Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Letting Go


The count down is on. My first born child will graduate in less than two weeks, and it is filling me with grief.  This is supposed to be a happy thing.  I am happy for him. I am so proud of him. I am excited for him beyond belief. I am so sad for me. I am bathing in self pity, and trying to hide it. I am losing one of my best friends. The best big brother, EVER is leaving the nest. I realize he is still my son, and the big brother, but after he leaves, it will never be the same. Our routines as a family will be forever changed. All my children will not be under the same roof anymore. I am not going to lie...I kind wish we could just all pick up and follow him!

By now you are thinking I am one of those over protective, over bearing, overly involved mothers. Maybe I am...but let me explain.

I had Tyler shortly after my 16th birthday. When I first held him, it was a feeling I will never forget. I had been so alone in the world. And then there was this child, this perfect, adorable, sweet child, and he was mine. He wasn't going to judge me, he wasn't going to talk behind my back. He needed me, and I needed him.

People warned me. "Oh just wait! Wait till he is two and he is in to everything." Or, "wait till he talks back." Or my favorite, "wait till he is an awful teenager, drinking and partying and you are out all night looking for him."  Well, these things never did happen.

At two, I could take him to a 2 hour high school play and he would sit and watch quietly. He never did get "into everything." I can honestly say, he is not one to talk back, never has been.  Most importantly, he has never been to a party, never wanted to. He hasn't had a desire to drink or experiment much. He has been hard working, honest, and simply pleasant to raise. There is not a fiber in my being that wants this journey to be over.  He has been a part of me for as long as I can remember, and that part of me is relocating.  Ugh.

I want to rewind, start all over.  Turn back time.  Reverse.  Relive.  Redo.  But that is not possible.  We can't go back, we can only go forward.  We have made incredible memories.  We have a bond that can never be broken.  These are things I need to hold close, keep tucked away, be thankful for.  He has been the best son a parent could ask for and he will continue to be, it will just be different.  Our roles may change a bit but our love for one another will not.  I need to remember this as he receives his diploma and I can hardly see through the tears.  I need to remember this when we drive off and leave him in a new city, in a new chapter.

This is the way God intends.  He does not entrust us with His children to keep forever, tight by our side, protected under our wing.  No.  He wants us to prepare them for the world.  He wants us to teach them truth, make them honest, guide them.  We have done that.  Now we need to trust Him and let go...

No one ever said it would be easy.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

We GOTCHA! (One year ago today)

Oh how fast it has gone!  Amazing to look back at the little guys that were placed in our arms 365 days ago.  They were scared.  We were scared.  They were confused.  We were nervous.  They had a past we did not fully understand.  We were about to take them to a land they did not know existed.  There were many discoveries and milestones made over the last year.

Perhaps most important, we have seen God's faithfulness.  He has shown us how He will never leave us in a storm.  He has given me even more of a desire to love the orphans of the world. I know He will continue to lead me to them.

My friend, Faith said it so well.  She said, "There is something that is so unexplainable joyous when our children come to us through adoption.  It really is something you can only understand completely if you have experienced it.  Giving birth to our biological children is such a magical miracle and we know they are a part of us.  Adoption is like finding a missing piece of your heart."  Well said, Faith.

I knew since I was a child I wanted to adopt.  People have asked me, "Why?"  I say, "Why not?"  Sure it's expensive.  Sure, they will take a lot of your time.  Sure, you don't know what you are getting.  I get that.  I understand all that.  But what about the fact that our time is not our time?  Our money is not our money?  We only woke up today, because God has work for us to do.  We are breathing right now because He has more planned for us, here.  Now.  Today.  So what is it?  Maybe you are not "called" to adopt.  Maybe He has other ways in mind for you to advance His kingdom.  Ask Him.  Once you do, you will feel driven, unstoppable, and blessed.  It's true, when we bless others, it is we who are blessed as well.  Let Him use you.  HE WILL.

When you look at me and my boatload...please know, I am not perfect.  I am not special.  I don't have a gift.  I have just answered to a call.  I know He has more for me to do, and I am trying to figure out what that is.  It is a constant mission.  There are days when I ask myself what I have gotten myself into.  Days when my house looks like a bomb went off, I have a huge list of things to do that I don't know how I am going to do it, days when I feel like I have yelled to much and hugged too little.  But He always gets me through them.  At the end of the day when my littles are all tucked in bed and resting so peacefully, He always sets me strait.  This is not about me, or my house, or my to-do list.  This thing we call life is about Him.  Fortunately, He wants the best for me, and you, (and the orphans) of the world.  Every.Single.Soul.

Ask, Seek, Knock.

Last night we took the kids out to celebrate one year as a forever family.  We ate Sushi at the "Rice Monkey." (I love that name, it just makes me smile.)  Then, we took the kids to "Top That," to load up their frozen yogurt with any toppings they wanted.  Trigg and Ivor's eyes just gleamed.  They knew something was up.  It was a great time and we are looking forward to another wonderful year as a family of 7!

Blessings to you,


Monday, April 8, 2013

Turning the Pages

Sometimes I feel like my life is a story and we are just turning the pages, one by one. We are never sure what is on the next page. Sometimes it's predictable and sometimes we never saw it coming. This last week, they were flipping rather fast and we experienced a little of both.

We went to Colorado Springs, where our oldest plans on attending college in the fall. I would like him to get more familiar with the city, we needed to get away, as well as he was hunting for a reliable vehicle. We accomplished all three. He drove home in a fun little car and his excitement was enough to warm my heart for a long time. The last two years he has driven a 1984 Toyota 4-Runner that has seen its better days. I was so glad he went through that "initiation" as it made the moment that much more special. There was true and genuine appreciation. He was thrilled. He did the research, patiently did the shopping and learned a lot from the experience. I think when children are given to much to fast, we rob them of the potential for joy. He had to pay his fair share and the pride he is feeling is priceless.

We stayed in a great resort at a steeply discounted rate since the summer beauty has not yet graced us with its presence. It was still great and the kids enjoyed the beach near the lake and we had a great time in the pool.

We visited the zoo one day, which I must say is the best I have seen. The kids fed giraffes and birds. We watched elephants introduced to a pool for the first time and gawked at grizzlies playing with their toes in the water.

My dear friend Cindy, fellow adoptive mom, and sister in Christ lost her battle to cancer and Heaven got a whole lot sweeter. My heart aches for her young daughter who has just lost her second mother and has so much left to experience without her sweet mommy. It's so hard to understand why she was taken from us. Her cancer was detected in her medical examination she was having done in order to start the adoption process again. Just after we brought Trigg and Ivor home, she had informed us she had felt the pull to go get a son after watching our sweet boys bless our family. Her time was spent blessing others. She was generous, kind and loving. We will not understand till we meet again and until then she will be missed.

I ask that you remember Cindy's three daughters and husband in your prayers. Be grateful for each day He gives us and trust in Him with all your heart.