washing feet at 15.

When she was five I found chicken eggs in her closet. Not real chicken eggs. Like from the grocery store eggs. Right out of the carton eggs. You would think that I would notice that a dozen were missing. Beneath princess blankets and stuffed animals were straight from the fridge, eggs packed together neatly .And a five year old looking on as I tried to hold in the puke while removing them from her closet. She started crying ,carrying on about how “all her life” she had wanted baby chicks. And this was her only ticket to getting one. She promised that she knew what she was doing because she had watched her kindergarten teacher do it weeks before, so she must be an expert. She had a need to care for something for someone. Even if it did come from the fridge.

By the time she was in late elementary school her course of action changed and she wanted nothing more than to be a veterinarian. She would beg us to look up petfinder.com to find our newest pet. She would dream of living on a ranch where she would feed her own horse and groom it as soon as she returned home from school. Her dreams had clearly exceeded our pocketbooks and the house in the city.

She has always had a gift of loving others. But it wasn’t until this past fall in Uganda that I got to see what God has done in this little girl who wanted to hatch eggs in her closet.
It was a quiet afternoon and things around the guest house were settled down. After putting her brother down for a nap I asked my friend where she was. She pointed to the front porch. I stood in the doorway and watched what I can only describe as humbling. There was my sweet baby girl washing the feet of the women that took care of us. That walk miles to work each day in the red clay. That never utter a complaint. They spend hours scrubbing the floors, making beds, cooking amazing meals with smiles always across their faces. They are there before we even wake in the morning and go home well after dark to then take care of their own families. These women are the epitome of strength and courage to us. But there she was. Kneeling before them washing, talking, laughing, and listening. To their stories. To their lives. To who they were. She in that afternoon became an image of humble. A servant of the King. She was becoming the girl, the young woman, that God has been making her to be. I stood in the doorway with tears running down my face. I have never been more sure that God has unbelievable plans for her life.

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Happy birthday my sweet girl. At 15 you make me more proud to be your mom.

stop trying to be laura ingalls

One of my mentors recently called me out on some things. Okay, perhaps not so much as a mentor but my therapist. Don’t go all “judgy judgy” on me, we should all pay for some sound advice sometimes. She let me know that I was not Laura Ingalls and needed to stop acting like it. Ok. Perhaps she didn’t use those exact words it was more like “why are you acting like you can do everything for everyone all the time?”

I look at Pintrest and see all of these amazing ideas. I scan Facebook to see supermoms making their own detergent, homeschooling, and still taking a shower every day and I wonder where did I go wrong? Ever since I came back from Uganda I have felt this overwhelming need to “make- up” for all the time I was gone. I have been determined to be a better mom. A better wife. A better friend. And apparently the measure all of that was figuring out what everyone else was doing better at. So I had been cooking these amazing meals with all the food groups included. Packing lunches that the kids would love to eat. There would never be the infamous cafeteria trading going on with my kids. I even have been making our own bread. From scratch. Like I forgot they made bread and sold it at the stores already sliced. Telling myself that this is how I was going to show my kids that I loved them. That I was sorry I had left them for so long. That I would never leave them again for so long. I thought that I was speaking their “love language” of non- processed foods. You can imagine how well this all went. It took about one month. One month of non -processed foods, amazing dinners, a prescription of Xanax and too many trips to the therapists office to discover I had hit rock bottom.

Apparently when you have five young children, your hormones are a wreck, you are reintegrating into your family and world, it is not a good time to raise the standards on yourself. And the standards that I had set for myself were beyond unattainable or even acceptable. No one ever told me that I needed to do all of these things. This is just what I had told myself. That in order to obtain my position as a loving mom I needed to at least do as well as all the moms on Facebook and Pintrest. But there I was flat on my face in a pile of flour wondering who I was supposed to be. And then I learned this. Again. I just needed to be present. Just there. I just needed to breathe and be in this moment. Not the moments that I lost. Not in the moments that may or may not happen. Just the moment of now.

So here we are. I bought bread. And they really like it. And I am present. And it is just where I need to be. I don’t need to make my own detergent to be a good mom. I can decide that some of my kids need to go back to public school. I can make macaroni and cheese from a box. And they will be ok. They will thrive. Because I am here.

done hiding.

I am struggling. There I said it. I am done hiding. I am done pretending. I am done making excuses. I am struggling.

I can lie and tell myself that I didn’t see this coming. That I didn’t see depression and anxiety creeping toward me in the middle of the night. That many nights I feel like the walls are closing in around me with such darkness that I am afraid to even move. I can’t lie and say that I have been begging for someone else to tell the truth and tell me that adoption is hard. That being away from your family in a third world country for 12 weeks isn’t hard. I can’t lie and say that I haven’t begged God for mercy. That I haven’t screamed at Him and asked Him why I wasn’t let out of the country sooner. I rant and rave for days about all the injustice I saw and babies who were not orphans taken out of the country. I get so angry about all of the bribery, threatening and entitlement I saw others Americans around me display. How the nightmares of it all keeps me up most nights. I can’t lie and say that the images of my friends suffering to feed their own children doesn’t go away when I close my eyes or turn the music on louder. I won’t lie and tell you it doesn’t make me question God. Asking him why? Why do I have clean water? What makes me so special that my kids can be educated? Why do I have a roof over my head that doesn’t flood up the walls every time it is rainy season? Or why don’t I have to worry about malaria every time my child gets a fever?

Yes. I am wrestling with God. Some days are better than others. But other days I feel like Jacob. And I know I will never win. That God will continue to wrestle with me until I get it right. Until I lay it all down. All of my fears. All of my anxiety .All of the nightmares. All of the helplessness. All of the hopelessness. All of my depression. He wants it all .

When I got home I had realized just how much I had endured. How many times I had been told that I could not leave the country. How many times I had seen and felt suffering of those around me and now it is all coming back . All at once. Adoption is not rainbows and unicorns. Adoption is messy. Especially in the country I was in. There are so many more questions I have now that I am back. Don’t take me wrong please. I am for adoption. But I am also for families staying together. I am for sponsorship. I am for supporting the family so they can “be” a family. I am for health care for mothers and education for children. So don’t take what I say the wrong way. Just know that I am really struggling with all levels of ethical choices things right now.

And when I am struggling I need some space. I need space to breathe. Space to feel. Space to be angry and confused. Space to pray and think. Space to get the help I need. Space for those who really want to be in the mess with me. And yes I do believe in meds and therapy. Believe me I believe God created Prozac on the 8th day. You don’t have to wonder why I have turned into an introvert. Or why I am “ignoring” you. I am not. I am just feeling. And feeling is hard.

home.

Grateful.

This thanksgiving means something completely different this year. I can honestly say I have never been more grateful. 12 weeks ago Tim and I left our four blessings and traveled over 22 hours to meet our newest blessing. Ephraim Kwagala James Massie. And just five days ago I arrived home in Chicago with him. This journey has been the most difficult yet faith stretching path we have ever walked. As I learn to adjust to the time zone and our “new normal” I will be able to communicate the stories and struggles that God has carried us through. Until then I just wanted to say “thank you”. As my blessings start making their Christmas lists I made a list of my own….

My grateful list.

our son. He seriously has brightened our family. He will forever be loved.

my husband.He is a rock star. He held this house and home together for over two months. He constantly encouraged me to bond with Ephraim and not worry about life at home. I am so proud to be his wife.

prayer. To those of you that carried us daily in prayer. Believe me I felt it in my soul on the days I thought I couldn’t handle one more disappointment.

-meals. My family tells me that they have never eaten better. For this mom’s heart it makes me so happy. To know that every night they sat down to a meal made with love.

-help. To my family and friends that took the time and the resources to travel here and take care of my blessings and home I am so overwhelmed humbleness. I know that you are all so busy with your own families but you sacrificed and gave anyway.

-letters. The letters that were sent were my daily connection to you. I re-read every letter many times. I needed to know I wasn’t alone.

100 other more things….(believe me there are so many more…)

To everyone who has given of their time,prayers, resources to help bring this little one home I am so grateful for you. You have in your own way cared for the orphan. Just know that as I bow my head to pray this thanksgiving each and every one of you I am thankful for.

Blessings to all of you….home

too good not to share

one of my dearest friends recently received this video. it is the day she met her daughter therese in burkino faso, africa. this was december 2010. less than one year ago. just take a moment. watch the video. read her story. feel your heart change.

http://http//solgosfamily.blogspot.com/2011/09/meeting-therese_06.html