Friday, May 9, 2014

Theory 41: God Winks Us Through

Thank goodness it is Friday, friends. I'm not gonna lie; this week has been rough—not tragic, just rough. I'm wrapping up state mandated end of course testing today, which culminates a school-year- long project so logistically complicated that I wouldn't dare bore you with its details. Plus, it's 5:49 a.m. and I've been up since 4:00 a.m. checking on Sharky. He's, um, under the weather, so to speak. Well, let's just say there have been storms in the south for three straight days. Three days. Hey, that's the same number of days as EOC testing. You know how when it rains, it pours, don't you working mothers? Unfortunately, I'm out of sick days so Delicious had to take her colorful show on the road to Knoxville to baby my baby Shark. Bonus: She/they completed his history project poster. Need info on Indiana? Dial up Sharky and Delicious. They are practically Hoosiers now! The project would look even better if she'd printed the pictures in color. She called me at school to find out how to print. I teach technology, but I have to say that she was a tough pupil. Talking Delicious through a printing job was like talking a "senior" civilian through landing a Navy fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Delicious is not a fan of technology. She likes to say, "Those computers are too much work and cause too many problems." Bop isn't much better. At Christmas, she said, "Well, technology has just gotten way out of hand these days." The Indiana print job may have been the most challenging moment of my teaching career. Where were those hunky soldiers with light sticks when I needed them?  Delicious snapped, "Bug, I don't know what is going on with your printer. Papers just keep shootin' out and they don't have anything of the stuff I typed about Indiana on them." After some loud instructions, accusatory remarks, self-touting, and whining from both ends of the phone, we gave up. As Maverick might say, we "crashed and burned." My solution? I instructed Delicious to turn off the printer and close the door. To the entire room. When I got home, I turned on the printer. Yep. Sheets of standard paper slowly trembled out of my aged Teacher Supply Depot printer. Some were blank, some had code on them. Code. Some had funky symbols. Delicious types in Wicken, apparently.  Even though she couldn't figure out the printer, Delicious was a Godsend. She took wonderful, personal care of Sharky and even helped him buy me a hanging basket of Fuschia for Mother's Day. She is straight from Heaven. In the midst of turmoil and anxiety, it's important for us to stop and be thankful. Like last week, I am posting an article I wrote a while back that I think you'll enjoy. I originally penned this for a British website, but the editor thought it too spiritual ("not secular enough") for his audience. My bad. I then asked a group of adoption bloggers where I should send it. One suggested I offer it to Jen Hatmaker. No response. She must be too busy for a hillbilly like me. That's okay, because that blogger and I became wonderful friends! Her name is Debbie Michael. She's an adoptive mother, author, and artist in Maryland. Just yesterday, another adoption writer and new friend, Gayle Swift, remarked about how neat it is to see God's work through connecting people. God's timing does fascinate me. I try really hard to seek, "see," and understand. Sometimes He is indirect. Sometimes He is obvious. Most importantly, He is always here

I love to watch for coincidences through nature, people, timing, and numbers. No, I'm not a number worshiper like that genius loon Pythagoras, but most adoptive parents will tell you to take note of dates in the Wait. And signs are everywhere! Last June, I was having a particularly sad personal time. Some people really close to me were really cruel to me. Sharky, Gnome, my niece Balloon Girl, and I were tromping through The Crippled Beagle Farm toward the Naked Lady Farm. I was in an emotional trench, totally self-absorbed with hurt, frustration, confusion (and a bruised only child ego) and said a quick prayer asking God for relief. A few minutes later, we needed to cross Kellum Creek. I stepped to the muddy edge of the creek bank, looked down, and saw this:

"Like a bridge over troubled water"

I stopped the children and showed them the cross. Tiny batches of tiny minnows darted underneath the precious, much needed symbol. Sharky wanted to pick it up to "show Grandmama." We felt so privileged to see something so special.

I've seen lots of special things. So have you. I post this article today because this Saturday is Birthmother's Day. Sunday is Mother's Day. Tall Child and Sharky turn 51 and 4 on Tuesday. And so much more. 

I wrote this article in March of last year. Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

God Winks Us Through

Suffering gives us enlightened perspective.  Struggles clarify our priorities and vision. Adoptive parents have a burdensome, yet privileged view of family. As we wait for our children, we grow—in patience, compassion, and faith. We see things. Some call them coincidences. Some call them signs. My friend Paige calls them “God Winks.”

Consider these definitions for “wink” from
Wink (verb)
2. to close and open one eye quickly as a hint or signal or with some sly meaning
4. to shine with little flashes of light; twinkle

I gave birth to my son Houston in 2002. Adding a second child to my family was the greatest challenge of my life. My family endured emotional, financial, physical, and marital stress with fertility treatments, then with the adoption journey for eight years. Finally, in 2010, we welcomed our son Scotty.  Along the journey, I took note, and I took notes. Inspired by the entire experience, I felt compelled to help others. I wrote a contemporary memoir titled The Eye of Adoption: the true story of my turbulent wait for a baby, to encourage waiting and adoptive families. In the book, I document the pain, the expense, the lessons, the humor, and, most importantly, the “Winks” I saw in our journey to Scotty.

I hope the following list of Winks (the first three are listed as quotes from my book) help you open your eyes to the miracles in your journey to a child:

·        For Mother’s Day, Houston made me a card. Without having been prompted by his teacher, he drew and colored three stick figures in descending height: blue for Jeff, pink for me, and gray for Houston. He added a little round face with yellow hair floating above the three of us.

Even Houston sensed the ethereal nature of the wait for our baby.

We were approved for adoption one week later.

·        On July 4th, I was feeling sorry for myself, and I asked, “God, am I EVER going to get this baby? I am so tired.” I heard, “She is on her way.”

Kerri, Scotty’s birthmother, became pregnant in August.

·        She called the baby London, explaining that she felt weird calling him “the baby” since he was in her body and she cared about him, so, as a devoted Anglophile, she named him after her favorite city. When I told her that Jeff’s brother lives in London, England, she was [thrilled].

What are the odds that my child’s birthmother would name her son after a city thousands of miles from Knoxville, TN, and that my brother-in-law, who grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, would live there?

·        We now navigate an open adoption with Kerri. In the beginning, the meetings were extremely difficult and emotional for me. When Scotty was only a few weeks old, Kerri asked if we could visit her grandparents. They live in a different part of town and were strangers to me. I chose to “err on the side of kindness” and agreed. I was a nervous wreck when I carried an infant Scotty into a cigarette smoke-filled living room to meet his birth grandparents. The grandmother suffered a debilitating stroke years ago and sat disabled and confused, in a recliner. Kerri was ecstatic to show off Scotty and began snapping photos like crazy. I silently prayed, “God, please give me a sign that this is okay.” At that moment, the grandfather said, “Wait a minute, Kerri. I need to brush Granny’s hair.” He left the room, returned with a brush, and gently and lovingly prepared Gail for a photo. I was touched. I was relieved. This stranger, now a relative, was a good man. I thanked God for the Wink.

·        When Jeff and I were waiting for a baby, an adoptive mother told us, “Pay attention to dates.” She was right. Our wedding anniversary is the same day as Scotty’s biological father’s birthday. My father and Kerri’s father share the same birthday, June 16, which is Father’s Day in the USA this year. And, amazingly, Scotty was born May 13, Jeff’s birthday!

·        God is still winking me through this adoption journey. I recently met Kerri for lunch to give her the first signed copy of The Eye of Adoption. She opened the book, turned to the dedication page, and read aloud, “For Kerri, my soul sister.” Then, she looked me in the eyes, pointed upward, and gasped, “Jody, listen!” The restaurant radio was playing the Train song, “Hey, Soul Sister.” We both cried and laughed and marveled at the Wink.

Adoptive parents lumber, confused and hurt, through shadowy tunnels built of expense, appointments, questions, frustration, paperwork, and unknown duration. But, there is light at the end of the adoption tunnel! Adoption is grief in reverse. Adoptive parents who have survived the trek, your parental vision is brighter and clearer because of your experience. Waiting parents, take note and take notes.  Look for flashes of hope through coincidence, odd timing, and unique revelations. Open your eyes to the sensational adventure of adoption. God is reversing your grief, one small miracle at a time. See. Believe. God will Wink you through!

~ ~ ~

A few weeks ago, Tall Child and I spent our anniversary weekend (which, as I said in the article, is Scotty's birthfather's birthday) in Hot Springs, North Carolina. While Tall Child napped, I took a book and a cup of wine to the moss-covered bank of Spring Creek, just behind our little rental cottage. In his sweet novel Maiden Harvest, my friend and fellow author Don Pardue, succinctly illustrates character "Boots'" shocking news of her unwed pregnancy. I thought about Bryant. I thought about Kerri. I took a short walk along the creek and stumbled across a petite blue God Wink in this tiny spray of flowers.

A bright blue wink on the banks of Spring Creek, Hot Springs, NC

You see, these are Forget-Me-Nots. . Im October of 2009, I planted a packet of these seeds for the first time because I'd seen them in Gatlinburg and loved the bright blue hue. Tall Child and I met Kerri in January, 2010. The seeds sprouted and bloomed in spring of 2010, just before Scotty was born. Forget-Me-Nots are Kerri's favorite flowers; she has a wreath of them tattoed around her left wrist. For Birthmother's Day and Mother's Day and Gnome's birthday, we'll get together tomorrow at Kerri's grandfather's house. I framed two 8x10 photos of the Hot Springs Forget-Me-Nots—one for Kerri, one for Gnome.

While the topic of the article and much of this blog is obviously adoption, God Winks us through all situations. We simply need to see and believe. Actually, we need to believe, then we'll see. I apologize if I haven't made you laugh today, but I do hope I've made you think. And, I hope you know how much I appreciate my readers! 

Note from editor/publisher/creator/writer (ME, Bug): I am about to start editing Theories: Size 12 to create a collection of humorist essays in the form of one or two small books. I also start my master's degree in curriculum and instruction May 17. I'm putting together an anthology project for students, and re-writing my curriculum for the next school year, which actually starts in mid-July. Thus, you may see briefer posts and a few changes. Unless I find a sister-wife. Still looking. Heck, I don't even know what Theory I'll post next week. It's now 6:58 and I don't have on a stitch of make-up and need to be in Big Red cruising toward school in 15 minutes. So, check back next week for Theory 42. 

Until then, think (and look) outside the barn!

Also, visit or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

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