Friday, November 21, 2008

Kishawn's Self-Hair-Cutting-Days Gone?

Kishawn has had an obsession with shaving his head for several months. About half the time he takes a shower, he goes into Brad's and my bathroom and takes the electric razor to his head. We are constantly finding bald stripes on him. Our repeated warnings to stop didn't slow him down at all.

Then the other night he walked proudly out of the bathroom after his shower looking like this

He's got the 'I'm-mad-glare' down pat!

Every other time he's done it, we've saved him from embarrassment by shaving the rest of it for him. How many times should I save him though? He hadn't obeyed our requests to stay away from the razor, so I thought maybe the natural consequences would work better?

The next day I let him go to school looking just like this...
All day, I wondered how his day was going and hoped he didn't get teased too much.
As I picked him and Jazz up, I could see that he looked forlorn. When he wouldn't answer me when I asked him what the matter was, Jazmine jumped in and said that she heard a boy tell him that his hair looked stupid.

I regretted my decision to let him go like that as he shed a few tears on the way home, but he seemed to quickly get over it after I shaved his whole head for him.

I asked him if he was going to shave his head again.
"Why not?" I asked
"'Cause I don't wanna look like a weirdo!"

Ha Ha. He's such a cute kid!!

I will miss that 'Bozo the Clown' look though...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Adoption Day Celebration!!

The adoption of Kiana, Jazmine, Kishawn and Jada will be final tomorrow!!!!
We will be celebrating after the adoption at the Fire Station Park on Lindsay and Adobe (Adobe is between University and Brown). The park is on Adobe just east of Lindsay.

We will be there from 3pm-5pm.

Everyone is invited to come celebrate with us!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Family Pictures - I'm in LOVE!!

We got our family pictures done a little while ago by Maria Nissen. I saw the pictures she took of my sister-in-law's Homecoming group and was in love with her style!! So, I was super excited to have her take our family's pictures. She's still editing them, but has posted some of them on her blog. She's is incredible!!! My kids didn't make it easy on her, but she still worked miracles in the pictures. I am in LOVE!

To see them click

A little more personal...

My older sister, Laree, started a blog!! Her first entry got me thinking about the way I blog.

The truth is, I love my life! I feel I have been blessed with so much and am rich in so many ways. My road isn't one without trials and hardship though. There are times that I feel there isn't any way to stop my tears and end my heartache. There are times when I can't possibly see where the light at the end of this long tunnel is. There are times I feel hopelessness and unworthy or incapable of facing the task at hand.

I can look back on past trials and see that they were totally and completely for my benefit and growth in more ways than one. I have struggled with multiple miscarriages and the emotions that accompany them. Including a deep sense of loss and heartache, questioning my worthiness to be a mother, jealously at other mothers who were having babies they didn't even want, and more... But it was in those times of deep heartache that in turning to my Lord for comfort I have been given an amazing gift of His love and presence in my life. I know that there is never a time that I grow more and become closer to my Father in Heaven than during the midst of a trial.

I have had the wonderful privilege and tremendous challenge of taking in and nurturing 4 beautiful children. Children who have been through more trauma, neglect, abuse and heartache already in their short lives than I have ever experienced or probably ever will. I've cried myself to sleep more nights than I can count wondering how I can possibly help them through their deep and intense pain. I've become frustrated with some of their behaviors that to my-inexperienced-unlearned-self seem, at times, barbaric and out-of-control. I have felt my stomach turn with anger as I realize that there is no way a 4-year-old would know how to do what I just saw... unless.

I've seen them flinch and turn away in fear when I raise my hand to give them a high five. I've found food stashed away in closets, drawers, under beds and pillows.

I have walked up and down the streets of my neighborhood countless times praying to my and their Father in Heaven, pleading with Him to guide me, direct me, help me understand, give me that Christ-like love called Charity, and to help me become the kind of person I need to be for these 4 children of His that He has entrusted me with. I have wondered if and hoped that I am pleasing Him and living up to my responsibilities.

I have sobbed to Him while asking forgiveness for my lack of patience and wondered if my actions were scarring them worse. In the midst of my heartache, pain and regret I have felt overcome with an overwhelming sense of His love for me, and have been amazed at how quick and willing He is to take away my transgressions to let me start over and try again.

I've had tears of joy stream down my face as my sweet boy comes to me and asks me if I can hold him, "like a baby." I've felt gratitude and excitement from realizing that Heavenly Father can teach me how to help these kids, through the kids themselves.

I have felt that Christ-like love that I have prayed for so often as I have held crying children for hours trying to reassure them that I'm not going anywhere. That this time they are safe. This time, after living in more than 10 homes, no one is going to give up on them. That I'm here to stay, they are in our home to stay, through the good and the bad, and we can learn how to get through the pain together.

I have sat on my 6-year-old daughter's bed with her as she has fights within herself, wanting to let herself love but so afraid to be hurt again. I have tried to give her words for her feelings, but when words weren't enough we screamed at the top of our lungs together. Finally, she was feeling
something! I hugged her harder than I've hugged anyone as she wrapped herself around me and convulsed with painful sobbing that had been pent up for years. I was amazed at her courage when she asked to scream together again not once but 3 more times. Each time she let herself feel more and remember more. We both sobbed through the whole process. I was clinging to her as she clung to me telling her over and over how proud I am of her and how brave she is.

I am reminded at how raw their feelings still are and how much pain they feel when I hug my 8 year old. She hugs harder and harder not wanting to let go. It often becomes a healing time for her as she lets her emotions out and cries for several minutes. I get the sense that she's afraid to loosen up on her grip, fearing that I might disappear. Tears have often run down my face as she finally does let up for a few seconds as she uses sign language to tell me that she loves me so much, then embraces me again.

I've come back from short vacations with Brad and have had to stay up 'til the early morning hours holding my sweet Jada who gets afraid to leave my side.

I just hope that I am giving these children what they need. I know deep within my heart that they are meant for great things and am brought to tears at the realization that it is my responsibility to show them the way back home to our Father in Heaven. I hardly feel worthy of such a task.

I have often wondered, especially after we got the kids, why I was given so much. Why was I blessed with a wonderful family who love each other and are always there for each other? Why was I born into a home that taught me that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and that I have a Savior, a Brother who has died for me and made it possible for my sins to be forgiven? Why was I shown from the minute I was born the way to happiness when so many others live lives full of confusion and searching? Why are innocent children allowed to suffer at the hand of others who are making bad choices? Why was I allowed to have such a care-free, happy childhood when a little 4 year old girl with cerebral palsy is left to care for herself and her younger brother and sisters?

I think I am starting to understand though. I
have been given so much. When I ask myself why any of us are given anything, I am reminded that it is so we can help mankind. Perhaps I was given my family, my childhood, knowledge of our purpose here on Earth, knowledge of a loving Father in Heaven and a Savior, Jesus Christ so that I could share it with the world. So that I can give these children all the wonderful gifts that I've been given and they can give it to theirs. I realize that because I have been given so much, much is expected of me. Although I find myself lacking in many areas and constantly regretting things I've done and the way I handle things, I know I am also learning and growing. I know that I need my Savior as much as anyone. I can see miracles taking place in my life and find new blessings to be grateful for everyday.

I would never ask for a life without trials and heartache, because I know from experience that these can be the sweetest times of our lives. My perspective on life and people and trials is changing so much as I am tried. I realize that we are all here to love and serve each other so that we can all make it back home. I am forever grateful for these wonderful lessons I am being taught!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

October 31 - A Great Day!!

Number 1 Reason I loved this day...

We got to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of this adorable girl's birth!!
Jada is a book lover!!
Every time I asked her what she wanted, her reply was a book.
So a book she got...
This present was a little for me too.After picking her up from child-care at the gym and finding her with 6 baby dolls in her arms...
After seeing her carry around various household items
(couch pillows, dust pans, cups, dog bones...) caring for them like babies...
And after being handed a "crying" water bottle to soothe, taking the bottle in my hand and holding it by my side, only to be told by a disgruntled 2 year old,
"(gasp) Mom, hold the baby!!"
I figured it might be time to buy her a baby doll.
Complete with stroller...and baby carrier.She wakes up every morning and changes Abby's (named by Jada herself) diaper, then walks her up and down the street for as long as we'll let her. The other day she came in holding our camera, giggling, telling me that she took pictures of her baby. There were probably 15 pictures just like this one.

Number 2 Reason I loved this day...

I once again felt an overwhelming gratitude for this WONDERFUL man!
He is constantly finding ways to serve and does it all without complaint.
Just before he was doing the laundry, he cleaned up the barf left all over the couch by Jazz.
I couldn't ask for more from him and am filled with excitement at the thought of spending eternity with such an amazing person!

Number 3 Reason I loved this day...

I got to celebrate Halloween with these 4 awesome kids!
(Hannah Montana - although I think she might look more like a street-walker, Minnie Mouse, Captain Kishawn, and my little monkey - with Abby of course)
and my favorite dirt biker ever.What a GREAT day!!!