This Moment

As a single mom of five kids with a variety of needs, most of my time is spent putting out fires so I can get things done. Those monotonous things like laundry, dishes, school lunches, and what not. Seems like someone always needs something which makes accomplishing anything almost impossible.

Last night was no exception. I bought a ton of plants for the garden I’m attempting. It looked like rain, so I really wanted to get them planted.

Solving the problem of what to do with the attention seeking 11yr old, I left her inside to do dishes and sweep the floor.

On the deck, the 9mth old baby was put in her new Jolly Jumper. 9yr old Athena was skipping on the driveway. With pencil and paper, 5yr old Adley pretended to write notes about his observations of the garage. 4yr old Branch rode his tricycle.

Knowing it wouldn’t be long before someone needed something, I frantically began planting.

It started to mist slightly. Branch needed his raincoat. Adley suddenly realized he needed a coat as well. Baby was fussing since no one was within arm’s reach. She hates to be alone. Branch was worried she’d get wet under the canopy. He worried he’d get wet. A lengthy conversation ensued that we’ve had countless times.

“The water won’t hurt you.”

“It does hurt!!!!”

11yr old Raine stepped out to ask if she in fact had to wash all the supper dishes or if some were exempt. I kept on planting – not with the leisure or enjoyment I’ve known in other phases of my life. I kept on because there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Suddenly the mist turned into a torrential downpour. I prepare to abandon my task. Thunder and lighting silence all the children. Raine, having completed her chores joins the baby on the deck.

The eco friendly pots my herbs are in begin disintegrating in the deluge. Still, I resign myself to the fact that we must go in. If Branch couldn’t cope with a sprinkle, I suspect it won’t be long before he’s hysterical over this.

Only he isn’t. “The water doesn’t hurt me!!” he realizes, tossing off this raincoat and running down the driveway with Athena. She’s laughing. He joins in. Adley and Raine come trailing after them. The baby, dry under the canopy, lets out a squeal of delight. The lightning flashes. The thunder rolls. The rain pours down. I plant the herbs. The baby jumps. Together the children run and laugh. It’s a perfectly unexpected moment of collective joy.

There aren’t many of these. I breath it in. For an unprecedented 10mins, no one needs me. My imagination takes flight, thinking of what this work in progress will become – my garden, my family.

When I’ve done all I must, we head inside.

The rain stops. A rainbow graces the bright blue sky. It was a beautiful, picture perfect moment in a life that isn’t always so.


Mother’s Day

Tomorrow I will make my own breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ll do dishes, clean up, and likely put away laundry. There won’t be gifts or accolades. I have no spouse and my children are too young to do much for me.

That’s alright. I look at them and my lovely house and think, “Not long ago this was all just a dream.”

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve arrived at the place I always wanted to be.

I’m a mother to 4 exceptional children. Two are completely mine. One is in my care possibly temporarily. The newest addition will soon be completely mine. April 5 I got the long awaited call saying I’d been selected to adopt a little boy. After a transition period, he officially joined us on April 25. In about 6mths the adoption will be finalized. Unlike the process with Raine and Athena, I’ve been informed I can’t post anything identifying about him until everything is completed in the courts. So, sadly I can’t share his cute little face yet. But will tell the story of how he came to join us in a future post. It’s a wonderful tale.

I don’t really mind that my Mother’s Day will be filled with the usual mundane tasks. It’s a blessed reminder of the miraculous fact that I am a mother.

I am One Person

Apparently it’s National Single Parent’s Day. I didn’t necessarily set out to become a single mom. But I’ve never feared the prospect. When God first spoke to me about adopting, He said I might do it alone. At the time I was 10yrs old. The only alone I could imagine was a husband dying or divorcing. So that’s the scenario I played out with my Barbie dolls.

As a teenager, I felt more strongly that I would adopt before marrying. By then, outside the church, women were doing that. Then, I fell in love with someone who loved everything about me – including the crazy dream of adopting. At that point, adoption was still primarily done when you couldn’t have children of your own. Never was it the first choice. But I wanted it to be mine.

Over the past decade, I’ve watched the church rise to embrace adoption as a calling. It’s a powerful testimony of Jesus choosing us as we choose to love the least of these among us.

I tell my daughters that God knew I would be their mother – He made us for each other. “Then why didn’t He just give us to you at the beginning?” Raine often asks. Why didn’t He spare them the pain of beginning elsewhere under less than ideal circumstances? I don’t know. “Because He hoped things would be different. He wanted things to be good for you. He let your birth parents have a chance to work with Him. But He got me ready just in case,”is the answer I give her.

When I finally felt ready to pursue fostering, a dear friend informed me that any children I cared for would be cursed by God. She told me I was going outside of His desire for family – a mother and father – and because I was defying divine design my children and I would live outside of God’s blessings. Her words stopped me in my tracks. Though I didn’t agree, I found myself blocked for several years as I processed that thought. My idea of fostering and adopting as a single woman was foreign to the circles I moved in. Most people didn’t take me seriously when I first started talking about it. But when I began moving towards it, I realized how opposed most people were.

Because of that and other reasons, my relationship with that friend came to an end. I grieved for a long time while I continued to grieve the loss of the man I’d fallen in love with. For reasons I still can’t fully understand, that relationship exploded. Was it all for the best? I really don’t think so. But it’s how it worked out. There’s nothing I can do about my lost love. Believe me. And there’s nothing my girls can do about their ill-equipped birth parents. That’s just how it’s gone. We have to come to a place of acceptance.

I didn’t intentionally set out to defy perception. God created me to be a mother. It’s in my DNA. “Mom” was my nickname as a teenager. That’s how everyone saw me becuase that’s who I am. Would it be better to have a husband walking along side me? No doubt. But I wasn’t willing to forfeit my calling when that opportunity didn’t come togehter. So, I have become a single mother.

It may be more difficult than parenting with a partner. Since I’ve never had one, I can’t say for sure. I’ve been told that it is. I am only one person. That means that some of the kids have to wait for my attention sometimes. The dishes don’t always get done right away. Sometimes I run out patience. But, I think, that can be said of any parent – even when there are two.

My children are blessed. They have one parent who loves them. They have one parent who always puts them first. They have one parent fully commited to raising them into the amazing women they’re meant to be. I am one person, it’s true. But I don’t see that as a disadvantage. My kids have one person completely devoted to them. And that counts for an awful lot.