Posts filed under Adoption

Hearts, Questions, & Adoption

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Isn’t that lil boy up there just presh? Oh wait, you can’t tell? Because he has a heart over his face? Well, you’ll have to take my word for it. He’s pretty stinkin’ cute and I can’t wait to share his handsome face with you. 

Over the past few weeks since we brought Jude home, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about adoption and why we put a heart over his face when we post pictures. And I get it! There are all these different rules and regulations for adoption and foster care. And every situation and every state is different. Not to mention there’s open adoption, closed, semi-open, domestic, and international. Then there’s adoption facilitated through an agency and then there’s independent adoptions. Some adoptions have legal risks, others do not. And I can’t even speak to foster care because it’s not the route we’ve taken for Jude. But it can be confusing when you see a family adopt and are unfamiliar with all the in’s and out’s of orphan prevention and care. 

So today I wanted to answer a few of the questions we’ve received, but before I do so I want to say this... we are SO so SO so SOOOO stinkin' thankful for all of the kind words and support y'all have given us during this process. From the Adoption Auction, to bringing Jude home and y'all putting up with my over-instagramming (#sorrynotsorry)... THANK YOU for celebrating with us. You people are our tribe - and we cannot imagine doing this WITHOUT YOU. So thank you!

Now onto your questions... 

Our most popular question first: What’s with the heart? 

The short and uncomplicated answer is this: We place a heart over Jude’s face to protect his online identity. Although yes, he is “officially” ours, our adoption isn’t finalized yet. The more complicated answer is this: Jude is a “legal risk” baby. Don’t freak out. This doesn’t mean he’s going to be taken away from us. It just means there are some loose ends that need to be tied up and it could take a bit of time. There are a billion reasons why a situation like this could occur, but I can't spell out those reasons online today, because… well he’s a legal risk baby so parts of his story need to be kept quiet until that risk is resolved. If you’re one of our friends and we see you on the regular, feel free to ask us more about legal risk in person! But let me assure you, Ben and I aren't losing sleep over this... so don't fret. We'll let you know when the coast is clear (aka... apologize in advance for our over-gramming again). 

What’s an open adoption? 

An open adoption is simply an adoption where the birth parent/s and adoptive parent/s know who each other are and have each other’s contact information. For us, this means we have contact with our son’s birth mother and we just simply ADORE her and think she’s one of the bravest people to have ever walked this earth. How an open adoption is played out is up to the adoptive parents and birth parent/s. Sometimes birth parents and adoptive parents see each other, others don’t. Some talk weekly, others talk monthly or yearly.  We are still in the process of working out what ours looks like, but for those of you who have asked, yes, we talk with Jude’s birth mother and we love her a lot. And for the record… we are 100% pro-open adoption if a birth mother is open to it.   

What’s his name and did you get to pick it?

That precious boy’s name is Jude Michael Salmon & yes, we chose his name. Jude is short for Judah, which means praise; we are praying his life will be one that always gives praise to His maker. Michael is his maternal grandfather's name, who is a pastor who has faithfully proclaimed Jesus for his entire adult life. And from his paternal side, Salmon is his father’s last name. An added plus is that his initials are JMS which are his paternal grandfather’s initials, who is one of the kindest, most patient and generous men I know. We wanted him to know from the beginning that he is so deeply loved and we wanted his familial heritage to be displayed in his name. 

What’s been the reaction to y’all adopting a child who doesn’t look like you?

I get it. I’m white. My husband is white. The twins are white. Jude is black, well technically he's more chocolate... but you get the idea. It can get tricky sometimes, but honestly, more than anything we are just overwhelmed with the loving support we have within our church and families. It’s easy to focus on the one dirty look or insensitive comment received, but it’s better to focus on the kind words of MANY. Plus we have had a lot of our black friends come along side of us and really help us out. We’re learning to ask better questions, to listen more, and how to graciously correct well intentioned people who say hurtful things. I’ll be writing more on this topic later, but for now the best way I can answer that question is just to say… We’re learning a lot, and I love having a family that looks a little more like heaven because Jude is in it. 

And this last one goes out to all the nosy folks in the grocery store/mall/gas station who don’t know me, read my blog, or know my name and YET they ask this ALL THE TIME: Are you done now that you have your boy? 

First off, can I just say this on behalf of all women who are growing their families through pregnancy, foster care, or adoption… Unless you’re a good friend, as in you drop by each other’s houses and sip coffee in sweats and talk about the intimacies of life on the regular, any question or comment regarding family planning is probably better left unsaid. Baby making and family growth can be a sensitive subject for some - ESPECIALLY if you just met them in the produce section and don’t know the person’s name. Lucky for the strangers at Target, I’m a pretty open book. So although I may or may not judge them in my head for their nosiness, I really don’t mind when they ask. I actually get a kick of saying a big ole “Nope, We sure aren’t!” and then watch their eyes buldge out of their heads and squirm their way out of this incredibly awkward conversation. It really is priceless. And since y'all aren't strangers, you're our people, I'll candidly answer your question about this any day! YES, we realize we have our hands full. But we love it, and until God gives us a peace about it, our home will always be open to the topic of adoption/foster care. There are just too many kiddos in the world who need a safe home for us to shut that door. 

I joke a lot about the nosy folks in grocery stores BC THEY ARE REAL and they’re the same ones who asked me incredibly weird and inappropriate questions about my pregnancy and the twins’ birth story (WHY MUST YOU KNOW WHETHER I HAD A C-SECTION OR DELIVERED THEM VAGINALLY... I think it's a great rule of thumb to never say the word vagina or any form of it in a conversation if you don't know the person's name... that's just my opinion though). Aside from that... the truth is, all joking aside, we welcome questions about our adoption! We love it when our friends and family take an interest in it and are curious! So keep 'em coming! There's no question off limits when asked respectfully.  So if anyone is thinking about adoption or has questions about it, you can leave them in the comment section and I'll reply back TODAY or feel free to shoot me a message HERE and I'll email you back within the week. We know it’s a foreign thing to some folks, and we’d love to share our story with you! Nothing is off limits... so ask away! 

Much Love,

Posted on April 28, 2016 and filed under Jude the Dude, Adoption.

When your legacy isn't one you're proud of...

I saw a beautiful post on a friend’s facebook page this past Easter weekend. It had a large, smiling, beautiful family in a very green backyard. Children giggling, parents wrangling babies and toddlers, and siblings with arms around each other. All of this beauty was surrounding a very stunning patriarch and matriarch. 

Hashtag Legacy.

The picture was beautiful. The tribute describing faith, persevering love, and commitment to family was touching. And although I don’t know the eldest patriarch and matriarch, I was so proud of them and their beautiful legacy that they’ve given their kids and grandkids. It is truly amazing. What a gift?!

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy lately. Partly because it’s a buzz word, and partly because my eyes have been opened to many stories who don’t have pages like the one described above.

I sat rocking our newborn last night, looking at his toes, kissing little fingers, running my hands through his amazing hair. And I thought about the day he would ask me about the beginning of his story. I was praying and dreaming about how we would tell him that on his first day of life both joy and grief were so very present.

How loved he was, by two moms.

How sometimes our stories aren’t always picture perfect, no matter how much we want them to be.

How our history, where we come from matters and how details lost can become hurts.

But mostly I prayed that he would know that these wounds, although they will shape him greatly, they don't dictate who he becomes. I prayed that the hard things he would face one day would push him to know and understand how loved he was by his earthly family and heavenly father. I prayed that we would value and give importance to his biological legacy, while at the same time acknowledging that adoption changes it. Sometimes he might love that, other times he might hate that, but that process of understanding identity will be one that we wrestle with as a family for years to come.

And if you’re a believer, the same can be said of you.

What if your story doesn’t have a safe beginning?

What if your story doesn’t have a set of parents who still love each other? Or beautiful kids or a spouse to surround you and fill the photo?

What if chronic sin plagues your family history?

What if your legacy was birthed in ruins?

I have good news for you friend! We have a good Father who has taken our biological legacy and given us an adopted legacy, His legacy.  We don’t ignore or deny our earthly legacies, but we cling to a greater one given to us by a good Father.

Your picture, although maybe not quite as put together as the one discussed above, is just as beautiful. Your story, the one with all the cracks and the bumps and bruises, is a story that points to His healing hand. Your pages, with all the hurt and pain, are pages that displays His goodness. Your identity, the one that shows your weakness, is an identity that shouts His greatness.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! FATHER!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…” Romans 8: 14-17a

For those of you who spent Easter weekend saddened by what was or wasn’t in your Easter photos or your legacy, know that the grave is empty and you’ve been adopted. And whatever is plaguing your past or future legacy has already been overcome. 

Much love,

 

 

Posted on March 30, 2016 and filed under Story, Spiritual Journey, Suffering, Adoption.

What do you do with that?

I’ll be honest with you, I really believed that our Christmas this year would look much different than it’s going to. I thought it’d be a bit louder, more sleep deprived, and we’d have one more crazy Salmon mouth to feed.  I thought that by this week, we’d be so deliriously thrilled with the newest addition to our family that no one would care about the messy house, additional noise, and little sleep. And come Christmas morning, we’d wake up and celebrate the birth of our Savior as a family of five.  And yet, the month has flown by and still no baby.

What do we do with that?

What do we do with the Christmas pajamas we got for a baby because we just really honestly believed that he’d be here by now?

What do we do with that empty nursery that has turned into a storage room for our Christmas décor boxes?

What happens when Mr./Mrs. Right doesn’t show up? Or after months of trying, those lines on the pregnancy test don’t appear? Or in the adoption/foster care world, What happens when your placement is taking months or years longer than you initially thought? What about that job you thought you’d have by now? That book you thought you’d write? The ministry you thought you’d be leading?

What do we do when our greatest desires don’t match up with our reality?

This is the hard stuff of life.

This week of Christmas, I would be lying to you if I told you that I was valiantly walking this journey with my head high and eyes dry. I’d be lying to you if I said that I wasn’t disappointed. I’d be lying to you if I told you I was handling this EXACTLY how a good Christian should (as if there is such a way).

But here’s what I know about our God. He is close to the brokenhearted, and He doesn’t expect his followers to walk hard paths in pretense, ignoring the pain. He doesn’t expect us to live with disappointment perfectly. Or just “suck it up” and “pull up our boot straps” and keep going.

Rather, our God sent His Son to live among us. To be both God and human. God with us, Emmanuel. And what exactly does that have to do with our suffering? 

Everything.

This God-child came to earth and He changed everything.

I love the story of Lazarus and how Jesus loved him and his sisters so. I love that even though Jesus could have arrived sooner to heal Lazarus, he didn’t. Sometimes when life gets difficult and I start telling God, “If you had been here, this wouldn’t/would have happened.” I remind myself of Mary and Martha and how they told Jesus, “If you’d had been here, my brother would not have died.” I love Jesus's response. He didn’t accuse them of blasphemy. He didn’t tell them how they should be feeling. He didn't tell them not to doubt Him. Rather, Jesus saw how deeply Mary hurt and Scripture clearly states, “He was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” And so He wept. His affection for those He loved was displayed through tears. He wept.

That baby in the manger, grew up into a man who cared so deeply for the pains of His people. So much so that He wept for the ones he loved. So much so that He went onto raise Lazarus from the grave.  So much so that He would willingly give up his very life so that every wrong will one day be righted.

And when I read verses like 1 Peter 5:7 that say “Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” I remember the way Jesus cared for Martha and I know He cares the same for me. And when I read Psalm 55:22 and am told to cast my every burden on the Lord for he will sustain us, I know that the Jesus who sustained Martha and Mary, will also be a sustainer for me.

And I know that He will also sustain you. This low point. Your dark hour. That disappointment. The waiting. He cares for you. He cares that it hurts. He cares SO much that He sent His son to live among us, Emmanuel. 

So this week, what do we do when our desires don't match up with our reality? 

First off, we do what Mary and Martha did. We run to Him. We are honest with our feelings and our fears and our disappointments and we bring them to Jesus. All of them: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Knowing that the Savior of the world is both BIG enough to right all wrongs and COMPASSIONATE enough to care for His people, even to the point of death. Will this fix your circumstance? No. But the journey will help you learn how to trust this compassionate Savior and glorify God during the difficult paths. 

Second, we celebrate that baby in a manger. This Jesus we sing carols about isn’t some feel-good Christmas song that fixes our problems. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is loving. He is fierce. And He will one day come again and right all the wrongs. And for that reason, regardless of our circumstances, we celebrate and we sing with eyes fixed on our great and compassionate Savior. 

Merry Christmas y'all!

Posted on December 21, 2015 and filed under Adoption, Spiritual Journey.