your craziness right now. I’ve been thinking of you.

  5. Gr8fulmom
    September 7, 2008

    My husband and I had some interesting things happen that were leading us to adopting from Ethiopia. I came across your story on Youtube. It was just what we needed and was the moment that changed my life. I knew we needed to adopt. I gave birth to 6 children and adopted a 20 month old from Alabama. We are in the beginning stretch of paperwork for the adoption of a 3 year old boy.
    I would love to one day meet you. You have a wonderful person and you have a beautiful family. Thanks for changing my life-

  6. Joy
    September 8, 2008

    Well said. Your children and husband are your ministry and you need to stay healthy and rested to do your job to the glory of God. It is freeing when you can say “no” to other commitments and not feel guilty, just knowing that for this season your time needs to be invested at home. Take care and we are excited for you and your family.


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