Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Frusterated and Bothered

I don't normally use this blog to rant (well maybe a little).  But I have been so frustrated by a memoir book I recently read that I can't hold it in anymore. 

I feel a little bad posting about this because I don't want it to be an attack on the author.  He seems like a very wonderful person, somebody I would choose to be friends.

The book is called Resurrection Year and here's the book's premise - how to deal with the disappointment of when God says "No".  The idea behind the book was that there are many books available that talk about how God answers prayers and can provide miracles.  (Yeah, God!)  But there aren't as many books about what happens when you pray, and pray, and pray and don't get what your heart desperately desires. 

I found this idea extremely intriguing and eagerly read the book.  It chronicled the author and his wife's 10 year struggle with infertility.  This couple's heart's desire was to become parents.  My heart broke for them throughout the book when I read about their struggles.

After several infertility treatments, the couple decided to adopt, while they mourned the loss of the child they weren't going to conceive.

Now I am a big advocate of adoption, and would encourage people to look into it, but my heart still aches for the people who come to adoption after the loss of the dream of a biological child.  And I would never offhandedly say that a couple could "Just adopt" like it is no big deal in the face of infertility.

This couple (from Australia) decides to wait for an infant in the country's domestic program.  Unfortunately, after two or three years they were never selected by a birth mother.  They proceed with more medical attempts to overcome infertility and eventually decide that God has plans other than parenthood for them.  And although they continue to be disappointed with it, they are trying to look on the bright side of what this means for opportunities in their lives.  They figure out how to move on after their dreams are shattered.

The author goes on about how they are trying to accept God's plan for their lives.  How they still struggle with the ramifications of life without children.   How the yearning for parenthood didn't leave, but they have basically resigned themselves to life without children, and looked for fresh start in life.

If this was the whole story, I'd think "Okay.  I can see you trying to find out how God wants to use your life. What a sad, but brave story to share."

But here's the part that I struggled with.  God didn't say there wasn't a way for them to be parents.  In one sentence, they summarily dismissed the idea of international adoption.  In one sentence, they said that many children have special needs or have trouble attaching.  So they ruled out the possibility of international adoption.

I realize not everyone qualifies for international adoption.  Not everyone can afford it.  But that was not the case with this couple.  They dismissed the idea of a child from another country because of the chance there could be additional challenges.  God did not say "No."  They just didn't want to deal with the unknown.

What they failed to see was this child that their hearts have been longing for could be waiting for them right now!  Perhaps God said "No" to a biological child or a healthy domestic infant because He wanted to bless them with a child like this:

Or this:

Or one of dozens of loved and loving internationally adopted children I have met.

No, I am not saying that everyone must have children, nor am I saying that everyone must adopt children internationally or with special  needs.  But to dismiss the idea of loving a beautiful child, fearfully and wonderfully made by God because there might be extra challenges and then say that God didn't answer your prayer to be parents really upsets me.  This does a disservice to the thousands of children currently available for adoption around the world, waiting desperately for a mom, a dad to choose to love them. 

Perhaps God was hoping to bless both a child yearning for parents and parents yearning for a child. 

There are currently over 2,000 children with papers ready and cleared for international adoption in China alone.  Dozens upon dozens more are made available every month.  Wonderful, amazing children just hoping somebody will see their picture and choose to love them.  Really, is not a single one of these children up to some artificial standard?  And lets face it, there's no guarantee of "perfection" with biological children either. 

And that's just China.  There are thousands upon thousands of children waiting for parents in other countries, too.

So to the author of this book, my sincere sympathies go out to you in your struggles to start a family.  Not having known the struggles of infertility, I can only imagine the pain it caused you.  The death of the dreams you built must be excruciatingly painful.  And if you are content with the path you are on now, I am extraordinarily happy for you.  You deserve joy.

But if you are still yearning for parenthood, I am not convinced God has denied you that joy. 

Maybe God didn't say "No" to you.  Maybe you said "No" to God.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

101 List

I bought all my kid's back to school supplies and I'm starting to get that familiar need to organize and structure my time better.  Whenever the weather starts to cool down a bit (and yes, that can happen in August in Minnesota) I start thinking about the fresh start we all got at the beginning of the new school year and I dream big dreams.  

Yes, most of those dreams die within a week or so, but some stick longer.  It functions like a pre-New-Year's-Resolution time.  My birthday at the end of August, so I feel doubly inclined to better myself.  Or at least start to better myself.  Or at least think about starting to better myself.

I also like making to-do lists.  I like crossing things off said lists.  Sometimes I add something that I have already finished just for the satisfaction of crossing it off.  On days that are particularly tough, I make sure to add things like "Brush teeth" and "Eat Lunch" so that I can feel like I have accomplished at least a couple of things.

So, in going along with fresh beginnings and lists, I have decided to start my own Day Zero project.  For those of you not familiar - this is a project where you get to make a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in the next 1001 days. (about 2.75 years). 

Publishing it online will give me some accountability and give you all some fodder to taunt, tease, or encourage as you see fit.  Some of these should be pretty easy and give me some momentum.  Others are tougher.  All are feasible to finish (in theory) in the time frame.  

I've got to admit, putting this list out is like letting people read my diary, so a couple of them are going to have to stay private.

Items that are black are ones I have not done yet.  Items in blue are in progress.  Items in red are finished.  For the purposes of this list, "one month" is any 30 consecutive days, not necessarily a calendar month.  Also a week is 7 consecutive days.  I will be updating this post regularly.

Although I just posted this, I officially started on July 30th.  

I better get busy, I've only got till April 26, 2016.
1.  Read 100 new books. (4/100)

2.  Submit a short story.

3.  Finish my novel and submit to an agent.

4.   Ride a roller coaster with my kids.

5.  Private.

6.  Go on a week long family road trip.


8.  Go on a silent retreat.

9.  Fast for 40 hours again.

10.  Give an anonymous gift.

11.  Answer the "50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind"

12.  Read 10 classic books that I haven't read yet.

13.  Shoot a gun.

14.  Remember how to solve the Rubiks Cube

15.  Leave a note inside a book for someone else to find.

16.  Leave a ginormous tip.

17.  Don't complain or say anything negative for a week.
18.  Take a free online college class.

19.  Take one picture every day for a year. (7/365)

20.  Don't watch TV for a week.

21.  Don't use the Internet for a week.

22.  Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days are over.

23.  Get a professional family portrait done.

24.  Play chess with my dad.

25.  30 minutes of exercise for 30 straight days - no excuses.

26.  Actually do 10 Pintrest crafts and/or recipes instead of just pinning.

27.  Blog every day for a month.

28.  Get a massage.

29.  Write 50 handwritten letters/cards. (1/50)

30.  Make a household inventory for insurance.

31.  Put all old photos in photo albums.


33.  Scan special photos.  Give electronic copies of photos to parents for safekeeping.

34.  Go on a weekend trip with Ben and no kids.

35.  Donate 100 books from our bookshelf.

36.  Make 10 Kiva loans. (1/10)

37.  Know 50 words in sign language.  (25/50)

38.  Make a souffle

39.  Don't buy anything for a week (including food, gas, etc.)

40.  Go to a play with my mom.

41.  Declutter my house - closets, garage, basement, and the rest.

42.  Hike up Barn Bluff in Red Wing again.

43.  Go antique shopping with my friends.

44.  Clean out my email inbox.

45.  Make a list of 100 happy memories

46.  Go to 5 new museums.

47.  Make a project out of mosaic tiles.

48.  Respond to children and husband in a calm manner for 1 week.  (Have started this many times already)

49.  Go to an outdoor concert.

50.  Clean out file cabinet.

51.  Take a weekend trip to Green Bay

52.  Win NaNoWriMo again.

53.  Travel out of the country.

54.  Take a community ed class.

55.  Take out hallway/stairs carpeting.

56.  Wake up at 6AM every morning for 30 days.

57.  Start an all-about-me scrapbook.

58.  Watch Citizen Kane to see what the fuss is about.

59.  Reupholster dining room and kitchen chairs.

60.  Figure out how to apply liquid eyeliner without looking like an idiot.

61.  Paint my china hutch

62.  Make video interviews of individuals in my family.

63.  Try 30 new recipes in one month.

64.  Finish painting all the floorboards, molding, doors, etc.

65.  Rip out ugly shrubs and make a new flower bed.

66.  Create a family cookbook.

67.  Floss every day for a month.

68.  Create at least one scrapbook page ever day for 30 days. (1/30)

69.  Electricity free weekend (except for fridge/freezer)

70.  Read and recycle all my back issues of magazines.

71.  Go 1 week without snacks or dessert.

72.  Save up for and buy a new couch.

73.  Go on a special outing with Bridget.

74.  Go on a special outing with Riley.

75.  Go on a  special outing with Connor.

76.  Go on a special outing with Sawyer.

77.  Go on a special outing with Veronica.

78.  Go on a special outing with Levi.

79.  Help start an anti-bullying program at kids' school. 

80.  Save up for and buy a 12 or 15 passenger van.

81.  Make a worry box.

82.  Write in my gratitude journal every day for a month.

83.  Build a snowman with the kids.

84.  Make a braided rug.

85.  Get back riding my bike.

86.  Eat food from a culture I have not yet tried. 

87.  Pare down craft supplies and throw away crafts that I am never actually going to finish.

88.  Buy and use reusable grocery bags.

89.  Learn a magic trick.

90.  Ride a horse again.

91.  Finish reading the whole Bible

92.  Spend the day by myself at the library or bookstore.

93.  Knit something.  Anything.

94.  Weed out the kids' toys

95.  Leave money for strangers to find.

96.  Stock up on gift cards to leave in the car for people asking for food/money

97.  Make rosettes for Christmas.

98.  Spend a whole, guilt-free day in PJs watching TV and reading.

99.  Be at least 5 minutes early for everything for a week.

100.  Chaperone 3 school field trips.