Foster to Adopt ~ International ~ Intrafamily Adoption

A Different Type of Adoption

A Different Type of Adoption

A Different Type of Adoption

Intrafamily adoption means that allows a family member to adopt a child.  Honestly, this is a A Different Type of Adoption for my husband and I.  It certainly was not on our radar 5 years ago.  I mean, not even the tiniest blip.

Bart was “done” adopting children.  We had 6 and 3 of those children are special needs.  We were both at our capacity.  It is hard raising children from hard places, especially when they are older child adoptions.  Most of the time, these children remember specific things and that is stuff that we have to work through.

Add onto that, the physical needs, emotional, mental, and medical…it is hard.  With international adoption, there is not after care.  You just do it and find your own resources.  With adopting from the foster care system there is SUPPOSED to be after care, but let’s be honest.  There isn’t any.  Again, we are left up to our own devices and even those are few and far between.

Never Say “Content”

I distinctly remember that afternoon, in October.  My prayer time is usually reserved for breath prayers, using the bathroom, taking a shower, or driving.  I choose to take the time when I can be fully present with the Lord.

My heart had been aching to expand our family for so long.  We had had 3 failed adoptions, through different means and for different reasons.  I was still mourning those losses yet still feeling incomplete.  That day, however, I sat on the toilet and said “Lord, I am finally content with my family.”  I thanked Him for each specific child.  Their strengths, their joys, their personality, and the difficult parts.  I praised Him for taking away that desire so I can be fully present with my 6 children.

The next day.  The.  Next.  Day.  My world began to spin a little faster.  An incident occurred and my sister needed me ASAP.  She was out of town, my parents were not available and I was the next in line.  I needed no details.  She called.  I went, simple as that.

How It Unfolded

We got to the location and I saw my great niece and nephew, so young with my daddy.  Their father was with the authorities and their mom (my niece…my sister’s oldest child) was not there.  I grabbed what I could grab of their clothes and toys.  Then, I loaded that up, along with them and we headed to Bob Evans.

They were in “freeze” mode, wild, dirty, and unsure.  I wanted to make sure their little tummies were full.  Once I got home, I washed every article of clothing and all their toys to get the smell off of them.  Sweet K was full of questions, yet still parenting J.  I told her that I had them both and that I would take care of them until Mamaw and Papaw came back to town.

That was the next day and still I questioned nothing just offered my support, some resources, love, and prayers.  That night, Bart and I began talking about our whirlwind weekend and what the kids’ future could look like.  Where was my niece?  Was she okay?  What happened?  Answers trickled in slowly, but we never pressed the issue because that is not our job.

What About Hunter?

Yet, our mind went to our other great nephew.  Where was he?  Was he safe?  Fed?  Hungry?  Cold?  Scared?  We talked to my sister.  She told us where he was and that it was not an environment that he needed to be in but she simply could not add more to her plate right at this moment.  She had to get things settled with her grandchildren and find her daughter.

Through Prayer

B and I talked and prayed a lot.  It was such a no-brainer.  We wanted him.  For now or forever.  Whichever it would be.  We wanted to be a safe haven for him, while my sister worked through the trauma of the other 2 and again, her daughter.

I called her and gently presented her with the idea.  She was silent.  Then she quietly said that the person who had him would never agree.  I told her to let me worry about that.  Since certain tests were not done and my niece was no where to be found, it was the only logical thing we could do.  This person could not fight us.

Difficult Decisions

We never wanted to take this person out of his life forever.  Visitations.  Phone calls.  We encouraged that because as difficult as the situation was, this person loved Hunter with all that he had.  We both respected that.

It wasn’t without a lot of tears of the person and his other children.  That was a hard night.  Hunter was 2.5 years old and a firecracker.  He had never had structure in his little life.  Those fat cheeks and wild curls.  So independent and fierce.

He didn’t know us other than what he saw at family functions.  I’m sure on some level he was terrified to stay with strangers.  My kids scooped him up and played with him for hours.  We fed him and he ate like a man-sized portion.  Something he still does to this day.  We gave him a long bath and let him play and then attempted to get him to sleep.  That has always been a struggle.  Again, he ran the previous roost.

Getting to the Point

To my point of this adoption, we still have a relationship with my niece.  She writes letters and occassionally calls or does a video visit.  Historically, Hunter has not responded well to anything.  So with that being said, I save all his letters in his baby book.  I want him to know that his birthmom loves him, though she made bad choices, that did not stop her from loving him.

With phone calls, I talk to her and give her updates.  She doesn’t call often and we have not had a video visit in a long time.  I don’t think Hunter understands that he is “technically” our great nephew and adopted.  Adoption is so talked about, I don’t think he understands what it means.

How I Explain Things

How I have always explained it to him is that he was born in Mama Paige’s belly but grew in my heart.  That she loves him, but wasn’t able to care for him so she allowed us to care for him.  Today, we are having our first video visit in almost a year.  I am anxious because I don’t know how he is going to react.

He has spent more time with my sister (his mamaw) and his bio brother and sister.  They are educating him on all the things Mama Paige LOL.  That isn’t a bad thing but Hunter is 7 and he is beginning to ask A LOT Of questions.  It’s like it is finally registering in his little brain.

A New Bridge to Cross

Then we have the whole crossing the bridge of when she gets out.  My prayer is that she can maintain, be a part of everyone’s life and be involved.  Reality is that that may not happen.  God is a miracle worker and I choose to believe that she will continue on the right path and that she does not become institutionalized in her mind.

What is that going to look like when she comes home?  Family functions, holidays, her expectations, my expectations, Hunter’s feelings…there is just so much that swirls in my mind.  Ironically, he will be 12 when she comes home.  I share my children’s COMPLETE story with them by the age of about 12.  The good, bad, and ugly.  We share pictures, documents, answer questions, and give phone numbers to those I have established a relationship (aka parents if it is safe, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.) with.

God’s timing is always perfect.  In an ideal world, she will be with me when we sit down and talk to him.  He will not play us against each other to “get what he wants” as he enters those teenage years.  She will be whole and healthy.

My Prayers

Ya know, projecting good thoughts and not fears.  Adoption is so beautiful.  Yet, we are walking into the darkest period of a child’s life.  Whether they are newborn or older.  We are walking in with joy and a pen light shining light into a pitch black hole of trauma.  Adoptive parents need to respect that trauma and work with it throughout the years.  Please do not hide anything because the child will find out, one day.  Honesty, even if it takes your skin off.

Prayers are appreciated for our visit this evening. We are letting Hunter dictate how long he speaks to her and what is said.

Related Posts

Guest Blogger Big Daddy on Adoption

Our Story of Falling in Love and Adoption

Adoption Terms

Life or Something Like It

The Loss of Donna

The Loss of Donna

 

It must be said, I started writing this on October 6, 2021.  It has, literally, taken me all this time to finish because I have needed to grieve, process, sit in the quiet, remember, and honor those I have lost that were so dear to my heart.

I have been doing and posting a lot of reviews and having a ton of giveaways lately.  It has been good to be able to see some positive, heart-changing things on the big screen and small screen.  Yet, it is also a way for me to dissociate and remove myself from being vulnerable or share anything that is truly painful.

So, here I am…not posting a review or giveaway.  I am sitting in my new dining room, listening to a fan dry the mud from the drywall where we had a flood in our new kitchen, looking at my cat who appears to want to murder me, and pondering on how this month has been affecting me.

Fall.  I love this season.  The cooler weather, the changing of the leaves, the world preparing for everything to die away in the winter only to regrow with beauty and new life in the spring.  I love it.  Yet, this month, in particular, brings tremendous sadness and grief.

On October 1, it is the fourth anniversary of my Lady’s death.  That day never passes by without me reflecting on our friendship and what she meant to me.  How I miss her and how I have never really mourned her loss.  I just push it down, push it down, WAY down.  Thankfully I had a sweet distraction on that day.  Charleigh Mae was here to love me and keep me extremely busy.  I simply can’t wait until my next grandbaby makes a grand entrance next year.  Grandchildren are God’s way of saying “you survived raising children, now enjoy the fun part.”

Yet, today, I find myself struggling again.  Today is my friend’s 62nd birthday and her first birthday in heaven.  We met years and years ago, she was Leigh Ann’s mom, my friend that passed away a few years ago.  If it weren’t for Donna, I would not have made it through Leigh Ann’s death.  I should have been a rock for her, which I was when she needed me.  Yet, she was my rock on coping and reminding me of the fire that was Leigh Ann.  A few years prior to LA’s death, Donna lost her husband to cancer.  David was a sweet man.  Quiet in nature unless you ticked him off and then BOOM he would explode.  Those episodes were few and far between.  He was the love of her life.  Donna and I became incredibly close after the death of her daughter and my friend.

She was in the thick of raising LA’s kids, her grandchildren and I was in the thick of raising kids, all around the same age.  We bonded over the silliest things.  There were things we didn’t agree on, there were things we debated together on, yet our foundation was strong.  We could love regardless of those differences.  That is what friendship means.

We talked every night or every other night.  I would watch the Detail Geek and describe it all to her.  She watched it vicariously through me.  We would solve the world’s problems, discuss our day, and she would make fun of my suppers.  She called me the Casserole Queen.  That woman never made a casserole and I made one every night.

Donna had not been feeling well since her granddaughter’s hospital stay.  We both thought it was just stress, exhaustion, adrenaline from what we thought was cancer which ended up being a severe kidney infection.  This led to the removal of her granddaughter’s kidney.  She wasn’t eating well, drinking nothing but soda, and smoking.  Man, we mama’s can live off of anything in a stressful situation.

I encouraged her to go to the doctor but she refused.  She had a fear of doctor’s.  You go in and never come back out was her mentality.  We talked about her quitting smoking, which she did because the cough got to be too much.  She began having dizzy spells and not being able to keep food down.  This was all in about March I would say.

We thought maybe it was Co-Vid and that she just had a really bad case.  Still, she wouldn’t go.  She was just going to wait it out.  Then, when it didn’t go away, we thought it was grief beginning to settle in her.  She never really had time to grieve the loss of her husband and her daughter.  Grief can, quite literally, kill someone.

She lived with the age old question “Is it better to know someone has something terminal, so you can prepare yourself and say all the things you need to say?  Or, “Is it better for it to be quick so you don’t have to see your loved one in pain?”  She experienced both in a very short amount of time.  Frankly, they both suck.

Then, she began losing weight.  She had no appetite.  She would say that nothing tasted good and she was just so weak.  There was nothing her son, her grandchildren, or I could say to her that could get her to eat.  She quit smoking and mainly just slept.  There were times I could not understand her talking on the phone.  That’s when I knew…I knew something was not right and I had to try again to get her to go to the doctor.

On her birthday, I surprised her and popped by her house.  I knocked on the door (much to her dismay) and I heard the dogs.  Then, I heard Lexi running to the door.  She opened the door and I hugged her sweet little neck.  Lex quickly disappeared back to her dungeon (LOL).  As I walked in, my heart sank.

One thing that those closest to me know, I do not show emotion.  Also, I’m a rockstar in stressful situations.  When I am alone, that is when I process and stuff emotion.  Healthy?  No.  What I do?  Yes.

I turned to look at Donna laying on the couch.  She was nothing but bones and she was so jaundiced that the whites of her eyes were yellow.  She had lost more teeth and had no strength.  I stood at the doorway.  Frozen.  I put my head down and the tears flowed freely.  I simply could not hold them in.

She first asked me why on earth I knocked.  Family does not knock.  I still couldn’t move.  Then, I heard her say “Brandi, come here.”  I walked over and sat next to her.  I laid across her frail body weeping uncontrollably.  She just stroked my hair and said that things would be fine.  She said she drank some that day and hadn’t thrown it up.

That moment froze in time for me.  Again, here she is, knowing what she knew, and she was comforting me.  See, that day, she had called me earlier and told me that good news was she did not have Co-vid but the bad news is that she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

You just don’t realize it until you see it.  I knew her time was limited.  She was going to fight and do all the right things.  She was going to drink more water, eat more, do whatever the doctor said but by then, it was too late.  She knew.  I knew.  We all knew.  Yet, we hoped that it would be different.

I begged her to let me take her to the ER to just get some fluid.  Her belly had begun to swell and I know that she was hurting from losing so much weight and laying in one position.  She refused.  Everyday I would go over there and stay for as long as I possibly could.  Most of the time, it was just us.  Sometimes her grandchildren would come in and out or her son.  They all lived with her.

With each passing day, she would get weaker.  One day, she wanted me to brush her hair.  One day she wanted me to rub her feet and legs.  They were so swollen but the pressure of me rubbing her feet seemed to make her feel better.

There were some days when her older sisters would come.  One lived in Michigan and came home to be with Donna as much as she could.  I tried to lift as much of the burden off of them, so they could spend good quality time with her.

Hospice had been called in and Donna told them to get out out out.  She refused them because she knew what that meant.  I know that David was flooding her mind in the last few days of her life.  She knew hospice meant death.  She was not ready for that.  Her sisters gave her a bath and that seemed to exhaust her yet refresh her.  Her great granddaughter came for a visit as well, which lifted her spirits plus she was expecting her second great grandchild, a boy.

We had some excellent conversations once we were alone.  There was resolution for a season that took us apart for a number of years.  That was the first time that Donna ever said she was sorry.  It took me back because I had let that go years ago.  She said that she remembered saying all those things and then she looked into my eyes and saw the hurt and pain of what she had just said.  Also, she stated that she couldn’t bring herself to talk to me because she was so ashamed of herself.  That touched my heart and humbled me.

We talked about her daughter and all the things that comes with her.  It was so healing.  She talked of David and her plans that she wants for her son and grandchildren.  I have never really spoken to someone with such clarity towards the end of their life like that.  We talked on worst case scenario and then what we were going to do when she got better.  Everything was covered.

Then, it was the afternoon of chaos.  So many people had come in and out.  I had found out some things that I never knew and made phone calls I never wanted to make.  Her granddaughter was overcome by it all and was acting out due to the trauma.  I was called and she was in the back of a cop car.  It took me an hour to calm her down and remind her of the love that I have for her and who she is in Christ.  I am so glad the officers understood the situation and showed her grace upon grace.  These kids have simply been through more in their lives than most adults will ever experience.

October 15, 2020 As I walked into the trailer, strangers (to me) were there.  They didn’t stay long and eventually it was just her grandkids, her son, and her sisters.  Donna was very uncomfortable.  I rubbed her belly, her legs, feet, head, hair…anything she wanted but I couldn’t get her comfortable.  I begged her to let me call 911 because her belly had so much fluid on it.  I explained that if she went, I would go with her and she would not be alone.

Finally, she said yes because the pain was unbearable.  I called and we immediately moved things around to make it easier for the EMTs to get in with the stretcher.  They got there and realized that the stretcher wouldn’t fit, so they had it out by the bus and brought in a wheelchair type thing that she could be safely strapped into.  I informed them of her bed sores and her protruding tailbone and the discomfort that she was in.  They were so gentle with her.

As they were picking her up, she was screaming in pain.  She was afraid she would fall out of the chair.  I was holding her hand and explaining that they were going to strap her in and I promised her they would not drop her and she would not fall.  That I was right behind her watching and monitoring the situation.

They got her down the 3 steps and then I saw her arm fall off the side and her head fell.  I screamed her name as the EMTs were rushing to get her on the stretcher and get her O2.  I could hear her grandchildren screaming.  Her son with a panicked look on his face.  Her sisters.  There was no time for me to console them.

At that point, I jumped into my van with Stevie (her son) and we actually beat the EMTs to the hospital.  Her sisters were not far behind.  I parked and ran to the bay as they backed in… fearing that Donna would be gone.  She wanted me beside her when she died.  She didn’t want to be alone.  She wanted to be with someone who loved her.

As they backed in and got to the back, I saw them drop the legs to the stretcher.  I stood in fear with her sisters and son beside me.  I looked up and saw Donna wave at me.  At that point, I dropped to the ground.  It was like my legs had no bones and I wailed.  That was not crying that came out of my mouth.  I felt sick, scared, relieved, and like someone had taken an iron skillet to my body.  I couldn’t move.  Her sisters just stood there, trying to help me.

Finally, I pulled myself together, got my mask and ran into the ER.  They let me back (only because her family asked me too) and there I stood/sat by her bed.  Just watching her.  She looked over at me and asked me if she was going to die.

I told her yes.  We talked about her salvation and then we talked about what she wanted for each person in her family.  After she had settled all of that, and the doctors couldn’t do anything, they left us for a moment.  She looked up at me and said “Well, we have got everyone figured out.  Now, what about you?”  I asked her what she meant and she wanted to know if I was going to be okay and who would take care of me.  In awe, I just looked at her and told her that I would be fine.  That I would miss her everyday and I would keep an eye/ear out on her family and always be there if they needed me.  I thanked her for her love and friendship.  Without missing a beat, she said “There’s room in the bed…I will scoot over and you can lay down with me.”  My heart.  She knew that that was my comfort.

I told her that they would probably kick me out if they saw me do that!  Then, I asked if she wanted her sisters and son to come back.  She did, so I went to get them and let them have quiet moments with her without any intrusion from me.

They released her from the hospital because there was nothing they could do and she wanted to go home.  Stevie and I watched them pull out and we beat them home, again.  We got the couch ready.  By then, some people had begun to stop by again.

I was trying to stay out of the way and let those who needed to be by her side.  At that point, she was not awake.  Not long after I had gotten there, it was late into the evening, Bart called and said I needed to come home now.  There was an emergency situation that could not wait.  When he explained what was going on, I lost it.

I wanted him to try and explain to the person waiting for me that I was at an end of life friend’s house and I couldn’t leave.  They didn’t care.  I hugged and kissed Donna.  Told her I would be back shortly and I flew home.

I can’t even with what happened at home.  Honestly, I do remember after talking for what seemed like forever and completely losing myself, where I had been.  I told her that I had to go and she could come back or follow me.  She let me leave.

As I was flying back to Donna’s her sister called and said to hurry.  I did the best I could.  She took her last breath right before I got there.  I walked in to everyone sitting around not knowing what to do.

As I did a week prior, I stood, frozen in the doorway.  I looked at my friend and I went and laid down beside her.  It was hard for me to catch my breath.  She was really gone.  Diagnosed exactly a week before.  She went from okay, I’ll fight this to meeting Jesus and being reunited with her husband and daughter.

After I collected myself and the coroner came and took her body, I sat in the big chair.  Her sweet granddaughter came and curled up in my lap.  Grief had overtaken her and I was the warm body that she fell on.  With me, there has been nothing but love since she was 3.  I had been there through it all and here I was again, comforting my sweet girl.

I have been true to my word.  I miss her daily.  There are days when I miss her more and some days when I don’t think about it until the night.  That is when we would chat.  I have not watched the Detail Geek again.  Her son is okay, as okay as he can be.  Her grandson is a father of 2 and working.  Her granddaughter is living with a relative and for now, she is doing well.  She is working on school and has a goal for her future.  We chat as often as a teenager wants to chat with a 49 yr old woman 🙂

I am ready for this month to be over.  I am ready to heal.  I am ready to remember the good times instead of the end.  One day.  Maybe when I see her again in heaven!

The Loss of Donna

 

Related Posts

Pancreatic Cancer: What to Know

She’s Gone, Now What Do I Do?

Life or Something Like It

Misuse of the Word Friends

Misuse of the Word Friends

Misuse of the Word Friends

I have really been chewing on the word “friend” for a while now. Honestly, I have no idea why. Yet, I feel we Misuse of the Word Friends at an alarming rate. Maybe I have been thinking on this because this has just been a hard month. My Lady passed on the 1st and Donna passed on the 15th and I miss them. Maybe the Lord is speaking to me on this subject.

Types of Friends

  • First
  • School
  • College
  • Church
  • Work
  • Fairweather
  • Fake
  • Social Media
  • For Now
  • True Blue

That’s a lot of different types of friends you will have over your lifetime. I can say, “Oh, my friend Jane, from elementary school just did this and this” according to social media.

We all know that the goal in life is to get as many “friends” as humanly possible on any and every social media platform. Honestly though, are they really all friends?

Have their feet been under your table? Do they truly know you now? Have they walked through difficult times with you or you with them? Even though you may not talk to them daily, weekly, or monthly, even yearly… can you still count on them?

If you can, and there are several I can, count yourself blessed.

Here are some examples from this list.

First Friend

I fondly remember meeting my first friend at Homemaker’s. My mom went and Julie and I would sit in the floor and take our shoes off. We remained friends throughout all our school days. I went to her house and spent the night a lot. Honestly, I don’t really remember her coming to my house but she did come to my Smurf’s birthday party and for a sleepover one year.

Overtime, we grew apart, as most people do. We know little to nothing about each other in our adult lives. Yet, I still hold her very dear to my heart. I know if I ran into her, we would quickly chat the night away and catch each other up on our lives.

Also, Terri Ann…we did not go to school together but we did got to church together. She went to a “rival” school. We grew up together and she was the first person I knew that had ever been adopted. Basically, she introduced me to the concept and it has stuck with me all these years. She even sang at my wedding. Again, our lives do not intertwine (she moved to another state) but if we did chat…we would not miss a beat.

School Friends

Do I even talk to any of my school friends? Did I even have friends in school? I had Julie but that was about it. My school days were not great. I was bullied a lot and because my dad was a police officer, I never got invited to anything. Sadly, I would mask and try to inject myself into the different clicks. That didn’t work very well. I was just made fun of more, behind my back and to my face.

Honestly, I find it comical when people from any of my schools tried to “friend” me on a social media platform. When I first got on there, I would accept it and then look through their photos and read about their lives, yet no interaction. Then, I got smart. I mean, honestly, you didn’t like me then what makes you think you will like me now? You treated me like crap them, forgiveness and transformation can happen, but that doesn’t mean I have to let you in my life. Does that make sense?

College Friends

I had and still have one college friend. We were so close in college, then our lives took us in different directions. Once we stumbled back into each other’s lives, I count her as a true friend. She has been one that I’ve reached out to for prayer, to share my heart, and I always get Christlike and honest responses from her. I simply adore her.

Church Friends

Aw, this one is tricky. You want to think everyone is a friend…even the pastor and his wife. Then, you are slapped in the face with a frying pan. It’s all well and good if you stick to Sunday School and big church. Once you get involved, you see where the church is held together by duct tape and a q-tip.

The flaws, the lies, the theological differences, the disregard of an entire group because of their age. Then there is the “looking over” the things that should not be done by an age group. From there, you get threatened by your pastor, your pastor’s wife says that you should just “get over rape and be available to your husband. Suck it up, it’s over.” I still cannot believe that woman said that to my face.

Pastor’s who say your family is too big and to not attend a program offered. Counsel who forced my husband into “salvation” because they would not leave him alone and badgered the crap out of him.

“Friends” who told me that I was never going to be taken seriously because I was too loud, too outspoken, and my hair was pink. People who threatened to turn me over to CPS because I didn’t let my daughter have dessert one night. They demanded to know their personal story. I refused. It is not my story to tell and it is none of their business.

Luckily, I have still been able to maintain some respect and love for a few people from churches of the past. We don’t talk often but I hope they feel as if they can call me if they need me. I would do the same for a very select few.

I am so glad to have stumbled on Christian Fellowship. Richie and Jenny are two of the most genuine people I have ever met…no matter where we are. The love of Jesus and the desire to make Him known oozes out of their pores. I have never felt such family, love, and support, as I have felt going to this church.

Work Friends

Yep, again, only had one really. I called him my priest because when we met he was going to school to become a deacon in his Catholic Church. He did that. I was blessed to be invited and I know that he is one I can call. Other than that, there were none.

Fairweather Friends

These “friends” come and go like the ebbs and flow of the ocean. They get mad and step out of your life for a minute. Then, they get happy and start slowly beginning communication. Next up, they are all up in your stuff. Lastly, they flit off again. Several several several “friends” in this section of my life. I’ve decided to clip their wings so their is no more flitting into my life.`

Fake Friends

I think we can all say we have had fake friends. Honestly, most of my fake friends came from churches over the years. It is so funny to me, now, to see how spiritual they are on social media. Yet, when it comes down to slinging mud, getting dirty, being the hands and feet of Jesus, they are completely dismissive and judgemental.

I would LOVE to call these people out. There are so many people that knows these people and have horror stories of their behavior and actions towards others. It is embarrassing. Yet, I remember Exodus 14:14 and it says “The Lord will fight your battles. You simply need to be silent.”

There are days when I don’t want to be silent. Just saying. My flesh gets all up in my feels and I want to scream from every rooftop what a fake these people are and to be aware.

Social Media Friends

In the world of social media, the more friends or followers, the more you look special and important. I’m here to say that is a crock of crap. I went a long time with all my social media deleted but because I do reviews, I had to open some of them back up.

When I do reviews/giveaways, I check to see if anyone entered to win whatever is being given away but other than that, I am not active. Twitter, Insta, FB, Pinterest, etc. I do have accounts but they are all linked through my blog and I think most have my blog name on them. If you check (with the exception of FB and Insta), I do not follow or befriend anyone. On FB, I have like 50+ people on there and those are the people that I keep up with and interact with. Now, I don’t necessarily do it on the platform. It may be through messaging or texts.

Over the years, outside of family, I have made 3 friends that I have been friends with for almost 20 years. We are all polar opposites, we don’t talk often, but there is a mutual love and respect that we have for each other. I am closer to one of those people than the other 2. I treasure each and every one of these ladies.

For Now Friends

These are in the moment friends. Whether that is from adoption (for us), foster care adoption (again for us), special needs, etc. These people have been with me in so many situations. I can count on these people, right now, for the season we are in. Sometimes these friends (or any friends) are for a season. They ebb and flow like the waves of the ocean. You know what though? That is okay.

They were there for the season that you needed them. Glean what you can, apply it to your life, and then spread it to others who are entering that particular situation.

When something arises, I know that I can reach out to a few mamas that are raising kids from hard places. These are the ears I want because they are judgement free and they follow with prayer. I covet those friendships.

True Blue Friends

Well, this comes down to it. My college friend is definitely a true blue friend. She is there, hopefully, for the long haul. Our paths still may go in different directions, but her number is in my phone and I do not hesitate to call. My Lady and Donna they were my true blue friends. Now, they are with Jesus.

One of my social media friends can be counted in this group. We are so different and lead such different lifestyles, yet we respect each other and we look past the differences to see the heart behind the human.

My For Now Friend is still hanging tight with me. I swear, we are the only two people who actually get what we are saying and don’t even think twice. She is such a friend that she has stood in the gap when I had to take a break from parenting one of my more difficult children. There was never hesitation. She just said “you are doing this.” I was in such a state, that all I did was cry and barely utter thank you. She has 7 children from hard places and she literally took my child for a little over a month to help my family regroup. Love her.

My pastor and his wife. They would have my back at anytime. Another couple from church who we just think the world of would help us at any moment. My Steph. Forever. These are all people from church.

I could name more people, like Susan but know that my circle is small and that is what I prefer. Slowly, I am finding more people who fall into this category that are new but hopefully long-lasting. You know, like a really good battery.

I don’t have many (and I’m not even mentioning family) but the few I have are powerful warriors who would do any and everything to help our family if/when we need it. These people have seen us at our worse and still loves, prays, and tries to help. Lately, its been pretty bad!

Acquaintances

Let me sum it up with this meme.

Misuse of the Word Friends

Let’s start calling a spade a spade. A true blue friend is your friend through thick and thin. The most of rest are just acquaintances with some genuinely amazing exceptions. Guess what? That is OKAY!

Oh! Just in Case You Were Wondering

My mother (my Oak) is not my friend. She is my mom.

My daddy is not my friend. He is my dad.

My children and grandchildren are not my friends. I am their parent, they have enough friends. They need a parent to guide them not always agree with them.

My husband is not my friend. He is my lover, my rock, my person, husband, father of my children, grandfather of my grandchildren, stabilizer, leader.

Friends come and go in the night. Family stays forever.

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What I am and Why God Version

What I am and Why God Version

What I am and Why God Version

It is so easy to accept and own a person’s free-will version of themselves.  The bad stuff is always easier to believe.  What is difficult for most people is the Truth, as believers as to what the Lord says about us in His Word.  So, after yesterday, here is the Truth about What I am and Why God Version.

I believe I am going to do these verses in the Message.  Now, that is not my favorite version BUT it does say things in plain English and you certainly don’t question the meaning.  Other versions can be harder to understand (for me).  This list was compiled by Ben Malcolmson.

Beloved

“met God out looking for them!” God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!” Jeremiah 31:3

A Child of God

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.” 1 John 3:1

Delighted In

“Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

Forgiven

“He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing.” 1 Peter 2:24

Washed Clean

“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” This is God’s Message: “If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool.”  Isaiah 1:18

Free

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”  Galatians 5:1

A Temple of the Holy Spirit

“Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Adopted into God’s Family

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” Romans 8:15

Co-Heir with Christ

“And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us – an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” Romans 8:17

Righteous

“How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

New

“Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

A Saint

” A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:11

Set Apart

“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you -” 1 Peter 2:9

An Ambassador of Christ

“We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”  2 Corinthians 5:20

A Co-Laborer

“What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working.” 1 Corinthians 3:9

A Sweet Aroma

“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation – an aroma redolent with life.”  2 Corinthians 2:15

Never Alone

“God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.” Deuteronomy 31:8

A Masterpiece

“No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”  Ephesians 2:10

Wonderfully Made

“thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration – what a creation!” Psalm 139:14

Bold

“With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back.” 2 Corinthians 3:12

Having Guaranteed Victory

“You protect me with salvation-armor; you hold me up with a firm hand, caress me with your gentle ways.”  Psalm 18:35

Holding a Secure Future

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Whole in Christ

“When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.”  Colossians 2:10

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Life or Something Like It

What I am and Why, the Free-Will Version?

What I am and Why, the Free-Will Version?

What I am and Why, the Free-Will Version?

Oh, how I wish I had saved the website of the this personality test.  I guess I didn’t OR I got mad at it and deleted it.  There are times when I do that.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by all the “footprints” I leave on the web and I get in a delete frenzy.  So here it is What I am and Why, the Free-Will Version?

Clutter

Clutter in my home, clutter on my social media or emails, clutters my brain.  It is like a giant yarn ball that you cannot make sense of.  So, the solution for me is to organize, answer, delete, and so on.  I simply can’t handle too much.  There is literally nothing else I can control, but I can control the clutter.

That has nothing to do with my emotionally stagnant state of life, now does it.  Well, maybe it does.  Let’s dive into the comments on the test that I took.  I will link some other personality tests, but it will not be the one that I took.

Younger Years

I was L-O-V-E-D when I was a child.  My mama, my Oak…she showed emotion and was so loving.  My granny, my other mother, the support friends of my mom…I saw and felt love and emotion growing up.  Daddy…he loved me, but it was shown differently.  He was not emotional (a police officer) and I had to initiate affection.

As an adult, I have made peace with that.  I see things more clearly.  Was it hard?  Yes.  Is it still hard sometimes?  Yes.  Do I have an undying love for him?  Absolutely.  He is a different man today.  He found Jesus and lives his life in a different manner.  Do I still have to initiate affection?  Sometimes.  Now, I’m vocal about what my needs are and I am able to articulate them to him.  He is not a mind reader and I have learned that over the years.

Communication is the key to most things.  I didn’t know how to communicate my needs.  He didn’t know how to communicate (at all LOL).  Things are different.  It is hard to explain.

The Path I Chose

I didn’t choose the path of my Oak.  Being free with my emotions was not something I did.  Some things happened, I began to not trust anyone (including myself) and I hardened.  When it comes to my children and grandchildren, I am free with my affection.  There is not a time when I do not offer a hug, words of encouragement or some way to show love.

Emotions

Now, I do struggle with showing emotions when it comes to other things.  I went through a period where life was very difficult and my kids saw a side of me that they have never seen.  It affected them terribly and frightened them, frankly.  I could not contain my fear, tears, worries, words, or actions.  Depression, reality, fear, all these things came bubbling up in me and I simply could not stop.  Not even if I tried.

My son would tell me that me crying is like Superman with a broken arm.  It simply can’t happen.  Sadly, it scares them.  Their rock is split in half and crumbling and they can’t make sense of life.  I wish I had never been like that at all.

Therapist Thoughts

As a person with a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, I can tell you what I do.  Yet, I can’t take my own advice.  It’s like I’m stuck in sludge and my feet are trying to move, yet they are stuck.  My therapist said that I dissociate and have a dissociative personality.  To dissociate means a “disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions, and identity.”  For me, this comes from severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  I just check out.

You are not Very Emotional

This is what the personality test said about me.  I am not very emotional.  Honestly, I can’t stand that about myself.  I’m so guarded and I do not trust anyone (again, not even myself).  There are things I need to rectify within myself and with others.  I need to do a lot of saying I’m sorry to others and to myself.  Then, I need to trust that those people choose to forgive me and that I choose to forgive myself.  Forgiving other is one thing…forgiving myself is something completely different.

Assessment

Whether it’s natural self-control or a deliberate decision, you seem detached and don’t often show your emotions. You are alert and self-possessed and you refuse to be blinded by your feelings.

However, since expressing our emotions is a way of coping with things, being indifferent is in itself an emotional response. But whatever the reality is, you come across as cold and give the impression that you are withdrawn and isolated from the world around you. You don’t want to seem like a conformist, so you rarely express an opinion, whatever it is, not even if it’s to let people know that you are in a good mood or that you are happy.

Because you suppress your emotions you seem blasé. Does that sound familiar? Perhaps you are, in fact, extremely emotional, but unable to show it, keeping your real sensitivity locked away. Or maybe you have tried to remain impervious to everyday emotions to preserve your freedom?

You’ve developed a thick skin to protect you from others and you try to be ‘zen’ about things so as not to appear vulnerable. These are the qualities that make you a dominant personality. But living alongside you means to constantly have to decipher how you’re feeling because your moments of joy, happiness, love, resentment, indecision, anger or fear are always tempered by your sang-foid.

In 1984, George Orwell portrayed the dangers of a world without emotion. What if you allowed yourself to stop hiding how you felt and allowed your emotions to work in conjunction with the other qualities that you possess?

Spot On

This is me.  Completely and totally on all levels.  I feel so sorry for my husband.  He honestly never knows.  There is so much I want to say, but I fear judgement, condemnation, no one believing me, me not believing myself or my body.

I have never read 1984 by George Orwell but I might just have to read it.  What if I allowed myself to stop hiding how I felt and allowed my emotions to work in conjuction with my other qualities?  What if?

What if?

I just don’t know.

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God’s Not Dead: We the People Review

God's Not Dead:  We the People Review

God’s Not Dead: We the People Review

God’s Not Dead: We the People Review.  This next installment in the God’s Not Dead franchise is an inspiring, must-see movie for everyone, especially those in the homeschooling community.  This film features Christian singer Francesca Battistelli as a Christian homeschool mom who’s fighting for the right to continue education her children at home.

I am so glad that it does include several of the original member of the God’s Not Dead cast.  They include David A.R. White as Reverand Dave Hill, Paul Kwo as Martin Yip, and Hadeel Sittu as Ayisha Moradi.

Synopsis

The God’s Not Dead franchise continues in God’s Not Dead: We the People as Reverend Dave (White) is called to defend a group of Christian homeschooling families.  He finds himself taken aback by the interference of the government, and believing that their right to educate their own children is a freedom worth fighting for, Reverend Dave is called to Washington DC to testify in a landmark congressional hearing that will determine the future of religious freedom in our country for years to come.

My Thoughts

As a retired homeschooler, these types of encouraging movies are what is needed in this community. There are times when I felt threatened, accused, “less than” to people who were trying to make me feel like I was making a mistake in the education of my future.  I was not smart enough, my learning disabilities would prevent me from doing a good job, my kids would be made fun of.  None of that is accurate but when you are vulnerable, it is easier to believe the wrong things than to rise above and remember the truths.  Please, get your tickets to this film!  It is inly in theaters October 4, 5, & 6!

Links

God’s Not Dead: We the People Trailer

Buy Tickets

Official Website

Official Facebook Page

YouTube

Instagram

Twitter

Disclosure:
Many thanks to Pinnacle Peak for providing this product/product information for review.  Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

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Courageous The Legacy by the Kendrick Brothers

Courageous The Legacy by the Kendrick Brothers

Courageous The Legacy by the Kendrick Brothers

It is the 10th Anniversary of the movie Courageous by the Kendrick Brothers.  In honor of the movie, they are re-releasing the movie with an extended ending.  Courageous The Legacy by the Kendrick Brothers is celebrating in a big way!  I’m so excited to reintroduce the movie to those who have seen the original.  Also, to introduce this movie to a whole new generation who may have never seen it!

Did you ever wonder what happened to Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, Javier Martinez, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller?  Well, now is the chance!  Courageous is coming in hot with the 10th anniversary special that features and extended ending!  It does not disappoint.

I cried the first time I watched it and I cried during this extending anniversary addition.  They did such an amazing job!

THE MOVIE YOU LOVE, AT A WHOLE NEW LEVEL

Ten years ago this fall, COURAGEOUS opened in theaters across the world.  Filled with heart-pounding action, laugh-out-loud humor, and powerful inspiration, COURAGEOUS has entertained and impacted families across the globe for the past decade.

Now, from the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes COURAGEOUS LEGACY, the remastered, special-edition release for a new generation. This updated version of the film includes an enhanced look and sound along with impact stories, new scenes, and a new bonus ending you don’t want to miss! Mark your calendars, gather your friends, and spread the word.

It’s time to head back to the theaters!

IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

• Watch the Trailer HERE

• View the Heart Of Courageous Legacy video HERE

• Download the Resolution HERE for free! This is a great way for fathers to take the next step and make a commitment to their wives and children.

• Watch another fun video from the Kendrick Brothers HERE

Buy Links

• Buy Tickets Here: https://tickets.courageousthemovie.com/
• Official Website: https://www.courageousthemovie.com/

Giveaway Information

The giveaway for this 10th Anniversary extended ending movie is 2 free tickets to see the film!  Please like/comment on any of my social media platforms for a chance to win.  You will need to respond to my email in order to get your free tickets.  If you do not respond, I will be choosing another winner.

2 free Fandango codes to see Courageous Legacy in theaters
Note: This giveaway is limited to the US only. Please send your winner’s full name
and email address to me by Monday, September 27th.

Disclosure:

Many thanks to Sony Pictures for providing this product/product information for
review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I
did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

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Pure Flix Series Vindication Review

Pure Flix Series Vindication Review

Pure Flix Series Vindication Review

While I am down with Co-Vid19, I took the opportunity to binge watch the show Vindication.  This show is a police drama that is set in the suburbs of Dallas.  Detective Gary Travis is the lead character that is portrayed.

First off, I know this sounds harsh, but I say it when I review most Pure Flix shows.  The acting is good but not great.  The first episode didn’t snag me.  I had to get past that one issue.  The moral of the show was good and it was squeaky clean, which makes me happy.  It was just a struggle.

Then, I watched the second episode.  By the end of last night, I watched all 10 because I was invested in the lives of these characters.  You forget that the acting isn’t great and you see the storyline.  Then, you see the grace of God and how He moves throughout all situations, regardless of if it is good or bad.  He is glorified at the end.

Adult Subjects

Another impressive thing was that Pure Flix did not shy away from tough topics.  I do not suggest this show for 12 and under.  I do encourage that parents watch with their children because the themes of each episode are pertinent to the issues we have today.

Dark web, sex trafficking, drugs, rape, infidelity.  Those are a few of the topics that were written for this show.  There is no nudity, swearing, or anything of that sorts BUT the topics are tough ones.  Please be mindful of that when you watch this (which I highly encourage).

Living the Life

I am a cop’s daughter.  There were things that were definitely relatable as Det. Travis deals with his own family.  He can’t separate “the life” from home life.  It weighs on him, but the wife in this show reminds me of my Oak, my mama.  She is steadfast with her prayers and faith, always trying to reach deeper into him and point him to the cross.  What a beautiful depiction.

I am not super excited about Co-vid19 but I am super excited that season 2 is out 🙂  So, I’m heading over to Pure Flix, signing in, and getting ready to watch it to see what happened to the storylines I was so vested in last night.

Season 1 Episode Themes

E1

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

–          Affairs / Temptation

–          Grass isn’t always greener

–          Self-control and self-mastery

–          Unanticipated consequences of sin

E2

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

–          Parenting teenagers

–          Public school relationship challenges

–          Teenage relationships / sexting

E3

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

–          Missing persons: adult/father

–          Money/Marriage conflicts…

Keeping up with the Joneses / wealth/income

  • Insurance fraud

–          Fake friends, infidelity

E4

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

–          Autism/Disability

–          Assuming the best in people

–          Misunderstood odd behavior

E5

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

–          Drug addiction/relapse/recovery

–          Marriage challenges

–          Female small groups / prayer request mistakes/assumptions

E6

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

–          Human trafficking/Prostitution

–          A man/couple who have made it their personal mission to save those caught in this

E7

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

–          PTSD/military

–          Drug abuse

E8

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

  • relinquishing control
  • Budding romance
  • Stressed parent/child relationships
  • Repaired parent/child relationship

E9

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

  • Making decisions to turn your life around
  • Telling the truth about hard things
  • Dark web and buying people

E10

THEMES/PLOT POINTS/REDEMPTIVE MESSAGES

  • Relying on prayer
  • Deliverance
  • Closure
  • Admitting wrong
  • Sex adiction

Media

Vindication Website

Press Release

Facebook

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Show Me the Father by the Kendricks Brothers

Show Me the Father by the Kendricks Brothers

Show Me the Father by the Kendricks Brothers

This documentary, Show Me the Father, is by the Kendricks Brothers.  They also created movies such as Flywheel, Fireproof, Courageous, Overcomer, and War Room.  I am telling you, they get better and better.  Everytime I think they can’t top themselves in bringing the Truth of Jesus and His love for us, they do.  This documentary is no different.

There were several aspects of this that touched my heart on a deep deep level.  The story of adoption and how God orchestrated such a thing.  There were beautiful stories of loving relationships and then there were stories where it wasn’t so great.  The Kendricks Brothers were able to point every single story to the Cross.  The gospel was spoken in a mighty way.

I encourage everyone to go and see this film.  It is worth your time.

Buy Links

Show Me the Father

Trailer Links

Downloadable file: LINK

Social Media

Show Me The Father Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShowMeTheFather
Disclosure: Many thanks to Sony Pictures for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

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