Thursday, December 22, 2011

Slow-Down, Hands, Darts, and Gifts

It's Thursday night and I am feeling very unmotivated. Something happens when I actually accomplish my "To-Do" list for the day, such as I did today, and I usually don't feel a whole lot like moving on to the next day's to-do list! Maybe it's because I'm not supposed to be home tonight. Melissa and I were supposed to be going out, but she got sick and hasn't moved off her couch all day, she says. So, that's postponed for a couple of weeks. Bummer!

Things are really slowing down at Paul's work. They've finally gotten through all their routine maintenance checks and since the weather has been so warm they don't have anything to do, like what usually happens in Feb. and March. Fortunately, Paul has been on call this week and he's been able to pick up some after hours calls. He got home this morning around 11, but just now left for an overtime call (it's almost 7pm). I keep thinking it has to get really cold one of these days and then they'll have work to do. I hope so, anyway!

We had the Lozier party last Friday night. I enjoy those things, but at the same time, I dislike them. I just feel kind of awkward. People probably think I'm stuck up because I don't say anything but, even after almost 5 years, I really don't know hardly anybody there. The older I get, the less outgoing I am becoming, too, so that doesn't help, either! We didn't win the big prizes. I keep telling myself it has to happen one of these years, but so far winning is eluding us. But then, as I reminded myself at the party, it's just stuff, you know?! We don't NEED a big screen tv or another computer or an ipad or any of the "good" prizes. We have all we need. But nobody walks away empty handed from these parties. We won a small drill that will be good for household use, a set of 6 nice glass mugs, and 2 $25 gift cards to restaurants we have never heard of. I guess we don't get out much!

The choir cantata was last Sunday night. Will was so funny, I thought. He is not one to care overly much about clothing. I would say he cares more than his dad cares, but not by a wide margin. He's nothing like David, that's for sure! But last Saturday he told me that he had his outfit all planned for the cantata - his black suit with a black shirt, and a bright red tie. It amused me that he put that much thought and effort into his appearance. He looked quite Christmasy! In fact, during the program, Sam whispered to me, "I see Will, and he is wearing a shiny red tie!"

Last Saturday Ben had Kids Club (respite care) up at ChildServe. They took the kids to the zoo where they got to see Santa. I'm not a big fan of Santa, of course, but I figured at 15, this probably wouldn't warp Ben too much. They took pictures of all the kids with Santa and told me that Ben had the best smile of them all. He does have a nice smile, I think! When I dropped Ben off, I was so surprised when he bent down and kissed my cheek! How utterly sweet!

I remember Sunday I was helping Ben get dressed and found myself mentally sighing as I unzipped his pants in order to get his shirt tucked in around his hips where it would hopefully stay (yeah, fat chance!). And then I had to string his belt through the loops. And then I had to adjust his tie so that it was underneath his collar, instead of on top as he had placed it. As it so often does, the thought ran through my mind, "Will he ever be capable of doing these self-care things for himself?" But immediately I had a new thought pop into my head. It was this: God gave ME hands that work because He knew Ben's would not. That's a different way to look at it.

We did get a welcome call this week from Lutheran Services. Ben lost his case worker a couple of week's ago. She got fired. I swear, I had nothing to do with it! :) We've nearly gotten other workers fired in the past, but this one had nothing to do with us. Actually, I don't know why she lost her job, other than being told it had nothing to do with us. But anyway, that was a matter of concern because I had been really pleased with the things our case worker was teaching Ben (independent living skills). We waited so long to get our own worker due to some bureaucratic/clerical error and then we had to wait longer while they searched for someone willing to drive to Swan. And then we only had her for 3 months! But we were told a new worker had been hired. She came over yesterday and I was pleased. She actually lives in Pleasantville and has a son in the school.

We had a nice visit and I definitely felt like we "clicked." However, I think she came bearing fiery darts because I about had to pick myself up off the floor after she left. In our conversation, the new worker mentioned that she had a son with mental health needs and, thus, was familiar with Pville's special ed system - a system that I, so far, have been very pleased with. Then, she mentioned that her son was adopted out of Iowa foster care at age 4. Whoa! That caught my attention!

It turns out that this worker used to head up the state's foster care parental support program and had the second-in-command position for the national association. When I told her what we were getting into she was not delighted. In fact, she told me to be "very, very careful." She went on to tell me horror story after horror story of things she had endured. She told me that I was risking "ruining your family." Of course, the effect on my kids has been my biggest concern when deciding whether or not to pursue this. Sam is just a little guy and more vulnerable and, of course, we are risking things to a certain extent with Ben and his autism.

I felt utterly deflated and full of self-doubt after she left. But I slowly began to pick myself up. I could tell that this worker definitely does not know the Lord. She's a nice lady, but that part is obviously missing. I also know that God has directed our footsteps all along. A year ago at this time I would not have considered adopting through foster care. The fact that I have changed my mind so completely has to be of the Lord. There's the fact, too, that both Paul and I are in such agreement on this. That's not to say that we couldn't both be agreeing on something wrong, but I don't believe that to be the case.

A friend of mine is pursuing an international adoption right now - actually, a special-needs adoption. Her husband posted on their adoption blog last night and I read it and was encouraged. I wrote to her and told her about what had happened that afternoon. Today, she sent me a verse -
Ephesians 6:16
Above all taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked

Has God called us to this? Yes. Has God's calling changed because somebody scared me? No. Then what am I to do? I take faith in knowing what God has asked, knowing that He will provide, He will protect, and He will sustain. That's not to say that my flesh won't fail and that my knees won't get wobbly, because they will. That's not to say that there won't be rough waters and times that I am clinging onto the smallest scrap of trust I can hold in my weakened hand. I have no doubt that there will be. I suspect that what we are venturing into is going to be one of the hardest undertakings of our married life, ever. And we thought having and raising Ben had been rough! I have a feeling that may seem like a cakewalk, in comparison, by the time we are finished.

But we won't ever be alone.

Well, I suppose I could launch into a sermon right about now, but I'll refrain. I have clothes to iron and a house to clean. This will be my last post before Christmas, which is this Sunday. Other than some cooking and cleaning, I'm ready. My parents are driving down Christmas morning.

I did get my first Christmas gift today. Well, that's not quite true. Last night one of my Patch kids gave me a loaf of her mother's strawberry bread (yum!) and homemade salsa. But I got my first gift in the mail. My brother's long-time girlfriend has achieved some notoriety in the sewing world (a world that I did not know actually existed). She designed a pattern for a hat and it is featured in a book called "One Yard Wonders" by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins, published by Storey Publishing and available at Barnes and Noble. Ava sent me a copy of the book today. It's neat. I'm definitely not a seamstress (my sewing endeavors being limited to sewing curtains and hemming church pants for little and big boys), but I will enjoy looking through the book. I am so pleased she thought to share it with me.

Have a merry Christmas, everyone!

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