Thursday, March 24, 2011

It Really Is

I'm writing this post in honor of a poem that is in the April 2011 Ensign magazine called "Just The Same".  If you haven't read it yet, check it out.  It's on page 30.  If you don't subscribe to the magazine, you can find it on but you'll have to wait until April.  I read this poem and loved it because it expressed very simply and eloquently the answer to a question that I get asked from time to time.

For those of you who don't know me, my husband and I have three children.  When we had been trying to get pregnant for a little over a year with no success, we had a very strong impression that we should try to adopt, as well as continue working on fertility treatments.  So, we moved forward on both fronts.  Over the years, we adopted our daughter, and then our son, as well as becoming pregnant (after five years of fertility treatments).  I won't go into all the details today, but it was not a regular, healthy pregnancy, and our youngest son was born via emergency c-section about 3 months early.  That's a story for another day...this is just the long way of telling you that two of our children joined our family through adoption, and one is our biological child.  This brings me back to the question I have been asked, and the beautiful answer in the poem I mentioned.

"Do you love your 'own' child more than your others?"  Okay, first, I always mentally cringe and try to be pleasant as I say, "Well, I have three of my 'own' children.  But if you're asking if I love my biological son more than my two children who we adopted, the answer is no.  Absolutely not.  I love and cherish all three of my children."  This is where they peer closely into my eyes and probe further, "Of course you love them all, but it's different, right?"  I return their gaze and reply, "It's not different.  My love for all of them is the same.  It really is."  At this point, if it's a random stranger in the supermarket (you'd be surprised how often that actually happens since two of my children are of a different ethnicity than I am) I just smile and turn away.  No need to get into it further.  If it's someone I care about I might continue on and point out that love isn't about biology.  Love is about serving and sacrificing and cuddling and wiping tears and midnight feedings and nights of colic and laughing and holding and changing diapers and cleaning messes and fretting over fevers and wiping runny noses and swinging at the park and washing dishes and bedtime stories and lullabies and a million and one other little moments that make up life.  Love is love.  It's just the same.

And that's why I want everyone to read "Just the Same" by Diana Lynn Lacey.  Because it really is.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is Here!

The robins are out in force around my house.  Now, that might have something to do with the fact that it has been raining off and on for 10 days and there are more big, juicy worms lying on the sidewalks than the birds can even find time to eat.  But, I'm choosing to ignore that fact, and focus on the fact that the robins are here, which in my mind means one thing.  Spring!  Granted, our first winter in Boise was not all that terrible.  It snows now and then, but then the sun comes out and melts it all.  It's cold, but not so foggy that you can't see 10 feet in front of you.  My kids did get a snow day, although they were slightly disappointed to discover only about 8 inches of the white stuff in the front yard.  (They have lived in Utah up until now, after all.  They were expecting feet of snow if the schools were closed.)  Even so, I always love when the winter starts fading and we realize that spring is just around the corner.  It kind of feels like a new beginning; a clean slate.  It is actually easier for me to make "resolutions" as spring time is blossoming than in January when we're in the thick of winter.  There is so much new life around that it helps me believe that there are things in my life that can be new also.  I can forgive someone who has hurt me.  I can forgive myself for the mistakes I have made.  I can wake up every morning and make the choice to have a positive attitude and look for the good around me.  I can believe that Jesus Christ loves and cares about me, even (and especially) during hard times.  I can love someone a little more.  I can judge someone a little less.  I can stop for a moment and watch the robins out my window.  You get the idea.
So, Happy Spring!  Take some time to enjoy the new season of the year, and look for one way to make a part of your life new as well.  Oh, and watch out for all those worms on the sidewalk.  If you squish some as you back out of the driveway, the children in your life (whether your own or the neighbors') will never let you hear the end of it! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Dreamed A Dream

Okay, I know I promised only one Les Mis blog, but I can't resist just one more.  You see, after I watched the concert, I went straight to and ordered the DVD.  My kids have been watching it non-stop!  My two five-year-old boys love it!  This morning they were having a discussion about Jean Valjean.  How many five-year-olds are interested in Jean Valjean?  But, they love it and it makes me smile.  In fact, they are watching it right now.  Anyway, these great songs have been in my mind all week, and I decided that I couldn't overlook one of my all-time favorites.
"I Dreamed A Dream" is sung by Fantine after she has unfairly lost her job and she is desperate for a way to earn money to send to the innkeepers who are looking after her daughter.  "I dreamed a dream in days gone by, when hope was high and life worth living ..."  She goes on to talk about how it all went wrong.  Nothing went as she had dreamed and her hopes had all been torn apart.  In the end she laments, "Now life has killed the dream I dreamed."
This is a song I can relate to.  Maybe you can too.  While I was growing up, I had a dream.  That dream was to get married to a wonderful man who would love me and take care of me.  After our marriage, we would want to begin having children.  I would get pregnant and figure out some cute and clever way of telling my husband the big news.  As the baby grew and began moving around, my husband would lay his hands over my growing belly and we would laugh as he felt the kicks of our baby.  The day would arrive when I would wake up in the night with the news that "it was time".  We would drive to the hospital where he would hold my hand as our perfect baby entered the world.  The next day we would take our baby home and two years later it would all happen again.
Well, my hopes were torn apart and life killed the dream that I had nurtured all those years.  But - what if - just maybe, I had been holding on to the wrong dream?  Not a bad dream, just not the right one for me.  It never occurred to me to dream about meeting an amazing birth mother who would entrust the baby that had grown inside of her, to me.  I never thought to dream about the kind of love that has nothing to do with the ties of blood, but comes from deep inside your heart that once felt empty but now overflows.  I never dreamed about the testimony of forever that would be written on my heart as I watched my tiny 2 pound 8 ounce son struggle for life for 2 months in an incubator before we could bring him home.  These were never the dreams that I had, but they became my reality, and once I grieved for my old dream and then let it go, I discovered a wonderful life with a bright future that was better than I could have come up with on my own.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rain Will Make The Flowers Grow

So, last night after my kids were in bed, I was flipping through the channels, and stumbled upon a real treat!  The local PBS station was showing the 25th anniversary concert of the musical Les Miserables.  That is one of my all time favorites!  I read the book my senior year of high school and loved it!  I've been to see the play twice, and I've listened to the music over and over so many times that I can't even count them.  I sing the songs in the shower and imagine that I'm on stage in London belting them out to the crowd.  (:  Anyway, my husband is out of town on business this week, so I sat on the couch for three hours and watched and cried and cried and cried.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the story...well, it's too complicated to go into right now...but suffice it to say that in the most basic terms it is a story of love and hope and redemption.  It's amazing!  I could write a whole year's worth of blogs on it, but for now, I'll hold it to one.

There's a song that Eponine and Marius sing together, and it hit me so hard last night as I was thinking about all the trials we go through in this life.  Whether they are infertility, sickness, the death of a loved one, unfulfilled dreams, loneliness, the loss of a job, or even the day-to-day events in life that drag us down and try to make us less than we are meant to be.  But, because of Jesus Christ and the love that He has for each one of us (Yes, He really does love you, even if you are angry or feel betrayed at the turn your life has taken.  I guess you'll have to trust me on that one until you can find it out for yourself).  So, because of that love, no matter what we face in life, He can keep us close and show us the safety and peace that reside in the eye of the storm, and take the rain and use it to make our own personal flowers grow. 

There is more love and beauty and peace in my life now than I ever would have imagined.  Don't get me wrong, I still have hard times and bad days and difficult things to overcome, but when I finally turned my insecurities and heartaches over to the Savior, the flowers began to bloom.  I can feel peace.  I know that He is watching over me.  And He will make my life beautiful, in His own way and time.  It's like Eponine says, "You will keep me safe.  And you will keep me close.  And rain will make the flowers grow."  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Life Isn't Fair

Life isn't fair. I just wanted to get that out up front, because today I'm going to offer a bit of advice for those who are just getting started in the adoption process. I think it will really help you stay sane if you can just remember those three words. Life isn't fair.

So, after much prayer and soul-searching and many tears, you have made the decision to try and adopt a baby. Yay! You are in for one of the most wonderful experiences you can even imagine. Also for one of the most frustrating and trying times you will have. Chances are that when you first walked into your adoption agency of choice, you were presented with an overwhelming amount of information and forms, perhaps a list of classes to attend, and -of course- the fee scale. If you are anything like I was, it won't take long for the excitement of the moment to dim as the realization of the sheer volume of work you have in front of you begins to creep in. FBI background checks, matching sheets, home study questions, classes, interviews, home visits, birth mother letters, pictures, questions, questions, questions.... Don't freak out just yet...stay with me.

Here's my advice. Take it one step at a time; one day at a time. Get your FBI background check sent off right away. That way you won't be waiting on it at the end. If you are required to attend some adoption classes, find out when the next session starts and put it on your schedule, then stay in touch with your agency in case any changes creep up. Then, pop some popcorn, snap open a Diet Coke, and...begin. Here's where the "life isn't fair" clause comes in. Because at least once while you are trudging through everything you have to do, you're going to think, "This isn't fair! There are lots of people who are terrible moms and they just have babies left and right! They should have to fill out all these forms! They should have to pass a background check! They should have to have a home study! They should have to answer all these questions!" Well, you're probably right. They should have to do all of that, but the reality is that they don't. We do. It's not fair. It's just not. And that's life.

So, please try not to spend too much time and effort worrying about how unfair this all is. It is unfair. We all know that. But, to quote C.S. Lewis, "Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do." So, cry for a minute about the unfairness of this all, if you need to. Then decide that you are going to do whatever you need to, and answer all the questions that are presented to you, and fill out every single form that is put in front of you. Because in the end, your baby is worth everything you'll put into this, and more! Even if it's not fair.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Oh, before I forget, I just got an update on my book from my editors at Cedar Fort. Delivering Hope will now be released in December 2011. Keep it in mind for Christmas gifts! (:


Thanks for the comment, Laine. I know what you mean about some of those bad habits lingering on...anger, in particular. I think we all know that that's a hard one to overcome, no matter what initially started it, and I don't think there's a quick fix. One of the things that has helped me - and you might get tired of hearing this from me because I'm sure it will come up again and again - is service. I know that sounds simple, but serving others really can make a difference.

A few years ago, I still had a lot of anger over a couple different things. I didn't realize how much I was letting that out on random strangers until one day I was getting my then-3-year-old daughter into the car to go to the bank. "Where we going, Mommy?" she asked. "To the bank," I replied as I buckled her car seat. "Oh," she said, nodding her head knowingly and looking up at me with her great big brown eyes. "You are going to yell at the lady?" GULP! Talk about an eye opener!!! I laugh about that now, but at the time, it really stung. I had to stop and admit to myself that I needed to change. When I went out and about, I started looking for chances to serve someone. I'd been taught that could help you feel better. I decided to test it out. I didn't do anything big or extravagant. A sincere smile, holding the door for a mom pushing a stroller, letting someone with just a few items go ahead of me in the check-out line, you get the idea. I figured something out. It really does help you feel better if you help someone else.

It's now been almost 6 years since the day my daughter changed my perspective with her innocent question. I'm still not perfect...far from it. But, I'm definitely getting better. Just a couple weeks ago, I had an experience that really tested me, and I'm glad to say, I managed to pass. It had been a long day. My husband had been out of town on business for several days, and I was ready for him to come home. I was tired and I wasn't feeling all that great. I had dropped my daughter off at gymnastics and my two boys off at wrestling practice and I decided to make a "quick" trip to Wal-mart for some groceries. Once I had filled my cart, I began searching for a check-out line with fewer than 3 carts in it. No luck. Finally, I became frustrated and wheeled into the nearest line. I was worried because I didn't think I was going to get through the line quickly enough to pick my five-year-old boys up on time. After several minutes of standing there simmering about how they never have enough check-out lines open, I finally noticed the woman standing in front of me. She had three small children with her. She held the baby - maybe 4 or 5 months old - in one arm because he was fussing. She was trying to keep her other two children near her while she juggled her purse and tried to unload her cart. She looked tired. None of them had their hair combed and all of them seemed in need of a good bath. The mom was missing a front tooth. She was nearly in tears. I'm sorry to say that my initial reaction was, "Man, I always pick the wrong line!!" But then something happened. Maybe my six years of practicing small acts of service paid off, because I opened my mouth and said, "Would you like me to hold your baby?" She stopped and stared at me as if I'd just stepped off a spaceship. "What?" "Would you like me to hold your baby?" "" "Sure," I replied. "My baby is five years old now, and I miss holding little ones." She passed me her infant and said, "Wow. Thanks." We visited as the cashier rang up her purchases. I told her she had cute kids. She brushed her daughter's hair out of her face and reached over and wiped off the baby's hands with her thumb. "Thanks. Oh, we're all such a mess," she said. "It's been one of those days." She shrugged apologetically. "We've all been there," I said. She smiled.

The whole encounter only lasted a few minutes, but as she walked out of the store, she was smiling. Funny was I. Instead of walking out of the store angry and fuming, I was happier than I had been all week. Service will do that. It brings us one step closer to our Savior, and one step away from our anger. If you don't believe me, give it a try. Oh yeah, and I still managed to get my boys picked up on time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's Okay To Feel Sad

There's something that's been on my mind today that I want to share with you: It's okay to feel sad sometimes. There. I got that off my chest. Silly? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. We grow up being told to be tough. There's always someone worse off than you. Snap out of it. Big girls don't cry... and all that. So, I'm going to say it one more time. It's okay to feel sad sometimes. Especially when you are dealing with something big like infertility. Now, I'm going to add one small caveat. I don't think it's okay to wallow (even though I've done that in my time too). Wallowing isn't productive, and you'll probably gain five pounds after you down that box of twinkies and package of oreos. Then, you'll just feel worse (trust me, I know). But some good, honest feelings of sadness are okay. What's more...they are a healthy and normal part of life.

Back when I had been trying to get pregnant - with no success - for about a year, I was sad about it. But I was married to a good man who treated me great, and we had a roof over our heads and food to eat. I told myself there was no reason to feel sad. Strangely, that didn't make the sadness go away. So, I got angry at myself. Angry for feeling sad about not getting pregnant. But, that didn't make the sadness go away either, and now I was sad and angry too. I let this go on for quite some time before I figured out that I was making myself more miserable than ever by trying to convince myself that I wasn't sad, when I was.

Now, I'm not a therapist (but my sister is, and I'll check with her if it will make you feel better) but I think that in order to begin our journey through sadness to the peace on the other side, we first have to acknowledge that we are sad, and that it is okay to feel that way for a time. So, if you're like I used to be and keep trying to talk yourself out of being sad because you can't have a baby. STOP! Allow yourself to feel sad. I know that might be a scary thought, because that would mean facing the silent fears you keep tucked away so well. But, consider the thought that maybe you don't have to continue carrying those fears around all by yourself anymore.

When you feel like you are ready - the sooner the better - get with someone you love and trust like your husband or sister or mom, and tell them how you feel. Just get it off your chest. Cry. Yell if you need to. Even punch a pillow if you want - that always made me feel better. Just get those feelings out in the open. If you're worried they will tell you to "just get over it", have them read this blog post first, so they know what to expect.

If you just don't think you're ready to release your feelings to someone...write them out. Get a notebook and a pen and let your thoughts run out onto the page. Don't censor or edit them as you go, just let them all come out. If you have never confided your feelings to anyone, I think you will find a great release as you let them go. This is a great first step on our way to filling in that hole I've mentioned before.

Now, once you've done this, take a deep breath, grab a tissue, blow your nose, wipe your eyes, and try to find a smile. Tell yourself that you are sad right now, and that's okay, but now that you have admitted it, you are ready to start working through it. Don't wallow, but if you feel the need, I don't think that ONE twinkie ever really hurt anyone.