Lullaby

Twenty minutes ago, I received the blessing of lulling my daughter, Mary, to sleep. I napped on the couch when I heard Mikki (my wife) calling me. I rose from my nap, comforted Mary, and delivered her back to her bed after her diaper change.

Mary’s sleeping posture is a curious and slightly humorous one, both hands behind her head as if relaxing in a peaceful meadow on a mild spring day.

Every few seconds, Mary’s deep blue eyes opened to seek the faces in the room. Mommy and I both perched by her little bed, I reached out and gently placed my palm on her cheek, thumb stroking her brow, her eyelids uniting in perfect peace.

Mikki then tuned her iPad to one of Mary’s favorite lullabies, Spiegel Im Spiegel by composer Arvo Part.  Personally I find the piece too emotionally intense to bring me any rest, but it soothes Mary.

Over the past few months, my musical tastes have oriented toward classical, and throughout my listening I have compiled a list of songs which bring feelings of tranquility.  In no particular order:

  1. Gustav Mahler – “Adagietto” from Symphony No. 5
  2. John Tavener – Funeral Canticle (a very beautiful choral piece)
  3. Frederic Chopin – The Lullaby
  4. Claude Debussy – Album Leaf
  5. Gabriel Faure – Nocturne
  6. Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum – Jesu, Son Most Sweet and Dear (It’s a Christmas song, but very beautiful and serene)
  7. Arvo Part – I am the True Vine

The Art of Waiting

Mary has this little toy refrigerator that sings the ABC’s.  It is so cute because Mary knows the tune even though she doesn’t know the details of the song.  She’ll just started “singing” it and swaying back and forth.  It is a blast watching her discover and learn new things.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately in terms of my life.  I feel as if there are areas in my life where I know the “tune of a song” but I’m missing the details of the lyrics.  For example, Matt and I heard about Luke this past April.  The first time I laid eyes on his little picture I immediately felt like he belonged to me.  It was as if I had found out I was “pregnant.” The joy that filled my heart overflowed into every ounce of my being. I feel as if it has been a long process of finally getting to where we are in the final stretch of this adoption, but at the same time each days seems like an eternity when I’m away from my little man. It’s as if I know the “tune” or process of adoptions but I don’t know or struggle with the details of what it means to wait.

I am TERRIBLE at waiting!  I know that God has things He can work on within my soul while I wait but I’m so busy humming the tune of my situation that I drown out His words.  I get anxious and sometimes sad when I don’t feel like things are moving quick enough.  I tend to doubt or freak myself out about all the “What If’s.”  During these times, my soul is restless.  It’s about time I start trusting in God’s timing and not mine.  I believe there is an art to waiting on God’s plan to come to fulfillment.  In the midst of some situations it is difficult to understand God’s timing.  But if I take time to pray and LISTEN I’m sure I will hear the WORDS of the song my God is singing to me instead of just the tune.

It is only in genuinely hearing His words of Truth that one can start to understand why  she has to wait.  I know there are trials and challenges that await me.  I can start making my waiting productive.  Instead of getting frustrated I can ask God to help me grow in patience and understanding.  I can take every moment I’m waiting to hold my new son in my arms as an opportunity to ask God to strengthen me as a mother…to help me in areas of my life where I am weak.  I can spend more time generating and nurturing the relationships that  will be our family’s support system.  I can discover new things I can incorporate into my family’s traditions to help us be a strong and faith-filled unit.

I hope to be able to use my moments of waiting as opportunities of learning and growth.  If I do then I will be able to sing the correct words that accompany the beautiful tune God has written for my life.

This too shall pass

A few weeks ago, the three of us contracted some sort of stomach bug. It was the first time for my little girl, and she was bewildered at daddy holding a bowl under her chin. God was gracious to me by postponing my sickness until after my wife and daughter were on the mend. Of course, the week of our stomach sickness was also the same week as Mary’s transition into her “big girl bed”, which brought much confusion and restlessness. Many mornings we found her fast asleep on the floor on her big pink “pig pillow”.

After a weekend of rest and recovery, we all returned to our normal schedules. A few days later, Mary’s daycare called to inform me that Mary had a fever of 101.5. I spent the entire week working from home and trying to control my baby’s fever with toddler’s meds and sponge baths. Eventually her fever progressed to what the pediatrician diagnosed as “early pneumonia”. By day four, my wife and I both began to experience congestion and grog. (That’s what being groggy is called, right?)

Anyway, it seems now we’re all on the mend again, and not a moment too soon. The adoption agency on Luke’s side of the process forecasts our arrival on the week of Nov 7, and I would not complain if we had not a smidgen of illness during our travel.

The entire adoption process has felt like this month of sickness. Every day is full of urgency that we must hurry up and finish quickly so we can wait a few more days. Lately I have felt this great burden of urgency with not a single shred of control. I suppose that explains the entire human experience, right? We spend our entire lives trying to control everything, and pitch a fit when things don’t go as we planned. Looking back, if things unfolded according to my desire, I would probably not have received the blessings which I enjoy today.

St. Francis de Sales on Patience

St. Francis de Sales

Anxiety is a temptation in itself and also the source from and by which other temptations come. Sadness is that mental pain which is caused by the involuntary evils which affect us. These may be external – such as poverty, sickness, contempt of others – or they may be internal – such as ignorance, dryness in prayer, aversion, and temptation itself. When the soul is conscious of some evil, it is dissatisfied because of this, and sadness is produced. The soul wishes to be free from this sadness, and tries to find the means for this. If the soul seeks deliverance for the love of God, it will seek with patience, gentleness, humility, and calmness, waiting on God’s providence rather than relying on its own initiative, exertion, and diligence. If it seeks from self-love, it is eager and excited and relying on self rather than God. Anxiety comes from an irregulated desire to be delivered from the evil we experience. Therefore, above all else, calm and compose your mind. Gently and quietly pursue your aim. – Saint Francis de Sales, from Daily Readings with Saint Francis de Sales

A saintly affair

I spent the entire week working from home and taking care of Mary while she battled a case of what the doc called “early pneumonia”. After three days of antibiotics and little or no coughing, we decided to take Mary to our parish Halloween event. A friend of ours made a Mother Teresa of Calcutta costume for Mary, which hid Mary’s devilish red hair.

Mary as Mother TeresaWe arrived at the church with a little angel full of excitement, but when we entered the so-called Monster Mash, her excitement turned to terror at the room full of witches, skeletons, and a plethora of other scary costumes.

After running around aimlessly for two minutes, Mary decided it was all too much and bolted for the door, her eyes red and face pale from fright.  Once we escaped the clutches of the evil monsters, the giggles and smiles returned to our little girl.

Mary ran up and down the concrete walkway waving to every stranger who crossed her path.  One man commented, “What a cute little fella”, apparently mistaking our little nun for Yasser Arafat.  She hastened across the schoolyard to a marble statue of Jesus.  Mikki asked, “Mary who is that?  Can you say ‘Jesus'”?  “Jee-saah”, Mary exclaimed.  Then Mikki asked, “Mary, can you give Jesus a kiss?”  To which Mary gladly replied:

A note about Prader-Willi

As I mentioned before, children born with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) have very low muscle tone. Many times the child’s muscles are so weak that he cannot even suck from a bottle or swallow solid foods. Also, many children with PWS require the use of supplemental oxygen to treat apnea. This is the case with Luke.

In addition to the low muscle tone, children with PWS also suffer from chronic hunger, and must learn self-control and healthy eating habits in order to prevent morbid obesity. Many families have to put locks on the pantry and refrigerator, and keep strict diet and mealtimes.

Finally, children with PWS also suffer from frustration and tantrums due to their insatiable hunger. There are various other physical and mental obstacles associated with PWS, but the three above are the main problems.

Various people have approached us with words of encouragement, and many have called us “courageous”. A few have asked if we’re scared of what lies ahead. Maybe I am naive or crazy, but I don’t worry much about the future. I firmly believe that God has entrusted us with the task of caring for these two children, so what place do I have to worry? Scripture offers a slew of advice against worrying, so I put my trust in God that he will guide our path.

My first post

My wife and I are in the process of our second adoption in two years, and we decided to share our experiences.

Let me first tell you a little about us. Mikki and I married in 2005, and after a few years of failing to get pregnant, we decided to open our hearts to adoption. We learned of Mary, our beautiful daughter, just six weeks after beginning the adoption journey, and six weeks later she was born. She is now a fiery 18 month old redhead.

 

 

In the Spring of this year, we heard about Luke, a beautiful 9 month old boy with a condition known as Prader-Willi Syndrome. Children born with this rare condition have very low muscle tone, needing oxygen and a feeding tube for the first years of life. Luke is now nearly 14 months, and we are excited to finally travel to bring him home within the next few weeks.

Our goal for this blog is to share our experience and maybe change some hearts with regard to adoption, especially adoption of children with special needs. We’re not perfect and we’re not experts, but we try to love as God calls us.