Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Growing Pains

Ambelry has a project due for school. It is to be a poster board type project, a time line from birth to present. I guess to be honest I'm a little ticked. The story of her birth and adoption "is what it is" but sometimes I just wish for one minute of one day she didn't have to be reminded. She is a different race from those who love her the most so it's not something she can tuck deep in the family bible. Some adoption stories are just so miraculous and are truly meant to be shared for various reasons for encouragement and for ministry. Our ministry was foster care and her life story is a beautiful story of redemption. We're not in ministry anymore. We were called for a time that I believe was meant to lead us to the rest of our family. Now we are just that, a family. It's not that we have hid her beginnings from her. She remembers every horrible transition that we went through together. It took years to find a normal day. In thinking about this project I'm struggling with how much to share. Does she put her birth name? It's different now. She picked it out herself. We have one picture of her during her first two years. She was nine months old and her mother was holding her at a visit. She told me she didn't want to put it on the poster. Why? Is she worried about me? Is it confusing? Does she not want to answer questions? Probably all of the above. Maybe it's just something that she wants to keep for herself since she has to answer questions about her family almost every single day. We can't leave out her first two years. Birth is a basic human right. If we only had a single picture to put for birth to two this wouldn't be an issue. I know that these are just growing pains. If she were adopted in a traditional way I think it would have been easier to share about the wonderful way she came to our family. The fact is, she came to our family because she was neglected, abused and almost past the point of no return. I know the miracle that God did for her and for us. I'm still overcome with thankfulness at the most unexpected times but right now she's at such a good place. She is finally, for the most part a very carefree little girl.

Adoption is such a personal thing. I adore the beauty of the whole plan. It's just as miraculous to me as birth. I've tried to share that wonder with all five of my children. I love to tell about the blessing of children when God gives me the opportunity. She's just eight. I just don't think it is fair to expect her to post all the details of her life in the hallway at school unless that's her choice. I just wish they would stick to reading, writing and arithmetic.

It's due December 6th. We will learn from this and we'll figure out a beautiful way to share her story but Mama Bear just may have to figure out a way to make that trip down memory lane with her...all the way to the school.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here We Go...AGAIN!

It seems like just yesterday I was taking the scenic drive down the winding country roads to Junior Day at the college that Jana now calls home. There just aren't words for the shock of realizing that you have a child ready to leave for college. Everyday moments and the many big events of her senior year were marked with "this is it" or "last time". I just couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that we were here already. I knew it was coming, but I didn't know it would be at lighting speed!

Anna is a senior this year and for the most part, at least in the everyday things, I have been spared from being blind sided. I knew this was coming. I didn't cry on senior picture day. I didn't have a pit in my stomach the first day of school. I'm actually very excited for her because I know that God has many wonderful things in store. College preparations have been smooth. I've cherished the everyday moments because I know that this is the only time I will ever have with her as my oldest still living at home. I'm good.


Scholarship Day at college was this past Saturday. We took the same winding roads and this time we were not alone. Anna's best friend who happens to be her cousin and her mom went with us for the testing and tours. This didn't start out as a particularly nostalgic day as the college was not first choice for either of the girls. We basically went because we love Jana and did not want to dismiss the place that is so much a part of who she is. We parked the van and with our usual very loud girly chatter we all got out to go register at Jewitt Hall. I turned around to say something to Robin and the very moment I didn't expect to have slipped up on me! Walking a few feet ahead were the two girls who have been best friends since they were side by side on a quilt in Nana's floor. Their heads were leaned in toward one another in the way it always is when they are walking and talking. The were nonchalantly taking their first steps away from us.

Why did I think I would be immune from the jolt of the beginning of the end of her girlhood. This child, the one I have spent thousands of hours with on the road to violin lessons, rehearsals and functions. The talks, the secret fast food fixes, the arguments, the she sleeps and I drive, the mass of curls across the seat, her hazel eyes so full of whatever she feels that day. To have her look at me and say, "Mama, this is it. I feel safe here" and to know that she is so independent she would never have said it if something hadn't taken hold of her will. She was the one who was moving to New York and never getting married, the one who swore she'd never give me grandchildren. But there she stood ready to be obedient to any change in her plans if that's what He wanted of her.

We're here again. This is our last Christmas with our beautiful, strong-willed second born before she only lives here half of the time. I knew it was coming, but I didn't know it would be at lighting speed!