Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adoption Musings...why?

I was having a conversation with a dear friend the other night and afterwards I was a little disturbed...not with her...cause I love her, but because I know that there are still so many misconceptions out there.

We were on the subject of loving kids from hard places. I want to love some kids that are from a hard place, but it's not to happen. And while I totally understand the reasoning in my head...I just don't in my heart.

In our conversation she shared with me some examples of people that she knows who chose to parent children from hard places and ended up having a terrible time of it.

It's not uncommon. It happens. Unfortunately more often than truly anyone wishes to know about I think....however what about those kids from hard places that overcome?

I would say that all children that are older than a few months come from a hard place... even newborns can have a difficult start. But there is a huge upheaval in any child's life when they are taken from their birth parent' matter the cause.

It's just not natural.

MOST of these kids move into their new families with minimal issue...some have more bumps than others...but they become family.

I find it interesting that people don't sit around and talk about the mom's that give birth to children with various health issues and say "I could never give birth to a child because you just don't know what is going to happen!" Things happen inutero, during birth, genetics happen...terrible accidents happen...divorce...loss of income...illness.

It comes with parenting.

There are probably as many parenting nightmare's of kids that never experience adoption as there are adoptive parents with nightmare issues. But there seems to be this double standard of being able to classify 'those kids' the ones being adopted as being harder.

I know parents that have adopted several children and things are awesome, I know parents that have adopted one and can't seem to find the light of day because of issues. I don't speak that in judgment, just to make a point.

Sometimes kids from hard places can’t get past it. Sometimes the excruciating things that happened to them just cannot be gotten over. Does that make them less worthy of love? Does that make them less capable of healing? Certainly harder to heal, but not incapable.

I have had some pretty traumatic things happen to me…and I think I am relatively normal. (that’s another post)

I guess… what I am trying to say is… there aren’t guarantees. Ever. In. Life. If you can be prepared …if you know what you are up against… you can God can make lemonade outta lemons…even if it doesn’t turn out all sunshine and roses in the end…there is a kid out there that just needs to know that someone cared enough to fight for them…and loved them enough to do so.

Adoption does take the extra effort of loving a child that you didn’t get the privilege of birthing…there are factors that you cannot control. There are things that just can’t be fixed…there are things that leave wounds that we cannot often see.

It seems as though I am talking in circles… the short answer is that you don’t know what can happen… in birth or adoption. You cannot predict the future. You cannot say for sure how your life will unfold.

It comes down to faith. Faith in knowing that whatever happens…if God brings you to it, He can and will bring you Through it… perhaps a bit messier and mussed at the end but so much richer!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bad Mom?

Way back when I started this blog I meant it to be a way to share what was happening with our adoption of N.

Then it was about our adoption of E.... then it was just a way for me to vent and get our all of the feelings that I had about having the 2 boys home and an outlet for the stress.

Then life became the new norm... quiet...ok well not quiet.. but normal. Every. day. life. living.

I have often thought about what in the world I should write about. I mean most of the people that read this...all 30 of already have a heart for the orphan so mostly I preach to the choir... I have wanted to write more about what it's like to live with a child that has hiv... but you would be bored to tears. :)

You see, I have found I am not a good hiv mom blogger. While I was in Chicago I found that I was probably not even a good hiv+ mom There were 4 of us there together, discussing our daily lives with hiv+ kids. Amazing women!!! LOVE them!

Twice a day 2 mom alarms would go off to remind them to give their kids their meds.

Um... I don't do an alarm. This is in no way to dismiss the other mom's whom I LOVE... it's me... I just don't do the alarm thing. We give meds in the morning and at night... mostly around the same time each night. But there are times when we are off by an hour or 2. Had me worrying a little bit that perhaps we were screwing something up. But when we came home our PID guy said, morning and night... at roughly the same time... so, that's what we do.

Then we were talking about emergency kits. You know the zip lock bags with the gloves, band aids and other safety things, just in case something happens with E.

Um...again... no safety bag. I wonder if that makes me stupid or a bad mom? But to be honest, I have wipes and tissues, and always have a band aids. I have always felt that if I were going to tell people that my child was not a risk to them, then I needed to act that way. I am not careless, if there is blood I use a tissue or a wipe, and I do carry band aids. But an emergency kit? nope.

Honestly things just are ...normal here.

We do have a g-tube, and it's messy. It's not really ever healed all the way, so we have to keep it covered and cleaned.

We do have meds that we give each day, twice a day...4 in the morning and 3 at night. Plus his allergy meds, and the occasional inhaler...but it's life.

So occasionally I wonder... am I a bad mom for not being stringent with meds and always being prepared?

Then I look at his little healthy face. I feel his strong arms around me as he hugs me in the grocery store chanting quietly "Mommy. Mommmmy. Mommy.Mommmmy."

I may not have it all together...but I am the mommy who loves him with all that I have.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yard Sale and other stuff....

Holy cow... I can finally breathe. What a CRAZY week/weekend...

D and I have been running around like crazy people this week picking up items for the yard sale and dropping them off at the church...then doing it again. I was fielding calls and going a little nuts while trying to work my day job and tend to the family. We ended up with quite a bit of stuff. Not the large items we had last time, but still some really good items.

Friday dawned early and those of us from the team that could take off work went to the church and started sorting and then pricing. What a job! We tried really hard not to shop in the process, but you know it's I was really good though, didn't come home with much. :)

We had a TON of baby items and toys.

We even got the mother of all weird items to have been donated to a church yard sale... a 'position' book...complete with *-rated pictures AND tabbed pages...LOL as well as a bag of someones used thong underwear. Not donated together.... I don't think. We had a HUGE laugh over them both...then they both went into the 'round' file. I seriously think someone just didn't check the stuff they were giving before giving it... won't someone be embarrassed when they realize what they donated? lol... can you imagine the conversation? "Hey honey...where's that book?" ....... tee hee hee

We worked until about 430pm then called it a day and went home to bake cookies for the bake sale the next morning.

Saturday dawned at 5am so we could get to the church at 6am to start moving things into position in the parking lot.

The day was long and mostly steady, but because of the the huge festival going on down on the oceanfront, we didn't get as much traffic as we would have thought. We didn't do too badly, we made about 1600.00 total. We had enough left over that we saved the good stuff and will be doing a smaller scale one at our place this Saturday. Smaller, and less involved. I pray we make at least 400.00 to give us an even 2000.00.

Today is my momma's birthday so we celebrated her amazing life with her, over good food, yummy cake and a couple of games of Banana Split. :) Happy Birthday Mom!!! You ROCK!

I am a bad bad blogger and didn't take my camera anywhere. This past weekend sucked all the energy out of my pour little body... I think it took a few brain cells as well.

I am so very relieved though to have that out of the way, and be DONE with it. The small one at my house isn't nearly as crazy and time consuming, so I am not fretting over it.

In other news, I got an email this morning from some dear friends in Ethiopia asking for prayer. One of the girls we ministered to while there tried to hurt herself... this led them to have to rush her to the hospital. The problem is that they do not have a car so they had to carry her on their backs to the hospital. They had another emergency that required the same procedure later in the week. It's crazy that they had to do this... please pray for them. Please pray for the heart of the young lady, T, and for the vehicle they so desperately need. It breaks my heart that we are so far away and can't help.

I am praying about how I can get them some help. Please pray with me.

In other totally exciting news!!!!! After the adoption that couldn't happen this past week, D and I have prayerfully decided to start the process again at the beginning of the year. Our HS will be renewable as long as we do it before the end of February. We will take the rest of the year to work out our budget, build up some money and then start afresh at the beginning of 2011. SO SO excited!!! God will have to work some MAJOR magic financially to get this to happen, but He is a God of miracles and wonders! I know He can do it!! Please pray with us!!

So...that's it for now...more to come....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How Come?

I have a picture of a baby that I pray for next to my mirror in my bathroom. She passed away not too long ago.

This morning N looked at the picture and this is the conversation it sparked:
N: Mommy how come that baby doesn’t have a family?

Me: She did have a mommy that loved her very much but was sick and couldn’t care for her, so she gave her to the people at the orphanage that she knew would take care of her and love her. The baby is with Jesus now.

N: How come she they didn’t take her to the Dr?

Me: They did, but they didn’t have the right medicine to save her, so Jesus decided that He needed her to come to heaven.

E: That’s sad. :(

N: How come they don’t have medicine over there? How come the Dr’s couldn’t save her? How come they didn’t have medicine to keep E from getting sick?

Me: Because medicines can be very expensive, and not everyone can get them. This is part of the reason why mommy went to Chicago last weekend. I went to talk to people about how we can help baby’s get medicine, and also help them get families like you and E. Because you are both so very special, and there are families that just don’t know yet how amazing it is to have kids like you in their lives. We are going to tell them.

N: Ok!
E: *hugs my neck*

How come?

How come we adopted?
How come we pray for these kids?
How come we chose to open our lives to this world?
How come we love a child with hiv?
How come there are babies still dying?
How come there are older children still waiting… and aging out of the orphanage system and still have no family?
How come there are countries that ‘age out’ kids from orphanages to scary places at the age of 5?
How come there are still places where babies are made to live their entire lives in cribs never to see the light of day of feel the loving touch of a mother?

How come?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that we have a responsibility to do something about it. You may not be called to adopt. That’s fine…not everyone is!!!
Adoption isn’t always the best option.
You could help sponsor a child to go to school and get food and medicine.
You could help a family raise funds that does want to open their homes and hearts to a family.

You could attend the Mid Atlantic Orphan Summit to find out how you can help or how you can get your church to step up with you.

You can buy a beautiful necklace from Project HOPEFUL that is made by Ugandan women out of magazine papers. The money goes to 147 Million, Project HOPEFUL(site is under construction), and Amazima.

You could sponsor a child to go to school.

You could donate money to help a family adopt a child. These kids are living on borrowed time. They need your help.

You could go to this Blog… and save the last bit of life this sweet baby has left.

You can PRAY.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some Chicago Pics

What a weekend!
We were so busy talking we didn't take many pictures. :)

Carolyn and I shared this YUMMY pumpkin cheesecake on Friday night.
The fabulous Hot 40+ Moms On A Mission to UnOrphan The World (Audrey made that up... I borrowed it)
My roomy, Audrey. Amazing woman! We really stayed up too late talking and sharing... thanks for being such an amazing roomy and new friend!!!
And THIS, is Dasha. A itty bitty tiny ball of spit fire and beauty!!! Her momma Traci is the one on the far right in the pic of us all up above. She just came home from the Ukraine. How stinkin cute is she??!! Couldn't you just eat her up!

I wish I had more pics... I will do better next time. It was fabulous!! Can't wait to do it again!!!

My Weekend in Chicago

What a grand time!!!

And we didn't even make it into the windy city itself, but the time was awesome.

I have pics, still on my camera so those will have to wait. :)

I flew through Tampa on my way back up to Chicago... how weird is that. But the cool part is that as I was waiting for the flight a friend of ours came up to me and said he and his son were on the same flight. So we sat together and caught up. What are the odds??!! :)

I arrived in time to meet up with Audrey, we got our rental and braved the streets of Chicago. Not too bad, but there's some crazy driving that happens there... I almost felt like I was back in

We made it to our hotel and met up with Carolyn and Traci. So great to finally be able to hug Carolyn and meet her face to face. Just as cute and awesome in person as she looks. ;)

We headed out to dinner and had a wonderful time eating good food, drinking yummy wine, and sharing our passion for the orphan, specifically those with hiv, and special needs. The cool thing is that Traci and Audrey have both adopted from Ukraine, and their perspective was really cool to see. We sat there, 4 mothers of hiv+ kids and shared our hearts together. It was truly amazing.

Saturday we headed out to the University of Chicago Hospital for the hiv+ seminar. It's for parents that are thinking of adopting an hiv+ child or children and would like more information. They have partnered with Project HOPEFUL to put together a great informational program.

There were PID docs, and an RN plus several of us adoptive parents that have btdt. We all shared our time and information. There were about 30 people there. That's so awesome!!

It's a great model. One cool thing is that the head of PID in Chicago knows our PID guys and said he would love to speak to them and help me get that program here in VA. We will be setting something like it up here in the coming months. Which is totally exciting. We are also talking about taking it to Duke and possibly the DC area to share there as well. He's got great contacts in both places. SO SO exciting!!

We are working on getting a blog together for the regional directors, and all the other fun things that go along with growing this ministry/program.

Audrey and I stayed up too late talkng both nights. It's just so grand having someone around with the same passions and love for adoption and hiv+ kids.

Sunday we went to church with the whole Twietmeyer clan... what a gift! We then ate lunch at a sports bar during a Chicago Bears It was hard to get business done with all the shouting and fun around us, but coming from a city that doesn't have a 'team' it was great fun to watch and be a part of...even if I am not a shhhh

Then it was time to head home. :( It was sad to leave my new amazing friends, but I know we will be seeing each other again soon and God has some amazing exciting things planned!!!

On the smoulder front... it's a no go. You probably guessed that it was adoption related. D was actually praying about and open to a situation that I brought before him.... even S was! But it's not meant to be. I am so sad...I am not sure which I am more sad about...the fact that we can't follow through, or the why. Both suck monkey toes!!! But God has a plan for us all and I am working on trusting Him with all my heart. The interesting thing is that I think this situation may have opened the hearts of both D and S to be willing to move forward. So please pray that the right situation comes forth and God ordains it as His will and not ours.

Working feverishly on the Yard Sale for our mission team this weekend... please pray God's favor over it. :)

Have a wonderful and blessed Tuesday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekend happenings...

gosh, it's been a busy week again, no time to blog.

Today I am leaving on a jet plane (I just can't type that and not sing the I am headed out to Chicago to meet with my friend Carolyn and Audrey to talk about kids. Orphans to be exact, hiv+ orphans, and how amazing they are and that adopting them is possible, and a HUGE blessing.

Audrey and I will be volunteering with Project HOPEFUL to help educate parents, and family members about these kids and about hiv.... I think...LOL I am headed to Chicago to find out more.

I am so so excited! It will be refreshing to be around so many people that are passionate about this and that are passionate about these kids.

The kids have a busy weekend planned with dad. They will be headed out to play on Saturday, then to a fun church event on Saturday night. Then there is a huge air show here this weekend and they will be going there on Sunday. The Blue Angels fly in this air show... man are they amazing!!! The last air show we went to here ended really badly, it was right after E had come home and N had a major meltdown in the middle of a plane tour. We ended up having to carry him the mile back to the car kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs. phew... THANK YOU GOD that we have come a long long way from that situation!

The boys are so excited about going. They can hardly stand it! :)

The mission team is gearing up for another yard sale next weekend. So next week will be another crazy one. I am getting phone calls daily to come pick up something or to schedule getting things to the church. Crazy stuff I tell ya!! But so exciting. Please pray with us that all goes well and God blesses it! :) There is a huge festival down at the ocean front that day and we are hoping to get alot of business that way since we are right there in the middle of all the action. :)

Still have the situation that is smouldering in the background... please pray with us that God's will be done, and that He shows us exactly what His plan is.

Have a great weekend ya'll!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

When Momma Ain't Happy...

ain't nobody happy.

I know you have heard that phrase before, perhaps even said it yourself. Possibly even felt that way. :) Perhaps you have the magnet on your fridge?

It's something I have come to realize has a certain ring of truth to it. Unfortunately I have also found that I do have more of an impact on the mood of my home that I had realized before.

Over the last 7 weeks I have made some changes in my life. For the better, and I am beginning to see the changes that are happening in my home because of it.

I have been getting up every week day morning at 5am for 7 weeks, going to the gym and working out for an hour at a time. I can feel my strength increasing, my stress decreasing and my mood lifting. I can feel myself the change in me. I use that hour to listen to praise music and pray. I love that time alone with my headphones and God. :) The scale isn't really cooperating as well as I would like. I have lost 5lbs in those 7 weeks, but I hear slow and steady is the best. :)

I have chosen to take my issues to God first. To then follow the path He would have me walk.

I confronted the person at church that has been so contrary, asked for a mediator in the meeting and actually went through with it. I HATE confrontation. I don't like it when people don't like me, I don't like it when people see the side of me that isn't the one that the world usually sees. I normally would just fester and rot over it, or quit the ministry that I have to be in with this person. But that's not what would serve the committee or the church in the best way. I needed to suck it up and confront, and try to move past the hurt and pain caused by the past several months of ugliness.

I have also taken a volunteer position that I am SO excited about!!!! I will be the Virginia Regional Representative for Project HOPEFUL! I am so excited to work with them, and to be able to see the fruit of this amazing ministry. I am going to Chicago for the weekend to learn about the programs they are doing to educate people about hiv adoption. I also hope to learn more about the Almost Homes project happening in Ethiopia.

What I have found in this process of exercising, confronting, and committing is that I am a happier person. I find the joy more often, I see the humor, I find the grace in the moment.

This has effected my household. The boys are happier. They are more content. They seem more able to regulate. They completed their first week at school with success, pride and happiness. N had a great week. He's been better at controlling himself, and regulating his behaviors. E, who was excited but apprehensive, had an amazing week. He wasn't happy that he wouldn't be going back to school on Saturday. :) Just this morning the Sunday School director told me about an incident that N was involved in where he chose to remove himself from what could have become ugly. The other child antagonizing him... she kind of joked that she expected N to push the kid over, because he frankly deserved it, but N was so good about it. AND she recognized it in him, and TO him. That's huge. ;)

The relationship I have with my hotty hubby is better. We have had more relaxed times, and happiness. When those regular flare-up moments happen we are more easily past them.

Choosing to care for myself and focus on God has brought me to a place of more peace.

ssssshhhhhh He's also working something that could be HUGE and smokey as well... if you so choose, some prayer would be great. ;) Only His Will to be done.

Gotta go to bed, that gym time sure comes early. ;)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Blue Shirt or Red one?

Chocolate Ice cream or Vanilla?

SUV or Sports car?

Parent or not to parent?

Special needs or 'healthy'?

Why to we choose what we choose?

Are we wrong if we choose one way or another?

If a woman chooses not to be a mother is she wrong? If a parent chooses not to adopt a child are they wrong? If parent's choose to only accept the referral of a healthy baby are they somehow wrong? What if a parent chooses to adopt a child with severe special needs, are they some how crazy?

What is right for me isn't right for you. What I choose doesn't have to be what you choose. And what you would choose or wouldn't, doesn't have to be my choice.

We chose to have bio children many years ago. Adoption wasn't on the radar. I am not a person that can say that I have always wanted to adopt. I didn't. I didn't even really ever think about it.

Then God came along and changed those plans. (THANK YOU GOD!)

In the beginning we chose a toddler, but wanted healthy. We were scared to take on any more than that. Again, God chose to change our hearts.

He led us to adopt a child with hiv. (THANK YOU GOD) With this adoption have come MANY new and wonderful opened doors, relationships and even a couple of hard days.

With education and exposure to so many other opportunities I see that we could and can be open to so many more options than we originally thought possible.

Would we have chosen some of the paths we have walked? No. Not necessarily. Would I change them? NO! A resounding NO.

Are any of my children perfect? Nope... am I... um NOPE!

I choose God. I choose His plan. I choose His way. If it meant a healthy infant, or one with no 'chance at normal life' or a 14 yr old or another toddler's His choice. He loves each child equally. He loves each of us equally.

ETA: I would like to state for the record that I TOTALLY don't think deciding on parenting issues is even remotely as easy as choosing an ice cream flavor! :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Perfect End of Summer day!

It's been the most beautiful weekend! The weather has been cool enough to have the windows open and the house fan on. It's sunny and gorgeous. Praising God that Earl chose to step away from the coast so no one got hurt. :)

We took the boys to the beach on Saturday. It was the perfect day and we all had fun.

Nothin' like peanut butter and jelly next to the ocean.

Some random guy surfing...the waves were really pretty cool.

My little sun God. :)
Puffy Cha Ching Cherry Pink Toes....
Trying to dig a hole, the water kept rushin up....
Then this little guy decided that he wanted in on the action. Oh my goodness he was THE cutest little dude. He would get D to put water in his bucket and then he would just dump it. He had D eating from his hand. :) D then turns to me and says "Makes you want another one doesn't it?" I just gave him my "DUH" look....seriously... did he have to ask me Perhaps the bush is beginning to smoulder?
It was truly a yummy day... beautiful weather, beautiful family, amazing God... what more could you want...except perhaps another little one...:)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman

I just finished reading the book Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman

Man... what a book!

I loved it from the beginning. I love how real Mary Beth is. She describes herself as the complete opposite of Steven. He's a glass-half-full kind of guy and she's a glass half empty gal.

She tells a bit about how they met, and how SCC got started in his career.

She shared about her bio children, and her battle with depression, and the steps that led them to adoption. If you have heard the story at all you will remember that Emily, their first daughter went on a mission trip with Mary Beth to Haiti. That trip broke little Emily's heart for the orphan and she began a campaign to get her parents to adopt a child. (Much like when Z our oldest told us we should adopt...funny how kids get that seed planted)

Steven was all for it, Mary Beth, not so much. They prayed and then God told them to move forward.

I loved reading about Mary Beth's honesty in wondering if she would ever love a child that wasn't her's biologically, how she would be able to handle the stress that comes with adding a child to the family, more so an adopted one.

Then the miracle that was Shaohannah's gotcha day and what it did to her heart. How it healed her in many places and how God showed her what it meant to be His child.

She then shares the stories of Stevey Joy's adoption (Steven wasn't convinced that they should adopt again...he was looking for his...wait for it... yep you guessed it a Burning Bush I totally had to read that part to D!!), she told of Sweet Maria's adoption story, and how Show Hope began.

Of course she shares the tragic events of the day Maria went on to be with Jesus, and the pain the family is continuing to live through as a result. It's also about healing and the way God is showing them about His love, His Grace and His Strength.

One of the things that struck me is the grief that Mary Beth feels...the whole family feels... at the loss of Maria. Maria wasn't just an adopted child. She was THEIR child. She was loved as much as any of their other children. She was all black hair, little brown eyes, sticky fingers and she lived her life BIG. She was their child. The grieving done over her loss isn't any less than that of a child Mary Beth could have carried in her own womb.

I think many people still worry about whether they can love a child not 'theirs', whether it can be the same. It IS.

This book is about the struggles of real people, with extraordinary faith, that doesn't always feel all that extraordinary.

Get it! I know you will feel a little closer to God when you finish.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


So, if you have ever lived on the East Coast you would know what it means to 'get prepared' for a hurricane.

Crazy stuff Around here people get crazy. They start heading to BJ's, Costco and Walmart to stock up on supplies. They buy water and canned goods, batteries and blankets.

This all when the silly storm is still churning off the coast of Africa and not even projected to come our way.

Then, it gets closer. Closer. We have are shown hourly what the projected path 'might' be. Seriously no offense if any of you are weather forecasters...but oh to have a job where everything is subject to change...and does.

We just remembered the 5th anniversary of Katrina this past weekend in New Orleans. They are STILL trying to dig out. What happened there, could happen here, except the whole levy thing. We get the 'scare' every time...and then nothing happens.

So, Earl, may be visiting.
He may come Thursday night.
We may get flooding.
We may get high winds.
We are currently under a state of emergency.

Who knows?
God. :)