19 June 2012

Love: Continued

I have been asking the Lord for more love. And that asking may sound more like pleading.

On Sunday I was so overwhelmed by my inability, by the huge gap between the amount of love I need to parent Ezra well and the amount of love I actually have. I have known for years that I'm not a great lover: I love much, but not very well. You can ask my Mr. Muenich sometime when he's feeling particularly honest. Oh, he probably wouldn't say, but it's still true.

I was reading in Romans:

"Love must be sincere.
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in love.
Honor one another above yourselves."

Oh, the line breaks are mine. I just like how short and to the point these sentences are. And this verse has been running laps in my head for a few weeks. Sometimes it gets used by my mean person to condemn me, but more often I hear the Holy Spirit saying, "this is what I want. This is the love you need."

And I was just so overwhelmed by my lack, I was begging the Lord for the sake of this child He's allowed me to parent (and also for my poor, dear, long-suffering husband), to increase the quality of my love. That it would honor my child and my husband above me. That it would be devoted to them and not devoted to my selfish desires. I know it's possible to not lose your cool even after the twentieth tantrum of the day because God never yells in frustration (though, to be fair, I don't bite God and then laugh when it hurts him). God doesn't get fed up with me, and I am sure I'm frustrating.

So the tears are streaming, I'm journaling, and Mr. S asks what's up (not his exact words). So I show him my journal entry, and he writes back to say I AM growing in love, that he's noticed and been very proud of and encouraged by me.

And it dawns on me: He's in the middle of growing me in love. I'm not "there yet" (because I'm not dead), but that it's happening. What a relief.

It's nice to remember, at the end of the day, that life in the rock tumbler of parenthood may not be pretty or comfortable, but it is an effective agent of sanctification.

18 June 2012

Serious Sunday: Love

I have a confession: Ezra's going through a phase of development that's not my favorite. He no longer entertains himself nearly as much as before (srsly, I had it so easy). He gets frustrated when I want him to sign, "please," and I can't tell if he's forgotten momentarily or if he just doesn't want to.

Is 15 months early to start throwing tantrums? Because he does. Not throwing himself on the ground, but spinning in circles, yelling, and kicking and flapping his arms. He seems to be kind of an anger-leaning kid: he doesn't cry, like, ever. He yells. Kind of a lot.

My suspicion is that I have an emotional boy on my hands. He's rarely not emoting something; it's usually happiness. But this losing it when he doesn't get what he wants when he wants... How do you moms put up with it?

I love E's personality; he really is great - he waves at strangers, gives high fives, likes to read books, is so curious and active and communicative. But it can be really hard to not get so tired of the fussing and grabbing and complaining and falling apart. I lose my patience all the time.

How do you keep the boundaries that are necessary and still let your child know how much you love and enjoy him? And how do you keep enjoying him when so much of your interaction is negative? Because I desperately do NOT want our children growing up with the sense that I think they're bad or that I wish they were someone else. Surtout my little Pez, my wild goat of a toddler!

11 June 2012

An African, American Family

So, since we're adopting from Ghana, we're looking at becoming African Americans. I mean, obviously not exactly, since Stephen, Ezra, and I are all obviously white, and we just don't have access to "what it's like" to be black in America.

But still, we must educate ourselves on being of African descent and living in America because that's exactly the experience our child will have growing up. And though it's more fun to educate myself on what type of hair my son or daughter may have (especially since E still has very little hair to speak of), it's much more important for me to educate myself on how to parent him or her as a member of a community of which I am not a part.

What I am still trying to figure out is this weird question of  how much emphasis do we place on our child's African-ness? Because he won't have an accent, or memories, or anything to really explicitly show that he was born in Ghana, not Texas. So in many ways, it seems like he may be treated by most people as an American of African descent, rather than an African who is also American.

Gosh, am I making sense? I sometimes feel just so out of my element when thinking through this that I don't even know if my thoughts are logical or not. Our child will not have the same shared history of African Americans with ancestors who were slaves, or who were subjected to Jim Crow laws, or were burdened with the injustice of segregation, though she probably has ancestors who were taken from Ghana to become slaves. But does the fact that her relatives didn't experience what her black friends' relatives experienced matter in the light of the fact that she will often be treated as though they did? I don't know, and I don't even know how to know. Anybody?

So this is the first book I'm ordering to read. I'm hoping, as time passes, that I'll be guided to other meaningful books and discussions. Living in an area of the United States that can still be prejudiced, and frankly hateful, towards non-whites, it is imperative that we not stick our heads in the sand and pretend like a "color-blind" philosophy of parenting will suffice.

07 June 2012

Finances and Faith, Pt. 2

I think this may be a relatively frequent topic around here. I know all of you know now that international adoption is (as we say in our house) not just spensive, but expensive. I mean, the good thing is that it's not all due at once, but the bad thing is that more than we can possibly save from our income is due over and over again. Lemme lay out the next couple of waves:

Due with our formal application to our adoption agency: $3,135
Due <30 days after our formal application: $1,400
Due as soon as we finish our dossier: $4,175

Now, if I'm diligent, we could finish our dossier in a matter of a few weeks after that first fee - even at the same time as that second fee. But we can't submit our dossier until we have that 4k. And we still have $1205 left to raise on our formal application fees.

Every time I look at these numbers, they seem to grow into these insurmountable obstacles. In some part of me, I know they aren't, but that part is not very big, nor is it easily accessible. I just need so much more faith than I have - faith in God's desire and ability to provide for our family.

Would you join me in praying that the Lord would bring the $6,780 we have left to raise, and soon? We so dearly want to bring home our child. Thanks!

06 June 2012

Garage Sale

So many of you may know that we had our second garage sale this weekend. And it was a great success! With the help of many, many friends, we raised $900 for our adoption!

I saved a couple of the bigger-ticket items that didn't sell on Saturday in hopes that I will get off my duff and post them on Craigslist to make a few more bucks. I'm praying to make $205 off the sale of those items, leaving us only $1000 left to raise for the next phase of our adoption. Yay!