Archive for December, 2018

  • My Plea This Christmas!

    Date: 2018.12.20 | Category: Love Without Boundaries, Making a difference

    LIVE INTENTIONALLY!

    I know Christmas time is crazy.   Rushing around, trying to find the perfect gift, fighting the crowds and wrapping all those gifts.  I know that people feel overwhelmed by the meals and the visits and the activities.   Well, I’m here to say it doesn’t have to be that way.  I realized after we adopted the kids that too many gifts overwhelmed them and they couldn’t even remember what they got a couple of months later.  So we decided to do less.  I searched the web and found many different ideas about gift buying for Christmas.

    We settled on something to read, something to wear, and something to share as a family.

    It’s great because it allows me to find gifts throughout the year and just put them away.  It stops my kids from making huge lists of things they don’t really want but think they do because someone made a commercial about it or put it in an ad with bright, shiny colors.   It brought Christmas back to what I feel is important, celebrating Jesus’ birth and being together as family.

    My very favorite part about this is that when we are out shopping, the kids don’t point to everything saying they want it.  They look and if they see something they really like they ask me to put it on their list for their birthday so they don’t forget.   They always say, “My birthday is to celebrate me and Christmas is to celebrate Jesus.” I like that Christmas isn’t a “me, me, me” time for them.

    I say all of this because I want you to think about what is really important.  All around me there are people I know who are fighting cancer, whose children have recently passed away, people who are widowed and feel alone, people who are struggling.  People are what matter.  People NOT things.

    My time with Love Without Boundaries and adopting our children has completely changed my life.  Before these things I had no clue that so many children went without an education.  I had no clue that your hair, that should be dark, could actually be a reddish/gold color because of malnutrition.  I had no clue what it meant to live without a family.  What it meant to go without medical care.  I had no clue that some children live their lives in a dump and dig hours upon hours a day trying to find recycling material to get enough money to have a meal that day.  I had no clue that so many children were trafficked.  I had no clue that children as young as 6 were babysitting their siblings while their parents worked.

    I lived in a bubble of comfort.  I still do.  I have so much and so many others have so little.  It breaks my heart.  I am no more deserving of these gifts than anyone else.  I truly believe if you have been blessed then you should share.

    So here is my plea this Christmas…

    1.)  Look for that lonely person in church and reach out a hand.

    2.)  Look for that family that could use just a little more help and be that help.

    3.)  Don’t forget the people who are hurting who have lost a loved one this year.  That first Christmas without the one you love is brutal.  Let them know you remember.

    4.)  Look all around you for little ways to help others.

    5.)  Consider fostering or adopting.   So many children are waiting for a family of their own.

    6.)  Give to local food banks, Toys for Tots, and other local charities.

    There is so much need all around us.

    And now for my final plea…

    Please consider a year end gift to Love Without Boundaries.  Yes, there is need all around us.  Yes, we should be doing all we can to ease that need but the need in some of these other countries is so unbelievably overwhelming.  Please consider helping a child get an education, feed hungry children, provide medical care.  We have many in our program that the only meal they get is their school lunch.  We have helped children who once spent all day digging in the dump who finally get to go to school. I am telling you that if you give money to LWB it goes where you want it to go and does what we say it will do.   Check out our website LOVE WITHOUT BOUNDARIES

    Go and be the light you want to see in the world.   Go and be that change!   Go and just do something!  The gift of giving lasts a lifetime!!!

     

     

  • The Wake Up Call Part 2 – by Mom

    Date: 2018.12.09 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang)

    A few weeks ago, I was driving my daughter’s car, I hit ice on a bridge, the truck in front of me slammed on his brakes, I hit the brakes, and Cassie’s car spun out on the ice.  I ended up hitting the guardrail and stopped facing oncoming traffic in the middle of the left lane.   The Deputy Sheriff was already there and yelled for me to get my car to the ditch.  I couldn’t see because I had lost my glasses.  Luckily, Cassie’s car was still driveable, so I was able to put the car in reverse and get to the shoulder, before any other cars went by.  The deputy then jumped in the car and moved it for me.  It was a frightening moment but I was unhurt and so very thankful.

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    It’s hard when your child is so mad at the world.  It’s hard when they spew their anger all over you.  Connected parenting works.  Some days I applied it really well.  On too many days though, my feelings were hurt.  I know you aren’t supposed to take it personally but someone telling you over and over again that they hate you and that they wish you weren’t their mother weighs on you.  Doubt sets in.  I wondered what I was doing wrong.  I would wake up, forgive, and start again but we seemed to be stuck in this awful cycle of non-connectedness.

    Jasmine would push.  I would try to respond in love.  She would push harder.  I would try to keep calm.  She would up the ante and push more.  I would be angry or cry.  I liken it to being attacked by a mosquito.  I was able to handle it for a while but those constant little jabs just wore on me.  After hours of being stung, I wouldn’t stay as calm as I needed to be.  The tears would come.  After about a year I realized that is what Jasmine wanted.  She needed that response.  She needed me to be angry.  Because when she was angry, she didn’t feel the guilt of the words she had said and the things she had done.  Angry was a safe place so she would do whatever it took to get in a fight.  When I wouldn’t respond to whatever she was doing, she would do more and more until she got the fight she was looking for.

    As time wore on, I began to feel like I had failed.  I mean how can someone come from such a horrible place and not want to be here in our home?  I understood the pushing away part.  I understood the not trusting a “mother” figure part. I understood not wanting to be hurt again.  I had read the books. I got it.  It  was the not wanting a family and wanting to go back to China that I had a hard time with.  It wasn’t until years later that I would understand she wanted to go back to make them take back their angry words and say they were wrong.  She wanted them to say she wasn’t worthless.  She didn’t want to leave us and stay in China, she just wanted revenge.

    There’s a quote going around right now that says…

    “Remember – Everyone has a story that will lead to defiance or misbehaving.  9 times out of 10 the story behind the misbehavior won’t make you angry.  It will break your heart.”  – Annette Breaux

    I believe this fully but it was getting harder and harder to keep that in mind as time went on.  Weeks turned into months and months turned to a year, then two years, then three, and now its been almost four years.  We couldn’t find a way to break the cycle.  The more Jasmine misbehaved, the guiltier she felt, and the angrier everyone else got.  The more guilt she felt, the more she needed to be angry to not feel that guilt. The more no one responded the harder she pushed.  She would misbehave, others would react, forgiveness would be given, and then it would all start again.  It went on and on.  It was an awful cycle.

    The rest of the kids were angry because they couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t stop and why she hated me.  They didn’t understand why she could do and say the things she did to me.  They hated their orphanages too, but they didn’t hate me so they couldn’t understand why Jasmine did and said the things she did.   They hated that it made me sad. I tried really hard to not let them see my tears.  I said over and over again that we need to forgive and I showed them by forgiving.  But no matter how many times I said, “We need to forgive because Jesus forgives us.” it got harder and harder for them to do that as time went on.  I reminded them often that there may be a time in their future when they will need the same grace and mercy and they would want their family to support them through their hard times too.  We all need forgiveness.

    My hardest part through this whole thing was I felt like I was enabling Jasmine.  I couldn’t find a way to make it stop.   Jasmine never, ever said she was sorry. There was never any remorse on her part.  So we would move through this dance.  I would say that I don’t want to play this game any more.  Jasmine would laugh and say the things she usually said.  She would scream and yell mean things for days and once she had finally let go of all her anger she would want to start over.  Since Jasmine is unable to move we couldn’t do any of the physical stuff to help her release her anger.  We gave her many options to help with her anger but she wanted nothing to do with any of them.  She would just finally be done and expect me to be happy and just move forward. I could do that most of the time but as the years wore on, it got harder and harder to do.  Things were getting worse NOT better.

    When I had my accident, it was a wake-up call for me.  I had decided that no matter what happened with Jasmine, I was going to do all things in love.  That was what made me the saddest.  I was having a harder and harder time being patient and calm and filled with love.  I had just decided I was going to be as loving as I could be no matter how mad or sad my heart was.  Sooner or later she would see that I truly loved her or I was going to go to my deathbed trying.

    After the accident and spending the day at the adoption conference with Cassie, I went home to tell Jasmine what I had decided.  I was going to start over once again.   I wanted a new start.   I was hopeful we could once and for all stop this cycle of anger.

    BUT…

    Jasmine stopped me in my tracks.  She had heard about the accident and had been thinking about it.  She cried and cried. She asked for forgiveness and told me over and over again that she loved me.

    This was an answered prayer for sure.

    Both of us needed God’s forgiveness.  Both of us needed His grace and mercy.

    I love Jasmine so much and as a mother having your child say they hate you is one of the worst things ever.  It truly is.  It broke my spirit.  The things she said hurt so much.   I had a very hard time with not taking it personally.  I failed as often as she failed.

    But now there was a way to move forward.  I feel like a new person and so does she.  She was very brave to share her feelings and give me that gift for my birthday.  Now I want to share mine.  I have many things to be sorry for over the past four years.  I added to the drama.  I tried hard but failed too often.  I wasn’t as patient as I could have been.  I raised my voice when I should have stayed calm.

    We have a beautiful family.  Dan keeps reminding me of this fact over and over again.  Yes, there was drama with Jasmine but everyone else is doing pretty darn good.  But isn’t that how life is?  Nothing is ever completely good or completely bad.  There is joy with the sorrow.  There is laughter along with angry words.  There is death and new life.  There are really, really good times along with the bad.

    My hope in sharing this story is that others find forgiveness too.  That it doesn’t take a major accident or illness to finally reach you.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  If you have things left unsaid or undone, please take this time to do what you need to do for peace in your heart.  All things can’t be fixed and I get that, but knowing you did everything you could possibly do is a way to bring peace to your heart.  I am praying for healing for those who need it.  I am praying for the strength for you to try one more time.    I am praying for love and happiness to surround your table this holiday season.

     

     

     

     

     

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