lovelygirl and me

lovelygirl and me

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

just paddle

Launching onto that vast and flowing river allows your soul a choice; the choice to leave all baggage and hurts behind on the shores.

The river accepts you just as you are. It doesn’t judge you. It has no feelings towards you at all. In a world of discrimination and unfair favoritism, the river remains neutral. The river accepts you; just as you are.

The cool waters part as you glide in, and allow access. Open. Inviting. Ready to teach its life lessons.

Panoramic views await your hungry eyes. The tip of your kayak juts out in front of you; and points the way. Herons, ducks and bald eagles delight. Fall leaves are sprinkled liberally now in the varying hues of green.

Trickling streams race eagerly to join the river, adding to the vastness. Occasional flapping wings startle and delight. Wildlife abounds.

The river is neutral. And yet, it teaches.

On my river, danger lurks beneath calm surfaces. Hidden to the novice eye, the current snakes its way through the center, only showing occasional glimpses of its raw power in the small swirls and eddys that show atop the water.

The river can take you in a completely different place than you intended. If you aren't careful, you can end up in the rapids or even whitewater, and one wrong turn can cost you your life, or at least life as you had intended it to be.

As I guide my kayak along my river, I attempt to release my pain and let it flow into the waters. I am alone in my journey through life, and it pains me. No one is there to guide me, and help me navigate. I must attempt my river alone.

The fact that my river accepts me brings some measure of comfort, yet the loneliness engulfs me; black sheep as I am.

My river cares not.

Just paddle. Breathe. One stroke, and then the next; just make it around that far bend. There should be friendly shores ahead. Just paddle.

Having a map would help. But in life, there are no maps. No guarantees of where you will end your journey, no sure thing.

I simply must learn to read the river. Look for the clues, and adjust my kayak to those clues. Up ahead, there are forks that could keep me from the main channel, and the strongest current. I can keep to the shallows or hug the bank, afraid to venture into the rapids.

The river shrugs, but does not stop for me. Sink or swim, paddle or perish. I must make the effort. She is on her own journey to the ocean. To her own end. She cares not for mine.

My choices dictate where I go.

For now, I simply paddle.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

within the circle

Nearly 2 months have passed since I last posted.

Summer brings many activites...camping, swimming lessons, outings. All these things make life hectic don't they?

Our family has an annual camping trip to the dunes.  Once a year, we all get together and camp out in the sand.  Not in a nice "cush" camping/RV area, but literally out in the dunes, in the sand, with no toilet or running water.

Several years ago, my husband and I decided this was a good fit for our family "reunion."  My three sons love to ride quads.  We love to ride quads.  Hence...Florence. 

This would be our first family camping trip with lovelygirl.  I have to admit, I was a bit worried at the prospect of no bathrooms or running water.  I didn't know for sure how she would handle being out in the sand. 

Lovelygirl is one of those great combinations of a tomboy and a girlie girl.  Given the choice at home, she likes to wear dresses or skirts.  But she isn't afraid to pick up a worm, or a bug and even wanted to hold a garden snake once!

She absolutely loved it. The whole experience was an awesome family bonding time. 

What is one of the things you absolutely have to do when you are camping?

Why, sit around a campfire of course!

The whole family congregates, and tells stories, memories etc around the fire; roasting marshmellows, making smores and just hanging out in general.  These are the memories my husband and I sought to keep within our family.  My boys have grown, and it's hard to get us all together like that. Since they LOVE going, they make it a priority every year.

The circle. 

For the newest member of the family, this means more than just hanging out. To her, this meant she belonged.  Her chair was included in the circle.  She was allowed to stay up later, enjoy this special family time, even adding her own stories to the group.

She was accepted.  She accepted. 

Something changed after that trip.  A slight move into another direction. 

A slight move into another direction holds alot of change over a longer period of time.  Anyone who is familiar with GPS units or hand held compasses know that one degree to the left and you can miss your mark entirely.

I can still feel that change.  It's in the air.  It's in her smile, in her movements. 

She is accepting the changes in her life better now.  She is more relaxed. She is more genuine. 

The circle. 

The family circle.

Powerful stuff.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Three Months

Three months.

So, today is exactly 3 months since lovelygirl came to live with us permamently.  In some ways, it seems like she just got here.  In other ways, it seems a lot longer than three months.

Three months.

Three months of adjusting. Three months of testing.  Three months of learning new ways. This is only the tip of the iceberg. We have only scratched the surface of what lovelygirl is inside. 

Three months.

School is out now. Summer is here.  Lovelygirl has gone camping with us.  She has started swim lessons.  She has lived the everyday life of our family. 

Some parts she likes, and some she doesn't.  She thought that adoption was some disneyland-type fairy tale.  She thought she would have no rules, and all the presents and food she could ever want. 

Sadly for her, this isn't the case.  We are a normal family.  We have rules. Rules that she has been told to abide by.  No lying. No fits. No sassing. No disrespecting people or things.

Tough rules for her to swallow.

Yes, she lies.  Yes, she throws fits.  Yes, she sasses. Yes, she disrespects others and things.

We were aware of all these traits that would begin to show up after the "honeymoon" period is over.  You are taught these things in the adoption classes, aren't you?  But hearing it, and reading about it doesn't really prepare you for the things that you didn't expect.

Such as, her eating with her hands like a toddler. Stuffing her mouth with food, smearing it all over her face and hands...and clothes.  She is 9.  But, in this area of her life, she seems to have gotten stuck.  I fear we will need to get a bib, and put her in the high chair. Never did I expect to see a nine year old eat like this. She doesn't want to use utensils. And when asked to, drops food all over the floor like some neandrethal cave dweller. 

Well, life needs to be lived with a huge amount of FLEXIBLENESS.  Right?! Each day, we see new things that astound us.  Each day there are new behaviors to deal with. 

Of course, there are also those little things that endear us to her.  Those things we call her "SAVING GRACE" (mainly because if she didn't have those little things, we couldn't go on!!!)

We are learning.  You have to.  In order to stay on this roller coaster ride called ADOPTION.  You learn which corners to sway at, which ones to hang on tight, and you learn to try and have fun, even when you are scared to death!

When you have a biological child, you begin loving them before they even enter the world.  With these kiddos, it takes time.  Some days, I feel that love for her blooming like a fragile little orchid.  Other days, I don't really like her at all.  All natural feelings. All totally normal.  Sigh.

Three months. 

A lifetime to go.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


"It is in the everyday and commonplace that we learn patience, acceptance, and contentment." 
                                                                                                 Richard J Foster

Yeah. At home, in the store, at church...all places to learn these things.  Today is my birthday.  Generally, I take the time to reflect on my life, think about changes I can make within myself and find positive things to enrich my life.

Today, I am just thankful to have a little bit of alone time. 

Last night we got a call from luv's teacher.  She has been acting out at school.  In general, being defiant, disobeying, sassing back, being disrespectful and instigating fights.  She is calling kids names, picking on them, and being ornery. 


So, I tried to talk to her about it and she pitched a fit.  We have rules in our house and screaming as loud as she can is one of those that we don't allow. 

"Stop screaming now, or your choices will have consequenses."

She was already in bed, so couldn't use that one.


"Okay, well tomorrow there will be no television or computer time."


"Well, now you are going to have to go to bed a half hour earlier since you won't stop..."


"Okay then, now an hour earlier."

SCREAM!!!! NO!!!!!!! I don't WANT to go to bed early!!  SCREAM!

"Wow, sorry you are choosing to keep this it is one and a half hours earlier."

scream....(backing off the intensity now!)

"Your choice, hon.  Now 2 hours earlier."

but I don't want to...

"You decided to keep screaming when I told you to stop.  You made the bad choice, and choices have consquenses don't they?"

So, this was what happened at our house last night. 

Lovelygirl has been wetting again.  Every day at school.  She tried to hide it on Monday, and lied.  I didn't confront her.  Tuesday she came home and tried to pass it off that she had stayed dry again. 

She goes in on Tuesday to therapy. 

Ahhhh, patience.

It is such a small word really, but wow it can be so hard to obtain!!!!!!!!!
I am sure my blood pressure was at a boiling point last night.  My head pounded.

So first comes patience, eh Richard J Foster? THEN comes acceptance...and FINALLY contentment.


Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in.  Breathe out.

Oh and Happy Birthday me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

not on the storm

"Set your thoughts, not on the storm, but on the Love that rules the storm." Mrs Charles E. Cowman

I don't claim to know who this woman is, but her words ring true to me on every level!  Set your thoughts not on the storm.  We have storms that brew in our lives.  Last week, it was in the form of a nine year old girl we are adopting.  Real storms can feed on weather, or climate changes, even on the landscape.  They can circle and grow before exploding their force on the planet.

Much is the same for our lovelygirl.  She has inner storms.  Memories.  Painful memories.  Of neglect.  Of abuse.  Of rejection. Of sorrow. 

They brew, those storms. They swirl inside her, forming a funnel cloud that threatens to erupt.  In her case, last week, her inner storms fed on our stressful situations.  I had several major projects due.  "S" had an really bad chest cold that turned into Bronchitis.

Not sure yet on the triggers that caused the inner storms to erupt and explode outside her body.  Still trying to figure her out, this needy girl of ours. 

It's important to claim those first three words..."SET YOUR THOUGHTS."  This requires action on my part.  A determined resolve.  Being a doer of the words and not just a sayer. Practice what I preach.  Set my mind to this, purpose to complete it. 

Set my thoughts on the Love that RULES the storm.

Let love always abide in me.  God's perfect love.  A love that casts out all fear.  A love that puts other's needs ahead of my own.  Perfect love.  Let God's Perfect Love abide in me and guide me every step of our journey in this adoption of lovelygirl, and our lives together.

Set my heart on that...and not the storm itself.

not on the storm.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Monster In The House

There's a monster in the house.  Alive and well, it thrives on stressful situations, and devours the tired and sleep depraved...

She's a willful little monster.  Watching for the tinest foothold, she pounces and is on you before you even knew she was watching.

Oh yes folks, the honeymoon period is officially O.V.E.R. 

The last 4 days have been a nightmare.

Every single thing she can find to argue about, she does.  Mind you, I really do TRY and not get sucked into that bait she dangles at every turn.  But, I am human, and I have been under some stress lately...and darn it, she KNOWS that and comes on even faster and harder than before.

Everything is a "No!" and stomping around, hurumping, crossing her arms and giving me dirty looks. (Yay, I just love all this! NOT)

I gave my word over six months ago that I would help my sister with her daughter's baby shower. It's my nieces first child, a boy, and they are so excited about it! I won't be getting any grandchildren any time soon, so I have to live vicariously through, I agreed.  At the time, we were still in the waiting phase of placement. 

IT, the placement, seemed like a really long ways away, and wasn't even quite believable at the time.

Oh foolish one. 

Had I known what hell trying to make this shower a wonderful memory for my niece would bring on the homefront, I would have run screaming, "Nooooooooooooooooo!!!" when she asked!

When they say you have to dedicate the first 120 days to your child, maybe times that by each child you bring into the home, they MEAN it!

These children DEMAND that you pay attention to them and only them.  It is "sit and watch" her do all things, even if she is watching TV, she wants me sitting in the chair watching her.  I thought, oh, well maaaaybe I can try and make some felt baby shoes in the chair. 

Oh foolish one.

She got jealous of that. 

Trying to make fondant critters for the "Ahoy, it's a boy!" sailboat/ship theme boat, such as crabs, life rings, starfish, and even Nemo. meant that I had a little monster right there beside me.  She tried spitting on something I was making.  She tried flicking spaghetti sauce on the cake after I finally got the fondant smooth (and looking beautiful I might add).  She tried bouncing a ball into it.

All to "get my attention."  Well, it worked.  She got my attention.  I had to get after her, make her sit in a chair nearby, and she threw a tantrum. So, off to bed then, little monster.  She kept yelling, "you are MEAN!" from the bedroom.  Am I?

The shower is tomorrow.  I can't very well call now and say, there will be no cake.  Life doesn't just stop because a little monster is jealous.  I have given her extra times where she sits near me or on my lap, thinking that would help...

Oh foolish one.

Sigh.  I have no idea how tomorrow will go.  I have a monster afoot. Loose. On the prowl.  ARRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh foolish one.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Better than expected

This coming Saturday it will be 4 weeks since luv came to live with us.

Maybe some of you are is it going? The answer to that is better than expected. Maybe we are negative people, but we decided to prepare for the worst.  That way, we wouldn't be shocked and dissapointed when she showed us her other side.

If you have been to any adoption classes, you will recognize the saying, "honeymoon period."

We aren't quite sure if she is in the honeymoon period still, or if that time is coming.

I'm trying to be positive, to look on the bright side, to see the good before the bad.  And it does help. So, if I seem to only rave on about good things and give everyone a false sense of how things are going, I apologize.

We have had our ups and downs.  But we started seeing some challenging behaviors prior to her being placed.  We think the last foster home had a lot to do with that. Having four other little girls her age who throw tantrums and pitch fits all day every day, has to have a little bit to do with it, don't you think?

On her last couple of visits before moving down her permanently, we saw her attitude change, and she began testing us. Her last visit even had a mini meltdown.

Some say that because our transition took soooooo long, that she moved right over the honeymoon period and right into being her real self.

I see a definite pattern.  It seems to build up in her and she seems to need the release of a tantrum or meltdown at least once a week.  Compared to some stories, hers are fairly mild, but they do cause a disruption in the household to be sure.

We had to have her held back too.  She is basically on target with reading, but math is her biggest challenge.  She has areas in math where she dips down into the first grade level.  Luckily, we have her enrolled in a charter school, where they take the time to work with kiddos. She is now in the 2nd grade.  When she moved we tried her in 3rd grade because we were told

I visited the class yesterday to bring cupcakes for luv's birthday and she didn't see that I arrived early.  I was allowed to sit in the back of the class and observe. 

I like the teacher and she seemed to have a much better fit into this classroom. Since luv is on the smaller side, and younger too, this is the best place for her. They will be taking her aside and working with her on the math, finding the areas she is missing, and catching her back up.

In the meantime, she is making friends and seems to like it there.

Last night we had a fun night of dancing in the dark with her new flashing light toys and singing before bed.

In her good moments we find joy.

And there really are alot more good moments than bad.

better than expected.