Friday, January 15, 2016

Ohhh...the LOVE!!

I have been reminded why I love my blog so much.  For so long, it was my lifeline to the outside world!  It was the way I connected with other adoptive moms, boymoms, photographers....everyone.  It offered me a way to document our life...the big and small.  Somehow in the business of life, I walked away from my little piece of the internet. 

Yesterday, as I poured out my heart and shared what we have been dealing with at home, the outpouring of love was overwhelming!  The facebook comments, blog comments, calls and texts were amazing.  They reminded me that I am not in this alone...that I have many friends walking the same path.  I even had Allie, a teenage adoptee, give me her perspective!  If you haven't read it, I urge you to go to the comments of the previous post.  While you're there, be sure to read my mom's comment.  What a blessing to have those words of encouragement written down forever.

Thank you all for the love, encouragement and friendship.  It is so comforting knowing that we can all figure this out together!!

Yesterday was a better today....let's see what today holds!!!

And, just because it would be heresy to post without at least one picture, here we big, crazy, Cajun family!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ohhh.....the questions.....

Oh my... the conversations that have gone on at my house the last 2 days...  Absolutely mind boggling.  In just a couple of weeks, Wesleigh will have been home from China for SIX years!  (So hard to believe!)  A couple weeks after that, she turns 8.  Wesleigh is my thinker.  She always has been.  She loves to learn and thinks things through way beyond her years.  The questions she comes up with about absolutely everything make my brain hurt!  Well...the last 2 days, the questions have been focused on her adoption.  Here are a few just to give you an idea:
-Why do we have 2 moms?
-Why does Gracie have a foster mom too and I don't?
-Who took care of me?
-Why couldn't my birth mother take care of me?
-Was she sad?
-How many birth moms are there in China?
-Can I see her?
-Will God promise me that I can meet my birth mom?
-We were ORPHANS??
-We lived in an ORPHANAGE????
-Who is my real mom?
-Why couldn't my real mom take care of me?
-Does she remember me?
-Does she think about me?
-Why did God let you be the boys' birth mom?

Here are some of the comments I've heard:
-I just want to see my birth offense
-There must be millions of birth moms in China
-That must have been such a hard choice (said with big crocodile tears)
-She must have been so sad
-I love my family, but I just want to see my birth mom.
-Mom, well adoptive mom....
-Some people say I'm lucky to live here
I have also heard:
-I do really love my family
-G to W "I am really happy I have a sister like you"
-I'm sad.

My brain hurts.  I have always been open and honest about their stories.  I have told them the truth, as much as I know...on their level.  I offer them my theories but make sure they know that I really don't have the answers.  I am not offended or hurt by the words "adoptive" or "real".  How does an 8 year old process this information without questioning these things and using those words?  It is truth.  Who is the "real" mom?  We both are.

There have been so many tears.  Wesleigh just gets it.  It is sad.  It is heartbreaking.  Her story is hard.  Gracie, on her own, would not be thinking of all of these things.  She is more like me.  Tell me the sky is blue and I'm good with need to know why :)  However, with Wesleigh asking so many questions, Gracie is brought along for the ride.  Gracie has both cried with Wesleigh, and has also rolled her eyes and sighed when she brought it up yet again.  lol...

I do have to is truly remarkable to witness this child processing her story.  I am so thankful that we believe in a good God.  A God who knew what my girls' stories would be.  I am thankful that I can offer that to my girls.  I don't really know how you can process something like this without the knowledge that, no matter what happened and why, God has always been there and He will use all those things for good.  Evidently, another part of her processing is whining and questioning everything I say and do.  UGH.... These past 2 days have not been fun around here!

I have a few pieces of her story that I have kept from her still.  She has not asked how old she was when she was left or where.  I have a video of her, taken by a mom who traveled before we were matched.  It shows Wesleigh in her crib at the orphanage....crying.  It breaks my heart and I know it will break hers.  I will wait to show it to her until she is better equipped to handle it.  I have pictures of her in the orphanage, taken on the disposable camera I sent while we waited.  I'm so happy to have them, but they're just sad.  Any photo of any child living in an orphanage without parents is just sad.  There is no other way to spin it.  It is heartbreaking. 

So, Wesleigh processes with questions and whining.  I processes by typing out my random thoughts on this blog.  Here's something that I have been thinking about.  The fact that Wesleigh said, "Some people say I'm lucky to be here".  I will be honest, I have heard this comment, but I didn't realize people were saying to directly to the girls, and I really didn't know that she would be able to connect it to her adoption.  Obviously, I was mistaken.  This is a hard one for me.  Would I have chosen for their birth parents to have to make the decision to give up their girls?  Of course not.  Has it worked out well for me?  Honestly, yes.  Adopting those two girls has given my life huge purpose and immeasurable joy.  Are they lucky (blessed) that they were adopted?  Compared to the children who are still in the orphanage...yes.   Compared to children who are being raised by their biological  Would they know the Lord if they had been raised in China?  I don't have that answer but I can assume that there would be less of a chance.  Do people have any idea of the weight or hurt that their statement carries?  Absolutely not.  People (including myself) say stupid thoughtless things everyday.  Bottom line is...I do not like the word "lucky".  I don't really like it in general, but I especially don't like it when referring to my girls.  My girls have lived through more than most of us will live through in our lifetimes.  Also, people are not going to stop telling my girls they are lucky.  This is something that we are going to have to work through and talk about many more times. 

My head hurts...did I mention this already?  I think that's all the processing I can handle today.  There is so much more...there always will be.  I pray that God gives me guidance and patience to help each of my girls everyday.

Here's a look at these crazy, beautiful, sassy girls that we are blessed to share our lives with :)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Cade football

I won't lie...I think our football days are over!  Cade held out until right after the first freshman ballgame and then just HAD to play.  His heart just wasn't really in it the same way it has been in the past.  So mine wasn't either.  He did get 3 plays in a varsity game and even scored a touchdown!!  It was very exciting, and he can say he did it, but that is the end of that chapter.  He did get the varsity football/cheerleader pic with Anna and that was a lot of fun :)

Tigerband practice part 2

Here's the cell phone version...
As you can see, the girls have made tons of friends and Gracie totally thinks she is one of the gang!!

It was a great football season... There is talk that the band director has always had the dream of taking his band to China!!!  He wants a pic of the band on the Great Wall!!!!  I don't think I even have to tell you how exciting that is to me!!  You'd better believe we will be on that plane with them if it comes to pass!!!!

Tigerband practice part 1

Our favorite thing to do on home game days is to go to the practice that morning.  Whether we go to the game or not, practice is a must.  The girls have become little Tigerband celebrities.  Every Tigerband member knows who they are...and they look for them EVERY practice.  I have so many parents come up to me and tell me that their son or daughter has told them about my girls and how much they enjoy watching them during practice...even out of town parents will comment on facebook!  lol...  I know I'm biased, but I will tell's the cutest thing ever!  Gracie wants to be a goldengirl (dancer) and Wesleigh wants to be drummajor like Daniel!  Both choices totally suit their personalities!!!

Daniel will actually look over at Wesleigh and help her keep time as he's up there!

LSU vs. McNeese

My girls are not a fan of college!!  They miss him!

The girls and I really got to know Daniel at the pool during the summers when he managed it.  He love the girls...and they love him too!!

Waiting for "walk off".  This is when the band begins to march down Victory Hill.

Harassing fans from the other team! 

LSU vs. Auburn

Once upon a time, before I had 5 children to care for, I used to care about LSU football.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but now...I'm a Tigerband mom.  As I'm looking through these pics, I am laughing at myself because I don't remember anything about the football!  I remember the weather, where I was sitting (because of the pics), and who I went with.  But don't ask me who won the game ;) was SO hot at this afternoon game in south Louisiana!!!!  I can't imagine being in those band uniforms!

Bryce is 2nd from the left.  This is pregame.  He is the bottom of the "L" :)

Tigerband beginning

The last day of band camp includes their practice march down the hill.  Last year, this was my favorite day!  This year was just as awesome!  I love it, and it makes me so proud!

See the girl in the blue, next to my mom?  That's my lifelong friend, Heidi.  Her family came to watch the band with us.  It was so much fun sharing this day with them.  They were in town because later that night, her son, Payton (gray shirt and blue hat) would be performing for a tailgate event on campus.  You might want to remember his name...Payton Smith...I have a feeling you will be hearing him on the country music charts before long!

See the guy in the white shirt?  That is Daniel Wendt, this year's drum major.  He was drum major at Bryce's high school a few years ago and is an all around amazing guy!  You might want to remember his name because I have a feeling he will end up being president one day...if we are lucky!!!

See that boy in the white shirt and gray sunglasses?  He's a cutie and maybe the nicest guy you could meet.  He's the apple of his mama's eye and I know he is going to do big things one day!!

How about these 2 cuties?  You have seen me post about them before.  The one with the sunglasses is Zachary, the other one is Caleb.  I walked through Zach's illness with Heidi when he was 8 months old....and the recovery for years after.  I held Caleb in the hospital right after he was born...Heidi's 3rd boy.  He has the biggest heart ever!  When I tell you that Gracie loves Zachary, I'm not exaggerating!  Heidi lives about 1 1/2 hours away from me, so we do not get to see them often.  Her love for Zach spans over months of not seeing him.  I think his differences add to her attraction to him.  In fact, about a year ago she told him that not having hands and feet made him more handsome :)  There is no way I can possibly share everything this does for my heart.  This story is so much bigger than this post.  Let's just suffice it to say that Gracie, in all of her craziness, has an amazing heart.  I think she sees and feels things in a completely different way...  She loves big.

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