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Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

A Longing Resurfaces

Intimate

Photo credit: Sona Psotova

I’m a dreamer. I’ve finally come to realize that about myself. Dreamers aren’t known for being practical.

My latest dream isn’t new at all. It’s been at—or just below—the surface for 20 years. All those years I’ve had a hunger to foster and adopt children.

There are times when that hunger buries itself in my chest, and I can think of little else—like after Haiti was ripped apart by the earthquake in 2010. “Can we please go to Haiti and look after the orphans,” I begged my husband. But Kevin is the practical one. He sees the consequences and obstacles with clarity while I only see the need and feel the pain.

I’ve tried to be more practical over the years. When I hear of suffering children—of orphans and foster children who never find a forever family—my heart squeezes with the desire to help them, but I remind myself that I’m raising six children in an unfinished house. “It’s not real,” I tell myself. “It’s just a dream.”

But last week, as I watched a friend snuggling her baby girl, I felt the desire to care for hurting children resurface. Maybe it’s time, I found myself wondering. Our house could be finished this summer. My youngest is four, and I have more time now. Kevin might even be semi-retired.

The next day, at an archery meeting, I overheard a woman talk about her experiences as a foster mother. I unabashedly drew near. “I’ve always wanted to foster or adopt,” I said.

“Really?” She seemed surprised. Maybe the idea to foster children crept up on her instead of being the culmination of decades of desire. She talked about some of the joy and pain she and her husband have experienced on their journey.

Over the years I’ve read dozens of books related to fostering children. Knowing that many children in care have special needs led me to studying about Down’s syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, and autism. I’ve also looked into caring for drug addicted babies.

But what is it like to love a child and then lose them? What if we did decide to foster children, but the pain eroded our family like a sand castle caught in the tide?

There have been times in the past when my dreaming and scheming have gotten us into trouble. Maybe I’m finally learning. Maybe that’s why I don’t want to rush into anything this time.

I found a book titled A Baby’s Cry by a foster mother about her experience with fostering a newborn. She and her two children form a deep bod of love for the baby, and then they must let him go when he is returned to his birth mother less than a year later. It’s helping me to understand what it’s really like to willingly suffer pain to offer a child a home and love—for a time.

I started reading A Baby’s Cry to my whole family a couple days ago. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a foster mom, but I need to believe that the ache that lives in my heart is there for a reason. Maybe some of my children will remember reading this book and decide to one day foster and adopt children themselves.

Maybe the time will be right one day for Kevin and I to welcome some of these little ones into our own hearts. I don’t know, and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to know. I accept the pain and pray that one day I’ll have the chance to alleviate some of the pain of a hurting child.

 

A Baby`s Cry at Amazon.com

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Good Stress

Photo credit: Mirabail Michel

Is there such a thing as “good stress?” We all know that stress is bad. It causes ulcers and headaches, hypertension and adrenal stress. Bad stuff. That’s the stress that comes from worrying about if the money will stretch to cover the loan payment. Or it can come from overbooking ourselves and feeling the pressure to do more than a mortal is capable of.

But good stress is the stress that comes from pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone to do things that are important to us.

Last week I talked about facing our fears, and this week’s post is about accepting the fact that when we do something new and hard and brave—a certain amount of fear and stress can be expected. It’s okay. It means we’re challenging ourselves.

This morning I came across a Pinterest board that I made for Naya—the main character of my novel. It contains pictures and quotes that hold a lot of meaning for her.

One of the quotes was, “It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”

I realized that some of the changes my characters went through in my novel were a reflection of the changes that were happening in my own life.

Today, I’m going skiing with my kids. I haven’t skied since I was thirteen—twenty-two years ago. I’m excited but scared too. But that’s okay. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

You can view the Pinterest board I made for Naya here.

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Photo credit: Erik Nyrtsm

Photo credit: Erik Nyrtsm

I’ve been working on pushing past my fears over the past several years. I started a blog, became a birth doula, sailed a one-man sailboat, and wrote a novel. All of these things scared me, but I knew that facing and overcoming my fears would give me joy.

But harder and scarier than writing a book is trying to sell it. Nineteen days ago I started querying literary agents. To get your manuscript into the hands of the big publishers you need to get the interest of an agent first and that requires sending out query letters. If an agent likes the sound of the book, they’ll request the manuscript.

After sending out 21 queries, I received a couple requests for my manuscript, but mostly I received very nice rejections. But even a nice rejection is disappointing.

Yesterday afternoon, after assembling my flute in readiness for band class, I checked my email and saw a response from an agent. I sighed—probably another rejection. “What happened to your optimism?” I asked myself. So I squared my shoulders and opened the email.

It was a request for my manuscript from an agent whom I respect and admire. Of course this is a good thing, but it’s just one small step on a rather terrifying journey. One of the agents reading my book needs to fall in love with it and be willing to get behind it, then they’ll need to pitch it to an editor who loves it, then the editor needs to pitch it to their sales team. That’s a lot of people to convince that I have something worth saying on printed page.

I sometimes have the desire to whisk my book away from all these seasoned eyes and keep it safe from rejection, but safe isn’t what I signed on for. It’s not really what I want in life.

What I needed to do is haul my fear out of the dark closet and have a good look at it. What am I really afraid of? What’s the worst thing that could happen? Well, after spending hundreds of hours and bucket loads of devotion on a manuscript, the agents and publisher who have already shown interest might decide that the book isn’t a good fit for them. Or my book could make it to publication and bomb—failing to find an audience.

It would be a sad moment to tuck my book into a drawer and lay it to rest, but it wouldn’t be Armageddon. So what would I do if the worst came to be? I’d put my bottom in a chair, open my laptop, and write another book—a better one.

Taking a good look at my fear and making a plan for the worst-case scenario has helped me to move on and to remember that I’m doing what I love—raising my family, attending births, and writing books. And doing what I love requires not giving into paralysis-inducing fear.

Photo credit: Manu Mohan

Photo credit: Manu Mohan

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