Friday, March 28, 2014

The 'Special Needs' Parent

I've been a high school teacher...  I've taught English, psychology, creative writing, and everything in between. I've been a special needs teacher.... I've taught precious children who had Autism, Downs Syndrome, and Aspergers... children who were verbal, non-verbal, and everything in between. Those babies taught me so much... more than I could ever have hoped to learn in one lifetime of lessons.

But in the past 2 years, I've learned one of the biggest lessons of my life;

I've spent much of my life working with and loving children who had 'special needs'... children whom the world refers to as 'special needs children'...

And that, my friends, is a huge mistake.


In my short 2 years of parenting a child with 'special needs', I have learned one of the biggest lessons of my life...

There is, in fact, no such thing as a 'special needs child'.

You see, 'special needs' does not refer to the child; in reality, 'special needs' refers to the child's parents.... to us....

to me. 

I went to bed last night feeling disappointed in myself... Defeated. It's so hard not to ask myself sometimes if God made a mistake by trusting me with this gift... This precious, 'special', child of his...

I'm not patient enough... I don't 'know' enough... I haven't been a parent 'long enough' to be what this amazing little boy needs in a Mama!

Hunter 'usually' sleeps until 7 or later, but when he woke up with his 'sad cry' this morning at 5, I knew something was 'off'... 

And I thought it was him.

I brought him into bed with me and as soon as we laid down, he snuggled in with his warm cheek against mine, and slept (and snored) soundly (loudly) until 7:30.

That's heaven, my friends.

Me? I didn't sleep a wink.

Sometime around 6am, with that little squishy cheek against mine, I realized something...

He wasn't 'off'... I was.

I spend so much time dwelling on whether or not I'm good enough for him... whether or not God made some huge mistake in trusting me with him...

that I've missed the true purpose of God's plan;

God did not 'gift' this child with me because I am good enough or knowledgeable enough.... because I'm not....

 this Mama is as 'special needs' as they come. 

My Jesus knew that the only way I could make it through this life.... the only way I could fulfill the purpose HE has for my life.... was if I had this particular, and amazingly 'special', warm cheek against mine at those moments when I am the most 'special needs'.

Hunter will be fine... He IS MORE than fine... He's a miracle! Don't get me wrong... He works his (you know what) off every day to be who he is and do what he does... but there is nothing that I can do to change the already-perfect plan for his life by being 'good enough' or 'smart enough'.

But me? I'm still learning... I'm catching up...

And even though I might be a slow learner, and even though I sometimes let what's 'typical' blind my faith and trust in the God who not only gave my children life, but gave them to ME... 

My God also knows when I just need a sweet, warm, squishy cheek against mine.

 And sometimes, I need the reminder that what makes ME 'special' is what makes me what's best right now for the babies He's given to me.

And if that's all I learn for a lifetime of lessons? 

That's enough. 

Tonight? I'm going to bed content... even though my parenting day wasn't perfect. 

And I'm hoping with all my heart that one of my babies wakes up at 5am, knowing that his or her Mama needs their warm, squishy cheek against hers because that's the best way a 'special needs' mama can possibly start her day!

~ Here's to wishing that your sleep is filled with warm, squishy cheeks... and the reminder of what makes you 'special needs' in this life that God has perfectly chosen for you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This baby boy was born with a fatal heart condition... you'll never believe what happens next (Miracle #5)!

(The title... isn't that 'in' right now?! So sorry... I couldn't resist, but you really won't believe what happens ;-))

If you're new to Hunter's Story;
Miracle #1
Miracle #2
Miracle #3
Miracle #4; Part I  and Part II 


I remember fragments of that first phone call... 

"2 pounds... Hydrops Fetalis... heart anomaly... brain bleed... kidney failure... liver failure... metabolic disorder... Cerebral Palsy..."

and so much more.

The truth? None of it registered.... the only thing I heard?

"He needs a family.... he's your son."

I've mentioned before...

So many people thought we were stupid... how could we voluntarily 'sign up' for a baby who had so little hope for a future? He was broken... and in medical terms, broken beyond repair.

I'd like to say that our faith was strong and we knew, even then, that God would heal him... would give him a future... that he would celebrate turning 1 year old... that he would walk... and run... and talk... that one day, he would even recognize us as his.

His family.

But i'd be lying if I claimed that our faith was strong or that we firmly believed that God's plan for him was greater than the hundreds of pages of death sentences in his medical records.

All we knew was that we were a family that was aching for the one who was missing...

and he was a baby who was fighting for his life... without a family.

And so it made sense to us... and we went.

We walked into that tiny NICU room, blinded by the darkness of the hallways and deafened by the sounds of life support and heart machines. Those sounds represented life... and also death. 

As we neared the very last pod... the one that held a precious, 3 week old baby... what we didn't know was if the sounds that grew louder as we grew closer represented life... or death... for the life struggling within it.

Those moments are nestled in a part of my mind that registers so vividly that I believe it all happened just yesterday.

His primary doctor sat down and asked us to listen carefully as she tried her best to 'explain' the tiny baby who was now staring deeply into my husbands eyes...



She explained about his brain bleed... the discrepancies in the size of his kidneys... the dangerous levels of biliruben in his liver... the damage done to his intestines and muscles by the fetal hydrops... how his prematurity and low muscle tone put him at huge risk for developing CP... how they already believed that he HAD CP... his irregular heartbeat and the measures they had to take moments after birth to fix it... the repercussions of the measures they took to save him... the dozens and dozens of medications he was currently on and would soon be on... how long she believed he would remain in the NICU...

and how she honestly believed that he might never leave.

His heart condition... the one they knew he had in utero... and the reason they were surprised that he made it through delivery at all. How they hadn't really planned to have a baby to revive... to save... after delivery. How the NICU team was in place in the OR "just in case" they had a baby to help. She explained how broken his heart was... that he was facing numerous surgeries by the time he was school age... if he made it that far. How his activity would have to be limited as he got older... how difficult that would be for the parents of a boy... no sports or running. 

It was terrifying.

Only moments before, as Joey held this precious baby boy in his arms, we had exchanged 'the look'. The one that secured this baby's place in our family.... in our hearts. 

It had been decided.

He was ours.

But as her explanations grew longer... as her description of his 'outlook', of the kind of life he would lead, of the number of open heart surgeries he would have and how those surgeries would only buy him time, not a life... it was his heart that caused us to pause...

caused us to rethink.

Because that's the thing about adoption, friends... it's so nice to think that your baby has been chosen for you and that you really don't have a 'choice'... but you do. You do get to 'choose'... sometimes, you get to say 'yes' or 'no'.

She walked out of that tiny corner room and left us to 'discuss' what we would do...

but we didn't discuss anything.

We started at him... memorized him. We marveled at how such a tiny baby could be stronger than either of us could ever hope to be. We watched him breathe... realizing what strength and effort it takes for our bodies to just breathe. We noticed that his eyebrows and eyelashes hadn't grown in yet, he didn't even have nose hairs, his fingernails and toenails were there but they were different... they were too new, his movements were mechanical... not intentional, his eyes...


his eyes.

They were wise. They knew something that we didn't...

and that's when we knew;

We wanted to be the one's who were around long enough to find out what.

For however long that might be.

We knew that we would never be 'ok' with knowing that his life would be short... never knowing how much longer we had with him. But we also knew that we would love every second we did have with him... and if we had learned THIS much in the few minutes we had spent with him, then we couldn't even imagine what more we were going to learn from him.

And all he needed from us... was love.

And we could do that... so we said 'yes'.

But that heart...

It was the one thing that was definite... they could transplant a kidney or a liver, vigorous PT could help with the CP, hearing aids could help with hearing loss, surgeries or medicine could help the brain bleed, an apnea machine could help us at home... 

but the heart; surgery could buy him some time... but it was the one thing that couldn't be fixed.

It was definite... but it was a ticking time bomb.

Literally.


(If you're unfamiliar with Hunter's Story, now is the time to catch up... 
Miracle #1
Miracle #2
Miracle #3
Miracle #4; Part I  and Part II )



Especially Miracle #2.



But then, last year our baby boy turned 1...


And he wasn't supposed to.


Hunter's cardiologist follows him closely....

his irregular heartbeat, a displaced tricuspid valve, a leaky valve...

they're all there.

They've been there.

Never cause for immediate alarm...

still, haunting.

I took Hunter to his usual, routine check-up with his Cardiologist last week....

It was business, as usual....


These appointments always go the same way; EEG, heart ultra-sound, physical exam, discussion of the day's findings, 24 hour holster monitor is put on him, and we go home.

This visit...

was different.

After Hunter's EEG, the nurse left the room... without a word.

My heart started to pound... I was sweating...

the walls were closing in.

Hunter's doctor walked in... finally.

She listened to his heart... with him standing up... and then laying down.

She walked to the computer and pulled up his EEG...

she wrote something down.

I felt the walls closing in...

something was wrong.

"Is something wrong? I'm getting nervous..."

She sat down and wheeled her chair closer to the table where Hunter and I were sitting...


"I'm so sorry... It's not my intention to scare you."

She was quiet... gentle.

"I wanted to be sure I had all of the information I needed before talking to you..."

Here it comes...

"I looked over Hunter's EEG and compared it to the one we did a few months ago... I considered doing another ultra-sound, but after listening to his heart myself, I am confident when I tell you that....

Hunter has...

completely normal cardiac function."

.......

"He has .... what?"

.......

"I know it's hard to understand... it's hard for me to understand, too but this is Hunter, after all. I want you to know that I would never say something like this if I wasn't 100% certain of what I was telling you. And I am 100% certain that Hunter's heart is functioning just as well as yours or mine."

......

"His heart... it's... normal?! What about his tricuspid valve and heart surgeries? The leak? Sports? He wasn't supposed to live and...."

.....

"I know. And you're right... those things were all true. From a medical standpoint, this is a phenomenon. Impossible. But we know Hunter... and we know the miracle that he is. His heart is normal, Mrs. Smith. That's all I know for today. I'll see him again in a year. Enjoy your son, Mrs. Smith... he's going to be 2 years old next week! And he'll have so many more after that."

.....

She hugged both of us... but held onto Hunter for just a little longer. She smiled as we walked out and as the door closed behind us, I heard her whisper to the nurse...

"He amazes me."

And though I knew that the doctor in her was referring to my precious boy, our miracle..

I knew that the real her was talking about our Jesus.

........

The past 2 years have been a roller-coaster of ups and downs... unknowns, mixed in with the promises and truths that Jesus has planted firmly in our hearts.

These 2 years have consisted of emergency room visits, moments when we all needed reminders to breathe, therapies of every kind, CPR, Heimlich Maneuvers, asthma treatments, ear tubes, hearing aids, viruses we thought would never end...

first steps, climbing in drawers, throwing balls, running, tantrums, eating sheet rock, eating dog food, eating... everything, wrestling, learning to talk....

And last weekend we celebrated Hunter's 2nd birthday...

another one that never 'should' have been.

With his 2nd birthday, we are reminded that the miracles that explain Hunter's life are no longer what define him...

because he craves human touch, relaxes when a warm cheek touches his, thrives on routine and predictability, loves doing everything that he shouldn't, thinks that no one can see him if his eyes are tightly shut, loves to walk sideways or backwards or in circles, can pin his daddy on the floor, thinks that the word 'meatball' is hilarious, idolizes his big sister and craves her attention, does something silly and looks to her for the first laugh, always makes sure mommy and daddy know when he does something well, thinks that Princess Sophia is cute, has the most contagious laugh, and has a smile that can brighten anyones day.

That... is our son.

Hunter.

Our fighter.





No miracles would have been fine... the boy with heart and liver and kidney and hearing and muscle and speech and brain challenges... would have been a blessing.

This boy? These miracles?

We are honored that God chose us to be this boy's forever Mommy and Daddy.... we are underserving... and more than thankful.

And regardless of how God chose us to be his Mommy and Daddy, I'm convinced that the real match was made between a big sister and her little brother... 

His protector from day 1...



Happy birthday, precious boy... you have stolen our hearts and have changed lives! 

You are truly On Loan From Heaven.. we're just glad we get to keep you for a little longer than a while ;-)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just a few things....

I just want to say 'hi' to all of our new friends!

Baby Girl V's story has spanned continents in the past 2 days and has in turn, brought us quite a few new friends ... and while our only purpose was to be God's hands and feet and help one of his most precious angels find her forever family, we're more than ok with new friends, too :-) 

We're hoping for news that she's found her family soon... if you happen to be a family who inquired about her and continue in the process of finding out if you're right for her, please keep me posted; I'd love to know how I can pray for you (or Baby K whom we posted about previously!)!

We have been overwhelmingly amazed at how God has used every one of you to change lives over these couple days, alone... baby V's life, our lives, and so many others! There is such a love and compassion for special needs adoption and I can't tell you how refreshing it has been to see just how many people love these precious babies!

 I have received hundreds (literally) of emails, comments, and messages in the past couple days from people who had questions about Baby V, questions about us or about adoption in general, and people who just wanted to share their story with us. I have read every single note ... I've cried over many of them and have prayed for the authors of every single one.

Thank you for sharing your hearts with me... that you would share some of the most intimate parts of you with me means more than you will ever know!

Our days are busy and I wish with all my heart that I could reply to every one of you who have written to me, but I just can't :-(

I do, however, want to mention a few things that will (hopefully) answer many of the questions and address some of the emails/messages/comments we've received;

* Our names are Lindsay ( me :-) ), Joey, Hannah (5), and Hunter (2)... and we're just a family with a blog :-) God has written (and continues to write) an amazing story for our family that has taken us through infertility, adoption, special needs adoption, failed adoptions, miscarriage, and everything in between. He writes it and we share it with complete honesty (more on us here.)

* We aren't an agency .... there are times however, when one agency or another will recognize the platform God has given us and our hearts for special needs adoption, and they will ask us to help them find a family for their special ones... and we are honored that they ask! We don't do anything but write a post stating the need and share it where we can... and ask you to do the same. It's our readers and our Jesus who do the rest! We have been amazed at how many babies have found families through all of you and feel overwhelmingly grateful that God sees us fit to be used in this way for His glory. We are never compensated in any way, shape, or form.

* We love comments here and on Facebook and are always looking for topics to write/vent about :-)

* Our blog is a safe haven and our biggest hope is that everything we write will glorify God... he is the Author of our story, after all! 

* We're really really really happy that you're here... leave a comment and introduce yourself; don't be a stranger!


Monday, March 24, 2014

3*25*14



Tomorrow is the due-date of our precious #3.

On Saturday, we celebrated our sweet boy's 2nd birthday and our sweet girl's 1/2 birthday (because that's what you do for big sisters ;-))....

And I wish with all my heart that we were spending today anticipating a birth... another birth-day at any moment.

Over the past 9 months(ish), there have been so many pivitol... terrifying... dreadful... days. The day of our D&E... that first Monday when life was supposed to go back to normal, but didn't... The post-op...

And tomorrow. Our due-date. 

It's a day we looked forward to for what seemed like forever...

And it's turned into a day I've dreaded since then.

Since the day we lost our #3.

My heart hurts.

Due-dates don't carry much weight in a typical pregnancy... it's an estimate... a guess. 

But when you've lost your precious baby... a due-date is all you have. 

As the dates on the calendar have drawn closer and closer to tomorrow, I realize that what I feared most about this date was feeling empty or hopeless...

But here I am and I don't feel empty... or hopeless.

My life is full of so many amazing things... and people.

My days are busy.

I'm just sad.


And what hurts the most as tomorrow closes in on me, are the 'if... then's'....



If I was still pregnant.... then what would my body look like?

If I was pregnant... then my family would be in town right now.

If our baby was on the way... then we would be preparing our home and H2 for a new baby.

If our baby wasn't in Heaven... then he/she would be in our arms soon. 

If we hadn't gotten pregnant... then tomorrow would be just like any other day.

If we hadn't lost our baby... then tomorrow could be his/her birthday.

If we hadn't gotten pregnant... if we hadn't miscarried... if we were still pregnant... if our baby was still here...

if, if, if, if.

They all run together, eventually.

Those are the hard parts... the if's... and the 'thens'.

Nothing about losing a baby or a child feels ok...

everything about it hurts.

But my heart is not broken for us or for our baby...

because we are going to be ok... and our baby is safe and healthy and whole with our Jesus in Heaven.


Right now, my heart is breaking for what could have been....

for the seemingly ridiculous things about expecting a baby that just don't seem ridiculous when you'd give anything to be doing them;

nesting... feeling fat... anticipating how our labor and delivery story will end... birth-plans... packing hospital bags...  walking ... the first contractions... 

My heart is breaking for the dreams I had, even if only for a couple short months.

And right now... for one day... I'm going to let myself miss what could have been...

because I'll be forever grateful for what is.

Our #3... always in our hearts... and in our kitchen, too.




Sunday, March 23, 2014

UPDATE; Baby Girl V STILL Needs a Family

The response to Baby Girl V's need for a forever family has once again, been completely overwhelming! 

You... God's hands and feet... Amaze me with you heart for these precious babies...

And I just know that V's family will be found soon!

V's caregivers and representatives have asked me to temporarily remove V's story as they soft through the hundreds of inquiries they've received about her... Please give them some time and patience.

If you did inquire about Baby Girl V, please know that they will get back to you as quickly as possible.

In the mean time, thank every one of you for proving that these special little ones are wanted and loved as much as any other sweet child. You all never cease to amaze me at faithfully following God's prompting in your heart to help his children!

Please continue to pray for V's First Family and her current caregivers as they make decisions for V... And pray for this sweet girl as she waits for her forever family :-)


PS... Please remember a few things before you comment, email, or message;

* I do not work for anyone... nor do I get compensated for posting these babies' stories. I am simply a vehicle that God is using to find His most precious babies their forever homes... just like He is using every single person who shares their stories.

* The babies I try to help are being represented by extremely well-known and reputable adoption agencies. These representatives have approached me and have asked for my/ our help... they have utilized all of their resources to find forever families for these special ones, and have not found them yet.

* I do not have any answers to any of your questions... I will always post contact information for those questions that do come up.

* I will not tolerate anyone bashing First Families/ Birth Parents/ Birth Mothers/ Birth Fathers or anyone related to them... nor will I tolerate anyone questioning their motives. If you'd like to discuss this further, feel free to contact me. If all you'd like to do is bash or question... you're free to leave.

:-)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Why I can't say 'thank you'...

We were completely overwhelmed at the love we received when we lost our #3...

phone calls... emails... text messages... cards... flowers... Edible Arrangements...comments here and on Facebook... meals... dinner gift cards to give us a break from the day-to-day... hand-made treasures with so much love behind them... jewelry that symbolizes our loss but also what we still have... reminders of God's promises... 

each one came at the exact moment that we needed them the most.

Each one, a gift.

A show that a friend knows I watch every week... the episode that week was focused on one character's pregnancy. Knowing how difficult that might be for me to watch, her text came at the exact moment that I felt the room get hazy and the tears threatened to fall.

The shower is my sanctuary...  one of my favorite places in the world.... the most anticipated part of each day. It's where I can break... where I can be weak. It's the only place I can go where I can't hear the rest of the world... and it can't hear me. I took so many showers in those weeks following the loss of #3... cleanliness was the furthest thing from my mind but I couldn't handle how guilty I felt at being sad around people, anymore. In my showers I would let myself fall apart, sob, cry out to God to help me heal... and every time I stepped out of the shower, I had a new text or email... words of encouragement and love from someone whom God had spoken to at the exact moment that I needed love the most.

Nap-times were hard... a quiet house and a loud mind. I'd sit on the couch and watch TV... it was the only way I could handle being alone with myself. A trip to the mailbox was the most productive I could make myself for an afternoon.... it was also the hardest; the simple act of walking from my couch to my mailbox gave my mind enough time to wake-up... to think. And inevitably, those dreaded few steps would cause my thoughts to wander and the tears would threaten to fall.... and God would wrap those moments up in precious little packages inside of my mailbox; hand-written notes, sentimental cards, tiny wrapped gifts. Every moment was one that had been pre-ordained... pre-planned by my Jesus that is bigger than my pain... evidence that He works ahead of every step I take, in the minds of every person who wrote those cherished words or touched those treasured gifts.

Even among all of the pain and confusion and sadness, there was one thing haunted me... it lingered in the back on my mind, making my long-ignored to-do list, making my escape impossible....

thank you notes.

I take them seriously... my mom and dad put so much emphasis while I was growing up on how important it is to send thank you notes. Any gift is a display of love and represents precious time and often-times, money that someone set aside just for you... time and money they sacrificed with only you in mind. A thank you note is such a small display of gratitude, no matter how big or small a gift you receive.

I have never found myself in a position where I just didn't want to write... or couldn't write... a thank you note. I look forward to writing them... I enjoy letting someone know how much they are appreciated and that the time and thought they put into me did not go unnoticed.

But these thank you's?

I have a stack of them.... all started... every one of them, unfinished.

For months, every time I sat down to try and put my gratitude into words, the tears would flow even harder.... I found myself so overcome with so many different emotions, that words just didn't sound right...

A simple 'thank you'... for unspoken encouragement, for strength, for saving me in one of the darkest times of my life...

it wasn't enough.

And every note I started to write turned into a gushy mess.... an unloading of emotion, twinged with the tears that I just couldn't stop.

Grief mixed with gratefulness results in emotions that can't be explained in words.

This was new to me... a loss of words, in a note that should carry so much of my heart in it... but my heart was broken... and my words were, too.

So those 'thank you's' never came...

I didn't mail even 1.

Somehow, allowing those emotions to flow all the way from my head to my heart, and from my heart through my arm, and into my pen was just allowing them to move through me too much... it made the pain worse... made it unbearable.

I owe an apology to so many people who mean so much to me... my parents, my mother and sister in law, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, babysitters, friends, friends of friends, parents of friends, doctors and nurses... the list goes on.

To every one of you~

Your note has been written... but it remains unfinished. Expressing my gratitude and gratefulness for your thoughtfulness and selflessness in one of the most difficult times of our lives ... it was an impossible task for me to complete.

I am so sorry.

I am so thankful....

and I am so sorry.

Your love for us is overwhelming... your love for our #1, #2, and #3 is profound.

While I can't thank each of you for how you displayed your love and care for us during those few weeks, I can thank you for this...

for following God's prompting in your heart.

Thank you for listening to his voice, no matter how quiet it sounded. Thank you for the precious minutes and hours, the written words, the dollars and cents, the prayers and the thoughts you devoted to us when there were so many other people and things vying for your attention.

Thank you.

But... what means more to me than any note or gift or symbol of your care and concern is the lesson I have learned through your thoughtfulness;

Those simple acts of kindness... the ones that take so little time or energy but translate into a million times their weight in gold... those never go un-noticed...

they are never forgotten.

God's prompting in our hearts... Especially when they concern another one of His most beloved?

His promptings are never 'casual'... but they always require a simple act on our part.

Listen. Follow. Do.

As our sweet girl's half-birthday, our baby-boy's 2nd birthday, and our #3's due-date are all just days around the corner, I'm reminded of what we have, what we could have lost, and of what we have lost...

and I'm reminded that I'm not the only one who has, who has almost lost, and who has lost.

While I can't find a way to write the words to say 'thank you', my thankfulness will outlast any words on a card with every text, every phone call, every sweet gift, every note on a card as I challenge myself to BE the one who encourages and remembers and prays and helps...

because I will never forget those who have been the encourager or texter or caller or gifter or writer ...

for me.

Bear with me over the next couple weeks as I continue to process the huge life events that are just around the corner. This season is hard... and I intend to be honest.

 I know you expect no less ... and my prayer is always that God will find a way to speak through His plan for my life and into His plan for yours...

and I'm up for that challenge, too.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Judging the Intolerance of Tolerance

I've found myself growing more and more (sensitive? opinionated? arbitrary?) of certain things as I get older...

(people who hang out in the left hand lane, for one.)


But there's one that has made me question who we are... or who we think we are.


A word that holds within the letters it's comprised of the ability to break someone... their spirit, their worth... 


I have become intolerant of intolerance.


in*tol*er*ance;

unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one's own.


I struggle so much lately with the term, itself...


Let's talk this out a little;

We're entitled to our own opinions... check.
We're given the freedom, by law, to voice those opinions... check.
We're allowed to make our own decisions... check.

But here's one more...

We all came into this world the same way... naked, innocent, unknowing... check.

And since we all agree on that simple fact, then there's one more that we agree on, too...

No one was born a hater.

Hatred... intolerance... disapproval...

all learned behaviors.

Whether we learned hatred or intolerance or disapproval from our parents, our environment, or the circumstances of our lives...

we weren't born hating or disapproving of someone else's color or race or choices or lifestyle.

Right?

This is the part of living in the South that I have struggled with the most...

here in the 'Bible Belt'.

Intolerance and judgements flow too easily and too freely here... feelings regarding race or color or mental capacity or disabilities or lifestyle... somehow, there's a sense of entitlement that lingers in the background of too many conversations and in the hearts of too many people.

Words like 'nigger' and 'retarded' and 'fag' and 'queer' and 'bastard' and 'whore' and even the 'less harsh' words like 'stupid' and 'dumb' and 'slut' are acceptable... accepted.

Those words weep with hatred.

And in all of my intolerance of intolerance, I've realized that what I'm most intolerant of....

is tolerance.

tol*er*ance;

the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or 

behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.




It sounds backwards, I know. 

Here's the thing...

We have managed to turn 'intolerance' into a positive term because we've given ourselves the opposite to make us feel better. 

Stick with me...

It doesn't sound as 'socially accpetable' to publicly claim your intolerance of someones gay lifestyle... so instead, you advertise your tolerance of that lifestyle.

You let them pass your test... your tolerance test.

NOT your acceptance of it... your tolerance of it.

"I don't agree with you... but I'll tolerate being around you (working with you, sitting next to you, letting my child play with your child, etc)."


vs.

"I don't agree with you... but I love who you are more than the temptation to be responsible for loving the choices that you make or the lifestyle that you live. What you believe and the choices that you've made are responsible for making you who you are...  I accept your life and the choices you've made because I love you."

See the difference?

When did we, as a human race, decide that it's our born right and responsibility to claim tolerance of someones lifestyle or race or mental capacity??

I'm not okay with this, friends...

And you wanna know something else?

Christian are the worst ... at being intolerant AND tolerant.

And that makes me sad. 

Christians claim to have received the unconditional, everlasting love of the Heavenly Father, the Ultimate Judge... but we've taken the role of Judge upon ourselves. 

And in doing so, we have proven our intolerance.

We say... "The Bible says that it's a sin to be gay."

The Bible says "The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality...."
(1 Timothy 1:10)

But we like to stop there because the next part is where we come in...

"... enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine."
(1 Timothy 1:10)

Maybe that describes you... maybe not. But there's more...

"...neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers."
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Idolatry, taking the Lord's name in vain, honoring your Father and Mother, murder, adultery, stealing, gossiping, lying, cheating, jealousy...
(Exodus 20)

So yeah...

We're awesome.

Someone you want to be judged by, for sure.

 'For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.'
(James 2:10)

As the saying goes, 'one sin isn't greater than another." And in all of my research, this saying is consistent with everything I have found in God's Word.... in the Bible. The consequences of one sin versus another can vary greatly... but the sins, themselves? No matter how they're portrayed or played out? The way they'll be judged at Heaven's gates? The same.

Yet we still like to argue that murder is worse than telling a lie... being gay is worse than gossiping... cheating on your wife is worse than being jealous of your friend.... having intercourse before you're married is worse than oral sex before you're married... being a single mom or placing your baby for adoption is worse than marrying someone that you don't even love...

 What has happened is that we've decided that we're capable and allowed to judge others'... Bible verse-proven, or not. 

Us.

Christians.

It makes us feel better to think that we could be 'better' than someone else... that what we do couldn't possibly be as bad as what someone else is doing...

and so we've become intolerant.

And in our intolerance, we've turned 'tolerance' into a 'simpler form' of our intolerance...

when tolerating or not isn't even our responsibility.

When you look for antonyms to 'intolerant', you find broad-minded, unbiased, unprejudiced...

tolerant.

And that sounds great!

But... have you ever looked for the antonym to 'judge'?

Try it.

Now.

I mean it....









There isn't one.

Because there isn't an antonym to 'God'.

And His Word simply states that we aren't Him... we aren't perfect or immortal or flawless... we don't know the future, we can't read people's minds, and we aren't responsible for judging others.


And at the end of the day, all that should do is lighten our load a little.

My hope is that we can find a way to raise this upcoming generation of tomorrow's 'judges' to understand one simple thing...

'God doesn't love you more...

but that means that He loves you the same.'


As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Romans 14: 1-4




Friday, March 7, 2014

Baby Girl V Needs A Family (and a Baby Boy K update)

Hi friends~

I've always been amazed at how God's people move on behalf of some of his most precious, special angels. He's used every one of you to find families for quite a few babies, just from here alone... and he's used you quickly! I'll never be able to thank you enough for faithfully following the tiny promptings in your heart to share their stories... and to ultimately play a role in helping babies find their families.

I posted 2 babies a couple weeks ago...

One of them was met with an overwhelming number of inquiries and he is so so close to finding his home.... and I can't wait to share with you when that happens!!

The other baby... Baby Girl V... she's a little more 'complicated', in medical terms ... but she has the same exact desperate need for a family.

And her family has yet to be found.

When we shared her story a couple weeks ago, only a few inquiries came in about her. Please understand that so much goes into creating that perfect match between a family and their baby... but the biggest factor is the baby's First Family... what THEY want for her. Yes, her story was shared... yes, a few inquiries came in... yes, they were all considered....

but her family hasn't been found.

And that means that she has spent another 2 weeks without her family... and they've spent another 2 weeks without her.

And that's not ok with me.

And I know you... and I know it's not ok with you, either.

There's only so much we can do to help these sweet little ones... and maybe we aren't the ones who will find her family in the end...

but we have to try...

one more time.

Please.

'Share' V's story... in every forum possible (your personal blog, Facebook pages, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, work, email, etc)... that's how urgent this is. Please share everywhere. 

She's scary on paper... yes. She's complicated in medical terms... yes.

She has a family who is desperate to find her... yes.

Let's find them.

Before we continue, I need to lay out a few 'ground-rules', so to speak;

* I am not representing this baby or this situation... I am simply doing what I can do direct anyone who's heart is pulled at this girl's story to the one's who are caring for her.

* The following is ALL of the information I have about this situation... any and all questions should be directed to specialneeds@cradle.org 

If you're not in a place to adopt, you can help her immensely by sharing her story and by praying for her and her family.... and if you're her family, please know that you're being prayed for, too! And always remember to pray for these little one's First Families... most of us will never understand the depth of the pain they feel as they struggle to make decisions for their precious babies.

Baby Girl V's family is out there... they need their baby, and she desperately needs her family! One more time.... Let's help them find each other :-)


Baby Girl V
(I've updated this post with links that can help explain difficult medical terms... click on each term to be redirected to an explanation)

V is a cuddly 4 week old Caucasian baby girl.  She takes her bottle feedings well and enjoys being rocked to sleep.  V has been diagnosed with structural anomalies in her brain, physical features related to alcohol exposure and optic nerve concerns.  Her brain MRI reveals septo-optic dysplasiabilateral and open lip schizencephalyagenesis of the corpus collosum, prior intraventricular hemorrhagemicrocephaly, areas of migration abnormalities and polymicrogyria.  It’s anticipated that V will have impairment in cognitive, motor and visual functioning.  Her special needs require ongoing intervention by a multidisciplinary team to help her reach her full potential.Fees for Baby V's placement will be $3500 (including interstate paperwork, if applicable but not including travel expenses, attorney fees, and finalization fees).
If you are interested in being considered for a Baby V, please complete our Pre-Application Form in its entirety.




Again, thank you friends... for your prayer for these babies, for your help in finding their families, for your patience in getting responses to your questions, and for the patience you've had with me as I try my hardest to help them, too!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

2014 National Make-Over Day



"Make-up is a beautiful thing!"
~ My husband

Well ladies, let's face it... he's right ;-)

I'm a girly-girl... always have been. I love anything pink and I love anything make-up; Mary Kay was perfect for me from the beginning... but then I learned a little bit more about this amazing company.

Founded on the saying, "faith first, family second, & career third," Mary Kay is about more than girls, and pink, and make-up... it's about relationships. It's about priorities. 

For me?


 I love being a wife to Joey and Mommy to my sweet Hannah and Hunter... but there's something to be said for having that 'thing' that's just your own. No one can control my success but me and I have found such power in that! I WILL succeed because I CAN succeed!

I'm not in this to make a lot of money... honestly, I just don't have time for that right now. I sincerely love the Mary Kay skin care and color lines and want to see them empower women who mean a lot to me... the discount is nice, too ;-) If you see something you love or want to try, I want to make that possible for you so please, just ask and we can come up with a deal that works for both of us!

It's as simple as that!

March 8 is National Make-Over Day and well, I like to do things BIG... so let's just make a whole week out of it! Every day from March 3- March 9 I'll post a NEW, and amazing Daily Deal on my MK Blog ... I won't be posting each deal here so be sure you click over every day and take advantage of any that look awesome to you! I offer free shipping and will have lots of giveaways and freebies all week, too!

Thank you for coming along with me on this exciting journey... never hesitate to let me know what I can do for you!

Lindsay

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:14