Saturday, February 22, 2014

Raising kids

It was so great to hang out with all my kids yesterday.  Jacob and Blaire always get along and hearing Zoe squeal from the back seat, 'Are we at Jacob's school yet'?  just amazes me what has transpired in the last 10 months.  I remember back when we first introduced the idea of adoption to the kids.  They were settled with life as it was.  At the time, Jacob wasn't a fan of change, and so we were in the car talking about raising kids and I told him we were thinking about adoption.  I remember his reaction was, 'no, no, no'!  I told him to pray about it.  He was 13 and I knew he would.  We had just moved him from his old neighborhood and school that he was very comfortable in.  We moved churches as well and he seemed to always be in a new environment.  We prayerfully made all those moves and this was no exception.  Blaire just wanted a sister so she was on board. Two weeks later Jacob said he prayed and we should adopt.  Who knew at that time, across the globe, a little girl was born and her father had died around this time.  Her mother struggled to feed her kids and who knows who put the idea of relinquishing her rights in her head but I'm sure it wasn't an easy and quick decision by any means.  That same girl is upset with Jacob four hours later when we have to say goodbye and leave him at college. Today is just a quick lunch visit and she folds her arms in protest but kisses her brother and doesn't understand that he will be home for a break in 6 days.  It makes me cry to see the love that has formed between these two.  Even the look on Blaire's face when she comes home from school every day to get a hug from her new sister.  It doesn't seem so new anymore.  Its regular life in the Clode household.  I think back to some things I tried to instill in my kids growing up.
1. Home is a safe place.  There was no tolerance for sibling rivalry.  They were to respect one another and not call each other names.  'Stupid' was banned from our vocabulary to the point of when I read a book with that word in it I would say 'silly'.  It was hard for me to hear Scott read that same book and he didn't get the word change 'memo'.  LOL.  The kids are friends now and I believe Zoe feels safe here.  We can't control how people treat us in the world so I put up boundaries in our home.
2. God became apart of our everyday life.  I remember getting Jacob dressed for church on a Sunday morning in his suit and tie.  He was 6 years old and he yelled out he hated going to church and he didn't want to go.  My heart sank and I felt like I failed as a mother.  We decided that making him was the answer that day but we also didn't make church the only time he heard about God.  Our kids began to see that worshiping Jesus can be done around the dinner table, through our conversation, or in the car when we can sing to Him.  We began to see that our clothes and when we attended church wasn't the issue.  Prayerfully our kids got to see God work in their lives and I think our whole adoption story has changed their lives forever.
3. Our kids aren't the center of our family.  Let me explain.  I believe God has created marriage forever.  Scott and I were married for three years before Jacob came along.  Having a baby didn't come between Scott and I.  Literally, he didn't sleep between us in our bed.  He needed to respect Daddy and Mommy time and we left him with babysitters and went on vacation once in a while without him ( and Blaire when she came along).  I believe in kids seeing their parents be in control and not the other way around.  This was demonstrated to Zoe day 1.  She would flip out about a lot of things and of course we had to allow her time to feel acclimated and comfortable and safe.  But she never slept in our bed and I stood my ground on how she was treating all of us when she wanted her way.  To make her feel apart of this family I only knew to treat her like the others.  That's why I think she fits in so well. She officially was named Zoe Ayame Clode on Jan.7, 2014.  She goes to preschool, loves singing about Jesus, and loves hanging out with our family and friends.  She gets upset when she has to share her toys because she's four. She is a great eater and knows she has to stay in her seat in a restaurant.  She is learning to dress herself and make her bed.  I'm a mother of three and I'm so proud of all of them.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

celebrating the little things

So it's February and I didn't even get a post written in January.  Wow! What have I been doing since I rang in the year 2014?  Well, if you are a mom of kids under 10 you understand what happened.  You got back into a routine that doesn't allow time for sitting down and recording the events of your life.  The ball dropped in New York on January 1 and it was like I heard a gun go off simultaneously in my head.  'And we're off ', someone yelled and I began running.  Back to preschool, packed for a trip, flew my parents and Zoe to Florida for 6 days, went to court to officially change Zoe's name, endured 7 snow days, attended a family birthday party in Canada and was privileged enough to get away for two days to scrapbook.  Oh ya, that's what I did in January.  Back up to a pretty significant event in Zoe's life - getting on a plane for the first time since we flew home from Ethiopia NINE MONTHS ago!  I cannot believe it has been that long.  Zoe got a zebra print, rolling suitcase for Christmas and we told her we were going to visit Aunt Cheryl in Florida and go on a plane.  Her expression changed and she ran out of the room.  Scott and I followed her and we found her crying on her bed.  Scott, the compassionate one, hugged her and asked her why she was crying.  We figured out that she was worried about me taking her on a plane.  The last time she remembers that big event was me taking her from her birthplace and bringing her 'home'.  Poor thing felt like we were taking her back to Ethiopia? After I hugged her and talked up the big trip to Florida she was fine.  And when I say fine, I mean she didn't get sad about it again. Even on the morning we left and drove an agonizing three hours to the airport through the worst snowy roads I've driven on and had a 'home alone' experience to get to our gate on time with two 80 year olds and a toddler, she didn't get upset again.  Take off and landing was an amazing experience (when mommy pulled out homemade banana muffins to snack on and games to play). Never a dull moment.  Throw in a momentous occasion on January 7th. Standing in court for 45 minutes to hear our name called and officially get paperwork for Zoe to be Zoe Ayame Clode.  Then one morning last week I received a CD I requested from the agency of all the pictures they had of Zoe in the time she was at the orphanage.  We looked at it together and she laughs.  We watch videos of her speaking another language and I think about when we can explain how this, how she, has changed our lives.  She's the reason I get my snow pants on and bundle up to play in our winter wonderland out back.  She's the reason I sing about 6 little ducks, and the itsy bitsy spider and shop at Gymboree more than any other store these days.  We celebrate dry pull ups in the morning and empty cereal bowls and when we can change her hair barrettes without fussing.  What will you celebrate today, this week, this month? Share with me.  Write it down. Stick it to your mirror.  Enjoy February 2014.
This is spoken so strongly to me in Hebrews 10:23-24 in the Message Bible
Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.  He always keeps His word.  Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out...