Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Proposal


The other day I was looking in an old file and ran across the proposal poem my husband wrote to me back in 1989. It was his rough draft, so things were crossed out and it wasn't his best penmanship (actually, I am laughing that I just wrote that because today he's a doctor and his "best penmanship" is pretty much illegible. I think there was a special class in medical school for that!). It was written on the backside of some stationary from our Alma Mater. To the naked eye, it looks like nothing special, but when I saw it, it took my breath away. Seeing his handwriting with words crossed out and changed here and there transported me to a different place and time.

I was typing a paper in the computer lab my Junior year of college. Kevin came and found me and said he wanted to take me somewhere. Normally I'd welcome the diversion, but this was a paper I'd put off until the very last minute. Ok, so it only took a little coaxing on his part. We drove to Lake Johanna where he first told me he loved me. During the 2 years we dated he had taken me there many times to tell me the same thing. He would say, "Gina Marie, I have something to tell you......... I love you!" . We always sat in the same exact spot. I knew what to expect, or so I thought.

This time he said "Gina Marie, I have something to ask you........... Will you marry me?". He then read me the poem. Later, he gave me a typewritten copy of the poem, but I don't remember ever seeing that initial rough draft.

Now, 19 years later I consider that piece of paper more precious than any gift from a store. It was written by a boy who loved a girl, who on a chilly and windy Wednesday night in November, drove 50 minutes each way to my parents house to ask for their blessing. Then he searched across campus until he found me, so that he could ask me the question that burned in his mind and heart.

I remember the way I felt; loved, wanted, blessed, excited, elated, and oh so lucky!

Thank goodness we didn't know all the trials we would experience! We just knew that we loved each other and wanted to commit to a life together. We were only thinking about the joy we brought to one another.

I am thankful to have had him here with me as we have grown from young adults (or kids) to where we are now (older, but still kids at heart). He still brings me great joy! Last night I laughed harder than I have in a long time while watching him play a Wii dance game with the kids and their friends. My daughter later told him that one of the boys had said they want to be a like him when they're his age. What a nice compliment!

I am aware that love is a choice.

I think my husband said it best in a November 2008 blog post. Lind Family

"Love is a choice...............! Yes, for those who have not had marriage classes or read any books regarding the issue of Love, it is a choice. I chose to love my wife and she chose to love me. We choose to continue loving each other each and every day, with the bonds of that love growing with each passing moment.

I did not "Fall in love". I am very sure on my feet and rarely loose my balance, either physically or emotionally. I could choose to stop loving her, this is how divorce happens usually. I have never stopped choosing to love her, nor will I."
y
There have been times when we've literally said "I choose to love you today". That's not meant as a slam, like 'You were hard to love today', it's more like 'Today was a hard day but I want you to know I choose to love you today'.



This summer he had my name tatooed over his heart with the bible verse from Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New International Version)

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The three strands represent Kevin, Jesus and me. Without that central bond, we wouldn't succeed.

What a neat blessing to have come across the proposal this week. It has reminded me of where we've been and where we are now. I'm thankful for both! I'm also reminded of what a gem of a husband he is and that I need to be more; more patient, more thankful and more honoring. I will continue to chose to love him through good times and bad. Just as he continues to chose to love me!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Donate your talents


Dear Friends in the blogging world,

You already know I am mom to 6 children, but I haven't said that I am an expectant Aunt to a child from Ethiopia. I love adoption! My heart is bursting with excitement to have her home and as a part of our family.

I would like to do a fundraiser for my sister Marybeth and her family to help them raise money towards the cost of their adoption.
I am doing a give away. People will get a ticket for each amount of money they donate and a drawing will occur on each item donated.
You can read about their journey on their blog by looking on my sidebar at Blogs I Follow. It's titled, Our Ethiopian Journeys (My sister's blog). I'm asking for people to donate things for the giveaway. Are you crafty? Do you have a store where you sell things you make? We will showcase you if you donate something on the blog.

So far we have a beautiful Africa shirt with a heart sewn over Ethiopia, a framed print my sister took while in Africa and I am donating some personalized tiles, which is my best attempt at being crafty!

You can e mail me privately at ginalind@ymail.com if you have something to donate. Thank you in advance for even considering it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Letter to an Adoptee



Today I'm linking with Emily at Chatting with the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped I'm unwrapping my heart for adoption today.

When I worked as an adoption Social Worker, I typically wrote a letter similar to this to each child after they went home with their adoptive parents. My purpose in doing so was two fold 1) to share my experience with their birth parents and how they came to chose adoption and to let they know how much they were loved 2) to share Jesus with them. I gave a copy to the adoptive parents to share one day in the future if they chose to and I placed a copy in their adoptive file to be found should they ever seek information in the future. This end of this letter is a little more personal because this is our own adoption story.

Dear Rya and Roman,

I knew your birth mom K for 5 years prior to your birth. She was a single mom raising a daughter and had previously placed another child for adoption. She was 24 years old, with a high school GED and a job in a hospital cafeteria. She was 5'6 tall with long beautiful brown hair and brown eyes. You both have her cute nose! She was very pretty. Her personality was strong, determined, hard working, funny and self-assured. I love her laugh! I know less about your birth father T but you are both tall like him and Rya looks a lot like he does!

She had dreams of a husband yet unfulfilled. She wanted what most women want. A good husband who could provide financially, a home and a family. When she was pregnant with the two of you, she really wanted to be able to parent you! The reality of raising 3 children alone hit her and it broke her heart but she decided that placing you for adoption would be the best gift she could give you. Because she had already gone through placing your older sister H, she was aware of just how hard it was going to be, There is a grief in placing a child for adoption that is like a death. It is always there and doesn't go away. On top of that, society doesn't help because they don't honor birth moms in the way that they should for making such a difficult and unselfish decision. I consider them heroes who will chose to carry the pain of loss for what they believe is the greater good. I'm not sure I have that quality. I am too selfish.

She loved you so much! Let me try to explain what that kind of love looks like. She loved you so deeply that she was able to look beyond herself and think about what would be the best for you in your life. All the while she could feel you moving inside of her and she was beginning to know each of you. She could tell which one of you were moving and who was in what position. She used to tell me all the time that "the little girl is going to be the strong one". It turns out she was right! She also allowed me to be a big part of her pregnancy, because she wanted you both to recognize my voice when you were born. She wanted you to be raised in a Christian, 2 parent home with siblings and lots of love.

She chose an open adoption so that she would be able to know you and you her. You have 3 siblings whom you get to stay in contact with because of our open adoption. We chose open adoption as a family because as Christians we felt the gift she was giving us was amazing but realized that we have a lifetime of gifts to give to her in return. Your dad called it a 'ministry opportunity' . We can be Jesus to her. We can be a witness through how we raise you, how we treat her and honor her as your birth mom. We believe that the example of our Christian marriage can be a witness to her. We can help lessen her grief by allowing her to share in your life. She and your birth father T are a part of our lives now forever because they are a part of you and we celebrate that!

It's neat to know them because sometimes I will call you by one of their names when you make a facial expression like them or you act like one of them. It's what can sometimes be missing for an adoptive child, the connection of knowing who you look like and where you came from. You can act like K and often look like her but I see a lot of H in you as well. Roman looks a lot like H!

I want to share with you some of what the Bible says.

Isaiah 44:2a says "I am your Creator, you were in my care even before you were born." God made you, You are not an accident.

Psalm 139 says;
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Imagine all the loving care He took to create you just they way you are. He knit you together while you were still in K's womb.

I would like to share you an exerpt from Rick Warren's book entitled 'The Purpose Driven Life'.
You are not an accident. Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it.
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, no chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! ....He custom made your body just the way he wanted it. He also determined the natural talents you would possess and the uniqueness of your personality.....God also planned where you'd be born and where you'd live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose. Most amazing, God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in crating you. It doesn't matter if your parents were good , bad or indifferent. God knew that those two individuals possessed the right genetic makeup to create the custom "you" he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you.

K and T love you. Dad and I love you. That pales in comparison to how much God loves you! I hope that you can grasp the depth of his love for you. I hope that as you look back on being adopted you see that there was a lot of love involved in the whole process. I hope that you will always look to God as your Father. You were entrusted to us but he is your one true Father.

We love you and are thankful everyday that we have been blessed with you.
Mom(and Dad)

Excerpts taken from A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren Chapter 2 pages 22-24

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Favorite Blog Posts of This Past Week

Today I'm linking up with Mandi at It's come to this Saturday StumblesIt's Come to This
I love to read blog posts. In many ways, they can be like a devotion for me or a gentle nudge to be a better Christ follower, mom, money saver, etc. Reading a post someone else has written can make me convicted, encouraged, educated and brought to tears.

I'd like to highlight a few of the great posts I've read this week. Enjoy!

Sarah Markley Sarah shares a video clip CBN did on their story of their marriage.
3 Little Whites Amber shares how she is saving big money using coupons!
My Fathers Eyes Amy is sharing life the first couple of weeks home with their 2 precious children from Ethiopia.
Mommie Jen and Boys Jenny's mommy moment with her son J from Ethiopia realizing his grief.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Down Syndrome Adoption


Today I'm linking up with Chatting At the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped. Please check out Emily's blog and many others. http://www.chattingatthesky.com/

My heart will forever be with adoption. I hope to once again work in the field of adoption and am waiting to see where God leads me next.

If I could, I would adopt more children but I have learned my limits and 6 is it for me. I'm afraid to go to Africa because I would want to adopt all of the children there. I would also adopt a child born with Down Syndrome. When I see someone who has Down Syndrome, the very first thing that I think of is what a blessing they must be to those who love them. It has been my experience that they bring joy to those around them with their innocence and unconditional love. I imagine that it is also heartbreaking to have a child with the many medical issues that can come with Down Syndrome, specifically heart conditions.

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to help place a child due to be born with Down's Syndrome for adoption. I was completely amazed by the number of applicants we had for this little girl! People from all over the United States were looking to adopt a child with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome. I got to know some very neat families and was so blessed by the lives of many of them as they truly lived out what it means to love. In the end, the couple chose to keep their daughter and are very happy with their decision! I was thankful for the learning experience this gave me on the subject of adoption and Down Syndrome.

There is a need for families to adopt children born with Down Syndrome in the United States but there is an even greater need for families to adopt children born with Down Syndrome internationally because they are considered societal outcasts with no ability to learn and are therefore placed in mental institutions. That just breaks my heart!

I recently ran across the website for Reece's Rainbow http://www.reecesrainbow.org/ They are an international Down Syndrome Orphan Ministry. They help with adoptions by giving people grants to help with the cost of their adoptions. They have a wonderful ministry.

I started reading the blogs of several families currently in process of adopting internationally. I want to share them with you because I was touched by all of their stories. I love watching how God works throughout the entire adoption process!

http://malloryandpeach.blogspot.com/
http://ready4ross.blogspot.com/
http://www.psalmsixtyeight.blogspot.com/
http://duncanhope4ahome.blogspot.com/
http://www.thepurplesparrow.com/
http://www.thepurplesparrow.com/
http://choosingcharlie.blogspot.com/
http://malloryandpeach.blogspot.com/
http://letitbetome.blogspot.com/
http://whitesadoptionjourney.blogspot.com/

I am not at all an expert on Down Syndrome, I am just a person that God has given a HUGE burden for those who are hurting. My prayer today is for all of those children without someone to love and nurture them.

Dear Jesus,
I know that you love all of us. I bet your heart breaks more than I can imagine over these children being left in mental institutions. Please comfort them and send them forever families. Please bless the ministry of Reece's Rainbow with families to adopt and funds to help the families. Also Lord bless the families who are adopting or who have adopted children with special needs. Give them the strength they need, a loving support system and also good medical doctors. Thanks for opening my eyes to this need. Amen

If you go to the site http://www.reecesrainbow.org/ you can donate by using Paypal or
for our Voice of Hope Fund
Donations may also be mailed to:

Reece's Rainbow

PO Box 4024

Gaithersburg, MD 20885

Monday, August 9, 2010

Senior Year





I'm dealing with the reality that my firstborn is about to begin her Senior year of High School. From the preschool years when she had a high pitched, squeaky voice until now have passed in the blink of an eye.

Hannah,

You entered the world with your eyes open and your lungs in very good working order. I was and am still so proud to be YOUR mom. It was our greatest desire to be good parents to you. I remember how we had our tiny apartment professionally "baby-proofed" in order to help keep you physically safe and to avoid any unnecessary pain or injury. When it comes down to it, it has always been our intent to help guide you away from pain and lead you to a life of joy.

Despite our desires, pain is unavoidable and it's often during the most painful times that we grow the most, and we realize just how much we need God to survive. It is truly our deepest yearning that you will always remember this truth. This life is not suppose to be easy.

I've told you jokingly that as the oldest you are our "practice child", but that God knew you could handle it, which is why you got the job. We acknowledge that being the oldest is often a hard job and you have done it so well! While I'm sure we've failed you a time or two over the years, I hope you are secure in the knowledge that we love you like crazy!

Some of my favorite things are listening to you sing and hearing you laugh. I love it when we both say the same thing at the same time and when you come running to find me to tell me something exciting and you do that 'little dance'. I like how you know how to stand up for yourself and others in a kind, non-prickly way.

I'm so glad that you gave your heart to Jesus as a young child and that you continue to seek to know Him more and more. I love that you have a heart for children and people who are hurting. Jesus did too!

You've begun to test your wings and in a short time you will learn to fly away from the nest. We'll still be here to gently guide you, no matter what.

Remember there's a God sized hole in your heart only He can fill. No friend, man, amount of money or notoriety will ever fill it.

There is so much I want for your future.

* to take what we have taught you and own it for yourself, not because it's what we believe.
*to have a servant's heart
*to utilize your beautiful voice to glorify God
*that you will find joy in the little things
*that you will find a Godly man who loves you and pursues you now and for years to come
*that you will understand the gift of family

I love you and can't wait to share more of life with you! You are to me a precious jewel. ENJOY your senior year!

Mom

Today I'm unwrapping my arms and beginning to let go of Hannah. To read more Unwrapped visit Emily at http://www.chattingatthesky.com/

Thursday, August 5, 2010

For the Small Things


Yesterday was a great day! I had to drive my son to an appointment, which left me with a little over an hour to kill. I was planning to run a couple of errands when I spotted a beauty salon. Without a second thought, I pulled into a parking space, walked inside and asked if they possibly had an appointment for an eye brow wax. They did!

The atmosphere was just what I needed. It's amazing how something so simple can make such a big difference in how I feel! I got my eyebrows waxed and moved on to Home Depot. I don't even like that store, but I found myself walking up and down the aisles enjoying the quiet. At the checkout I bought a bottle of Coke, which is not something I usually allow myself.

My next stop was Wal Mart where once again I was aimlessly walking through the store. I looked at things I didn't even know Wal Mart carried! I literally basked in the ability to enjoy something as simple as shopping at Wal Mart alone without the chaos of multiple children talking to me at once. On my way out I stopped at the Mc Donald's inside the store and asked for a cup of ice.

I got in my car and opened my previously purchased bottle of Coke and poured it over the ice and took a big drink and thought I was about the luckiest girl around! I drove away smiling and thought to myself; "What an awesome summer day!"

I realized that life is good again. My depression has almost completely faded and I am able to enjoy things and feel genuine happiness once again! I can't explain how amazing that is after what I have been through in the past 5 months.

Thanks Lord for your healing power and for allowing me to feel and truly appreciate what it means to be happy once again!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

An issue of Pride


When my son revealed to us that he had been using drugs and needed to go to treatment, my world crashed down around me. This is our child who we have worked with wholeheartedly to guide him in the right path. As a result of having ADHD, he is naturally drawn to make impulsive decisions. Knowing this, our parenting was very purposeful. We kept him somewhat on a tighter leash than any of the other children. We tried to prevent this, but it happened anyway.

I have learned that my children will make their own choices in spite of everything my husband and I have done to teach them right from wrong.

The first 2 weeks I attended parent meetings while Spencer was in treatment I didn't hear much about what they were saying about Spencer because I was stuck thinking about how this was affecting me. My pride leads me to say that 'This should not be happening to my son and my family'. I've struggle to be supportive of his new life which involves N/A meetings, after care programs, parent support groups, Al Anon. I didn't ask for this.

I started thinking about how Kevin and I are far beyond perfect. Though we try to be good people as well as good parents, it's a fact that we have a sinful nature. As parents we want our children to learn from our good example but we often forget that we can be a bad example as well. For this reason, when my children are grown, they will have become who they are in spite of having me as a mother. In spite of our best efforts, our children will make choices that will hurt them. Also, in spite of me being flawed, my children may turn out ok. They have free will to make their own choices both good and bad.

This summer I have learned a lot about my pride. The dictionary describes pride as 'having a high opinion of one's own dignity'. My pride issues usually revolve around being independent and not asking for anyone's help with my large family and busy life. I feel like it is my responsibility. Ironic, since I really needed help when I was suffering from major depression and it ended up being such a blessing to have it!

My pride has gotten in the way of being able to help my son because I believed that my family 'is better than this'. We're not suppose to have a kid with a drug addiction. We have poured ourselves into our children making their physical, emotional and spiritual health our priority.

I was reminded of two things. 1) I'm just a sinner saved by Grace. 2) Satan would love to destroy my family but God wants to use us to glorify him.

My husband often uses the phrase "It's not about me". He means that his life is about serving God and other people. He lives that out daily. Serving God and serving others comes pretty easy to me. Remembering that it's 'not about me' is much more difficult. This situation in particular is not about me. It's about my son whom I love very deeply. This is his personal fight for better physical, emotional and spiritual health. I will walk alongside him, loving and encouraging him along they way!