I am working on a drop shadow exercise for my students, so that they can do an interesting layout of their branding project for their mini mailer portfolios. Turns out I didn't have a "branding project" of my own to use for the example, so I decided to use Kyle as my muse. He took one look at it and told me he took business cards to a recent conference he went to and didn't hand out one because he hates when people call him. Oh well?
". . . Uh, Caitlyn? You're pregnant. What about that post you wrote a little while back about fostering and adoption? You know, that one where you bared your soul and told people you'd asked God to close your womb. Uh, where is God?"
No one has come out and asked this question to me directly, and I don't know if it is a question that people are even wondering. However, I feel inclined to answer it. And I'll answer it bluntly.
Our desire to foster and adopt children is still very much the plan. When we found out that we were pregnant we did not also receive a memo that the orphan crisis was over and that all children had found homes. In fact, I became more aware than ever before of just how badly children need parents who love them as I dove into books about childhood PTSD and RAD.
I feel like in a society that does not value children that at least someone out there reading this thinks that I am out of my mind. A man at the grocery store recently said to me, "when I see people who look like you do now, it makes me glad that I chose to never have children." My response? "I have a water leak in my house that has destroyed my kitchen floor. My microwave is broken. My oven is broken. My AC is broken. My children are the joy of my life." Then I kissed each one of them. I wasn't hurt by his statement, just shocked, "really, you think these two beautiful boys are the reason I look frazzled?" Have you looked at the faces of the rest of the people around you, or did they not draw attention to themselves because they are not pushing a giant grocery cart with two percussion line ready boys in it, a cart that is also shaped like a race car? There is pain and suffering in everyone's face if you look for it. But, we see what we want to see.
Why do people assume, "ahhh, kids! Pain and misery!!!!" That is not how it is for us. But, there are a lot of kids in pain and misery, and our home, even with it's warped floor (PTL, all the other things are FIXED!!!!!), is still open to them.
Jonathan and Levi are moving into our old room, which means another mural had to be done. This time the summer sky. After designing this one, it was by far the easiest and least time consuming mural I have done, it took about 3 hours!
Amos 5:8 will be written on another wall, and in fact, already is, but it looks really bad and needs to be redone. I think any verse that begins with "woe" is good for a kids room.
Woe to you who turn justice to vinegar and stomp righteousness into the mud.
Do you realize where you are? You're in a cosmos star-flung with constellations by God.
A world God wakes up each morning and puts to bed each night.
God dips water from the ocean and gives the land a drink.
I knew it would happen eventually. I heard his name called, my heart faltered and my head quickly turned in the direction of the voice. There he was, someone else's Benjamin, the same age that ours would be.
"All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children."
I feel in love this week. I was at the grocery store and saw a young man pushing the cart for his mom, he was probably 15 years old. Brown hair swept across his forehead, button-up shirt, medium build. He had this look about him that said he was greatly loved and cared for. I came home and told Kyle about him saying, "he was beautiful!" In a sea of people busily pushing about and ignoring everything around them, he just seemed so cool and relaxed, so unfazed by all that everyone else cares so much about. . . those things that I myself wish I did not care about.
You don't see many people like him, even though the "risk" is about 1 in every 800 babies. I saw one figure that said as many as 90% of children like him are aborted, lets say that figure it high and only 75% are, that is still 75% too many. As I am sure you have guessed, the boy I fell in love with at the grocery store had down syndrome. I should have gone up to his mother and told her how beautiful her son was. People do that to me in the grocery store all the time, "oh, you have such beautiful boys!. . . Eeek, they are so cute, you are giving me baby fever!" But, I'd never seen a child with down syndrome at the grocery store before and the thought did not occur to me until later. That momma probably really needed to hear that! I think every mom needs to hear that! It's hard getting kids ready to go anywhere, let alone make them look presentable and yourself. I wonder if she had ever been told that by a complete stranger?
Why do people have such a hard time accepting things that are a bit different than themselves? People with down syndrome are still people! They are just as innocent and you and I (which, is not very innocent. . . ) and as deserving of life! And, they are every bit as created in the image of God as "normal people" are. All people with "disabilities" are created in God's image and they, along with everyone else help us to catch different angles of God's infinitely great character.
This was talked about in Church (Podcasts> the only basis for human value) today and it really touches on what has been on my heart for the last few months, we are all created in God's image, and we belong to God, we don't belong to our government, our state, our spouse, parents or even to ourselves. We are God's and life is a gift, and to think that we have the right to terminate a life, no matter what stage it is in, be it someone else's or our own, is trying to play God, and it is a dangerous place to be.
I am Pro Life. I have always been, but, at various stages of my life I have thought it an "OK" option for other people because I believed it was their decision. I do not think that anymore. I believe that life belongs to God and we have no right touching what isn't ours. God gave us lots of things to take care of, and we've screwed all that up - let's leave human kind alone and stop killing one another. (Completely aside, I've never understood the argument of "the baby is not viable without the mother"- I feel like most people (myself included) are not viable without the grocery store. There are people who are exceptions, but, most of us need someone else to help us survive - that condition does not condone ending someone life. )
Up until recently I would save I have been a rather apathetic Pro Lifer, and not because I don't stand in front of Plan Parenthood with a sign, but, because I've said, "Adoption, not abortion!" but, took the natural children route to having a family.
A few months ago I prayed one of the hardest prayers I have ever prayed in my life. I asked God to close my womb and to give us children through domestic fostering and adoption, and I asked for kids, not babies.
If you've never had a baby before, let me tell you what it is like for me. Imagine the most wonderful gift you've ever received and then multiply it by 10,000. I understand that it is not like this for everyone, and there are many women (and men) that don't want babies(or children), and that is fine! But, I love babies! But, I've already been blessed with two, and there are lots of people out there who also want babies, but, haven't had one yet. People would probably fight over babies if they could, so I'll try to stay out of that. There are so many kids in the foster system who do not have people fighting for them, some who are completely "normal" and others who have many disabilities. I think being Pro Life means caring for orphans, and Lord willing that is what Kyle and I are setting out to do.
Is the first child that we bring into our home going to have severe disabilities ? No. At this point in my life I know that I cannot handle that, I am far, far, far too selfish. I am not sure if that is trying to play God or not. Is the idea of bringing a child with severe disabilities into our home out of the question? No. There was a time in my life where I was probably (I say probably because I have 5 younger siblings, and have always thought myself pretty capable. . . )not mature enough to raise children, now I've managed to raise one to 2 + years, and another to almost 1, and most days I can handle them just fine. Yes, now and again I want a break, but, when they go to bed I look at pictures of them on my computer and want to wake them up. So, I think the plan is to just keep adding to the load and see where we end up. That may be playing it safe, I don't know, this is all new for us.
So, in the coming years our family may look a little different than yours, we hope that you can support us in this. We pray that we will do an enviable job in raising our family, because we love life and want you to want life that is different than what you expected.
To those who may be reading this who have children with disabilities of any kind, it is my sincerest intention that I did not offend you in any way, shape, or form. I do not know what it is like to be a parent of a child with disabilities and I know it cannot be easy. I am positive that I am completely naive in this area. I want you to know that I commend you and think the world of you, and that I think you are doing a most excellent job raising your children. I ask for your help in the months and years to come. I am scared out of my skin that I will mess this up, the only greater fear I have is what happens to a child if no one ever loves them.
I have a lot of pet peeves. A sermon once told me that I should work on having a lot fewer. . . that I should let fewer things bother me. I am a work in progress.
One thing that I cannot stand are cords. It is the 21st century, I don't understand why we even need them. Cords, especially knoted cords give me anxiety. . . I can literally feel my chest starting to explode sometimes.
I grew up with apple products. My first computer had one cord. The cord that charged it. My second had 3, the power cord, keyboard cord and mouse cord. All very managable.
When I got married I inherited a lot of cords. I did not know that this was coming to me. I can't tell you how many times I have said to Kyle, "I don't understand why your computer has so many cords. Can't we just get rid of some." Then I would invision just cutting them away like thread on blouse. Apparently you can't do that.
I was always told that the computer didn't have that many cords. How could that be? I wondered. And if what I am seeing is a few, what does a lot look like?
I looked under the desk the other day, where the baby was playing at the moment, and saw that his neck was wrapped in cords. Keyboard and mouse. He was screaming. It took more than a few seconds to untangle him.
A friend recently wrote me an email asking how I gotten settled into our home so quickly with two little ones. I don't think I've written her back. The answer is that we are still getting settled. I've just thrown things into places and am slowly organizing. Today I took on the most daunting task in the whole home. Organizing the cords. . .
Warning: The following contains graphic images of a extreme nature. Proceed at your own risk.
Whoever invented zipties is a genius. They are fantastic. I used about 297 of them today. I actually didn't have zipties long enough to do what I needed, but, you can zip tie them together and they still work perfectly.
I started by unplugging everything. I knew with almost 100% certaintly that I would never be able to put them all back in the right place, but there was no way to detangle without unplugging. Long story (4 hours of strapping down and pinning and placing and running to BestBuy), short. It turns out that Kyle's computer does have that many cords after all. The modem, router and internet phone took up a good portion of the corded mass. They are now all organized on a single plug hub and can be reset by unplugging just one cord. Speakers, moniter, tower and printer are on another hub. Keyboard, mouse and iphone charger (I laugh that the fella has one) are on their own hub that I stuck to the back of the keyboard tray/drawer, so now there is only 1 usb cord going to the computer and those cords can no longer hang down and strangle the baby. Which is just fantastic.
Modem, phone and router
USB hub at back of keyboard drawer
Everything is working but the phone. I also reset the internet security and address, so were at default right now. . . no hacking please!
I finally decided to get on the chalkboard wagon that everyone has been on for the last, oh I don't know, two years perhaps? I've always loved the look of the laser cut peel and stick ones, but, wanted something a little more authentic feeling.
This project was pretty simple. I designed a shape I liked in Illustrator, created 8 1/2 x 11" sized pattern pieces, taped them together, transfered to a 4' x 2', cut out with a jigsaw, sanded the edges, painted, sanded with 220, painted sanded again and then applied one last coat. To hang, I drilled two holes in the back with the largest drill bit I had.
The only thing that would have made this project easier would have been having CS. . . whatever version has artboards, because then I would not have had to make 5 clipping masks and copy and paste that many times. If someone has that version of Illustrator and wants to break my original 4' x 2' template down into printable size pages, I'd be glad to share my template with everyone.
We've found that we are not very good at calling everyone and giving you updates on our lives. We do want you all to be up to date on the very exciting things that are happening in Arizona and in our lives - with that we dedicate this blog to you. ta dah.