Jan 26, 2009

Adoption Woes

Merriam defines adoption as adopt: to take by choice into a relationship ; especially : to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child.

With that you would think the courts would have a slightly different perception on adoption. Here in my state it's only a recent change that allows step parents to adopt directly. I've heard horror stories of adoption proceedings first hand from others and hope that my case doesn't hit the same kinds of bumps in the road. But the process does seem to be one that is exceedingly lengthy. It's tough for me to blog about this topic now because so much is still in the courts hands but it has been such a point of frustration for me that I feel it should at least be mentioned.

I just wish that the courts would look at each case with the initial perception that the adopting party is doing so willingly. This is often done out of love and compassion for the minor(s) involved. And in what I've seen always done with the child's interest at heart. But the stories I've been exposed to thus far seem to indicate that the perception of the court is that the child's biological parents are in some way superior just because they produced a child. While I don't want to indicate that it should be a trivial thing to separate a child from it's parents. I do think that the court would serve the public better if it truly viewed the case in the best interest of the child.

I absolutely despise the prefix "step", as it relates to defining family relations. Step parent seems to degrade the role to something less than what a parent would perform. The title step child seems to indicate that the individual is some how outside the borders of what a child is expected to be. The prefix "step" seems to lower the expectations of what ever title it precedes. I take great pride in the fact that people can't detect which of my children is a so called step child without being informed. And I never use the term step child unless it is absolutely necessary (as in legal proceedings) to properly define a relationship. So to all the people out there in the role of parent, accept your title as it should be. Defy the prefix and outperform the perceptions it drags along with it. God has no step children, why should you?

Jan 23, 2009

Friday in Faith

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

As the body of Christ we are here to bring others to Christ so that they may rejoice in His grace and mercy. But we are not to neglect each other as we are still well short of His glory and need the encouragement to press on.

My family has been such a blessing to me the last several months. And I write this blog as if everyone reads it, but really there are probably just two people. My brother sent me a response to one of my recent posts and it was sent in God's timing for sure. I had a pretty rough week last week, Mindy was heavy on my mind. I got a phone call that boosted me up quite a bit, then I get a response from my brother that defies definition. To say it was encouraging is an understatement. I even tried writing him a response a couple of times but the words didn't seem right. Then this verse was put in front of me (God's practical like that) and it fit so well. So to my family who has propped me up the last several months and continues to do so, all the good words you've given to me are applicable to you as well. As Jesus instructs us to encourage one another so that we can all weather the hard times, you are displaying His control of your life in your actions.

Jan 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to my eldest daughter!

She's a teenager now. It's official. My little girl is in such a hurry to grow up, as I was when I was near her age, and I'm in such a hurry to find a way to make time stand still. I miss the little three year old bringing me her dolls and Teletubbies to play with. Now she could care less if I'm in the room.

In the years that I've been raising the Teenager I've seen her go through so much and come out stronger for it. And I think that is a trait she gets from her mother. I see a lot of Mindy in her, and I see a lot of my behavior in her too, good and bad. I honestly don't know much about her biological father; he was never really around at all. But she is so much like Mindy and I that no one ever even questions that she's not my daughter. So to the smartest, fun loving, beautiful teenager a father could ask for, Happy Birthday baby. I love you and no matter how old you are, you'll always be my little girl.

Back to life...back to reality

Coming home from my trip I was quickly immersed in life again. My almost teenager is now a full blown teenager. Princess and Sugarbear missed me so much I could see it in their eyes when they ran to hug me for the first time in a week.

I had a birthday party to assemble and a weeks worth of daily stuff to work through. I was running on a couple hours of sleep and trying to make everything perfect but when it was all said and done I wasn't even close. If Mindy had been here it would have been. She was great at planning parties for the kids, and taking care of all the nurturing. The icing on the cake (ba-dum-bum-ching) was last night when my little Princess fell while getting out of the bath. She hit her head hard on the floor and cried for a while. Then she couldn't find her "blankie" so after a thorough search I gave up and gave her one of Mindy's.

I guess leaving for the week recharged my batteries, but at the same time the daily work that drains them doesn't stop. I just wonder if when they look back on this some day will my kids think I was doing good to recharge myself and better provide for them? Or would they just remember the week Dad left them? I know it would be so selfish, but if I could find a way to make the rapture happen today...it would be done. I don't want to leave any loved ones behind, but I miss my old life so much. I want my wife back. Even with all the hurt we caused each other in the last decade...it would be worth doing it all over again. To live is Christ, to die is gain!

Jan 18, 2009

Bitter Sweet Ski Trip

I spent the last week in Breckenridge, CO skiing with some buddies. The first day there was not all that great. The snow was pouring down, the wind was blowing hard and the powder was thick. But we skied it anyway. The next several days were much better with lighter snow but still some powder on top. I had a blast and I wish I could ski a little everyday!

The last day we skied I took my headphones with me and listened to my music from my blackberry. We were coming down a nice blue/black slope when "Cry out to Jesus" from Third Day started to play. I had been skiing for several days but out of nowhere the snow seemed purer, the trees had more strength, and the sky was more expansive. I felt like Mindy was smiling at me and nothing could go wrong. The irony with memories of Mindy is they are sweet and immediately followed by bitter. The missing piece in my heart suddenly ached. At least while I was cruising down the mountain at 35-40 mph I could blame the tears in my eyes on the cold wind in my face.

On the ride back home I just thought...if this trip was to recharge my batteries so I can face the rest of the year with my kids as priority one then I think I've done the job. I had so much fun and I didn't worry about anything except hitting the trees and I only hugged a few on the way down. I escaped almost everything; work, housekeeping, homework. But when it comes to Mindy and my kids, as Willy says, "You are always on my mind".

Jan 7, 2009

It's a brand new year...

This year will be filled with a lot of 'firsts'. My almost teenager will become a teenager very shortly. And as a widower parent I am anxiously nervous about all the 'firsts' that will come with that. She will have her first birthday party without her mother. It was our first New Year's Eve without Mindy and it was hard.

In the past Sugarbear and the Princess would fall asleep around 9:30p or 10p despite their efforts to see the ball drop in Times Square. So Mindy, my almost teenager and I would stay up late watching movies and eating junk food. And Mindy and I were always the only ones to make it to the New Year that night, some times by only 15 minutes or so.

This year my almost teenager called it quits at 10p, and her siblings made it past 11p. I didn't tell her at the time (and she isn't aware of this blog) but my heart sank when she bowed out for the night. Until then it was at least somewhat like the New Year's Eves of the past. But in an instant it was all different. Not because of anything she did...but because it was all surreal until that moment. Then reality hit and I had to work extra hard to put on the fun daddy front for my kiddos. After they were all well asleep I found myself laying in the dark, wondering what would this year offer me. I wondered, if God only gives you what you can handle, how much can I handle? Only God knows I suppose.

Well, this time of year everyone makes resolutions and intends to turn a new leaf in life. Another first for me is that I made resolutions that I feel I must resolve to complete in my life...not just this new year of 2009. So in a tangled web of new traditions, old traditions, and chosen memories of our former life my kids and I leap into 2009 with faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these I share with you and yours. Happy New Year!