Saturday, September 07, 2013

Looking Back At The First Year - Part 1: Me, Myself, and I

So, I am starting with myself.  Partially because as a mom I don't come first very often.  I am not saying that as a "poor me" thing, it is just a fact (that I think most moms would agree with).  We don't usually put our wants in front of our kids' needs.  Their needs trump everything else. 

From the beginning of our adoption process with the girls, their needs have come first.  Even before they got here I was putting their needs first by getting paperwork done in a timely fashion.  If any of you have gone through an adoption, you know this is no small feat.  The paperwork is long and involved and seemingly never-ending.  It was like a full-time job at times.  We were dealing with government offices in 2 different countries, and things had to be perfect or it would delay the process and make the girls stay in an orphanage longer... That was not cool with me.

I knew in my head that it would be hard after they got here, but I don't think I was fully prepared for how hard it would really be.  My boys have been pretty self-sufficient for years now and I was used to being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted (pretty much).  All of a sudden I was pulled backwards quite a few years.  This was harder on me than I thought it would be.  I struggle every day with my selfish desires.  I have found that it helps to get up early and have a good half-hour to pray before my kids wake up; helps me center myself on Jesus before I have to deal with getting kids ready for the day.

I read this in another blog once:

"I have been the Mama who's punished when I needed to pray.  Who's hollered at kids when I needed to help kids.  Who's lunged forward when I should have leaned on Jesus."

Yep, that's me... I have failed so many times and yet my kids seem to still think I am pretty good at this parenting thing.  My boys, who are now 15 and 13, still like to sit with me and give me hugs and kisses.  One of the girls told me that I was in her heart before she came here because she wanted a mommy so bad, and the other one tells me that she thinks I am the best mommy in the world (although she has also told me that she doesn't think she needs a mom - but that has been when she is mad at me... ha!).  So, maybe I am doing something right.  I find the more I lean on Jesus, the more patience and love I have for my kids.

The first few months our girls were here I daily fought the urge to run away; luckily I had a friend I could text and she would pray for me or offer to run away with me!  The one thing I did do for myself was my weekly dance class.  That was my lifeline.  I would have an hour to an hour-and-a-half to dance for Jesus and laugh with friends.  I didn't have to talk about home if I didn't want to and it was really, really good!

I still yell too much, and I am committed to working on that.  Earlier in the year I found I was able to turn off my emotions with the girls and just take care of them - I know that sounds harsh, but it was reality. I was in survival mode... head down, plowing forward trying to keep my eyes on Jesus and the promise of all of this being better one day.  Turning off my emotions is now harder to do, and I'm grateful that despite the challenge of feeling and dealing with all of those emotions and the pain it brings me, my heart can't help but be open to them at a deepening level.

When the girls returned to Latvia after first being hosted by us, I decided to grow my hair out.  No real reason; just wanted something different.  When we brought them back home I was still letting it grow, partially because it was just easier not to think about it.  Well, anyone who knows me knows that I don't keep my hair color or hairstyle the same for very long.  Poor Jon never knows how it is going to look when I go get my hair done!  But this last year, I didn't do anything different, just let it grow.  Two days ago I went and had my hair dyed red and 9 inches cut off (I was able to donate it!).  For the first time in a year, it seems I feel like me again.  Feels pretty good!

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