The Problem of Avoidance

When I look at my two boys I wonder what they think about their adoption? I wonder what questions do they ask themselves that they just can’t articulate on their own? Being a heavy processor of every event in my life I have to be careful with ‘over asking’ these questions of the boys, however they are important questions for their long term health. So here is a bit of how I try to pay attention without asking too many questions.

I remember learning through my wife that you have to be careful when administering Tylenol during a fever. If you take the Tylenol too early you can mask the fever which is bad because the fever is not the real problem. The body produces fevers in order to route out the disease in our bodies. So in a sense fevers can be a good thing for us and can tell us a lot about our overall health if we listen to them. Let your fevers speak to you.

I remember when we adopted our third child my son, Josh, asked what color she would be, and how he hoped she would be brown like him. I remember we responded by telling him no matter what color she was that we would love her and she would be a part of our family, just like him. He said “okay” and we prayed and went to pick her up.

Later, we remembered to revisit that moment with Josh. That moment was a fever. It was a part of his heart coming out to tell us how he feels about himself. Acceptance is difficult enough when you don’t have obstacles against you. Josh struggles with acceptance like everyone else and a piece of it slipped out that night. It was a good reminder for us to continue to encourage and remind him that we are a family no matter how different we may look from one another.

The truth is that the times we are most likely to avoid each other happens when we mask the symptoms. A joke here, a smile there, a simple “I’m doing okay”. That is why we need to pay attention to the small moments when people leak a verbal comment that speaks to their true heart. Don’t shy away from discussing small comments made by your children, friends, or loved ones. It is often in the little comments, or mean jokes that true hurt is festering. When Jesus taught the disciples to turn the other check when struck; maybe it was so the good ear would be exposed to hear how the person was hurting, because the striking out was merely the symptom.

In the end we all are going to try and avoid talking about pain. It is the influence of sin. Sin teaches us to protect our hearts from vulnerability. Sin teaches us that a stiff upper lip and a proud chest can overcome any internal struggles of our heart. Don’t buy into it. Find a good group of people who love Jesus to share your heart with today.


Adoption Official Next Week

How does God bring families together?

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, and according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being… (Eph. 3:14-16)

It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life watching God weave our family together one child at a time. Each moment is filled with joy and pain. Adoption always has a bit of both attached. There is something wonderful that happens to each of us in the binding process. It has been one of the clearest working of the Holy Spirit in my life. Taking individual people who are lost in the world and bringing them together to be Christ to one another.

There is going to be moments where Sophia is going to find great joy in being a Marsh. There will be also moments where she will be hurt because of her loss. Through each of those moments my prayer will be that God shows up in a very real sense in her heart. That she will remember that He is her true hope and Savior.

Next Friday will be a wonderful day of blessing as the state confirms the work of the Spirit, but our truest thanks will good to our God who provides richly for each of us.

What will we teach Sophia about her adoption?

We have been asked this question a lot over the years about the boys. It continues to be a challenging question and we are always considering its answer. One thing Joshua said when he learned of his sister Sophia was, “I hope she is tan”. Our hearts melted a bit because he knows that he looks different from us.

We know he looks like us to a degree, but you can say about almost anyone. He can tell which means he has questions, which means we need to be able to talk and discuss it with him.

How could we not continuously remind him how much of a son he truly is to us? I love the answer to this question given by Julie Lowe who is a counselor at CCEF …

The Most Awesome Day: The Timeline

October 3rd, 2011

7:30AM Sophia was making her entrance into the world.
Travis was making breakfast for the boys and getting Joshua ready for school.
Andrew was sick and Adriane was taking the day off to spend with him full of doctor visits, and dentist visits.

8:30AM Sophia was probably being taken to the hospital by her loving birth mom.
Travis was dropping Joshua off at school
Adriane was at home with Andrew playing some video games (every sick child’s dream)

10:00AM Sophia was being checked out and decisions were being made about who was going to take care of her.
Travis was in Berkeley reading books at People’s Coffee shop acting like a cool graduate student.
Adriane was getting ready to take Andrew on medical adventures

1:00PM Sophia was getting tests done and just hanging out.
Travis went to lunch with Hardy (elder at church) at the Bridges.
Adriane was picking up Joshua from school and heading over to Little Bridges for after day care.

2:17PM Sophia getting tests done and just hanging out.
Travis gets a phone call from Riva (Our Adoption Social Worker and friend) about the possibility that there might be a relinquishment at the hospital. A relinquishment means that the birth mother knows she cannot care for the child she birthed and is brave enough to help her child find a loving home quickly. Responsible Birth Moms = Awesomeness!!!!

2:24PM Sophia pondering life.
Travis calls Adriane and tells her voicemail to call him.
Adriane at dentist with Andrew finding out about a Cavity.

2:27PM Sophia just hanging out.
Travis drives inappropriately fast to get home and email Riva the letter for the birthmother and adoption flyer explaining who we are.

2:51PM Sophia still hanging out
Travis gets confirmation from Reva that she has the information and it will be taken to the birthmom.

2:55 Sophia knows something is cooking.
Travis gets ahold of Adriane and explains the possibility of being able to adopt a new born girl. Our guarded hearts take in all the information factually but keep it as best we can from entering our hearts.

5:08PM Sophia chill-in’ like a villain
Travis gets a phone call about a leak at the church. He pretends like he cares but really just wishes Riva would call. (Notice how good of a job I do of protecting my heart and not getting too excited.)

Remember the word gospel means “good news”. So the true gospel is Jesus’ message to the world, but man I really know what the Greeks meant by gospel now.

Riva told us the birth mother choose us as Sophia’s parents. Birth Mom was given five families to choose from. She shared them with her mom. They both looked at the five families seperatley and each chose one. When they showed each other who they chose, they both chose us! (Tears)

6:15PM Sophia doing her thing that she does so fine.
Adriane cries, Travis goes into super duper type A mode.

6:30PM Sophia = Awesome
Travis calls Adam, Melanie, Mom, Lisa, Scott, Kristina, Frank, Emily, Adam again, Scott again.

By the time the calls are done we have Adam and Melanie to watch the boys. We have Lisa coming over to bring some baby clothes. We have a bunch of people praying. Then Travis cries.

6:44PM Sophia continuing to be awesome.
Travis calls Sophia’s social worker Erin. She let’s us know the procedure for meeting Sophia. We need to drive out to the hospital in the town she was born. We need to call Erin when we get there and then we will get to meet the baby girl.

7:00PM Sophia, you get it by now.
Travis and Adriane tell Joshua and Andrew about their new baby sister. Oh how I wish we could have recored this moment as both boys jumped around and smiled like we have never seen them smile. They get super excited and we pray together.

7:05PM Adam and Mel show up to watch the boys. Lisa shows up with clothes (literally at the same time.) Thank you both so much for being awesome!!

7:10PM Adriane and Travis  jump into the van to go get their baby girl!

7:50PM Adriane and Travis in Baby’s R Us to buy an infant car seat. We think we have everything else taken care of but they won’t let you leave a hospital without one so this was a no brainer.

9:26PM Sophia begins to sense something is up.
Adriane and Travis arrive at hospital, they have a special birthing/ family wing.

9:45ish Travis, Adriane, and Sophia meet. Travis and Adriane=smitten.

10:30PM Riva comes by and offers for us to spend the night at her place once we are finished. She is awesome too!! She made all of this happen and we are so thankful for everything she has done with both adoptions.

11:30PM Sophia gets hungry and Adriane does the first feeding and changing.

1:00AM Travis falls asleep and is not sure what happens afterwards.

3:00AM Head out to our Riva’s home and say goodnight.

Oct. 4th, 2011

9:00AM Wake up and head out to visit Sophia in the hospital again.

9:30AM Get to the Hospital and start hanging out with Sophia.

11:30AM Started to get itchy about taking Sophia home and asked the Nurse when we might be able to head out and she said one more test and we would be good to go.

12:00PM Sophia heads into do a hearing test.

12:30PM Adriane and I take off to get some lunch at BJ’s and discuss various Sophia topics like future husbands, College, you know the small stuff.

2:30PM Get back to the hospital and Sophia is almost ready to head home.

3:30PM We get the news that Sophia is good to go home. The nurse comes and gives us encouragement and support. We get a few free goodies, but for the most part we are on our own.

4:00PM Arrive at Baby’s R Us for supplies. There are quite a few distractions there but we did not over spend and got just what we needed.

5:30PM Visit friends to collect a baby bed that attaches to our bed. This thing is awesome.

6:00PM Sophia, Adriane, Andrew, Joshua, and Travis are all home one big happy family.

Thank you for everyone who helped during our 24 hour adventure. We look forward to all the cool introductions and fun times to come.