Courtney S. Barr

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Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Simple Name and I'm in Tears....

“It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things.”

-Donald Miller


We saw so many wonderful people this past week who are excited for us, anxious for us and supporting us. To each of them we want to thank you. For asking, for caring and for listening when we simply stated “We are now waiting to be assigned a social worker…” You each smiled and said you would keep us in your prayers, for that we are forever grateful and now…

A name.

This past week all we have been doing was waiting for a name.

I have not spoken to her yet, I have no idea if she is from the area, if she is southern, if she is older, younger, blonde, brunette, African American, Caucasian, Irish, chatty, quiet…but she is one of the most important keys to the journey in front of us.

Today in my inbox was the name of our Social Worker. This woman will work closely with us throughout the adoption journey. She will be the ‘mediator’ between the birthmothers and us. For lack of a better term, she will sell us to the mother of our child just as she will sell the options of birthmothers to us. She will guide us through more paperwork, through more red tape and will be there when we get tired, when we begin to doubt or worry or fall to anxious thoughts.

This woman has a task before her. If you know me, then you understand; I want to know her. I want to be able to email, text, chat, ask, listen, learn and to make her an extended arm of our new family.

Today I cried. Sitting at my desk, glancing at the small 4 inch screen of my phone I read the words “_R_ is your Social Worker.  She will call you at the beginning of next week.” (She’s out of town this whole week so another 6 days will pass, but the lump that had grown in my stomach as we waited for the announcement of our Social Worker is now gone, replaced by another new acknowledgement.)

Life just got very real.

I thought the last adoption entry was where it all began, but I believe I need to just resign myself to accepting that things will begin and begin and begin and begin, over and over and over. Each day of this journey is new for us. Each layer of the process is something that we have never encountered – we are constantly learning, listening, wondering and praying.

So today, on our sweet dog Snickers’ first birthday we will celebrate the rescue puppy that expanded our hearts and as we love on him tonight our minds will wander to the sweet face that will one day celebrate alongside of us, laughing as we play outside, tossing toys and treats and enjoying the memories, because today we just got another step closer to our child.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What a blessing my Heavenly Father has given me in my earthly father....

  • "My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
    -- Clarence Budington Kelland, U.S. Writer

He continues to do so and I'm blessed to see so much of Heavenly Father in him.

Now more than ever before I look back on parenting, my own parents, my friends parents and my how my siblings parent. In each group I treasure the moments I've been allowed to share with them. As we continue this process to expand our family, to become parents of our children I find that every day brings emotion to my life...worries, excitement, anticipation and delight because of the examples I was given. I pray that God continues to bless our family, that we continue to seek His guidance and that we will always walk in the footsteps he has laid out for us as we begin this new journey. It is days like today that bring me even closer to God...

Today is a day that reminds me of so many moments in my life...days where I curled up next to his side, pressed against him letting my eyes close and my heart rest as he protected me from whatever nightmare slipped in; Christmas mornings curled up on his lap as he helped me break through every plastic barrier, crazy twist tie and annoying cardboard box that was in place around She-RA, Barbie, My Little Pony or the newest Cabbage Patch doll - he would pull out a tool, one filled with mechanisms and simplify the process- amazing me with this single ability to always have the right thing to help me. As I got older the lap seemed to grow smaller so I resigned myself to laying against his side, head on his chest and arm over his belly. His beard has always been scratchy on my cheek and his laughter has always made me grin. 

I always felt he was mine and mine alone, even with 3 siblings, I am the baby so of course he's mine...but then we would Omaha to see family, stopping in Kansas or Oklahoma - a random convenience store for a "mom break" (bathroom of course) and almost every time, all around the country from Any town in Bama to Orlando to Omaha to St. Louis to Okoboji to Denver we would run into someone who knew him...yes knew my father. It would baffle all of us and in time be a trait that taught me so much. These people were glad to see him, they would run over, slap him on the back and reminisce about whatever "last time" together they shared. He always met them with a smile, a handshake and a simple how is your family? He always remembered their name, their loved ones and some detail about their life that automatically took a chance meeting of a acquaintance into the realm of finding an old friend. To this day I'll never forget the kindness he's taught me, the ability to smile even when aggravated about something else, the hospitality he always shows...thanksgivings at our house were full: hunters, state troopers, local cops, game wardens, random travelers...I learned about welcoming your home to those less fortunate, those who may have more than you and to open your heart to all walks of life from puppies, to kittens and beyond. His heart always has room to give and love. He taught me to love how things work, to be curious about mechanical issues, to never let my mind quit wondering "how", "why" and "what can I do to help". He made my sweet Marcus always feel like family, from the first non date dinner to the first real date dinner at home, where a boy sat across from a man and grinned as he was invited to "chew on the bone of a T-bone steak" forever cementing a bond that still brings a smile to my husbands face. I am never afraid when I'm with him, I know he is strong in body, mind and heart. God have me earthly parents who are beyond words, beyond description and beyond measure. I am my best because of them and the love I hold in my heart is strongest because they love me. 

I am grateful for my family, I'm humbled by their love and today I cherish moments beside a mountaintop, hours walking through the woods, weekends along creek beds, rambling on four wheelers, a bearded man sitting cross legged having a tea party with a girl and her dolls, afternoons talking sports, days on end of squishy belly pillows and scratchy chin kisses. He is where my broad shoulders come from - strong enough to carry my future children, where my stubbornness joins the same gift from mom making me ambitious and annoying at times, He is where I get my love of animals, my desire to help and my compassionate heart. He is my first hero, the one who taught me to hug with all my might and the man I looked for in the man I married - I treasure the phrase "sometimes you marry someone just like your father" and the man my own husband continues to treasure as another father in this great life. I thank you Heavenly Father for supplying me with an example of your love in all the earthly ways possible, He is exactly who I need and who I know my own children will love for all the same reasons and then some...I love you daddy...

Happy Fathers Day! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Our Adoption Journey Stage 2: Value

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” - Morrie Schwartz
You all learned from my TMI post the other week what path led us to this decision, but I am learning that this decision & process has many stages each more important than the last…
Ever been asked the uncomfortable questions? You know the ones:
“How long have y’all been dating? And you still aren’t engaged?” (yeah…I can thank a certain Teacher/coach from high school for my husband’s 10 year courtship…still cracks me up)
“oh, you just got married! Have you talked about having kids?”
“I heard that you two are having some issues conceiving…was it drugs? I hear those can truly hinder fertility.” (still a favorite of mine by the way – that question actually had me laughing out loud)
“So. Was it him? Slow swimmers? You? Hostile environment...down there? – I hear both can be contributing factors.” (the laughter continued)
It really is amazing the questions casually asked in simple conversation. As a teen I thought it was the gossip patrol, the nosy, the only way to hear the good rumors – some true, some not. Then into my early twenties it was ‘background information’. It was helping that girlfriend or guyfriend discover the pertinent information about the person they were dating.  Yeah, lists were made, items were checked off and break ups occurred. Now in this immediate age of split second technology information is gathered, sifted and re-transmitted before I can finish typing this sentence. It’s not all bad. It’s not all gathered intel to embarrass, exploit or scandalize the lives we are all leading. My heart of hearts reminds me that getting to know one another, seeing that we are not alone, that others experience the drama, turmoil, joy, happiness…these things help us. They move us forward towards the next stages we must face. If ever you inquired about us and we weren't quick to give a lot of details, or my face took on the defensive reaction, or I let a snarky remark escape my lips - I apologize. It may happen again, for that I am almost positive, but again I will ask for your patience and forgiveness. I know you care and now more than ever we are looking for support, for guidance and for the sweet friend who is asking & walks away, mentally adding our tiny family to their prayer list - what a blessing to have people who genuinely wish us well. You took an interest, showed us love and often continued to do so even when we did not know it. You see, I never thought the invasive questions I’ve asked others, questions I’ve been asked and situations where I’m at a loss for words would be stepping stones, preparation for Stage 2 in our adoption process…yet they are.
We sat at a computer last week, scrolling through page after page of questions; each one growing with intimacy and invasion. M was overwhelmed by some of the Prospective Father inquiries. We made lists of the ones we needed to return to and I typed carefully the answers we had at the ready. Each question builds a more personal, intimate scrutiny; the internal reaction of being judged is there – how we answer these questions, how we reply to their interest in us makes us cautious – no one likes to be judged. We aren’t even supposed to judge, but the natural reaction is more often...judgment.  We feel defensive, we feel a little violated and more than often we scrunch up our faces and wonder “why do they need to know that?”
Some of them were easy, just vital information, but others…the financials, the personal story questions, the questions on your faith…these tested us…then you get to your desired child section – the list is beyond long, the situations they place: alcohol during 1st trimester, 2nd trimester, cocaine, heroin, LSD usage, rape victim…then the medical options…then the family histories…it can break you in two just to realize that all of these are necessary sections to review and consider. My heart ached for these young women, they made choices – I know that – but I wonder sometimes if love had been handed to them in the simplest form of ‘interest’ in their life would they be where they are??? Was interest given without love? Were the nosiest, the ones who miserably seek to ruin your day because they are lost too, the only ones who spoke to these women?
The birth mother ministry of our adoption process has been the hardest to wrap our heads around…until this part of the questions. These women have made the most questionable decisions…until now. Because now I see it differently: They are choosing life. To give life to what they may deem a mistake, a bad night, a drunken stupor, a tragic act of rape or any other of the many situations listed...they are choosing to let these children live a life with love. In that second, in that moment, my heart swelled for the woman who is carrying/will be carrying our child. She is strong. She may have had a moment of weakness, she may have been a victim, she may have chosen to turn down a dark path once, but the light that has led her to this act…it shines so bright that the shadows fall away completely. I also realized I love her. I don’t love her just because she is giving me a gift I cannot fulfill alone but because she deserves my love and to not give it would be a travesty to my faith and terrible example for our child. It’s the heart that matters in the end and she will open hers to us.
So Stage 2 has been checked off our list, it has been sent to be reviewed and looked over – not to be judged but to be accepted. We have value, she has value and the sweet, innocent heart of our child is valued as well. So all these questions, these invasive lists are the pieces that begin to build the house that we are preparing for this beautiful child of ours and the stability that she will see when she releases her ‘mistake, her drunken stupor, tragic act of rape…” and she receives the love that we will shower upon her. We must accept her, bringing praise to God all the while knowing that God values her. He sees beyond the moments that found her broken, to Him she is perfect and He sees her beautifully fulfilling His plan. He loves her, so do we…“No matter what you’ve been through, your value has not changed since the day you were born.  You’re valuable to God!”  - Pastor Layne Schranz, Church of the Highlands; Message Series: The Book of James