November 13, 2014

Tide Pools

We took Silas to the tide pools in Dana Point last week. The trip didn't involve a lot of tide pool exploring with this guy. He was far more interested in the plethora of rocks at his disposal to eat. We watched boats and birds and the waves rolling in and out. We walked back and forth along the beach with Silas holding onto just one of my fingers. Anytime I would try to pull it away from him, he would drop to his knees. He has no idea that he can totally walk. One of these days, he'll figure it out, and then there will be no stopping him.While Silas and I were sitting on the beach together, Nick started walking towards the water. All of a sudden, Silas looked up and saw him and starting yelling, "Dad-ty! Dad-ty!" and crawled as fast as he could after him. He's been saying mama and dada for a while now, but daddy is new, and there was no mistaking that he knew exactly what he was saying.
 
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November 10, 2014

Loving an Adopted Child

Before we adopted Silas, we talked with many people about our desire to adopt. I think the fact that there wasn't an actual child in the picture yet made some of them feel safe enough to express their true feelings about adoption. While most were supportive and positive, there were a select few who said things like, "Well, that's great for you, but I could never do it. I just couldn't love a child that isn't my own." There is so very much wrong with this statement, especially coming from Christians.

First of all, there's the whole "my own", "your own", "their own" language. I hear it all the dang time, even from the most well intentioned people, and I'm sure I was guilty of it too at times before Silas came along. It usually goes something like this..."Oh you adopted!?! We have friends who adopted and also have kids of their own." I understand that there are times when you need to distinguish between adopted kids and biological kids, but I think it's important to use the correct language. Silas is "my own" kid. Your friend's kids who were adopted are "their own" kids. When you ask me, "Do you have any kids of your own?", I will tell you yes, and so will the legal document that we received when Silas was adopted. So, instead of "my own", "their own", "your own", let's use the word biological. Because all of us adoptive parents consider our children "our own."

Okay, moving on....

So, there are some who think that they cannot love a child that is not biologically linked to them. I am sure this feeling is not uncommon, but it lacks an understanding of God's love for us as adopted children. The Bible is filled with adoption language, and as Christians, adoption should not be a strange concept to us. We are considered children of God because of adoption.


We were all adopted! So, we should have an imagination for adoption in our own lives. Just because someone feels like they can't love an adopted child doesn't mean that's reality. There's a lot in the Gospel that doesn't feel natural. Adoption may not feel natural in a world that sees the biological connection as the closest relational bond.  Scripture, however, clearly teaches that adoption is God's normal. It's his way of bringing us into relationship with himself. The fact that it doesn't feel natural is not a reflection of its abnormality or our inability to do it.  It's a reflection of a small imagination for God's love for us and how he's called us to embody this love to the world. 

I'm not saying that if you have these feelings you just need to ignore them and adopt anyways. I'm just saying that we need to think hard about how we limit God's love and diminish the Gospel when we have this mentality. God is bigger than we give him credit for, and his love for us is greater than we can imagine. If we grow in our knowledge and understanding of God's love for us, our capacity to love will grow too.
 

I know with every fiber of my being that I could not possibly love Silas more. I did not give birth to him, I have no genetic link to him, and we look nothing like each other. And yet, I love him so fiercely it hurts. Biology is inconsequential when it comes to the amount of love I have for him. The vast majority of adoptive parents will tell you the exact same thing, whether they are Christians or not. God clearly designed us with the ability to love in this way, because he wove it into the very fabric of his gospel when he chose to redeem the world through our adoption as his sons and daughters.
More pictures from our time at the tide pools coming soon :)

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World Adoption Day & National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. My plan is to share some posts that are adoption related, so we'll see how that goes, since most things I do don't go according to plan. Yesterday was the first ever World Adoption Day, and we were thrilled to be able to celebrate as an adoptive family. We took our smiley face picture and were happy to add it to the thousands of other pictures people were posting on social media. I'm just so proud of this little family of ours and so thankful that adoption is a part of our story.
 
During the month of November, I am joining in on a series on Instagram called Knit Together by Adoption (#knittogetherbyadoption), where we post each day on a specific topic surrounding adoption. Feel free to follow along on instagram (@melindaann), as I am sure I will be more consistent with posting there than here.
 
I also thought I would share a few interesting things I've read around the internet related to Adoption Awareness Month....

Adoption, Once and Always
Adoption, Once and Always
Adoption, Once and Alway
 
I hesitated to share the following, because there is one comment in the video that I strongly disagree with. One of the women shared that it's not true when parents say they have the same love for their adopted kids as they do for their biological kids. She says it is actually very different, as she has both adopted and biological kids. Maybe I am misunderstanding her statement, but I think it's unfair of her to speak on behalf of all adoptive parents. This statement is not true for us or for the many adoptive families I know. That being said, I think the women in this video bring up fantastic points about the adoptee perspective. We have so much to learn from their experience and will be better able to parent our own children by listening to what they have to say.

 

A great book from an adoptee perspective, particularly with transracial adoption, is In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories . I read this while we were in the process of adopting, and while some of it is hard to hear as an adoptive parent, reading about the experience of these adoptees was invaluable.  

There are obviously a variety of perspectives when it comes to adoption. The adoptive parent, the birth parent and the adoptee all have powerful things to say about adoption through their experiences. We need to hear all their voices and learn from each of them.  I will continue sharing mine, as well as reading and learning from others, and I hope you will do the same.  

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November 4, 2014

Halloween 2014

Silas had his first trick-or-treating adventure this year. He didn't know what was going on at first, but after a couple houses, he figured out that if he held out his bucket, people would put something in it.  Aunt Kimmy and Uncle Nestor came over for a bit, and Silas refused to go to anyone except Aunt Kimmy. So, she was forced to carry Silas all around the neighborhood until we distracted him with a piece of candy and did a quick swap into my arms. In the picture where he's crying, he thought she was trying to hand him to me. Oh the injustice. This cute little dinosaur did a great job collecting candy for his parents to eat. It was a very happy Halloween!
 
 
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October 30, 2014

DISNEYLAND!

Most of my family went to Disneyland last week for Mickey's Halloween Party. It had been way too long since I'd been to Disneyland. We used to have annual passes, but it's been a while since we've indulged in that extravagance. Seeing Silas taking everything in and LOVING it makes me think we need to revisit that decision. We had a blast, dressed as dinosaurs and pirates and star wars characters, and then trick-or-treating all about Disneyland. This Halloween Party thing that Disneyland has going on is pretty cool. We walked onto every ride and came home with enough candy that we don't have to buy any for our trick-or-treaters tomorrow night. This will be an annual Halloween tradition for our family for sure. I just don't think I can wait a whole year to take Silas back again. I've got oodles of pictures from our fabulous day, so sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Here we go....He was enthralled with the parade.Not sure what's going on in this pictures, but I kind of love it...
Of course I wanted to have a cute family picture in front of the Disneyland castle, but this is what I got...
My mom had been holding Silas, and he was pretty pissed when I took him from her to get this shot. I tried really hard to get him to cooperate... 

I'm still trying to sort through my feelings about the fact that I am wearing shorts at 11:00 at night in late October and not freezing. On the one hand, RAD! I'm not a fan of being cold, and my stamina for Disneyland after dark is greatly increased when I am comfortably warm. On the other hand, I would love to be wearing cozy Fall clothes and sipping on a hot drink, while pushing my bundled up babe around the park in his stroller.
 
But, this is the dilemma of my life. I am constantly vascilating between wanting to move to Hawaii where it's never cold and where the water is always warm enough to swim, and wanting to move to the East Coast where I can see the leaves changing and experience ALL the seasons. Does the grass really always have to be greener on the other side? In this case, it literally is...in both places.
 
But, then again, neither of those places have Disneyland, where the greenest of grasses exists. So let's be real, I'm not going anywhere. Afterall, whenever you are in need of some seasonal festivities, Disneyland has it all....even snow. And, while we may not experience 4 very different seasons, we do get enough variety to appease our need for change. So, here we are, Nick still surfing without wearing a wetsuit and me staring longingly at my Fall boots each day, then slipping on my sandals once again. And I'm just going to go ahead and let myself feel ALL the feelings on this one...the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because, really, we've got it pretty good.
 
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