Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Introducing ExtraOrdinary!

So, we haven't officially "launched" yet, but I felt like my faithful readers needed to be in on what was taking all of my writing time these last few months.  Months of blog silence will hopefully be worth it for you!


ExtraOrdinary started out as a chapter book a couple of years ago, but then I put it on the shelf for awhile knowing that I would come back to it eventually.  Well, this past fall I did, but I turned it into a six-week Bible study instead.  After months of writing and editing (thanks to fabulous friends) I am finally in the home stretch and have now begun working on marketing and promotional materials.  ExtraOrdinary will be available on Amazon January 2015.

ExtraOrdinary takes the lives of six Bible characters and highlights one of them each week while at the same time weaving in personal stories from my own personal extraordinary journey.  While doing this study you will get to know Peter, John, Hannah, Mary, Hosea, and another special Lady very well.

ExtraOrdinary addresses everything from marriage and finances, to parenting and past pain.  As a woman, I wrote a study for women, knowing that all of the things I have been through are relatable to others in one way or another.  I wrote ExtraOrdinary for someone who is new in their faith, or someone who is finally ready to get serious about living for Christ.  It is basic, yet challenging.  It will make you cry and hopefully, laugh a little too.  I don't present myself as the perfect Christian who has all of the answers, but rather a fellow sojourner who has gotten really good at dusting off my knees and trying again after failure.

My biggest goal for ExtraOrdinary?  That there would be circles of women all over that do the study together in search of real, authentic faith.  I hope that reading my story, along with the stories of other common people in the Bible will encourage you that anyone can be used by God no matter what their past decisions have been or what their personal accomplishments are.

More information about ExtraOrdinary will continue to be released, so stay close to IG (@christinalang8) and Facebook for updates.  Also, look for a new author website that will give information for booking speaking events and ordering the study.  I hope you love it!




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Brave: A Guest Post

The following guest post is from a dear, sweet friend who started off as my boys' babysitter almost 9 years ago. Every week she came into our home and took care of my 2 boys while I went back to work at our church. Our relationship started out casually but over time grew into deep conversations lingering into the afternoons when I got home from my work day. She was a single mom at the time; trying to go to school, explore the dating world with a baby at home, and juggle a few jobs.

She has grown inconceivably these last 9 years and I am so very proud of her. I have seen her spiritual journey literally spring to life in leaps and bounds. She is now a wife and mama to 4 precious littles. Her story is still very much a work in progress therefore she cannot be introduced by name or face....but you will find that her words are enough. She still calls me her mentor, but I just call her friend. Enjoy.


Google defines brave as: Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.


Endure danger or pain? Uhhh, no thanks. I think I am good.


Wouldn’t it be nice if life were so simple and it was that easy to decline pain? Actually no! The best growth comes from the seasons of pain and suffering. The seasons which require us to put on our game face, lean into God, and choose to be brave. To me, this sounds a lot like motherhood. Anyone else?


However, bravery can be a dangerous topic. It has a way of helping us gloat about our accomplishments or achievements in which we looked good or came out on top. It also has a way of causing us to criticize ourselves for the times we wish we would have been braver. Furthermore, the enemy has a way of using one person’s story of bravery to condemn and crush another. Someone else reading this will have a similar story but instead of it being a brave chapter in their life, it might be one that haunts them. Don’t worry… I have plenty of those too. In fact, not all of this season was brave. I was young, dumb(er), and scared… But today is about bravery, those other truths are for a different time.


So here is my example of bravery… Over Christmas break of my senior year in high school I found out I was pregnant. {Remember I told you I was young, dumb(er), and scared?!} Yep, there I was, barely 18 years old, legally considered an adult, and now I was pregnant. This secretive, quiet, and lonely time was so scary. I knew I had a choice to make. I knew I could keep this my little secret forever. But something inside of me couldn’t find peace in choosing abortion. I kept wrestling with it. I tried justifying why it would be ok in this circumstance. I even looked up a few addresses and a phone number. But I couldn’t bring myself to make the appointment.


Only through God’s strength was able to be brave. It was hard. It was really hard. I let down my parents, siblings, family, friends, and myself. I had to kiss college dreams and sports goodbye. I was the talk of the small town in which I lived. Being brave cost me everything at the time. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.


Isaiah 43:18-19 sums up my story beautifully.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

I no longer dwell on my past but it brings me great encouragement to know that God had/has a beautiful plan; plans for good, plans to prosper. Even when I was a hot mess, God was there as my source of strength and for that I am forever grateful. I can’t imagine my life without my sweet boy.

But, here’s the thing about bravery… God equips us to be brave even if we don’t feel like it. 2 Timothy 1:7 says the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. I think as a mother I am required to be brave when there is nothing more than a mere fiber of bravery in my body.  Sometimes being brave just means being still. The bible says, The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still. In that season all I could do was be still and rely on God’s power. I was scared out of my ever loving mind and it seemed like everything was spinning out of control. I had traded in my back pack for a diaper bag, prom for a baby shower, and at one point I thought that sharing a dorm room with a stranger was going to be scary… well at least I wasn’t going to have to birth that roommate.



I am over 10 years into this motherly version of bravery, and oh man! I have to choose to be brave every day. As moms we are great at faking it for our kids. We say things like “it’s all going to be ok” or “don’t be afraid, momma is here”. My question is do we hear ourselves? And who do we think we are kidding? Sometimes we just barely pulling off the brave version of mommy and sometimes we are a blubbering mess.


To all the mommas out there that feel like the bravery tank is running on fumes… It’s ok. Lean in to God. Choose to be brave. Listen to that small voice inside you. Find rest knowing He chose you for your kiddos and chose your kiddos for you. No matter how you were brought together, out of wedlock, adoption, in vitro, or the old fashioned husband/wife way… It is the life you were destined for. You have one shot at it. Be bold, be brave and do it to the best of your ability.


I have 3ish things to help you be you a bit more bravely:

1) Get in God’s word. Study the bible. Cling to scripture. There are all sorts of examples of bravery in there! {Chicks too! Esther, Proverbs 31 woman, uhhhh the Virgin Mary!}

2) Find some quiet time when you can hear Him. Listen for his voice, the Holy Spirit equips us to be brave. I joke (sorta) with my kids when they come downstairs too early that I am having coffee with Jesus and they need to go back to bed.

3) Lastly, get some girls! By that I mean, look around you.  You are surrounded by women walking along the very same path as you. Invest in them and let them do the same for you. Remember the rule… there is strength in numbers.

3b) or 4) Find yourself a mentor, someone who can really call you out when you aren’t choosing to be brave. She needs to be someone that can know all about your mess and love you just the same. Make sure she is at least a few steps ahead of your in life. Don’t do this mothering thing alone. It’s a hard thing and it doesn’t need to be hard and lonely.

Ok, here’s the deal, we are going to screw up. We are going to get some things wrong. We are going to feel like failures. But with God and our girls I think we can do this mothering thing… Bravely! So go. Go be you. Go be brave. Go be you, bravely.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Open Letter to a Mom in a Crisis Pregnancy

40 years ago my husband was born in a small Nebraska town and then lovingly given up for adoption. He was three months old when his adoptive parents brought him home to his new forever family. He doesn't have much information about them at all except for the obvious knowledge that his birth-mom delivered a healthy, full-term little boy. Growing up in his adoptive family was stable and fulfilling; so-much-so, that he never thought much about his birth-family.

Three years ago we brought home our two newest babes to our forever family. My husband had absolutely no idea that bringing a little guy into our home would stir up emotions from his own adoption story many years ago. It's been a process for he and our adopted son, as well as an attachment dance for all of us. We recently completed 12 weeks of therapy through a counselor at Arizona Foster Care Initiatives who worked with our entire family on attachment and educating us on how trauma affects the brain. I have seen tremendous healing in both my son and my husband and I sit here with pride overflowing when I think about how much progress they have both made.

Recently, our church formed a partnership with the Phoenix Dream Center and helped fund a portion of the building known as the Hope Wing for victims of sex trafficking and those in crisis pregnancies. My husband decided that he would write letters to the mamas in crisis pregnancies there to remind them that choosing life for their babies affects generations. With his permission, I wanted to share one of his letters. I am so proud of this man I married.

Dear Pregnant Mom,
I want to start by saying thank you.  You might be wondering why a complete stranger is starting off a letter to someone he doesn’t know by saying thank you. The answer is that I care that you might be in turmoil with the decision of whether you are going to stay pregnant or abort the baby that is growing inside you.  You have made a very difficult choice by giving your baby a chance, but you still struggle every day with the thought of what to do. You might ask why that matters and I want you to know that I am writing this letter to you because I was given a chance.  My birthmother could have aborted me and she chose to give me life and put me up for adoption. While I have never met my biological mother, I am very thankful to her for the choice she made.  I pray for her and ask God to bless her as she blessed me by allowing me to live.
I don’t know what it is like to weigh the choices in your mind and I don’t know what it is like to think about how you would possibly raise a child when you  can barely survive yourself.  I do know that the chance at life I was given allowed me to be the father of six children with my amazing wife of 14 years. The choice you (and my birthmother) made provided me the motivation to pursue a Masters degree, hold a steady job and strive to be a productive member of society. Your choice pushed me in my faith to serve God and be thankful for the life I have been blessed with.
I would like to encourage you in your decision to keep your baby.  The Dream Center is there to help you and get you on your feet.  You will be an amazing mother with God’s help.  If you feel that is just too much, I ask that you please not give up, there are families out there that God has led to provide a loving, stable home for children just like yours. Please know that offering up a child up for adoption is not giving up but rather one of the hardest decisions to make. It is not because you don’t love the baby growing inside you but rather just the opposite. Your love and passion run so deep that you want only the best for your baby but just aren’t ready or able to provide that. I am the result of that decision, I am one of many success stories that now have the opportunity to be a difference.  
Another birthmother’s decision to protect life and  give your child the opportunity of a home with a loving family through adoption allowed my wife and I to pursue being foster parents and then ultimately adopting two children from the foster system ourselves.  Our two adopted children have stability and love every day.  They never wonder  where their  next meal will come from, if they will have a warm bed to sleep in,  or where they belong. You may not know this but your choice will have a far broader impact than you will ever know.  While we went through the process of  adoption, we positively influenced friends that decided to save children from the foster system and provide forever homes for more kids.
Your choice and my birthmother’s choice has broken my generational curse and the generational curse that our adopted children experienced as children number 7 and 8 of their biological mother.  You are a champion of change and I thank you for that.  Please don’t give up the fight that you encounter every minute of every day.  I am praying for you and I need you to succeed, because there is another “me” out there that you are fighting for. There is another success story out there that you are playing a vital role in, you just might not see it yet.
Lastly, please let me remind you how valuable you are.  You are the game changer. Don’t forget to take care of yourself because you deserve to be loved, cared for, and appreciated. I respect you and want you to know that you have so much value, I thank you, my wife thanks you and my children thank you.
Living the Difference,
Brandon


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tackling Football and TIME Magazine

It seems that football can't stay out of our newsfeed right now.  From NFL players' personal issues, to new tackle rules, to Fantasy Football...even if you're not into it, chances are you have seen or heard some of the touchy topics.

Welcome to football season in America.

photo credit
Practices, protein meals, mouth guards, and calling plays dominate a whole lot of time and discussion in our home from August till December. We watch football, kind of.  But mostly, we play.  Well, ok, I take that back.  I watch--the boys play.  Our two oldest are playing their 4th season of tackle and our three youngest are playing their 2nd season of flag, chomping at their chance to grow big enough for tackle.  Their daddy played high school football and even started spring training with his college team, unfortunately a nearly fatal car accident ended his playing career early.  Football is serious bonding time for my husband and our boys.  I don't understand the desire to hit and sweat, but I also don't understand any uncomfortable physical contact in terms of sport.  In my opinion, it's clearly a guy thing.

Which is why I steer clear of the emotional side of things.  Would I rather my boys enjoy a "safer" less contact sport....like golf?  Sure, if that's what they wanted to play.  Do I enjoy sending them to practice and telling them to take their aggression out on the field?  Absolutely.  But do I want my kid to be on the receiving end of another kid's tackle?  Um, it's not my favorite thing.

Sorting through my mail the other day, the cover of TIME caught my attention.  Setting aside the rest of the pile, I immediately opened the magazine.

photo credit
Even football's youngest, smallest players are susceptible to brain injuries.  Virginia Tech's biomedical-engineering department tracked 19 boys ages 7 & 8 during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.  The researchers counted 3, 061 blows to the heads of the boys, 60% of which occurred in practice.  None of the kids suffered a concussion, but some of the shots they took were brutal: 
11 of the hits registered a g-force of 80 or greater. 
"That's the level you might see in car crashes." says Stefan Duma, a Virginia Tech professor.

This statistic got my attention.  

The next paragraph asked a haunting question.  Would you let you son play football?

As much as the TIME article made me want to have a different answer.  The reality is Yes.

I acknowledge that this is a highly controversial topic.  I will do my best (without writing a book) to maintain the position that ultimately every parent and child have to come to a conclusion that works best for their family.  

With that being said, I acknowledge my responsibility as a parent to protect my boys the best that I can until they turn 18.  One of the largest debates of our generation is, how do we keep our sons safe while at the same time teaching them to be men?  I want to protect my child just as much as the next mom does.  I do not however wish to over-protect and coddle my sons resulting in inhibiting their growth from childhood to manhood.  Crass interpretation of that last statement: I don't want my 20 something boys still living in my house someday because I over-emotionally parented them and shielded them from the extreme blows that boyhood slings.  Not happening here.

I can hear your rebuttal now.  "But, boys do not have to play tackle football to become men."

And I would say, You're right.
But it helps.

From the beginning of time, men have violently used aggression to deal with their physically charged energy.  You can say what you want to counter this, but boys were not born to sit still.  They weren't even born to move on their own.  For some reason, they really, really get a rise out of crashing into one another.  I have very personal experience with this.  I live with six of them.  

Also, there is a reason why football is a multi-billion dollar contributor to our culture.  People love to watch big dudes crash into each other.  Its not pretty.  But it's reality.

Which brings me back to why I allow my boys to play football in a respectable league that upholds the integrity of USA Football and its stance on safer ways to tackle.  If we don't spend the time to teach our boys the correct way to protect their own noggin, there is no way that I would be able to trust that they could protect themselves in any sport.  Moreover, if I restrict their energies to "safer" sports that they are clearly uninterested in, I fear that I would run into several more risk factors than allowing them to play a game that they love.

It is imperative that our children know the rules of the game and enter into every practice and game with the knowledge of their own body's limits. As parents, we attend most practices and games and watch our children closely for signs of fatigue and injury.  With my husband's medical degree I feel confident that his personal interpretation of their hits and the hits they receive is enough.  

Our boys know that there is no win that trumps their safety.  If they feel tired, or short of breath to the point of needing a personal time-out we have encouraged them to let the coach know and be their own body's advocate.  I feel confident in their maturity and respect for themselves that they would in fact make the right choice if they needed to.

So, TIME, thank you for your article on the awareness of the dangers of the sport.  I am saddened for the Stover family who lost their son while playing a game he truly loved.  Awareness brings about change, and in this case, change has the potential to save lives.  As for the parenting scare tactics...no thank you.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Adoption Update: Miracles Still

For a moment I hesitated titling this post 'adoption update', because now, after almost 4 years in our home, when I look at my children I see less adoption and more and more Lang.  Our two adopted littles will always have certain characteristics that are unique to themselves and their heritage, but with each passing day, healing inches its way more into their souls and their thriving personalities are what make make up our days.

This is another layer in the miracle of adoption.

Which is why I will never stop writing 'adoption updates', and why I will never be silent about the God ordained miracles in our family that have been a result of our obedience to the call of adoption through foster care.

Do we still have rough days?  Yes.

Do I ever wonder what my life would be like if we had stopped at the discussion phase of turning our family inside out?  Yes.

Do I wish I could do it all over again?  NOPE!!!  Some of those first few days/months were pretty tough around here.  But we are doing it!  We have moved from survival to thrive and I will always talk as openly as I can about walking our adoption road.

Our family is a unique blend of characteristics and pain and past all rolled up into this beautiful, chaotic home. We are better for it.  My kids know empathy.  They know compassion.  They can look past their noses and relate to other human beings.

This was supposed to be an update......

Another summer has passed and a school year has begun.  I am thrilled to tell you that my babes are absolutely amazing.


This picture is my favorite from his party because it is symbolic of many things for Holden.  He is fully enjoying the attention on him as we all sing.  
No more of the wide darting eyes that were hyper-aware and unable to enjoy simple things like birthday songs.  
This is a picture of freedom for a six year old.


Our birthday princess has reached so many goals this year we seriously cannot keep up.  She amazes us every. single. day.  She started back at her developmental preschool this fall as well as continuing on with therapies to help her with coordination and speech.  Earlier this year she was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder which has been helpful in knowing what she needs to be her best Hope.

Hope
4 years old
first day of Pre-K

Holden
6 years old
first day of Kindergarten

Crazy days mean blogging less and i-photograph more.  
Join us on our journey (with a lot less noise) 
Instagram: @langgangmama





Wednesday, July 30, 2014

6 Things I will Miss Once School Starts

It seems like on every social media newsfeed there are mommies counting down the days until their kiddos are back in school.  I am right there with them....most of the time.  We are the same mommies who were counting down the days until summer started 3 months ago.  Before you read any further, tell yourself that if any of this rings true for you it doesn't mean anything except that

You Are A Good Mom.

Counting down the days till summer is just the same as counting down the days till school.  Why?  Because we put our heart and soul into raising our littles and It. Is. Exhausting.  So at the end of the school year we are totally over it.  Same as end of summer.  Yep.  Over it.

As I lay in bed this morning enjoying waking up leisurely, I realized that there are some things I am really going to miss once the house is again quiet for a few hours every day.

1. Sleeping In.  Ok, so this doesn't mean the same thing that it did when I was 21, but waking up on my own is still one of my favorite things ever. I am not a morning person.  But when school starts next week my alarm will go off at 5:20.  Why so early?  Because as previously stated, I am not a morning person.  It takes me about 45 minutes of coffee and quiet meditation before I can face the chaos that can become the morning.

2.  Impromptu Outings.  Hey guys, let's go to the movies.  Actually, I feel like the pool today.  Let's drive to California so we can actually relax outside.  These are the outings summer is made of.

3.  Deep Conversations.  There is time to crawl up on the couch next to the kid who seems to be having a down day.  We have time to really chat it out and talk about life.  I have learned a lot about my kids this summer.  I really like hanging out with them.

4.  Reading for Fun.  No due dates.  No required reading.  Just plain fun.  We love talking about books around here.  Even I take the summer off from my serious books and enjoy books for fun.  The kind that don't need to be interpreted by a counselor.

5.  Breakfast in Pajamas.  It seems like our breakfast time has grown by the hour this summer.  It's probably because I don't have infants or toddlers demanding cereal when the sun breaks.  I have fully embraced the breakfast hour and have taught my boys the art of eggs, omelets, and coconut waffles.  Once school starts it's quick meals, homework check-offs, and synching calendars every morning.

6. Minimal Laundry.  Let's all be real.  Kids only wear clothes in the summer unless they are going somewhere.  Even then, clothes are minimal and socks are...well, never.  Flip flops and a t-shirt and we are all out the door in seconds.  School starting doubles if not triples the laundry load.  Socks everyday.  School uniforms. Play clothes.  Sports clothes.  And yeah, I have enjoyed hanging swimsuits and towels over the back fence and calling them clean. And of course, all good moms know that swimming in the pool is equal to bathing that day.  

Enjoy your last few days before the mounds of papers and signatures come home, packing lunches replaces a hobby, and driving is your new free time.  Only 9 months till summer.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Transform Your Faith Journey: a book by Jen Hatmaker

My very first introduction to Jen Hatmaker was back in 2011 when I saw this video of her standing in an airport waiting for her son Ben to arrive home to the U.S.  Something about her anticipation and emotional reaction (rightly so) made me feel like I knew her personally and I promptly found her email address and introduced myself.

Within a few days I actually got an email back.  And I will quote, she started it with "Hi Friend!"  Even though that was the extent of our interaction (except for that time she signed my first copy of Interrupted, oh, and that time she and her husband served communion at the IF: Gathering....) ok now I just sound creepy.  Let's just say that her enthusiasm for Jesus and people has influenced me greatly.


I read Interrupted when it came out in 2009.  And it changed things for me.  I had already read life changing books like Crazy Love and Weird, but Interrupted was different.  Jen was a woman with passion who was also a wife and a mom.  Nothing about her message made me feel like I needed to wait until my kids got older to use my spiritual gifts.  Even though I already knew that, watching her do it through books, bible study, and her blog felt like someone was giving me permission to dive into my passions.

And I did.  And I have.  And I will never be the same.

I am constantly reminding women that I meet with/mentor/etc. that now that they have knowledge of the scriptures they can never again go back to not knowing.  In other words, they are now held to a higher accountability than before.

Same thing I told myself after finishing Interrupted.  I can never un-learn the facts and scriptures that Jen lays out about how we are to love our fellow humans.  No matter what their story is.   She dives into some pretty hefty topics and isn't afraid to call us comfortable Christ-followers out.


This year Jen revised and expanded Interrupted.  I have read through it again and the publisher sent me an extra paperback for one of my readers.  If you would like to read it, let me know.  Whoever contacts me first will get my extra copy.  I am thrilled to share it with you.



Monday, July 21, 2014

It's Still Me, But I'm Buried in Legos and Laundry

Hi Friends!  If you follow my Instagram (@langgangmama) you at least know I am alive.  If you don't, you have probably wondered if I have quit blogging altogether.  The answer is no.  At least I don't think so.  I still write a lot, but lately it is all in my head, and on sticky notes, on the pages of my planner, and even in the notes section of my iphone. Sadly, none of it has made its way onto the blog in awhile.

The good news is this:  I have had an INCREDIBLE summer with my family.  We have traveled more than we ever have before in the last couple of months.  To some of you that sounds like a nightmare, but for me and my gang, it has been glorious.  I figure the kids are going to need to eat, sleep, and argue anyway, so why not do it on the road?

This year we have been given the gift of time as a family, and we are soaking it up.

With that being said, school starts in two weeks and I am not counting down the days.  Part of me is SO DONE with family togetherness and all the Top 10 Ways to Keep Kids Busy in the Summer stuff.  Yet, categorizing and planning school supplies and lunch boxes puts a little pit in my stomach.

They'll go to school.  They will be another year older.  And my work load quadruples.

So keep me around.  Once the brain fog of chlorine and sunburns begin to fade my mind will eventually crave the tapping of keys.  The crazy Jesus girl will eventually eek her way out and I will have time to dive into my commentaries again. I find great joy in writing and talking with many of you who have become my friends.  See you soon.  xoxox



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Adoption Wrecked Us

Adoption wrecked us.  And we are still putting the pieces back together.  The wrecking ball started its destruction the moment we had the talk that would change our lives forever.

our family of 6 in 2010, two weeks before we became a family of 8
I can't think of one facet in my life that was untouched by the decision to bring another family's pain and loss into our own.  We are still in the rebuilding stage; working together allowing God to put the crumbled structure back together.  It is way harder than we thought it would be.  Adoption through foster care moved us past the zone of cushy thoughts and rainbow dreams; romantic ideas that look good in promo videos and travel flyers.

Adoption wrecked our picture-perfect life.  And I am so very glad it did.

We live in a broken world where bad things do happen.  We spend so much time cleaning carnage, that we very often forget why we do it at all.  Why?  Why am I writing about my wrecked life for all to see?


I didn't move toward adoption because I thought it would make things easier.  I knew that there would be big changes and that they wouldn't all be easy.  Brandon and I were both on board that this would change our family's landscape forever.  After weighing the cost, we went for it.  Passionately.

The word passion involves emotion.  And that's where is gets messy.

When I step back and take a look at the road that lead to adoption for our family, I can see that there is no perfectly good or easy answer as to why we chose this path.  We had four healthy sons.  We were blessed.  We were happy.  

All I can really say was that the desire to step into something greater than myself had taken over.  I longed for the valley of the unknown, trusting that losing myself in a place where I couldn't rely on my friends or husband to make life feel good was where I longed to be.

I wanted to taste the breath on my tongue that could only exist because my Creator willed it.  
No other reason.

Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. -Mike Yaconelli 

I got what I wanted.

3 1/2 years later, I can tell you that adoption provided a new lens from which my eyesight will never recover from.  And I don't want it to.

Looking at the photo above of our family pre-adoption stirs up emotions that I still cannot define.  I want to grab her (the pre-adoption me) neck and tell her that in a few months she will question everything.  

And it will get hard.

And she will be scared to death that she has ruined everything that used to be easy.  I want to tell her that eventually life will feel normal again and that her marriage will be stronger because she stuck to her convictions.

Her idea of who she should be will transform.

Her children will be more compassionate.

Her perfect parenting skills will all be out the window.

And that He showed up.  Jesus did.  And he continues to.  My faith in his promises never waivers.  We stepped past the shroud of picture perfectionism and God transformed our family.

We actively live a life that would have never been ours to embrace.

Yes, adoption wrecked us.  And it has been hard.  But we are only beginning to see the tiny glimpses of light that losing ourselves to a spiritual wrecking ball can bring.

God doesn't leave us wrecked.

It is his pure joy to re-build our family for his purposes.  He makes beautiful things out of us.










Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adoption Update: Sensory Processing Disorder

When Hope came home to us at 10 weeks old the first things I noticed were her rosy cheeks and head full of curly back hair.  She was a cuddle bug who slept and ate well.  She was born with two holes in her heart and because of that her hands and feet would occasionally look a little blue.
Even so-

Everyone commented on what a good baby she was.

And she really was a good, easy baby.

But, babies are supposed to cry, and wake up at night, and not be so floppy and holdable all the time.

I loved that she was easy.  I didn't love the feeling that something wasn't right.

Going on mother's instinct I made sure that the early intervention team knew her name.  Even though her health was improving (both holes in her heart closed up by 6 months old), she was still not meeting regular milestones that other babies her age were.  I began documenting every physical attribute and behavior that didn't set well as I learned my little girl's cues and patterns.

We had no health history.  Not from either parent.  No pre-natal anything.  All the questions that well-meaning doctors and specialists asked me were followed by more questions.

Finally, at two years old when she still wasn't walking, along with consistent nagging, the right people began to take notice.  She started extensive speech, occupational, and physical therapies.

At three years old she started school at a developmental preschool 3 mornings a week.  She made incredible progress.  But she still struggled.

A few months ago we met with a developmental pediatrician for an entire afternoon.  More paperwork and a lot of tests.  And finally some answers.

Your daughter struggles with a disorder that we are still learning about.  Up until a few years ago, it wasn't even being properly diagnosed.  This is something that she will never  grow out of, but with the right interventions and therapies, she will have the tools to learn to overcome the obstacles that Sensory Processing Disorder throws her way.

Sensory Processing Disorder.  I had done enough research to suspect it.  But now the professionals were confirming it.  She was also diagnosed with Developmental Coordination Disorder.  I had never heard of this one, but it really is a thing.  It goes along with her sensory issues.

I am still digesting all of the information that I came home with that day.  My latest companion on the nightstand is The Out-of-Sync Child.  Chapter by chapter I am highlighting Hope's struggles and digging through the rest.  I am learning as we go, and realizing that even though we have a diagnosis my sweet girl still doesn't completely fit into one mold.  And I am ok with that.

Thank you for being a part of our journey.  I have no idea what the future holds.  But I do know that God has a plan for this super-special baby girl (whose not really a baby anymore).