The Continuation

“Would you be interested in adopting her baby?”

I don’t remember much of the conversation that followed…I remember asking some basic questions about her. She was young, very far along in her pregnancy…we were told 8 months at the time…and she was in need of a family for the baby she had decided to give up for adoption months before. There is more to be told of course, more layers to the story, more to why us and why then…but to go into those things is to wade into the waters of someone else’s story…and not for me to tell.

As I heard the words “would you be interested in adopting her baby,” something happened in my heart, it was like a jolt of energy pulsed right through it…and I knew…I knew the answer was yes.

I saw the months of heartbreak, the desire for a child I had wrestled with, the grief of loosing a child, and the preparation of my heart for an infant…something I had never been fully confident in wanting before…in an instant, something deep inside of me knew…and all I could think was, “this is what we have been waiting for.

Ian and I left the conversation and I did the only thing I could think to do…I ran to find my best friend. I found her husband instead, “What do you need her for?” he asked “EMOTIONAL SUPPORT!” I said as I ran off to call her.

I don’t remember much of our conversation over the phone…except there were both tears and laughter…and sooooo much excitement…as she reminded me she had predicted this was how Dizon #2 would come to us one day…and encouragement that I could do this, that Ian and I could do this, and that we wouldn’t be doing it alone.

The next several days are a blur. We got in touch with the adoption agency we used with Andrew. They reassured us that 8 months pregnant meant we would have to work fast, but that it was possible to get us certified in time and they would work with us to make it happen…then when we found out she was actually due in just a few days, we all scrambled to get background checks done and paperwork in to make it the impossible happen. Ian and I started to pick out car seats, bottles, diapers, and to communicate to the people in our lives that NEEDED to know that a big change could be coming…all while not yet having met Ezra’s birth mom or even really knowing if this was for real.

I was riding an emotional roller coaster of uncertainty and excitement. Maternal instincts were kicking in and I wanted to prepare for my child…but was this my child…it was happening so fast I needed to prepare for this child…but if it wasn’t my child wouldn’t it just hurt too bad if I began preparing and dreaming and hoping…if I didn’t prepare and it was my child how would we get home from the hospital, or change diapers, or feed…basically my mind and emotions were everywhere.

Saturday…one week after the conversation that changed my life…we met birth mom.

We left the meeting reassured that this truly was what she wanted for her child, and completely impressed by how selflessly she loved the baby growing inside of her. It seemed that a baby was coming our way soon…so we ordered a car seat, bought some diapers, grabbed some basic things from my cousin, cleaned the house, and did all the laundry…we did everything we could think of and manage to do as quickly as we could do it to prepare for what may happen…at this point it’s worth noting that we had all decided that baby was a girl and dreams of pink and sweet dresses were part of the preparation.

Then Sunday we got a phone call…he was here!

…to be continued…again…I know, it’s just cruel…but the next part is already written this time…I’ll post next Tuesday.

Featured image by Michaella Photography the last image by me 🙂

 

Is it harder?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about throwing in the towel, closing this joint down, and pretending like this blog never even happened. Because, my life isn’t that interesting, and what could I really even have to say, and being open with all of you is HARD!

And then, as I’m going about my day something strikes me. A thought, a phrase, a situation that brings my heart joy or deep grief…and I find myself wanting to share this thing with you, to encourage you or challenge you…maybe sometimes even to make you laugh.

So, after weeks of silence this is where I find myself, with a thought that I want to share with you so badly that I’ve decided to allow you to see into my heart a little bit.

I have had this thought for a week or so…or this stream of thoughts really…about adoption, and parenting, and teenagers…I feel like I’m ALWAYS sharing about this, but this is my reality so it probably is going to be something I talk about…anyways, back to the thought.

It began as I left a brief conversation with a kind and loving woman that left me a bit unsettled…not angry and not hurt, it’s just that something about the conversation didn’t sit right with me…it’s a conversation I’ve had before, and the words she said I will most likely hear again.

“Adopting a teenager is such a hard thing to do.”

Why does this statement bug me so much? It’s true. Adopting a teenager is hard. But, I think what bugs me about it is the implication that adopting a teenager is somehow harder than adopting an infant, a child, or having a biological child…but is it?

Is there some sort of scale I don’t know about, some sort of system for quantifying and measuring the difficulties of parenting that I have been left in the dark about? Do biological moms sit around discussing their child raising and the one that has it the easiest gets some sort of all expenses paid trip to a private island, and poor me doesn’t even get to be in the running for it because I adopted a teenager (insert dramatic music here)!?!

Sure, there are things that are harder. Walking through his grief and trauma with him is hard. When behavioral issues arise, weeding through what’s learned, what’s instinctive, and what’s teenager is challenging.

The moment I became a mom was hard. It wasn’t simply an elated moment of joy where the child I had spent 9 months growing and loving finally arrived. Instead it was a moment where the child I had spent years praying for and loving from a distance was finally here, and that moment of joy was shared with deep grief, because to acknowledge me as mom means to recognize the loss of the two moms that came before me. The moment I became his mom meant choosing to open my heart fully, to love him with abandon as a mom should, and then to grow into that in time…and to pray he would choose to love me back…it is still a bit terrifying! So yeah, that’s hard.

But, how do I quantify if this is harder than parenting any other child, if these pains are worse than having the child of your womb telling you they hate you…because I’m pretty sure that HURTS!!!

Then, this week, clarity came in the form of a shared video on FaceBook and I heard these beautiful words…

“Healthy seems easier, healthy seems normal, healthy seems nice. What I didn’t know then is that easy, and normal, and nice would do little to make me a better and more complete human being.” Heather Avis watch the video here

Those two sentences welled up a crazy mix of emotions in my heart and I found myself overwhelmed with grief and joy…seriously, I can’t even write about it or re-watch the video without becoming a crying mess…they are written not about teenagers, but about adoption in general, and adopting children with special needs specifically. But, they spoke so clearly to my heart because I suddenly realized why that statement above had bothered me so much…

IT’S A LIE

It’s not harder…it’s scarier, more complicated, messier, and abnormal.

But so many of us have bought into the lie that somehow adopting older children is harder. Adopting children with special needs is harder. And when faced with the opportunity or the challenge this is the lie that many of us tell ourselves to justify inaction…I’m so guilty of this when it comes to special needs.

But, the truth is, our lives were never meant to be about easy, simple, or normal. 

My mom-ness may be more complicated than most. I may not have memories of my child as an infant or toddler. I didn’t hear his first words, or see when he took his first steps. I wasn’t there to send him off to his first day of school. But I have been given an incredible gift. Because when those moments come when I’m discouraged…as they do for all parents…when I feel inadequate, and like there’s no way I can be the parent I need to be, there is a sudden gust of wind that rushes in and lifts me back up and reminds me…I was chosen for this…I was chosen for him…he was chosen for me.

Is adopting a teenager hard…yes. Is raising a young man hard…yes! Is being a parent hard…YES!

But this was never meant to be about simple and easy. Because what growth, what depth, what demonstration of true love ever came out of simple and easy?

…HOPE…

I’ve been seeing lots of posts in the last week about people choosing 1 word to define their 2017…I guess it’s the new resolution…and while at first I thought it was a little bit silly and a bit lazy…how much easier is it to pick a word than set an actual goal…but then I realized that I have a word…HOPE.

It’s not a magical word that suddenly became meaningful or important as the clock struck midnight on 12/31/2016…in fact my most recent tattoo and a recent blog post Faith>Fear are both focused on HOPE…but it is the word I want to hold on to as I walk boldly into 2017.

Four years ago Ian and I were waiting for a child. We didn’t know how God would choose to bring this child to us…but we knew there would be a child. We didn’t know when He would bring our child to us…but we knew there would be a child.

 And then sometimes I didn’t know…sometimes I doubted. Sometimes I felt it would never happen…the obstacles seemed too great. Sometimes fear took over and it drove out hope and I found myself afraid to even speak my desires for fear of the pain that would come with failure.

One night Ian and I had the privilege of speaking with a couple that had adopted. They shared their story with us, it was powerful and incredible, but then at the end of the conversation the husband said something that spoke straight to my heart…and continues to run through my mind over and over…

“Don’t be afraid to hope.”

That moment changed my heart. I decided to share with people the things God had put on my heart, I began to speak openly about our path to pursue adoption. When God began to place specifics on our hearts about a 12 year old boy, HOPE is what gave me the boldness to pray for my child, to begin to write him letters, and to share with others to pray for him…because I knew there was a child.

Our boy would have come to us even if I doubted…but would I have been ready for him, would I have been so quick to answer the call…how many people got to see this AMAZING thing God did, because I choose not to be afraid…because I choose to HOPE.

A few months ago “don’t be afraid to HOPE” began playing in my head again…over and over and over…I don’t know if this is the year we grow. I don’t know when or where the next Dizon is coming from, I don’t know how old…or even how many…their will be this time…but I know there will be more children.

I will not be afraid to HOPE!
I will cling to HOPE with all my might!

I will remind myself that my HOPE lies outside of life’s circumstances, that my HOPE is constant and steady, that with all 2017 throws at me…good, bad, disappointing, joyous, and painful…that HOPE will remain.

This may seem crazy to some of you…most of you…but I know I have more children, I know some of them are already in this world and my heart is sick from waiting for them…but I will HOPE and I will trust God’s perfect timing.

Please join my family as we pray for direction, timing, and provision on bringing more of our children home. Step 1 is finishing the basement so we have room for more.

the Lindsy

I am not in the habit of walking up to people asking them “hi, will you be my friend”…at least not since I was in 2nd grade…but with Lindsy that’s exactly what I did…well, not exactly, I really made a case for why we needed to be friends…we had been hanging out with the same group of friends for a while and I really enjoyed her, but she travelled a lot which made really becoming more than just acquaintances difficult.

So, one Saturday afternoon at a women’s retreat me and two other of my incredible friends practically stalked her until we were able to talk with her. When we finally got some time with her we made our case for why she needed girl friends…and why we were exactly those girls…instead of backing away slowly and issuing a restraining order, she delightfully agreed with us…and we’ve been friends ever since!

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*While editing this post I noticed that I never once mentioned how amazingly talented she is…MAJOR oversight…she has an absolutely incredible voice and heart for worship and writes incredibly vulnerable and beautiful songs*

10 years later, I never see her often enough or for long enough but it is such a treat when I get to spend time with her…we are still very much bosom buddies. There are so many things I enjoy about her, so many things that make her a great friend. She is so kind and genuine, her faith and her heart are so pure, and she is wonderfully silly…we’ve definitely stayed up all night giggling like teenagers well into our 20s, and we once toilet papered a friend’s house when we were WAY too old to do something like that.

In my early years of walking with the Lord Lindsy showed me how to love others, how to engage everyone with graciousness and love. I don’t know if Lindsy has any idea how much I admire her, how much I look up to her, how much she inspires me. I have observed how she treats people over the years and I have watched how they are drawn to her…like flies to honey.

Once she gave our waiter in the restaurant her personal bible with all her notes, because he had shared with us some struggles and expressed a desire to read the Bible and to know God…so she just handed it to him. I don’t know if she knows how much of an impact that had on me.

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But the thing that has kept our friendship strong and grown her into one of my closest and most trusted friends over the years is how likeminded we are. There are a lot of people on this earth, a lot of people I love and enjoy, a lot of people I call friends, some who just come into my life for a season, but very VERY few who I have found myself so likeminded with.

I have always been able to be open with her…to share my heart…she has always listened, encouraged, comforted, and exhorted me. She has been present during some of the most amazing, and the most difficult times in my life, we started our friendships as single ladies…I got engaged days before her wedding, she was a bridesmaid in mine…and now we are moms…we have grown and changed so much, along side each other.

The icing on top is that we married men who were friends…yay!!!

Basically…I love this lady! She is kindness, beauty, joy, strength, comfort, a bit of sparkle, and a whole lot of grace all bundled up into one lovely package. I don’t know if I could ever truly capture who she is in a piece of jewelry, but I gave it a shot.

I used amazonite, because it is one of my favorite stones. It has this very natural and calming feel to it, and the color is neutral but not boring. The quartz gives it sparkle…gotta love some sparkle. There is something comfortable yet so special about this necklace. It makes me happy to wear it, it brings me comfort, and it makes me feel beautiful.

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Being around Lindsy does the same thing…it makes me feel so comfortable, and loved, and beautiful…I admire her so much, and just being in her presence reminds me how loved I am by God…what an incredible…and inspiring…friend she is to have. I’m glad I was brave/silly/foolish enough to ask her to be my friend all those years ago.

The Lindsy is available here…Frippery House…and here…Etsy

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Step away from the pit…

Good news everybody…I have decided to step away from the deep dark pit of loneliness and self pity that I was sitting on the edge of this past week…mind you I was not in the pit wallowing in the sludge at the bottom, I was just sitting on the edge…what was so horrible about last week you might ask…great questionmy hubby was on the other side of the world, just about as far away from me as it is possible to be on this earth. And, yes I am one of those girls that no longer sleeps when he’s away because I just miss him too much…not really sure when I became this personbut now he has returned, hooray, and I have decided to step away from the pit.

Upon my departure I realized that I have lost my focus a bit the last couple of weeks…I feel like I JUST wrote about this, am I seriously back here again so soon!?! I’ve kind of forgotten my purpose, forgotten why I started this adventure in the first place, and lost a bit of my brand identity in the process. I’ve gotten really caught up in the hustle of opening a shop, the anxiety of watching statistics and waiting for sales, the excitement of seeing them rise and sales come in, and the confusion of seeing them drop.

So, I’ve spent most of this week focusing not on designing or making jewelry, but on the businessy stuff of owning a creative business. Oh the businessy stuff…businessy is not a real word but please humor meit is the stuff of my nightmares and my #2 enemy in this venture…the post office was #1 but having conquered that enemy the sewing machine has moved into the #1 spotI’m just not really very inclined to business type things.

Historically I have done best at jobs with flexible schedules, lots of human interaction, lots of moving around and changing tasks constantly. I’ve worked as a secretary twice in my life both times for a couple of months, and both times the end of the job felt like the release from some sort of punishment that consisted of sitting in a chair, staring at a wall, and listening to the same stupid music all day…one of these jobs was working for my aunt and I feel I need to share that I loved the people, loved working with my aunt and cousin, but hated the desk, the chair, and the phone! I drank SO MUCH COFFEE when I worked there; it was like I was trying to drown my boredom with caffeine.

So this past Monday morning I made a giant pot of coffee and got right down to it. I started at the beginning…asking myself why I started doing this in the first place…who am I making this jewelry for…why jewelryand then I worked my way through my websites and blog and FB page and Instagram accounts, I evaluated my products, my packaging, my photos, about sections, shipping information, checked all my links…and now I have a list of things that I need to fix, adjust, change, and redo.

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Detail from my chalkboard…ADOPTION…every day it seems I want this more…I’m ready for the rest of our kids!

Basically, at the end of a very thorough audit of all things businessy I have a long…seemingly endlesslist of more businessy things I need to do. …but instead of being overwhelmed and stressed and discouraged by it I find I have drive…and even a bit of excitementto plow on and do it…and I think it’s because I started at the beginning.

Frippery House began…because I love making jewelry…actually I love making anything I can, but pretty rocks are so fun! 

Frippery House began…because I wanted to have a source of income that can go directly towards growing my home…adoptions.

Frippery House began…because there are things that God has put on my heart for the future with working in missions again and I believe this is step one.

Frippery House began…because being a SAHM is what is right for my family right now but there’s a lot of alone time involved…and me bored is just BAD news.

Frippery House began…because I believe God uses our stories to inspire, encourage, and transform lives, because I love people, I love the people in my life and their stories, I am inspired and changed by their stories…business allows me the platform and opportunity to share these stories with others.

Before I pounced on my to do list I sat down with my newly acquired chalkboard…It’s a precious gift from the Treus, made by Brandon and used by Ernie, and fortunately for me unable to travel to Irelandand I wrote down all the reasons for Frippery House, all the things I need to personally remember. And, you know what’s not on there…numbers! There’s not one reason for Frippery House related to sales, stats, likes, follows, or shares. Sure, I have business goals for sales and such…but numbers have nothing to do with why I stepped out into entrepreneur life.

At the heart of my business is people and stories…Love is at the heart of Frippery House….I don’t ever want to forget that.

For today I have learned this lesson, hopefully it sticks this time, I pray it takes root in my heart and I just live it out and don’t have to learn it again…but I’m human and I’ll probably need reminding, but the beautiful thing is that now I have all of you to remind me!

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I did find a bit of time for the creative this week and I finished up a design I’ve been working on for a few weeks. I’ve had several requests for the very popular the Ernie but smaller. This 18″ necklace with a delicate mini spoon is precious…meet the Mini Ernie. 

Available now on FripperyHouse.com

the Julia

Oh my! I just did a count and I really have only written about half of my designs and the women that inspired them…that includes the final pieces I will be introducing the next couple of weeks…I better get busy!

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Photo credit not me and not Julia…I think maybe Ernest

Julia is lovely!

She’s a very unexpected friend…we became friends during a season of my life that I was not really sure I wanted any new friends and I’m not even really sure how it happened…but one day all the sudden there it was, we were friends…I knew we were friends the afternoon that we were hanging out watching TV and I totally fell asleep and when I woke up she was still there and didn’t make me feel weird about it at all.

She’s gentle and kind. She reminds me of a deer frolicking around in a meadow of flowers…carefree and joyful…she makes living life look fun. She’s always quick to laugh and her eyes kind of sparkle with joy…and maybe a bit of mischief.

She’s also so incredibly cool! Her and her husband Ernest are kind of like rock stars in my mind…seriously though you should see these two pose for pictures, they would own any red carpet.

Oh yeah, and brave!

I have had the pleasure of watching her and Ernest walk the journey of starting their own coffee shop right here in Aurora. I’ve heard them talk and dream, I’ve seen it transition from dreams to saving and planning, and now I get to watch it as it unfolds before our eyes as Sonder Coffee becomes a reality and will be open very soon…check out what is happening at Dream A Latte and make sure to sign up for emails so you’ll know when they open…I am incredibly excited and can’t wait until it’s finally open!

This necklace took me longer than any other piece in this line to design. It went from two strands and pinks and purples, to one strand, to one strand with a bar and blue greens. It’s changed length, shapes, and materials so many times…I think Ian really started to get irritated with me showing him a different necklace every day and telling him it was the Julia each time...one design would be too rock star, another too delicate, but I think I finally got it…with a bit of help from Julia herself…

There are several different stones and colors and textures in this necklace, there is something delicate and soft, but also very structured about it. Oh yeah, and I love wearing it!

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Julia is complex but yet simple, so cool but so genuine and real, so much of a dreamer and yet also a planner…However it happened, I’m glad we are friends!

If you want a Julia of your very own click here!

Oh yeah, and this is happening 9/16…TOMORROW

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Mommy Firsts

This year our boy started high school. And, I know for all parents it seems to come too soon…they just grow up so fast…but for us it really did!

Andrew’s only been with us a few years, and while much of the time it feels like we have always been a family, there are still so many new things, so many firsts. High school is a big change for all kids, and full of firsts, but I think that high school has had more firsts and changes for me than it has for him!

Since Andrew was my student before he was my son I have always known his friends, his teachers, and being on staff at the school have always known all the goings on of his day…sometimes this was a great thing, sometimes it was challenging…but now, I know only what he tells me. I don’t know most of his friends, I’ve met most of his teachers…but they aren’t my best friends…his teachers before are my besties…and I know only what information he brings home to me.

I didn’t do the kindergarten drop off, I’ve never been on this side of things as his parent because I was always parent/teacher, I’ve never had to figure out how to meet his friends and get to know them, I’ve never had to “mommy date”…back to school night and parent teacher conferences always made that easy…so this is all so new.

I don’t know who the trouble makers are or the good influences. I don’t know if he spends his lunch talking, playing soccer, or sitting in a corner lonely and sad…anyone who knows my child knows that last one is a ridiculous thought…and while I know that this is really good for him, and really very normal, I don’t really like it!

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I drove away from that first day of school just wanting to cry and feeling so sorry for myself because he doesn’t even need me anymore…when I told him this he reassured me by letting me know that he still needs me…because he can not drive or afford groceries on his own yet…he did follow the statement by letting me know he will always need me.

It’s just strange, to be in this place where I am the mom of a 15 year old but yet a mother for less than 4 years. I learn new things about him all the time…recently we discovered he had never mini golfed…don’t worry we took care of it immediately! I still get so anxious leaving him home alone because this is all still so new, he feels so new…the other day my mom reminded me that it’s not that Andrew is 3…I am…she’s a wise wise woman!

So, for now I am working on accepting that my life will be filled with lots of new mommy firsts, that it is a good thing that my child is picking his own friends, and that he is growing into a man…he is growing into such a wonderful young man and I am so proud of him! And, I will be excited about the new mommy firsts, I will enjoy the things he shares with me when I pick him up from school, and I will get to know his friends and their parents over time…that last part was a little pep talk because I’m still a bit anxious about it!