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Stranger Things Have Happened

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Parenting

Because We Plan…and God Laughs.

When Matt and I first got married, we thought we would like to have two biological children and adopt the third one. But the young don’t yet know that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and a few years into our marriage we found ourselves with adoption as our only option to grow our family.

And I’d be lying if I said we were not disappointed. And broken. And scared. Nobody in our family had adopted before so we had no idea what we were getting into. But we grieved the disillusionment of having to abandon our original plan, dusted ourselves off, prayed fervently for wisdom and courage, and contacted adoption agencies to move forward.

As we processed our new reality, we realized we would be surrendering many of the expected things that come along with biological children: the excitement of the pregnancy announcement, the marvel of watching my body change as our baby grew inside, the creative gender reveal, the birth.  And it was a hard pill to swallow. 

When we decided to say yes to adoption, we also felt led to say yes to any baby who needed a home regardless of race or gender. So we were told from the start that our willingness would most likely result in us adopting a black or bi-racial child because the need was so great.

This meant that we would also be giving up something else we had not anticipated: that our baby would look like usBut after coming to terms with laying down all the other parts of our plan, I was fine with that.  

Or so I thought…until the moment I saw my new daughter for the first time.

Continue reading “Because We Plan…and God Laughs.”

Three Magical Words (or how to deal with a pre-teen girl)

I’ve been at this parenting thing for a decade now. I don’t know about you but I struggle almost daily and often feel like a total failure.

Parenting is hard, man, and anyone who says otherwise I’m willing to bet does not have kids. And the most bizarre thing about it is that, unlike most skills or processes in life, this one does not seem to get easier with time and you don’t necessarily feel like you are getting better with practice. In fact, it seems to get harder in some ways.

Sure, the kids are more independent and you don’t have to change their diaper, feed them, watch their every move. But they are smarter, sassier, require logical explanations, ask difficult questions, call you on your junk and are, overall, more difficult human beings to live with.

It can be exhausting.

My 10-year-old daughter has entered puberty. (Run for cover!) I never knew it could start this early but the pediatrician says it is not unheard of for kids as young as 8 to have signs of going through “the change.” Isabel is fully emerged in this metamorphosis from little girl to demon child teen. I told her she is like a roller-coaster: one minute she is happy, affectionate, interesting and the next minute, literally the next minute, she is grumpy, moody, defensive.

She told me I’m the same way. The nerve!

But, really, she is just. like. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The other day I was chatting with another mom. Isabel came up to me, laced her fingers with mine and laid her head on my shoulder. By the time I turn my head to kiss the top of hers, she let go with a “Humph!” crossed her arms and stomped her foot. The other mom and I just burst out laughing (which didn’t help, by the way) because it was an epitome moment: the epitome of living with a pre-teen girl.

Not long ago, after a day particularly difficult to navigate, I was begging God to spare me the next eight years of my life and bargaining about what I would trade with him (I’ll be willing to go all gray, Lord, if I could wake up one morning and it be 2024) when the Perfect Parent reminded me about the power of words.

Continue reading “Three Magical Words (or how to deal with a pre-teen girl)”

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