Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One of those tear-jerker moments

If anyone can melt a heart, it's a child.  Today when I took the kids to school, Alex gave me extra hugs.  Then he went to line up with his class, proudly taking the line leader spot.  As I walked away, he yelled "bye mom!"  for everyone to hear.  Those days are surely numbered.  This is the same kid who announced yesterday that he was embarrassed to be seen hugging his sister in front of other kids. And the same kid who recently revealed feeling somewhat embarrassed about being adopted.  But thankfully, for now, he's not embarrassed to be seen with me.  Last year when I would pick him up at pre-school, if one of the teachers or helpers said, "Alex, your mom's here," he would adamantly respond, "She's NOT my mom!"  Understandable.  I let the kids take their time and decide when to transition from calling me "Sarah" to "Mommy Sarah" to "Mom."  Sometimes I wonder where this boy got all his sweetness & how he ended up in my life. :)  I guess that's what people mean when they say that kids are a gift.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Don't "Should" my Kids!

Have you ever thought about how kids are under constant scrutiny?  I mean, as adults, we have so many more choices for dealing with a bad day. Want some chocolate, coffee, or other comfort food?  Just take some.  Kids have to ask.  Want to call in sick and do something enjoyable for yourself?  Sure, you have the freedom to do that. It's called a "mental health day."  Kids, on the other hand, are always being called out.  Uh-oh, looks like you made a mistake!  It's time-out for you, bed early, loss of privileges, etc. 

For some of our kids, mine in particular, their development does not line up 100% with their age.  Take a minute to watch this clip about why adopted kids sometimes don't act their age:   

Phrases like, "5 year olds sit nicely while we read a story" or "4 year olds don't need help to eat" are so hurtful to kids who are finally learning to reach out and trust adults for help.  Today, my mama alarm went off when Ali's teacher pulled me aside to say that "she's not listening well" and "she shouldn't have anything she doesn't need for school in her backpack."  Then she went on to correct Ali right in front of me: "you shouldn't talk to you r mom in that voice."  She had only allowed about 5 minutes to talk to us, and I really didn't get a chance to say anything other than, "I hope we can talk about this more later-maybe at conferences."  On the way out of school, I told Ali that I would talk to her teacher more later and that everybody has a bad day.  I reminded her how proud of her I am for how much better she's doing this year at school, and how I know she can be a good listener. 

But, the teacher has no idea what sort of implications this shame-based system can bring on. For starts, Ali began to cry on the way to the car.  Then she cried again as we ran a quick errand.  Upon entering our house, she curled up with her favorite blanket in our recliner and just bawled.  I rocked her.  I told her again how proud I am of her when she makes good choices and that she'll just have to show her teacher what a good listener she can be.  Today is the first time in months that Ali has actually fallen asleep at rest time, emotionally exhausted.

What a sorry state we would all be in if our friends didn't give us any grace.  It would truly be exhausting.  If every time we messed up, someone was there to say "you really should/shouldn't have..."  We have all had some bumps along our roads, and we all have to do the best we can with God's help.  I cannot express how thankful I am for the changes our kids have made.  As long as their hearts are soft and teachable, they can overcome.  If they believe the lie that they're just not good enough, just not hitting the mark, they will give up.  And who wouldn't?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Wow, what a whirlwind of a weekend!  Going backwards...we officially adopted the kids Monday, May 14!  We were blessed to have another mom from the kids' preschool provide attorney services for what the state would reimburse us.  She is also Alex's soccer coach!  The kids were fairly at ease during the process & Alex clearly looks ready to take over as judge if anyone will let him.

On Sunday, the kids were dedicated at church.  We are so thankful for our church family who has walked through this process with us, babysitting & offering words of encouragement.  We're so thankful that they have hearts that are open to love & have a desire to pray.  We're thankful for those who went before us to show God's love to them, and we're excited to see what God has planned for them.  They are teaching us a lot, challenging us to deepen our faith, and encouraging us to have simple faith at the same time.  After the dedication, Dave was holding Ali  & she put her arm around me too, resting her head on both of us.  I think she is finally starting to feel at peace.

On Saturday, we had an open house party.  Alex was literally standing out on the front porch yelling to anyone who would listen, "Hi neighbors!  Come to our 'doption party!"  We had a great celebration & received a lot of very thoughtful gifts.  We gave the kids necklaces engraved with their new names (Alexander Gabriel Kornmann and Alisynn Ann Kornmann) and the words "we love you."  They were going around asking everyone at the party to read them. At the end of the day, Alex wanted me to read his & then he said, "that's how I feel right now" and made a heart shape with his hands.

It's our hope and prayer that the kids continue to feel more secure in our family and in knowing that God is always with them.  He has certainly answered our prayers throughout this adoption journey!