In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.















Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Color of Your Heart is Beautiful

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter Brittany, gave me a book called “I’m Gonna Like Me” by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell because she knows I am seeking to embrace myself. It is actually a children’s book but it is quite fitting for what I am seeking. My daughters know that I love children’s books and we are really loving this one.

It is not only a fitting message for myself but for the little’s as well.  When the little’s express to me that they want to be anything other than what God created them to be it hurts my heart….like when little man says he wishes his skin was the same as everyone in his family or when little lady say’s she wishes she had black straight hair like me instead of her blond curly hair… it hurts my heart because I want them to embrace and love who they are.

While I know it is normal and part of our human condition to want or desire other traits or looks, I do want them to embrace their beauty which is something I never learned how to do.

When little lady literally sobs because she didn’t get to be inside my tummy or little man cries because his other Mommy said something to him about taking him away from us, it not only breaks my heart each and every time but I am not always sure what to say to them.  I do not have all the answers. While children are not born with a manual, raising your grandchildren definitely does not come with a manual.

I am not so naïve that I don’t know that some day they will question why we raised them and not their other Mommy. Some day they are going to want to know about their birth fathers and how do you explain to children about prison, one night stands and fathers that didn’t want to be a dad? They will have questions and we will have to have answers that won’t tear down who they are and where they have came from. As much as we can say they were wanted by us, will that be enough? Will our being here or wanting them  be enough to lessen the pain that those that birthed them did not step up to the plate, let alone want them?

I know that some who are adopted question and seek out to know where they came from. While we did choose to take them in, it is still not the same as adoption. We did not pick them out and we were not seeking to be parents.

I do not want them to take what their birth parents did personal or to think they were some mistake. I want them to know that in spite of everything, we wanted them and that when the time came, we chose to be their parents. And I hope and pray with all of my heart that this will be enough for them.

For my little’s it is normal to them that while we are Grandpa & Grandma, we are mostly and foremost Daddy & Mommy to them. Their normal includes having a “other Mommy” that they see for a couple hours, once every 4-8 weeks and talk to on the phone.

We are a different family and while I am fine with being different, I don’t want my little’s for one second to think that different is bad or means they are less than anyone. The more they get out in to the world, the less we are able to protect them from the ignorance or cruelty of others.

A couple of weeks ago a little girl in little man’s class told him that he is going to hell because he doesn’t attend church. I asked him if he knows what hell is and he said, “No but it doesn’t sound good.” 

That same girl told him yesterday that she isn’t sure if brown skinned people go to heaven either. I told him, “Apparently this little girl doesn’t know much about this because if she did she would know that going to hell or heaven has nothing to do with going to church or the color of our skin.” He responded with, “Nope, it’s about the color of our hearts.”  That’s right little man, and the color of your heart is beautiful.

I want their love buckets to be so full that when they realize the truth about where they came from and how they came to be with us that they will view this knowledge with a fullness inside each of them that help them handle it and see it as their beautiful story instead of a negative thing.

I want to fill their love buckets so full right now  that when the truths of life hits them or others are cruel, they do not crumble under the weight of it. I don’t want them to be susceptible to the germs of ignorance, hate or discrimination.

I have parented long enough to know that I cannot put them in a bubble and prevent them from ever feeling hurt. My prayer is that having a full bucket will keep the hurt from sticking. 

Wouldn’t we have a different world if everyone knew they had value and worth and thus liked themselves? Wouldn’t it benefit all of us if all people embraced being different? 

Wouldn’t it be great if the picture perfect ideal was each person looking and being their beautiful selves? For each of us to say I am beautiful like me?

 

 

I’m Gonna Like Me

by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

 

I’m gonna like me when I jump out of bed, from my giant big toe to the braids on my head.

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I’m gonna like me when I grin and I see the space in my mouth where two teeth used to be.

 

I’m gonna like me wearing flowers and plaid. I have my own style. I don’t follow some fad.

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I’m gonna like me when I climb on and wave as the bus pulls away and I’m feeling so brave.

I’m gonna like me when I’m called on to stand. I know all my letters like the back of my hand.

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I’m gonna like me when my answer is wrong, like thinking my ruler was ten inches long.

I’m gonna like me when I’m sharing my lunch cause just like bananas friends come in a bunch.

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I’m gonna like me when I jump up so high. I’ll twist and I’ll stretch straight up to the sky.

I’m gonna like me when I don’t go so fast. Then they pick teams and I’m chosen last.

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I’m gonna like me when I do the right thing and return what I found even when it’s a ring.

I’m gonna like me when I’m feeling strong. I walk with a smile, arm swinging, legs long.

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I’m gonna like me when I sit with my mom and make a get well card for my sick friend Tom.

I’m gonna like me when I eat something new, even if Grandma makes octopus stew.

I’m gonna like me when I make a mistake and put out the candles on Dad’s birthday cake.

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I’m gonna like me when I open the box and smile and say “Thanks” even though I got socks.

 

I’m gonna like me when I try a new task. I bring in a plate before I am asked.

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I’m gonna like me when I clean in a flash and play with my brother and take out the trash.

I’m gonna like me when I cuddle up tight and know as I’m sleeping I’m safe and all right.

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I’m gonna like me cause I’m loved and I know it, and liking myself is the best way to show it.

Jordan looking through holeNevaeh at park with Judie

I’m gonna like me. I already do! But enough about me- How about you?

 

I can barely get through this story without crying because the desire of my heart is to truly say, “I like me.” and mean it. My hope is that each of us could say these words and not only believe them but with a smile on our faces.

Here’s to beautiful you(and me!)!

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori

 

 

36 comments:

Stella said...

Sometimes the biggest lessons come in the form of children's books. Because, maybe, we all seek those same things until we finally get it down. I'm with you honey!

Jeannie said...

You've said sooo much. I'm sure when the time comes, you'll be able to answer all the questions with love even if you haven't got the words to form the answers.

Regardless of how your kids found you, you love them and that is what matters. If their biological parents weren't grown up enough to take care of them, it's no fault of those beautiful kids. It's just so fortunate for them that you were grown up enough.

ain't for city gals said...

Children learn by example and you are a shining star in their lives...it will all be good.

Natalie said...

All you will need to do Lori, is show them your blog. it is full of their story and how much you have adored them. If we as strangers can read the love between the words, then the Littles will surely resonate with what you have written as they have lived it. Fear not, they may wobble, but they won't fall over.♥

She Writes said...

This sounds like a good book. As far as I know there are no "normal" families. We are all just doing the best we can.

Brian Miller said...

nice...i love this book...they got you so they gonna be alright you just keep telling them and filling them up....lo9ve the donut cake...thought i was the nly nut that did that...

LauraX said...

Lori, I think perhaps this is my absolute favorite of ALL your posts I've read. I think you have your own beautiful book inside and exactly the right photos to go with the story. I do believe with all of my heart that these 3 little children understand in the deepest possible way that they are loved completely...because you show them that every single day with your actions, your words, you generous heart. And the more you learn to cultivate that very same love for yourself, the stronger the knowing will be for them too!

You are an amazing woman, mother, grandmother, human and friend...a blessing an angel an inspiration to all of us who really see you and your true beauty.

I am so grateful to have you in my life now...YOU are a shining STAR
>♥< (and a luminous heart too!)

deb colarossi said...

You get me every time , Lori.
sigh

Deborah said...

You said so many beautiful things in your post, I especially liked the part about making their buckets so full, the hurts won't stick. I have known you a short time, and only through your posts, but its so obvious how much you love the littles. If there is no doubt in my mind, a random blog reader, there surely is no doubt in the little's mind. You are providing a home filled with warmth and love and FUN! I love reading your posts, getting to know you better, and the pictures are super! Have a great evening, Lori.

Linda said...

I can understand the anxiety you must feel about a time in the future when the Littles will ask difficult questions. I just urge you to pray about it. God will give you the words when you need them. Meanwhile, the Littles will have no doubt that they are loved.

And about that going to heaven thing...all God asks is that we believe in His Son and trust in what He has done to redeem us. Church is nice, and I highly recommend it; but it doesn't save anyone.

SciFi Dad said...

Very sweet story.

As to your musing at the beginning, I think, in time, they will learn the truth, and will appreciate your efforts that much more. Ultimately, what matters most to them is that you care for them and love them. The rest are just questions that pop into (and out of) their heads with ease.

jpooh said...

Oh, Lori. This post made me cry...I don't know what to say other than your Littles are SO lucky to have you.

You are my hero, you know - no matter the color of your skin, the color of your heart is perfect.

Jan

Fragrant Liar said...

Oh, my heart goes out to you, Lori. I can imagine how difficult it must be to watch your grandkids have to deal with that, and you and your husband are so wonderful to be the upstanding kind of family they need. They will depend on you to get through this and will be so grateful that you were there for them when they get to be adults. Hard to deal with now, but I think it will all work out fine. I have faith in you.

xo

TechnoBabe said...

Nothing about this post is sad to me, except the little girl who thinks she knows so much about how to get into heaven. Can you imagine the home she lives in and is being taught prejudice and closed mind religion? She is the one I feel sorry for. Your littles are fortunate to be living in a more normal atmosphere of love and real life.

kcinnova said...

So many beautiful words from your beautiful heart!
Others have said more beautifully the words I have for you, Lori, so I will gently point you back to reading them.
Those that wrote words that especially echoed my own heart were Jeannie, Natalie, Deborah, Linda, and TechnoBabe.

"Jesus loves the little children,
ALL the children of the world --
Red and yellow, black and white --
They are precious in his sight!
Jesus loves the little children of the world."

lime said...

brought tears to my eyes with this one. i'm so glad you were given a book with such a good message and that you are instilling it into the the littles. although they are still some days wanting to be other than who they are it's ok, it's part of the process of accepting yourself. it seems the truth has already seeped in and colored their hearts beautiful since they are able to put it in such words.

may i also offer the perspective of an adult adoptee? i understand your concerns about answering the questions the littles may have about their birthparents. i'll just tell you what my parents did that was so right. yes, convey how much they were wanted by you and your husband. but don't be afraid to answer whatever questions come in an honest and age appropriate way but in a way that instills compassion for their birth parents...answers that don't judge but just present facts. birthparents were not ready to be the mommy and daddy needed because of some of the other choices they made in life.

i wish you and your family love, acceptance and peace.

(another children's book you might really like with a similar message is "i love monkey" by s. kauffman)

Buckeroomama said...

The Little's are so blessed have you in their lives. They really are.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is such a beautiful message to share. Those photos of your sweet children are just wonderful, so full of love and joy. (the tea photo outside is PERFECTION of childhood!)
We had one of Jamie Lee Curtis's other books about feelings, we loved it as well.
You are doing a wonderful job with the littles; never doubt that.
xoxoxo

ellen abbott said...

your family sounds normal to me. and they will know. how can they not when they have a home filled with so much love.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

I love children's books, the messages are simple and so true. Your littles are so adorable, and very lucky to have you.

My Aimless Infatuation said...

((Hug))This hug goes out to "little man"...."all that matters is the color of our hearts". Oh, if only the world was as WISE as he,what a wonderful world this would be.........each and every one of you brighten my day,thank you all.

ladyfi said...

I love the thought that what matters is the colour of our hearts!

My two kids are adopted (African origins) and don't look like us...So I do know the pain you speak of.

Friko said...

Loving is all you need and if you learn to love yourself first you will soon learn to love others.

Have you thought of telling your little ones a little of their history now? Just a tiny bit, as much as they can understand right now, and go on, telling them a bit more if and when they ask questions. The best thing to do with adopted and fostered children I found, is to be honest and give them answers when they ask.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hold on while I blow my nose cuz I'm crying like a baby-- That was so beautiful Lori, thank you.

And that photo of the tea party could be an award winner!!!

xoxoxo jj

Sandra said...

Great message!
And TOO CUTE! I could not pick just one favourite picture if you made me!

Anvilcloud said...

I don't know your full story, but these are beautiful children with a beautiful grandma/mother. I am thinking that if anyone can guide them through the trials an tribulations of growing up into themselves, it is you. Great post.

Zookeeper Jess said...

I am in tears.

First, reading your comment on my blog put me in tears. YOU understand. You truly, truly get it. I have not met anyone else who knows almost exactly what we have been through. While I hate that you know the pain and heartache and struggles, it is comforting to know that I am not alone in this. I appreciate you reaching out to me SO incredibly much. Thank you!

Secondly, this is the most beautiful heartfelt post in the world. It is so precious. Those pictures put me in tears. You are amazing <3

Zella said...

Just lovely, Lori. I could look at those pictures for hours, and your thoughts have such wisdom in them.

mommytoalot said...

Absolutely beautiful. I'd love to get a hold of that Jamie Lee Curtis book.
Love how you put your littles pictures to the words. So adorable.
..
As for the questions..of mommys and daddys ...I can so relate. My two little ones that we have custody of and are raising see their "tummy mommy" twice a month and their grandma..but never will they ever see their dad, as long as we have a say. They never ask about him because he was never involved.
.. Same as C...she knows her tummy mommy but has no clue who her bio dad is.
..
You are such a wonderful mommy to your littles.
xo
hugs
Lisa

Kathryn Magendie said...

I adore Jamie Lee Curtis . . .

I am adopted - but I know my bio mom - I was adopted by my stepmother, so I grew up with my "natural" dad, but my adoptive mother. I don't know how to be with my bio mom - I feel a connection and a disconnection - it's very strange and sometimes sad.

Kit Kat said...

Lori, I have always thought that the littles are actually very lucky. That may sound weird, because I know that they have already had it rough and at such a young age.
But the lucky part is that they have you and your husband, they have a mommy and daddy who love them, and they also have your daughter, and they have my parents, and vicky and charlie, and linda and dave. I know how much they fight to get to take care of the littles. They are the MOST loved children in the world. And YOU gave that to them.
I know it will continue to be hard for them because of the situations that they are presented with, but I am confident that they will love who they are because they have so much love coming from other people.

Suldog said...

In many ways, your littles resemble my niece and great nephew (she is his aunt, but they are only months apart in age - 4 and 5.) He is a mix of black and white, she is as blond as blond can be. And he is being raised by his grandmother, since his Mom has some drug problems and his Dad has been in and out of jail.

As for skin color, we walk a fine line because we want him to be proud of himself, whatever he is (aside from sweet), but we also want him to identify himself as just a human being and a member of our family, and not have his main consciousness be that he is different in some way.

Love - the color of the heart - is most important, of course. Good lesson, and maybe a good book for me to pick up for him on an upcoming birthday. Thanks!

Ash said...

everytime i read your posts, it makes me want to improve myself too so thanks a lot to you, your beautiful and meaningful posts with the bonus of adorable pics of the kids :)

deb colarossi said...

thinking of you , Lori

Bossy Betty said...

What a sweet and wonderful post!!!

Deborah said...

Hi Lori! I just read your post on love buckets. I was going to comment there but my computer wouldn't let me. Anyway, that's an awesome story, you should seriously publish that as a childrens book. It's so sweet! Didn't you mention that you were going away again this past weekend? I hope you had fun!