Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Question of Schooling:part 2

I thought my next post on this subject would be to move on to private, Christian school, but I have a few more thoughts on public education that I wanted to mention.

I was considered a "gifted and talented" student in my public school.  I excelled in all subjects but Math.  I was an above average, but not "gifted" Math student.  The public school system was not set up to accommodate a student such as myself.  You were either gifted in all subjects or you were gifted in none. Despite my A's in all the other classes, I couldn't keep up in Math and was moved into lower level classes across the board. My parents pleaded with the administration to allow me to be moved into a slower paced Math course while still being permitted to explore my giftedness in English and History. No, they could not make the schedule work. I was moved to all average classes, where I was so ridiculously bored that I could barely stay awake most days. 

And finally there is the is issue of the secular humanist indoctrination going on in public schools.  I remember the first teacher to blatantly mock Christianity.  I remember learning evolution, while the teacher threw in jokes about Creationism. I remember not having the confidence at 12 years old to raise my hand and stand up to my teacher.  And I remember watching as another student did, and was utterly humiliated by that teacher.

I understand that these were just one person's experiences in the public school system. Another student, in another time or another place may not have faced the challenges that I did. But these are my experiences, and I carry them with me into my decision making regarding my children's education. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Question of Schooling: part 1

There are several big questions that hang out in my head all the time as of late.  How we will school our children is a big one. Homeschooling is the choice of most of my friends and seems to be the most obvious choice for us. And yet, I really don't want to homeschool. And so I wrestle with my options...
OPTION 1: Public School

Someone recently suggested to me that Christians do not send their children to public school out of fear.  I have had to chew on this idea for awhile.  Does fear keep public school from being a viable option for me?  I attended public school first through ninth grades.  I went to "good public schools" in "good neighborhoods".  For the most part I enjoyed my teachers, got good grades and made good friends.  My parents tried to make sure my friends were "good kids" which wasn't hard because I was a "good girl."   Here's the problem: much of my innocence was stolen and there is little if anything my parents could've done to stop it.

By the end of the second grade I could give you detailed descriptions of various sex acts. Second grade! Seven years old! Some older boys on the bus found it hilarious to tell the little girls all kinds of raunchy details. Another little boy would run up to me on the playground at recess and blurt out something he had seen in his dad's porn collection. I suppose my parents could've driven me to school and asked my teacher to not allow me to go on the playground with the other kids at recess, but since this wasn't really a reasonable option, a lot of my innocence was lost just as a matter of course.

Fast forward to middle school. I was student body vice president and had more friends than I could count.  Sure I knew who smoked, drank, did drugs, had sex, but it wasn't any of my closest friends. Sure there was pressure. All the cool girls were supposed to make it around third base by the end of eighth grade, but there were enough of us who didn't, that I didn't stand out too much.

By the time I left after my freshman year of High School, I had almost no friends. Because all the "good girls" who I had been friends with since first grade, were now going to the cool parties with drinking and drugs, and trading tales about their "first time".  I had nothing in common with any of my lifelong friends anymore. In my high school of 1600 kids, I knew of about two dozen Christians and the 4 or 5 that hadn't cashed in their faith, didn't share any classes or a lunch period with me. I took my stand and stood firm.  I wasn't dating non-Christians, I wasn't going to go to parties with drinking or drugs. I even tried to share my faith. And I was totally alone. Sure I had friends outside of school, but there were a lot of hours in the school day to have no one.

I was a kid that kept my faith in the public school system. But I want more for my precious ones. I don't just want them to survive, I want them to thrive. Is that fear? No, I think it's just wisdom.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

365 days later

Blogging is too much like homework.  

That’s what I have said whenever anyone asks me why I haven’t blogged  in a year. I feel some weird pressure, as if my 3 devoted readers will be so disappointed in me if I can’t find something relatable, witty, engaging to write about  So I just don’t write. But I do so love blogging… I love the way I process my thoughts as I type. I love having a record of memories takes me right back to the emotions I felt on any random day.  And just like any other blogger who is honest, I me some love comments.

My love for blogging makes me want to start again. My dread of homework makes me think I will probably blog for a week maybe two and then quit again.  I’ve thought about making some bold commitment, like a promise to blog everyday for a month.   Hmmm… maybe I should just commit to be back tomorrow. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

I am pregnant

I know this isn’t really news to any of you, but I feel like it is news to me on a daily basis.  Every time I pass a mirror and see my now huge belly, or sit down on the couch and suddenly my belly seems to leap forth and give my laptop a jolt, I think, “Wow, I am really pregnant. Me. ME! I have been given the gift of a precious tiny life in my womb. How did this happen to me?”  

I didn’t feel quite this way when I first learned I was pregnant.  I didn’t talk about my feelings and the last thing I felt like doing was posting them on a blog for the world to see.  The very few people whom I attempted to share my feelings with, didn’t really get it, and how could I expect them to? None of the had been a barren woman for 9 years of marriage.  None of them had walked my path of pain and of healing.  From anyone else’s perspective, there was nothing to feel but joy.  And I felt joy, but I felt quite a few other emotions that did not go over quite as well.  

If you have followed my blog, you know that over a year ago, Tim and I believed God directed us not to pursue any fertility treatment. We were tested at that time and told that both of us had fertility problems.  The tests confirmed that my problems were not cured by the weight loss, as we had hoped, and considering both of our issues, the doctor’s felt fertility treatment was our only hope.  Even then, because we were limited by convictions as to what we would consider in the realm of fertility treatment, the odds were very much against us.  With fertility treatment, we still had less than an 11% chance of conceiving. 

As I walked out of the clinic that day and the Lord confirmed that we should not choose this path, I felt such relief. I knew if it ever happened for us, it would be a miracle, straight from the hand of the Almighty.  Though I know He was capable of this, I did not believe this was the path He had chosen for us. I finally had peace. No fertility treatment. No more striving. No more rollercoaster. I was getting off and I felt free.  I am passionate about adoption and thought that with so many children out there to love, this was our calling, His plan.  I was healed of all the pain, I couldn’t tell you how I knew it, but I knew God had healed my heart. The sense of healing was not something I could conjure up, or determine by my will. It wasn’t some forced state of denial; I was aware that I was missing out on some things and I knew why so many others would not want to walk this path. But more than anything I knew that God’s plan was the best plan for my life, and if that did not include conceiving children, I was ready to not just accept it, but to embrace it.  

I was so excited to move forward.  I wanted to educate those around me about adoption. I wanted everyone to know that adoption was not a second choice, but a high calling. I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratefulness to God for my infertility, because I believed that it was the instrument He has used to bring about a beautiful calling in our lives. A calling to build our family the way He built His, through adoption.

But our second adoption wasn’t going so smoothly. No adoption agency seemed to be the right fit. No homestudy agency was on the same page as us. Still we pushed forward until the end of September, when our paperwork was finally complete and ready to send to Ethiopia. Something still felt wrong, just off. I remember lying in bed and nervously, telling Tim I didn’t feel like we should send our paperwork to Ethiopia and I did not know why. He felt the same way and we were both quite frustrated. Desperately wanting more children, but never wanting to run ahead of God, we waited, but we had no idea what we were waiting for.  One night a few weeks later, laying in that same darkness, I said to Tim, “the only way any of this makes sense, is if I end up pregnant.” He said nothing. 

And then I was pregnant. Really pregnant!

But I still wanted to adopt from Ethiopia. My heart for that country, my heart for adoption had not gone away with a pregnancy test. I looked at my son and there were so many questions in my heart. The plan was to have a house filled with adopted children.  What if we are completely healed and can have many more children? What if he is the only child we are able to adopt? Would he be my only child of another race in an all white family?  No, we the parents were supposed to be the odd men out, not my precious little boy. 

I had grieved the loss of not having biological children.  It had been my dream for many years, but then that dream died and a new dream was born.  Everyone kept saying that my dream had finally come true, and I knew they would never understand that it just wasn’t my dream anymore. I knew how ungrateful I seemed. Was I?  I wasn’t sure. I thanked God repeatedly for the child in my womb, because I knew with all certainty that His plans are the best, but really, I did not understand. 

Over time, God did the miraculous work that He does best.  He took a dead thing and made it alive again.  My dream of a biological child has been resurrected. The excitement and anticipation has grown through the weeks and there is a new joy in my heart. I am in awe of the work of God in our lives. I can’t say that I now totally understand, but I have stopped trying.  It is not required of me to understand. That is the greatest lesson I have learned in all of this: I do not need to figure it all out.  I need to follow and obey and allow the amazing plans He has unfold before me.  Will we adopt again? I hope so.  Will we have more biological children? I hope so. But I do not know, only He does and I know His plans are the best. 

And I am pregnant.  Really, really pregnant!