5 Reasons I Quit Blogging our Adoption Journey

I began blogging about our infertility and adoption journey when our son was just two years old.  The wounds from an empty physical womb were still gaping open, and the emotions were too overwhelming.  I didn’t know how to process it all.  The five year battle seemed to last forever, leaving stretch marks from numerous failed pregnancy tests.  And then something miraculous happened – our adoption journey. 

Infertility and adoption are like one giant rollercoaster. Infertility leaves you on a cycle of uphill climbs and stomach dropping falls. And adoption is the finale where you were left both aching from the pain you just encountered and the thrill of God’s ending to it all.
— Jenny

And so, when E was just two years old I began sharing our experiences in hopes of connecting to and encouraging others.  I shared our journey all the way up through E’s birth.  It is chopped full of tiny little nuggets that God sprinkled along the way that only He could do.  Details that left us in awe.  The world needed to read it and hear His message of hope. 

Our son grew older and something in my heart changed.  The reality hit me that one day he would no longer be a toddler, but he would be a growing child with big emotions and the ability to read.  He would see the words I mustered up, and be able to read them along with any comments from the great world wide web.  You see, as hard as we try, we really can’t control who gets a hold of our words or what they do with them.   I realized very quickly that I don’t want to share every detail of our lives with the whole world, and I especially don’t want to advertise our son’s emotions or relationships in detail.  Now if you are blogging and sharing about your own journey as your child(ren) grow, please do not mistake this post as “shaming” you for it.  This is just my own personal decision and me sharing the reasons behind it.  Nothing more, nothing less.

5 Reasons I Quit Blogging our Adoption Story

  1. It is our son’s story to tell.  My husband and I talked extensively about this and agree that as our son gets older, then it is up to him to share about his adoption.  We have open and honest communication with him.  We tell him what he is capable of comprehending at each stage of life.  Currently, at five years old, he knows that my tummy is broken and he grew in the tummy of his birth mom.  We don’t use words like “adoption” just yet simply because he is sensitive and we don’t want him to comprehend it in a negative way.  Adoption is beautiful and wonderful.  And as we share more and more, it is up to him to keep that to himself or to share with others.  It is not for us to announce, and we don’t believe in labels.

  2. We love, honor and respect our son’s birth mom.  And as such, there are details that she may or may not be comfortable with us sharing.  We have an open relationship with her, but she also has her own life aside from being a birth mom.  Just as we don’t want to be labeled as “adoptive parents,” or our son to be labeled as “adopted,” we don’t want her to forever to be known as “E’s birth mom.”  She has a name.  We will always share pictures of our visits because we love her and the relationship we all have, but it is not for me to share about her feelings or experiences.  Those are hers and hers alone to share.  As much as I love her, I will never know what it is like to be in her shoes.   And I respect whatever level of information she wants others to know.

  3. We can’t trust the “interwebs.”  As much as we want to trust the controls we have in place surrounding our social media outlets, and as awesome as we believe our friends and family are, there is always at least one person sitting there waiting to criticize or publicize our words and/or life.  The more we put out there, the more vulnerable we are.  And the more we share, the more likely we are to have our words land in the hands of strangers whose intentions are far less than admirable.  I really think and pray about how much information I divulge to the public eye.

  4. Words should come from us, the parents, first.  This somewhat goes along with the first and previous reasons listed.  We do not want our son to hear things about his life from others before he hears it from us or his birth mom first.  We never want him to be blindsided.  It shouldn’t come from something written for the rest of the world to see before he knows about it (even when we think they are too young to read).  Our kids deserve to know the truth, but that truth should come from those closest to them first.  Open communication is essential in any relationship, and that is no different for us.

  5. Details are for one on one conversations. Important conversations, we believe, are meant to be held at eye level where context and emotions are clear.  We never want our son to mistake any words typed out for untruth.  Whether we are talking about his day at school, or his life as it relates to adoption, we reserve those talks for one on one conversation where they are clearly communicated and received in the love in which they are meant.

While I may no longer sit at the keyboard and type hundreds of words as it pertains to our particular story, I will always be an advocate and go to bat for the adoption community.  I fully support others, their choices, and the miracles that adoption brings into each of our lives. 

Grace for the Playground

See to it that no one misses the grace of God.
— Hebrews 12:15

"So what are you going to do today if your friend pinches you at school?” I glanced back in the rear view mirror to see her struggling with the conflict presented to her. Just yesterday she had gotten in trouble at school for pinching back, so we had spent some time talking through our options. “Well, mom, I’m going to try to not pinch him back. My brain knows I should tell him to stop doing that, leave him alone and tell my teacher. But mom, sometimes my fingers just do whatever they want to do.” I stifled a laugh, as I reiterated the best way to handle kindergarten conflict and suggested that she and her brain work hard to try to keep her fingers under control today. “I’ll try hard Mommy. I know I should always do the right thing, even if my friends do the wrong things. But sometimes it’s really hard.” I hear ya, sister! It is hard.

I wish I could tell her that always doing the right thing would get easier to do as she grew up, but the God’s honest truth is that sometimes it just doesn’t. When people wrong us, just like my four-year-old, our brains know how we should react, but sometimes our fingers (or mouths) just seem to have a mind of their own and before we know it, we respond out of emotions and in bad judgement. We may have outgrown the embarrassment of seeing our clips being moved up or down on a behavior chart, but the relational consequences are usually much bigger than just some playground tears or sitting in time out until we cool down.

Why is it so easy for us to hold grudges, withhold forgiveness and act out in bitterness and anger? Maybe, for those moments, we have forgotten what grace feels like. Perhaps for a minute our heart longs to cover up our own imperfections by shining a light on someone else’s mistakes.

Our reactions to someone doing us wrong is such a clear picture of how much of God’s grace we are allowing to flow through us. When words sting our hearts or actions leave us feeling betrayed or broken, we have a choice to make. We can react out of our hurt places and fire back nastiness. Or, we can remember just how much grace God has given us for all the times we act wrongly against others, and we can do the right thing. We can set an example of forgiveness, encouragement, kindness and grace. We can stop the cycle of condemnation, destruction, accusations and unkindness. But we have to make sure our heads and hearts keep our mouths and fingers under control.

‘Teacher,’ they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?’
— John 8:5

She was caught in the very act of one of the most scandalous acts. Yes, the law was clear on this matter, but their attempt at punishment was full of indignation and self-righteousness. How many times have we thought similar things? If we gossip loud enough and make a big deal pointing at her “really bad” acts or at how badly I was wronged when he said or did, you name it, then we can feel better about the mistakes we made. If their sin is bigger than my sin, then maybe people won’t find out about my secret. In their pride and self-righteousness, the religious teachers and Pharisees were ready to stone this woman in a manner full of shame and condemnation. But Jesus stopped them.

[Jesus replied] ‘All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!’
— John 8:7

Her actions were not written off as being acceptable. She had her own guilt to face from the laws she had clearly broken. We are no different. We have our own guilt and consequences to face and decisions to make about how we are going to proceed forward. But, like this woman, we have grace. We have the ability to show that grace to others in the way we react to their wrong-doings. Are we going to pinch back, spew angry words, seek revenge, and pile on shame and condemnation like the Pharisees? Or are we going to choose to think before we speak and deal with the behavior in love, without reacting in emotion?

And yes, my sweet girl, it is hard to always do the right thing, even when our friends sometimes don't. So let's try hard to control those fingers {and mouths} that have a mind of their own and pay attention to what we know is the right thing to do. Because, that is precisely why we need grace. That is why we have to start practicing showing grace on the playground.

Motherhood is Everything I Never Thought it Would Be

I was never one of these little girls who carried a baby doll around with me everywhere.  In fact, I didn’t even really like baby dolls.  I didn’t pretend to be a mommy, or even think about being a mommy one day. 

Then I grew up, went to college, and got married (in that order because that’s what I thought was the good little Southern girl thing to do).  I earned a college degree in Chemical Engineering (totally by the grace of God) and I jumped head first into a career.  I didn’t love it, but it gave me meaning and what I felt was value.  My husband and I felt we wanted children at some point, but our careers came first.  I needed to validate myself in the corporate world and claw and scratch my way around in it for a while before I would even consider becoming a mom.  ME FIRST. (Insert caveat – I had no idea at the time just how selfish of a person I was).  To make a really long story short, five years went by and I was at the peak of where I wanted to be.  I was knee deep in meetings, paperwork, and travel.  All my friends became knee deep in diapers, bottles, and toddler tantrums.  I was almost 30 years old and began to think “I guess it’s time to have a baby too.”   

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The Day Grape BubbleYum Scared Me Straight

I remember the moment like it was yesterday... It was the day I became a thief.

Now, this was it... my Grape BubbleYum moment. I was suddenly thrown back in time to handing that grape bubble gum back to the cashier and remembering how much I learned in that moment. It was my choice now to make a lasting impression for her to learn the importance of honesty and integrity, or to blow it off knowing it had come from the dollar bin in the store we were headed into.

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The Devil Went Down to Georgia {on Sunday}

I used to think Mondays were the hardest days of the week.  Until we had a child.  Then I realized the wool had been pulled over my eyes all those years.  Such a façade.  Monday is no longer as dreaded because let’s face it, some days it feels like freedom as a mom.  The little minions are back in school and you feel like skipping back home in your yoga pants.  Not that you don’t love them.  You do.  But man can they suck the life right out of you.  Bless their hearts. (Caveat – if you are a work-outside-the-home-mom like I once was, Mondays do indeed still come with the dread that equals having toenails pulled right out.  Because then you have to face the real children at work).

I’ve recently realized that Sunday is the hardest day around our house.  Why?  Because clearly the devil went down to Georgia (and every other state in this great nation).  

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Jesus Take the Wheel (and Put Out the Flames)

’m not sure this even warrants a blog post.  And grandparents you probably should stop here because it’s all about “the precious.”  But alas, here I am writing about it so humor me and follow along if you dare.  Last week I wrote a charming and witty (just play along here and pretend it was) post about being a Fire Breathing Dragon Mommy.  You know those moments we all have as moms where we unleash terror onto our family.  Because, for the love, they just can’t get it together and they are losing their ever loving minds.  You snap, come unglued, expel things out of your mouth that non one can comprehend and makes you sound akin to the Tazmanian devil from Looney Toons.  No one really knows what you are saying, including yourself, but you blast it out and it sounds serious and scary (queue Marshmallow from Frozen again because honestly that’s the only movie any of us know anymore). 

Well yesterday I had one such moment – make that 30 minutes – that bordered my child needing to be put in a straight jacket, or an exorcism (it was a close toss up there), until his demons fled his body (either through prayer or through him meeting the hand of Jesus in the form of the mom swat from front seat to back seat).  For crying out loud (which my four year old loudly did) we had to leave the park.  The tragedy and abuse that comes from a parent saying “it’s time to go.”  The struggle is real for them y’all.  The world is ending.  They have first world problems.

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Fire Breathing Dragon Mommy

True or False (ugh...the most loathed quizzes of all time).  Each night I go to bed so proud of my mothering skills for the day.  My son listens and exudes love and obedience.  I never lose my cool with him or my husband.  I have the energy of a thousand suns.  I am super mom who never wears leggings as pants.  I feel like Joan Cleaver.  Life is unicorns and rainbows.  We all know it’s all lies – all lies I tell you!  Yet, it’s the expectations we put on ourselves for some crazy reason (well except maybe the unicorns and rainbows part).  Then what happens? We tend to erupt like Mount St. Helens when life is real instead of an episode of Leave it to Beaver.  Or maybe that’s just me.  I ooze (okay, spew) fire out and become fire breathing dragon mommy.  And my voice sounds more like Marshmallow (the scary snowman) and less like Olaf.

 Me...

Me...

 ...June Cleaver

...June Cleaver

I’ve struggled with reining my angry reactions in.  And it seems the older I get, the worse it grabs hold of me.  I attribute much of it to my ever increasing approach to the threshold of menopause, which is super fun by the way and a whole other topic.  The uncontrollable urge to punch someone in the throat is just lovely.  I totally get Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes now.  Temporary insanity is a real thing.  Not to mention the sweating – ALL THE SWEATING!  But the reality is that satan knows our weaknesses and where we are vulnerable and man, he can bring out some ugly in us when we aren’t on guard.

So what is it exactly that turns us into the little girl from Poltergeist?  Sweet one minute, possessed and spewing pea soup the next.  Honestly I don’t have a clue.  I’m not a doctor or psychologist.  But I am a woman – and a wife and mom – who is in the trenches of life just like the rest of us.  We are normal.  And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired (SO TIRED) and I don’t want to be the fire breathing dragon mommy every day.  That’s not what I want my child to remember me being like.  Yes he is going to send me to the brink of insanity each day – uhm, because that’s what boys do – but my reactions don’t have to be in competition with that. 

We all have different triggers – things that turn us grumpy as my son says.  But I will share with you three things that tend to make me go from sane to psycho in 60 seconds or less.

The Condition of My Heart

This sounds so “churchy” and something we all know, yet it is the hardest thing for us to control.  Our heart operates on auto pilot much of the time, but controls much of our body – including the filter from brain to mouth.  When I am out of fellowship with God, I can feel it and so can everyone else around me.  My defenses are up, I’m grumpy, and thus starts the day of battle after battle with everyone in my way.  Right out of the gate, I come charging out like a bull searching for the first clown.  But on the days that I get up those few extra minutes early, soak myself in the Word, and commune with my Savior the enemy has to flee.  He and God cannot co-exist.  That doesn’t always mean my mornings go perfectly and that my son listens and doesn’t act, well like a boy.  It just means that my reactions to his antics and disobedience looks a whole lot less like satan himself with apitchfork and more like a mother giving gentle correction (and not losing her ever loving mind).  Because for the one hundredth time, GET DRESSED.  Am I right?  It’s the same routine every day.  I don’t get it.  But I digress before my heart freezes again.

Emotions, Hormones, and all that Other Fun Stuff

I curse you Eve for eating that piece of fruit!  Seriously she set us up for failure.  I blame her for it all – the emotional instability, the hormones, the hot flashes – all of it.  Women are ruled by their emotions.  I mean we do make it fun for our husbands in a demented sort of way.  Bless their hearts.  But this “stuff’ rules me so much of the time, and the worst part is that it’s largely uncontrollable.  And it makes us certifiably crazy.  All you young moms in your twenties – enjoy it.  Because sisters when you approach forty, you lose your ever loving mind to the brain eating parasites called hormones.  I’m not remotely kidding.  You can’t remember anything, and you long for the days where you were smart.  All of this fun stuff – emotions and hormones – take control of our hearts, minds, and our mouths.  And if we aren’t careful they will take control of our marriage and our relationships with our children.  They turn us into ugly and emotionally unstable beings, or at least they have me.  We have to manage it before it manages us.  If you are struggling with this (like I have and do), please seek counsel and medication.  Yes, God is there for us and we should rely on Him, but He also gave us people who are able to help us manage that ugly in ways that we can’t do on our own.   

Life, life and more life

Life happens.  Crap happens in our lives that stinks worse than my son’s feet (pun intended).  Bad things are going to happen and life is going to deal us some hands that we can never be prepared for.  And what do we (read I) do?  I throw a tantrum that can put some threenagers to shame.  I become that butt face that my child called me last week (he met the hands of Jesus for that).  Circumstances can catapult us into crazy land.  We say and do things completely out of character because we are in reaction mode.  And everyone in our path suffers from our nuclear meltdowns (I threw that in there for my nuclear hubby).

I don’t know how to completely avoid breathing fire and spewing venom altogether.   I’m a human and I’m going to make those mistakes as a mom.  But what I don’t want is to end each day in shame and guilt over having more bad than good moments.  I don’t want my pillow soaked with tears every night.  Our kids are going to disobey, life is going to happen, hormonal imbalances are inevitable, and we are going to have a lot of less than stellar moments. But with a whole lot of Jesus, coffee (and/or wine), and encouragement for one another we can’t go wrong. 

Also, there is a great new book out that I’m loving called Triggers, written by the MOB Society's Amber Lia and Wendy Speake (you can purchase it here).  It is speaking directly to my soul.  It makes me feel normal and in less need of a straight jacket and muzzle.  Just like me, they love Jesus and their families, and desperately want to get this thing right.  They offer some great Biblical responses for those fire breathing dragon mommy moments.  You are not alone, mama.  Keep fighting the good fight.  God gave us the children we have for a reason – because He trusts us and knew we would be the exact mom they needed.  We will trip and fall flat on our face (especially if you are less graceful like me), but He’s always there to pick us back up.  His mercies are new every morning.

What We Do Isn't Who We Are

"Let me get this straight? You were an engineer and gave that all up to be just a mom? I could never do that!" The words stung for longer than I would have liked. I wanted to just laugh them off and chalk it up to differing opinions on what is best for each individual family. But I couldn't this time.  

They brought me back to the days in that first year of being a stay at home mom when I felt like I was having an identity crisis. The sting wasn't coming from choosing what is right for our family and whether to work full time, part time or stay at home. This was about something much deeper. The words struck me so hard because I had once again become lulled in by the mundane and lost sight of myself over the piles of never ending laundry. I had forgotten that what I do does not define who I am. 

Motherhood is a tricky thing. It's a phase of life filled with the irony of helping our little ones discover just who they are while simultaneously giving up so much of who we thought we were. But with that sacrifice, motherhood ushers in a beautiful opportunity to find out exactly who we were meant to be. We just have to make sure we are looking to the right place to find our standard of measure.

Before I became a mom, I had a really great career as an engineer. I thrived on the long hours spent solving technical problems, but I knew I wanted to stay home with our child. When that time finally came for our family, I hung up my hardhat and replaced it with a diaper bag slung over my shoulder. I dove right in to being a full time mom and loved every tiring minute of it. As the sleep deprived months of the newborn stage began to wane and routine finally began to return, a strange feeling of being misplaced crept in with it. For so long, I wanted nothing more than to be a mom and I loved it. Why did I feel so conflicted and lost? Why was I not sure who I was anymore?

Wrestling with and praying through these questions reminded me of something a friend had said during our struggle to have a baby. After our first round of IVF and pregnancy ended in a heart breaking miscarriage, a friend who knew the pain of miscarriage all too well herself, graced me with a new perspective. She suggested that perhaps our lost pregnancy was more of a gift of hope and a future possibility than it was a loss of life and a dream. She reminded me that though it was my dream to become a mother, motherhood itself wasn't about me at all. It was about my child being born at the perfect time for his or her life to begin.

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.
— Psalm 113:9

Motherhood gives us an amazing opportunity to have a front row seat to watch our children being born into the lives God has designed for them to live. If they come six months too early then they will miss out on the life God has planned for them, for the friendships they will develop, for the careers they will one day hold and for the lives they are meant to influence. Only He knows the perfect timing and what our future holds.  So when I find myself being overwhelmed with the daily grind of motherhood, her wisdom helps me step back and refocus. Motherhood isn't about me getting to be a mom as much as it is helping my daughter discover who God intends her to be. Guiding my daughter through her own self discovery is making me realize how mistaken I can be on how I define myself.  

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
— Proverbs 16:9

These early days of imagination come with so many little discovery stepping stones. My daughter recently came home with an adorable little construction paper crafted "Me Book" that was all about her favorite things and how she saw herself in the world. My heart soared when we looked through it and saw all the possibility, confidence and creativity. The one little fill in the blank statement said it all...

When I grow up I want to be: Wonder Woman and help people who need helping

Do I think she will actually fly an invisible jet and catch bad guys with her magic lasso? Of course not. But I do think she has the heart to reach super hero status when it comes to her ability to love the people in her life.

Whether we are dressed up in costumes role playing princesses or super heroes, firemen or teachers, or sitting around the dinner table talking about dreams, we want to impress one thing on their growing minds and personalities. When you grow up you can be anything you want to be. We want them facing this big world with a confidence of who they are and understanding what talents they bring. We see them through the eyes of loving parents; one who sees all their characteristics and talents, personality and possibilities. We see them for who they are and because of who they are, we know all that they are capable of doing. 

That's how our parents raised us. We became one of those things we dreamed of being and we're good at it, but something can happen in that phase of our lives. If we're not really careful, we start listening to how the world defines us and assigns our worth. We begin answering the question "who are you?" with what we are known by and what roles we play. Over time, we find ourselves assigning our own worth by where we see the importance our role plays in society. 

Not long ago I had that startling conversation with a new friend. As she asked "Who are you and what do you do?" I began telling her about myself. "I was an engineer for almost 10 years until we started our family. Now I'm a stay at home mom, a blogger and Bible study leader." Frankly, I was feeling pretty good about my answer. At one point in my life I was pretty smart and had a pretty reputable career. Now I'm really good at counting to 10 and saying my ABC's, but I do all these volunteer, Godly things and raise the child we worked so hard to have. I'm very happy with my life and what I'm doing. But her response was so shocking and threw me for a loop. "You were an engineer and just gave that all up? You're just a mom now? I could never do that." It stung... for days. It bugged me that it bothered me so much until I realized it wasn't about the working mom versus stay at home mom viewpoint. It was because I had once again adopted the world's standard of what defines me and my worth. I had forgotten how my Heavenly Father sees me and who He says I am.  

Something crucial gets lost along the way to living out our dreams. We get comfortable in our roles. We get lulled by routine and we stop seeing ourselves as the loving parent sees us. We stop defining ourselves by who we are and start ranking our worth by what we do. Our lives, the roles we play and the titles we bare become medals and plaques we used to compare ourselves to the world around us and thereby judge what we deem to be our worth. Comparison is by definition subjective and puts us in the precarious position of assigning our own value in a sea of shifting standards and neglecting the standard Christ has already established for us. 

Right now I am a stay at home mother to our daughter, a blogger and leader of Bible study groups. But that is not who I am. Just like you, I am the daughter of our Heavenly King and Father who looks down on us and says, "My beautiful child, you can be anything you want to be because I see your heart, your personality, your characteristics, your talents. I see my reflection in your creation. You are mine and you are worthy."

You aren’t what you do. Your profession isn’t who you are. You aren’t defined by your roles; career woman, wife, mom, sister, brother, husband, etc. Those are gifts that you have, and they are purposes that you fulfill. But they don’t define the core of your being. You aren’t the sum of your mistakes or the messed up identity you once wore like an albatross around your neck. Your identity is simple. It’s clear. It’s beautiful. Your identity is purely who God says you are. Beautiful, redeemed, renamed, engraved on the hands of Christ where you will never be forgotten.
— Logan Wolfram, Curious Faith

 

What we do every day matters. If we want to reach our full potential in the roles we play and want our children to truly believe what we tell them about who God says they are, we have to believe it ourselves. Now is the time to use all our talents and gifts to build a firm foundation for our children to build upon. In doing that, we have the incredible chance to come out of our shells and become confident, courageous women that step up to the task God has set out before us. Buried right in the middle of the runny noses, scraped knees and piles of laundry lies a beautiful truth. Just like Queen Esther, perhaps we have come to our position for such a time as this. {Adapted from Esther 4:14} That confident woman isn't found in comparisons and competitions. She is found rooted deeply in Scripture, in prayer, in encouragement from other Godly women. She is found in cheering on one another as we excel in the roles we are meant to play and in reminding one another that who we really are is far more important that what we do. 


At a recent speaking engagement with our local MOPS International group, we talked about defining ourselves and encouraging one another to fulfill our roles as moms. Thank you so much for the opportunity to come speak to your amazing ladies. You were all so welcoming and encouraging. Moms need other moms and Mops is an amazing place to find that wonderful support that we all need!