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Broken Families

For days, the news cycle has been filled with stories of parents and children who have been separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. I believe our nation's policies, which lead to action, must be weighed with a clear sense of right and wrong. The conversation our country is having today is critical. It shows we still have a pulse when it comes to issues that involve innocent children.

Scripture offers a powerful defense of family togetherness. That is not a political statement. It is in society's best interests. The apostle Paul, for example, spoke of the fact that all families have a common allegiance because their charter is issued by a common Author: "I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named." (Eph. 3:14)

All of my sons have experienced separation anxiety at one point or another. I can vividly many routine bedtimes turning into hours-long marathons because of the fear that gripped them. I can still see their little eyes…
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Forget The Schedule

One of the biggest challenges you will face on your journey to embryo adoption is the constant temptation to look at the clock. It's pure muscle memory. We do it in every aspect of our lives.

At our house, everything involving the boys involves a timer. For example, Titus asks, "When's dessert?" I pull out my phone, set the timer to five minutes and tell him to go run off some energy until it's time. It isn't a perfect system, but he prefers having something concrete. It's an objective source of feedback that doesn't involve his daddy's whims and lack of judgment.

That's the blessing -- and the curse -- of the clock as adults. On the one hand, it's a reassuring reminder that you are moving forward. You are making progress. You are one step closer to meeting your embryo baby. Every application completed, every email sent, is a few ticks of the second hand nearer the finish line.

But the clock is also a terrible judge of many other things. I…

The Gamble

You never know what your baby will be like. But isn't that one of the most exciting things about it?

For example, Phoebe sat through her first in-theater 2-hour movie tonight. She was fantastic.

Our baby has the best disposition ever. What will your embryo baby be like? Envision him (or her) and take the opportunity to smile.

Everything you're doing right now to prepare is worth it. Guaranteed.

Sleep While You Can

Any new parent, adoptive or otherwise, will surely hear the advice: Sleep while you can.

Your response will probably be, "Yes, but ...

... what about those bills that need to be paid?"

... what about that extra job I'm hustling on to put my children through college one day?"

... what about the dishes stacking up in the sink?"

... what about wanting to spend 5 minutes alone with my spouse?"

... what about having so many thoughts racing through my mind that I can't fall asleep?"

Don't let people tell you what to do, even close friends or family. Smile and nod.

If they really feel that way, they won't mind if you nod off halfway through their next sentence.

Frozen Babies Are People, Too

Life matters.

Surely we can all agree on that much.

Yet the statement becomes fraught with peril in the context of our culture. On the one hand, we affirm everyone in earnest. On the other hand, we challenge the personhood of cells that eventually become ... well, people.

There's no value in stirring controversy for the sake of argument. But there is tremendous worth in affirming the value of life, no matter if you are:

frozen in time awaiting a loving family -- and held there by an equally loving family that believes you matterjust home from the delivery room3 years old and testing every limit45 and preparing your young adults to leave the nest101 and reflecting on life's joys that began from childhood As you pursue embryo adoption and explain the process to people in your circle of influence, you will undoubtedly find support. But you will also find blank stares and ample questions.
Why an embryo? Why not a child that has already been born?
If we return to our premise, we wi…

The Rush And The Rabbit Hole

The tendency to want to hurry up and move along is natural. But left unchecked it can become an anchor that weighs down an otherwise purposeful journey toward something better.

As in:

Adopting a childSaving for a vacation (or, to stretch the time horizon even further, retirement)Seeking a promotion
All of these are worthy objectives. Yet if the brain is allowed to wander, it will begin to go down the rabbit hole and replace joy with anxiety.

In those cases, it asks, "Is it ever going to happen? Will the day finally arrive? Why are the hours dragging by? What good is all of the stuff between now and then?"

Actually, the stuff between now and then is worth a lot. You can choose to savor each moment, painful though some might be. You can learn, ask smart questions and cast a vision that will make others in your circle of influence excited to go along for the ride.

Or you can stew and fret and drive yourself crazy while the second hand on the clock ticks agonizingly by.

If a baby…

Cascading Giggles: Parenting With Momentum

The infectious cute stage of Phoebe's young journey began today. She lay on her back on my lap. I closed my eyes, pretended to snore loudly, then opened my eyes with a surprised expression.

What began as a "Heh" ("OK, Dad, I'm thinking about laughing.") quickly built on itself and turned into "Hehehehe" ("Dad, you're hysterical.") Like water cascading down rocks, Phoebe's laughter spilled over itself, the edges of her eyes crinkled up in a face-breaking chortle. It got the rest of us laughing in the process.

Parenting is a lot like that, whether you have a blended family like mine or not. It happens in fits and starts. On some days, you feel like you'll never get anywhere with your testy 5-year-old who wants the blankets on his bed to be flattened within 1 mm of perfection. You might not even get a smirk.

On other days, you feel as though you've made some good decisions and broken through to your children. You might share…