Thursday, December 30, 2010


my son turns 4 on sunday.  

because his birthday falls a mere week after christmas, the pomp and circumstance surrounding it always seems to get downplayed.  thankfully, my son is the type of kid who could really care less.  

so when i was trying to figure out what i should blog about this week, i was shocked i hadn't already started a birthday blog for oz.  cuz in case you didn't notice, this year part of my blogging resolution was to write birthday blogs for the people closest to me.  again on one hand i felt bad that i hadn't thought to write one for oz, but on the other hand i think in some ways i was fearful that i wouldn't have much to say.

if i could sum up my son in one word, besides adorable, handsome, smart, funny, sensitive and a wee bit eccentric, it would be easy.  oz is easy.  now don't get me wrong, he has his moments-- most of which are in public or around family friends, but at home oz is pretty darn near perfect.  while lily demands most of our attention with her daily shenanigans, oz tends to lay low on the radar.  no issues with clothes, or pooping or attitude-- he has the occasional food challenges, but for the most part he's busy tooling around playing with his toys.  

ever since lily started kindergarten, oz and i have fallen into a really neat routine.  after we drop off lily, we come home, put tali down and then it's just me and him for a solid two hours.  first he'll want to watch mighty machines or cars for an hour and then before i know it he'll be off the couch running his cars or playing trains quietly.  he is so easily entertained and has a crazy long attention span.  his little mind is so different than mine. his infatuation with moving machinery amazes me.  but at the same time he's satisfied taking cooking equipment out of the drawer and making machines out of them.  i'm always amazed at how a can opener suddenly becomes a helicopter rescuing a chip clip.  

having a firstborn that requires so much emotional energy can be exhausting.  being with lily makes me appreciate the simplicity that comes with oz.  he's always down to cuddle me, and almost never talks back.  he's pretty intuitive for an almost four year old-- if he feels like i'm upset he'll say 'mom' and i'll look over at him just giving me just the biggest smile.  he's just checkin in, giving me exactly what i need at that moment.  his sensitivity floors me.  i always joke that even though it can't be easy being in between two girls, someday he'll be thankful for what a good husband it made him. 

i guess when i was worried i wouldn't have much to say, it's because i can sometimes equate less words with less love.  but the reality is, most days i would take five boys if they were all like him.  i can only hope and pray that our simple, constant, loving ride continues.  my heart overflows for that boy, and i'm so thankful for the unique love we have.  

even though you hate pictures, still won't utter a word to lily's kindergarten teacher, claim the elevators were your favorite part of our last vacation, eat a bagel with cream cheese for dinner most nights and exhaustingly need to know how everything works, i still marvel at how much i learn from you.  your patience with lily is humbling and your tenderness toward tali makes me swoon.  i love how comfortable you are in your own skin.

and so oz, even though you tell me every day you don't want to grow up, in a couple days you'll be four.  but just so you know, even when your 44, you will still always, always be my baby boy.  i love you oliver and i can't thank you enough for being the unwavering radiance in my world.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


last friday night we loaded up lil and oz and headed downtown to the SLO christmas parade.  we found our seats on the curb and cuddled up as the floats began.  it was a parade like any other until this one float came up. i don't even know what it was for, maybe boy scouts or something.  all i know is that there were lots of little 6-9 year old boys on bike's.  it was un-remarkable until, peddling up, came a boy on one of those recumbent bikes.  he was riding right along the edge getting high fives from all the kids sitting on the curb.  he was pretty stoked cruising through town high fivin' it up.  i smiled as i watched and as he rode by i looked up and a few feet behind him was his mom who had this look of sheer joy on her face.  if you could bundle up a heart bursting with pride and joy and satisfaction, it was being displayed on her face.  this would have been something i probably wouldn't even have noticed if i hadn't first recognized the boy.  i've seen him around parks, the elks, the kids museum- all the places i often frequent.  i don't know what his physical disability is, but something about his legs is severely compromised.  just to walk looks like a struggle. so for him to be able to ride a bike just might be a small miracle.  the irony is that every time i see this boy like i did that night, he is always smiling and running and laughing- even if it is a struggle.

but tonight was different.  tonight he was like every other boy he was riding around with.  tonight his mom saw him with his friends and amongst the people and no one was staring, or laughing or wondering what was wrong with him. tonight he was 'normal.'  i've heard it said that when you have a child with disabilities whether it be mental or physical, it will always be harder for the parent then the child.  as parents we have this crazy overwhelming desire to see our kids thriving, succeeding, healthy and most of all, happy.

that night i also was sitting with a few couples who had just had their first child.  they were taking pictures, and smiling, attentive to every need or want their baby had.  it made me remember those days. i guess in a way i'm still in them with tali, but there is nothing like your firstborn.  with the first, you see everything.  you watch, you study, you just marvel.  i don't think any of us had the foresight to know how crazy in love we would be.

reading this the other day helped me put it all into words, 'their hearts were wrung with anguish, the anguish of having children, a vulnerability as astonishing as the capacity for love that parenthood brings, in a cuff link set all it's own...'

i never knew how vulnerable having children would make me.  i also never knew how my desire for them to be happy would supersede everything.  what i've been realizing is that when i think about my kids being happy, i have these preconceived notions about what it should look like.  naturally the first thing would be good health, that they would also be smart, attractive, find a career, love and one day a family.  ideally they would experience as little hurt and pain and injustice as possible.
but when i stop and think about my own life and think about what has brought me the most joy and happiness, the one thing that has shaped my life more than my parents or life experiences, i recognize it wasn't any sort of choice i made or path i took.  it was the day i realized i was made for so much more.  the day that i took that leap of faith setting in motion a chain of events that singlehandedly gave me EVERYTHING i treasure and hold dear to today.  it was the day i came to know jesus.

i see him when i look into my babies eyes. i experience his mercy when i feel the touch of my husband. and when i take the time to see the face looking back at me in the mirror i am reminded that its truly by grace alone that i have been granted the greatest joy and peace and happiness i could ever want.  how could i not want that same thing for my children?

so god please forgive me for seeking temporal worldly things for my kids.  forgive me for esteeming my ideas of happiness over your salvation.  remind me that when i lay my head down to pray at night that i would merely pray for you to grant them the grace that you have, and continue to afford me.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

in process part 2

i was looking back at my writings from the last few months.  it's crazy to think how much has changed even since i wrote this.  for me, this journey has had such a steep learning curve.  it seems like everyday i'm presented with a different situation or comment or appointment.  i wrote this after a weekend up at brandon's parents house.  

July 17, 2010

we went up to b's parents house this last weekend.  it was good to get away and have the time to spend with them. we went up with the intention of telling them that we were officially in the adoption process.  i was anxious about bringing it up, even though they know its something we've talked about, i just wasn't sure how they would react to it actually happening.  when the time finally came, thankfully, they were exceedingly happy and supportive.  yet the day before was what really proved to be the most difficult.  

we were hanging out at b's parents neighbor/friends house.  they have a pool and offered us to come and use it.  they weren't home, but their daughter was visiting.  she was in her early 40's and as b and her got caught up a bit she of course asked if we were going to have more children.  after explaining that we were done birthing children, b told her we were going to adopt.  she was really surprised. she went on to ask where and when, and as we told her she kind of  began to withdraw.  after a few minutes she motioned to lily, oz and t playing and said, 'i don't know why you would want to mess with what you've got?'  
i'll admit i was totally taken back.  i ended up just kind of shirking it off, and expressing that its something we've always wanted to do.

later, i found myself really upset.  i kept recounting the conversation and thinking what i should have said.  looking back i wanted to say, 'oh i'm sorry, i didn't realize my family was wrapped up in a little leave it to beaver aryan bow.'  or maybe something like 'are you kidding me, you don't even know my kids.  they are totally crazy.  my daughter has at least one huge meltdown a day about clothes, my son won't eat anything but cheerios and rations out  smiles, and the verdict isn't even in on tali.  the thing is, the moment all three of my kids were conceived we were already messing with what we got.'  

the truth is, you have no idea what you are going to get, biological children or adopted. 

it's not like we haven't thought about what it will mean to bring in another child from another country.  we are becoming increasingly aware that adoption is not all unicorns and fairy tales.  i know its going to be hard, and i know he could have some serious issues, but that's the risk you take... and for us, its totally worth it.  and today that's all that matters.  

later i emailed all that to lealah and this was what she came back with...brilliant.

email from lea--
'So good to get your email. I felt like you were right here for a minute. I miss you when you're gone, like my little life source is clouded over. I understand what you're saying about the adoption stuff. Its funny how people relate their fears to you as fact. I'm so sorry you had to take that in. Its meant to discourage for sure and what pains me is knowing that people only do it because of their own fears about life. We're realists hollsy and people who just meet you aren't going to see that right away. They wanna make judgements about your life, your family. They don't wanna think that its quite possible you've already weighed the pros and cons of this decision. People want to say something revalatory not to shed light but rather seem righteous and all knowing. The reality is you've already thought about the good bad and ugly of adoption. What more is I think you and I both have come to realize that having children really has nothing to do with us and our happiness, that really, truly its all about them. Adoption is sacrifice and people can't understand why you'd ever wanna sacrifice for someone else that's not your flesh and blood. Why you'd ever compromise your happiness, that you'd temp fate per se. The fact is, god does this with us each and every day. He adopted us in, he chooses to love us, he sacrificed everything for us, for what: for the heartache and pain we bring him every day...doubting his love for us, living in fear, feeling anxious about life, so on and so forth. God knows he chose us, not for what we could bring to him but what he could bring to us. Its really quite beautiful and humbling. So yes, people do people things. What's precious is we have each other. You're my sister through the simple fact that god adopted us both into the same family. Why wouldn't we want to replicate that?!'

leave it lealah to lay it all out.  all my frustrations and feelings about the situation couldn't have been put into words more clearly.  i love that sometimes we really have the same mind.  

since then i have experienced several more situations like the above.  i know i have many more to come.  but in the meantime i really feel like god has given me grace for comments such as those.  i know firsthand what's its like to say something without thinking, i do it almost every day

when it comes to adoption, every person has their own opinion or experience.  its not like there's this pat formula that everybody follows.  there is much trial and error and different personalities and pasts.  my intention in writing this wasn't to slam this woman or all the people out there that may have made stupid comments, it was more of time to get across our heart and mind behind adoption.  i know we will be faced with many more situations and challenges, i guess all we can do is pray. pray that god gives us not what we want, but what we need.  its times like these that i find such great comfort knowing that god knew, that the day our son was born that we would be his forever home.  and that ultimately gives me more peace than anyone or anything this world could offer.