Monday, August 22, 2016

A Short Story of the Event that Most Impacted my Life

Our daughter, Marina, was assigned to write about the event that has most impacted her life for freshman English her first week of school. She chose to write about her adoption into our family. She wanted to share this with the people who have been journeying alongside of us and asked me to publish it here. All the feels for this mama. All the feels. 

guest post by Marina Worth

The event that impacted my life the most happened almost two years ago; it was my adoption.

But before that came hosting. And before that came the orphanage. But before the orphanage came my parent’s divorce, but I’m not going to talk about that just yet. 
Adoption is an act of giving official acceptance or an approval of something. Well, how did it change or impact my life? The first five years of my life went well, and then my parents got divorced. I stayed with my mother for six hard years, but then I went to an orphanage when I was 11. In the orphanage it was a somewhat easier life, but it still wasn't a piece of cake. It was fun in the orphanage because during the two years that I lived there I got hosted two times a year by families in America. 

During those years I was hosted by three different families and finally the third family wanted to adopt me. It took awhile for all of the paperwork to be approved and sent Latvia, which was where I lived. 

When the papers got to Latvia a counselor talked with me about adoption. She seemed very nice, and she asked me a lot of questions about being adopted. I answered that I knew what adoption was and that I wanted to be adopted. A couple of months later my new family came to Latvia, and at that time we had our first court date and the judge said that I could live with my new family in the U.S. but we still had one more court date to attend to make the adoption final. So that summer I went to the U.S. for about four months before my dad needed to travel back to Latvia for our final court date. The court ruled in favor of the adoption so my sister and I officially became a part of our family. When we went back for the third trip to get my citizenship the whole family didn't needed to come with, so my sister, my dad and me went to Latvia once again. 

After the final trip I was excited because I had a new family, and I was sick of flying back and forth across the world. Also I felt a bit sad because I was leaving my school and my good friends. After the appointments were done I said goodbye to everyone I knew, and we flew back to  the U.S.            

Today I go to a good school, I've got everything I need and most importantly, I've got a family that cares about me and that would do anything to make me feel loved and safe.

Friday, July 1, 2016

When We Try to Bubble Wrap Our Lives

Living is really messy.

Maybe you don't need to have four kids to tell you that, but this is part of what having four kids has taught me.

And its not just the kind of messy where little fingers leave peanut butter and jelly prints all the way down the fridge and across the wall and through the woods all the way through the house they go kind of messy or the the kind of messy that produces piles of dirty laundry or dirty dishes or dirty floors or dirty cars.

Living is also the kind of messy that means hurt feelings, disagreements, failure and heartache.

This year, I've tried, like, really tried to organize the physical messiness out of life with chore charts, organization and schedules.

Somewhere in this attempt at organization, I had also implemented tight regulations and protective boundaries to minimize further chaos.

Let me honestly tell you that this whole organizing the mess started as a survival thing because of the need for high structure in bringing home our two adopted daughters and the shear crazed schedule that went along with that; four kids at three different school environments with various therapy and educational needs and no bussing help and me being the tether holding it all together meant we did honestly needed more structure and organization in our life in order for life to work.

But somewhere in all of that organization and keeping the structure standing, I got a little lost and I stopped just short of bubble wrapping and securing with duct tape all of the kids.

Sometimes the line between organization and controlling the chaos is so thin we find it impossible to walk without tripping face first into control freak.

As my efforts at organization morphed into attempts at controlling the chaos, I found that my joy flat out fizzled beneath the weight of it all. As did the joy of the other people in our house. It was a miserable month.

I was fortunate enough to have a friend speak hard but truthful words into my life, reminding me that we cannot take the potential for messy out of life without also taking out a lot of the potential for joy. Really living includes experiencing a full gamut of emotions and learning to navigate all of them, even the unpleasant ones.

More simply, really living is the kind of messy I am finding I cannot organize the mess out of ... At least not without great cost. There is great cost in trying to control the chaos that is life, and try as I may, I've been finding that I just cannot bubble wrap feelings, emotions or experiences without ending up just completely deflated.

Feelings are going to be hurt, and this can't be avoided without avoiding relationships or staying shallow in them because the risk of being hurt is a function of being in relationships comprised of different people sharing different thoughts, ideas and feelings.

Being known and loved because you're awesome is awesome.

Being known and loved because you are you in all of your awesome imperfectness is called unconditional love.

Mistakes are going to be made, and this is part of learning, growing and just being plain and simple human.

Ideas are going to fail, and this is part of the process of succeeding because in order to create we must innovate and try new things, of which many won't quite work.

While I haven't given up my chore charts and I'm stopping just short of implementing spreadsheets because oh, dear God, is nothing sacred to me anymore, I'm finding myself learning to recognize more and more what kinds of boundaries and organization are good and life giving and life sustaining and joy bringing

and which ones are just flat out life sucking.

Having four children has taught me a great deal about the difference of living in the fullness of joy and just barely surviving.

It's taught me organization has its place.

And it's taught me that, yes, living is really messy.

But more than all of that it's taught me that really living is worth the mess.