The House of Doo

The House of Doo

Saturday, July 14, 2018

So we are somewhere over the Arctic Ocean on our way to China. We are 5 hours into a 13 hour journey to meet our newest son, Miles Chen Da.

And I am in full-on meltdown mode. Straight up PANIC, y'all.

I am exhausted, physically and emotionally and the tears just need to come out.

Let me set this up - Colt is flipping through the Delta magazine and mentions a Domino's ad - his favorite pizza. The reality of this situation hit me like a ton of bricks. Our little life - just the three of us - will never be the same. I suddenly want to be at home, eating pizza without a worry in the world. Y'all, it feels like regret.

I can't believe I just admitted that. So I do the only thing that I know to do. I pray.

"God. Come quickly. Meet me here in this ugly place. I know you called me to this - now you gotta get me through it."

I already miss my comfort zone and I have two more weeks (plus forever) of this. So anyway, as I am praying/begging God for help, I remember that my dear friend and fellow adoptive mama gave me a card and a gift for this very moment.

I dig it out of my carry-on and open the card first. The threatening tears burst out like a dam broke loose. Inside she had written exactly what I needed to hear. God knew.

After I cried all the tears (for that moment anyway), I got a good giggle over a funny book about doing hard things.

At this point, Colt has dug into some Dove chocolates. Inside the very first wrapper it says this, "Home is where Mom is."

Miles doesn't have a home because Miles doesn't have a Mom. In less than 3 days, that changes forever. That is exciting, yes. It is also terrifying and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous or just flat out scared.

The last 2 1/2 years have been so long and like a pipe dream, but here it is. It's time for it to become reality and that is HARD and SCARY and EMOTIONAL and BEAUTIFUL.

Please pray for our family, especially Miles and Colt. Colt has not wavered for a second during all of this. He is ready and excited and fine. I pray he stays that way but I just don't know. Miles is about to get his world rocked. It will be terrifying for him.

I want to be honest so that people can know exactly how to pray for us. I need courage, strength, and wisdom and I need it now.

I feel better already.

Today, I am thankful for a God that hears my prayers and helps me do hard things. I am also thankful for friends that have gone before me and that help to carry me when I freeze up.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Dear Younger Me

I have felt the need to share this for a while but just haven't gotten around to writing it. Bear with me.

As a child, I "got saved" at a VBS. I was baptized but honestly I know in my heart that I had no idea what I was doing. It didn't occur to me until I was older that I probably wasn't really a Christian. Around the age of 13 or 14 (sad I don't remember) I realized that I genuinely wanted to be a Christian and that I needed to properly ask the Lord to change my heart.

I was a good kid in high school. I stayed out of trouble and generally did what I was supposed to do. College was a different story. I did a lot of things that I am not proud of to this day. Finally, I grew up, got married, and changed my ways. Mostly.

Now, I believe all of this time that I genuinely was a Christian - I just lost my way a bit.

In 2015, I got pregnant with Collins after genuinely thinking that Colt was going to have to be an only child. Then we lost her that October. I can honestly say that the next year was the hardest time of my life. I was so angry. Anxiety wrecked my life. I was devastated by someone I depended on and literally hated anything and everything. I was miserable and miserable to be around.

During this time, I was invited to be in a women's discipleship group. I flat out DID NOT WANT TO DO IT. I don't trust other women very easily. Other than family, I can count about 4 that I trust. I came up with excuse after excuse, but finally gave in and agreed.

This discipleship group required lots of Bible reading and lots of journaling and was going to span over the course of a year. Somewhere along month three, I started feeling the walls come down. God began to speak to me through His Word. During this time, our adoption began to move forward and we decided to travel to Uganda as a family.

Most of you know, Uganda ROCKED MY WORLD. It shattered my HEART, but it restored my soul. It gave me purpose to my life. I felt God in a way I never had before. I wanted to make Him proud, to share Him, to give hope to others too.

I know without a doubt that God took my brokenness and mended it all back together in a much better way. He made beauty from ashes.

I am not perfect. I struggle more than I care to admit. I struggle with depression, anxiety, and never feeling like I am enough. I am not skinny enough, pretty enough, kind enough, patient enough. I am not a great friend. I am selfish. I am angry at the past. Gosh, I am a mess.

But I have been redeemed.
I am chosen by the Creator of the Universe.
I am a daughter of the One True King.

I have placed my past, my failures, my resentment at the foot of the cross. It is not mine to carry. That battle has already been won. And that feels GOOD.

This song gets me every time.  Read these words. Take them to heart. ❤

"Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley
Through each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me"
-MercyMe

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Bare.

I haven't blogged in a long time. This one probably won't be much to read but it's more for me anyway.

Most of you know, I had to have a psychological evaluation done by a psychologist for our adoption. However, no one knows that I have continued to see him on my own. A few of you know some of the parts of my childhood story, but there was so much hurt growing up. I saw and lived more than any child should (though I know there are much worse stories) but it isn't something I share with others. I have finally started to deal with it with this psychologist. I hate it. It's hard. It's necessary.

Especially if I am going to be parenting a child of trauma. I need to deal with mine so I can help him deal with his. So I am on this awful but crucial journey. While seeing this psychologist, we have decided it best to change my depression and anxiety medicine. I have taken Lexapro off and on for years, but this time I have been on a high dose for 2 1/2 years. I have gained 60 pounds in those 2 1/2 years. I sleep 12+ hours a night and nap 2-3 hours a day. It was debilitating. I couldn't lose weight, even when I desperately tried and I barely had enough energy to get ready every morning. I have had enough.

So my psychologist sent me to a doctor to help me safely switch my medication to a better fit for me. The last two weeks I have weaned off of my Lexapro and started Wellbutrin XL. The last 4 days have been a living hell. My anxiety is totally uncontrolled, my blood pressure is sky high (though better when I took it today), and the slightest thing makes me RAGING mad.

Last night I stopped to fill my car up with gas. Every 5-6 seconds, the gas pump would shut off even though I was holding the handle in my hand. I lost my mind over it and had to leave. I knew it wasn't a big deal but I couldn't see straight it made me si angry. I had been at dinner with friends before this and literally could not wait to go home, even though these are friends I adore. Same with family today.

Have you ever had TRUE anxiety? I am not talking about nervousness or worrying about something out of your control. I am talking about debilitating, life-altering anxiety. When it hits me, I start to tremble. It gets hard to breathe. It feels like I am underwater trying to suck oxygen from a balloon that is quickly running out of air and I have to fight to get more in my lungs before there is no more - I am drowning and each breath is a struggle. I cry, sometimes hysterically. Sometimes I throw up.

It had been much more controlled but this switch has caused it to come back in epic proportions.

I spoke to a dear friend on Wednesday during the beginning of an anxiety attack. She gets it - she has been there. She told me that I cannot hide away, like she did. I need to be honest, up front, and share with others to try to help people understand me.

So here I am, putting my faults out there for everyone to judge. Most of you know me and you know I am pretty open about most things, but I can tell you that attempting to work through childhood traumas, changing meds, and the stress of adopting a child who will need a strong Mama are taking a serious toll on me and it is HARD to share it.

So just know that if I am short with you, don't want to go out, or don't talk much, it isn't personal. I am not angry with you. I am just in a deep dark hole right now and hopefully I can be back soon. I can't sleep, I am obsessively cleaning things, I am angry and irritable, and I can't even nap. It honestly makes me feel like I might explode.

I would appreciate your prayers and your patience. I promise we can be friends again soon.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Touching Base.

It has been a while since I have last posted about our adoption. Things are moving along, VERY slowly. We finished our home study a couple of weeks ago and are waiting on the final written report. For some reason it is taking a bit longer than we were told, but it is what it is.

At our final home study, we were given a lot of information that I have been dwelling on for a while now. Our social worker told us about a time when she visited an orphanage in China. She was in a room FULL of cribs holding babies - literally a hundred or more. Can you imagine how chaotic that would be? A room full of screaming babies? Except it wasn't. IT WAS SILENT. It wasn't some crazy miracle where they were all sleeping simultaneously - they were awake! I can't imagine that. You know why they were silent? Because they had learned that when they cried, no one came to them. If they were hungry, dirty, sick, bored, lonely, scared, tired - no one came to care for them when they needed something. So eventually they learned to just keep quiet. Getting Miles to verbalize what he wants and needs is going to be a huge struggle.

Our social worker also told us to expect Miles to be very angry with us for taking him away from the orphanage. This cold place is his home. In my mind, a child would hope to be adopted into a family! This is rarely the case. These children don't know any differently. They don't know they don't have a family because they don't know what a family is! She says Miles will likely not trust us for a long time. He will most likely bond with Colt quickly because he's used to children and not adults. She says Colt will have a HUGE part in this adoption - he will be the one teaching Miles that he can trust us as his parents.

I would be lying if I said this didn't bother me. It is weighing heavy on my heart. I am TERRIFIED. I don't know why God chose this path for us, I am scared of it, but I am ready for it too. It will be a huge challenge but I know that He doesn't always call the equipped. He equips the called. God will take care of it, but I do still appreciate your prayers for us. For Colt and for Miles. I pray they do bond quickly. I also pray that Ryan and I have the heart, the strength, the grace, and the love for this task. It seems so very big.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Yesterday Colt had an appointment with his pediatric ophthalmologist. We go see him every 3-6 months, depending on how Colt's eyes are doing. We have been noticing his eyes "wandering" again for about a year or more and the doctor has been monitoring it closely. He has also started doing the weird head positioning when he's trying to focus. Anyway, yesterday I took some pictures in that I have taken of Colt where his eyes were obviously off. Dr. Peterson decided he would change the prescription in his glasses to try to fix the issue but because it's happening when the glasses are on and off, he isn't sure it will work. We may be looking at a fourth eye surgery in our future, but we do have some time to wait and see. Dr. Peterson also wasn't happy with the way his eyes were switching from being turned in to turned out. He says this points back to the neurological issue Colt has had since birth.

If you have followed Colt's journey for a while, you may remember when he was two years old, we were told that Colt had brain damage or mild cerebral palsy due to a suspected stroke in-utero. Then some time around four years old, we were told that the MRI showed that the brain had basically "healed itself" and that the damage was gone. I posted about that some, but I never posted about how I truly felt. I felt like I should have been elated!

BUT I WASN'T.

I was devastated. You know why? Because all the symptoms of the brain damage were still there. The developmental delay. The eye issues. The speech issues. The right side body weakness. The physical awkwardness. And on and on. When we found out about he brain damage, we had an answer as to why Colt had all these issues. Well when they took that answer away, we were left with the questions again.

If that's not what is causing it, then what is?

 Then yesterday, when Dr. Peterson said the words "neurological issue" all of those feelings came rushing back. Granted, now we have some other diagnoses - Autism, ADHD, SPD, but those don't explain his eyes not responding to his brain and the other physical issues. I am not sure we will ever really understand the puzzle that is Colt, but I am trying.

I just needed to get that out. I hated thinking that I should feel one way as a parent that receives good news, but I didn't feel that way at all. Now those words are being tossed around again and the feelings are back.

Anyway, here's one of the super cute pictures of my boy and his special eyes. 💓


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Convicted.

Y'all. I woke up this morning feeling unbelievably CONVICTED. GUILTY. ASHAMED.

Mission trips will do that to you. They change you. It's a good thing.

This morning, as I was praying, I realized that I was thanking God for all of these THINGS - these things that I have. "Thank you for my home, for heat, for a dry place to be protected from the rain, a warm bed, warm clothes, a safe car, hot coffee, clean water, clean clothes..." As I was thanking God for all of those THINGS, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Everything I was thanking Him for were things that so many don't have.

The rainy season is beginning in Uganda. In the Katanga slum, rain floods their tiny shacks. Along with the rain washing into their homes is trash...and raw sewage. I don't have to stand all night because I don't have a dry, clean place to rest my head. I don't have to poop (sorry) in a bag and dump it outside in a "creek". I don't have to prostitute myself to be able to feed my son. But why not? Why not me?

As most of you know, my husband and some of my dearest friends and church family just got back from Uganda on Saturday. A friend of mine was walking through Katanga when a lady handed my friend a brand new baby. "Take her", she said. This mother was trying to give her baby away because she knew she could not feed the baby. She didn't want that baby to grow up in a place like Katanga. Can you imagine having to make that choice? Some other friends were offered children too. They wanted to sell their children to the "rich Americans" to be able to survive.

Y'all, we are SO very fortunate. SO FORTUNATE. I hate when people say, "I am so blessed" because they have so many things and homes and cars, etc. It's true, you ARE blessed but so are the people in Uganda and all the other places in the world. God blesses us all, we just happen to have been born in a country that has much more opportunity than they do. It could have been me growing up in Katanga. It could have been you. Your children. Think about that for a while. Why wasn't it me??

My heart is absolutely broken for those people. I cannot wait to go back. I want to love them. I want to tell them about Jesus and how much hope He can give. I want to help educate the young girls so maybe, just maybe they can find jobs and not have to resort to prostitution. Maybe help keep them from HIV and help their future babies from being born with HIV. I am just broken for them.

I am thankful to have seen the filth. Smelled it. Lived it for a few hours. Now I can't just pretend like I haven't seen it. I can't go back to living like everything is fine in the world. I have to do something. Once you see it, you HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. Please pray for me, Ryan, and Colt as we pray for guidance and direction in this situation. We have to do something because... 

It could have been me, God. Why wasn't it me??




Monday, January 9, 2017

HOPE.

I think it is time for an adoption update. For some reason, I have really been struggling with adopting from Haiti. The wait time for Haiti is approximately 5-6 years right now. Too long! After our last home study, we had a lot of "homework" to do. Ryan did his share fairly quickly but I just couldn't get mine done. I had no real reason other than I had lost my fire for it. I was seriously dragging my feet.

Soon after, the opportunity to travel to Uganda came up. I kept telling Ryan that I knew something was going to happen in Uganda and I knew in my heart that was what I had been waiting for. When this journey began, my heart was in Uganda. Now that I have been there, I know it will always be there.

We were told my our agency that Uganda is not adopting to Americans right now. After talking with friends in Uganda, we decided to look into their adoption agency. (They have 5 adopted kids!) Well, their agency has access to "exceptions" and you have to apply for exceptions, which allows for the Ugandan children to be adopted to Americans.

This requires us to change agencies, but will allow us to follow our hearts. So... we have changed agencies, applied for their program, and been VERY TENATIVELY MATCHED WITH A LITTLE BOY. He is 6 years old, just like Colt, and we are smitten. We have his file, he is healthy, adorable (!), and very sweet according to the orphanage workers. This is still early in the process but I am sharing because I covet your prayers.

Please pray with and for us! God has big plans for us in Uganda, no doubt. ❤