Our 8 year old daughter recently asked me if she could take the 'Asperger' label off her electronic device she was taking to school because she was being teased at school for her last name. No surprise - we have heard it a million times - add an extra 's' and a 'burger' and there you have an easy target for some snickering. This time, though, I was actually offended by the fact that my daughter, instead of being proud of her last name, felt like she wanted to hide it from others. Insert Holy Spirit (so thankful He shows up at a moment's notice to bail me out!) and here is how our conversation proceeded.
Eliana, you should be very proud of your last name, because it is your daddy's name and he gave it to you because he chose you and loves you. When I married your daddy, he gave me his last name as a special gift so that everyone would know that I am his wife. I love to be Angie Asperger because I love to be daddy's wife and I am proud that others know he is my husband just by calling my name. Daddy is a man of integrity, who pours out his life to love and care for us, and it is an honor to share his last name and be identified with him. The bible says in Genesis 2 that when a man & woman marry each other, "they two shall become one flesh" and sharing a last name shows that commitment. Some day, you will marry a man of integrity, and he will you give you his last name and you will be proud to be his wife.
At this point, I notice that this spur of the moment conversation, which started out with an audience of 1 has now grown to an audience of all 6 six kids intently listening. Thank you Jesus for directing the attention of our five handsome Asperger boys to the conversation. Conversation proceeds with...and some day all 5 of your brothers will give their last name to a wife and they need to work hard to protect the integrity of their last name by choosing to honor Christ with their actions as well. Their wives will be proud to be Asperger women, because it will be given to them as a pure and precious gift.
I pray that we can always be proud of our last name as it is identified with love, commitment, respect, family and honor. Thank you Joe for giving us such a precious gift - may we always depend on the work of the Spirit within us to remain proudly identified as the Asperger 8
Sunday, February 24, 2013
As the mother of 6 kiddos, I have met many a screaming children running into the house, dripping blood and sure they are headed to the ER as a reward for their fearless adventures. Having a 5:6 ratio of boys to girls certainly tips the scales in this category :o)
They have learned that they are sure to receive 3 types of band aids from me:
1 - 'Regular band aid' (to stop the dripping and save the flooring)
2 - 'Mommy band aid' (kiss)
3 - 'Jesus band aid' (prayer)
What a joy when the tears stop and they bound off to their next adventure, fully satisfied that they have received full healing from their tragedy and ready to take on the next challenge!
But what about the wounds that the rest of the world doesn't see? What about the ones that can't be stopped with a 'regular band aid' and that at times resist the love from a 'mommy band aid' & that are exhaustively covered with a 'Jesus band aid'....& they are still there?
What about the sensory disorganized child that laughs and begs for help one second and cries and refuses it the next? What about the child that moderates their environment through manipulation and although they love positive attention, it is not enough and they strangely crave the negative attention even more? What about the child that is rolling around on the floor, shrieking, "Why won't you help me?!" & when the 'Mommy kiss' reaches down to help, they shriek, "No! Don't pick me up!"? What about the child that struggles academically & try as they might, processing & attention difficulties stand between them & academic success? What about the child whose frame of reference was altered at such an early age that their sense of reality is often overshadowed with unrealistic expectations and confusion of emotions? And what about the child born with club feet, that are fully corrected, but is beginning to realize the challenges of feet that do not fit into shoes & ski boots without causing skin lesions?
I believe that The Great Physician is fully capable of healing every one of my children of every scrape, wound, challenge & illness without any help. "God's got this!" is the cry of my heart that is filled to bursting with faith in Jesus' healing power. However, in a world that is perfect no longer, we have chosen to become parents that embrace the delicate balance of Jesus' healing & modern medicine modalities. The modalities currently embraced at our home include: medication, neurofeedback training, biolite therapy, melatonin & time-ins (versus outs), just to name a few :o). Not to mention the highly individualized teaching techniques utilized for the auditory & otherwise processing challenged & attention deficit issues in our home.
Why share this information? Because we are not alone in this beautiful journey & it is lived more fully when we are real with others. Embracing the journey with zeal for every challenge and rejoicing for every victory is only made possible when we are real with our community of support. The 'modality' that is the most powerful and effective in our lives is the intense power of a million fellow prayer warriors that fall to their knees for one another daily. When we are weak, He is strong and when the names of our children leave the lips of our fellow warriors in sincere petition on their behalf - mountains move.
So, 'modality band aid' has now made it onto my list of band aids. Thankful that band aids are temporary & heaven is eternal. Until then, may we embrace every possible option to inch us closer to emotional, spiritual & physical wholeness knowing that the Great Physician's hand is ever present when we call upon His great name.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
As an adoptive parent, it is the 'routine' events in life that grieve my heart the most. They are the promises that we will experience the 'un-routine' as our children's worldview and frame of reference are forever altered to be challenged by the 'routine'. The extreme happy, scary and sad times have proved over the past 7 years of this beautiful journey to ride the highest of highs and lowest of lows (sometimes within the same few minutes, over and over again).
This week, we had a 'routine' well visit (a.k.a. shots) for Bereket and Joey. Joey sits in the waiting room happy and joyful (as usual) - enjoying the extra 2 on 1 attention of mommy in the moment (as the other 4 children were at home). Bereket, on the other hand, is pacing the waiting room. "Mommy, my stomach hurts - I don't like to come here." His frame of reference screams to his soul - 'be scared of this experience as you know it is lonely and painful'. The nurse calls their names and they bound, skip, jump (literally) down the hallway in typical boy fashion to the scales. The nurse is immediately irritated by their 'energy' and my heart sinks as she speaks firmly to my boys. Bereket is fidgeting all over the scales, touching every possible item and speaking in his typically loud and nervous fashion. His frame of reference, since the moment he was abandoned, had bacterial meningitis and 3 long term hospitalizations in Ethiopia with noone to hold him in their arms, sing sweet lullabies of God's promises, and be willing to sacrifice all of their earthly energy to show their precious child he is loved (in the fashion that we, as parents, have had the privilege of lavishing on our biological children) ....is to fear...and shut down to avoid the pain that is too deep to bear of being alone.
We make it through the doctor portion pf the visit (barely). For any of you that parent the wonderful challenge of energetic boys - you know the picture (volume, pitch, activity, redirection, exhausting every bit of energy to find productive ways to entertain in the wait...all a privilege and season the Lord Himself has called us to and equipped us through). Then come the shots...
The nurse walks back into the room...already exasperated by the thought of this experience. She is unaware that I have been praying for her since the moment she called my boys names and made the comment, "boy, they sure are excited." while walking back to the scales. I initial the 5 vaccinations that each boy needs and we proceed. Time always stands still for me in these moments of trauma for my sweet children. Why? I do not know the answer, but I believe the Lord has given me this gift of pain & suffering so that I can catch a tiny glimpse of the pain that my adoptive children experience - so that my heart can grow to a size that is difficult to bear so I can be equipped for the challenge of loving them through the ridiculous that we often experience. It is ridiculous to the world's eyes as they see it as 'behavior' - it is ridiculous to me as I now see it as unacceptable that any child should have to suffer such trauma because their frame of reference as been altered by the devastating reality of sin in this world. Immediately, Bereket goes into panic mode. Screaming, crying, refusing to be consoled. His eyes literally change shape and gloss over as he no longer sees me as mom. He is begging, literally, to be pardoned from this deep pain that is resonating with his soul and it has nothing...nothing to do with the shots he is about to be given. His pitiful panicked voice screams, "no...don't hold me! let me sit up...don't hold me!" The nurse is losing patience and she begins to raise her voice and sternly says to him, "you have to stop!" This is my breaking point. I don't expect everyone to understand, but I have learned over the past 4 years that it is my duty, as his mother, to educate the ignorant (not necessarily intentionally, but ignorant none the less) in the immediate to protect his soul. As I am physically struggling with my panicked (in every way) 5 year old, my eyes meet hers and say, "He is NOT going to settle down. You MUST be patient and DO YOUR JOB right NOW!" When she is finished, I scoop my sweet, BROKEN (again) precious boy into my arms and attempt to console him. He wants me, but is unable to allow himself to melt into me. I hold his stiff little body against mine until he is able to submit while I whisper all the assurances the Lord gives me to tell him. I am making her wait for me to finish loving on him (as Joey is still waiting for his vaccines) and she is speechless. I am unsure if she understands the gravity of the situation, but I pray that the Father of the fatherless is softening her heart as she observes.
Next it is Joey's turn and he clings to me (not resists) as if his life depends on it. When his shots are done, he melts into my arms and KNOWS that he is safe.
It is the 'routine' that I carry the most grief for. I pray, like my very depends on it (because I know that my adoptive children's lives do depend on it), that with each 'un-routine' event in their lives...it becomes more 'routine' as the Healer tirelessly works to bring redemption to their broken beginnings.
This journey of redemption for my children is beautiful...and painful....and I love it, even though it is difficult to bear for I would not understand the love of my Father in such depth if He hadn't chosen me to be their mommy...