Today I took the boys shopping at Wally World, when we stumbled upon something in the Meat Department that we thought would make a wonderful practical joke on Dominick. We came home, fried them up, and he had no idea he was about to be "had". Don't trust those innocent faces. Evil lurks within!!
We Got You!!!
Daddy's a good sport!
Josh thought it was funny too!
Goofing with the claws!
Yes, Dominick...your sick humor has been inherited despite the lack of a genetic connection.
Does this prove once and for all that nurture wins over nature???
We need to put the humor aside for a bit though as we find we are still battling Joshie's demons with him. He was camping out on the floor of our bedroom last night when once again he popped up, "night terror" style and started yelling out "Mommy...Mommy...Help me!!!". Dominick and I got him settled down, he never really woke up out of that deep sleep state, and we decided that we need to pursue this further. We aren't yet quite sure what to do, as all appears to be just fine during the light of day but it is obvious that something is going on that has triggered this in him. We have always found that when we hit a new developmental level Josh process his adoption again...almost as if he continues to discover he is seeing it through new eyes all the time. The past several days he has brought up almost casually that his first mommy left him so I know something is going on inside his head, but we can't get at it any deeper than that casual statement during waking hours. There are moments when I wonder if he will ever feel 100% safe and secure. I know leaving for Chicago and now DC may be part of it, but I don't honestly think it is the "trigger" as we had some of this starting up long before our trip for Kenny's surgery. We're going to have to think more about what approach to take with this.
Kenny is all set for his appearance before the Kyrgyz officials in Washington, DC. We went and bought him his first suit at JCPenney's on Monday, complete with a red "power tie". Definitely one of those moments in life when I regretted not having my camera with me. The look on his face and the giggles that erupted as he tried it on...and then kept going back to check himself out in the mirror...were worth a million bucks. I tell you, that young man wears a suit well and he asked me "Mommy, is this what businessman wear? Then I want to be a businessman when I grow up!!". Somehow, I can already see that happening. He is excited about going, and I have not focused much on the reason for the trip, electing to discuss the details more later on as we get closer to Friday.
As for me, well, I am going back and forth between discomfort and anticipation. I am feeling guilty at leaving the boys and Dominick once again, and yet feel strongly that this is a real "God Thing" and for whatever reason we are supposed to do this. My amazing husband seems to take this all in stride. When I phoned him at work after learning how all of this was going to pan out I said "Ummm...guess what, I think Kenny and I are going to Washington, DC next week." and he just laughed and said "Nothing surprises me anymore!".
DISGUSTING SAPPY CONFESSIONAL MOMENT HERE: This trip also seems to be bringing up insecurities I thought I had moved well past. The fact is, folks, I am fat and I am not the most attractive woman on the planet. Trying clothes on for this event is enough to make me feel about this small. But over the past couple of days, I realized that is exactly what needs to occur. I had a wonderful email from a waiting mommy who reminded me that my job was to simply be there for God to go to work and speak through me...and maybe feeling this small is exactly about how big I need to be in order for something MUCH BIGGER to come out. As I was reminded, I just need to show up and then get out of the way. Well, if feeling this way is what it takes for the Spirit to come out rather than Cindy LaJoy, I am all for it.
Aside for the real reason for the trip, I am going to have the opportunity to hug a couple of people in person whom I have long wanted to meet. Kenny and I will be remaining behind in DC for an extra day in order to meet Amir/Isaac's prospective Mom who is one of the Waiting Sixty-Five, and we will also be meeting another adoptive mommy who is one of the most incredible people in the world and who has been part of my adoption world for 8 or 9 years now. Words can not begin to describe what a gift this meeting will be for me, for this woman has been a blessing and emotional support for years and years.
The support from others which has allowed Kenny and I to take part in this is unbelievable, and aside from the hotel and flights, other generous waiting family contributions have helped in more ways than they will ever know. We wanted to help, but we didn't have the resources to get there and back...and good intentions are pretty useless. We aren't adopting from Kyrgyzstan, so this can't be written off as "adoption expenses" for us. I can only hope that our presence there does indeed make a difference, and that no one will feel their assistance was in vain. Thank you to all who made this possible, if it weren't for you we would simply not be going despite our desire to help in any way we could.
You know folks, the fact is, this really, really matters to me. I know we have nothing to gain if these kids come home, but for some reason I can not view it that way and have never been able to see it from that perspective. I have assisted JCICS twice on projects associated with their advocacy efforts on behalf of these 65 waiting children. I have seen their faces on my screen as I collected photos, and I have seen the stark contrast between those faces and the faces of the children who made it home to their permanent, forever families. Words can not begin to describe the difference in the soul of a child who has never been loved and a child who has known great love. It comes across in photos, it permeates every pore of their being. Your waiting children are my children, my son's faces shown on this very blog post were once those same faces staring back at me years ago with shadows in their eyes, a depth of longing and despair that was so very apparent it could never be ignored.
Neither can your children's faces be ignored by me.
Years ago, standing on a street in Aktobe, Kazakhstan staring up at the entrance to the home of my first son I remember thinking to myself that we had made it, that the journey was almost through. Oh how I was so clueless about how that journey had barely begun! I am not speaking about our adoption journey. No, that is another story which has oft been shared here on the blog and you all know far more about my family than is even probably prudent. Rather in this case I am speaking of a journey my soul has taken which may yet prove to still have barely begun. I had no idea how I would be effected by the clinging little hands of unloved and forgotten children. I could never have imagined crying at the mere mention of a young boy who was left behind, leaving me feeling foolish and yet as if my own heart had opened a bit more. I could not fathom the horror of visiting the soul deadening orphanage for severely disabled children. These things left indelible imprints on the core of who I am, they changed me forever.
Instead of the effect one might imagine they would have of closing up the gates to your heart in an effort to protect it from such misery and heartache, for some reason it worked just the opposite magic on me...it softened me, it created in me a new heart which for the first time thought about more than my own benefit or gain, it helped me to see God's love MUST come from all of us, that such awful spirit crushing places exist because God's presence is not ushered in by us...that we ALLOW such things to exist in places where we know we could help and yet refuse to "put ourselves through it" because we might feel anguish ourselves. We often "get our kids and get out", thinking to ourselves how wonderful we are for "saving" the one starfish...as the famous story goes...and yet we refuse to let our mind wander to the hundreds of thousands of other starfish waiting to be loved and cared for. We do that because it is easier and because we tell ourselves we can't possibly make a difference anyway...but we made a difference for one.
For some reason, that is not enough. And it never should be.
There are moments when I wish I knew what I could do, that I was one of those incredible people who could rally people around a cause like Greg Mortenson in "Three Cups of Tea" and make an enormous impact. Alas, I am not...I am just me...a boring old, middle aged, overweight, rural Colorado mom who loves her husband and kids and feels incredibly blessed to have what I have in this world. Most of us are not meant to do those things on such a grand scale, and I know that...frustrating though it may be. But the one thing we ARE all capable of is not allowing ourselves to say "that's good enough...I made a difference for one". We can hold on to that desire to throw more than just one starfish back into the sea. We can force ourselves to really see what others turn away from, and that alone can often create the impetus for action. We can do more than "settle".
And so we will go to Washington, DC. We will meet with people who can make a difference. We will put aside our own worthless insecurities and ridiculous worries.
Because your starfish matters to me too.