Monday, July 15, 2013

I found a handful of blog posts I wrote but never published. Thought I would add them in so the story would be complete. It is coming up on 10:00. I am tired and I have a "to list" that should be grabbing my attention, but I have so much in my mind and heart I decided to let it find it's way onto paper and maybe free me up a bit. I suppose every journey is meant to have a predetermined destination. In this journey, the destination has always been to adopt a child who needed a home. Four years ago we began this wild voyage. I never dreamed four years would pass before we found our way to the destination, but the timing, as God's always is, was perfect. As I prepare for tomorrow, I find myself a mixture of overwhelming calm and misty-eyed excitement. It is the feeling of a tired peace, a completion and a beginning simultaneously occuring. In the activities our lives are forever changed, but our daily reality will be no different tomorrow than today. It is a strange occurence. I sat and chatted with Emma and Jordon and asked them how they were feeling about things and Jordon surprised me when he said, "I am just a little sad we don't do visitiations anymore." I asked Emma if she was sad and she said, "Sometimes, but mostly I am just really happy." What more could you ask for from the circumstances? I have tried to think of the complexity of the emotions these little ones will be feeling in this transition from Muratovic to Jones. Will we ever know exactly what their thoughts and feelings entail? Could I begin to be able to understand what tomorrow will mean to them? In the big picture my wish is that as we stand before the judge committing to be their forever family, Emma and Jordon will be covered in security and love. I hope they feel full of belonging and family. I know for them to grab on to being a Jones with both hands they must let go of the last part of being a Muratovic, giving up their name, the last identifying mark of the life they used to know. I don't want to forget that there will be some sense of loss in the letting go, but I certainly hope the celebration is much sweeter in comparison. This journey looks nothing like what I thought it would. It was not the warm fuzzy picture of all white with a soft vignette glow around the corners. It was hard and at times dark. There were moments turning back was desired and the looking forward seemed too far off to continue. Looking back from where we have come, I see each uphill climb, storm weathered, delay and frustration only made the moments of joy, love and laughter that much more vibrant in their intensity. I have learned so much about myself, Nathan, and our marriage. I know so much more about Noah, Macy and Molly. I have learned to ask for help, well sort of, and how supportive my inner circle can be. I have realized that loving someone, even a child, sometimes doesn't come easy, but is always worth the work. I have learned more than I care to know about social government with its flaws, but found comfort from it's employees. I have learned that children can live whole lifetimes before they are three. And that being a mother of five children is the best job in the world. Nathan Jones has been all things I knew he was and more in this journey. He is and has always been a hands on father, never shying away from diapers, potty training, ponytails or hugs and snuggles. Loving these kids with such ease and tenderness, he showed them God in all his ways. Six months into this journey, with the trials of raising children who had suffered agregious circumstances not knowing if the conflict and toll it was taking on each individual in our family emotionally would be rewarded with permanency, our marriage was battered and tried. Even in the midst of the valleys, I could see the strength of this quiet man whom I adore and though tested and in need of some recovery, I find that as we reach the end of this portion of our journey we are better than ever, more connected and more assured of the strength of our commitment to each other. I could write volumes of the appreciation and admiration I have for Nathan, but it really comes down to this: there is no one more loving and good than Nathan Jones. No one. It is easy to dismiss what tomorrow will mean for Noah, Macy and Molly. I don't know how to say well just how proud I have been of the three of them in this journey. They all three have made HUGE sacrifices for us to make Emma and Jordon a part of our family. Besides the time that has been divided, which in and of itself is significant, these children have been exposed to, confronted with, and at times overwhelmed by the effects that child abuse and neglect have on children and their ability to relate to others. For eighteen months these three shared their home, their parents, and their hearts with children who were not their siblings. They loved Emma and Jordon understanding that they were putting their hearts on the line because we were not assured permanency. In the last six months, when we felt more comfortable in the future of the children, they celebrated the gift of their new brother and sister. The three of them have taken on many responsibilities with Emma and Jordon without complaint and their help and service to them and to me is priceless. I am so proud of the compassion and love they have showed from day one. It thrills me that they are counting the days down to this adoption with anticipation and joy. I am so impressed by the people they are and so thankful for their kind and sweet hearts. Becoming the mother of Emma and Jordon has been a two year, 1 month and 9 day process. Being motherly to them came instantly, falling in love with them took very few days, becoming committed to them the small side of a week. Tomorrow we will be at a cross roads in this journey. We will look at them, our friends and our family and say you are ours forever. Praise God for setting us on this journey and seeing us to it's completion. Please rejoice with us in the introduction of Emma and Jordon Jones.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Three Years Later

Three years ago this weekend our family of five became a family of seven. We did not understand on July 14, 2010 how profound the decision to foster Emma and Jordon would be to our lives. On that day, when I received the call about a little boy and girl who had just been removed from their home, my heart was not prepared for what it was about to face. In walking down the stairs to where the children were being kept, I thought I had all the answers. I was fully trained after all--a seasoned mother of 11 years with 11 weeks special training. I was rich in naivete and zealous with good intentions. When I think on myself in those days, I laugh at the innocence of my thinking. It is similar to looking back on my pregnancy with Noah when I felt that reading all the books and taking all the right classes would result in me being a perfect mother, with a perfect baby, living a perfect life. I was foolish enough to think such a thing existed. In my foolishness, I thought that in taking in Emma and Jordon, we would have all the answers. I did not realize I could not even begin to imagine all the questions. In contemplating the three years since, I am moved by the times I have failed. To share the times I have wronged not only Emma and Jordon, but Noah, Macy and Molly--might as well throw Nathan and our dog Lucy in there too, would require volumes. This process of being a mother is a magnifying glass to my weaknesses. It is humbling. It is the thing reality is made of. In looking at all the things we could have done differently, I am made aware that this is the thing that makes a family. It is the failings mixed with the subsequent grace and mercy which glues imperfect people together into a perfect unit. I don't love my family because we have it all love would be very limited by such nonsense, but instead because we together are figuring it all out. Three years ago, our family was challenged. Not by the addition of two beautiful children, but instead we were tested by the lie of perfection. My children misbehave, my marriage is not perfect, I hate to clean the house, and we eat out way too often because I don't want to cook. Those things are not because we have five children; it is because we are human. But in the midst of the mess, I see God creating and transforming us, making us new. And that is why this journey of faith continues on. Three years ago, Emma and Jordon moved from a broken home into a family of broken people. Broken people who still fall prey to the illusion of having all the answers. But the only answers I know for sure are that these people I love and call family are a treasure and that the God who gave them to me is good, all of the time.