It Doesn’t Take A Village

I want to take on the mantra “it takes a village”. Challenge it, toe to toe. Make sure we, as community chanters, aren’t putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. It doesn’t take a village to raise a child. That implies we cannot take on the feat of mamahood God has called us to, without support. Or even worse, that we shouldn’t.

Tell that to the unwed teen who decides to keep her baby against her parent’s better judgement. Tell that to the single mom who decides not to get remarried until after her kids are grown. Tell that to the military wife with a husband overseas. Tell that to your neighbor without a babysitter or family close by.

There’s no denying we all get help along the way. And we should give honor where it is due. A village is an advantage, blessing, and lifeline. But mamahood, more than any other role in my life, has taught me how to stand alone – with God as my strength.

Mamahood forces us to find ourselves. To learn who we are and how to channel everything good in us into the lives of those God entrusted to us. Because we know there is simply no one else who will give our children what we will. No one who will sacrifice more. No one who will love deeper. No one who is quite as interested in their spirits and souls flourishing. That awareness causes us to plant our feet, solid. And so often, alone. So that they always, always, always have someone.

Advertisements
It Doesn’t Take A Village

Being A Sister Is Hard

My firstborn was born a sister. We were in the middle of an adoption journey that ultimately ended in her becoming an only child for a season. But I knew, when she caught her first cold at 2 weeks old from her older sister, she was custom made for sisterhood. For bearing burdens. For unconditional commitment. For thick and thin. For choosing love over convenience.

She doesn’t remember Lilli Love. She doesn’t remember sharing watermelon. Learning to scoot while being chased around by laughter. Or starting her mornings sweetly with a sister, the same way she does now. She doesn’t remember visiting Lilli Love’s family in living conditions that were so different from her everyday. Someday I will show her pictures and remind her. But even without memories, that time is a part of her. It’s her beginning. Her wiring. Her God design. His purpose declared over her life.

When her bio sister came into this world, she jumped into my birthing tub to be with her. She overlooked the messiness of the moment just to be closer than close. When her foster sister came into our lives, she chose her over me in a display of courage our social worker and I still talk about today. My mama’s girl heard her foster sister crying behind closed doors and took a stranger’s hand to go comfort her when I couldn’t. Yesterday I learned that our oldest, her newly adopted sister, was struck by that. It’s her first memory of meeting my firstborn.

This week my firstborn whispered these words to her Daddy at bedtime. Being a sister is hard. It’s something I’d never know observing her. She handled the transition of moving from oldest to middle with inspiring grace. She welcomed her older sister into her whole world. Sharing every toy. Her home. Her bed. Her family. Her wide open heart.

But this week I was reminded that’s not just her nature. It is her character. It’s a richness in her identity that cost her greatly. She has sacrificed to become and be known as the sister she is. It is more Jesus in her than anything else. And her Daddy and I praised what we so often take for granted.

Birdsong, thank you for honestly being the bestest sister there ever was. Thank you for choosing your three sisters over yourself, daily. I learn love from you, Sweets.

Being A Sister Is Hard

Sometimes

Sometimes I wish I could justify going a little blonder. Sit in a salon chair. Walk out feeling like a woman.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t wearing her hand me downs. Style myself freely. Fully express who I am.

Sometimes I wish I was out with my camera during golden hour. Planning my next creative adventure. Pushing my skills beyond my known limits.

Sometimes I wish I knew what song was playing on the radio. The latest trend. Current culture.

Sometimes I wish I could meet a friend for coffee. Talk about a hobby. Linger for the ambiance.

But only sometimes. Because most times, I’m pretty caught up in living the life I asked Jesus for. I’m pretty awestruck being a mama. I’m pretty grateful it’s absolutely consuming. I’m pretty aware there’s nothing I want more than my reality.

Sometimes

Sustained

There is grace in the moment. And then it’s gone. And when’s it’s gone, our humanity questions how we even made it through. We are instantaneously aware that without God, our journey looks impossible. Even to us.

I woke up on adoption day with the grace for our season in foster care lifted. It was a noticeable spiritual shift. A marker of that season definitively ending. I was in a state of reverence before my God. It was sobering to recognize that holiness that we so often overlook. That God alone sustains us in prolonged seasons! I did not adjust to foster care. I was sustained. I would not dare foster for even one more day. The very idea seems as undoable as it does to those who have never done it.

That unexpected experience is my stepping stone into this next season. My firm footing. I have a God who equips me with every good thing to do His will. Hebrews 13:21 Whatever appears lacking in me as a mama of four is irrelevant because I don’t have to depend on myself. God has no expectation of me to be enough for them because He is more than enough for me. There is new grace for this new season. It came down like a dove and is resting on me as tangibly as the grace that flew far far away. Amen.

Sustained

Twins

She wasn’t our first placement call. She was our second. The first was for a newborn boy. African-American. With five siblings already in foster care. The case had a low prognosis, which meant adoption was a high possibility. The call was everything everyone knew I ever wanted. But, in faith, I turned the placement down. God had already given me a dream showing me who would be coming into our home. Her.

In my dream, I had twins that were joined at the head. The first was my Braveheart. We called her by name. I didn’t know who the second girl was. She was nothing but a smile. Her face was distorted and she was missing a body. Then I watched God heal her. She grew to about the same size as Braveheart. And I got to hold her. Just her. I called her Julie, but was aware that was not her name. There was such intense joy, gratitude, and settledness. Along with a huge feeling of fulfillment, like I had waited my life for her.

Jubilee’s call came 11 days after that dream. As soon as I heard “girl, age 5 months”, I knew it was her. She was just 22 days older than Braveheart. I didn’t register any other details of her case. Details that definitely would have kept me from taking her placement. As soon as she arrived, one look confirmed it was her. Her face was different and I was deeply smitten. At her first examination, her doctor suspected she had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome because of facial abnormalities and severe developmental delays. I remember the day when her doctor proclaimed her face had literally transformed. She has medical notes documenting her healing. By the time her FAS genetic appointment came, they didn’t even do the testing after her examination. Only Jesus!!! My dream had manifested in so many miraculous ways.

Still, I wondered if there was more. I revisited that dream time and time and time again over the past 17 months. Some would say I should have known we would adopt Jubilee, from the beginning. But I didn’t. It wasn’t just the odds stacked against us. I’ve learned, the hard way, how to separate His direct word from my interpretation of it. I only see in part. Sometimes that’s enough to understand Him. And sometimes it’s not. Like that time I assumed my daughter was a son because God had only spoken to me about a son with 7 years of prophetic words. That taught me that my interpretation of God-given words can be wrong. Really wrong. I actually had to grieve my promised son on the day of Birdsong’s ultrasound, which felt really wrong. So I have guarded my heart in this foster process. Not just publicly. Privately too. I truly set my attention and efforts on Jubilee’s reunification. When that wasn’t a possibility, I advocated for her permanency. Even though that meant moving her to a tribal home. It wasn’t until the day God spoke to me that she was mine (just 8 weeks ago) that I realized God declared she would be Braveheart’s twin for a lifetime, not just a season.

Today I am reveling in how God continues to fulfill my dream. My twins share no DNA. They have different skin. Different eyes. Different hair. Different builds. Different everything. But when they stand next to one another, you see twins. They share a 3T wardrobe. What are the chances they would chart like that? Just put any random 21 and 22 month old next to each other and see if you can say the same.

God created them as twins, even while knitting them together in different wombs. Marvel with me, at that. What a gift to have a future twogether to discover all that means. I am the mama of twins.

Twins

We Are Adopting

We are adopting. For real. It’s only been 72 hours since the whirlwind started. I’ve taken headache medicine every day, for the past 3 days. My heart is full to overflowing, but my body and brain are overwhelmed. This is too much of a good thing. Hallelujah!

Friday morning, Jubilee’s tribe showed up on my doorstep to give their blessing. No interrogation. No searching through every drawer and closet. They came to see her and say thank you. They came to share their love for her, as her tribe, and to invite us to keep her connected. In an instant, our relationship went from one of submission to one of lifelong appreciation. They approved her and her sister’s adoptions.

My grandparents responded by offering their large SUV, as a love gift. My parents responded to that by offering to help my grandparents buy a new vehicle. The generosity was generational. We were provided reliable, safe, and luxurious travel for our growing family. And we get to keep the small amount we had saved towards a purchase.

That afternoon, I accepted an invitation to dedicate the twins to Jesus on Mother’s Day, of all days. I called and asked my mom to wake up in my home that morning. To cuddle with us on my couch and celebrate their baby dedications at my church. Mother’s Day has always been my favorite but I am pretty sure nothing will ever be able to compare to this year. Except every other year, my husband joked, because he knows how excitable I am.

The 4 hours HEROhusband was at work were filled with foster phone calls, all leading to the most unexpected news. We likely won’t be waiting until November to adopt. The goal is for all four siblings to share an adoption ceremony this month. Waking up to May 1 today was surreal. I am counting down days, not months.

That evening, we met Vivi for a sweet and spontaneous dinner. I brought a card with her new name in it, which she could hardly wait to open. She beemed as I read it to her. Birdsong sung her older sister’s new name on repeat. It felt like God Himself was etching it on our hearts and minds.

I fell asleep reimagining home. I imagined all four girls sharing secret conversations in two queen beds turned into one forever sleepover. I imagined laying in a nearby room with HEROhusband, nursing a someday baby, listening to them keep each other awake with giggles and jumps. I praised God for giving me what I never imagined I would have during those blindingly painful years of waiting to become a mama … a tribe of little women.

We Are Adopting