Wednesday, April 28, 2010
All of the ladies on staff with From HIV to Home are going. Plus I'll get to see some other friends from around the country.
First though I'm trying to get ready to go. Laundry and packing and bathing kids...ahhhh so much to do! Yesterday I spent much of the day getting adoption paperwork off to AAI. I'd hoped to have all of our notarizations done for our homestudy by now, but that hasn't happened due to sick kids and a sick husband. I'm hoping this trip will give me a chance to catch my breath and take a little break from the paperchase. Also hoping I come back refreshed and ready to jump right back in!
Thanks as always to Kevin for holding down the fort (and four kids) here while I'm away. I always miss him when we're apart and I know it's a ton of work being a single parent for a few days. So thanks Kev, you're the best!
Have a great rest of the week. I'm sure I'll have lots to share when I get back.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Meanwhile we finished up watching some Bryan Post training on DVD and have to answer some questions for our placing agency, mail some stuff in to them, and then we'll move on to dossier prep. Whew!
In Colorado you're required to attend several hours of face-to-face training. We went to one session already, and it was great! I loved the presenter--not only was she one of the directors of the agency and very knowledgable, but also an adoptive mom herself. We also met some wonderful people.
At the homestudy training we attended, I was a little surprised to see that everyone there was settling in for a long wait for a healthy infant. I couldn't help but think of the many waiting children, ready to be adopted! SO very many precious children needing families today, right now. No lines, no wait for adoptive parents.
I know that adopting a child with medical needs may initially sound difficult...or frightening...but I can assure you that if you meet any formerly waiting children or their families, you'll see that it's just a child, and just a family. Truly. I know amazing families with HIV+ children, children with cerebral palsy, FAS, etc. etc. These families are happy, thriving, and loving. On the one hand they are amazing, inspiring people. On the other hand, they're just regular people like you and me. That is NOT to say that it's easy. But, no matter HOW you go about adopting, it can be really hard. Lots of unknowns, past trauma, things that can affect an otherwise healthy child.
It is truly exciting that so many are opening their hearts...and yet I'm desperately hoping that viewpoints start to change and we start thinking differently about adoption.
Anyway, that's where we're at! It's a little hard to feel too excited at this point because it seems like just a lot of paperwork...but anytime I allow myself to dream about the outcome of all of it...yeah, I get excited. And nervous. But really, really excited!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I really loved some of what I read in there today. About creation and men and women and the result of Adam's sin. I loved his explanation of how women and men ought to be finding their identity and self-worth in God, but how men find it in work, and women find it in men. I loved how it talked about God's original design for relationship between husband and wife...mutual submission...that it is our respective independence that ruins the relationship. That it is a circle of relationship, Eve came from Adam, and now men are born to women. (Okay I realize that sounds a little fruity. But it was awesome, really!)
Kevin just finished listening to the audiobook version, and it turns out he loved that part too.
So, yay for The Shack. Now that the author is spending less time making us very aware of the many races of God, it's getting better. :)
On a personal note I have done a bit of thinking about men and women over the past couple of years. What does it mean to be a woman, a wife, a mother? In preparation for marriage, and then in the early years of being married, I would read (Christian) books that, in many ways, I just could not relate to. Sure there was some good stuff there, but the image of marriage portrayed in these books just seemed so...not me. Not us. I remember Kevin reading James Dobson's What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women. I distinctly remember him sitting on the couch (Kevin, not James), every few minutes calling out to me, "Brianna? Is this really true? Do you feel this way? It doesn't sound like you", and me laughing and saying, "No."
Really, I'm sure that the book is just fine. But sometimes I wonder if we get so hung up on women vs. men that we somehow forget that we're HUMAN. With equal access to God. Sometimes I wonder if this actually contributes to difficulty in marriage. Because the Bible says that iron sharpens iron, and how can that happen if one's views are consistently dismissed or diminished because they're a woman? It's messy, and I'm not a theologian (thankfully)...I just think it's not nearly so clear-cut as some make it out to be. Especially in the day-to-day. (No, I don't consider myself a feminist or whatever you want to call it. No, I'm not trying to make a big, across-the-board case for egalitarianism. No, I don't think there's room in marriage for EITHER person to be using the relationship to assert their "rights." Yes, I'm familiar with Ephesians 5. :) )
As for us, Kevin and I are committed to talking things out and attempting to reach a mutually agreeable solution. We have yet to reach a major impasse. (Yes, it may happen at some point and then we'll be stuck. I'll keep you posted. And that's NOT to say we never argue or disagree...it's just never reached a point where we're literally unable to move forward, or someone has to pull rank.) I have thoughts and opinions. They matter. Kevin has thoughts and opinions. They matter. For the sake of our relationship, we want to try to put the other first. I have so much respect for my husband. He's my best friend. He also is really respectful of me. I love our relationship.
Ahem...wow...all that from The Shack! Yikes! It's time to get a bowl of ice cream and watch some mindless TV, I think. (Kevin's not home, he's out at a friend's watching a basketball game. If he were here, he'd be scooping the ice cream and we'd probably be watching Arrested Development on DVD. Bummer. Mindless TV is not NEARLY as fun!)
Monday, April 19, 2010
And honestly, I'm having a hard time taking it seriously. I was totally feeling for Mack in the beginning, but some of the God stuff just seems so...contrived. And some of what the author is trying to get across just seems so...obvious. He keeps using these racial descriptions, and I know he's really trying to hammer home that God isn't white, but expressions like "distinctively Asian woman" and his repeated use of "big black woman" are just too much. I will also confess that Jesus giving God a footrub was a bit much. :)
A lot of Christians have taken issue with The Shack's theology, but other than the author's thinly-veiled disdain for the institutionalized church, there have only been a few things I'd take issue with so far. Some of the controversy was perhaps a bit overblown.
I love to lose myself in a book...I love when novels reveal deep truths...but I'm finding that I'm just not particularly moved by this one. I know many people have been, and I'm not finished with the book yet, so I'll have to let you know how it all turns out in the end!
Did you read The Shack? What did you think?
Thursday, April 15, 2010
And it's hilarious because some of these blogs are (apparently) controversial. One in particular is so popular, and also so despised, that there are actually blogs dedicated to being AGAINST said blog! (Did that make sense? Someone has a blog, people think it's lame, and so they've started a blog for the sole purpose of being against the first blog.)
I have to admit, this both amuses and disturbs me. Most blogs I read belong to people I either know in real life or have a connection to somehow. The ones I don't, I'm pretty sure are the real deal. Blogging is strange though because people are sharing things and you're reading them and taking it on faith that...
the person is who they say they are
their motives are pure
their stories are real
Personally I cannot fathom creating an online persona that is different from my actual identity, or embellishing stories to boost readership and keep people coming back so I can make money and get exposure. I don't mean that in a self-righteous way, I just mean that in my opinion, that utterly defeats the purpose of blogging. People blog for different reasons and I get the whole "creative license" thing blah blah blah...but the idea of misrepresenting yourself and trying to be someone you're not to make a buck is really yucky.
Blogging is funny because everyone gets to be some sort of mini-celebrity and you definitely have the ability to recreate yourself, stretch the truth, be whoever you want to be. 99% of bloggers aren't doing this, but it IS something interesting to think about.
Oh, and I can assure you that a) I don't have millions of readers therefore I am NOT profitting off of this thing, and b) I'm definitely not making up stories. This really is my life. (Who has the energy to create a different life online?! My regular old life keeps me busy enough!)
Have you found anything weird out in the blogosphere? What is it?
Friday, April 09, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
...We met Kevin for lunch afterwards, and as we were getting everyone settled at a table and preparing to order, a man approached us, told us we had a really special family, and that he wanted to treat us to lunch. Wow. Such an incredibly sweet and generous man, and also such an amazing encouragement. He completely made my day.
...I took the kids to Kohl's and to Ross. They were such troopers while Mommy browsed through the home stuff. I wore Mary in the Ergo, and Anna pushed Kaitlyn in the stroller while Yosef and Biniam walked alongside. Yes it's simpler to go to stores by myself, but I grew up LOVing shopping with my mom (even if we didn't buy anything), and I think it's really important for kids to know how to behave in stores. They usually have a great time, and I also think that children should be seen in society. (Not to mention I don't miss out on time with Kevin this way, if I shop while he's at work!)
And now I am home. Trying to figure something out for dinner and not having much luck. Currently pondering how much better my day would go if I got up at, say, 6 am each day. Pretty sure I don't have the willpower though! And with that, happy Thursday!
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
I can't really share many details yet. I will just quickly say that we're adopting much sooner than we'd anticipated and that it's a bit of a long story. I can also share that we're hoping to adopt Ethiopian children who have been waiting (and waiting...and waiting...) for a family. Kids who need homes today.
So we're up to our ears in paperwork and social worker visits, and to be honest, it's a bit overwhelming. (This process sure is more daunting when you have five young kids at home, as opposed to just the one!) I'm excited, and nervous all at once. Our social worker visits are complete (yay!), but we're still needing to get our physicals, fill out a bunch of forms, get fingerprinted, etc. My kids have this game called "Busytown" and, well, that pretty much sums it up!
Saturday, April 03, 2010
The last couple of years though, attending a church that more closely follows the church calendar, I've come to really embrace the entire week (and season really) leading up to Easter Sunday. Last year I went to my first Ash Wednesday service and learned some about Lent. Then the Good Friday services at our church are actually some of my favorite church times of the whole year. Amazing hymns, scripture, readings, lots of symbolism. What a gift to sit and walk through the resurrection, and ponder what Jesus did on my behalf.
And this year I went to my first Maundy Thursday service, held not at our church but at a church across the street from us. There was a dinner to commemorate the Last Supper, and then a service that included communion etc. We even got to see our next door neighbor singing in the choir. (Which the kids were so excited about.)
Tomorrow of course is Easter Sunday. Which always feels so celebratory. I love knowing that we're participating in something that millions arond the world are also participating in, and something that people have been observing for centuries.
As for our kids, they attended all of this stuff too. (All five of them, no one went to the nursery or anything.) They sit and listen (in Anna's case she can read along in the bulletin and really participate) and even ask lots of questions ("what's a garment?" "why did Judas hang himself?"--yeah, one of my kids really did ask me that last night.) For now they're interested in what's going on and want to understand. I love it.
All of this to say that I've been trying to take the time to soak everything in this year. It's hard, what with the busy-ness of daily life, but it's well worth it. I hope it has been for you, too.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Recently it reached a point where I felt like we'd reached the end of the line. We had tried everything with him...time-outs, early bedtimes, taking away privileges...he was just always in trouble. And again, not for anything super BAD. But he's IMPULSIVE. And disorganized. Therefore, he's in trouble a lot. (I know, it sounds weird. It is weird.) And then there are his many QUESTIONS.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Truth be told, I came down with a nasty stomach virus last Tuesday night so I haven't been feeling too well. I'm all better now though, thankfully. Whew.
While sick with said virus, I did do a bit of mindless TV watching. Among other things, I saw:
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. (Was anyone else bothered that they kept showing overweight people walking by during the show? I get what they were wanting to portray about the community and the state of our country, but I also think we should be sensitive to other people. Sheesh. That being said, I about died when he ground up all that chicken fat and bone and fried it and fed it to those kids. My inner-wannabe-vegetarian was definitely not okay with that! Eat your vegetables, kids!!!)
A 20/20 episode that featured a man who lives with all these huge exotic animals that he loves more than he loves his own son. (I swear there is something...really...weird...going on there. I really don't care to know what it is. But it's weird.)
That braids are back in style now. I always wanted French braids when I was a kid, but my poor mom didn't know how to do them. I don't have a clue either--thank goodness my girls LIKE wearing their hair down!
My main take-away? I'm so glad I don't watch much TV on a regular basis! We don't have cable or satellite, just an old-fashioned antennae that we hook up once a week to watch The Office and The Marriage Ref. (Did anybody else notice that the host on that show was way less demonstrative with his funny arm/hand motions last week? I swear somebody told him to tone it down. Kevin does a GREAT impression of him by the way.) We also watch Seinfeld reruns at 10 pm, if I'm still conscious. Kevin scoops the ice cream. We are like an elderly couple and we're only in our late 20s.
Back when I was a teenager, and when we were first married, I used to watch more TV. I also used to care about what was in style. (Not that you could ever have told though.) Now? Not as much. The more I see of popular culture, the more I want to run away from it. A lot of stuff just seems really empty to me. (At best.)
Don't get me wrong. I'm no fashionista (thank goodness, that's too much pressure) but I look presentable most (okay, some) of the time. But I don't have a burning desire to be in "the know". I DO want to be a good wife, and a good mom, and live out my "vocation" that God has given me. I want to love the poor and to seek justice and to be a good friend.
Somehow though there just seem to be a lot of potential distractions to those things...lots of people saying I "need" this or "MUST have" that. I'm learning to be okay letting that stuff go. It's so eye-opening too, having children who are getting older every day, because I'm often thinking about what I want to impart to them. Pamela Anderson on Dancing With the Stars? Not so much. (Yep, I caught some of that too this past week. Ew.)
So that's my I-watched-TV-several-days-in-a-row-and-lived-to-tell-about-it recap. In summary: I don't like much on TV, but I love to laugh. So I watch The Office and a couple other shows. Except for when I'm sick. Then I watch grown men kissing tigers.