Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Reality!

I have been thinking of this post for some time and really don't know how I can express myself accurately. It's one of those issues that feels a little uncomfortable to talk about. It is something that I have had to reconcile with myself. It is not a big deal it is just my reality- the reality that I live in everyday. The life that I/we have chosen. Hubby's reality is a little different because each day he goes to work and interacts with other adults that have a common work interest and he often runs into people that we know.

We have 5 birth children over a 10 yr span. We were very active in our community and what our children were involved in. We knew a lot of people in our area. We have truly enjoyed the many many families we have met through church, schools, sports, and activities. It has been great!! Many of the families had children that matched up with 2 or 3 of our kids- that was especially fun and we stayed connected over many years. But kids grow up, activities end, people change churches, etc...

As a family we have continued to grow in numbers. The people we once were close with we haven't seen in years. I still fell like they are my friends and I think they have positive feelings towards us, too. However, those families are still seeing each other, their connections have grown stronger. The ladies may take walks together, volunteer, exercise or have lunch weekly or monthly. The couples go out for dinner, catch a movie or even travel together.

When we decided to change our direction and adopt we knew that we were taking the road less traveled. We knew that was what we wanted to do- we made a deliberate choice. Sometime when a person makes a choice to do something they don't necessarily realize they make a choice NOT to do something else. We choose not to participate in the lifestyle we saw our friends going toward- we knew it and we deliberately choose it. It was an informed decision.

So this weekend it hit me like a pie in the face. I'm not exactly sure why, I think it was a weakened moment. A moment where two of my big kids were especially crabby and my appreciation level was at an all time low- me for them and then for me- it was mutual.

Now I will wallow and mope- a friend of our oldest son got married this weekend and we were not invited to the wedding. I know, you are shocked (JK)! I usually never care about stuff like that, I am famous for saying "sometimes it's a blessing not to be invited to everything". Life would be too busy if we were all always included- I don't even like that kind of busy- so why do I even care about this wedding? It is because we would have invited them if the table were turned? Is it because I just love this young man (that just got married) and his family (his Dad died 5 years ago). It is because he practically lived at our house in high school? (okay I'm in a time warp, that was 9 years ago). Do I feel like I failed my older kids by not being involved enough or bowing out of things as we added to our family? I don't know? It's probably a combination of many things.

I don't want to keep the pout going on too long but there may be a trend here and this family ain't goin to many of the weddings in the near future. But I will stop myself from continuing on with the poor me syndrome and move on.

So, this weekend I have been thinking and processing. Thinking of the choices we have made, praising the Lord for his kindness and allowing us to add our little blessings to our family. Thinking about all the money we are saving by not buying wedding gifts (just kidding).

I have been reconciling my feelings and giving them to the Lord. I have also announced to our children that if and when the time comes - plan a small wedding. We've run out of friends! Acquaintances we have many, friends... ahhhhh.. only if they share our last name!

FYI- I have never regretted our life choice, never regretted following our Lords lead but that doesn't mean I can't have a few feelings now and then! Don't worry, I'm already better and over the wedding issue, okay I better say wedding issues because there's another one comin up and we aint goin to that one either...


Dawn said...

I totally get you here! Us too...

Lori said...

Oh Jean, I can TOTALLY relate to how you are feeling. Yep, I know exactly what that's like. Stay focused on what God has called you to do. :)

"...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith..." Hebrews 12:1,2

MoonDog said...

just stop on by here! I have no friends to speak of either. I have 6 kids soon to be 9. small town. no one invites us to anything either. my husband has one colleague who invites us to bbq and we invite them. other than that I talk to no one. and no one talks to me. I SOOO know how you feel

julie said...

Jean, I understand exactly how you feel. Several years ago when my husband and I quit our regular jobs and became self-employed, we lost most of our friends/co-workers. After working with those people for many years we thought we had a bond with them. But, it was like "out of sight-out of mind". We too, were not included anymore in all the things we were accustomed to being invited to. Weddings, graduations, showers and just little get togethers. (I didn't even get invited to the wedding of a couple that I had set up on a blind date...I was crushed!)
I have learned to just enjoy spending all my time with family and a few close friends. (And, of course, my bloggy friends!) If you're ever in the St. Louis area, we would love to have you guys over! One of the things I love about this whole adoption journey is meeting such wonderful people!

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Yeah.....the more children we have the less invited we are to A LOT OF THINGS! It still hurts sometimes, but knowing we are in God's Will- it's all good! It is OK to have feelings like that- I do!

Serving the King said...

Bless your heart Jean! Our reward is comin sister! As we fix our eyes on Him and continue to poor out His love here on earth to these children, it's comin! And just think of all of the good times all of us crazy, Jesus lovin, adopting, family minded, Word dwelling people will have in heaven, now that's gonna be a good time. Oh it's comin! Wedding schmedding girl, we are married to the Most High God and living a life according to His will is the best life of all....but believe me, I getcha. This girl could also use some girl talk here and there. About every 2 years the Air Force sends us somewhere brand new and we don't know a soul. So to be constantly "dropping" friendships is incredibly difficult. When you get new friends the relationships can tend to be somewhat superficial since we are all so temporary. Makes me wonder in 20 years when this is all done if I will look around and see if I have any/many lasting friendships so I totally hear your heart! Darn that flesh of ours!

Sally-Girl! said...

Exactly why we need to hang out in GZ together since I could have written this post myself!!!

Mom to my China Posse said...

I am hearing you, I feel this way to. Andrew graduates Friday and people keep telling me who have kids his age, "you could have been done like us" like thats a good thing. I on the other hand feel so blessed I don't have a empty nest. The only thing I do have guilt about as you wrote is feeling the overwhelming guilt that by adopting our 5 littles it made me less present for our older kids at times. Honestly is a balancing act and some days I don't think I do my oldest two kids justice. I pray on that constantly and sometimes when they get really upset they express that to me, wish we could have it all but reality is the more kids we have somethings we do find we miss out on.

Pam said...

Your reality is my reality, too!

Gayle said...

I'm just thinking we may need to schedule some serious fun times and build our new friendship--what's a couple of hours on the road, really? You and your beautiful family are ALWAYS welcome at our home! We are planning on a trip to the zoo soon--I will call you for sure!!

Jboo said...

Oh Jean -- I feel for you! I know you are happy with your choices, but something like that does hurt. Happened to us not too long ago too and my feelings were hurt that we weren't included. Sometimes I do feel like the odd person out as the parents of my daughter's friends are so much younger. TAke care sweetie! I wish you lived near us as I know we would be real-life friends!


Jackie Egan said...

I totally understand. We are in the process of our 5th adoption and we have 3 bio older kids. Just like you our friends from the past don't call or invite us any longer. Even friends with kids our adopted kids ages don't invite us because we have so many. What is even sadder our family doesn't invite us on family vacations because we have so many little kids. It's ok because I love and never regret the choices I have made but it is still kind of sad.
soon to be mom to 8

Laura L. said...

I understand what you are saying. We are walking a different road than many of our friends too.
Having Bigs and Little can change so many things. Some of our friends are already empty-nesters or almost. Us, not so much. :)
There are so many things it changes, having little ones, but how blessed we are.
I feel guilt when I can't go volunteer at high school events as much, but whatever.
I feel a little odd sometimes when I am the oldest mom in Jadyn's class. Ha.

As for friends, they do come and go in the seasons of life. Sometimes it is sad, it really is. The truest of friends will stick by you, and family is THE BEST friends too have as well.

Would love to see you guys sometime. I still like ya!!! XXOO

Mandi said...

I'm right there with ya "sista." We too are finding out with 6 kids the invitations are few and far between.

But, on the flip side I am blessed to have those 6 great kids in my life to see EVERYDAY not just for special days or cookouts or even a play date at the park.

God is good and I thank him everyday for the blessings he has given me.

Tesseraemum said...

Aww, I hear you! Sometimes I think even just turning your heart to the things God calls us to puts people off. We are still the same fun crazy people we're just still going to preschool and ball practice instead of going out to dinner and on a cruise! Come over and bring the kids! They can play and we can talk and laugh! (and it doesn't have to be about kid stuff since we are more than that!) When your friends are playing cards at the assisted living center you will be going to band concerts and softball games! They will envy you then I promise! They don't think so now, but they will!!!!

Mom2Four said...

Wow! We feel the same way. We have a large (by the world's standards) family of 4 (soon to be 5) kiddos, one (soon 2) adopted from Chin*, we homeschool, and I work and DH stays at home to boot. To say we don't fit the "typical" American family is an understatement. DH and I have been talking alot lately about our inability to really connect with anyone - not so much for our sake, but for our kids. They are involved at church and one other activity, but they/we can't seem to find friends for them. We were beginning to think it was something specific about us. Glad (sad?) to know we have a lot of company

Anonymous said...

Well I can't relate in having the older kids yet, but we don't get invited either. I know it goes both ways, but it is hard to see others and think they have so many friends.

We just don't, but then again we are different than a lot of the people we used to be closer to. They think it is very weird that we keep on adopting children. Even our pastor says almost every Sunday he can't wait "until his kids are all out of the house … 3 more years" he exclaims. from. the pulpit.

It is hard for me not to look at others and wonder why they don't see what I see … the many children. But then I remember too that my eyes were once not opened to orphans.

I don't know when we'll be done. We even have one family member in particular who is not very supportive of our decisions, but he loves, loves, loves our children. It is hard to explain, but once they are home he accepts them fully and loves them just the same. Still he tells us he thinks enough is enough.

It can feel lonely to live apart form the *norm* but oh so blessed! It is times like you describe that I often find myself drawing closer to the Lord (and sometimes shirking away from His outstretched arms too).


Sophie said...

I used to feel this way too. We have 6 kids, 1 adopted, and praying for more, all our friends our age have children that are in Jr.High and up. The wedding invites we receive are Mr.&Mrs. only and I'm so good with that but I do get a little lonely at times because none of our friends have small kids and I don't know many interested in adoption. At times when we do get together I still feel kind of isolated because we have different interests. For example I love talking about the kids and God but I'm not into husband bashing or going out for drinks.I don't think God approves of that, and I won't let my kids do what everyone else is doing just because it's socially acceptable, and because of that I think I may offend some people.

I'm so grateful though that like you we've taken the road less traveled because it pleases my Lord. When I feel like I'm ready to throw my pity party I turn to Matthew 7:13.

Maybe we could just invite ourselves to our family parties?
{{hugs and blessings}}

Kelly said...

Oh my gosh! God led me straight to your blog today. I don't check in everyday, but I had one of those feelings that I needed to read your blog today!

I could have written that post myself. The only difference is that I am now single. I was married 20 years, had 4 bio kids and we had lots of friends through school, church, sports, neighborhood, etc. After the husband left 10 years ago (he didn't think we had any common foundation!?), I lost some friends that just felt too uncomfortable to be around me. When I decided to adopt on my own - not once, but twice - I think people just backed away. I recently wasn't invited to my godson's wedding and our families had been glued together for years!

When my two oldest graduated, we had a huge open house and went to parties galore. Now that the youngest of my bios is graduating next week, we aren't really doing anything. Why? We don't really have any family friends.

It's not that we aren't liked. We have lots of acquaintances, but I have no real "friends" to speak of and I get really lonely being single. I wouldn't change things for even a minute. It will just be me (51 years old) and my two little 6 year olds after the summer. The parents of the my kids' friends are sweet, but they are young and in a different life stage. I find myself wallowing in self pity a lot lately and know that I shouldn't. I find myself needing a good friend to talk over life with.

Thanks for letting me vent. I know how you feel and it actually feels good to know that you and the others that have commented feel the same way. It affirms my decisions in so many ways.

Thanks and blessings!


Craig and Phyllis said...

Wow, I enjoyed reading the other comments as much as this post! We were semi-emptynesters for a year before adding our three boys to the family. Big change! There are days that I think what life would be like for me at this exact moment, but I don't allow that to happen very often. God called us to these boys in a very profound way. It is the hardest thing that He has asked us to do, but I wouldn't trade it for an RV and carefree days for anything! We are still so "busy" that I have not run into the changing of friends issue so much. I have so loved reading your blog. It gives me some encouragement that there are others out there making a huge change to the "typical" American lifestyle and follow God's call!

Adeye said...

Whew friend, I know it is so painful. Anthony is 14 years older than me--his friends just don't get us at all. They think we are completely nuts. I think they just blame his insanity on his young wife :) He has been excluded from so many things because of our choices.

Adeye said...

Sorry--I hit the publish button by accident. I meant to say hang in there---stand firm and stick to what the Father has told you to do! It is soooooo worth it--but you already know that :)

Love and hugs.

barb Holmberg said...

This is the first of your blog posts that I have read. I was linked to your blog from another. How refreshing it was to read all the comments and realize what a huge number of us have these same "feelings!" I have to believe that God is using the internet and blogs to join us together. He is whispering in our ears that we are not alone. Of course we know that he is with us but if feels so good to know that someone with "skin on" is with us too. I was able to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit a few weeks back. There were wonderful speakers and great workshops, beautiful worship music BUT the think I liked best was talking to other adoptive parents and families. We are in this together. Wish I could have a cup of coffee with you in person! You have a beautiful family!

Difference2This1 said...

Hey...why don't you take a run on down here the next wedding you aren't invited to. That way, you'll know you couldn't have went anyway cause you got big plans in DE. Don't you have a hs trip to DC or Philly written your curriculum sometime anyway? We offer big adoptive family lodging here in exchange for anyone who wants to put up with our getting bigger adoptive family. :)

Janet and Kevin said...

Yep - I totally get what you are saying. We are more left alone now from some of our what we thought were closet friends, but we are more alive and joyful now being around our precious children.

It really is a small price to pay when compared to the Heavenly joy God has given us.

Hugs to you,
Janet and gang

Kathy said...

I SO relate to what you are saying!
I didn't realize so many others have
the same struggle at times. I thought
it was just me.
I know when I start to feeling bad I
just need to get my focus back on
Jesus and keep running the race.

He so blesses me with mornings
like today when I went in Jaden's
room and she invited me to lay in
bed with her. She said, "If you lay in
bed with me I can cuddle and snuggle
you up!"
How truly blessed we are to
have these precious girls in our lives!
What an honor that God gave us all
hearts for His precious children.

Acceptance with Joy said...

When hubby and I were first married we hung out with a family that had 5 kids - one adopted (now I've lost count on their very special needs adopted children since some of them have died and they keep adopting). The gal told me "big families don't get invited out. We have to make up for it by being the ones who invite and look for those who might need friendship." They lived that. Their table was always crowded. Probably still is, but we live in a different State and I don't see them anymore. When we announced we were looking to adopt I instantly lost some friendships. It was a good thing it took a year to get the kids, because it took me almost a year to grieve the loss. I still see these people at church. We are cordial, but that's it'. The friendship is gone because they can't wait until they kids are out of the house and they have no desire to be around little's again. I am blessed, though. Several other friends decided to adopt at the same time as us. We have each other but we are SOOOOOOOOOO busy getting adjusted to our new kids we can hardly have time to talk on the phone right now.
Blessings on your family.