Friday, March 26, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice!

If you Google the word "patience," you will see links to three sites offering definitions for the word, and then a link to a YouTube video for the Guns N' Roses song by the same name.


Not being a GNR fan, I didn't watch the video.

But I did visit the fifth link that was listed, which promised quotations about patience.  Some of them made me shake my head, roll my eyes, and think, "whatever."  But some of them were quite inspirational.  I would like to share a few from the latter category.

"Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice." ~George Jackson

"We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world." ~Helen Keller

"Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind." ~Leonardo DaVinci

"There will be a time when loud-mouthed, incompetent people seem to be getting the best of you. When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self destruct. It never fails." ~Richard Rybolt

"Patience is the companion of wisdom." ~Saint Augustine

And my personal favorite, in light of this post: "You must first have a lot of patience to learn to have patience." ~Stanislaw J. Lec, Unkempt Thoughts

So.  To the original point of this post (if you haven't figured it out already).  I am not a naturally patient person.  My mom has spent the last nearly thirty years contending that patience is a learned trait.  And yes, I agree that patience is - and must be - ultimately learned.  However, I am also firmly of the belief that some people have more natural patience than others.  Sadly, I am not one of those people.  Still, I do believe that patience can be learned, and that I have a responsibility to practice it every day.  It is quickly becoming apparent to me that my children think so too.  Because they are the ones who daily ensure that I do, and then test me to see how I am doing.

Thankfully, God uses these little opportunities to remind me how patient He is with my shortcomings.  It's actually a nice little circle.  My children test my patience, God reminds me that He is patient with me, which makes it easier for me to exercise patience with my children, which makes me grateful that God is patient with me.  Of course, I'm hoping the end result is that the more patience I show with my children, the less they will test me!

Oh, and that they will also see the value of patience and apply it to their own little lives.  Because it is a well-known fact that children pick up every positive quality their parents exhibit, and rarely pick up the negative ones.  (Insert eye-roll.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Start lunch for the kids put clothes in the washer check on the kids especially the sick one move clothes to the dryer put more clothes in the washer check on the kids stir the noodles finish the thank-you notes try to figure out when we're going to get to Target thank God with all my heart that Chloe is better today since we are on our last roll of toilet paper get lunch for the kids check on the clothes in the dryer answer the phone check on the kids....

I am definitely ready for a vacation.  And can I just say that I am very glad my mom is going with us, for many reasons, some of them admittedly selfish.  Of course, I have full and complete faith in the ability of the 13-1/2 acre farm to keep my children more than occupied during our time there.  So one way or another, I am going to have a REAL vacation in just a little more than a week.  I've already warned my husband that one of our suitcases will consist of nothing but books.  I'll just pack my clothes with Kaleigh's in her suitcase.  ;)

Aside from the vacation aspect, I am very much looking forward to seeing some family that I haven't seen in a very long time - some of them since our wedding, but some much longer than that!  And none of them have met our kids yet, which is going to be the most exciting part of all!  Well, okay, maybe the 12 hour car drive with three children who have never sat in a car for more than 4 hours at a time will be the most exciting part...?  NAH!  After all, I plan to take mild sedatives and sleep the whole time.  HAHA - just kidding!  Although I do tend to sleep quite a bit during long car trips.  Good thing we have THREE laptops for the kids to watch movies on.  Now to make a quick stop at Radio Shack for a headphone splitter...

Countdown to Liftoff: T minus 7 days and counting.  Kansas, here we come!  Hope you are ready for the Shan Clan!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Yes, that is the correct spelling, according to Disney and my seventh grade spelling and vocab teacher.  No, I am not missing a letter.

This is the word to describe my dear and wonderful husband.  (No, he does not know I am writing this, and so no, I am not writing this to get "extra points."  Just in case you were wondering.)

Now, on Friday night, when I left the house, two out-of-control-with-excitement children in tow, for the YMCA, this incredible husband of mine was already the greatest husband on the planet.  He has, since then, surpassed himself as the greatest husband on the planet.

Let me 'splain.  No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

He was very torn when he found out these kids were back in foster care.  Not because he had gotten so attached to them last time - but because I had gotten so attached to them.  What he was torn over was the fact that he knew I would want them back here, and his worry over how absolutely insane (he thought) that would make life both for me and for us as a family.  When we finally agreed (read: I convinced him) to take them on an emergency basis (that is, they would not stay here indefinitely or with the intent to adopt them, if that became an option), he jumped right in, feet first and fists flying.  He has been helpful, assisting, supportive, and willing to do anything he needed to do.

Now, I don't write this to say, "Wow, my husband is so irresponsible and is finally showing some initiative," or to make anyone think that he would not normally step up and help out.  He always has, and I have always known he would.  But I DO think that a lot of men would just be there and let their wives do all the "motherly" stuff when it came to a situation like this.  MY man has never been that way, and I just feel that it is necessary for me to state how much I appreciate it.  He very easily could have said, "Yes, they can stay here, but you need to take the majority of the responsibility for them."  And he never did, and he never would.  I just think it deserves recognition.

I love him, and I'm so glad God brought him into my life :).

Sunday, March 7, 2010


...has taken on a whole new meaning.

Our first two foster kids, who left us after 8 months to go back to live with their mom a year ago, were detained again on Friday night.  Of course, Children's Services called us.  Court is on Tuesday, and we'll know more after that about what's going to happen.  Last time I talked with their family worker and expressed some concerns I had, she was very adamant about telling me that the kids were doing great, the mom was doing great, and she was really doing a great job of parenting.  I knew then that either the worker had blinders on, or the mom was doing a great job of acting, but here's the proof.  Still, based on that conversation, I'm concerned that the social worker will just tell the judge that mom has been doing great and just "messed up" and that the kids will then get sent back to live with her yet again.  This is the third time in less than two years that the kids have been detained.  The sad part is that this time, even if they don't go home, the most we can do is hope to stay involved through future foster/adoptive parents, since we aren't in a position to try to adopt them ourselves.  If they do go home, the most I can do is return to daily praying and worrying about them.

I know that all things work together for good, but that doesn't always make it any easier.

Friday, March 5, 2010

On (Almost) Ten Year Olds

I owe my son a post.  (Even though he has no clue this corner of the web even exists.)

He is nearly ten, and it is hard to believe a year has almost passed since he exclaimed with much exuberance, "This is an awesome family!  I hope I never have to leave this family!" after a mere three hours of dinner, park-hopping, and hot chocolate.  He is impulsive to the extreme, sometimes to the point where I have to stop him in the middle of his wandering, take his face in my hands, and remind him very sternly to F.O.C.U.S.  Sometimes it works immediately; sometimes it takes seven or eight or forty-six times of doing this within the space of ten minutes.

It can be quite exasperating.

But in the end, I don't mind a bit, because it is only a very small piece of who he is, this beautiful boy who is my first child.  He is the son I prayed for for several years, my precious firstborn who God knew ten years ago would eventually end up here with us.  Who knew, as I sat in my dorm room, nearing the end of my junior year of college, studying for finals and hurriedly finishing up papers and speeches and a HUGE debate project, that 1500 miles away my son was being born?  If there was one thing I could ask God to change, it would be for him to have been brought to me sooner, so I could have known the sweet little boy he was before he became the sweet boy he is now.  But I know God had a purpose, and I'm grateful for that.

He is the kindest child I have ever met.  He would give a stranger the shirt off his back without blinking or thinking twice.  He would give a rich man his most prized earthly possessions, no questions asked.  He is thoughtful and tenderhearted and giving.  He is not insecure by nature, and so it has been somewhat heart-breaking to watch him worry anxiously over his future; but it has also been awesome to watch him breathe a giant sigh of relief at being permanently adopted and learn how to relax and settle into a family all his own.

It's hard to believe I have an almost-ten-year-told.  But it is also wonderful and amazing and incredible and just downright fabulous.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On Three Year Olds

Is it only my three year old who talks incessantly about  nothing at all?  Is it only my three year old who can ~ and will! ~ chatter for twenty minutes about a single subject if no one stops her?  Is my three year old the only one who does not understand that when she says "Mom, can I ______," I need ten seconds to actually think about it and get the words from my brain to my mouth?  Because lately, all I keep hearing is, "Mom-can-I-have-some-water?-Mom-can-I-have-some-water?-Mom-can-I-have-some-water?-Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom-MOM-I-SAID-CAN-I-HAVE-SOME-WATERRRRRRRRRR???????"

I swear, this had better improve sometime between now and her fifth birthday, so that I have a few years to recuperate before she turns twelve and it starts all over again.

I'm pretty sure this is one of the things I was thinking about three years ago when I told God I only wanted boys.

Good thing He doesn't always listen when we tell Him what we want.

Because she is my daughter.  For a long time, I wasn't sure if I would ever have the chance to say the words "my daughter."  And now that I have it, I am very grateful for it.  Because she is so much more than a couple of toddler phases stacked on top of each other.  She is loving and affectionate and thoughtful and sympathetic, she loves to learn and know and understand things, she is full of life and energy and cheerfulness (most of the time).  She reminds me constantly with her questions about God, what it really means to have Faith like a Child.

Our Father has graciously and mercifully entrusted her to my care, and I thank Him every day for it.

Even on the days that I wonder how much longer the non-stop chattering phase will last.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Court Day

It was a beautiful day.  There are few other words I can use to express the day we adopted our children.  I'll let the pictures tell you.

The judge let each of the kids grant their own adoption petition and declare their new name.

Here is Hunter Jack Douglas's petition being granted:

Here is Kaleigh Shyla Jean's petition being granted:


Here are both kids with Grandma Pam (Grandpa Kevin was caught in traffic) 


and with Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Harry

Yes there is a family picture, and no you can't see it.  I could barely convince myself to put it on Facebook.

A New Chapter

Well, here we are, starting a new chapter in our life and our family.  After a long and at times very difficult year, we are proud and grateful and overjoyed to be able to say our family has grown - permanently this time.  

I wanted to continue to document our journey as a family - mundane as it may be at times - but somehow it seemed that our new life chapter deserved a new written chapter as well.  So while the adoption blog is still out there and available to some, I don't think any new writing will be done there.  I was reminded that I still need to write about the party, but since the kids were legal Shanahans before the party, I think that entry will come here :).

So, if you care to embark with me into the next chapter, welcome!