Wednesday, January 23, 2013

sharin' the joy

i can't keep this to myself.
well, i suppose i could.
but having it typed out in front of me is proof that it actually happened.

yesterday, snow day, all 6 kiddos-at-home day, was one of those days.
for the life of me, i could not get a handle on my two "middles", q and k.
when all was said and done, i had told q to take his "mind game" that he plays with me and "shove it down the toilet". 
and i told k to "shut-up!" (again).
so last night was one of those nights.  cold as it was, i still took my capt'n'diet and headed outside.

jump ahead a few hours and...welcome to today, this morning to be exact.

a night of sleep made no difference to my "middles'" behavior or attitudes.  and i was just about ready to blow.  literally, i could feel my heart beating a thousand miles per minute.  i looked at my hubby and said, "i'm calling my doctor today.  she needs to up my meds!!". 

and do you know what he did?  again?  on his way out the door to drop off sj and then go to work?
he took my hand and said, "come with me."

so i did.  i followed him into our big bathroom.

and he looked at me, took my hands, then closed his eyes and started to pray.  for me.  for our "middles".  for us.

when he was finished and through the tears, i whispered, "thank you".

we both walked out of the big bathroom.  he went his way and i went mine.

and i had peace.  really.  my attitude had changed.  the tone of my voice changed.  q and k changed. 

not. even. kidding.

i was able to get them out the door ahead of schedule with SMILES on all of our faces.  and an "i love you" before getting out of the van at school drop off.  are you kidding me?

that prayer has made all the difference today.

why do i question prayer when it says over and over in God's Word to cry out to Him?

i'm such a slow learner.  but He still loves me. {smile}

Friday, January 11, 2013

celebration of sorts

whoa!  three blog posts in three days!?!?  what the heck?!?

i can only attribute that to the fact that i have a window of time during the day when one of my "littles" is napping and the other "little" is still at school.  and the fact that i finally feel like i have my head attached to my body again.  boy, does that feel good!  and i attribute that (head attachement) to, well...let's just say, if i were to write an autobiography, it's title would be, Happy Pills, Hormones, & the Holy Spirit.  you can look for it someday at your local bookstore in the "didn't know where to put this book, so here it is" section.  {smile}

i digress.

today i want to write with a celebratory feel.  'cuz today is the day that i celebrate SIXTEEN years of marriage to my hubby!

can i just tell you that SIXTEEN years ago, i was i a twenty-something who thought she knew it all?  i was.

and can i tell you another little something (since i've been on this confession kick)?  here it is...

we were one of "those" couples.  ya' know the ones that did not wait until marriage.  and because of that we found ourselves pregnant before marriage.  so we got engaged and then two months later we were married in GR at madison square christian reformed church by pastor dave.  and the weekend before our wedding, i had a miscarriage.  thankfully, i was with fred when it happened and he was able to take me to the hospital right away to be cared for.  nonetheless, it was a whirlwind engagement/pregnancy/miscarriage/wedding time of life for me and us.

can i tell you something else?

when i look back over that time in our lives and marriage, i see God's grace.  all.  over.  it.

He knew we were not ready to be parents when he took the little one from us.

He knew we were going to be moving to Arizona three months after our wedding.  and then to Colorado nine months after that.

He knew that we were going to get pregnant shortly after our move to Colorado and then nine months later have a beautiful baby boy, named benjamin noah.

He knew that following ben's birth we were going to move again into our first home in northern Colorado.

He knew we were going to be expecting another little one, this time a girl, named sydney jane taylor.

He knew we would find a small little church family in johnstown, colorado that would come around us (a young new family of four) and love us.

He knew we would move back to michigan after only a living in colorado for five short years.

He knew my hubby's mom was getting worse with dementia and we wanted ben and sj to have at least a few memories of their grandma before she lost all of her memory.

He knew when i turned thirty that i was gonna get the "baby itch" and wanna another baby.  which wasn't gonna happen because one of us (my hubby or i, not gonna say who) got "fixed" shortly after sj was born.

 He knew because we weren't gonna have more biological children that we would re-kindle a conversation about adoption.

He knew that our adoption story was gonna start with going through PRIDE classes to become licensed foster parents.

He knew that after six years of being licensed foster parents, and four adoptions later (q, k, m,j), we would close our license, for a time.

He knew that one year ago today, on our fifteenth wedding anniversary, that we were at the lowest point in our marriage and in our lives.

He knew that today, on our SIXTEENTH wedding anniversary, that we would be celebrating our marriage and His goodness to us.  His patience with us.  His unconditional love for us.  His grace.

He knew all of these things plus so much more that have helped shape my hubby and i to be more like Him.  we did not set out in marriage with the mindset of "how can we be more like Him?".  no we were pretty selfish (and still are).  but we have learned through these sixteen years that our marriage is NOT about us.  it is to be for His glory.  we have so far to go.  but i will say, our mindset is changing which means our hearts our changing.  which means i am so blessed to be partnered with my hubby on this side of heaven - to do life together, raising six kiddos, and learning every day about the abundance of God's great love and grace.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

on the flip-side

now that i have the last post out of the way, i feel an explanation is in order.
because...i have a sneaking suspicion that some of you may be thinking, "well, i have a kiddo or two who misbehave. what's the big diff?"

let me see if i can help...

my six year old adopted daughter, K, has RAD (reactive attachment disorder).  and she is both cognitively and emotionally delayed.  we just found all this info. out last fall.

now, if you were here in our house on the evening that we brought her home from the agency (she was in foster care), you would have seen a "normal" eight and a half month old baby girl.  no signs of RAD or any delays at all.  until she turned four years old.  that was the day that all hell broke loose and we had absolutely no idea why or what it was we were dealing with.  (mind you, we had four other kiddos at home at the time and one more on the way via foster/adopt).  within the next six months we got her set up with a therapist and eventually had her psychologically evaluated.

with all that being said and as much chaos as K can bring into our house, it really isn't her fault.  really.  she is a hurting child.  and although she did not sit in an orphanage for those first eight months of life (outside the womb).  (heaven knows what happened while in the womb). she never had a stable home and soon learned not to trust people, especially those closet to her.  and because of her lack of trust, she acts out mostly toward me - her momma (hence the reason why i wrote the last post).

i want to share a couple things with you...*warning, they will not give you the warmfuzzies*

the first one is a blog post i came across back in november but didn't have the nerve to share it.  so much for nerves.  here it is.

the second one is a short ten minute video from 2012 taped over in london explaining the conditions of certain orphanages.

like i said, K was not in an orphanage.  she was in foster care.  the point is, if a child is not in a healthy, stable, loving, nurturing, caring, attentive environment - in the womb or up until age three - the child will display behavior due to the brain pattern they developed over that course of time.  and the behavior is NOT pretty.  (may i suggest reading Nancy L. Thomas' book, When Love Is Not Enough)

thankfully, there is hope.  the brain patterns can change and the children can become functioning adults contributing to society.  but it takes time, money, prayers,  A LOT of patience and wisdom (which i don't have naturally), a team of people to help us through, a loving support system (which we are blessed with) and did i mention prayer?

so that's where the patten8 is at with K.  we are praying and He is connecting us with people who can help us help her.  we love K so much and truly believe God has a plan for her life...a life where she is healed from her hurts and can trust again.  especially for her to trust in the One that made her and loves her beyond all measure.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


how many of you have had to call the police/sheriff?

ok.  hands down.

how many of you have had to call the police/sheriff because of your six year old daughter?

ok.  hands down.  oh, there were no hands up?  sorry, my mistake.

well, we can mark last saturday as a "first" in the patten8 household.  because of super-defiant behavior and no sign of turning it around and no "respite card" to play (respite provider took the weekend off), i called in a favor to the local sheriff dept. and asked if an officer wouldn't mind taking a few minutes out of their shift to come and visit my daughter (who has here) to put a wee bit of fear in her about "kid jail".  she's heard stories from other kiddos at respite about "kid jail" but i wanted her to get it in her head that it is a real place.

now, i can just hear some of you gasping and thinking how in the world can you call the sheriff on your SIX year old daughter?  this is how...if i didn't do something to that extreme something else extreme could have happened and then we would have been calling 911 instead.  believe me, i tried many other options - even called CPS(!!!!) - to see who could help us help her.  and. there. was. no. one.  when the sheriff arrived, my daughter went into hysterics.  after calming down, she decided she didn't want to spend time in "kid jail" and would rather stay in her home and finish her chore.  this time.

i wish i could say i've handled this whole RAD thing quite well as a parent.  heck, even as a christian.  but i can't.  because i haven't.

i wish i could say that i've turned to Jesus every time things have gotten tough with my six year old daughter (and her eight year old brother).  but i can't.  because i haven't.

no.  really when things got tough.  tougher than i've ever experienced, i often turned to captain morgan & diet coke and a few marlboro menthol silver.  yep.  not proud of it.  but they helped me forget about the kind of day i had had.  of course, i would wait until all of my kiddos were asleep before i would make myself a drink and head outside to sit and drink my day away.  and i really thought i had it under control until it started consuming my thoughts.  a bad day with my daughter and i would automatically think about later that evening when she would be in bed.  and if we didn't have the necessary supplies on hand, i would head out quickly to the store and buy whatever was needed.

until last week.

last thursday, in fact.  i woke up and my eight year old and six year old were already going at it.  and it broke me.  i stood in the kitchen with my arms around my husband, sobbing, saying, "i can't do it anymore."  he took me by the hand and led me into our bedroom where he asked, "can't do what?"  to which i responded, "i can't try to come up with a schedule for each of them today where they can't be in the same room.  i can't deal with k's (six yr. old daughter) behavior today.  i don't have it in me.  and i can't keep drinking my life away every time i have a bad day.  i'm done drinking.  i'm done smoking."

i continued.

"i don't understand why it's so hard for me to be thankful for q and k and all the behavior they display.  when you (my hubby) were unemployed twice, i had no doubts.  no worries that God was going to provide for us.  but when i wake up everyday and face two children who have wrecked me and i don't know if that will ever change, it's hard for me to trust and it's hard for me to be thankful."

honest truth.

guess what he (my hubby) did?  he prayed.  with me.  for me.  for us.  for our two middles.  right there in our bedroom.

and i walked out a new mom.  with a new heart.  and a new attitude.

today, i ran for the first time in weeks months.  and it felt good.

and today, i am putting in writing the word "embrace" which has been stirring around in my heart and mind ever since this past weekend.

i often reject the "bad" stuff or try to bury it with my friends not-friends capt. and diet.

instead i'm going to embrace everything.  the good.  the bad.  and the ugly.  because He's using all of it to make me.  shape me.  i'll probably mess it up quite a few times and want to go back to rejecting the crappy stuff.  but i know that He is doing a great thing in me.  not for me.  but for Him.  and for His glory.  and He doesn't reject the crappy stuff, He embraces it.  no, He runs to it and says, "welcome home, dear one.  welcome home."

do you see why i love my Jesus?  because He first and always has loved me.  no matter what.