Friday, June 21, 2013


"You are such a lucky boy! Lucky, lucky, lucky!" she gushed over Bogdan upon meeting him for the first time.

I mumbled the response expected of me, "We're the lucky ones." But it felt awkward and stilted.

We are blessed to have him, beyond blessed actually, on so many different levels. It's not even that I hate the word, "lucky," although I do. Something didn't sit right with her pronouncement. She's not the first. I've heard said before that our son is lucky to have been adopted by us, and it always makes me uneasy.

I pondered her words and my response to them for quite awhile before the reason behind my discomfort took shape. 

He's not lucky. In fact he was, what many would consider, decidedly unlucky. Given an extra chromosome, abandoned at birth by those who should have protected and loved him, open heart surgery with complications, the list goes on. 

He is finally being given what is rightfully his, what most children in this country receive without, security, family, quality nutrition, medical attention...acceptance. That doesn't make him lucky. 

It makes him redeemed. 

His story, once about rejection, loss, abandonment, is now about redemption. The ending has been rewritten.

Healing and restoration have begun in earnest, but that early trauma and loss have left their mark. We have no way of knowing how much of his health and function will be restored. He has come so far in four short months, but there is much to do and learn. 

The tragedy is that he shouldn't have to start over at three-and-a-half. He shouldn't have to learn to understand a new language, to appreciate a new cuisine, to learn to love as family those who were once strangers. 

That is not lucky.

But he is learning those things and so much more. He was not left to just exist. His future is ripe with potential instead of assurance of eventual institutionalization. He is an orphan no more.

He is known and loved.

That is redemption, and God, not lady luck, is the author of that. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion

I tweaked my last post to include background information and submitted it to the CausePub site and it was accepted! I just need votes so it can be published in a book. 

Here's the link. I'd be honored if you'd take a minute and vote for it!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Moment

We had a moment, my son and I. 

We are still dancing around one another trying to find our place in the other's heart. (I wrote briefly about our struggles here.) There are days when I feel he still ignores me, like I am at the bottom on the list of desired playmates, helpers, family. There are days when I wonder where he comes from and I cannot place him in my frame of reference, so foreign he continues to seem.

But more and more he is present, actively aware of what is happening in the broader scope of his surroundings, versus the three foot window to which he allowed himself to attend those first weeks home. I used to be soundly ignored by him when I'd walk in the door from work and attempt to interact. Then, ever so subtly, I sensed a change and soon my son would smile when he saw the excitement of his siblings upon my return. 

I was pleased, but didn't get too excited knowing as I did that he was simply feeding off the glee around him.

But yesterday it happened. 

I pulled in the driveway and saw Bogdan in the window watching the car. I waved through the windshield and received no response, no flicker of recognition, no knowing smirk, just blankness. Disappointed, but not surprised, I opened my door and stepped out. I looked up at him and saw his face transform. 

Ever so slowly, the corners of his mouth pulled until he had the hugest grin, the kind that makes his eyes disappear, and he pressed his head to the glass and banged on the window as he continued to smile at me with joy, as if to say, "Momma's home! Look, everyone! Momma's home!"

Tears sprang to my eyes and my breath caught in my throat as I waved. It is an incredible feeling to be known by one you've worked so hard to love.

He knows me! And, judging by his reaction, I think he even likes me. 

I went upstairs after greeting the rest of the crew and found him strumming (pounding, poking, picking) his sister's guitar that he found laying on the floor of her room. I sat down next to him. I got a sideways look and another smile. I reached out my hands and he dove for me, wrapping his arms tightly around my neck as he crawled into my lap. We stayed like that for a long while, me slowly rocking and him resting his head against my chest. 

Finally, we stood and, hand in hand, walked out of the girls' room. He stopped in the play room when he spotted a car and I continued on to change my clothes. 

But something shifted in those moments. Something deep and powerful clicked inside our hearts with that blazing smile of recognition. This odd couple, this Serbian boy and Midwestern mom may just be okay, after all.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trades of Hope GIVEAWAY!

There has been a lot of talk in the adoption community recently about corruption, about the fact that international adoption is not the answer when it comes to orphans, and about how we can prevent orphans to begin with. It has been good! To learn more, please read Jen Hatmaker's series: Examining Adoption Ethics.

Unlike Bo, many children become orphans because of poverty, and that is just not okay. Families who love their kids, sacrificially give them up because they cannot feed them. Horrifying to think about!

I am happy to promote a business/ministry today that supports women, many of them mothers, and by doing so, I believe, prevents children from becoming orphans, in the first place. Here's what the founders of Trades of Hope have to say about it:
So many women live in poverty, not because they lack abilities, but because they lack opportunity. We started Trades of Hope to give women that opportunity for a better life. Each woman has a story, and with Trades of Hope's help, their story has changed from pain and struggle to a story of HOPE!
Trades Of Hope TeamWe work with the artisans themselves and organizations that are helping women in difficult circumstances. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery. Others are raising handicapped children alone. Some are in war torn countries and others have AIDS. These women have never had the chances we've had, yet they are just like us in so many ways. They love their families and hope and dream of a better life for them.
We are helping by marketing their products through the home party model, so they can put food on their table, a roof over their head, get medical care and an education for their children. We want to tell their stories to the world!
How exciting! Trades of Hope is giving hope to women and children and communities and we consumers are getting beautiful, hand crafted items to wear and use. They have gorgeous items with a fabulous variety.  What a win-win!

My friend, Rainy Benedict, is a Compassion Entrepreneur for Trades of Hope. She has a heart for these women, for orphans, and for justice so when she asked me to host a giveaway and write about TOH, I jumped at the opportunity. 

Please visit her site and read the testimonials, the stories, and browse the catalog to see the amazing wares they have to offer and to learn more about the women that are crafting them. Be sure and learn about becoming a Compassion Entrepreneur, yourself. What a great opportunity to help women and earn some money at the same time.

Rainy has offered this beautiful, Nepali Aqua scarf for me to give away to one of you readers:
Here's what you need to do to win:

  • For one chance, simply visit Rainy's TOH page and then comment that you did on this post.
  • For more chances, share Rainy's page on Facebook, Twitter, and/or your blog. Then comment here that you did. You will receive one entry for each share, so if you share on all three and visit her site and tell me about it, you will receive a total of four entries. 
My kids will help put all the entries into a hat and pull out the winner which I will announce on July 4th. Easy peasy!