Why I Will Never Be Your Bff (GUEST POST)

Jo shares about life after adopting. The reality, brutally raw and beautiful. The truth, as it really is.  The season of now.
I have spent many guilt filled days berating myself because I’m not a very good friend to you. A better person would have made more play dates, met you for lunch, come to your kid’s birthday party, responded to your texts quicker – or at all.
But I haven’t.
In a perfect world you and I would probably be Sex and the City best friends, but six years ago I made a decision that just doesn’t leave much room that.
Don’t let my facebook feed fool you, what I do on a daily basis would make most people run away in horror.
I am parenting a broken, abandoned child. The after effects of her first three years still reverberate through this family in waves that frequently leave me struggling to breathe.
Years ago, I was a server at Red Lobster. One of the industry terms often used was “in the weeds.” It meant that you were overwhelmed with your customers and were constantly unable to catch up with your basic needs.
The beauty of the job was I could yell, “I’m in the weeds!!!” and two or three other servers would jump in and help me out. We were all doing the same job, and at a quick glance they could assess my situation and know what they could do to get me back on track.
I wish parenting adopted children was like that.
But it’s not.
These days I exist in the weeds. And I am often emotionally empty. There just isn’t room for us to be best friends because my entire life is invested in parenting a child that is broken.
And it’s really hard work.
I’m not asking for your sympathy because despite the difficult work I have chosen I am raising a phenomenal child full of life, love and imagination. I just want you to understand that it’s not personal. Through it all I believe deeply in a God of redemption, a God grace, and a God love. I believe that my daughter was built in His image and every morning I choose to walk in faithfulness and love this little girl God gave me.
But, yeah, it’s hard.
For all of you mommies like me, who are overwhelmed, struggling to breathe, parenting children that often take you way beyond your ability to cope… I suggest we all take a collective breath, find a momentary happy place, and shake off the guilt of not being a good enough friend.
51LgH5gVGtL._SY300_Jo Isley  blogs at Average American Housewife. She  is a biological mom, and adoptive mom, a stay-at-home mom, a baby wearing mom, a cook-from-scratch mom, a bargain hunting mom, a sleep deprived mom, but most of all a happy mom! She has no recollection of what it’s like to use the bathroom without my audience of four!


Brad and Jessica Inman are a wonderful couple that I have known for many years. Jessica and I shared a good bit of teenage angst together over smarties and hair dying sessions.  I love that we are now walking different paths toward adoption alongside each other.  Over the past year and a half I have seen them go through the steps to prepare for their child and have been inspired by their commitment to waiting for their child.
Right now they are raising funds for their adoption process HERE.  There are 3 days left to get in an order on one of their gorgeous tshirt designs and I personally can not pass up those beautiful bracelets!  They would make wonderful gifts, too.
Recently Jessica shared hear heart on her blog with powerful insight on what the process of waiting can be like.  The depth of surrender that she and Brad have reached in this process is so powerful that I can only imagine how blessed their child will be to have such amazing parents.
Here is her blog post, shared with permission. You can follow Jessica at her blog Songbird Stories.
In many areas of life there is often a high level of excitement when something happens quickly.  Whirlwind romances, accelerated graduations, babies born within the first year of marriage, quick progression up the corporate ladder.  It somehow seems to indicate that these people have something special.  A love so strong, a work ethic so intense the normal parameters do not apply.  This happens in the adoption world as well.  Speeding up the process is a major goal for many people.  When home studies come through quickly, matches are made soon after, fundraisers boom and a baby is home with the new parents within months – it must be a miracle!  And I believe it is; I really do.  God has timing for each situation and for those, it was speedy.
But then there are the rest of us.  Those of us that have been in the process for years.  Those of us that feel like each step requires determination and some amount of struggle.  We watch as others we were journeying with move forward, sometimes even more than once, while we have the same answer to give each time we are asked if there is news: “we’re still waiting”.  If all those other people who get propelled quickly through careers, romances, adoptions, and the like are experiencing God’s favor and blessing…what does that mean about those of us left plodding along?
I don’t have a theologically deep answer.  Or even a feel-good one.  But I do know that the timing is just as deliberate, just as miraculous, and God’s favor is not absent when the wait is long.  He does not indicate that speed has anything to do with blessing; it is us humans who love a sped-up story.  It’s why we think getting rich in your twenties might be better than a steady, fifty-year long career in the same company.  I think God does love surprising us sometimes and knocking out some of the hard work for us.  But what if that work, the struggle, the waiting was so important?  What if in the waiting He changed us and healed us?  What if He even changes what we think we are waiting and longing for?We have experienced this in our lives and seen it in others’.  We experienced it with our struggle with infertility, and in the biggest way, our marriage.  I hope to share more of that story one day but our marriage was rebuilt, healed, and massively changed. And it took time, struggle, work, and waiting.
Having others wait with you is a support like very few others.  We have had people pray for and over us, hope for us, sing over us, believe for us.  Especially when could not pray, hope, or sing, and when we did not believe and were so weary.  Many of them are still doing these things.  We are forever grateful to them and love them fiercely. I have also had the opportunity to wait with several friends on big things, and it is deep privilege to be allowed to share in another’s grief, hopes, and joy.
We have been waiting in a new stage lately.  Two months ago we presented (had our profile shown) to an expectant mother for the first time.  After the initial agreement with her attorney, there was silence.  No contact.  No updates.  For two months.  We were told she probably wouldn’t decide for weeks (not  months) and to expect no replies until she did.  The wait affected us in ways we didn’t even immediately realize.  It was hard and stressful as the baby’s due date inched closer and closer and still no word came to us.  We made a very, very difficult decision to stop that wait and withdraw our presentation last week, and begin to present to other women.  I wish it had gone differently but that situation and wait showed us we were ready to be in this stage, united.    It had a purpose.


Still, it can be incredibly difficult to see those we were side by side with jump forward while we stay back.  This week a friend who is with the same adoption consultant as we are presented to the same expectant mother we did (this was our second time presenting and their first).  She and her husband were chosen.  We were not.  They have been in the process 4-5 months.  We have been officially in process for a little over 18 months. We also experienced this in the infertility world.  Some of the people we were in the same boat with have gone on to have one or more children in the past several years.  None of this diminishes our joy for our friends, but it does remind us of our wait.
Sometimes the wait seems unfair and far too long.  Several  months ago I saw a friend finally bring her baby home after nine years in the adoption process and six failed adoptions.  I think rejoicing is still going on around the world for their family!!  No one understood at the time why the wait was so long, but their precious daughter just wasn’t here yet.  In contrast to the miraculous speedy stories this could sound like a cautionary tale.  It is not.  Rather, stories like this are beautiful evidence of timing and the perseverance of love and commitment.
It is easy to feel forgotten, left behind, less desirable than those that are chosen (just like it can with relationships, jobs, and in our situation, being chosen to parent).


We sometimes feel hurt, jealousy and any number of unpleasant things when someone gets what we are waiting for, without the effort we have put forth and especially if it’s someone close to us.  Even though we may truly be rejoicing with them.


But I try to trust that the wait has value.  The result cannot be rushed and wouldn’t be the same if it was.  Whatever the reason for the wait, in various areas of my life, I am grateful for things I am learning in that place (though I have not mastered any of them and expect to be learning them for a long time!)  Things like contentment, living in the present, patience, and how to celebrate with others even when I am disappointed or weary.  I have learned to appreciate the family we already have, the one that is just Brad and me.  I have learned that we have an incredible support system, family and community.  I have learned that things hard-fought for and long-awaited are sometimes the sweetest.

So for now we wait.  With anticipation.


Get Your Garden On For Fall (Guest Blogger)

With summer camp, swim lessons, baseball games and family vacations, busy families can find it challenging to plant and tend a summer garden. Don’t fret! There are plenty of yummy vegetables that will grow in the fall!  Everyone deserves a second chance right?  Here are some tips to start you out.

  • If you don’t happen to have a tiller and lots of open land outside your door, the easiest way to get started planting is with a raised bed. To star easy, you can buy  one of many Square Foot Gardening Kits.   Otherwise, you can go for the DIY approach. Four sides made of anything sturdy and non-toxic will work, such as cinder blocks, untreated wood, or even bales of hay. Pick a sunny location in your yard with good drainage. Make a square 3-4 feet wide, not so large that you can’t bend over it easily to weed or harvest. Fill the square 6-12 inches deep with a mix of equal parts blended compost, peat moss, and vermiculite. (The folks in the garden center at Lowe’s or Home Depot can show you where to find it.) You’re ready to plant!
  • Some vegetables actually have better flavor if they mature when the temps are cool. Veggies you can sow from August through September include English peas, carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts; be sure to select early-maturing varieties (think 40-60 days instead of 80-100). Plenty of greens can stand up to the cooler fall temperatures, including lettuce, spinach, collards and kale. Root veggies like turnips, radishes, parsnips and Irish potatoes also do well, since they grow primarily underground and are not bothered by cooling fall temps or frost. Feeling adventurous? Try planting rutabaga, leeks, bok choi, or arugula. Many onion and garlic varieties have to “over-winter” (they must spend the winter outside for a spring crop), and now is the time to plant them.
  • Be sure to keep newly planted seedling moist until they germinate, either with a soaker hose or by hand watering early in the morning. Floating Row Covers are highly recommended, since so many summer bugs and critters can destroy your newly sprouted seedlings quickly. Use a “summer-weight” floating row cover that retains very little heat. (You can even make your own by sewing or pinning two pieces of tulle into a long, wide shroud.) Keep the row cover up off the sprouting plants with stakes or hoops, and as the plants grow be sure to raise it. (Note: my kitties loved to poop in my newly planted beds, and kitty poop is very toxic. The floating covers help keep them out as well.)
  • Homeschooling? The fall and winter garden is great way to get the kids involved. Plenty of learning opportunities for math and science lessons are right outside your door, from measuring growth rates, weight of harvested vegetables, soil pH and acidity with Soil Test Kits, or comparing varieties for size, color, texture or flavor. Economics can be taught, using spreadsheets to keep track of seed costs and planting supplies and comparing them with similar produce found at your local grocery store. Lessons in weather, climate, nutrition, geography and even history can be easily tied to your garden, and the kids can help you keep the beds weed free all year.

Whatever you choose to do, be sure to follow these simple rules. Start small, grow big, take pictures, and have fun!

Allison Mackey is living the dream in remote south/central Tennessee. She lives on a 13.25 acre farm in a 110-year old home she and her husband Chad gutted and renovated in 2010. Born and raised in metro Atlanta, Allison loves to lead worship, write, cook, eat, and tend her garden. She and Chad are spoiled rotten teleworking for their respective companies in Atlanta. Married almost 18 years, Allison and Chad have two daughters (ages 23 and 16); one 13-year-old son; two dogs; two cats and one guinea pig. She is currently working on her memoirs, and on publishing her testimony as a novel.