What is it about this sibling bond….?

images

I thought of several ways to start this, but considering it is Adoption Awareness month, I believe I will start there.

I found Patrick’s birth certificate Saturday while reorganizing some files. After a recent conversation I had with another adoptive mother, I looked a little closer at the details and once again loved seeing mine and my husband’s name on the father and mother lines, just as if they came from my tummy.  I figured it up again and I was thirty-four years old when Patrick was born and thirty-six when Zachary was born (they are seventeen months apart).  Part of me felt like I was the oldest mother ever, yet another part felt young again, almost like life was starting over.

Many ask if we knew they were “special needs” when we got them and though we knew there were some challenges when they were born, sincerely believed everything would just be ok…….and you know what? It was..and is.

Speaking of the “specials”, Patrick also turned eighteen years old this month. The school system has talked of this day many times to where I was wondering if there was some major change going to happen as soon as he turned that age.  Guardianship, attorneys, medical power-of-attorney, SSi and many other daunting words have been a part of ARD meetings for the last two years.

After a bit of panic as the date approached, I then realized that the “normals” that I know don’t move out at eighteen years old, yes, I realize there are some changes that we have not encountered as of yet, but it is not like they are going to be out of the house on their own as soon as they turn eighteen. Ken and I both lived at home during college time until we were married.

I realize my family and even my community of people are not inclusive of everyone and perhaps there are families that turn their kids out of the house as soon as they turn eighteen. I am aware different family situations can be a factor and I also realize there is an age that a person needs to be on their own and learning how to provide, but eighteen is not that age.

So, now to combine my adoption and “special” theme, I also want to share one more item with you. If you are on my Facebook or Instagram, you have most likely already seen this, but for those who may just check out this blog or did not see it, here’s a bit more extensive back story.

My two boys have the same birth parents and we have told them from the beginning that they are blood brothers. I sometimes wonder if Patrick made a special protective bond with Zachary, even as a seventeen month old, due to the loss they both experienced even if they were really too young to realize it.  We have also told Patrick for years that he was the big brother and he needed to protect his brother, especially since his brain did not work as well as other people.

That’s probably a tall order for one who also struggles with some “normalcy patterns”, however, Patrick does use reasoning in dealing with Zach (most of the time)

Zachary adores Patrick and as long as he is around, feels safe (if Mom and Dad are gone). Yes they fight and argue, but if one is missing, the other is concerned.  I will admit I do not understand sibling bonds, but these two are tight.

Zachary had to present a speech in his Drama (with the normals) class, which he has just started this semester and even got in the class late in the year. His teacher told me he had to perform his speech from memory and she brought his whole class down to hear him.  She also wrote it down for me and sent it home so we too could read it.  (Don’t you love those kind of teachers?!)

“Patrick is my brother and we love to play video games. Our favorite game is Lego Movie on XBox. We also like to watch Paw Patrol. We eat honeybuns and Mac and Cheese. Patrick is my big brother and I love him. He makes my life better because he’s my best friend. He makes me smile. It makes me excited because I know that I am going to have fun when he is around. I know that Patrick will be my best friend throughout our lives.”

Patrick’s reaction, “I don’t like Paw Patrol!”

As I said before, I do not know a sibling love, but I do know the ultimate Giver of love everlasting, in fact He created it and showed it like no other ever. I hope you know Him too! #JehovahGod #JesusChrist #HolySpirit #threeinone

Love to all,

Barbie

No Paperwork Needed (those words are so beautiful!)

img_2276If you know me or have followed our story, you know we have two boys with some special needs and my mother is challenged with Dementia. If you had told me I would be in this “land” before it all happened, I would have told you there was no way that would ever happen to me.  So, there’s that!

My oldest son, Patrick is now a senior in high school. Not only do we have all of the schoolwork, senior details, but his insurance, through the state of Oklahoma because of the adoption, ceases and the talk of Guardianship, Power of Attorney, Medical Authorization, College, MHMR, DARS and SSI needs paperwork and decisions.

My mother is now in a situation that we are going to have to change her care and more paperwork is needed. Actually, it is all online, but most of the time the site is down or does not work.

Of course, you cannot do this on work hours, except maybe lunch and they are closed on the weekends. So what’s a girl to do?!!  Well, sometimes all I can say is, “Help me Lord Jesus!”  You know what?  He does, even when I don’t see it, He did, is and will help, however, I will admit it can be quite daunting and overwhelming.

You also may be in a situation dealing with a lot of details, phone calls, online entry or paperwork.  (Just to buy a house can exhaust your pen’s ink and brain cells).  You are looking for answers, Google is your new best friend and you keep running into that arrow that goes to the right and to the left, and you have no idea which to choose.

I have been doing a study on Jesus’ Kingdom. He says, if you seek His Kingdom above all else, live righteously, He will give you everything you need (Matt. 6:33). So I decided I need to know more about this Kingdom.  You know what?!!  It appears that there is not one piece of paperwork required to enter into this Kingdom!!  That is good news for this girl and probably for you too!

This Kingdom came to earth when Jesus, the Messiah arrived. The requirements for this Kingdom is repentance and the acceptance of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t seem to be your typical Kingdom according to the guidelines in Matthew 5, however, morality and integrity is expected to keep the benefits of the Kingdom working in your life.

It appears to me that you and I need to make sure we are aligned alongside this Kingdom living and our paths will not only be guided but also become clearer.  Even when there seems to be fog hiding the path, we can trust that the Prince of peace, King of kings, Comforter and Great I AM are nudging, directing and even pushing us toward our final destination.

There is so much more to this Kingdom talk and there is not time or room to share it all, but one last thought I had while dwelling on this Kingdom living. Let’s say you could visually see the Kingdom, when you did decide to give your heart to the Lord, and as you advanced closer to the huge palace where you knew God actually lived, how would you walk? How would you talk? Your behavior? Your choices?

Yes, open your eyes, see the Kingdom and make your way towards it…….no paperwork needed…..just a pure heart….

Thank you for your time in reading!

Love to all,

Barbie

 

If I was a superhero, I would be Protector Woman! P.W.

photo-1434494878577-86c23bcb06b9.jpgI protect….I am a Protector….no not really a bodyguard type or security officer, but if I was tough enough, I just might.

I’ve held different job titles throughout the years, but in my mind, no matter my title, my first role is to protect my boss, even if I may not agree with the entire scenario, I need to protect their image, their time, even their families, if called upon.

I protect complete strangers, if I see someone stumble or perhaps an embarrassing moment for them, I will try to quickly look away as if I did not see or notice. I watch little kids, older people and even puppies to make sure they stay out of harm’s way.

Then there’s the friend and minister’s wife factor.  Both roles demand a Protector.  Confidential information shared, secrets that no one should or needs to know.  Sometimes you are even called upon to be in the middle of the two disagreeing factions trying to protect both.  (That is a doozy!)

Of course, I protect my own boys, talking, reminding, yelling (if necessary) to keep them from getting in trouble, embarrassing themselves, or even challenging a vehicle as they mindlessly wander across the driven path.

Then there’s my husband…… that is definitely one to protect. That seems to come out of me as health reminders, time reminders, people’s reaction prompts and a whole bunch of nagging….uhm….reminding of what has, is, or could happen.

Some people call it a very “detailed” person and others an “overthinker,” but I’m sticking with Protector (that really sounds better to me). I don’t want any bumps, glitches, oops, missed details or mistakes to happen to anyone.  Everything needs to run smooth as glass and the end result, stellar.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I must tell you that the Bible says there is a heaven and a hell and that Jesus came to redeem you from hell and give you a much, much, much etc. better option.  Being the Protector that I am, I must implore you to choose the Heaven option and confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

As I’ve heard many say before and I will use it here,  “If I’m wrong, what do I have to lose? If you are wrong and there is a choice that must be made…”……..well, my Protector mind can’t even go there……

For God so loved this entire world, He gave the only son He had to die so you, my friend, can have everlasting, eternal, super-galactic future. (John 3:16 in my tone.)

The sooner you make the right choice, my Protector tendencies will be much more at ease……

Love to all,

Barbie

 

 

Sometimes, I struggle…..

Struggle.jpgSometimes, I struggle….I hate to tell you that, but I do. Why?  Well, I wonder that also….

I was raised in a loving Christian home, saved and filled with the Holy Spirit during my childhood years. I read the Bible every night before bed.  I memorized the books of the Bible and even read “666” as a kid (not recommended reading before sleep time).  I served in the church wherever needed and was a part of services where the Spirit of the Lord was so amazing you could not help but exhibit some sort of emotion.

Yet, sometimes, I struggle……

I married a Godly, loving man with a Bible believing and based family. We were virgins when we married, so there is no baggage attached to our marriage.  He is a praying and tender hearted man who would do anything for me and our boys.  I know that if there is an urgent need in our household, I can count on him to be on his face before the Lord.

Yet, sometimes, I struggle…..

I’ve worked hard to stay on the straight and narrow, I may have lost my way a few times, but nothing that would be novel or memoir worthy. As an adult, I have been in church services led by some of the most anointed men and women of God that there is no way you could deny that our Creator did not put an emotive box in our beings, that longs to be swept away into an atmosphere of purity and bliss.  The heavens opened up and the presence of the Lord swept through the building so strong, you could feel the breeze.

Yet, sometimes, I struggle…..

Most of my working life has been for Christians. I worked 16 years for a Godly, Spirit-filled couple who placed integrity and God’s ways first and foremost in their business decisions.  I now work for a Christian network and ingest Godly material in both media and written form so much that it should be oozing out of my pores.  I do not hear dirty language, deal with sexual innuendos or ugly attitudes.  Once again my bosses walk in the integrity and God-sensitive direction daily.

Yet, sometimes, I struggle…..

  • Does God love me?
  • Is He really my friend?
  • Is He even listening to me?
  • I’m so weary of the petty things.
  • And of course, why? Why? Why?

My thought, my purpose, my intent for this transparent oratory, you ask…….

Well, I could go into the reasons why I should not or don’t have to struggle, but most of you reading already have the answers.

My thinking……

If I struggle, how much more do those who have a debilitating past or have no Godly family member or laden with a job that is full of filth and people with no integrity or even all three?  Where is there one safe place to be loved on, strengthened, stripped of the muck and replenished with the sweet presence of the Creator Himself?

That would be, or should be, the Church. Every service.  Every time.

Keep moving forward,

Barbie

 

**For the record** My church? That would be a yes.

 

 

 

 

Summer…bah humbug!

I saw a social media post asking the question, something like, “What do you think of when you think of summer.” I wanted to post a comment but after reading all the, beach, vacation, time with the kids, sweetness, I thought my, “Money $$$! And, “what am I going to do with my kids?” post, might be a bummer for everyone else.

I’m sure working parents can relate, especially if your kid is past twelve years old, when the summer camps are less available. Then for the working parents on a budget, it can be quite expensive. (I have to add here that I am grateful that my husband’s schedule is more flexible than many parents out there, so, yeah, that’s a blessing!)

The next two weeks we are going to embark on a new adventure. Zachary is going to a place called, “Clubhouse for Special Needs.” It is for teens and young adults that need “daycare” while their parents work and also socialization with other kids, during the summer months. They have lots of activities planned and seem to have the best interest of both the special one and the parents

At first, we talked about taking both boys, but decided the duo might be a bit taxing for a new place. When discussing payment for both boys, the director was unsure how to charge since she never had one family with two kids and she wanted to be fair.   I smile as I type that, two the same, yet so different.

I’m wrestling with how transparent I want to be with these typewritten words. Let’s just say lots of emotion going on. Not sure which one is winning, the nervousness, denial, or worry, over his small stature, behavior, or the fact he’s still my baby. They do expect Zach to make his own lunch if it is a microwavable item. Perhaps the best result of this will be more independence. That is certainly needed.

So, let’s focus on the positive. Right?! He’s excited about it. He likes new people. He gets up early anyway. It’s just for a few days. I’ve prayed for direction

Friends, I do not know how you can send your kids anywhere without knowing that the Lord God sends His angels to protect. That I am relying on!!

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11

Keep moving forward….

Barbie

 

 

 

 

Fact vs. Fiction

Fact or Fiction“Lockjaw.” That is all I have heard about every night before bed for probably at least three weeks. I’m weary of Lockjaw. From what I gather, he is a dog in some cartoon that can transport himself and other “hero” feats. To add to the excitement, an assistant in Zach’s class has told him that Lockjaw is in the wall of the cafeteria, at the high school Zach attends, and the Incredibles (a super hero animated family) are trying to steal him. Zachary is determined to get Lockjaw out.

Patrick is also quite weary and is constantly telling Zach that Lockjaw is not real, to which Zach gets upset and adamantly says he is. In turn, I try to calm and cool everyone’s agitation, trying to figure out a solution to this dilemma. Fact vs. Fiction.

I often wonder what it is like in Zachary’s head. Happy, not a care in the world; yet upset by something so small or at best, not even real. I also think about that little #2 Chromosome that causes such a disruption just by being a tiny bit out of sync.  Clear thinking doesn’t seem to always appear in his decision making skills.

(There are so many ways to take this post, now bouncing around in my head, but let’s go here…..)

My son, at this point and time, cannot reason logically between fact or fiction. I must protect him even more so from any distractions, deception and derogatory behavior. Due to his brain hindrance he could mistake the bad to be good; applaud deceit; make a disastrous choice or serve the wrong side.

(and rest on this…….)

All children, teens and even adults can get caught up in fact vs. fiction, no matter what their IQ may be. Protect your kids, your teens, your young adults and your own hearts and minds. All that glitters is not gold.

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].” Isaiah 26:3 AMP

Keep moving forward,

Barbie

 

Can I tell you what I’ve learned….?

stageSince Patrick was younger he has told us he wanted to be a comedic game show host. He loves to tell jokes and be the funny guy. He also saw a cartoon once of a game show where they throw a pie in the face of the loser and ever since then…..well, he has a plan for his game show. I asked him the other day what his plan was to make that happen.  His reply, “Get a job at a television place and see what happens.”

Being in the field of television production, I have presented several ideas of how to get to his desired destiny, while also prompting him to hone a skill that can be used to bring in income while chasing his dream. I am not sure if it is because I’m the mom; he doesn’t see the results of my knowledge; or perhaps, I have never thrown a pie in someone’s face; that my advice has gone unheeded.

Music, ministry and television stardom can run along the same courses. Of course, the bigger, the better seems to be a given. You must have an audience of some kind, have enough talent to grab that audience’s attention and then reel that audience in to want to see and hear you again. These days, of course, your internet/social media presence must also be a dominating factor.

Can I tell you what I’ve learned in the culmination of the three facets of “entertainment” driven occupations? As you can see, I am only on the side of the stage – behind the camera – in the control room – at the desk type of person, so perhaps you are also thinking, You really have no idea what you are talking about, but I’m typing this, so I will continue.  These are in a random form and no particular order.

  • Work is required to develop a talent.
  • Professionalism is key.
  • No matter how great you are, there is always someone better.
  • No matter how seriously talented you are, everyone has an opinion. (As we have learned from television reality programs.)
  • Your little darling may be more darling than all the other darlings, however if he/she cannot follow a Director’s direction…..well, he/she may not be chosen.
  • Talent is not based on wealth or looks.
  • If someone is not already listening to you or reading your book, a guest appearance on a national television program will, most likely, not make you an instant star.
  • If you do “make it”, it is only for a season.

Many more come to mind, but I’ll stop for now. Funny, I had already started this blog, when I came across the Candace Facebook video.  The lady that purchased the Star Wars character mask and was laughing so hard, everyone else in the Facebook world laughed with her.  I saw an interview and found out that she is a Christian lady, was also amazed at the over 1,000,000 views she had received, and all the interviews she had with major networks because of one silly video.

Her thought when making it….hopefully this will make some of my friends laugh.

My point to this rambling? Yes, work hard and do a great job of marketing, however, don’t look for just the fame or recognition.  If your name becomes a household name, good for you, if not, impact those in your family, community and circle of influence with happiness, love, peace, edifying words and mostly the transforming love of Jesus!  Especially that last one….the recognition and reward is forever and ever….

Keep moving forward,

Barbie

 

 

Consider the source….

I talked with a young mother this  week 320827_2470993334400_438601802_nas she spoke of the hurt she had just encountered, from those handing out reprimands to her for her energetic boys that would rather run than walk.  (It does get you there faster.)  There are three of them, ages four, four and three.  Yep ,three of them, and all boys.

I can relate on the boy part, even in the normal world, I don’t believe energetic boys stop to think that perhaps walking quietly would be the best option. Kind of like not going to the restroom when you first need to, it is much more of a challenge to wait until the very last minute and then runnnnnn!

I wonder if those ladies handing out such stern words realized that she was an adoptive mom and only one of those babies came from her womb which gave her time to adjust and plan. When an adoptive mom with a busy toddler has a busy toddler arrive, and then another, it is pretty much handle the kid that is in the most danger.

Of course, I remember, getting my two boys at once. Patrick was a busy toddler, while Zach was still in a carrier.  For a prim and proper woman, who rarely kept babies overnight or longer than two hours, trying to carry that super heavy carrier, a diaper bag and keep little Patrick from running among the moving cars…..well, let’s just say guardian angels are for real!

In fact, just this Friday night, we attended a graduation party at a sweet couple’s house. Zachary was on overdrive and pretty much touched everything they owned in spite of my words.  Over-stimulated barely describes what was going on.  I’m pretty sure I basically threw the envelope in the graduate’s hands, had some sort of distracted conversation, pushed my kids out the door and ended it all by administering punishment as we drove away.  Stellar mom!

This beautiful young mother’s babies will grow, mature and soon learn running isn’t the best option. However, with 3 that close together, the kid years may always be a bit topsy-turvy.  That’s ok though, they will know they are loved like none other, receive Godly correction and know they are hand selected by two loving parents.

Aren’t you glad we have a Father God that knows our situation? He even knows why, when, how,  and where.  He gives us instruction, correction and wisdom.  Always know His love for you is even more than you can possibly grasp.  He has hand-selected you, now it’s your turn to accept that love.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. Eph. 3:18

Keep moving forward,

Barbie

Happy Annoying Brother Day!

“Happy Annoying Brother Day!” Zachary just told me as I hugged him goodnight.  It does seem that every day (and Patrick would agree) is HABD for Zach.

So I’m writing this on Mother’s Day. The celebration of that day brings all types of emotions in a vastness that I don’t believe one person can grasp.  The happy momma with her babies at home, the momma with busy teens, the empty-nest moms or even the best, grand-mommas.  However, there is also the not so pleasant part of Mother’s Day; your mother has already left this earth; mothers that have faced the death of their own child; wayward relationships on the part of the mother or child and then those that I can relate to, those who are still waiting to be a mother.

I remember other mothers that had struggled to get pregnant telling me they knew how I felt, even though they had already received their little bundle of blessing. My thoughts: You no longer know how I feel! Ok, so, on this side of it, I can see it both ways.  Perhaps I have lost a bit of that angst, however, my heart still hurts for those on the waiting side.  Fifteen years seemed like a lifetime.

As I am typing this at my desk, I have paperwork to fill out for an appointment Patrick has with Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and the school bus for Special Needs kids (one for each). Last week we had a birthday celebrating Zachary’s sixteenth birthday, followed by a meeting with the school social worker discussing guardianship for the boys, and the many facets of it.  I have already shared with you the differences in the typical sixteen year old and my Zachary, so we won’t repeat that here. Guardianship. I welcome your input on that one.

Mother’s Days, Father’s Days, Wedding Days, Graduation Days and Life in general may not play out exactly as you had planned even as early as a few days ago. It is even okay to grieve, get angry, be sad, cry, (I would be careful with throwing things), as emotion is part of our humanness.  Then there is that moment of stepping back into faith and turning on the trust.  Get up, wash your face and eat, just as David did in 2 Samuel after his baby had died. You cannot stay in the ashes of delays or even death.

How can we do this? “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:2

I know you have heard this many, many times, especially if you are a Christian. Read the Word of God!  Seriously, it is THE tool of transformation and help.  Jesus speaks through His Word.  Read and listen. Get up. Trust! (Repeat)

Keep moving forward!

Barbie

 

 

I wish I had baby pictures!

I wish I had baby pictures! I wonder what my little baby Patrick looked like when he was born such a small little guy.  Two pounds and fifteen ounces is what the paperwork says and only thirty weeks.  His birth mother weighed eighty-nine pounds at the time of his birth.  We do have pictures of Zachary as early as seven months, when we first met them, but none to show him in the NICU at three pounds.  He was born at thirty-five weeks, so not super early, but still so tiny.

I would think this is the cry of several adoptive parents.  At least the ones that were not there at the very beginning.   That moment of counting toes, fingers and making sure everything is as it should be, laying that baby on your chest and feeling their skin near you along with a barrage of photos to display to the whole world; those things are rare for many adoptive parents.

Ok, so you know I’m pretty transparent in this blog and I will admit, I do wonder what it would be like to have a baby in my tummy and all the special things (not the nausea or pain) that happen in the pregnancy stage. I would have loved to have seen my hubby’s face when he was presented with a baby he had contributed to its making (if he had not passed out by then).

You know what I really think? (Just go with me on this.)  God created Patrick and Zachary in someone else’s tummy even though they couldn’t take care of them.   Since Patrick was born a preemie, this alerted the medical staff of the hardship the parents were under and started the process of them becoming our babies.

We missed the trauma of the NICU, the many nights they were both so fragile and even the major expense we could have been responsible for. God placed them with foster parents that not only loved on them, but also had the medical experience necessary to care for them.  (Foster mother was a retired nurse.)  Then the day came when it was time for us to meet them and the Lord then used several people we knew to make it all come together.

When these two handsome boys say “Mom, I love you,” give me kisses and hugs and even the times they ask non-stop for something they want, I do not stop to think about the word “adopted”,  or what I missed out on.  My first thought…. my son……

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father’.” Romans 8:15

Grateful,

Barbie