Saturday, June 30, 2007

Being a Step Parent

So many parents say that they wish their child came with an instruction manual. Multiply that thought by ten and that's being a step parent. As a woman, it just isn't natural to have children in and out of your home that you desire to just love on unconditionally, but who come with lots of conditions. You're always aware of the fact that you aren't their mom and when it comes down to being really scared or hurt....they don't want me, they want their mom. No one prepares a woman for that when she marries a man with children. You somehow have to figureout what the rules are...and they are constantly changing. Love them like they're your own...until that's threatening to their mother. Discipline them like they need...except they'll have totally different rules 90% of the time. Help pay to raise them...but have no say in what happens medically, educationally, with child care, with extra-curricular activities. Figure out how to bring your own children into the mix and try with all you've got to make your step-children feel loved and welcome and not like they are less than. On a good day it looks like a family that takes all the parts and blends them together and it works. On a bad day it involves a whole lot of self doubt, anger, tears, a strained marriage, and a weary spirit. As the kids get older, it seems to get a bit more complicated. They have more questions. They are able to put more of the pieces together. They are more unsure of themselves and their place (isn't that ironic??) was one of the good days. One of the days where I'm sure of my role. I'm okay with what it is. I get to be that extra adult that just makes their lives richer. Last weekend was Ashley's 10th birthday (Where have the last 7 years gone?) This is our weekend with the kids so it's been Ashley's weekend. She and Brandon spent the night at Nanny Mona's (Josh's mom) last night. They got to stay up late eating popcorn and carrying on. She took them to the library this morning and then I met up with them and we all went out to lunch and to Build a Bear Workshop in the mall (thanks Grandpa Gary and Grandma Linda). Brandon still had some of his birthday money so they both got to partake in the activities. They had a blast!!! We came home and went right over to the YMCA to go swimming. We came back to the house and I put the cake in the oven and started on dinner. Josh came home from work and we had a nice cookout and Ashley opened her presents from us. I got BIG points for getting the new Hannah Montana CD for her that was just released this week...yeah, I'm cool....We had cake and ice cream and listened to the above mentioned CD. Josh even showed Ash a couple of his dance moves. (I think he actually likes the CD...shhh, don't tell him I told you.)

So now the kids are all tucked in. The end of a great day. After I finished decorating Ashley's cake she looked at me and said, "Thank you, Melissa." That was really all I needed. I'm glad I get to be in her life.

Happy double digits Ashley!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

17 Months down...

On an adoption note, we have now been logged in for 17 months. I'm glad that the summer will be busy...maybe the time will pass by faster. We are praying for a fall referral and travel before the end of the year. I's ridiculous. Thank God our baby will be worth every minute of the wait.

Visiting the kids...

Today Sarah (one of the volunteers who helps with the kids on Wednesday nights) and I went and visited almost all of the kids who come to church from our neighborhood. We went to 13 different homes (28 kids). We brought treat bags for each of the kids in celebration of their first day of summer and a newsletter and fliers on different summer activities to share with their parents. Surprisingly we got to see all but a handful of the kids. We spoke to all but 3 or 4 parents...AMEN! What are the chances of catching everyone at home??

The kids were genuinely excited to see us. They're excited and anticipating the summer ahead. It is encouraging to begin building relationships with their parents. It's interesting how many of these parents and households are interconnected. Everyone was kind to us...happy to share a few words. I think that regardless of what the home life is like for many of our kids, on some level their parents will trust and respect us simply because we are investing in their children. I think that parents are grateful that there are other adults involved. Raising a kid is hard work...I pray that as we invest in families, there would be a felt difference in the life and health of our neighborhood.

Here were the highlights:
  • Being invited into the home of one of our Congolese families and learning about fou fou (porridge like consistency) and little dried fish that David likes...(glad he didn't ask us to try one..they still have the eyes!)
  • Having Kaitlin ask if she can come to my house (sounds like a girl party in the making!)...sorry Josh.
  • Seeing P.J. who so desperately wants us to come and watch him play baseball...There's a game tomorrow, guess where I'll be? :)
  • Feeling my heart beat a little faster because I love what I do and I know that God has truly given me the desires of my heart.