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Women are amazing.
I was blessed to meet many of them this past week end at The Relevant conference. Oh.My.Word. I simply don't have the words to express everything that I feel about what happened there in Harrisburg, PA.
I thought it would be good, even wonderful, but it surpassed any thoughts I had. The speakers were incredible, from the first to the last. Each one had something to offer that I needed to hear. It was such a revelation.
I had three roomies that were like friends from the past, friends that I had been waiting to see again. The connection was immediate and deep.
Some people can't imagine going to a strange place, sharing a room with strangers. I admit it is out of a normal persons comfort zone. I am far from normal though.
This was a Christian conference, so I believed that unless one of these roomies was a mass murderer, I would be okay.
I was more than okay.
I was blessed. I had a "home base” a phrase coined by my new friend Kim. I didn't "work" the room to meet every woman there. It was obvious that God was there and He directed me to the ladies He wanted me to get to know and them to me.
Each woman I met was a gift. Each one was unique, with stories to tell and love to share. I came away so full of emotion. So full in fact that I slept all day on Monday. I was emotionally, physically and mentally drained. I was full spiritually though and continue to be. My mind still whirls with the events of the entire week end.
We listened and learned. We laughed and cried. We smiled and comforted. We sighed and we were the comforted.
This was a "blogging conference," that became so much more. It was a time I will never forget and I am thankful to have been there among these beautiful women.
I sit here and think about how strong women are. I heard story after story of the incredible challenges, experiences (grief, sorrow and joy) and gifts of these women. I realized how blessed I am to be called a woman and especially a woman of God.
Thank you to all the wonderful ladies that were a part of Relevant.
My cup runneth over!
P.S. Serena, every time I typed the word "so" I thought of you and tried took it out! See I learned something too.
I am a long way from home. I am in PA at the most wonderful conference. These women have blessed me during the past few days.
That said, I miss my family. My Little
Man had this to SING when I called home earlier ...
I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck. You bet your pretty neck I do- oo-oo!!
I am a blessed woman indeed!
The boys were getting settled in their new home and it was time for a visit. Time for each of them to see how the other had grown and changed. It had been a year since they had seen one another. A whole year.
The two families agreed to allow the visit to take place at the new home of the boys since the girl had never seen where they lived (the boys had made a few visits to her home the year before). She was very visual and needed to be able to place them (in her mind's eye) in the new environment.
She needed to see where they lived, where they slept, where they played. She needed to meet their new mom, experience their new family. She, being the oldest, still saw herself as the caregiver.
The whole visit was a surprise to all three children. There would have been no containing the excitement had that bit of news leaked.
She was surprised at how the boys had grown. They commented on her new hair style. They wanted to see her cochlear implant and try to get her to hear them (there had to be some explanation on that subject). They talked loud and turned the TV up LOUDER thinking it would help. There will be more explaining in the future!
She looked around their new home (she, being very visual). She looked at pictures and checked out their toys and their movie collection (very important to her).
After time well spent and a meal shared, it was time to leave.
He could not bring himself to say good-bye. He busied himself with fixing a toy. He never liked good-byes.
He finally - with much encouragement, signed "I love you” to her. Then, she signed it to both of them.
It was heart-wrenching and heartwarming all at the same time.
Promises were made for future visits. Promises that will be kept.
Three children, broken and bruised in this life, can now really be children for the first time ever.
Three children found hope.
Three children have a future.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
He did his best to care for her.
Likewise, she did her best to care for him.
They were together for a while. Then, it was decided that he should go live at the boys' home. He needed more of a male influence. He needed more than the elderly foster mom could provide.
They were separated for a second time.
Soon, she was sent to live at the Deaf school. The social workers made every effort for visitation between all three of the children. As time went on, they saw one another approximately once every month or so.
The baby grew and so did the other two. They lived separately, but knew they were siblings. The social workers decided that the girl should be adopted separately from the boys due to her special needs.
In time (five years), the girl was adopted. He met her new parents and "approved" of her placement. He was happy for his sister and knew she needed a home. He knew she needed something different than they ( the boys) did.
It was about this time that he had had enough of his situation and struck out on his own…
…to find his sister, to be with her.
He wanted what she had, a forever family. He longed for a family of his own.
Of course, he could not just leave like that. He couldn’t just walk away from the home. So they took him back.
And he waited.
He was hoping for a family that lived closer to his sister. He just needed to be closer. He was hoping for a family that would agree to visits with her new family. He was hoping for love, stability, family, a true home.
He wanted to be able to make sure she was okay. He wanted to continue to take care of her - even from a distance.
A little over a year after she went to live with her new family, he (and the younger brother) met the woman that was to become their mom. They would indeed be living much closer to their sister. They would gain another brother. They would have a home.
Another new family was created.
Part three of this story will post on Wed. Oct. 20 2010
He walked right out.
No one even noticed for awhile. It was a boy’s home after all. A lot of activity, a lot of testosterone. When they noticed that he was gone, they sent out a search party. Where had he gone? Why? How long had he been gone? Where would he go?
They didn't have to search for long. He was walking along the side of the highway. They pulled up next to him and told him to get in the car. When they asked him where he was going, he said “to Atlanta to see my sister."
There were three children, one of them an infant. The other two were practically babies themselves. They were separated upon intake at the Department of Family and Children's Services. They would never all live together again.
The baby went to one foster home, the other two were sent to a foster home together. They were scared. They were confused. I am sure they longed for the mom. Children want and love their mom even if she seemingly does not deserve this love and devotion.
The little girl was the oldest by two years. Although she was a young child herself, she had been acting as caregiver to the others. She had no idea what was happening. She was terrified. She was Deaf. No one could tell her what was going on. No one could communicate with her.
She was a little girl lost.
In her terror and loss, she could not sleep alone. It was a strange place, strange people, strange everything. Where was the baby? Why were they here? Where was her mom? She wanted, no needed to sleep with her brother.
It was against foster care rules.
Special permission had to be obtained and of course that is never immediate.
In time the request was granted and she could sleep in the same bed with her little brother. The “caregiver" needed to be cared for.
She was finally able to find slumber if not complete rest.
It was during this time that the roles reversed. The little girl never really knew that. Even now, she doesn't know that. The little brother became the "big boy," the "man" of this little family of children.
He understood, even at this young age (preschool) that he needed to protect his sister. She was different. She could not hear. She could not speak. Therefore, she could not understand. At this point she had NO language at all. He became her self appointed keeper.
Part two of this story will post on Monday, October 18, 2010
When Kobi first came to us she had loooong extensions glued to her scalp. Why glued you ask? Her hair and scalp were so damaged that there was almost no real hair. Ususally, the extensions would be braided in, but there was nothing to braid it to. This was partially due to the extensions themselves. They were long and heavy. Sadly, she had no one that cared enough to do anything for her in a proper way.
She lived at the Deaf school during the week and had no hair care routine at all. When she went to the foster home on the weekends (7-8 hr. Bus ride there and then back) she was there such a short time that no one bothered to fix it.
I knew the braids needed to come out immediately , however I had been told that she was extremely sensitive about her hair. So, what can you do. We waited. It almost killed me to leave them. Her scalp itched and she scratched it constantly. I' m not sure who was more miserable - Kobi or me. Trust had to be established though. I had to give it time. Give her time. Here she is with her new family ( white at that) and everything is changing for her. Her hair would need to wait.
She came in May, so my goal was to have it look better before school started. What to do though? That was the question. It was a question that I asked of every black person ( or African American, whichever you prefer) I knew or just saw at the store. I went to every black hair care salon in the metro Atlanta area. For every person I asked I got a different answer. Big shock.
With school about to start it was time for the big decision. We simply took the braids out ( what were left anyway) and had her hair trimmed to be even all over. When it was all said and done she had almost no hair. Maybe a half inch long. Yep, she looked like a boy. Yep, it was traumatic - for a few hours.
Bless her heart she just sucked it up and moved on in record time. I know this was record time because one time many years ago I colored my own hair and it turned out ORANGE I am still not over the trauma of that little hair debacle.
But I digress.
She held her head high and looked very African princess-y doing it. People often called her " little buddy" or " son" or "fellow" or "young man". It was times like that that I was thankful she was Deaf.
Her hair is now about six or so inches when stretched out and her scalp is in perfect condition. I have invested in a mountain of products over the last year and a half. Some have worked great, some not at all. Some were cheap, most were expensive. I learned how to do Cornrows and flat twists. I perfected two strand twists and learned about hair type. I have come to appreciate all African American ( or Black, whichever you prefer) women. Hair care is a very time consuming and difficult task in the AA community.
However, it is also a time of bonding for mother and child. I am thankful for this year and a half of bonding time with Kobi. It was perhaps not the traditional experience since we could not talk during the hair time. My hands were busy, so no signing for me. We did indeed bond though. It was time we spent together for the greater good - her crowning glory.
Jump ahead to today, 18 months later. We are having "sisterlocks " put in ( this is done with her hair, no extensions). What is that you may ask ? These are tiny little locks that will stay forever ( or until she is grown and chooses otherwise). We can style these, leave them free, curl them, whatever. The best thing is - no more combing. No more five and six hour "hair days" for the two of us every two to three weeks.
This was a big decision and not one we came to lightly. I researched for a full year and then had to find a certified "sisterlocks" technician. We are here today getting them finished. It will be a total of approximately 18 hours of sitting for Kobi.
She is proud of her hair now. She wants it to grow longer , which it will do better in the locks. She is proud that this is her own hair and not extensions. It has been a process and she has had to learn to appreciate the hair God gave her. She has had to understand that it will never look like mine and that that is good. God created us all for different purposes. We look different, have different hair, skin etc. We have the same heart though. Here we are embarking on a new path for her hair. A new, albeit easier hair routine. This will open up some time for a different type of bonding.
Our little man- JII is five years old five and a half years old. He has spent a significant amount of these five and a half years with his nephews (our grandchildren) who happen to be the same age as him. In the beginning, there were only three boys and they were the three musketeers..
They played together, fought together, giggled and tattled together. They adored each other. Gboy was the oldest by nine months to Aboy and one year almost to the day to JII.
The two younger ones always looked up to Gboy with all of his wisdom. They wanted Gboys affection and approval. They sought it and often fought for it if need be.
And fight they did. Not the mean, hateful fighting (although that did happen on occasion). The sword kind. The army man kind. The Star Wars kind. Anything, and I do mean anything could be turned into a sword or other fighting tool. I have lost many spatulas and wooden spoons to the young knights and superheroes that play at my house.
I have loved it. There have been many times that I have had to separate little army men - one to the east and one to the west, but still I have loved it.
Watching these little ones grow has been such a pleasure. Watching them become little boys from the toddlers we pulled around in the wagon and pushed in strollers has brought such joy. Their laughter is contagious and the smiles and kisses they share are priceless.
With these three boys, we have experienced many things. We have had ambulance rides as terror gripped us. We have had broken bones and an amputated finger (which was sewn back on and healed completely - praise be to God). We have seen seizures and goose - egg heads. Through it all, we have seen Our Father at work.
These very boys are now ages six and a half, five and three quarters and five and a half. These age distinctions are important to little boys. Never challenge a little boy on the decimal point that goes with his age. YOU.WILL.LOSE.
Since the first days with these little Rambos we have added another now five year old, a now three year old and a two year old. Those are just the boys mind you!!!! There are four girls in this mix as well.
We will be adding another boy (and another girl) to this crew in Early December. I will be putting away a sword and some superhero costumes for him - he will need them as early as possible in order to hold his own with this army.
To reflect on these three little ones is to be completely in awe of how God has blessed us. There have been hard times, sad times and mad times - I will take them all. I must take those if I am to appreciate completely all of the happy, easy and loving times. It all intertwines into the loveliest tapestry. I will accept the whole of it. They are my boys.
The Relevant Conference is almost here! Yiiipppee! This is a bit of linkage from another blogger here - I thought I would join in since I have never met my roommate.
1. I am not a great sleeper. but it shouldn't bother you in any way. Just a lot of tossing and turning on my part. I usually sleep with a noise machine. I will bring it and we can decide whether to use it.
2. I always shower at night. I like to jump up and get ready quickly for the morning.
3.I tend to have migranes, so pray with me that I will be migraine free for this trip.
4.This whole Twitter thing is throwing me off and I feel like I am missing so much by not joining in on all the banter. Help - anyone please???
5.I will miss my family while I am there.
6.I don't know even one person at this event. I hope to know many before I leave.
7. I am not shy at all, but I can feel intimidated by dominate personalities. Argh!
8. I am only 48, but I have six childen and almost 11 granchildren (ten and eleven are on the way).
9. I wish I could visit the Amish country while I will be so close. sigh.
10.I am very excited about the trip and looking forward to meeting you and all of the others!
This original post had many typos - argh!! I am having difficulties while posting from my ipad. sorry
I am joining in on the Love Your Shot contest. The theme for this contest is faces (or a face). This is my sweet Annalee. I did her two year session yesterday and we had a blast. The image was shot with her cuddled up on her favorite blankie and then I processed it using Kubota - Lord of the rings action. For this post I added a frame from MCP.
Feel free to enter the contest too. You can find the rules at http://lovethatshot.com/. See the button at the bottom of this post and in the sidebar to the left.
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted what I have asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27
Him: I was just thinking about what mommies do for kids.
Me: Oh, well like what?
Him: “Mommies , well, they give you a band aid if you get hurt. They give you a bath and keep you clean. Mommies read to you and if your sick they help you feel better.”
Him;: “ Well, mommies just do incredible things.”
My heart be still.
Does he even know how I cherish our love bantering?
Him: I love you.
Me: I love you more.
Him: No mommy, I love you more than the whole world and with my whole self.
Me: Ahh, but I love you more than the whole world and with my whole self…and I’m bigger.
Him: Awww, I shoulda thought of that!
Could he possibly understand that to cuddle on the sofa “wif “ him is a joy beyond comprehension?
My little boy is growing up so fast. I knew it would happen. I’ve done this before.
His “Bun-Bun” will be put away and he will no longer suck his thumb. He won’t need me to read his Bible stories at night – he will do it himself.
I know all too well that the cuddling will end and the eyes will start rolling when I profess my love.
For now though, I will stop what I’m doing to cuddle. I will read Bible stories to him and I will melt every time I see him sucking his thumb and loving on “Bun-Bun.”
Today, the kiddos and I joined some friends at the pumpkin patch. We had a great time. It was a great time of friends, food and fellowship.
This is THE place to go on your search for “The Great Pumpkin” if you live anywhere in the Atlanta area. If you miss this, you miss out!!
Here are a few of the sights.
(and yes, JII wore his cape)
Needless to say, I ummm, didn't go!
This was an
important game for both schools. We were rivals - our schools being only six
miles apart. We were pumped because it was also the first game of the season.
twirled and entertained. We were just that good. Bwahahaha.
As it turned
out, I was being watched. Girls, you need to know - he was a SENIOR! Mmmhhmmm.
A senior. I was only a sophomore, so this was a big bonus in his favor. I was
not yet allowed to date, but still a senior taking notice was nice.
When we came off
the field, a mutual friend introduced me to this admirer. He was cute, however,
just a tidge shorter than me. You may
laugh, but realize that I also had on some smokin' white.to.the.knee boots. With heels. I was a
good three inches taller on this cool September night. One of the popular songs
on the radio that year was called "Short People." I'm just
chatted then it was time for me to return to the stands for the remainder of
the game. I didn't see him again that night. Although, he started calling me
soon after. I was intrigued, but not particularly interested. Turns out, he was
interested enough for both of us!
One day about a
month later, my phone rang and he asked me out. I boldly said yes! If you
recall, I was not allowed to date yet. Now what ?
I talked to my
mom first. She sent me up the ranks to ask my dad. My dad was military. That's
all I'll say about that. I was scared. I knew the rules and here I was planning
to ask him to change his mind. So I could date. Right!
My little skinny,
knobby knees ( oh how I miss those) were banging together as I explained to my
great big daddy that I had sorta, kinda accepted a date with a boy. A senior
boy. With a car. Could I pleeeeeaaaaasssse go?
My daddy said
yes! Unbelievable! Even now, it amazes me that he agreed (he later regretted
this, but that is a different story).
As it turned
out, that senior boy won my heart. He loves to tell people about what I was
wearing when he first saw me. Short shorts. Purple short shorts. He liked 'em!
September night was a history maker. It was the night I met my future husband.
It was thirty-three years ago. It was six children and nine grandchildren
(almost eleven) ago. It was many happy days and many sad days ago. It was many
loving days and many hurtful days ago. A lot of ups and downs. An ebb and
Thirty-three years is a long time. It is also a blink of an eye.
This story could
have easily been finished years ago. If not for the grace of our Lord Jesus, it probably
Praise Him, He
saw us through.
He is still doing it. Without Him to lead us, we would have
been so lost, so broken and so weak.
Thank you Lord,
for my sweet husband. Thank you for his love of purple short shorts all those
years ago. Thanks for allowing him to love me now that those skinny days are
behind me and this face is no longer a youthful one.
I am a southern girl. I
like to talk. I started talking early and haven't been quiet since. My own
daddy was forever offering me monetary gain to "just be quiet for five minutes."
for him, money was of no consequence to me. I never collected any funds and he
never got the peace and quiet that he so desired.
I have since learned to
listen. I am still a work in progress. I know the One to whom I should be
listening. It is my hearts desire to be an attentive listener to the One
that lives in my heart. I confess it is not always easy and there are days that
I rush things and think up my own answers. Not advisable.
I have been trying to
start writing on this blog again. My husband and I have prayed about it. What
would God have me do? I have posts that come to mind (witty and wonderful
of course) and The Lord says wait. Okay.
So we prayed some more. For a while now The Lord has been telling me what to do. Write with purpose. Huh? Explain please. Write with purpose. He tells me repeatedly. Write with purpose. Write with purpose. If you don't think God talks to His children, you probably just need to listen more. I did. I do. I will.
I will write this blog with purpose. I am listening to my Heavenly Father in a
way that I never did to my earthly one (sorry daddy). I will write this blog to
glorify my King.
I will continue to write
about my family, my children, adoption, special needs, Deafness, cochlear
implants, Trans racial adoption, foster care and more. This time, however, it
will be with purpose. It will be to honor my Savior.
I am listening.
…and I mean that in a literal sense. OHMYWORD! This has been going on for about five years. Five years of being a human sticky note – nice! Had I known this was coming, I would have applied for the copyright.
If my hubby had known this was coming he would have insisted
on having two master bedrooms. One without the ever present feel of the
I can go through three outfits a day, easy. That’s umm-undergarments and all. I had to buy five new bras to meet the need. I need another shower by the time I get half way dressed for the day – for the first time.
Truly, if sweat could be transformed into a water resource,
I would be the primary provider and therefore be a Nobel Prize winner. Yes.
For mothers’ day, little man made me a gift. His creation was crafted in his Sunday school class. It was the perfect gift! A fan - an old fashion church fan. It has his picture laminated on it and it’s glued to a popsicle stick. It works great. I look like a doofus pulling it out and fanning myself with it, but it does keep me from melting into a stinky pile of goo during the invitation at church. My great-grandmother would be proud.
I have heard horrible stories of this special time lasting for ten years. Say it ain’t so. For now though, I would advise anyone that comes near me to, well – not. Otherwise we will stick together like a fly to honey.