Reckless Love

It’s been over four months since we first met this tiny stranger we now call our son. Except, he’s not so tiny anymore, and he’s still not technically our son. But he sure has made a himself at home in our hearts. He is the sweetest, happiest baby– so quick to return your smile with a squinty-eyed, scrunched-nose, toothless, ear-to-ear grin.Isaiah four months

Isaiah’s birthmom signed her parental rights over on February 9, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for the court to pick up the file and sign the paperwork to make us his legal parents. It’s annoying to still have this hanging, but there is really no chance he’s going anywhere. This chubby little man is here to stay.

I haven’t had much time to blog since he came along, but I’ve had so many thoughts mulling in my heart. While in the hospital with Isaiah, I witnessed an adoption-reversal happen right before my eyes. And in just the past 2 months I’ve had two friends lose their babies: one in a tragic car accident that took the lives of baby, mom, and grandma; another in surgery on his tiny little heart.

That baby was born on the same day as Isaiah.

Both babies spent a majority of their lives in the hospital with illness. Both mothers – whether they knew it or not – were a great encouragement to me while I was with Isaiah in the hospital for two weeks.

It just doesn’t seem right… how do you reconcile something like this?

For 10 weeks we loved Isaiah as our own, knowing full well he was not our own and could be taken from us at any moment.

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He won’t be taken away from us now. But going through those 10 weeks and then witnessing these families’ losses… it’s stayed with me that we could just as unexpectedly lose either child at any point…

I suppose such a realization could cripple me with fear. And sometimes it starts to.

But besides making me a sappy basket-case, it’s challenged me to cherish every moment and show grace, even when I’m frustrated.

My children NOT napping, in spite of the tranquility it looks like.

My children NOT napping, in spite of the tranquility it looks like.

Ok, not every moment. I’m still human. And don’t forget we are on the undies-side of potty-training a toddler (which, trust me, is much worse than the pull-ups-side of potty training).

The words of another friend has added to my conviction.

Two months back, when we were waiting to get the call that Isaiah’s birthmom had signed off her rights, I was talking to another adoptive mom about how the call really would change nothing about how we felt about Isaiah. No paperwork or phone call could make us love him any more than we already did. She told me in essence that,

“What I’ve come to realize is that each child I have is an amazing gift from God. But I’m not promised any more days with my biological children than I am with my other children. I just need to love them all unconditionally for however long I have them.”

Whether you realize it or not going into it, parenthood requires reckless love. When you love a child, there are no guarantees against heartbreak.

My natural personality is to keep everything the same. I am happy to read books about risk-taking protagonists. But I myself would rather stay in the safety of what I know – the same job, the same community, the same morning routine.

Please don’t ask me to change my morning routine.

Can I get an “Amen”? Surely I’m not the only one.

Risks are not attractive to me. Change is never a welcome event. Hardship, even less so.

Remember the emotional basket-case thing? Yeah, that’s me. I cry even when the team I can’t stand gets eliminated on Amazing Race. I’m fairly confident that no one has ever said of me, “She’s so strong.”

In fact, I am so confident in my weakness that I’ve already decided to home-school both kids all the way through college. I’ve made Elise promise never to date because she’s not leaving home nor is she ever even riding in a car with a boy. And I’ve even designed the “Mom” tattoo that Isaiah will be permitted to get when he turns 16, just so the ladies know he is not available.

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But my instinct to shelter them is really mostly about sheltering me.

Children are worth the risks. Worth the heart-ache. Worth the heartbreak.

So when the time comes that we can consider growing our family again, I inwardly tremble at the thought of fostering. So much about it hits at the very core of my fears. Getting attached, giving them back to a bad situation, having no control, the possible impact on my kids…

But ultimately, I also want my children to learn radical, reckless love themselves over cozy entitlement and constant leisure.

Growing up, my parents demonstrated this for me. They didn’t “foster” per-say… But for several years, we lived with my grandparents while my mom helped with their care. Then years later my uncle moved in with my family for 4-5 years until he passed in 2007. They’ve also opened their home up for months at a time to my paternal grandpa and an intern at my mom’s PT clinic.

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My mom and my Uncle “Grand-brother” Greg

 Although I didn’t always love sharing my house, but I am so thankful that it gave me such a close relationship with these family members. I also witnessed such extreme compassion and hospitality and saw the impact it had. I honestly don’t know that my grandparents or my uncle would ever have come to know the Lord if it weren’t for my parents. That, in itself, is… huge.

And really, having long-term “guests” actually made the time we had as a nuclear family something we looked forward to. Not typical of families with teenagers.

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Obviously these are just words right now. But it stands what I said earlier:

Children are worth the risks. Worth the heart-ache. Worth the heartbreak…

Whether that means unconditionally loving on your own children through potty-training, threenager-hood, junior-high, and some season of rebellion or despondency; or loving on another child that’s never known unconditional love.

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Beuller?

Did you hear about our Rafffle

Beuller?

Beuller?

Beuller?

Haha. The funniest thing is that up until a year ago, I didn’t get that reference. And to be completely honest, I ended up hating the movie, but I kept it on whilst doing projects just so I could see the “Beuller” part and feel like one of the cool kids. I’ve been waiting for a chance to fit in like this. Too bad I didn’t think to just look the clip up on Youtube.

Life’s tough lessons ya know.

(My apologies if you are a Ferris Beuller fan.)

wpid-img_20150527_203634726.jpgAnyeeway… the odds are very much in your favor for the Raffle! I’ll just say that we’ve had many very generous donations, but no one wants to put their names in for the Raffle prizes!!! For goodness-sake, people! I wanted to make this rewarding so that WE can give to YOU too!!! And actually, they were mostly all donated-prizes, so it’s really more like we’re re-gifting.

As of right now, there are 5 tickets that have been put in for the ipad… and your chances are about the same for everything else. Just sayin’ – those are some pretty good chances.

1 month until the drawing! The drawing will be held at the end of the benefit dinner we are having on June 27 at Peace Church (6950 Cherry Valley Road, Middleville, MI 49333) from 5:00-6:30 pm. 

Also, if you are big into garage sale-ing or baked goods, we (ok, I) will be at 754 Washington Blvd, Lake Odessa, MI 48849 from 9:00-4:00 on June 4-6.

(I guess Tyler has to be at school for the final days of the school year – something about having a sub on your last day of school just wouldn’t seem right.)

And speaking of Tyler, I should tell you a short little story:

I made 3 different types of cookies this weekend and froze the dough to bake up for the sale. One of the cookies that everyone always seems to love is cinnamon-chip snickerdoodles. The only problem is that finding the cinnamon chips is like searching for truffles (the mushroom, just to be clear).

When I came home empty-handed from my truffle-hunt this weekend, I went on Amazon and discovered that I could order 6 bags for $16 including shipping. Not bad at all.

They came today.

cinnamon chips

 

Only… there were 12 bags, not 6.

I didn’t exactly tell Tyler I was ordering them, so I debated whether to stash them somewhere in the basement or let him find them and hope he didn’t mind my um… “preparedness.”

I decided to share my shopping-sins and piled them in one huge pile on the kitchen table.

His reaction surprised me. I thought  hoped he might be amused when he got home, but wasn’t prepared for him to think I was THAT funny for ordering 12 bags of cinnamon chips.

As it turned out, HE’s the one that ordered the exact same box of 6 from Amazon to surprise me!

I’m not exactly sure how to feel about this: amused, grateful, blessed, or a little creeped-out.

Or maybe just hungry.