Friday, November 06, 2015

Adoption is Plan B

Let’s be clear about one thing: adoption never was God’s plan.

That’s a pretty bold statement from someone who claims to be a Christian. After all, isn’t the Bible full of references to being “adopted sons and daughters of God”? What about Moses being adopted by Pharaoh? And wasn’t Jesus adopted by Joseph, Mary’s husband? It seems like adoption figures pretty prominently in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

So, yeah, maybe God did use adoption to further his plan for humanity. But adoption is a result of our fallen human nature. If it weren’t for our brokenness, we wouldn’t need adoption.

Now I’m going to make another bold statement: The best way to raise a child is to have an intact biological two-parent family. Yes, despite what you may have heard from the popular media, kids still do best when they are raised with their biological mom and dad. Poverty stinks, but it’s still better to be poor with both your mom and dad, than to be rich without them. And I suspect growing up with at least one biological parent is still better than none. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out that way for kids.

As my husband and I stand on the brink of adopting again in our 50’s, I find myself reflecting on life in a way that I never did when I was in my 20’s and 30’s having babies, or in my 40’s traveling to another country to adopt two orphans.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Baby Changes Everything

A new baby is expected in our family.

No, for once it's not me who's pregnant.

Our oldest daughter and her husband recently announced they were expecting their first child around Thanksgiving time. We were asked not to say anything for a few weeks because they wanted to be the ones to tell family and friends so that folks didn't end up hearing about it via Facebook. That's a problem we didn't have when I was last expecting.

So, I kept my mouth shut and contemplated all these things in my heart, which was difficult, but good.

I realized that a baby really does impact a lot of people. Besides the fact that I'm going to be a grandma and my husband will be a grandpa for the first time, there are all the excited siblings who will be aunts and uncles for the first time--twelve of them on both sides! Plus, there's another set of excited first time grandparents and several sets of excited first time great-grandparents. (That's what can happen when two first-borns get married). Then there are the excited great aunts, great uncles, second cousins and at least one step great-great-grandma. Yep, there are a whole lot of people looking forward to this kid's arrival; not to mention his or her mom and dad.

A baby changes everything.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Gift of Youth and Beauty

It's a very Catholic idea. Give God your youth and your beauty. When you see young men and women, in the prime of life, handsome, beautiful, smiling, raidiant with joy, and they give it all up to be united with God as a priest or religious, what do you think? Catholics see it as a gift of something precious and beautiful. Some folks might sigh and say, "What a waste," but Catholics see it as giving it all to God. These courageous, generous men and women have chosen to give everything they have to God. They even give the things we think belong to us alone, like youth and beauty.
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist 2010 Aspirants (From the Sisters' Web site)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Being Pro-Life

"What does being pro-life mean to you?" the reporter asked me after the annual Respect Life Mass at the cathedral in Denver on Saturday. (Update: read the article here).

How do you answer a question like that? I knew she was looking for a few quick quotes to enliven her article, but the soundbites didn't come rolling off my tongue very quickly.

I stammered a bit then told her that for me, being pro-life meant I was living my vocation as a mother to ten children. I saw her eyes widen and she started writing furiously on her notepad. "Ten children..." (that would make good copy!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why I Love Jesus (and Religion too)

Just in case you're one of the two people on the planet who hasn't seen Jefferson Bethke's video, "Why I Love Jesus But Hate Religion," (which, at this writing, has over 12 million hits on Youtube), then you'll want to watch his stylistically appealing but content confusing video before proceeding so you'll know what I'm talking about.

 I'd like to thank Mr. Bethke for having the courage and the zeal to make his video and put his ideas out there for the world to see and discuss. I believe he's actually doing a service to lukewarm Christians to get them to start thinking about what they do and why they do it. While I strongly disagree with his characterization of religion, I agree with his words about Jesus' saving grace and that He alone is the cause of our salvation. I think what Mr. Bethke meant to say was that empty religion is of no avail. When we do religious things merely to get the approval of others, we aren't doing it for God, therefore we can claim no merit. (Matthew 6:5). Yet, even in the case of the person who goes about doing good merely for human approval, I can see that God could cause much good to come out of it. (Romans 8:28). Others will see his good works and glorify God. (Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:12). So even though my good works might not help me, they will most certainly help others.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

What do women want? We want to be beautiful. (Read: slender, with curves in the right places; some muscle definition but not too much; height without towering over men; teeth perfectly straight and pearly white; hair lush and thick with just the right amount of body, no frizz and absolutely no gray hairs!) We want to be adored (without lust, as Dante loved Beatrice) by men and envied (without hatred, just being held in awe) by other women. 

These are unrealistic goals, you say? 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Free Online Homeschooling Conference


We all need a refresher course this time of year to remind us why we're homeschooling. Homeschool Connections is offering several free webinars to help get you through these midwinter doldrums.
And if you've never tried one of their online classes to help supplement your middle or high schooler's courses, be sure to click on my link on the sidebar and take advantage of their great subscription offer. 

We're using the subscription service to help us finish off the year strong. My kids are using it for American Government, Economics and Theology: the Old and New Testaments.

Going to "Real" School

What homeschooling parent doesn't consider sending their kids to "real" school this time of year? The Christmas season has passed, the bills are due, the winter doldrums are setting in and most of all, we look at our progress for the school year and compare it to our goals at the beginning of the year and we judge ourselves failures.

Welcome to my world. I have the advantage of doing this on a regular basis for the past 20 years, so I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Just as I know the days are starting to get longer and before I know it, summer will be here; I also know that we probably won't finish every book I'd planned on reading, or achieve every educational goal I'd set for ourselves.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why I'm still homeschooling: 20 years and still going strong

Or, What Taekwondo has Taught Me about Homeschooling 

I read something the other day that really irked me. Got me fired up in a mama bear sort of way. A Catholic blogger who used to homeschool wrote, "Anyone who says they enjoy homeschooling is either a beginner or in denial."

Let me take a few moments to deny these charges.

I'm still homeschooling after beginning to homeschool twenty years ago. I'm still enjoying it. Yes, there are days of sheer frustration. My youngest is turning ten years old on Sunday and he's got loads of learning issues. We pulled him out of the state-sponsored special ed program after he languished there for three years. After only four months of working exclusively with Mom and having plenty of time for imaginative play, he's blooming. His progress is slow, but we see genuine progress. His reading ability has improved. His mathematical skills have improved. His handwriting has improved. Yes, I get frustrated when I have to show him twenty times how to do something. But guess what? It pays off after twenty times of showing him the same thing. Maybe the public school paid special ed teacher only had time to show him something nineteen times...or, more likely, two times. I keep working with him till he gets it and not until the bell rings to mark the end of our session.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Thankfulness: Day 5--Homeschooling

There are plenty of reasons to avoid sending your kids to public schools, but I'd like to focus on five reasons I'm thankful I homeschool my kids.

1. I get to parent my kids instead of relying on an outsider. Parents who are active and involved in their kids' lives have a greater influence on their kids' attitudes and behaviors. Schools have gradually adopted the idea that they are to act in place of parents and have shifted their focus from merely teaching the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, to sex education and politically correct thinking. I'm thankful to be able to spend extra time with my kids and talk to them about life beyond the basics of academia.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thankfulness: Day 4--Life

This morning I woke up to an aching lower back; sore and stiff muscles in my legs, abs, and rear; one painful jammed big toe; the other big toe with the beginnings of an ingrown toenail; and a right hamstring that hasn't quite healed from being torn this summer. And I'm feeling pretty darned good about all this.

Maybe it's my unusually high threshold for pain after eight non-medicated labors and deliveries. Maybe it's because I've already strained or torn so many muscles that I've forgotten what it's like to not have them. But I think my aches and pains are gentle reminders that I am ALIVE. No, I've never had a near death experience--unless you consider the two times I THOUGHT I was going to die, but in reality I wasn't.* No, I just consider the aches and pains and sore muscles are part of the normal course of life and are reminders that I can touch, see, hear, smell and taste all the wonders of this world. In short, I'm alive.