Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

At 6:30 tonight I will mark the 5th anniversary of the birth of my baby girl. I was already a mom to two boys that I had adopted so having a baby was a completely different experience.

After laboring all day and my blood pressure going sky high, we made the tough decision to have an emergency c-section. I’m so happy we did because I finally got to meet my little red-headed baby daughter! 

 (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Happy birthday my sweet and sassy sidekick! I love you and I know you are going to do great things­čĺŚÔŁĄ´ŞĆ­č匠(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Celebrations

I’m procrasrinating my editing deadline (finalized manuscript due one week from today people!) and it feels so right. I’m just not in an editing sort of place right now, I have no focus after the craziness of this week and I think I just need a mental break.

So I’m giving myself permission to do just that.

In the meantime I’m celebrating. This week has been full of some really great family moments at our house, and when we have those, we hold on with both hands because we know how elusive things going well can be at times. I’m always a silver lining kid of gal so I’m usually celebrating anything I can get my hands on. This week, however, has held some really special moments.

My kids enjoyed one other’s company. Sure, they fight like cats and dogs but at their cores, they are all best friends. It’s hard to see in the picture but Baby Houdini is riding Big Brother like a horse and Little Brother and Little Sis are making sure he doesn’t fall off. Charlie the Service Dog is also keeping a watchful eye-

(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Little Sister did amazing at the dentist, which isn’t news to you but to our family, when we have another kid who has such bad sensory issues the dentist is torture, this was a good day. 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This week was also Big Brother’s Gotcha Day-the day he was born into our family through adoption twelve years ago. This pic is the moment he was placed into my arms for the first time. It still makes me teary-eyed!­čśş

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

And finally, the kid who has the most struggles in school got a scholastic award for reading! He won the Thunder Reading Challenge for reading the most minutes at his school-well over 700. He told me he was going to win and he did! He read to anyone who would listen, the dog, his siblings. I even saw him reading to one of the neighbor kids… 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This has been a week where living in the Shafer household has felt more like thriving instead of surviving. That’s a goooooood feeling, one we don’t take lightly around here. Thanks for celebrating with us, it brings me great joy to look around and see that we do indeed have so much to celebrate!

Blessings, friends!­čĺŚÔŁĄ´ŞĆ­čĺŚ

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 10

I’m late to the party as usual–yesterday was World Adoption Day. 
I’m so grateful for the way my family tree was knit together through time and countries and paperwork and grace.
Support local families who adopt/foster, consider it for your own family, educate or donate. We can all make a difference; no child should have to be without a family.
#foster #adopt #kids #worldadoptionday #gratitude #makeadifference #30DaysofThankfulness 

(Photo credit littleobrianfamily.blogspot.com) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Dear Kids,

Just wanted to say a few things. I know only 50% of you can read but I’m assuming the Bigs will read to the Littles. Do you hear me Bigs?

I know it’s been more circus-y than usual lately in our Traveling Circus. I don’t love that for you but I know a few good things will come from this time.

You’re going to figure out how to live with people in a community. This is a great thing when you’re an adult because you will be able to live among others who are different than you. It might seem hard right now when you’re a kid fighting with your brothers or sister but you’re getting some important lessons.

You’re also learning to live with compassion towards others. Our family has a lot of people and some of those people have some things in their individual lives that make day-to-day life more difficult. This means we all have to learn to communicate even during hard times. It’s good to learn to use your words–someday your spouse and kids and friends will appreciate this about you.

And within our family we have to have extra helpings of grace mixed into our daily life. This is a game changer if you can extend grace to those around you, and not just for them either. It’s for you as well, so you won’t harbor things like bitterness or regrets or resentful-ness towards others. I’m hoping that learning to extend grace early on will lighten your load as an adult.

And finally, the patience that we are constantly having to give each other is invaluable. Patience sometimes means not getting wrapped around the axle on the little things. It’s a much more freeing way to live that allows you to just be present in the moment.

Like I said, this life we’re called to and blessed with isn’t the easiest. I used to wish it was easier for you. But I now know that would be doing you a disservice. Learning these important character-builders as a kid gives you lots of time to practice them on your family, the ones who love you the absolute most.

This is a really good thing. 

I love each of you more than I could ever put into words. And I’m grateful that I have this gorgeous family from all over to call mine. I am the one who is blessed–

All my love, 

Mama

National Adoption Awareness Month

It’s November! That means there are some birthdays at my house, it’s time to be Thankful with Thanksgiving right around the corner, and it’s National Adoption a Awareness Month!

I loooooooove talking about adoption. I have two adopted kiddos and two biological kids and I can honestly say I forget about adoption a lot–these kids were just meant to be mine. I love them all so much and even though I pull my hair out at times, having a houseful of kids is still one of the best things I’ve ever done.

My oldest, who is now twelve (let the eye rolling begin), is from South Korea. This was an international adoption heavy on paperwork, time, finances, scrutiny, and scariness–I was in law school when I found out it wasn’t going to take the two to three years we thought. So I became a first time mom halfway through school and instead of life getting harder it just got better.

Oh, it was still crazy. But becoming a mom before I became a lawyer really helped keep my priorities straight. The little things didn’t matter as much anymore and I just didn’t have time to stress about everything. 

 My almost eight year old (how can this be?!) was adopted domestically. He is African-American, a flirt, and a ball of energy. All the time. This adoption was also special because for the first time I met one of my children’s birth moms. His birth mom actually placed him in my arms for the first time, and as her teary-eyed Mama and Grandma watched (let’s be real, we were all teary-eyed) we all bonded over this gorgeous baby. 

 Adoption is important. It is necessary. You may not think it’s for you and that’s ok. The world is reaching a near crisis level with orphans and even if fostering/adopting isn’t your calling, maybe you could donate time or money or supplies or support to those working in this area across the world. Maybe you could pray for all the babies and kids who still need someone to tell them they are loved and important and special. And for the birth moms who are making difficult choices out of a great love for their children.

This is an everyone issue. 

Every child deserves no less than a safe place, a warm bed, and a grownup who cares about them. Throughout the month of November I would just ask that you consider what you can do to help these children and their futures. 

You won’t regret it.

(Photo credit Adoption Love) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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My Recipe for a Great Day

Coffee. Copious amounts of coffee.

A great pair of shoes. Preferably leopard print. 

Cute kids having fun.

Unexpected blessings.

Healthy dose of laughter.

Old family photos.

Hot summer sun.

Swings, grass, the sound of a lazy wasp buzzing in the background. 

Mix all ingredients well, until the memories are firmly set. Place in your heart to let it simmer. Take it out anytime you need to remember how sugar-sweet life can be when you bite into its juicy, rich center.

What’s your recipe? 

#summer #coffee #adoption #family

┬ęMeredith Shafer 2015. I would love to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram at My Pink Champagne Life or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

 

Thanks!

Gratitude is a game changer. It doesn’t matter what kind of day you may be having, if you can be grateful for something it will make a bad day better and a good day great.

Here are just a few of my favorite things…

My daughter doing push-ups with her Daddy this morning

My 19 month old dancing in the toy box

All of you wonderful bloggers who have become friends and encouragers to me

A husband who powers through a rough day

Two big kids who weren’t born from my belly but from my heart

A family of red birds in my backyard

Charlie, the service dog and peace bringer to our family

Music, sno cones and lightning bugs.

Today is a good day!

  
(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

I would love to connect with you on Facebook and Instagram at MyPinkChampagneLife or Twitter @MyPinkChampLife. Swing by and say hello!

To All the Waiting Mamas

I hesitated to write anything around Mother’s Day, but after reading some lovely ladies’ blogs at My Perfect Breakdown and Waiting for Baby Bird (y’all should go check out their very poignant posts), I really felt it pressed in my heart to add to the discussion.

There are many roads to motherhood. I’m convinced there’s no one right way. I’m also certain that the path to and through motherhood is often full of pain and waiting.

And it’s the Mamas who are in the midst of the pain and waiting that I wanted to talk to.

You are important.

I know a lot of Mamas who are currently waiting. Waiting to hear from the adoption agency. Waiting to see if their fourth round of IVF has worked. Waiting to see if the vasectomy reversal is an option. Waiting to hear when their son in another country will get to come home.

I know Mamas waiting for test results, waiting for a phase to pass, waiting to hear from their kids’ fathers, waiting to hear from the adoptive parents, waiting to hear from their kids.

We Mamas, in all our forms, have the really tough job of standing in the gap for our children, often before they’re children: when our bodies fail us, when the adoption falls through, when the baby is born sick or isn’t born at all.

When the child isn’t home yet or we can’t be with them. When life happens and we just want to know why but probably never will.

This waiting we do as Mamas isn’t a wait the rest of the world understands because it is a waiting of the heart.

This is the hardest kind of waiting because you have to go all in.

100%.

Which pretty much guarantees that we will get our hearts broken somehow. At some point. In some way, probably unforeseeable to us at the time.

And yet we do it anyway.

This takes bravery on our parts. And faith that something good will eventually come out of the situation somehow. We wait even when we don’t know what else to do.

Mother’s Day has been a source of pain for me at various times throughout my grownup years. Even when I wanted to celebrate my own Mama sometimes it was difficult when I was in a place of waiting. 

Motherhood has not come to me easily.

And I wondered if I even counted as a Mama before I had a baby in my arms. Did it matter that I had a Mama’s heart with no baby yet? Could my waiting and my pain make any difference?

I believe it does.

Many become Mamas in their hearts long before their child is present. And on a day such as Mother’s Day when we’re all celebrating Mamas everywhere, this might cause pain for those Mamas whose hearts are full but arms are empty.

So to all the Mamas who are waiting-waiting for a phonecall or paperwork or their fertile days or a letter or email or hug or travel plans or to see their own Mamas again someday-you’re not alone.

I’m praying for all the Mamas in my life who are waiting for something. I’m praying for strength for you, for courage, expediency, protection and hope, and for all you need at this point in your journey.

Blessings to you, Waiting Mama, and Happy Mother’s Day-

  
(Photo credit brightboldbeautiful.com) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Funky

Today was weird. Started out rainy and gloomy, which means this Mama had trouble starting her day. Mr. Wonderful ran out and got doughnuts which, I’ll admit, did help turn my morning around. Good man, that one.

Prior to this though, the fiery red-headed three year old had woken me up in the middle of the night to inform me that her “pillow was broken.” If you wake me out of a deep sleep a body part better be hanging the wrong way because I. Will come. Unglued.

And she woke me by standing next to my bed and whispering in her creepiest voice. This did not compute in the deep of night. Her pillow is broken, my brain kept saying. At the time I couldn’t grasp that her pillow case had come off, a true 3:00 am emergency.

I suppose the lack of sleep and strange weather were somewhat to blame for my funkiness. And not the cool Uptown kind I’m always hearing Bruno Mars and his pals sing about. 

Also, this afternoon I had a book signing at a lovely bookstore where they forgot to put me on the calendar! Which meant no publicity and people avoiding my table like I had the plague or was selling Amway (if you sell Amway, I don’t avoid your tables. I’m just using this as an example.) Thanks for helping me stay humble I’ll-call-you-unnamed-bookstore-since-you-felt-so-bad-you-invited-me-back-for-a-big-publicized-to-do! 

Lovely sidebar: I got to catch up with my former youth minister from high school so it was well worth the trip.

Then we went bowling for our oldest son’s Gotcha Day. For the uninitiated, this is the day this awesome kid was handed over to me in an airport 11 years ago. It’s like his birth into our family, and since I didn’t get to be there for his actual birth, this day’s pretty special. 

Technically this day is Monday but since it’s a school day we decided to celebrate today when we would have more time. (More on Gotcha Days in another post.)

As we were leaving the bowling alley I could just feel Mr. Wonderful’s tension mounting. I’m somewhat of an emotional barometer these days. I can feel when something’s building.

It wasn’t a bad building, increasing to the point of no return. Because I could feeling it coming I was able to give him a break and take over kid duties like bath time and bedtime. And we were able to just hang out in our Oasis and watch Netflix.

This is usually heaven for me. But when I can feel the tension and anxiety and his desire to tussle bubbling towards the surface, it makes  me feel what he’s feeling. I’m like a freakin’ human emoticon. I usually love being able to intuit and read people and really empathize with them. But I hate when it’s Mr. Wonderful going through stuff. It’s hard to feel his suffering.

I really wanted to say, hey! PTSD, give us a break today! I’ve had it with you and I’m kicking you out. Show your face around here again and I’ll get Mr. Wonderful to kick your…yeah, that’s right. Run away! (Fist shaking here.) 

So it’s all weirdness and I find myself up in the Danger Zone (aka Kid Area) writing things and listening to their untroubled kid sighs. I love listening to them sleep. Their little yawns and sounds and sometimes even laughter (I have two that tend to laugh in their sleep) make me smile through my tiredness and remember it’s all gonna be ok. 

Tomorrow is a new day with new mercies waiting for all of us like an unwrapped gift. 

Thank God.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015, (Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015)

Writing as Procrastination

Do you ever have those days where your To Do List is so long that you’re completely overwhelmed? So instead of tackling the list you find something to do that’s not even on it?

Yeah, me either.

Truthfully, this post is in direct response to the pile of mail on my desk, the pile of laundry that needs attention (oh laundry, why must you vex me so?), the pile of bills that needs paying, and the pile of poo that a Mama of young kids often finds herself up to the elbows in.

Rest assured, the diaper has been changed. As for the laundry, work and bills, no thank you. Maybe if I’m polite enough it will all just go away so I can take a nap.

Some days, like today where I can use writing as a brain dump and a procrastination technique all at once, I love it. I relish it. I crave it like chocolate. Ok, maybe less than chocolate but still. Rats! Now I’ve just convinced myself to procrastinate writing by finding chocolate. 

Sheesh.

Other days I get so angry at writing I could just wring its scrawny little neck. Stop tormenting me already! I just wrote yesterday! I can skip a day, right? Quit flirting with me, calling me like a siren to her sailors. Don’t tease me, offering a reprieve from my daily workload only to turn me away with nothing to show on paper for my efforts.

The writing life is something that’s always followed me around like a little lost pup. I could ignore it for so long before I had to take action. (You can buy the resulting book of my action taking here.) And now that I’m writing and speaking about topics important to me (like adoption and PTSD), it’s become my pet. Writing has become my passion and distraction.

I know there are a thousand other things I should be doing right now, but putting words from my mind to the paper is like meeting an old friend for coffee. It’s time well spent, a relief to pick up where you left off, and a warm fuzzy for the heart.

I really wish this didn’t have to end. 

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015