Friday, January 28, 2011

This Month's Weeper

Weepers, in my book, are the songs that are so powerful and relevant to my life that I have to pull over while driving to either fully experience the song or collect myself so I can proceed safely.

Here's my weeper of the month.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Our Adoption is Like Chocolate Mousse

Imagine, if you will, that you woke up this morning craving dessert.

Not just any dessert, but a very specific flavor and texture sensation.  You spent the day feeling the urge for this perfect dessert, trying to put your finger (and taste buds) on exactly what it was that would fill that aching. Not the lunch you packed, the candy in the vending machines or the doughnuts in the break room are going to even begin to touch the yearning of your tongue.

Finally the work day is over, you've had a nourishing dinner and decide to venture out to The Dessert Place.  As you stand contemplating the dizzying array of options, your eyes fall on a single beautiful cup of chocolate mousse.  Every cell in your body cries out "THAT"S IT!" In that very moment, the server behind the counter takes that last, single cup of glorious mousse from the case and places it into the hands of another customer.

What more is there to do but go home, go to bed and wait for whatever the new day brings.


Two months ago, in the opportunity to be presented for a sibling group of 3 (4, 2, and 6 months), I saw my chocolate mousse.  The perfect combination of children needing a home to fulfill the dream image of family that I have been holding all these years from a situation that appeared about as healthy, clean and clear as one could get in adoption. I love the idea of the stair-step children (10, 7, 4, 2, and a baby seems perfect).  I love the idea of 5 kids.  I love the distribution of boys and girls.  I love the balance of color this little band would bring to our family.  I love that they had and would always have each other.

Open-eyed, honest evaluation of the reality of bringing three children under the age of 5 into our family all at once clearly showed that the only person currently in our home this would be great for was me.  Everyone else would struggle - and they'd get through it - but it would be super chaos and hard for everyone, maybe tearing us apart for years to come.  And because I love and value my current relationships with my husband and two amazing beautiful children so much, we chose not to be presented for this darling band of siblings.

In that moment, I saw that while there were many ways we could bring more children into our life, that dream I held for the family I wanted is no longer possible. I saw the reality that with this little group of 3 we could have a full family and be "done" at the same time, able to plan what's next with as much certainty as one ever can.  I realized how much I don't want to start over with a whole new set of babies when the two I already have are now at this age of freedom where we can travel and explore and talk and experience the world together.

So I'm done.  Bill and I have decided to wrap up this phase of our life and put the dream of more children and a big family to rest.  In a huge jumble of mixed feelings I am happy, sad, elated, relieved, excited and disappointed all at the same time. Sometimes I ache for the large family I now know I will never have and sometimes I can hardly stand the excitement of seeing what's next for both me and our now complete little family.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Charity Navigator

I love to support organizations that do the work I think makes our world a better place.  The problem often is, though, how to figure out which organizations to support.  I hear stories of non-profits where money and resources is poorly spent or most of the dollars go to the director's salary. So mostly I stick to the groups I know and hope they run a clean operation. 

Enter Charity Navigator!  I happened upon it last night reading an email from Western Washington Girl Scouts.  Charity Navigator rates non-profits.  Enter your favorite charity and the web site will show you an overall rating, organization efficiency, income statement and other useful information to rate your choices by.

Let me know what your favorite organizations are and how they rate!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dreaming A Church For Me?

Chartres Cathedral window.
I grew up in a Pentecostal church, Four Square to be exact.  As a young adult, I eschewed all things God, though I did eventually find myself comfortable in some of the New Age spirituality and ideas.

As I mature I don't really miss church per se, but I've come to miss many aspects of having a religious community.  While I've visited a few local churches and thought about what I value and want from a place of worship, my hopes fail that anything in the Seattle area will work for our family.

In my wildest dreams, what I hope for my family is:
- A diverse group. This means at least 50% people of color (heavily participating in leadership) and plenty of LGBT folks.
- Inclusive. I want a church that reflects my belief that we are all One - or precious in the eyes of God as the words from my childhood promised.  So I need a congregation that stands for, and works towards, the equality of all its members - no matter their color, abilities, or sexual orientation.
- Tolerant of varying levels of belief.  Pinning down my own personal belief system evades me.  If one is willing to put spirituality on a continuum (which I am, though many are not), I range somewhere between agnostic and New Age.  Tracking my hubby's current level of belief is even trickier than my own, in part because I don't live in his head. I want a community that supports and accepts each member of our family where we are right now. I dream of a fellowship focused on a rich spiritual life drawing from many of the world's wisdoms and religions without an evangelistic need to make one belief the right path.
- Really great music. Remember, I grew up in a Pentecostal church? I want singing, clapping and loud proclamations of joy during a worship service.
- Community focused. As in a congregation that supports the healthy connection of its members through offering potlucks, various focus group meetings (like marriage, singles, parents, anti-racism, youth), and family events. Ooooooo...  And women's groups.  I long for a warm, supportive women's group.
- For bonus points - Near my house. I want my church to be part of my community, too. Driving 40 minutes to meet with people I can only see during services because the overhead is too far to get together other times doesn't really work for me.

Living in Seattle, I've found many a church that mets some of the above needs, and fails profoundly at the others.  I've heard of a church on the Bay area that ticks off my list beautifully, and I'm green with spiritual jealousy.  Inklings of hope that a church like that will open in Seattle someday trickle through my brain occasionally.

In the meantime, I'll continue to dream. Now that I've shared my hopes with you, let me know if you hear of anything.