Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Meeting Josh Part 6

Monday morning came early, the sun was shining so bright. There was a gentle breeze moving through the air. It was truly a wonderful morning. ALL of my children were in my house sleeping. I took the time to look at each sweet face in their moment of perfection. I was just so overwhelmed at the wonderful gifts I had been given in each of them.

Josh got up early to spend a little alone time with Jordan since he had to be at school at 8:15. When we first shared pics of Jordan as a 15 y.o. with Josh and his family they were just as shocked as I was at the resemblance of the two. It was one of those eerie feelings you get that almost doesn't have words to describe it. Jordan and my other son Micah are fraternal twins. I have always said that once God created them, he laughed, and has kept laughing since. They are so opposite. Right now Micah is 5'7" and Jordan 5'11". Their personalities are on opposites side of the spectrum. Hopefully you are getting the picture I am trying to paint. Well back to Jordy and Josh. They look like they could be twins! Body build, height, curls in the hair, eyes, nose. Just one thing after another I would see each of them in the other. I think that this really caused Jordan to have a connection with Josh that he wasn't expecting to have. I also think this has helped Josh to feel like he is part of us. Josh also looks like Kara my oldest daughter. He is undeniably part of us!

Once Jordy was off to school, everyone else begin to gather themselves together. It seems to be the shortest time that we had spent together. Josh had to go back to the hotel to shower and load the car. Joann and I got to visit again. When Josh got back, Kara had pulled out some photo albums and a box of pics. I am not sure where they had come from as I hadn't seen them since we moved into this house a couple of years ago. Needless to say, we all sat around Josh as he flipped through the pages and sifted through the photos in the box. Though time was short, he wanted to look at each picture to make sure he wasn't missing anything. There are so many more for him to go through when he comes back to visit. He chose several that he wanted to keep. There was even one that his mom had sent me when he was small of him and his dad. I thought it was sweet that he wanted that one.

We headed outside as the time drew near for them to leave. The Joshua tree was swaying in the breeze, looking happy to be planted in my front yard. I was hoping Joshua was feeling the same way about being re-planted in our family.

I felt a bit odd, I hadn't bought him a present or a memento of this wonderful time together. My time had been so short, that to buy something so important seemed to need more time than I had. That is one of the few regrets of the meeting that I have had. I am working on something special for his birthday though. I know he likes part of it, as he commented on the part when he initially saw it. He had no idea that I had began it for him in particular.

Okay okay.....back to the front yard.

We in the Hampton family have what we call a family initiation. We normally use it when we travel. Since the family is too large to fit into one hotel room we usually get two rooms next to each other. Who ever lands in the rooms together has to get a wet willy unannounced from the other "chamber mates" sometime during the stay. It just happens. It is one of those urges that comes upon a Hampton and you just may as well surrender and get it over with! Well, needless to say, Josh was unaware of this. Kara, Haleigh and I discussed this important rite of passage. We voted, it was a done deal. Josh was going to have to get a wet willy before he left Texas. The time had come! We were taking photos........Haleigh had Josh and Kara on the sidewalk taking pics. The timing was perfect! We got a perfect shot of Josh's initiation! The big sisters were quite proud of their ability to carry this off without any flaw. You must remember though, that they have been doing this for many many years. They could be pros at it. This also help to bring great laughter and break the sadness of the moment. Pictures were continued for the next 10 minutes or so. I am not sure if it was planned by Josh and Kara or not, but Josh got Haleigh with a wet willy! It was wonderful, see I told you he was fitting into the family so snugly! We did get a picture of that too!

They finally loaded up, after giving hugs to everyone at least two or three times.
My heart was crying, my tears were beginning to pour. I had to let him go once again...this time, it wasn't a small baby I held til the end. It was a man with a wonderful spirit and a generous dose of love that was holding me back. I can still feel his arms around me and the gentle kisses he placed on my head.

I hope to see him again soon. I hope that he will always come back to Texas as often as he can, he has a family here that loves him so dearly.

Thanks for taking the time to read these blogs. I hope that they gave insight into the wonderfulness of choosing life. The joys of the reunion have helped to erase the pain of the separation that was so deep and indescribable.

Be blessed,

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meeting Josh Part 5

The sun had started setting while we were taking family photos at the lake. The kids were still out on the pier posing and fishing with Isaiah's newly bought spongebob fishing pole. Some nice gentleman shared a worm or two with him since his plastic bait had broken offand floated into the lake. I am not sure who caught the fish, but all of a sudden I heard a blood curdling scream. I looked to see what was going on! It was Chelsea screaming and Jordan laughing as he was chasing her with this wet animal still on the line! Now our family hasn't fished much, needless to say a 15 y.o. brother chasing his 16y.o. sister really was a sight! There was great laughter and giggles all around.

I was so thankful for this distraction, as I had began to dread the evening and the next morning. I was beginning to feel very jealous of my children. They had pretty much had him all day, I didn't feel like I had truly had any time with Josh at all. Anxiety had hit my heart.All I could think of was that He would be leaving in about 12 hours and I hadn't got to visit with him like I had really wanted to. I had isolated myself from the group because I didn't want any attention on me. I didn't want the kids to know I was crying while they were healing and having a wonderful time being what they always longed for. A family with Josh in the picture.I really struggled to not ruin their time of gladness.

All I wanted then was to have Josh all to myself. That was so selfish, but as ugly as it seems, that is what I wanted. I had to give myself a pep talk and remind myself, that I was an adult and that I needed to act like an adult and not a child. I needed to be thankful for the gift of having Josh in my life and the joy of my children's hearts.

The sun set, and everything grew dark. This included the picnic area we were sitting at. Wes, Joann and I packed up everything we took to the lake and everyone headed for the house. We were sooooooooo tired,but our hearts were still sailing!

The table was almost set, I walked into the kitchen and there stood this wonderful young man that my heart loves so much sobbing. His mom was just a foot or two from him. Joann and I both grabbed Josh and just cried with him for a while. I wasn't sure why we were crying I just knew tears were flowing and it felt so good! I sent Josh a questionnaire last week. It is one that I had received from one of my daughters. Here is a question on it and his response.-When and why did you last cry?In the kitchen before dinner on the Sunday before I left.I realized that I had been thinking of you guys every night I had sat down to dinner my entire life and I was about to finally sit down at the same table with y'all. I cried because I felt something bigger than life pulling me into that seat and all I could do was cry. I now better understand what he was going through. I never thought that it would have been that monumental. Sitting down with my family for a meal is something that I had somehow lost the true value of. Josh reminded me.

After the meal, all the kids took turns sharing, and being with Josh. Joann and I did the dishes. We both felt the anxiety and the need to keep ourselves busy. She is such a jewel. Truly a treasure from heaven. One that the Lord has put smack dab in the middle of my life.I am so grateful for the goodness of God in her.

The kids had pretty much decided that if Josh were part of the family then he had to stay with us on Sunday night too. I am still just floored at the way my children all just opened their hearts and put this wonderful sibling in the right place in the family. When I think of this, I think of those bags that you can vacuum seal. I see all of my children with Josh in the bag, sucked in so tight, there is no room or means to get out!

Joann left shortly after dinner. I was watching her. My heart wondered what she was thinking and feeling. I don't think I could have asked her. That was a private time all her own. Most of all,what I thought was what a wonderful job God did picking out a mom for Josh. I am so glad He picked her!!

Around 11p.m. I finally claimed Josh all for my own. We went back out to the front porch and those rocking chairs. I wanted to hear him talk. I wanted to hear what he was saying. I wanted to just marinate in the awesomeness of his being. I know that sounds abit out there,but I wanted to just be in his presence. We both cried and spoke of some hard issues. We both didn't want to go to bed because we knew what the morning was going to bring. We both felt our bodies beginning to rebel and sleep take over so we surrendered and went to bed. My sleep was sweet that night even though my heart knew that his departure was near...and yes, I was up early Monday morning to watch him sleep as I drank my coffee and read my newspaper.

I will finish up this story in the next day or two with one more blog titled Meeting Josh. If you have any questions you would like to ask me concerning this please leave a comment. If I feel I can answer them with respect for Josh's privacy, I will.

Once again, thanks so much for sharing in my great joy!


Meeting Josh Part 4

Josh had asked to spend the night on Saturday night. I of course,said,"yes!" almost before he was finished asking. I couldn't believe that he wanted to spend the night in my home. I knew that it was going to be a lonnnng night. Joann went back to the hotel around eleven.

Sunday morning came early. Too early!I awoke around 6. Seems like I had kids wall to wall in my living room. There was Kara, Isaiah,Chelsea, and Josh. I couldn't take a step in my living room with out taking a chance of stepping on anyone. It was wonderful.I made a pot of coffee, sat at my dining room table and gazed upon my sleeping family. I watched Josh sleep. It dawned on me that that was something that I don't ever remember doing.

When he was born, I gave his parents all rights to do as they wanted with him while we were in the hospital. I wanted the bonding to take place immediately with him. They were in the labor room with me and then then delivery room with me. I remember the doctor asking if I wanted the baby. I said no, to give him to his mamma. That is the last thing I remember before going out after delivery. She holding Josh, Rick holding her. It was just a wonderful healing moment for me.

Back to watching that beautiful blond hair man sleeping on a mattress on my living room floor. I wanted to get near enough to watch the covers lift and fall. I scooted a chair closer to him when I got my cup of coffee and newspaper. He awoke for just a minute, smiled and went back to sleep. I knew he was so tired. His eyes looked tired. He had spent so much of himself on my family. I wondered if he would have anything to give on Sunday. We were all truly so tired,but our hearts were so excited. I am sure excitement is what drove us to continue this wonderful time. Eventually everyone got to stirring.

Joann and Josh went to church with us. It was wonderful having two so important people with me in a place that is so important to me. A place that has helped to bring alot of healing in my emotions and life. It is a place that I feel safe and at home. Lunch was sandwiches, chips, and watermelon. I don't think I have ever had watermelon that sweet in my life. I don't know if it was the circumstances that made it so sweet or if it truly was. (I normally don't like watermelon).

The day before Josh came down, he had a tattoo put on. I don't think that is the correct terminology, but it is permanent and it's not going anywhere. It is a tree, with a side branch growing off of it. I wondered what the significance of the side branch was. I didn't ask,I figured one day if there is anything special about it I will find out. Josh said the tree represented his family, and where he had come from up to that point. I believe he meant Rick, Joann and him. He wanted a reminder of that constantly he said.In remembrance of that the tattoo, Joann, Josh and I went out Sunday afternoon in search of a tree to plant in our yard in remembrance of this wonderful reunion. We all took turns digging the hole to plant the tree. I have dubbed it the "Joshua" tree. It is a wonderful addition to my front yard and a sweet reminder each time I see it. Not just for me, but for our whole family.

Just as we were almost finished, Haleigh pulled up. She had been in Florida up to this part of his visit. She had had prior commitments and wasn't able to leave before Saturday evening to head home. That was a 23(?) hour drive home! It was so wonderful seeing the two of them together. Josh was abit overwhelmed and shy, but Kara and Haleigh kidnapped him and disappeared for a little while. I am not sure where they went or what they did. I think they pinky promised him to secrecy! Pinky Promise! Argh! Who came up with that?? Moms need to know these things! They came back full of laughter and life! It was such a heart hugging feeling to see these three adults being kids. I was speechless there for a little while. I wondered what each one was thinking about the other. They seemed to move together so well. Just like they had always been together with a living relationship. The years of separation seemed to have disappeared so quickly.We loaded up in three different vehicles and headed to the lake to grill chicken for dinner.I wanted to let my children spend what time they could. I was seeing a joy in them that I don't recall seeing in a long time.

This reunion was just as important to them as it was to Joshua. I was watching this take place before my very eyes. It was such a very very humbling experience. I couldn't speak. All I could do was cry. All I wanted at that moment was to be left alone to feel all the emotions that were running through me without reserve. That was done. All six of the kids were so wrapped up in each other. The laughter, the quirkiness of each one shining through, each of these my children, each of these their own self.

I am crying again, so I will close for now.


Meeting Josh Part 3

Saturday morning came early for me. I needed to try and get some school work done, as I had missed Thursday and had an assignment due Monday. I sat down at the dining room table listening to my quiet home. All that I could hear was the morning greeting of the birds chirping outside the window. It brought a smile to my heart as that seemed to be the only thing that was still the same in my life since Josh had entered it the day before.

Wes got the twins off to a basketball tournament about 6 am so that left just Kara, IZ, Chelsea, Wes, and I to spend the day with Josh and Joann. We had planned on going to the boy's last game in Tyler later that day.

I went to the square to do what little I could in the excited state I was in to help out with the lst annual flea market. I guess the only thing they trusted me to do was to take pics. I wanted to announce to everyone what an especially wonderful day that it was! I pretty much managed to just announce it to those who knew me. I didn't figure all the stranger really needed to know the intimates of my heart that morning.In all honesty, I was trying to keep my self busy awaiting Josh and Joann's arrival. I felt that it would be later in the morning since it was such a late nite. How many words can one look up but not define, as their mind is on one of the most beautiful men she has ever seen and has loved all his life?

Donuts! That would do it! That would fill a little more time as I am waiting semi-patiently. So off I go to the donut store. How many dozen donuts can one family eat? At that point I wanted to make sure no one was going to go hungry so I believe I bought 4 dozen. Yes, 48for six people! Isaiah was VERY happy! Chelsea, Kara, Isaiah, and Wes were now all back in bed snoozing.What were they thinking? " Wake Up! Wake up!" is what my heart wanted to shout! The pent up excitement had me bouncing off walls as quietly as I could.

Finally 10 oclock rolled around! Chels and Josh had an appointment to get their hair cut. Chels went first. Josh got in the seat, and it took me back to the time the boys first got their hair cut. What a wonderful memory. His light blond hair the color of my dad's fell to the ground one lock at a time. I wanted to save a piece just as I had for Micah and Jordan. I didn't though, I didn't want anyone thinking that I was obsessing over him. Hindsight now says, they were thinking that anyway! Oh well, maybe next time.

Once we got home from the hair dresser's, we loaded up and headed to the zoo at Tyler. It was a fun trip. Josh with his long legs crawled into the very back of the expedition(for those who don't know, there is only about 1.5 ft of leg room)with his sisters. They all seemed quite content to be together like sardines in a can. I was sooo excited to get to take him to the zoo. That was until we go there. He and the girls abandoned us!! They disappeared, that left Wes, Joann, Isaiah and me. Wes took a hold of Isaiah most of the time. Joann and I enjoyed it together. Walking and talking with her just reaffirmed my decision almost 19 years before. My heart has always loved her. She is a very loving and gently soul. A wonderful mother and friend to Josh. That is one thing Josh did tell me about her, that she has always been his best friend. What a wonderful compliment!

An hour and a half later the kids call us on the cell phone to find out where we were at. There was laughter and joy in their voices.They had had a wonderful time being the big sister, little brother and baby sister. Small little momentos were bought and exchanged among the three. What a wonderful moment of healing for me to see this interaction.

We loaded up and headed to the basketball tournament. The score I will not post as I want my fellas to continue talking to me. It was fun hearing Josh, Kara, Isaiah and Chelsea cheering for them. They were all offering words of encouragement as often as they could. Once the game was over, we loaded up, yes, all nine of us in the expedition and headed home. There was lots of excitement,disappointment in the game, and stinky bodies in that cramped area!We did manage to make it home safe. It is after midnight, I don't know why I am still up, my alarm will be going off in less than six hours. So I will add on hopefully tomorrow.

Sleep Tight!

Meeting Josh Part 2

We settled down onto the porch Friday evening after everyone got out of school. Josh brought his guitar. He has just learned to play in the last year. He is phenomenal! My children and I enjoyed the music.It was in perfect harmony with the excitement of the family.

All the boys exchanged T shirts. That was something that I didn't see coming.I know my fellas hold dear to the ones Josh gave them.

I guess it was around ll or l2 when everyone settled into the house. Everyone but Josh and I. We sat on the porch. Each of us setting pace in the rockers we were sitting in. Occasionally the rockers would come to a stop so that we could better hear one another. Josh sang tome a beautiful song. The words were wonderful, but the most wonderful thing about it was that I was hearing his voice singing, and listening to the music that being created at by his hand.

He was so generous in spirit to me. I could have never dreamed that he would be so caring. Okay, I could have dream it, but to actually have that dream come true in front of me, was far beyond my greatest expectations. I wonder what his thoughts were when he realized that we were actually going to meet. What did he think would happen? I hope he never feared rejection. I know I have always feared rejection from him. I hope I never get it, but if I do, I will have to surrender him once more to the hands of the Lord.

I tried my best to explain to him what was going on in my life during the time that I found out that I was pregnant. I wanted him to understand that me placing him up for adoption had nothing to do with me rejecting him, and everything to do with where I was emotionally.That I had to give him an opportunity to live without the issues of life that I was just beginning to face in my life at that time. In fact , that pregnancy is what caused me to begin to realize how twisted my thoughts and lifestyle was.

I believed that God called Josh into being before He ever laid down the foundations of the earth. God saw opportunity with me that weekend, and said so be it. Josh's parent's lost a child through the adoption process that same weekend. They called out the the Lord in prayer asking for a child once more. We all believe that Josh was the answer to that prayer. I guess I have never had a second thought on that ever.

Back to the front porch and rocking chairs. The night was so wonderful, the starts were bright. There was a slight chill in the air, but the love that was there enveloped us both. I wanted to hold him like I would my own children during hard times. I didn't know where that boundary was, and I definitely didn't want to cross any line that would cause him discomfort. I still haven't gotten to do that outside of holding his hand and hugging him on occasion. I know that is his mother's place to do that. This issue is still very blurry to me. (Okay, I am beginning to cry again.) I really hate the feeling I get when I don't know the right thing to say or to do for those that I love the most. I feel so very inadequate. I wanted to respect Joann's position as his mother. I really don't know what my position as birth mother means to him, her, or even me in a deeper sense of the word. Argh! I guess we are still defining each of our postitions in this new relationship. We are doing this as we go. It is very scarey for me. This is one time in my life that I do not want to fail in any way. The scary part is, is that I know that I will and I don't want to cause Josh one more bit of pain than what I already have.Okay, this is getting more into the now than the then so I will end this for now.I didn't mean for it to be a continuous blog. Hopefully I will be able to finish it in the next day or two.Happy 25th Birthday to my dear Kara!

Meeting Josh

I spoke with Josh late Thursday night. He invited me to breakfast. He called me early Friday morning to schedule a time. I had an eye doctor appointment I had had scheduled for some time before.Considering my appointment, Josh said, we can do this after your appointment. My heart dropped! I immediately said I was open to doing it before the appointment if he chose to. Thankfully he was as eager as I was! So they came to the house. I believe that was the longest 10 minutes of my life!I opened the door, (why wasn't I sitting on the front porch?!?!?)There was this beautiful man standing in front of me. He looked just like me. Oh my! I grabbed him tightly and hugged him truly big. All I could feel was his body shaking like a leaf. My heart immediately went out to him. The fear he had made me forget any that I had. I had to try to bring him some type of comfort immediately. I told him, "Welcome Home". I wasn't sure how his mom would react to that, but that is what my heart was thinking.

We immediately went to eat. We sat beside each other just looking at one another and crying on and off silently and sharing small talk, wonderful small talk. The reality was so overwhelming. This man I was looking at was my flesh and blood. The last time I had talked to him he was three days old.It was just the two of us way back then and the emotions I was feeling at the breakfast table,were the exact same ones I had felt that last time I saw him. The best way to describe it is over whelming love. There really is not one single word to describe the emotions of my heart during this time. Josh was so full of love for me. Unconditional love. That is not what I was expecting. I was almost speechless. I kept waiting for anger or hurt to come out. It never did.

There was no way that I could let this time be usurped by a doctor that I don't even know.I felt like I just continuously kept touching him. I was so thankful he didn't take my hands off of him. I hope I didn't make him feel too uncomfortable.After breakfast, we came back to the house. Kara, my oldest daughter was here by then. She is the only child I have that is old enough to remember when I was pregnant with Josh. She had just turned 6 y.o.when he was born. They just grabbed a hold of each other and stayed that way for a little while. It was a wonderful time of healing for me in that moment. For her too I believe. She and Josh look sooooo much alike! My genes must be very strong! It is amazing how he found time for each of his siblings, making each one feel so special. I don't believe any of them felt short changed time wise. I watched as each of my children attached their heart to his.

I was so overwhelmed with the reality of what love is by my children. He has always been the missing piece of puzzle in our family. My children help to place him in the proper place. He fit perfectly and very snuggly! Joann and I cried together so often as we experienced the healing that was happening in our children. She and her husband have always always gone out of their way to be generously loving to my family.This time was no exception. My heart went out to her. I was wondering what she was thinking and experiencing. We shared quite a few "mammamoments". I wanted her to know how grateful I was for this moment. I don't think I could ever find the words to say thank you to her or Rick. I am going to have to stop writing for now. I need to go cry. I will post again real soon, I promise.

Thank you for sharing my joy. It is allowing the happiness in my life to be multiplied.

Mother's Day 2008/Josh is Coming!

It was a quiet, noneventful day. Only one well, maybe two of my five children had mentioned Mother's Day to me. The others I guess just aren't mature enough to understand the role of a mother or maybe I am just not a good mother. The good Lord knows I try hard, but oftentimes I just sit and question myself. I try to do what I know is right, and what I am not sure of, I try to run it by the Lord before I toss it at my children.

Anyway, back to my nice quiet Mother's Day.I am not sure where I had been, but I came into my bedroom and Micah said that Joann had called. I was to call her back asap. Joann is the wonderful life mom of Joshua. Joshua is the child I gave up for adoption in 1989. Josh's parents and I had always agreed that we would meet when Josh was ready. That meant, not when I was ready or when his parents were ready. We had discussed them coming in July this year. That is where my heart was set. I called Joann back, she said that Josh was ready NOW and would it be okay if they came on Thursday. I think I said something like, "Thursday, four days from now?" She said yes.Yes!?!?!?!?Oh my gosh! The fear set in! What if he didn't like me? What if he met me and walked out to never see me again?All I really knew to do was to gather this heaping pile of fear together and lay it at the feet of Jesus. It was toooo big of an issue for me to have dealt with.

Once I got the fear in the proper place the excitement set in. I laughed, and then I cried, and then I laughed and then I cried. Four days of laughing and crying and not much sleeping. Did I mention cleaning in there too?? I had class everyday from 7:30 to 5. With an hour drive time both ways. Not much time to do anything, but laugh, cry and clean on occasion.

Thursday finally arrived. It was late when they got to town. This child I had waited a life time to see was in the same town as me, and I wasn't able to get my hands on him! I know they were tired from the travel. I had to wait til Friday morning to see him! Now, the thought did cross my mind to go sit in the hotel parking lot and await their arrival. I couldn't violate his mom's trust, so I didn't. I never want her to feel threatened by me at all. Well, since I had to wait, y'all will too.I will post again tomorrow what happened the Friday morning!
Sleep tight!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I am so very rich!

The family I was birthed into all live away from me. There is minimal contact. This is sad for me, but it is also healthy for me. It has given me the freedom to go beyond the family expected lifestyle and become a truer me. The manipulations, the angst, the gross misunderstandings of family are not part of my daily existence. I have matured enough to not need my parent's approval for my decisions in life. I have given this freedom to my two adult daughters. In doing so, they are still close to their birth family. It is a choice that they have made. Having my children in my life is very important to me, therefore, I refuse to shut them out because of a difference in lifestyles and opinions. These are my children. These are phenominal people that I want to have the freedom to become who they truly are. I want to be one of their cheerleaders in life. I never want to be a stumbling block. I prefer to be a stepping stone for them. Isn't that what parents are suppose to do? We speak the truth with mercy one to another. We respect the differences whether we agree with them or not. We as a family have chosen to work through the rough patches in our relationships instead of tossing a family member out of the family.
I am very very rich in the family that I now have. There is an abundance of love, unexpected life lessons, committed hearts, substantial life support, and a whole future a head for all of us. I am looking forward to having all my children as adults, chasing their dreams, with their daddy and I helping along the way. This is my truest, most precious gift God has ever given me. The love of my family with no manipulation strings attached. They love because, they find value one in another...they love because their hearts are big and generous. They are not self seeking individuals who are only looking out for themselves. They are also looking out for those that God deemed to be their siblings and parents.
What more could I want as a parent?
I love you my darlings...Kara, Haleigh, Chelsea, Micah, Jordan and especially my sweetcheeks.