Charlie’s Faith

Almost 2 weeks ago, on a Monday morning, our 16 month old daughter Charlie and I made our way to Children’s hospital for some blood tests. We had gone in the week before for a CT scan of her jaw to make sure a small cyst that had been removed in December was in fact still gone. It was ok, but because she is tiny, part of her lungs showed up in the image. There was concern as there appeared to be spots in the top of both lungs. This caused the radiologist to call the surgeon to call our pediatrician who called us. (Whew! Lots of calls made that day!) We needed to go to see a Pulmonary doctor at Children’s.

So…back to our Monday morning. Here we are getting blood tests as a preliminary to our appointment on Friday. About an hour and a half of waiting, and nap time, by the way, we were finally called back. Charlie looks over at the empty vials and starts crying. I guess she remembered the collapsed vein from a couple of weeks back.  Ok, not a good start. 7 vials to get today!  For 10 minutes I sang Elmo’s Song, ABC’s, Jesus Loves Me….you name it! I am holding this child so tight, and let me tell you, she was fighting!! I glance over to see… blood coming out. Great, another collapsed vein.  We move to the other arm, and the wailing, twisting and fighting begins. It was then that a song from years back came to mind and I started singing in her ear “I Feel Jesus….I feel Jesus…I feel Jesus in this place….”. I was almost shocked at how still Charlie became. She just laid her head back on me, and rested for 10 minutes as they continued to draw blood. She rested!  With her tears and my tears flowing….I sang and she listened. It was a God moment if I have ever had one.

I left that day wishing that I could let every single person who doubts, has been disillusioned, or whose faith is low, that there is a God. His name is Jesus, and last Monday He was at 1600 7th Ave South, in a small back room of the lab.

My husband Everett, and I took Charlie back to Children’s that Friday to meet with the doctor and also had a new chest x-ray. This confirmed what they had suspected. There were lesions, spots, holes, and fluid throughout both lungs and this was urgent that we find out what is causing this. We were to admit her for extensive testing the following Monday. That brings me to 4 days ago.

First of all, I never knew before that 4 days could feel like 4 weeks. It seems that church last Sunday was months ago. They have run numerous tests, a Chest CT scan, put us in isolation for 2 days, released us from that, and just in time, I might add. This morning I was eating Starburst jelly beans like popcorn and marching around the room for exercise .  Stir Crazy isn’t even an accurate enough description!

With so many of the tests being more blood work, you can imagine the stress level. Our poor sweet Charlie girl! I have watched her though, and been amazed at this precious 16 month old. She is so brave. When they come to draw blood, she starts crying, and fights her way the whole time, sometimes screaming “Mommyyyyy”, but as soon as they are done? She smiles at them, sometimes gives them a high five. And she always curls in my lap after.

This really had me thinking. I think when Jesus said in Matthew 19 to “let the children come to him”, this is one of the reasons. There is nothing….nothing like the faith of a child. To be hurt over and over and over, and not hold a grudge. Still smile. Still give a high five. Still search out a lap for security, and arms to hold close when they feel bad. Now that is faith. That is saying I trust you. I know you love me. I don’t know why this is happening, but I know whose arms I want right now….my mama’s or my daddy’s.

As this week is coming to a close, they have decide to do a lung biopsy on her tomorrow morning to just go right to the source and hopefully have answers for us soon. I wish she didn’t have to go through this. As a parent, it breaks my heart to see her in any pain, and understanding risks and complications, of course makes me worry for her. But the worry fades because  of a look between a mama and her baby girl.

I look into Charlie’s big beautiful brown eyes, and I see nothing but love and trust. She taught me something this week. No matter what I am facing, or how much this is hurting my heart, I too know where to turn. I look to the heavens and smile. I hold no grudges….God is not my enemy….His arms are my refuge. I know He loves me, and He loves Charlie even more than I do. We have no doubts and nothing to fear. Jesus is walking the halls 1600 7th Ave South tonight where He is surrounded by brave little hearts and faith so strong, that He is going to move some mountains with it!

Comments in the Aisles of Target, Wal-Mart and other establishments with 3 seated carts!

Have you ever had one of those days where you have so much to do, that you don’t know where to begin? For some, that can result in a spontaneous shopping trip, or worse, just staring at the TV in a zombie like state, with one hand in a bag of Doritos and another in the Oreo’s bag.

That’s kind of how my brain feels right now! 🙂 It seems there are a lot of heavy, serious, life-issue things that are weighing on it now, and I am too tired to think.  So… I am going to grab a cupcake, a cup of coffee, and share with you all about some recent events that just make me laugh.

Since we first got our girls, let me just say that something as simple as going to the store has completely changed for me! I used to go to Target, get my Iced Coffee, and stroll through, browsing, with occasional eye contact, but rarely any conversation.  Ok, now my trip to the store, is first of all, making sure the store has a 3 -seater cart. Park close to the cart return. Find six shoes, socks a hair bow or two, put them back on my little angels, load them up in my monster cart, and off we go.

Walking through the doors, and bam, we are usually approached within the first 20 seconds. Well, partly it’s because Dakota is waving “Hi Morning!!”, or Charlie is yelling “Hi”, or Addison is just doing the Miss America wave at everyone! Who taught them this? Don’t they know their mama is quiet by nature, a bit of a loner?? Girls, shhhhhhhh…..

No, I really don’t say that. I smile and answer all the questions that big people give to little people but really intending for big people to answer! You know the kind. (Looking at Charlie Grace)…”Well, hi there, cutie. What’s your name? How old are you?”  And so…I answer and thus begins one of my many conversations while at my local superstore.

As you can probably imagine, these simple little interactions have led to some interesting questions, and paths of conversation.  I decided to put together a few of real, honest to goodness comments that I have heard. Hope you enjoy….

Disclaimer: If anyone sincerely asks me questions regarding adoption, fostering, infertility, etc…I am more than happy to talk about it. I love it, actually! These are just some highlights that have made me chuckle. 🙂

Comments in the Aisles of Target, Wal-Mart and other establishments with 3 seated carts!

(comments in italics are what I would have liked to say…..) 🙂

  1. “They are so cute! Do you have any children of your own?” No, I don’t have any biological children. (Ummm, you are looking at them! I bathed them, changed their diapers, I feed them 3 meals a day, stay up all night when they are sick, they call us mommy and daddy, and from the looks of our bank account, they are ours!!)
  2. “That one (referring to Addison) looks like she could be yours!” oh yeah….. (REALLY???? You think so???? Most people say that the other 2 do. You should have seen my baby pictures…spitting image of Dakota!!!)
  3. “Wowwww….they are all 7 months apart? You have your hands full. (pause) So, did you plan to have them so close together? Oh no, they are all adopted! (Yes, it was very careful planning. We mangaged to do 3 back to back pregnancies in which we coordinated for each baby to be born at 30 weeks.  Don’t I look great!!!??????)
  4. “Ohhhhh, they are adopted. So, were you and your husband unable to have children?” yes, but we always wanted to foster and adopt. (Are you, a perfect stranger asking my about infertility issues as I am standing here in the produce section of Wal-Mart??? And NO, we were not unable to have children, since we have 3 that are presently trying to climb out of this cart as we speak.)
  5. “Oh, they are adorable! Are they triplets?” Silence on my part, along with a stare…then noooo. (I have no alternative as to what I would have said as this one still leaves me baffled!)
  6. My favorite was when my friend had my oldest girl Dakota at Wal-Mart with her one day. A lady stops her and asks the usual about Dakota, and then says “So, is your husband black? My friend replied with a quick-wit that I wish I had “NO!! He’s white! We are still in shock!”

Hope you all have a wonderful day, and if you see a frazzled Swedish, German, Irish, French, American Indian girl with a northern accent and 3 of the most beautiful children on God’s green earth all together at your nearest Target or Walmart, come on over and say hello!!

This Little Light

My girls love listening to music as we are in the truck. One of their favorites these days is “This Little Light of Mine”. Dakota belts it out to the top of her lungs, while I catch glimpses of Addison in the mirror as she is doing some type of worship/interpretive dance! Charlie is just smiling and clapping.

Do you ever wonder why it is you are wired a certain way? My husband Everett often speaks of this as being a God-given thing that we need to embrace. God is the one who gave you the dream, the likes and dislikes, the goals, the ambition. As a matter of fact, he spoke about this just this past weekend at church. I have heard it a lot in our 20 years of marriage, but for some reason when it comes to me, I ignore it. Well, I did until about 2 years ago.

I have always wanted to be a mom, and when life dealt me a crummy deck of cards, I thought I was out of the game. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind, I always knew I would one day be a mom. Didn’t know exactly how it would play out, but I just knew. We had always wanted to foster and/or adopt, and about 2 years ago, we decided to go for it! We didn’t know what to expect, and certainly never thought in our wildest dreams we would be blessed with the 3 beautiful girls God has placed in our heart and hands.

So, I should be all content and have the SAHM (stay at home mom) warm and fuzzies, right? I should be happy just knowing that I am making a difference in my girls. Why obsess about other causes? Why stay up late at night just thinking, writing, and researching. I should be folding laundry, or packing the diaper bag, or cleaning the floors!! Instead, I am recalling a conversation that I had about 27 years ago.

I was 17 and soon to graduate from high school. Sitting in the counselor’s office at a local college, they asked me what wanted to accomplish by going to college. My answer came quickly. I want to work as a pro bono attorney for abused women and children. My parents always told me to dream big! 🙂 Well…the counselor decided it was her duty to be frank. I was not eligible for student loans, grants or scholarships, so I would probably need to find another field. I left that day so discouraged, but I thought I had better accept it and move on. So I did. I ended up working my way up in the ophthalmic world and had a good career….without a much desired college education.

Fast forward 25 years…little did I know that when we started the process to foster and adopt that it would ignite these dreams that I thought I had put to rest. What once seemed so far- fetched, ambitious, and elusive now had a face. It had a name, it had an eye color, and it had real tears. I have seen a mothers heart break, knowing she will never hold her child again. I have seen the pain in the eyes of a young abused mother. I have seen her tug at her sleeves to hide the bruises.  I have stood beside a teenage girl as she is told by her father that he doesn’t have time for her. I saw her almost cry, and then, I saw the anger. I have heard a lonely heart cry out for someone to love them.

The other day, I was faced with a tough situation and it began the wheels spinning again. I must do something. I can’t just sit by. There has to be a better way. God, why do you put these things on my heart?? I like it better when I just daydream about a new dessert recipe or my coffee shop I want to open one day!! 🙂

I wish I could say that I had answers, or a plan, a goal in mind. I don’t. I am a mom to 3 busy toddlers, and for now they must be my main focus. Although I am not seated behind a table in a busy courtroom, there is a part of me that is still an advocate for these women and children that God continues to somehow place along my path. I cannot petition the courts for their rights, or their best interest, but I am petitioning the Ruler of the universe for their protection.

God, you know where the hurting hearts are. You alone saw their tears today. You hear their whispers in the dark of night. You held their trembling hand until they fell asleep. Grant to us boldness to step into their lives and be the light that they need. Help me not to be so consumed with my world that I fail to see Your world.  And help me to hear Your voice, and really listen and obey. Even if your voice in the form of a 2 year old little girl singing to the top of her lungs “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!!!!” Amen