Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts on Adoption

Adoption is becoming or has already become a sub-culture in mainstream Christianity lately and while I'm glad that people are taking adoption and orphan care more seriously, I am often at a loss when someone asks me why adoption is so close to MY heart.

The truth is that there are many things I say about why I am such a huge advocate for adoption, and all the reasons I give are true, but adoption is such a huge issue that sometimes you can come across as trite when you say things like "I feel called to adopt", "Because there are children out there who need homes", and "Because God tells us to take care of orphans", or even "I've known since I was young that I wanted to adopt". The problem with all of these explanations is that the reasons why I want to adopt are so much more complicated than that.

I remember a conversation I had with my Mom when I was about five years old. She explained very simply that there were children that didn't have a Mommy and a Daddy. Five year old me was flabbergasted by this idea "What? No Mommy and Daddy to tuck you in at night?! No Mommy and Daddy to sleep with when you had nightmares?". The consequences of growing up without parents was very real to me in that moment. If five year old me had been able to go collect those children right then I would have mothered them the best way I knew how! I mean, everyone needs someone to tuck them in at night...right?

It seems crazy, but that conversation is really the basis of which my desire to adopt stems. That childlike horror at the thought of a parent-less child and the desire to nurture that I felt as a young child is still the instinctual response I give when people ask "Why do you want to adopt?". Because, let's be honest here folks...the concept of children without nurture is truly horrific.

When I was seven years old, one of my cousins was put up for adoption as an infant. My parents discussed offering to adopt her, but my brother was only ten months old at the time and we weren't in a great position financially, so they decided that it was not an option. My mom was sad and I was sad, but life moved on.
I remember seeing her in the hospital. She was just a quiet little bundle with an abundance of black hair, but she was so precious. I haven't seen her since that day, but I think about her every few months and wonder how she's doing and what kind of person she has become over the years. It hurts my heart a little when I think of the relationship we missed out on and I hope that her adoptive family has treasured her.

The adoption of my cousin solidified the thought that I wanted to adopt. That somewhere out there, there were children who needed a mommy and someday, I would be their mommy.

In the past few years, I've read so many books, articles, interviews, and testimonies about adoption. Seriously, I have a shelf of adoption books on my bookshelf. I've talked to people who have adopted or are in the process and read adoption blog after adoption blog. I know so much about adoption and still there is so much to learn! I've known families that adoption has almost torn their family apart and read all the horror stories. It's a good thing that God calls us to do hard things, because folks, adoption is HARD!

Before I started dating my husband, we had a conversation about adoption. Due to my lack of tact, it came out of my mouth sounding like this "I plan on adopting children. Are you okay with that? If you aren't, we aren't supposed to be together." It's no small wonder he stuck with me!

The Bible talks about adoption/orphan care in several verses.
Psalm 68:5-6 says
"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."

James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

and Matthew 18:5 says "And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me."

It's not like God is silent on the issue. Still, I think the most compelling reason I could give when people ask "Why do you want to adopt?" might be "Because I can."

A quote from this blog sums it all up.

"...We adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are the rescued."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More Photos of Mairi...and a Sad Farewell.

I finally had a chance yesterday to snap some decent pictures of Mairi. I took her out on our balcony and tried to wrangle her into an adorable position. It wasn't as easy as the time I took photos of Nessie, but I think Mairi's personality really shines through in these pictures. Take the first one for example, she's definitely my puppy. I always get caught with my mouth open during photos.

I am so grateful for my dear husband, E. He is head puppy wrangler. It's rough having two puppies sometimes, but he's generally pretty patient with them and their neediness. I just hope we can work all the kinks out by the time we decide to have kids. I want two well-behaved dogs before I introduce little Hennigans to their environment. E and I decided to go ahead and get both of them so we could have lots of time to spend with them before adding to our load. I feel like I would not do well with an unruly dog and little kids. Too much stress!

We have one of E's old roommates staying with us right now. It's been so great to get to see him and hang out with him. He was always fun to be around when we were dating, so it's been nice getting to spend some post-marriage time with him. I know E is loving it!

We bought a new couch several weeks ago and I bought some art work to hang above the couch.
It looks pretty spiffy, but I still have to print some cute photos to put in our picture frames above the couch.
I'll post pics when it's finally done!

Memorial Day weekend we'll be in DFW to celebrate my birthday a little early. We are getting our photos professionally done (with Nessie and Mairi in some of course...can't leave the dog-babies out!) by Sarah Bunyard Halferty. She and her husband are leaving soon to be missionaries in Papua New Guinea. She's doing some last minute photoshoots to help raise money for their move and ministry, so if you want to donate or have your photos done by her then you better do it soon!

I came into work today and S was sick. Poor baby took turns playing with his toys and clinging to me with a binky in one hand, a snuggly blanket in the other hand, and his sweet little head on my shoulder.

I have so much to say today and I'm not sure where to start or where to censor myself.
My dear friend Emylee, who came to see me over the weekend, and the rest of her family are reeling from the loss of one of their family members. Today, they will be attending Kenny's funeral.

I didn't know really know Kenny, but his loss impacted me. I don't normally photograph weddings, but last April I had the privilege of documenting Kenny and Mandy's wedding. It was the first wedding I've shot. It unsettles me that he's gone after barely a full year of marriage. It definitely made me take a step back and realize that I need to let people know that I value them. It also made me hug my handsome husband just a little tighter at night and cuddle a little longer in the mornings.

So, hug your loved ones close and I'll say farewell with these photos of Kenny on his wedding day and with his wife and little son at a birthday party in September. You will be missed Kenny.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Beach Babes, New Puppy, and A Life Lesson

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with my friend Emylee and her son Eli.
Living in Houston has been kind of hard for me lately. When I lived in Fort Worth, I had lots of casual friends and acquaintances, but Emylee was my best friend. We are both nannies, are intense adoption/orphan care advocates, and have similar views on most things in life. We spent extraordinary amounts of time together before and this is the first weekend I've spent with her in over four months. It's been a little rough without her.

It was really great to see both of them. He has grown so much lately! He thinks everything is a "ball" or a "dog". It's adorable. Emylee and I took Eli and Nessie to Galveston for some fun at the beach.

Emylee held onto Nessie so that I could try to get some cute shots of Eli. The little stinker decided it would be fun to throw handfuls of wet sand on me! You should have seen me backpedaling on my knees in the sand and him chasing me. Oh wait! I have photos of him chasing me! ;)

Nessie seemed to have a lot of fun. She was a little overexcited by everything, but I put her pinch collar on and she seemed to calm down and relax a little bit after that. She is such a smartie pants!

E and I had discussed the possibility of getting a second dog so that she would have a playmate, but we weren't sure what sort of a timeline we were looking at. Then last Friday, I stumbled across an ad from Nessie's breeder. I called her and found out that she had a discounted older puppy (which is really what we wanted).
I talked to E and we decided to take the leap. Here's Nessie without any idea that this was her last day as an only doggie-child.

On Saturday, while we were at the beach, Esquire drove all the way to Kaufman to pic up the new puppy. We decided to keep with the Scottish tradition and found the name Mairi (pronounced Mar-ee) which means "Of the sea".

When we got Nessie, it was insta-love. As soon as I saw her, I loved her. She was adorable and charming and more than willing to shower you with affection. With Mairi, it's been a slower process. It was really hectic with Nessie feeling like her home was being invaded by a little black sea urchin, Esquire feeling like the whole world was in chaos, and on top of that-we had guests. Guests we love and were so glad to have, but it would have been beneficial if we could have waited until they were gone to get Mairi.

I'm slowly warming up more to Mairi and I've learned (relearned) something ugly about myself.
Beauty and looks matter a lot to me. Mairi has a wonderful calm and sweet personality, but she's not as cute as Nessie has always been. Still, she's winning me over one gentle ankle nudge at a time.

Some have said we're brave for getting two puppies at once. Brave or stupid, only time will tell ;)
Still, Nessie is already calmer when she's in her crate and Mairi learned sit in about 5-10 minutes.
I think we just might be alright. :D