Friday, March 30, 2012


As I've tried to process the changes in our adoption over the past couple of weeks, many thoughts have been going through my head. The biggest question of all, obviously, is "Where do we go from here?" The answer, at this point, is "I don't know." I wish I did. Before now I _knew_ we were on the right path. I had very clear revelation that we were doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing. Now that that path is closed, I don't know which direction to turn. The biggest problem is that I really don't know which direction God wants us to go. I've been praying hard for direction, but so far I'm still just confused. So for now I'm looking into pretty much every possibility under the sun, praying a lot, and hoping that at some point our direction forward will be clear.

Which brings me to this post. One of the options I've considered going forward is hosting. That's where you invite an orphan (or 2 or 3) into your home for 3-6 weeks over the summer. Most orphans don't know much beyond the walls of the orphanage where they live. Even if the staff is wonderful and caring, there's just not money for many trips or cultural experiences or many things that we take for granted. And even more than that, most of these kids have no idea what a family really looks like. They might sort of know, intellectually, what a mother and father do, but they've never seen it, and they don't really know. How can they ever be expected to grow up and be able to hopefully move beyond their upbringing and start families of their own if they can't even picture what a family is?

Hosting gives families a chance to give orphans the experience of their life. Many orphans who are hosted learn to swim or ride a bike for the first time in their life. They might see the beach, a zoo, a museum, an amusement park, or a concert for the first time. But even more than all the things they get to do, they get a chance to build relationships, and to see what family relationships are all about. They have a model that they can use as they try to, against all odds, make a normal life for themselves after aging out of an orphanage.

Though one of the best parts about hosting is that many of the orphans don't have to use just a one month model of a family to build on the rest of their lives, because more than 65% of children who are hosted get adopted. Some people host with adoption in mind. It's a great chance to see if a particular child or children will mesh well with the children you already have at home. This is of particular concern when adopting older children or sibling groups, and if you're nervous about these issues it's great to have a chance to test the waters before making a long-term commitment. But even if you can't adopt, hosting can be a wonderful opportunity to show a child unconditional love and teach them what a family is, and most people who host without adopting will take the opportunity afterward to advocate for a family for the child they hosted. Even if you can't adopt, the fact that you hosted a child would raise their chances of being adopted exponentially, both because their face would now be out there for others to see and consider, and because anyone considering adopting them would have someone who knew them who they could talk to. That's a wonderful things when you're thinking about international adoption.

So, if you have a heart for the orphan but can't adopt, or aren't ready to yet (or already have, or whatever!), consider hosting a child. There are a number of organizations currently looking for host families for the coming summer. I've seen the children all of these organizations are listing, and they're precious. I don't know the rules about posting pictures of these kids, so I'm just going to link to the websites and let you go there to get the information on how to see pictures.

Children's Cultural Connection
New Horizons for Children
Project 143

And a special shout-out -- Children's Cultural Connection has about 10 kids on their hosting list who have to have families commit to them by April 1 or they won't be able to be hosted. For a few of the kids, it's their last chance to be hosted before they age out, so if you're thinking about this at all, especially about an older child, please go look and see if maybe you want to open your home to one of them!

Also, please share this info. These kids deserve every chance they can get. I'm still pretty new to this whole hosting thing, so there's lots I don't know, but if you have any questions I'd be happy to try to answer them or direct you to someone who can, so please, feel free to comment or e-mail me!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sad News

I'm sorry I've been absent the last week, and just after telling you that I was going to keep posting, too. There is a reason, though, unfortunately, not a good one.

Just over a week ago we found out that Miss "Brigitte" was being transferred to another orphanage where she is not and will never be adoptable. There's nothing we can do, and this journey, at least, is over.

I couldn't bring myself to talk about it before now. Honestly, I'm still mostly not talking about it, but just trying not to think about it and go on with life. Most of the time that works, and our family life is mostly normal and fine. When I do think about it (actually, mostly when I try to talk about it), however, I end up in tears, often for hours. My heart is grieving for the daughter I love but will never be able to hold.

I don't know what this means for us, for our adoption journey, or for our plans moving forward. I still want to adopt; Jacob isn't sure. Of course, I have no idea who I want to adopt, or where from, or when. We're praying for clarity and direction, but so far there is none. That might be partly due to the grief, or maybe just because right now we're supposed to wait on the correct timing. I don't know.

My heart still breaks for the orphans, for my not-daughter and for all the little ones out there waiting for families. I will be continuing to blog, talking about them, talking about our family, and sharing with you as we hopefully get clarity and move forward. Hopefully in time I can come to learn whatever it is God wants to teach me through the grief.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I'm nearing the end of my 30 day blogging challenge, and I'm doing horribly this week. I'm probably going to have to try to keep up the every day posting for longer to make up for it. Maybe I can do it every day (or at least almost every day, since obviously I'm far from perfect) for another month? I'm going to try.

The reason I've been so bad is because I'm having a great time on vacation with my family this week. It's the kids' Spring Break, and Jacob took some time off work to coincide with it so we could hang out together as a family.

First Jacob's sister and her family (she and her husband and their 7 kids) came to our house for a few days, and now we're busy going out and doing things every day. Today we went to a children's museum. Our kids love to take trips and go do stuff as a family. Spencer especially loves it, and connects with us better during those times than any other, which is why it always remains a priority for us. It's been a while since we had a good trip, and this week has done pretty well for getting him to interact with us, which I'm grateful for.

We're playing one more day, then spending Thursday trying to get some stuff done (like both sets of fingerprints!), then Friday we're heading off to see Jacob's sister again, and his parents who are going to be at her house. I'm pretty sure we're all going to be completely worn out before we get back to school and work next week, but at least it will be a good exhaustion.

Anyway, my computer time is pretty limited right now, but I'll try to post at least once more this week, and then get back to regular posting next week!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mulligan Stew!

We have some family visiting for the next few days, so I probably won't have a lot of time for blogging. I will try to do at least a short post every day, though. But, my lack of time coincides nicely with a post on my friend's blog I want to direct you all toward -- Mulligan Stew!

Julia has adopted from our daughter's country, and has such a great heart for orphans. Now she's running a huge giveaway to benefit many families and waiting children. So go over there and check out the awesome prizes she's assembled, and if you're able, give a little bit to one of the wonderful children she's trying to help. If you're not able, consider sharing the giveaway with your friends, or just take a minute to pray for the children and families. Also, be sure to go back and read through her posts from the past week introducing you to the orphans and their families -- the stories really are amazing! Thanks so much!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Motivation and Creativity

Lately I've been trying to motivate myself to start writing again. It's something that's important to me and that I love, but it's also hard work and it's one of the first things that gets pushed to the back burner when life gets out of control, because it's something that doesn't _have_ to happen. But often, the longer I go without writing the harder it is to get back into it, so I find myself trying to come up with elaborate motivational schemes.

My latest thought/scheme has been along the lines of, "If you write and can actually publish something and make some money, adopting again won't be quite such a financial burden and Jacob's more likely to agree to do this again." This is directly related to me not being able to stop looking at all the faces of waiting children and my heart breaking and wishing I could rescue all of them (which, obviously, I absolutely can't). Unfortunately, this was not really a great motivator. I mean, it is in theory, but in reality it failed dismally, as do most of my motivators.

It turns out that adoption is very similar to pregnancy for me in that it does bad things for my creativity. As much as I try to think about my stories, when my mind wanders it pretty much always heads to EE, not to a fantasy world. And I realized this is the problem with almost all of the things I've tried to use to motivate myself -- they're all about the other things I can do if I write (big things like rescuing orphans with the money, or just little things like having more computer time if my writing's done).

It turns out the only motivational techniques that actually work for me are those that are inspired by the actual writing, not by external factors. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to figure that out, but it's a new concept for me, and I've been writing for years. (Apparently, I'm kind of slow. I blame it on having 3 little boys who run me ragged. I used to blame it on having three toddlers, and before that I blamed it on pregnancy. Kids are really good for some things.)

I do know how I came to this realization, though. It came because I had my first sale from my etsy shop this week. (Well, my first completed sale. A friend tried to buy some cards from me a little while back, but I still haven't gotten back to him. I'm sorry, Ben! I promise I'm not deliberately ignoring you! Just, you know, managing to do so anyway, because I'm kind of a crappy friend like that.)

Anyway, back to my etsy sale. The purchaser wanted 16 sets of hair clips, expedited, so I went and got the color ribbon she wanted and then spent a while the next day gluing the ribbon on and finishing them. While I was doing this I realized I probably ought to charge a little more for what my items -- I was making up the materials cost just fine, but not accounting for the time required very well.

I mentioned this to my husband and he said I probably shouldn't up the price yet, because after all, it was my first sale. Most businesses lose money at first, and if I really wanted to make a go of it I should keep my prices low to begin with until I got established.

This conversation kind of freaked me out. I mean, I like making cards and hair clips sometimes. It's nice to have something to do with my hands while I'm watching TV or a movie. And it's nice to make something, complete something, that isn't immediately destroyed (you know, unlike most of my work (laundry, dishes, cooking, picking up toys, etc, etc)). But I only started my etsy shop because I don't need all the cards or hair clips that I make, and it's a way to pay for the supplies I use to make them. This is a satisfying idle pastime for me, not a business. And I freaked out because I realized there's no way I want this to be a business. I like making the stuff sometimes, but not that much, and I don't want to be constantly getting orders and needing to make things for people. I would go crazy.

But it made me realize what I _would_ like to make a business for myself -- writing. The thought of _needing_ to spend my days making cards because I was depending on the income left me almost shaking, but the thought of needing to spend my days writing because I needed the income had me excited. I mean, I've known for a while that I love to write and that I'd like to someday be able to make a career of it, but for the first time the other things involved in making it a career (like marketing, etc) sounded kind of exciting, because they would mean I could spend my days making money by writing!

Apparently this was the motivation I needed, because I picked up my work-in-progress (WIP) that's closest to done and started re-reading so I could work on finishing it. Then I got slightly frustrated that it was taking me so long to read through it, but I stopped before that went to far to think about the reason. I mean, I knew I had almost 70,000 words written, but since I figured this book would end up being about 100K words when I started it I still felt pretty far from the end. But I picked up the novel I'm currently reading and did a quick estimate of word count on it, and a quick estimate of how many pages my WIP would be if it was printed similarly to the book I'm reading -- and guess what? It would be a 250 page book already. No wonder it's taking me a while to read back through it! And that information made me excited -- seriously, I already have 250 pages, I can totally finish this thing!

And so even though this is ostensibly a blog about our adoption, I'll probably start talking about my writing some here, too (at least for now -- maybe sometime I'll start my own writing site, but not yet). Writing's what I'm thinking about today, so that's what I'm writing about. I'm sure I'll talk about adoption again tomorrow, though!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One at a Time

Not only are Sam and Tyler on MFFM, but today Duncan is as well! And Tyler and Sam's families are both on the New Commitments page. I love getting to read how God led others to their children, and rejoice with them as I follow along as they bring their children home. That ability to connect with others is one of the things I love most about Reece's Rainbow.

One other little one found their way to MFFM today -- Miss Angelica. I haven't talked about her on here yet, but she's one of the kids I'm in love with. Anyone who peruses adoption photolistings tends to have a few kids who they feel a special connection to, whether it's because of their picture, their story, their great need, or whatever. Something about a particular little one touches your heart. Angelica's one who's been in my heart for a while. She reminds me of my sweet little niece. She's been listed since I started looking at RR a year ago, and seeing her getting older and growing up without a family made me so sad. Seeing both her and Duncan on MFFM today pretty much made my day.

And I know I spend a lot of time talking about other orphans on here, but I just can't help myself. I can't bring them all home, but I can't look in their faces and not desperately wish for them to have families of their own -- parents who will love them and take care of them and give them the chance to just be the awesome children they are. Another adoptive mom shared a scripture the other day that really spoke to me, and expressed how I feel pretty much all of the time lately:

"Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of they tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare them not." Isaiah 54:1-2

"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare them not." I have been so greatly blessed -- how can I not want to share what I have with these little ones who have nothing? How can I turn my back on them? There's a song (Because I Have Been Given Much) I've always really liked that speaks to me even more lately:

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care…
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share-
my glowing fire, my loaf of bread-my roof’s safe shelter over head,
that he too may be comforted.

How can I not enlarge the place of my tent, share my food and shelter with these children? "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:14) I only wish I could do it for all of those who are waiting. But as I've read many places (I could possibly find the origin of the quote, but I don't want to put that much effort in right now): How can you possibly save 147 million orphans? One at a time. I just have to do what I can, and hope and pray that everyone can step forward to do their small part, and hopefully we can all make a difference.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Finding Time

I've been wanting to adopt for about a year now, and so I've had a lot of opportunity to observe other families go through the adoption process. Some of the obstacles they've encountered have surprised and saddened me. Some have family members, friends, or even complete strangers who insult their children, tell them they'll be ruining their lives, or otherwise harangue them for wanting to adopt. We, on the other hand, have yet to encounter anyone who hasn't been supportive. Some of them might be a little confused as to why we want to do this, but they're still supportive, and some of them are downright ecstatic (as am I, so it's great to have people share those emotions)! Other friends have had problems with paperwork having to be re-done, the children they were hoping to adopt becoming unavailable, and so very many have had a hard time trying to finance their adoptions. We haven't had those problems. We've been blessed with what we need to be able to make everything happen, at least so far, and I've sometimes wondered (while knocking on wood) why we've been blessed to not encounter so many of the problems I've seen other families face.

Lately, though, I've realized we do have our own obstacle when it comes to this adoption: time. I mean, I know everyone else is busy, and finding the time to add one more thing to an already crazy schedule is hard. But somehow everyone else seems to be able to do it without too much of a problem. So far we've managed to keep on top of it as well, but it turns out it's the area we're really struggling with. Jacob's work schedule is always pretty crazy, but every time we need to get something done for the adoption it seems like the craziness goes through the roof. We finally got our fingerprint appointments from USCIS, but we haven't been able to go to the office to get them done because he's had non-stop meetings all day every day. I mean that literally -- tomorrow his first meeting is at 6:30am, and I doubt he has a break of more than half an hour any time during the day.

And every time his schedule finally gives him a (tiny) break, something seems to happen with the kids. They need dental work done, or we need another IEP meeting, or they're just having such a hard time in school that they desperately need one on one time with Mom or Dad. We only have a few more pieces of paper left to finish for the adoption, but lately it seems like we can't catch a break. Tonight was the first time in two weeks when Jacob and I even had a chance to sit down and talk about our schedules and what we might be able to make work (though we didn't actually come up with a solution).

Luckily we still have about a month before the paperwork needs to be completed, but unfortunately we mostly only have the hard papers left, and they'll require at least 5 trips to offices of various sorts during business hours. If you wouldn't mind praying that somehow we'll be able to find the time to make all of this happen when we need to, I would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Writer's Block

I'm used to writer's block when I'm writing novels. It is, unfortunately, an all too frequent occurrence. I'm even somewhat used to writer's block when blogging on a group blog I'm a part of -- after all, there I generally feel like the posts have to have some significance, and be at least a little polished, since they reflect not only on me, but on all of my co-bloggers. I wasn't expecting the writer's block for my personal blog, though. I don't feel like I have to censor myself, and I've always been a pro at aimless rambling. But apparently I can only talk about myself mostly to myself for so long before I run out of things to say. Who knew?

I'm trying to come up with some more interesting/exciting/informative/cute/fun posts, and hopefully you'll get one tomorrow. But if anyone has any suggestions, comments, questions, etc, please, please ask! I could use all the help I could get!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sam on MFFM! and Prayer Requests

I was so excited when I got on last night and saw Sam (the boy I was talking about last week) is now on the My Family Found Me page! Thank you everyone for praying for him. I am so excited to see who his family is! Another boy (Tyler) from the same orphanage is also on the MFFM page, and I wonder if they are going to be brothers. Either way, that is going to be one or two blessed families, and two blessed boys!

Now Duncan just needs a family.

He also turns 16 soon (in June), so he needs a family quickly. I know there's at least one family that's inquired about him, maybe more. Hopefully one of them can move through the process quickly enough to be able to adopt him. I would so appreciate if you would pray that he'll also get a family before he turns 16.

And one more prayer request. Some friends who are adopting from our daughter's country just got back to the US with their little one, who was immediately admitted to the hospital for renal failure, bowel obstruction, and dehydration. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. If you want to leave them some words of encouragement, their blog is here: Thank you all!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Horrible Picture Taking Skills

If you look at the header on the top of the blog you'll see a stark difference. Our daughter? Super cute picture. And it's not even the best one I have of her. Our sons? Not so much.

It's not that my boys aren't super cute -- they really are. It's that I don't take very good pictures of them. There are a lot of factors that go into this.

1. My camera is not that good. I have dreams of getting a DSLR, but I know that wouldn't really fix the problem, since if the camera doesn't fit in my pocket or very tiny purse it wouldn't get taken with us, and I wouldn't get any pictures, good or otherwise. I asked some photographer friends their opinions on cameras, and one suggested this one:

I want it, but haven't felt like I could spend the money on it yet, since we're currently saving for an expensive adoption. But maybe someday.

2. My boys do not stay still at all. This means almost all my shots are candid shots. I occasionally get super cute candid shots, but those don't include close-ups of their faces, which is what I wanted for the blog header.

See, cute, right? Just no faces.

3. Apparently I don't try to get close-ups of their faces very often any more. I did when they were little, but now I spend more time trying to get pictures of all three of them together, or pictures with things in the background so we can remember places we went or things we did. While those are great pictures to have, it'd probably be good to get a few more so we can remember what they looked like.

You'd be surprised how many pictures I have of dinosaurs. Hundreds, literally. (Unless you know my boys, especially my oldest -- then you probably wouldn't be surprised at all.)

4. My oldest's current "smile for the camera" face looks like a grimace. Seriously, the kid has the greatest smile, but his pictures look like this:

And he thinks he's smiling. Sigh.

5. Also, apparently my kids just suck at looking at the camera and smiling. Not only do I have more pictures of my daughter doing this than any of my sons (which might be due to the people taking her picture having much better picture taking skills), I also have a lot more pictures of my nephew doing this than any of my sons. Just in the pictures I've taken of my nephew, which are a lot fewer than the pictures I've taken of my boys.

See the one in the middle looking straight at the camera and smiling hugely? Yeah, not one of mine.

I have a new strategy to remedy this problem, though. As a Christmas present to myself, I bought a session with a real photographer. While she won't be able to overcome all the problems, I'm hoping with a better camera and an hour dedicated to trying to get a good picture of the boys and nothing else, maybe, just maybe, I can get some cute close-ups of them again. In the meantime, I'll have to settle for some old favorites.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What We Have Left

I didn't write a post before I went to bed last night, and I'm feeling very uninspired today (and am quickly running out of time before I have to go get the older 2 from school), so I thought I'd give you a quick summary of what we have left as far as paperchasing for our adoption goes. We're currently working on compiling a dossier, which we will send to our daughter's country for the Department of Adoptions to look at (to allow us to get an appointment to see files of potential children), and then the judge will look at (to help determine if we can adopt our daughter). We've gotten most of the paperwork together, but there are a few things left.

1. Medical forms and a doctor's license for both of us. We need to go to the county health department and get a couple of blood tests, then go to the doctor (hopefully they'll let us come for a regular office visit) and get her to fill out the forms for us. We needed a physical in Sept for our insurance, so they won't pay for another one now. We also got the bloodwork done while we were at it, since we knew we would need it, but since it'll be more than 6 months old when we submit our dossier we need to do it again. Hopefully by going to the health dept for the bloodwork we'll be able to get the doctor to fill out our forms while we're there for the office visit (rather than waiting on blood test results) and we can make sure they're done immediately and right the first time. A lot of people have problems with this form, but our doctor has a notary on staff and is familiar with international adoptions (though not necessarily from our daughter's country), so hopefully it will be easy for us.

2. State police clearances for both of us. We have to go get our fingerprints taken and fill out a form so they can do a background check on us. Since we're in the state capital we should be able to walk in and do it all in one place and drive back to that place a few days or a week later for the forms, rather than waiting a few weeks turn-around mailing it all in. At least I hope.

3. Jacob's employment letter. This one I'm a little worried about. There's a way to get one, but it's through a process, not a person, and I have a feeling it's not going to be notarized when it comes, which won't work. In that case we'll have to ask his boss to fill one out for us, which Jacob doesn't want to do. We'll see. Hopefully the letter we get will be good enough, because if it isn't we'll have to submit our taxes as well, and I have no idea when they're going to be done. Ugh.

4. Letters of obligation. These are forms saying we'll comply with our daughter's birth country's post-adoption requirements, like filing reports and telling them if we move. We actually already filled these out once, but the notary date was wrong on one, so we need to re-do it.

5. Permission to let our daughter's country put our data on computer. This is also a pretty simple form, but it's new so I forgot it when we went and signed the huge stack of papers at the notary.

6. Jacob's name declaration page. This is a form stating that all versions of his name that might be on other forms (with or without his middle name, etc) are him. I'm pretty sure he did this one once, but I couldn't find it in the huge stack of papers later, so he needs to do it again.

7. Our I171-H. This is approval from the US government to adopt a foreign orphan. We sent the paperwork off for this, now we just need to get our fingerprints done (this is a separate set of fingerprints from the ones for state police clearances) and wait for them to send us the form.

Then we have to get these papers plus two more (that I forgot the first time) apostilled, which is just a fancy way of saying the secretary of state attaches a paper saying the person who notarized the form is, in fact, a valid notary.

After that we're pretty much done with our part of the process. We ship it all off to our daughter's country and wait. They'll (hopefully) accept it, and issue us a travel date to come and accept our daughter's file and then meet her! Hopefully that will happen in about 3 months. Some days it seems so far away, and other days it feels so close (just 3 months and I can finally give her a hug!). I can't wait!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Anyone who knows me know that I'm a pretty honest person, and I don't sugarcoat things. Especially when it comes to my kids and mothering. In fact, this blog is probably about the least honest I've been, and even here I don't feel like I've been at all dishonest, I just don't have nearly enough whiny posts up for you to realize how whiny I can be in real life. That's probably okay. A little less whining is good for me, and you probably appreciate not hearing so much of it. I know it grates on my nerves when my kids do it, so I really ought to be setting a better example.

But that's not really why I've avoided my tendencies toward whininess here. (What do they mean, whininess isn't a word? It totally is.) I've avoided it here because for the first time in a very long time people are judging me and I care what they think. I mostly got over worrying about other peoples' opinions in high school. I'm far from perfect, but I'm fairly happy with who I am, and I'm not going to change based on what other people think I should be. My real friends take me as I am, warts and all (and I love them for it!). But now...

Well, first I had to pass a home study. I had to invite someone into my home and convince them I was a good enough parent that they would recommend that someone trust me with more children. Luckily, our SW was very nice, and she did in fact recommend that we be approved to adopt, in spite of my fears that she'd look at me, my house and my kids and say, "Really, lady? You think I'm going to approve you for more?" So that's one fear down. But I still have a ways to go. You see, in a few months I have to stand before a judge in my daughter's country and convince him (or her) that they should trust me with this little girl. That in spite of all my shortcomings and failures, they should let me take their precious little one home with me. And I'm petrified that they're also going to look at me incredulously and laugh in my face.

For the first time it really matters what other people think. If they don't think I'm good enough I won't get to take my daughter home. I can't bear the thought. So I'm sometimes inclined to hide the bad. To not whine or complain, and to pretend I think this motherhood thing is absolutely the coolest thing in the world.

And in some ways, I do. I adore my kids. They're smart and fun and hilarious and I can't express how much I love them. I can't imagine my life without them. (Okay, I kind of can, and occasionally (on bad days) it seems like it'd be really nice. But in reality if my kids were gone I don't know how I'd function with the gaping hole that would replace the very center of my being.) I'm completely blessed to be able to be their mom.

But the reality is that I'm not really very good at this whole mothering thing, and I don't really like most parts of it. (Yes, I'm freaking out a little bit at writing that on my blog right now. I'm hoping and praying that if an EE judge reads this they're also a parent and understand that it's a hard and sometimes thankless job, and they won't judge me too harshly. Either that or they won't understand English very well and will stop reading this post before they get to this part.)

I love my kids, but unlike most people (it seems) who write mommy blogs, or even adoption blogs, I'm not really a great mom. I pretty much never do crafts with my kids. They're pretty smart, and know a lot, but almost all of it has been learned from TV shows and video/computer games. I don't like playing games with them, and I absolutely hate having to get food for them three (or more) times a day. While I've chosen to be a SAHM, and I feel like it's the right choice for our family (at least right now), I often wish it wasn't. I often wish I had a viable career, and could pay someone else to do all the things with my children that would enrich them but that I don't want to do. I think it might be better for them and for me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a horrible mother. I might yell a little too much and get short with my kids, but I do apologize for it. I might not do any crafts with them, but I do regularly take them on trips to museums, zoos, and national parks. I might let them learn their numbers from TV shows, but I spend a lot of time researching and becoming an expert on their host of medical issues. Overall it balances out all right. At least I think it does.

But I'm unlike some adoptive moms (or bio moms) I know, who keep adding to their family because they love kids and love being a mother. I have enormous respect for those women, but I'm not one and will never be one. In fact, while I wasn't sure we were done after 3 kids, I wasn't sure we weren't, and I kind of liked the idea. Three was enough, and I could have been quite happy to stop. At least, until I saw my daughter's face, and knew she was supposed to be mine. I'm adopting not because I love mothering, but because I love my daughter. Just like I mother my sons not because I love mothering, but because I love them. The work itself is hard and often thankless, and it's not something I enjoy.

And some days, on hard days, I look at myself like I expected the social worker to, and think, "Are you kidding me, lady? You're adding another one? You can't handle the ones you've already got." And I seriously question why I think I should add one more when I'm often not that great with the ones already here. But then I picture my daughter's face, and remember the feeling I got when I saw it -- "She's yours." And I think of the saying, "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called." And I have to trust that if He wants me to do this He'll make me capable of it. Not perfect by any stretch, but good enough.

Good enough to apologize when I hurt my kids' feelings. Good enough to always stop what I'm doing to kiss their boo-boos. Good enough to give enormous hugs and cuddle them whenever possible. Good enough that they always know that whatever my faults, I love them more than anything. Hopefully that will not only be good enough for God, but for my kids, who are, after all, the ones who have to live with the consequences of having a seriously imperfect mother.