Monday, August 25, 2014

the day i sent my homeschooler back to public school

most people who know anything about me at least know this.....
we homeschool. 
it hasn't been easy. 
it hasn't always been pretty. 
but it's ours, and sometimes that's all we have.

well, this morning i dropped my son off at the front door of his new school. 
he's in the 8th grade....the big wig.....the top dog.
the newbie.
and i tried to be strong. and i tried to be happy. and i tried to act like i could handle this.
he walked away and i fell apart.

we have spent the last two years talking about what it would look like if he returned to public school.
we've done it before (pubic school), just not ever sure we would do it again.
and he has always been the one to bring it up and ask about it.
he's curious. 
he's always anxious to see what's on the "other side". 
and here's his chance.

homeschooling the last two years has given our family lots of freedom. 
we go to bed when we want
 (cause we can get up when we want),
we have lots of extra daylight hours to do the things we like to do
(cause our school only takes a fraction of our time),
we can travel whenever we feel like it
(cause we can make up our time or take it with us),
we can have lots of animals
(cause we have the time to spend with them and learn about them),
we pray and talk about God A LOT
(because He's ALWAYS allowed in our school),
we have hour(s)-long discussions on any given day about how to better ourselves, about who we wanna be, about what makes us tick and what works for our family and what doesn't, and about how we can be His hands and feet
(because shorter school days allot for beautiful, amazing conversations),
and there are soo many other reasons.......
but most and best of all......
and this is the thing that would drive most people crazy......
we are ALWAYS together.
(with the exception of my coffee dates, Cole's work, baseball, football, ballet, Dic's work, etc, etc).

today this is what i'm missing most.
our together.

one big piece of my heart was missing today as i left my boy and he walked through those doors.
he was scared and worried and hasn't slept for many nights thinking about what it will be like.
i think he was maybe peeking into the dreams i've had for years where i stand in the middle of a bunch of strangers and no one will help me and i know i'm suppose to be accomplishing something super big.
his thoughts on the way to school were about not knowing anything...
 (and we're not talking academically here)
....not knowing what to do.
that made me feel helpless as a mom.
i knew he didn't want me to walk him into the building and show him the way, but as a mom i felt like i should hold his hand and guide him.
cause that's what i do.
i protect my kids and take care of their hearts when they need me.
today i felt like he needed me.

these may be things that most people would never think about as they send their kids off to school.
these may be things that many people would never think about their kids. period.
maybe it's only homeschool moms that get it....i don't know.
i think it's kind of like trying to explain what adoption is like before you've done it.....
what parenting is like before you've done it......
what marriage is like before you've done it.

i LIKE being with my kids and i have learned soo much more about them than i could have ever imagined because we were finally given the time. 
and they got a chance to see what I'M all about...
the good, the bad, and the ugly
 (cause it gets that way....especially when i eat gluten :)).

it's tough when our time is divided.
we see things happen when our family is divided.

tonight, as i was saying goodnight to him, he told me that so far (and it's only been this one day) the hardest part about going back to school is that he doesn't get to be with us and do the things that we're doing (i took the other 3 for donuts cause that's what i do when i'm sad, and tonight everyone else was watching a movie but he needed to get to bed to make the bus on time tomorrow). 

i told him that was the hardest part for me too.

and then my goofy, spirited, gentle-souled son sat up and hugged me and told me he loved me and that it's going to be alright.

i will get through my sadness and sorrow for him.
i am soo soo proud of him.
i know our sweet father is watching over him at all times and he will continue to answer my pleas and prayers for my babe's protection. 

most friends won't get this. i'm sure it's difficult to understand unless you've been in my shoes.
it's okay.
i have pretty stink'n awesome kids.
that's all anyone needs to know.

zachie your mama loves and adores you more than you will ever know,
and i'll do my best to keep telling and showing you.
your mama

Sunday, February 16, 2014

truth can hurt

I started writing this several weeks ago.......and then I left it. I'm ready to share now.

today i am thanking god for this child of mine.
i've done this more times than i can count over the last three years.
(it will be 3 years home on january 28th)
i am soo grateful that god chose me to be her mom.
but my heart is also hurting.
i have been feeling a pull and confusion.

 there has been more talk of international adoptions closing in ethiopia
(my child's birth-country).
and this is sad and scary for soo many.
it is sad because we all (or at least those of us who have seen) envision orphaned-children living in orphanages for the rest of their lives.
no one wants that.
we've all seen what institution-living does to the human body and soul.
and there are families willing and able to love these children with all of their hearts.
so why would anyone want to keep this from happening?

my heart hurts because i am learning more truths than i knew before. 
i am all about knowing the truth.
there are truths everywhere and unless we seek to find them we don't truly understand.
i didn't understand.
i couldn't understand why, when we were in ethiopia to bring aregash home, the US Embassy would hold us there and not allow us to bring our child with us.
i was angry. i was confused. i was in denial.
they all of the sudden decided that they needed more information about our case.....
about whether our child's story was truth. or not.
i didn't get it and all i wanted to do was bring my baby home....
the baby we had waited for for a year.
we had gone to court for her. she was declared our child. she had brothers and sisters at home.
and then by the grace of God our case was cleared.
the documentation they requested was provided by our agency.
but today i wonder.........
is her story the story we were given?
is her story what we see on our paperwork?
is her story truth?
truth is what i seek. 

we all know there is corruption in adoption. there is corruption in just about everything.
we have heard the stories about how adoption agencies persuade birth families to give their children for a better life, for a guaranteed education, for money.
and we choose to believe that it happens less often than not.
i know i chose to believe that. up until yesterday i chose to believe that.
i chose to believe that we adoptive families followed a calling by God to enter the adoption world and bring this child home.....that this child would complete our family......that this child may not have a family if she didn't have us.....that this child could live her life in an orphanage.
and i still believe those things.
but now i know more truth.
and i know that truth because God told me to open my eyes.

and when i did, my heart broke. 
it breaks for the children.
it breaks for the adoptive families.
but mostly, it breaks for the families who called my child their own. first.

and in the time it took me to write the previous notes, we have bypassed our "family day" of 3 years...the day we arrived home with aregash......
we have completed our investigation into her story in ethiopia.....
we have learned more about the ugliness and unethical practices of agencies,
and several people have rightly been arrested in their wrong-doing of adoption in ethiopia,
hopefully to set an example that corruption is not tolerated.

the last few weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotions as there are conversations everywhere i look on Facebook. adoptive families who have gone through the process, and those who are still in it are emotional and angry.
we are all affected.
 i have had some people ask me what good it does to investigate aregash's story.......

THIS is the good it does........

when our daughter is old enough to try to understand where she came from and how she came to be a part of our family (a heart-felt, mature interest),
when she reads about ethiopian adoption and the corruption that cost soo many children and their birth-families, and their forever families so much heart-ache........
i want to be able to say......
that we didn't understand the level of unethical practices at the time......
we prayed about and believed that our agency was one of the best and we weren't overly concerned about this. 
our eyes were closed.
i want to be able to say......
that when we learned of these lies and money-ridden decisions,
that we did everything we could to find the truth for her.
that we pushed and pushed.
we questioned and questioned.
and then we went there to see for ourselves.
and even then.....we may never know the FULL truth, very unfortunately.
but that we did our best to find her truth.

to the best of our knowledge her story seems to be legitimate.
many many many families are finding differently.
and these families will have to deal with the hard of it all.
and i've also been asked what happens if we find untruths.

and my response.......
we will give this to our child when the time is right.
when she is old enough to understand.
will it be hard?
well, what about adoption is easy?
would it be better for us to avoid it all to make it more comfortable for ourselves?
or should we present our God-given daughter with the gift of knowing about her past whether it's the truth or not?.......
the chance of having a relationship with her birth-family based on truth rather than lies?
our child will be given this gift of knowing, to the best of our ability what her real story is, and she won't have to go looking for it as an adult on her own, 
when time will have passed and family may not be around to tell her what really happened.
i consider this a gift.

agencies have lied to the adoptive families of these children.
agencies have lied to the birth-families of these children.
government officials have allowed corruption because of the money.
the american-side of these agencies have continued to process adoptions even when they learned of corruption.
no agencies are in the clear.
not even our agency.....the one we trusted.

birth-families have lied to place their children for adoption.
reasons for this are many, but mostly because they felt that they could not properly care for their children under their living conditions......
one or both of the parents are deceased.......
because they believed they would receive monetary compensation.....
because of the misunderstanding that their child would be educated and cared for and then returned....
and by revealing the truth now, they face the penalty of imprisonment, or worse.
and so they continue to lie.
it's heart-breaking.

so what do we do about this???
it's a LOT to digest.
we do what's right.
we find the truth for our children.
and if/when we adopt again (because there will ALWAYS be children who NEED to be adopted)......
we do what we need to to find TRUTH.
we DON'T sit in our little, happy bubble and pretend that nothing happens.
we DON'T dismiss the red flags that have always been there and we chose to ignore.
we get on the ground...and we spend the money....and we think about the children instead of thinking about ourselves and our happiness.....
and find the TRUTH, to the best of our ability.
and then.....when our children come to us when they gain an understanding.....
we can say that we did our best. 
we don't wait until we have our children home and the feel the regret of not doing more.
adoptive families in process need to take what they are learning NOW and do something about it.
cause if we aren't in this for our children, then we shouldn't be in it at all.
i have questioned myself lately, especially as i look at the orphan adoption shirts that i designed to raise money for our adoption.......
and i wonder......
have we been CONTRIBUTING to the orphan crisis????
if there are soo many children who have been trafficked through adoption, then did we ADD to this problem rather than SUBTRACTING from it???
if children were placed for adoption when it wasn't necessary, if they were stolen from loving families so that we would adopt them, if our children were adopted based on lies.....
then we weren't really helping to solve the world orphan crisis like we thought.
and just because we didn't know then (and that truly wasn't our fault),
we can't say we don't know now.
and we can still do something about it.
i believe we need to do something about it.
and if we don't?
well, then that's on us.
and we have no one else to blame.

Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do.
God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act.
~Proverbs 24:12

we adoptive families have all used this scripture to explain our hearts for adoption....
to do what we were called to do because He asked us to.
now we need to use this same scripture to do right by our children and their first families.

we owe this to her.
she deserves it.

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