Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mixed Responses about Foster Care and Adoption (part 1 I'm sure)

I believe that adding to our family through foster care and adoption will be very powerful, and quite possibly, complicated. I am aware that my opinions are without full experience yet we began researching this option many years ago and I believe that it was something we, as a couple, were called to do.

I find people responding to this in a variety of ways. First, there is the “Are you crazy?!” My response is simply, “A little bit.” I really am a little afraid of what four small children will mean for my sanity which is already wavering at times. However, I believe that we will never regret doing it, but we may regret if we do not. I also say that we’d like to do it while we are too stupid to know otherwise. We are already knee-deep in small children, so what’s one more? (Don’t worry. I’m really not that na├»ve. This is just me reassuring myself.)

Second, there are the very complimentary responses such as “That is so wonderful. It really takes special people to do that.” When I hear this, I am always very thankful yet I feel a little awkward because I am not extraordinary and I am not doing it all for nothing. As a parent, I am well aware that children drain resources- mental, physical, and financial. However, our children fill our lives with experiences and emotions that can never be measured. I want to add to our family in this way to help a child in need, of course. This is what called us to do it. However, I also want to experience all of the rewards that come with loving another child as our own.

Then there is the, “I could never do that.” My response to this is, “That’s OK. It is not for everyone to do.” Believe me, I too have fears on how well I will raise a child who may or may not look like us, may or may not have special needs, and may or may not get to stay with us forever. I remember when we were trying to decide if we were going to pursue foster parenting, when our (at the time) 5year old daughter, Caroline asked, “What does fostering mean?” Wow, how do you answer that? I, again, did not have much time to think and said, “Fostering means that we will love and care for a child for as long as he/she needs us to.” It was like an "Ah-ha moment." Why couldn’t I explain it that simply to myself?

Believe me, I do not mean to over-simplify this complicated and very personal issue; I merely have to make it understandable for me and our family. At some point, I heard Joel Osteen say, “God will not put a dream in your heart that he is not prepared to back up.” I believe this to be true and I trust God. I do hope,however, that God does not trust me very much. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Future Teenagers in Love

I can barely write on this because the thought of my children loving anyone outside our family gives me the creeps, already. The thing I keep trying to pre-train myself to say first to her when she says, “…but I LOVE him!” is “I am sure that you do. I remember what that feels like.” I feel like it will be important try to establish some common ground and respect before diving deeper in the conversation. Just because I am older and have experienced the deep love in marriage, doesn’t mean that I should diminish the fact that young hearts have very real feelings. After all, I spend everyday trying to show them, tell them, and model for them how to give and receive love. I can only hope that after I validate his/her feelings that I don’t find myself hopping in the car, driving to the local church, and converting to Catholicism, just to put them in the convent or seminary. I hope that they will learn how important love is yet how to maintain self respect, self control, and to not lose sight of things that are important to them now and to their future.
Our backup plan, however, was established on the day of our 1st child’s birth. We had been expecting a boy, and she was far from it…this beautiful girl was now ours. I looked over at my husband holding her, and noticed a concerned look on his face. He simply stated, “We need to buy land.” I wasn’t sure if the drugs were getting the better of me or if he had lost it so I asked him to explain. With some panic in his voice, he followed with, “to hide the bodies.” The thought of having a daughter who someday would date boys almost took him over the edge. FYI, we do not own land or a gun. However, we plan to buy bullets. When the box of bullets is sitting out on our countertop, the boy is bound to believe we also have a gun….that may work all by itself. Wish us luck.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pregnancy and Natural Childbirth: Open Season

As many of you know, when you are pregnant the public feels as though they can do or say anything they want to you. You know what I am talking about, don’t you? The unexpected tummy rubs…the rude grandfather welcoming you with “Wow! You really do look like an fat cow.”…the stranger telling you that the name you love reminds them of a sleazy girl that they used to know…or even my beloved mother stating that it must be a boy because my rear was getting bigger.

When I was pregnant with our first child, I spent a lot of time and energy researching my options for childbirth methods and pain control. I had also had some interaction with patients that were negatively impacted following an epidural. Although I was aware that the odds were that the epidural would work wonderfully, I decided to prepare myself for an un-medicated birth, using hypno-birthing techniques.

Wow! The response was usually not supportive. Some people openly chided me for my naivety and some even laughed. It was as if they were personally vested in my birthplan failing. I even knew that many of the doctors that I would come in contact with were skeptical. The negative responses completely surprised me. To this day, I still can not understand why this choice caused such a dramatic response from some. The last time I looked, it was my uterus we were talking about. Frankly, my husband and the medical staff were the only ones who would have to deal with me and my crazy decisions, right? After all, I have never found myself judging those who wanted the epidural.

I now realize that this may be one of those situations when others criticize in order to justify their own choices. Just because you can’t imagine why anyone would want to do such a thing doesn’t mean that it is wrong. That is why we have options, right?

Did it work, you are asking yourself? Yes and no. At ten centimeters dilated, I was still able to walk out to the waiting room to talk to our parents without cursing or screaming. I also never threatened to kill my husband. However, after pushing for two hours, I needed a stinking c-section due to the baby’s head positioning and change in heart rate. At that point, we jumped right past the epidural to the spinal block but I’m not bitter. When all was said and done, the goal of the birthplan was achieved…healthy mom and baby. After all, we all had this goal in common.

Where's This All Coming From?

Here is a glimpse into my train of thought. I am now taking an opportunity to capture these thoughts into words. To those who know me and have chosen to love me anyways, know that memory is not my strong suit. Also, I find that my children, now ages 7, 5, and 2, have an ability to catch me off-guard with questions or actions that leave my responses less than well thought out. Someday, an issue will arise and both my words and memory will fail me. I will take an opportunity to look back at my words and remind myself of what I so innocently believed when they were so young. Someday, my children may look back and know me a little better than they did before and know how much love and thought went into all of those decisions- whether good or bad.