Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why do we want to adopt?

I have come to realize that not everyone lives in the land of Kevin and Jen, well maybe geographically, but not mentally or emotionally, so you may have a hard time understanding why we would want to adopt a child. After all, we have 4 wonderful, healthy kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, that's perfect..... why would we want to mess that up?! Or, why on earth do we want more mouths to feed, messes to clean, more stress and aggravation? But all of those things focus on us, individually and as a family. Because of our faith and who we have become in Christ (we haven't always been this way) we see things differently now. Simply put, it's not about us. Don't get me wrong, there are times that I want to scream "What about me?!", but the Holy Spirit guides me and comforts me and I get over it, besides I have a wonderful husband who senses when anything is bugging me and he steps in to save me however he can. But this self-lessness is not something we really try to do, we are just compelled, willed, given that ability by God, because He is selfless and through Christ enables us to be that way too. Philippians 2:3 &4 says: " Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." That's what we are doing. We are going to be able to care for a precious, broken child who has lived a life more horrible than we can imagine, showing that child love, compassion, and being able to show them what "family" really is. We get the opportunity to change their life and help them become a wonderful person in spite of what they have been through. We get to teach them about the cleansing love of our Savior and that they were beautifully and wonderfully made by God, just for us to love. We don't really expect anything in return, but it would be nice to receive some of that love back. Oh, we know it won't be easy or fun sometimes, but neither are our biological children. For example yesterday, for a number of reasons I was having a bad day, and so were the kids. There was arguing, fighting, yelling, and I was ready to just quit ( I threaten that often), but you know what, today is a new day, we still love each other and I still feel so blessed to have each of them. Yeah, having more kids means more of those days, but it's all worth it if in the end if I have made a difference in their lives. I learn so much from my kids and I can only hope that more kids means I'll be even wiser(or completely nuts). We do have a lot on our plate, but I  know that God will just give us a bigger plate, he always does. We are so thankful to have so many wonderful people around us that have helped us become who we are today, and those who encourage us and still want to admit they know us, even though we may seem like we are totally nuts. We feel like, by putting others first, we benefit, which doesn't make sense, unless you know Jesus and what He's done for you. He is the ultimate example of self-lessness, and He is King-very backwards from the ways of this world-but that's what keeps us going! We hope to have the same compassion for others and value everyone, regardless of what their past was, having hope in the future. We realize we probably won't ever have fancy material items, or a fat bank account, but hopefully when we are gone from this world, we will have made a difference, left a legacy, and people will remember us for the love we shared. I honestly believe it's what we were made to do, to share God's love with everyone! Love ya!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dumb Question Week

I am sitting outside as I write this today, it's so nice out I couldn't resist, but the glare off my laptop is very distracting, so forgive my typos.
We did 3 lessons in one last week, and next week is a panel of speakers (adoptive parents, foster kids who have aged out of care, case workers, etc.)-we're excited about that. Then the final class is sort of "Adoption 101"-cause I guess they figure we are serious at that point. People in the class are starting to get really anxious, we can tell, and there are a lot of questions now, a lot of dumb questions too-so many that Kevin and I started keeping track of dumb questions just for our amusement. Not that we don't have dumb questions sometimes, but you have to realize that most of these people have not been parents before(although some have and they still ask dumb questions)and they are just going to have to start strong parenting from the get go with these kids, instead of a slow, steady build up like with an infant. They just have no idea what that's going to be like, and so they ask lots of questions, which we really do understand. I remember before we started our MAPP classes we would say half jokingly to each other, "We have 4 kids, why do we need parenting classes?!". But I must admit we have learned a lot. We feel more confident about how to handle misbehavior and we have seen a difference in our parenting and our kids' behavior. You aren't a good parent just because you have kids, which is why there are so many kids in foster care. So we have been humbled a bit by the class and are very glad that they take the steps to ensure that these kids find a good, loving, permanent family.
I have a cute story to share.....I was in the car with Kody earlier this week and he asked where our baby was. I said "What baby, we don't have a baby! You're the baby!", then he said "No, when are we getting our baby?"Then I clued in that he was talking about adopting. I said "Oh are you talking about the kid we are adopting? and he said "Yeah". So I said, "Well I don't know if we're getting a baby, do you want a baby?" and he said "Yeah, I like babies!". That was just so sweet to me! I don't know where he got the idea of a baby....we have never said we were adopting a baby, but it seems like he understands that when someone "gets a new kid in the family" it's usually a baby. Then, we were at Walmart yesterday and we walked by the baby section and he pointed at a cute little outfit and said "We can get that for our baby!".I don't have the heart to tell him that we probably aren't getting a baby, but it's just so sweet to me! It's also kind of reassuring that he understands,as much as a 4 year old can, what is going on.
So we ,well mostly I, have been starting to think about things like bunkbeds and a bigger car, but we aren't buying them yet....we still have lots of time. The numbers were kind of disappointing.......the MAPP instructors told us there are about 130 kids available for adoption right now in Hillsborough County, there are about 60 families waiting to be matched(but they did say that most of them are waiting for a 0-3 year old), plus in our class there will be another 20 or so families added to that. Oh and of the 130 kids about 60 or 70 have severe medical or emotional needs. So it may be awhile for us to be matched, we already know we can't handle severe special needs. But I've said before, we know the Lord had our child all picked out, so we'll trust Him to match us! He knows us and our new child the best, we just have to be patient! Untilnext time...........

Thursday, March 3, 2011

4 More classes!

We are getting tired of these MAPP classes! It's not the classes themselves, so much as the hassle to get there, but 10 weeks is a long time! I guess they are really trying weed out those that aren't serious about committing to adopting a hurt child. We have begun to talk more about how to parent these hurt children. Basically it is positive parenting, being proactive versus reactive, which in my opinion, is a great approach with any child. Although I do admit a lot of my parenting is reactive, I do try to be proactive and follow through with consequences, but some days reacting is the best I can do!
We have turned in our family profile, with a letter to the child we may be matched with, to tell them a little bit about our family, and pictures of us and the house. Now we are working on our background check stuff, getting fingerprints, schools records for the kids, health certificates, personal references, even vaccination records for the cat and dog! But even through all of this we are getting excited about the thought of a new family member. The kids talk about it a lot now and we will occasionally talk about how things will be when the new child comes home. I have days that I am excited about it and days that I think "What on earth are we doing!?" I do think that uncertainty is what really makes us rely on God through all of this though. We don't have much control over all of this process, so it is great to just realize that and stop and put it in God's powerful, able hands. Knowing He's got it under control really calms my anxieties and doubts, when I stop to remember that!
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 

Some days I am completely overwhelmed by my to do list, or even just making it through the day, and I cling to the promises of my Great God, knowing that He is with me in my mistakes, doubts, troubles, and that in these things I can bring Him glory because I could not make it through them without Him. I love being able to look back on my trials and see how He has brought me through them gracefully. Without grace we would have no hope, so I think that in parenting, as well as any other relationship, grace should be what we strive to share, it seems to be the answer to almost anything! I think that giving a child grace they may have never before experienced will be powerful enough to help them overcome their unfortunate past.
This has been "Deep Thoughts With Jen" , thank you for joining us.