Thursday, August 22, 2013

And then there were seven -- Welcome Baby Grayce

There was a call.  A familiar voice on the other end and an announcement that my girls were big sisters. 

A Baby Girl. 

No. I said.  No.  

We are done. 

We are DONE. 

"Just come see her, please" the voice said

"They've asked you to take her"

And so I visited.  A tiny baby.  Alone. 

My baby. Our baby.  

God's Grace is Sufficient.



 And today she is, finally, ours.  We are a family.  

Seven kids.  

Two tired parents.  

God's Grace is Sufficient. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Well Done.

I cried this weekend like I have not cried in years. Emotion so deep and so overwhelming that despite my best intentions I could not keep it in.

When you are handed a child, either a wee baby just snatched and pushed from your body, or a screaming toddler terrified of your strange face or a silent preschooler angry at their exploding world, a mother, a good mother, hands them their heart.  This little person holds your world, and they become yours.

There are the good times that poets and mothers often write about, and remember on Mother's Days or in impassioned essays on the wonders of motherhood.  There are horrible times that only are spoken about in hushed tones in a therapist's office or in the knowing, silent looks of other mother's of teenagers whose hearts are bruised and broken.

There is terror, and passion.  Anger, pride, adoration and again more fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of what failing your child means to their life.  Fear that every decision is the wrong decision and that any decision could break them, or break you.

And then there is success. Success in the form of acknowledgement.  Success in the form of surprise scholarships.  Success in the form of a child who has reached the end of his childhood and is about to run full onto an adulthood full of potential.  And they run into your arms and cling.  And you sob.  You sob because every fear, every worry, every prayer comes to this great day when your child glows with pride and potential and hope, and you, for just a brief moment, allow yourself to grasp in the reality that you did a good job.

This boy, this man-child, is my son.  I raised him.  Through good times and through bad times, through deep valleys and great joys, through my mistakes and his.  I never let go and I never gave up and this weekend the pride in him, and the pride in a job well done on both our parts gave me pause.

Congratulations Greg.  Congratulations Me.







Saturday, January 19, 2013

Those Amazing Few Days

Her very young mama is my friend.  A friend I have supported throughout the years.  She didn't have custody, but she did have needs and she needed a friend.  Someone to ask for a ride, advice, help.  And then again, with a new baby last year so reminiscent of the baby I once held in my arms, she needed babysitting, and rides to AA, and support when the tears of anger and frustration and pain slipped out at how very difficult her life had been to that point.  I was her friend because I felt that was what I was being called to be.  I was her friend because I loved her too.

Maybe our mutual love of the same little girl that neither of us got to raise was enough to glue us together but either way, all those years ago when I promised that baby girl that I was committed to her and to her family for life, I really meant it.  I just hadn't ever imagined when I made that promise  that it would be six years of loving them without her present and no hope of anything different, but it didn't change my promise.

The week before Christmas, there was a hurriedly arranged court session, quickly signed documents and a phone call I never, ever expected to receive.  "Hey, I am getting custody back of J, do you want to come for a visit?"

Why yes.  YES I FREAKING DO.  I may have danced.

There had been increased visitation with her Mom over the last few months, and we had been privileged with spending some time with her throughout the summer and fall.  Strange moments I was incredibly shocked to have been blessed with.  The sight of my 2 daughters, whom I never even imagined being mine but became mine, and the little girl I had begged God to let me keep, but He had taken from me, playing together.   TOGETHER.  3 little girls that I loved with all my heart playing together.  It seemed a moment I couldn't quite believe was real.

There were tears after these brief visits.  Caden, my sweet little boy, who was only 5 when she left continued to grieve her loss and then grieved her present.  Her life is harder than you would want for any child, but particularly a child you love, and his young brain tried to process the ever apparent hardships she faces.  He sobbed those sorts of deep hiccup sobs that even when the sound stops the tears continue for hours after.  He missed his baby sister, and this so apparently needy, hurting little girl was not who she could have, or even should have been, and he saw that.  She was now a friend, and not a sister, and to him that will always be one of the greatest losses of his life.  
Jazzy, Caden and Jen 2006
So when I got this call of another chance for a visit, he weighed the invitation very carefully.  Not sure he could handle the pain, not sure he could handle NOT seeing her when he had the chance to.  I knew I was going, J had specifically asked her mom if I was coming to visit and asked that I did but I left the decision up to Caden.  It was at the very last moment he decided to hop in.  "I don't have to play with her if it is too hard" he explained "I will go swim with someone else".

We were meeting at the local pool and it was to be her birthday party her Mom had put together for her little girl, now almost 7.  Her and I share a birthday. The chance to celebrate with her again filled a desperate cry of my heart.

We were the only people that showed up.

And we spent 2 hours eating cake, playing, swimming together.  The baby got passed back and forth from his mama to me, his favorite aunty.  I tossed one girl, then another, then another up into the air.  We laughed and played. and the entire time my heart was screaming "THIS was the way it was SUPPOSED to be".  We were supposed to have been an extended family all loving on the same kids.  We were supposed to have been ok and happy and all willing to share and love and support the same little girl.   My heart processed equal parts grief at the 6 wasted years and amazement that this moment had even come at all.

When it was time to go, she turned to her mom and said "PLEASE can I go to their house to play?"  and her mom said "Sure".

A single word that gave my son and I the best possible Christmas present we could have ever received.  Time with HER in our home.  Jazzy was coming to our home, that had been her home,  for the first time since she was 18 months old. And the next day, and the day after that. And 2 days more after that.

Jazzy and Caden 2012.  The BEST day of his life he said.
There were tears again, but this time from her as she begged to stay.  This journey is going to be hard and probably complicated.  But without a doubt, I know that she heard the words she needed to hear from us.  She HAD been loved when she was a baby.  She was STILL loved by those that had loved her then.  And we would always, always be here for her if she ever needed us to be.    

I will talk about those days another time, but for now, we are thankful.  She has gone back to where she was before, with a chance of a permanent custody change later this year.  We don't have visits right now or even updates.

But this Christmas I took a picture of the 7 children I have loved with all my heart in front of my Christmas tree.  6 are mine, 1 is a child that was mine but still owns her chunk of my Mama\s Heart and that will be her spot forever.  It was our Christmas Miracle.


Christmas 2012


Christmas 2006

Sunday, January 6, 2013

All is well with my soul

There have been many hard birthdays.  You know this.

This is not a hard birthday.

This is a miracle birthday.


 \
SHE came back. My baby J.   Just for a visit.  A Miracle Visit.   2000 hugs.  A million memories.


So many years of tears.  Too many years of a broken heart.  Too many "managed" birthdays that were barely survivable.

Today I smile.  I held her. She posed in front of my Christmas Tree.  She looked through her baby book.  I held her in my arms and told her I loved her.

And I healed.

And I thanked.  It was truly a miracle beyond my wildest expectations and even if it is months or years before it happens again, TODAY she knows I love her.  That I loved her with all my heart.

And finally the scab on my heart healed over.  And the tears are tears of joy.