A real family photo, with one child not interested in looking at the camera

With Mother’s Day approaching in a few days, I thought I would share a few lessons I have learned (and am still learning) since becoming a mother. Each day seems to offer a new challenge. Being a mama is the most demanding, yet also the most rewarding job I have ever had.

Saying sorry is okay. I make mistakes (often). I have learned to say sorry and ask our kids’ forgiveness. I require them to apologize to one another, and I’ve learned it is just as important for me to be willing to say I’m sorry, too.

Figure out your top priorities and make sure your schedule reflects those priorities. As a mom, my first priority is my family. I am pulled in many different directions, though. There are so many great activities, programs and ministries – I would love to do it all. But I am the one left feeling rundown and tired and defeated because I cannot get everything done. I started saying “no” more frequently during the last year and it’s been good for my husband, my children and for me.

What worked with one child may not work with your next child. All of my kids are different. Just when I think I figured out this motherhood thing, another challenge presents itself and I realize I have much more to learn. Before I had children, I said I would do things a certain way. Guess what? That changed as soon as our first child was born. And it keeps changing as we get to know our children, and as they grow.

Love is an amazing thing. I never could have imagined how much adoption would change my life. I read this adoption creed recently and it is a reflection of how I feel about my sons from Taiwan. The moment I saw them at the orphanage, I knew God had chosen them for our family. I feel so blessed to be their mama.

“Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone
but still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
you didn’t grow under my heart but in it.”

My children are truly a blessing from God. I love each one of them and I am so grateful God has entrusted my husband and me to raise them.

Motherhood is quite a journey. I am trying to give myself grace when I make mistakes and extend grace to my children as they learn and grow. I still have much to learn as a mama…not least of which is how to keep a clean house and stay on top of the laundry.

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I have advocated on this blog in the past for the extension of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. The tax credit made a huge difference in both of our adoptions and I want to see it continue for many, many more years. US Representative Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) has introduced the Making Adoption Affordable Act in Congress:

“Deciding to adopt a child is one of the most compassionate decisions a couple can make,” Braley said.  “Unfortunately, it also carries with it significant financial costs.

“Renewing and expanding the adoption tax credit will help remove a barrier to more families deciding to adopt.  It’s a small investment that provides a big return: getting more children into loving homes and out of the costly foster care system.” – said Rep. Bruce Braley. To read his full press release, visit his website here.

This is the first legislation introduced in Congress that would accomplish all the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group’s goals (a credit that is inclusive, permanent, refundable, and flat for special needs adoptions), according to the Joint Council on International Children’s Services. The working group consists of several adoptive organizations that understand how important this tax credit is for adoptive families.

Please consider doing a few simple things to help keep the Federal Adoption Tax Credit:

First, if you are on Facebook, go to Save the Adoption Tax Credit Facebook page and “like” it. This will keep you up to date on the legislation. This is a page that has been created by the working group of adoptive organizations who support the tax credit. After you “like” the page, please share the Save the Adoption Tax Credit Facebook page with your friends and ask them to support this legislation.

Then contact your Member of Congress and let them know you support extending and making permanent the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. You can find out who your representative is by clicking on this link to connect you to the US House of Representatives contact page.

Mama Bear Instincts

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

As an adoptive mama, I have become accustomed to curious glances from strangers – rarely does a day go by when I am not asked about our family or adoption. Just last week, I met a lovely couple simply because they were curious about our two younger boys. It was an older Chinese couple, and the man approached me and first asked if all four kids were mine. When I said yes, he asked if my younger boys were adopted. I explained yes, from Taiwan. Turns out his wife was born in Taiwan. He asked some questions about our adoption and even offered to teach me Chinese – it was so sweet. I hope I get a chance to see them again. I love talking about adoption and Taiwan. But our family does look different from most. My protective mama instincts kicked into high gear yesterday when a stranger kept staring at my children and watching us as we walked into our gym. The man was not dressed to work out, and was watching us a little too closely for my comfort. He followed us into the gym and sat down in the lobby. I mentioned my concerns to the childcare coordinator and she was able to figure out he was there to pick up a child from one of the children’s programs. That put my mind at ease. I am fairly certain he was just curious about our family and probably didn’t mean to alarm me. But you can never be too careful and I would rather mention my concern and for it to turn out to be nothing, than ignore it and regret not saying anything.

We celebrated Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Sunday as a family of six. Last year at Easter, we were still waiting to bring our youngest son home. This weekend marked two significant anniversaries for our family. In 2009, on April 8, we received the referral for our first son adopted from Taiwan. He joined our family a few months later. And last year, on April 7, 2011, we learned a court in Taiwan had just issued the final decree for our youngest, making him our third son (and fourth child). This Easter was extra special because all of our children were home with us to celebrate together. I love my sweeties and think they look pretty cute in their Easter attire.