Giggle Giggle Toot Roar

Striving to answer the call to motherhood and wifeyhood with joy, Jesus, and crazy dancing.


On Noticing Defining Moments & Failure

In fourth grade I had a defining moment. Not some big scary thing that happened to me, but an experience that formed me for years to come. It probably passed other students by and was forgotten forever, but it stuck with me.

For the first time in our young lives we had a 4th grade student council. There were the tradition roles like President and Vice President and then there was the PR role (public relations), which basically meant you were in charge of making posters for different events throughout the year. THAT was the position that made my eyes sparkle! I wanted to be the PR chair!

We were told to select which position we wanted to run for and then we were tasked with putting together a speech to deliver in front of the class and campaign posters to hang throughout the classroom and hallway.

On noticing defining moments.jpgI was all over it! I remember practicing my speech over and over with my parents. I remember my dad giving me advice to emphasize that phrase a bit more or use a little more enthusiasm when you say those words. I remember my mom reminding me to smile during it. I remember coming up with what I thought were insanely clever slogans again with the help of my parents, “One for all and all for Holl,” and “She’s one Holl of a candidate.”

There were two open PR positions, three people running, and with every bone in my body and every fiber of my being, I believed I was going to win one of those positions. I had this in the bag! I actually don’t think I was even aware of the competition, because I just assumed I’d win the position of my dreams.

And then voting day came. And then the results were in. And then Kurt and Emily won. And I lost. I remember being shocked. I remember thinking about how people picked two other people over me. Did people not like me? Were my slogans not cool? Was my speech not good? I remember this as my first real loss. My first real failure.

I know I was disappointed with the loss, but I was blessed to have parents who told me constantly they were proud of me, so that helped in the recovery. I didn’t stay in a dark hole about the loss for long. I moved on and it wasn’t something I remember caring about much the rest of that year.

BUT as I look back and think about formative experiences from my childhood, this one will always stick out to me as probably the first moment I experienced failure AND it formed how I viewed failure for many years to come. Basically, avoid it at all costs!

If you think back to your childhood, is there an experience that impacted you in a positive or negative way well into your adulthood? Maybe you aren’t even yet aware of how deeply something impacted you.

Did you have a defining moment, a moment that taught you to start living or doing things a certain way?

This experience taught me FAILING = TERRIBLE. Don’t fail. Don’t come in last. Failing is bad. Failing is scary. Failing is embarrassing.

This probably helped me in some ways, by developing my attention to detail, my drive and determination, and my attitude to want to win and strive to be the berst. It also caused me to play it safe, be overly cautious in trying new things, and to carry a bit of perfectionistic stress. This just may be one of the reasons I was too terrified to ever go out for basketball and why until late high school I only ran for “safe” positions like secretary or treasurer instead of president.

Fast forward 25 or so years later and I have quite a different view of failure that I’ve learned over many years of just living life, from reading many leadership books, and most recently through the amazing things I’m learning from my network marketing business. I no longer fear failure. I don’t play it safe and I don’t avoid trying new things. I am so much less concerned about what other people think of me and I strive to not let other people’s opinions of me have impact on how I see myself. This is a much more freeing and exciting way to live life. As long as you are striving forward and learning through your fails, then failing in a way is a blessing.

So, this got me thinking about how one small grade school experience impacted my life for so long. My children will in 4K next year and I think about them and their future experiences. I wonder what experiences will have the greatest impact on them both positively and negatively. Will I notice those experiences when they are here? How can I support them through those experiences?

You better believe I’ll be on the lookout for those moments for them! They will have to learn their way through things on their own. I know that’s part of growing up. BUT as their momma, I can help by listening, answering questions, sharing from my experiences, and offering advice when needed.

And I hope that I’m a good example to them on dealing with and not fearing failure.

So…..

Be on the lookout for those defining moments!

&

Fail forward. Learn from it. Without failures, we cannot have the hero moment! No one wants to read a book or watch a movie when someone just fails or when someone just wins all the time. People love the hero moment; the moment when we overcome and emerge victorious!

God bless our children!

Love, Natasha

 

 


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How to Mother from YOUR Strengths

How to Mother from your TalentsMy favorite cookie cutter shape is the circle with the smaller circle in the middle. It looks like a little donut and you can pop out the middle circle to create another tiny circle cookie. Two sugar cookies are better than one right!? I have fond memories of duking it out with my sister for Grandma’s few precious tiny circle Christmas cookies. The silly adults were fighting over the peanut squares, but the tiny circles were the true gold. Okay, the peanut squares are ridiculously good too.

Santa blogWhat’s your favorite cookie cutter shape? Come on, this is a very serious and important question! Don’t even tell me your fave is the weird Santa Claus one that when frosted looks like a strange little blob. (But if you did pick the Santa Claus one that is totally cool, be you….but really, the blob? That’s what you picked? No really, it’s cool.)

Anywho….

Just like the many shapes of cookie cutters, so are each of us unique as moms. Did you like that segue (I know, I had to look up how to spell segway correctly too, don’t worry). We have all been blessed with a unique combination of strengths and experiences that allow us to mother just as we were meant to.

“God’s design is perfect. He created us. Does it make us perfect? In a sense, yes. We’re who He uniquely chose to mother our children. We can’t improve on God’s design. Yet often we try to squeeze ourselves into molds of motherhood that don’t fit.”    -From Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means & Kathy Helgemo

Imagine how much less stressed we’d be if instead of trying to become the kind of mother that we clearly are not, we would just mother from our strengths.

What does it mean to mother from our strengths?

It means embracing our strengths and using them as a mom. I’d say one of my strengths is creativity and when I’ve mothered from my creativity the boys and I have had days that have shined! One of my favorite memories is taking my boys around our yard and finding different things in nature to make “Jesus crosses” with. We had so much fun exploring that day and they learned how to create, about Jesus, and had fun outdoors. Those kinds of activities are in my wheelhouse!

One of my weaknesses is probably interior decorating. I’d say I have a unique sense of style, I know what I like and I can pin for hours exactly what I’d like my house to look like, but I just can’t seem to translate it onto our walls! The boys are three and still the walls of their “nursery” are bare except for a small cross and their little footprints, which we made at the local clay art store. Previously, I’d see how beautiful some of my friend’s nurseries and kids’ rooms were and I’d get a little down and stressed comparing. I felt like I was lacking as a mom, because my children didn’t have rooms as pretty and well put together.

This is one of those weaknesses that to me isn’t worth stressing over. Instead of comparing, I’ve grown able to admire my friends’ talents in this area, compliment them, and be content that my kids’ rooms probably won’t look as perfect. And that’s okay, because they don’t seem to miss it. Some weaknesses are not worth your stress!

Cookie cuttersThere are some weaknesses that are worth working on! I hate yelling at my kids. I noticed when they became toddlers, I become a yeller. That is not a behavior that I wanted them to see from their mother and certainly not one that I wanted them to pick up. I remember my boys fighting and screaming at each other and I’d eventually get upset and scream back at them, “STOP SCREAMING NOW!” Hmmmm, now in a child’s brain, I’m sure that really made a lot of sense to them. Mommy is screaming at us and telling us not to scream. This is a behavior that I’ve prayed out of me and worked really hard to change. I hid a lot in the laundry room or in my closet to cool down (eat chocolate) and then emerged again with my super mom cape. Some weaknesses are worth working on!

Here are some ideas to mother from your strengths:

1.) Identify your super powers: Do you know what your strengths are? Where are you thriving in your life? Where you are thriving is probably where you are strong. Share your strengths with your kids! If you don’t know your strengths, ask a friend who you trust or take a personality inventory. Where are my fellow ENFJ’s at (Myers Briggs)?

2.) Choose the right crew: If you have good momma friends, you know how blessed you are! Schedule regular time with them. Good momma friends are the ones you can be yourself with. Always be on the lookout to build your crew! You can never have enough awesome momma friends; you learn something from all of them. Also, recognize if a friend is causing you consistent stress or drama and be content that it may be time to let them go.

3.) Banish comparing: Comparing yourself to other moms causes unnecessary anxiety, stress and increases your insecurities. If you are confident in your strengths and content with your weaknesses, you’ll be better able to compliment and build your friends up for their strengths rather than tear yourself down because of comparing.

4.) Increase your box: Like I mentioned earlier, some weaknesses are just not worth worrying about. Figure out which weaknesses you are just going to be content with, because they really don’t impact your family in important ways. Then figure out which weaknesses might just be underdeveloped strengths. Those are the ones worth working on. We are always told to think outside of the box. Well, I think it’s okay to think inside the box as long as you’re always expanding your box. As moms and in life in general, constant learning keeps our minds young and helps us be our best self.

“Instead of fighting God’s design, let’s start recognizing and honoring our unique, God-given personalities! After all, it’s the message we’ve given to our children their entire lives: You’re special. God made you like no one else in the world. However, many moms believe the complete opposite about themselves. We create in our minds an image of a “good mother” and judge ourselves on whether we live up to it.” -From Mothering from Scratch by Melinda Means & Kathy Helgemo

Enough!

Love,

Natasha

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Adoption: Encouragement for The Waiting

I recently shared a post called 5 Tips to Survive the Adoption Wait. Those tips and just staying busy and faithful really do help while you are waiting for your child via adoption. But sometimes, while you’re waiting, you just have a bad day or a bad week. We probably all have them. Everything builds up or you’re left alone with your thoughts for too long and the sadness, fear, and even anger slip in.

You might think to yourself….I just want to be a mom NOW! Or I just want my family to finally be complete!

If you’re having one of those days or weeks, this is for you…

Adoption encouragement for the waiting

Today I’m fine, content even; trying to live my life normally in between the moments of anxiety. I’m anxious for my child. I’m anxious for my family to be complete.

I sip a coffee and munch a muffin and I’m happy.

Most days I “keep the faith” and “trust in God’s plan and timing” and I do all right. I’m happy and living in the moment, until I’m not.

I’m happy and happy and happy and then BAM the next day, no, the next minute, I’m curled up in my bed, husband’s arms around me, crying soft tears. Tears because I’m missing my child whom I haven’t yet met.

Then a few more tears of impatience slip out. We’ve been waiting and waiting and still, no child. People offer unsolicited encouragement and advice, “It will happen, be patient,” “Don’t worry you’re still young,” and “You know when you finally adopt, you’ll get pregnant.” 

I smile at them and say thanks and then secretly scream at them in my head, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS IS LIKE” and “I DO TRUST IN GOD, BUT, I WANT IT NOW!” I know they probably had good intentions.

Or I’m happy and happy and happy and then BAM I’m angry. Angry and disgusted that millions of babies are being mindlessly murdered; babies that could be mine. Babies that could be loved by me. Babies that could be loved by thousands of people waiting like me.

Many almost children have touched our path: a newly born baby girl that we traveled many miles to pick up, a premature little boy, a 15 month old girl, and even a sibling group of five. All of them God’s sweet children, but all of them not chosen to be our children for some reason.

Then comes the part of the cycle, where I dry my tears, dig deep, and get back to happy. Waiting and waiting, but happy. Faithful and content. I get back to living, waiting, but living.

Adoption encouragement 2I move on knowing I may cry more tears in the future and that’s okay. You can’t be “cured” of missing your future child. I resolve to turn those tears into prayers. Prayers for my little almost children. Prayers for my future son or daughter. Prayers for my future child’s birthparents.

I imagine the first time I’ll see my little one. I imagine my baby girl or boy being gently placed into my arms. I imagine that moment, because it’s the moment where the anxiety, sadness, and anger will melt away. It will all make sense. THIS child is the one we’ve been waiting for. It will all be so clear. We had to wait for this very child. This was God’s plan.

So, rather than wait for that “a-ha moment” when my child arrives, I draw that future imagine in as fuel for faith during the waiting. Faith in God’s plan and timing that my dream of becoming a mother to another little one will come true.

To all of you waiting, you are not alone. The waiting is nearly impossible some days. But there may be many days of waiting. So, you can either chose to live those days in perpetual sadness and anger or you can turn your emotions into fuel for faith and patience. Faith that someday soon, you’ll get your moment; the moment when you finally meet your child for the first time. In that moment, it will all make sense.

Blessings on your adoption journey. Let’s keep in touch! Please connect via Facebook or Twitter.

Natasha

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Parenting Advice from my Lawn Mower

Man alive, I had a rough week last week with my recently turned 3 year old twin boys! They went from my sweet boys to what people call “three-nagers” overnight! I was pretty desperate to find some mommy inspiration anywhere I could this week and it turns out that inspiration came while mowing the lawn.

I’ve only mowed the lawn a handful of times in my life. It isn’t that I refuse to do it, it’s just that I’ve been scarred since I was a teenager when I tried to surprise my dad by mowing the lawn and ended up giving it a professional scalp job instead! Since then I’ve mowed the lawn a few times since I’ve been married and my husband (and neighbors) lovingly laugh at me while pointing out the very neat triangle patches of grass I seem to miss every time. Oh well, I tried! It really is funny; last time I even stopped the lawn mower and walked all over the yard inspecting my work. Perfect! Then, later that night, I realized I missed a whole side! Seriously, it probably just grew really fast right?!

Anyway, here’s what I learned about motherhood while mowing the lawn…

Parenting Advice from my Lawn Mower1.
Mowing the Lawn:
The perfect straight lines are lovely, but it gets cut even if you zig-zag.
Motherhood: Quit trying to be perfect, they are growing up to be wonderful kids even with your imperfections.

2.
Mowing the Lawn: You kind of want to do it for the tan and the exercise.
Motherhood: You kind of want to do it to make sure you’ve got someone to take care of you when you’re old. (Come on, I kid.)

3.
Mowing the Lawn: You plow over the weeds and they disappear…until they come back bigger and badder. (Please just let “badder” be a word today.)
Motherhood: You can only cover up bad behaviors in yourself and your kids for so long until they turn into real problems.

4.
Mowing the Lawn: You have to stop for an occasional water break.
Motherhood: You have to stop for occasionally often coffee breaks.

5.
Mowing the Lawn: On hot days, you sweat a gallon of sweat.
Motherhood: On most days, you sweat worrying about them, even though you’re trying your best not to be a mommy-hovercraft.

6.
Mowing the Lawn: Sometimes despite your best efforts, you miss a patch of grass.
Motherhood: You try to do everything, be everything, teach them everything, give them every opportunity; you can’t do it all, but you’re doing your best.

7.
Mowing the Lawn: Sometimes you get blisters on your hands and your upper body goes numb from the lawn mower vibrations.
Motherhood: Sometimes you feel beat up and numb from exhaustion, but you’ve got to fight back against the negativity your ego is trying to feed you, because you’re a great parent!

8.
Mowing the Lawn: You just keep pushing even when you’re exhausted, because you just want to finish the entire lawn.
Motherhood: You just keep pushing even when you’re exhausted, because you have little miracles that need you!

9.
Mowing the Lawn: Sometimes you run out of gas or need to change the oil. When that happens, I call my hubby to help.
Motherhood: Sometimes you run out of gas and need to immediately schedule a massage and a date with a good girlfriend.

10.
Mowing the Lawn: There are always obstacles in your way, but it’s kind of fun to run circles around the trees.
Motherhood: There are always obstacles that pop up, but rather than stressing that things didn’t go according to your plans, choose a positive attitude and make it fun!

11.
Mowing the Lawn: You get in a groove, like you’re on auto-pilot.
Motherhood: When you get in a groove, you are quickly shaken back to reality, because the “norm” doesn’t stay the norm for long. Seriously, how can they love Goldfish one week and hate them the next?! And how can 12:30pm be the naptime sweet spot for 3 weeks, but then they don’t want to sleep until 2pm the next week?!?

12.
Mowing the Lawn: When you’re finished, you have an awesome sense of accomplishment.
Motherhood: You’re never finished, but they’re always yours and you’re so proud of them!

Have a great week! Let’s keep in touch! Please connect via Facebook or Twitter.

Natasha

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5 Tips to Survive the Adoption Wait

Right when I think I’m ready to write about how the adoption waiting period is much easier the second time around, I have a few weeks in a row that prove that theory false. I can remember the wait for our first baby, it was fairly agonizing at times and there were moments when I was definitely not waiting with much grace. I was trusting in God’s plan and timing, but still, it was hard and emotional, because I JUST WANTED TO BE A MOM! I can remember long conversations with God, questioning him, begging him, borderline making deals with him, if he would just hurry up and give me my baby already.

And then a month before my sister was due with her twin boys, I received a call from our adoption agency that our twin boys were born five days prior and were ready for us to pick them up. That was an a-ha moment and reminder of God’s perfect plan and timing. He had our sons picked out for us; I just needed to be patient.

High on emotions and fresh off infertility fun, I didn’t do the wait as well as I could have the first time. So, I vowed to wait with more grace the second time around.

I’m doing much better this time, because I do trust that God will bring us the child that he wants to be ours. And with each situation that comes up and then ends in heartbreak, I try to stand firm in the fact that I was meant to be in that situation for a time for some reason, even if to just send extra prayers up for baby and birthmom. I’m also an extremely busy mom of twin toddlers, so that helps keep the mind busy!

I still have moments of doubt and crazy during this wait too.

Has anyone else waiting had any thoughts like these?

adoption waitIs anything going on? Is our profile book or letter even being shown? If it is being shown, why aren’t we being picked? Do they not like our book or even worse, us? Should I change something in our book or update the photos? If our profile book or letter isn’t being shown, why not? Did I choose the right agency? I thought they were so busy? Why aren’t they working with more birthmothers?

Whether you are waiting to be matched with your first child or your second or your third, or more, the waiting can feel nearly impossible at times. All you can really do is set yourself up for success by completing your home study, choosing reputable agencies, and creating an awesome profile book and/or birthparent letter. After that you have to just LET GO and TRUST, trust your agency and most importantly, trust in God’s plan and timing. He has chosen your child for you; sometimes it just takes a while to be brought together!

You might not know it now, but this waiting period is actually a blessing or at least you can turn it into a blessing. Once you have your child and you join the ranks of other exhausted, sleep-deprived parents, then you will wish you had turned your waiting period into a blessing! I know I did!

Here are 5 tips to Survive the Adoption Wait.

  1. Get Right with Yourself: This baby or child will NOT complete you! You have to be complete before you welcome baby home. The wait is your chance to get right with yourself. Suggestions: Exercise, eat healthy, pamper yourself with bubble baths and massages, be spontaneous and carefree, spend time with your friends, do the thing you say you’ve always wanted to do, take up that hobby you’ve always wanted to try, and connect with other families blessed by adoption.
  2. Get Right with Your Marriage: This baby or child will NOT finally make your marriage perfect. If things are already great in your marriage, work to keep them great! The wait is your chance to get or stay right with your marriage. Suggestions: Take a vacation (even a mini-vacation if it’s all you can swing), savor date nights and sleeping in late, spend time with your friends, work on the areas of your marriage that need work, talk about how you’ll parent and discipline, prepare for how you will deal with and answer crazy things people will say/ask you in regards to adoption.
  3. Get Prepared for Your New Addition: It may take some time, but probably on the day that you least expect it, you will finally get the glorious call. The call when you find out you are parents! The wait is your chance to get ready for your baby or child. Suggestions: Find a pediatrician, start child-proofing your house, work on the nursery, purchase books on adoption for you and baby, complete a baby registry at your favorite store, put together a “go” bag for when you receive the call, start researching travel arrangements if you have to travel.
  4. Get Your Family Prepared: If you are blessed to have family support during the adoption process, take time to get your family prepared for what to expect during the wait and for when you finally get the call. The wait is your chance to get your family on board and as excited as you are about your adoption journey and the little one on the way. Suggestions: Help them understand open adoption, prepare them for what to expect during the process and about potential heart breaks, discuss what kind of child you have decided you are open to, be honest with them about what you need and how they can show their support both now and when you bring your child home, explain to them why you may not want to play pass the baby with the entire extended family when you return.
  5. Get Your Prayer On: Like I said earlier, you can only control so much of the adoption process and the rest you just have to trust the journey and give it to God. Give him your fears and anxieties. It won’t help you to be filled with anything but expectant joy as you wait for your little one. That is easier said than done for sure, but praying versus fretting will help. Suggestions: Pray for contentment in your decisions, pray for your child’s safety and health, pray for your child’s birthparents, pray for patience, grace, and joy during the wait, pray for your significant other, pray for the workers at your agency, and pray for help staying calm!

If you can manage to turn the waiting period into a blessing, you will be happy you did and better prepared for your miracle when he or she arrives.

What would you add to the list? How are you surviving the wait?

Blessings on your adoption journey!

Love,

Natasha

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Same Playground, Such Different Lives

We’ve probably all experienced similar “fun” on the playground. Rowdy big kids plowing over smaller kids. Kids fighting over swings or their turn down the slide. Kids throwing rocks. Maybe it’s your kids that day clogging up the slide by running up instead of sliding down or jumping on the wobbly bridge to nearly knock little ones off just for kicks.

We have grown to just expect this stuff at the playground. Generally, there is a parent or guardian nearby eventually encouraging their little people to “take turns,” “let that little boy go next,” “stop eating sand,” “not walk in front of the swings,” or whatever it may be.

Same Playground, Such Different LivesI keep a pretty close watch on my little guys when we venture to the playground, but as they get older, I try not to hover! Playground play is a great way for them to learn how to interact with other children. I want them to be able to use the “taking turns” skills I’ve taught them. I want them to try to work out their playground problems by themselves. I want them to see and play with children of different ages, races, and sizes. I want them to explore and discover new secret spots beneath the bridges and slides. I want them to find bugs and pretend rocks are cupcakes and chicken nuggets!

Every once in a while however, you’ll have that playground experience that makes your blood boil! I had one last night.

The boys and I were enjoying the beautiful weather at a local park with several play areas. At the first playground we played for a few minutes in glorious solitude and then almost like they were craving other children to play with, they demanded we move on to the next playground that had three older kids using it. They were rowdy and throwing around a plastic bubble gum container that nearly hit us several times, but we were all unphased. The parents called out the occasional, “settle down” or “don’t hog the slide.” Nothing out of the ordinary here!

Our last stop was to the toddler playground. When we arrived, there were four little boys (ages 5 and younger) already there playing; their parents were nearby. I watched in awe as they flying squirrel-spider monkeyed it all around the playset. They were standing up on the steering wheels, climbing on top of the tunnel slides, walking across the top braces of the bridges, back and forth, climbing higher and higher and then back down again. Geesh, I’m exhausted just remembering it.

It became clear to me the moment we arrived, we were fresh bait and two of the kids came circling around us immediately. Picture me, a crazy Pac-man momma going from slide to slide to the stairs and back to the slides, everything we decided to do, the little spider monkey boy purposely raced in front of us to get there first and then wouldn’t move out of the way to give the boys a turn. He didn’t have shoes on, so he had really good grip and could really climb and move fast!

We gave up on the slides and they went up on the bridge instead. That’s when I met the five year old. I know he was five, because he told me. His exact words were, “I’m five, but my grandpa says when I’m 18 I can go in the alcohol and cigarette stores.”

Then he got really frustrated that his blue slushy drink was out of liquid and wanted me to take the cup and fix it for him. Again, I sent a stare to the parents; seriously, help your kid! He threw a tantrum that I wouldn’t take his cup and mustering up all the helpfulness I could, I told him, “Honey, you just have to shake it up or you might have to let it melt a little.”

Meanwhile, 3 year old ninja continued to nearly knock my kids off the bridge and block them from using anything on the playground. I could tell my boys were getting frustrated, but they were still playing it cool.

We went over to a smaller tunnel slide and my son got half way down when the little ninja climbed up the slide and tried to climb over my son to the top. My little guy was stuck in the middle with his leg bent back and I couldn’t get to him, he was screaming. I didn’t want to touch spider monkey, because let’s face it, you just don’t do that today and because his parents were right there… still doing nothing. I eventually got my little guy out and with authority, he and his brother raced to the other slide to try to get a turn. Nope. This time the little ninja actually just crawled over their bodies.

That was it. I calmly grabbed him under the arms and gently took him off my kids. Then, less calmly I said to the parents, “I’m sorry, but is this your kid?!”

They said no.

Me: “You’re kidding right?”

Them as they are leaving: “No, they aren’t our kids.”

Me a little worried that these young kids are unattended: “Well, where are their parents?”

Them pointing to an old man sitting what felt like a mile away, “Maybe him.”

Me: “No?”

Then I asked the 5 year old, “Where is your dad?”

He said, “I don’t have a dad.”

Me: “Where is your mom?”

Him: “She’s working. I might get a stepdad though if my mom gets married to Todd.”

Me pointing to the man sitting with his back to the playground a mile away: “Is that your grandpa?”

Him: “Yes.”

While we had this conversation, little ninja continued to harass my boys, so I finally just scooped them up and started walking to the car. The entire walk my boys were chanting, “Mommy, naughty boys don’t get ice cream.” I thanked them for being so patient and reminded them how it’s nice to share and take turns when we’re at the playground. When we got home and they got ice cream.

The experience was actually pretty blood boiling intense as you’d expect when strangers get aggressive with your kids!

I broke into tears though that night as I retold the story to my husband. The kids were nearly the same ages as our children. They were basically alone, unwatched, and uncared for at the playground. I don’t know the details of their lives, but I suspect they aren’t really “naughty boys,” they are just little boys that need more attention, affection, and direction.

The five year old’s words replayed in my head, “I don’t have a dad.” I cried again, why do some little boys grow up with the most amazing dad ever and other little boys don’t get one?

I remembered that little boy desperately begging for my help with his blue slushy; it felt like a desperate plea for attention or a kind, motherly moment.

Three and five year olds shouldn’t be worrying about cigarettes and alcohol; they shouldn’t be figuring out how to terrorize the next kids that show up on “their” playground.

We play on the same playground, but we live such different lives.

Please send up a prayer with me for our children; for the world’s children. Keep them safe Lord. Help them know you and guide their sweet little feet.

Love,

Natasha

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5 Ways for a Control Freak to Survive the Adoption Process

Adoption has been an amazing gift in our lives. If you or someone you know has gone through the adoption process or if you are in the midst of it, you know that it isn’t always easy. There are many moving parts, almost all of which you have absolutely NO CONTROL over. If you are someone (like me) who likes to control and organize every aspect of your life, the adoption process could potentially leave you gray or without any hair at all!

The adoption process will be less stressful for you, fellow control freak, if you enter into it knowing you’ll have to relinquish the reins during much of the crazy ride and instead embrace the few small pieces you can control.

Control Freak adoptingHere are 5 tips that helped this control freak be at peace with the adoption process:

1.) Understand that you cannot control birthparents or their decisions.

You cannot control who picks you to be the forever family for their baby. You cannot control when you get matched. You have no control over a birthmother who changes her mind and decides to parent and you have no control over birthfather situations. When you are matched, you have no control over a birthmother’s hospital plan or any last minute changes she makes to it!
If you go into the adoption process thinking you are going to control birthparents, you will come off pushy and demanding and that will not make a good first impression. It’s better to take a deep breath, be yourself, and lean on your agency for guidance and communication with birthparents. After that all you can do is pray for your future baby and his or her birthparents. You can pray for their safety and that birthmom makes wise decisions during her pregnancy. You can pray for the baby’s protection and that you are united soon!

2.) When first embarking on your adoption journey, relish the parts of the adoption process that you CAN CONTROL.

The good news is that there are pieces of the process that you CAN CONTROL! You get to select the adoption agency you want to work with. You determine how quickly you complete your paperwork and home study materials. You define what types of birthparents and/or children you open to. You get to customize your birthparent letter and portfolio. If being in control brings you peace and comfort, I suggest you rock out these pieces and control the heck out of them!

3.) Talk to your agency about what to expect during the wait!

As a control freak, excellent communication and updates from my agencies on progress is huge. The reality is that you are probably not going to get weekly or even monthly updates from your agency (there may be exceptions). Adoption agencies are busy, out there working with potential birthmoms and that’s exactly where we want them putting their time and effort! They do not have staffing or time to keep everyone on their wait list updated on their every move. Frankly, we probably wouldn’t want to know their every move, because they are likely graciously sparing us from the emotional rollercoaster they deal with on a daily basis. You can however set communication expectations with your agency. You can select an agency that welcomes you calling in occasionally to talk with them, get updates, and express your antsy-ness during the wait. Both of our agencies send monthly emails to everyone on their waitlist. The emails honestly never say much, except that they are working hard for us, but just getting those emails makes me feel connected and like things are moving.

4.) Get prepared for when you do receive “the call!”

While you have no control over when you receive “the call,” you can have control over how prepared you’ll be when you receive it. While you are waiting, you can get the nursery and baby supplies ready. While we were waiting for our first child, I felt like there was a fine line between being prepared for baby and driving myself nuts. I wasn’t sure I wanted to walk by a fully stocked, empty nursery every day, but I knew I wanted something ready! We decided to paint the room, set-up a crib, and get a changing table. We also stocked a “GO” diaper bag with some basic supplies. We kept it in the closet, but knew we could grab it when we got “the call.” You might feel secure having even more done in the nursery; it is really personal preference.

You can also control your travel plans if you have to travel to pick-up baby. Start discussing now if you will drive or fly. Look up flight costs and what airport you will fly into. Get your packing list ready!

5.) You Can Control Your Attitude!

You can either wait around doing nothing and drive yourself crazy or you can keep busy and enjoy the life you’ve been blessed with now. Get yourself together if you aren’t! This baby will not finally make you whole; you need to already be whole before baby arrives, so you can be the parent he or she deserves.

You have no control over when you will be matched, but rather than waiting with anxiety, you can begin to pray for your child and your child’s birthparents.

Life will change dramatically when baby comes. I strongly suggest planning a getaway or trip with your spouse; when your miracle arrives, it might be quite awhile before your next vacation. Also, you might want to consider getting trip insurance (“cancel for any reason” insurance) if it’s a major trip, because planning a trip pretty much ensures you’ll get “the call!” Heehee.

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Control freak friends, I suggest rocking out the parts of the adoption journey that you can and just letting go of the rest! Most of it isn’t in your hands and trying to hang on to it will make you very unhappy…and you want to be happy and at peace when your little one finally arrives. Give it to God; he won’t make a mistake; he already knows exactly which little one is yours!

God bless your journey.

Love,

Natasha

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