Starting off this week’s Takes with a book recommendation. ‘Journey in Love; A Catholic Mother’s Prayers After Prenatal Diagnosis’ is a book long overdue.
For all those who have received a devastating prenatal diagnosis author Kathryn Anne Casey has been there, and she writes beautifully from a place of understanding, compassion and support. While there are more organizations helping those parents who learn their unborn child is ‘incompatible with life’ (such as Be Not Afraid) there are still far too many women who suffer alone, often pressured by their doctors, family, and friends to terminate the pregnancy. Additionally, there are those who learn their child will be born with a serious medical condition (such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Spina Bifida, or Down Syndrome) that present unique parenting challenges and often the realization of life-long caregiving. Casey shares her own story as a special needs parent and parent of a child who died from anencephaly. I give this book a special seal of approval because much of what Casey writes was my own experience as well, and similar to what I hear from other parents who reach out to me, and those who’ve lived through similar losses. The advice she offers is sound, and the bonus prayers and spiritual reflections can help moms who are struggling to hold onto their faith in the midst of such devastating news. Casey and publisher Our Sunday Visitor have made her book availbe as a FREE ebook or you can purchase a printed copy for only $5. Parishes and those within a diocese who work with families or hospital ministry should take advantage of this price and stock up on copies to hand out to families in need.
On Sunday we visited the beach with friends; a yearly tradition we’ve stuck with for at least ten years now. When we started this tradition, we used to line up all our children on the steps of the rental house and snap a picture. However for the last few years, we’ve forgotten. The weather was perfect and the ocean was calm which meant I was spun around and tossed over backwards far less frequently while holding Teddy at the water’s edge. It will probably be our last trip to the shore this summer, at least for the younger two. Hopefully, the older three and I can make a few “field trips” this September and October around all their classes and school work.
Monday we attempted fishing on the bay for the 3,297,283th time. However, we did much more research on tides, ideal fishing times/locations, and I talked to someone who lives closer to the bay for advice and we FINALLY caught some fish. Rather than heading out in the morning, we tried fishing in the early evening and thankfully, everyone caught at least one fish. We couldn’t keep any of them, but knowing that the fish were biting kept everyone interested, and each catch, no matter how small was met with big cheers.
Tuesday night Tony and I went to a foster/ adoptive parent orientation meeting. One of the reasons we’re itching to finish the upstairs bedroom is because it will have room for one more daughter. It’s our goal to adopt a child from foster care (we’ll look at kids on a waiting list who’s parental rights are already terminated) after our training and home study is done within the next four to five months. We believe we’ll have room for a sibling set (one boy, one girl) but we would need a special waiver as we already have five kids. Considering the need for sibling groups to be adopted, it’s not out of the questions, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Adoption has been on our hearts ever since we hosted orphans three years ago. At the time, due to our finances, international adoption seemed out of the question. We looked into domestic adoption through foster care however the layout of our old house meant we couldn’t be approved. Shortly after Tony got his current job, we reconsidered international adoption, however upon learning about the adoption requirements for the country our host children were from, as well as learning that one of the children had been placed in foster care in-country and was thus unadoptable, we realized international adoption, at least from that country would not work for our family (and that was not an easy realization to come to). I just had to trust that if we were supposed to adopt, God would make it work in His time. Once moving was on our radar, and we settled on this house, Tony and I both saw the possibilities for pursuing adoption from foster care again. It’s only the very beginning, and who knows, maybe there’s something wrong with this house I’m not aware of, so I’m cautiously optimistic, but all the kids are excited at the possibility of a new sister (and maybe brother) and are hoping for the best.
In other renovation news, I got to use a nail gun for the first time this week. It was such a feeling of power!… that only lasted a few minutes until I realized we’d purchased the wrong nails. Between the basement, the attic, and our five kids, Tony and I are pretty much Joanna and Chip Gaines. My next book will be ‘Home Shoddy: Living In Dated Spaces So Cluttered With Children, Books, and Dust You’re Physically Barred From Leaving’. It’s going to be a very niche decorating style that strives to meet stressed out women right where they are by expecting nothing from them and encouraging them to embrace their unique decorating style of fingerprints, pet fur, and hand me down furniture. Look for it in Target next fall.
As I discussed adoption with the older kids after the meeting, I had to bring up the fact that Addie will be 18 in the fall of 2020 and having another adult in the house changes the foster/ adoption process in regards to sharing bedrooms. We hope to finalize things before her birthday, but government agencies are not known for their expediency so it’s something we need to keep in the back of our mind. Addie mentioned how no sooner will we complete the adoption than she’ll be going off to college. She’ll only be known to her new sibling as “that older sister off at school.” I understood her concern, but I said we can’t not do things simply because she, and Byron and Edie, are getting older and may miss out on certain events. She agreed: she doesn’t want us to not pursue adoption, but it did make me sad that she, and eventually, Byron, and Edie will all move out in the next few years. (Not saying Fulton and Teddy won’t, but that will be different experience all together.) I’m not sad at the actual leaving; I’m excited for them to experience college, their first apartments, living independently, and all those young adult milestones. I loved leaving home and I hope they get that same rush of excitement that I did. But I will miss having them here to experience the beach trips, the fishing excursions, the weeknight dinners, and I become melancholic when I realize that they may not be able to make “family vacations” in the very near future. Just like there is a whole list of experiences our family has had that our new adopted child won’t have been a part of or relate to- going forward, there will be future experiences that my older children will also not share in and that is what makes me sad. I don’t want to chain everyone to my apron, but I want our family to share in everything together while also desiring to send my children into the world. Obviously, I can’t have it both ways. It’s weird to stand on the threshold of a life where we don’t all live under the same roof.
This post was scheduled in advance because Thursday night I went to a LENNY KRAVITZ concert. If you’re reading this at midnight, the second it goes live, know that I’m deliriously happy and wishing I remembered ear protection. For anyone who doesn’t know who Lenny Kravitz is (including my children), here is a playlist for your enjoyment.
Now it’s your turn. Write down your Takes and link them up below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the bunch. I look forward to reading your posts!