wedding hair

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Since Plan A didn’t work out for Moriah’s flower girl hair, we went with an afro. I used a curl defining product on most of her hair (applied in layers, a.k.a. “shingled”), and I added 3 flat twists on the side so I could clip two satin/tulle bows to the front. It worked — and she looked nice all day.

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These photos were snapped before the wedding as the girls got ready. Moriah loved playing with the other flower girl.

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Of course, Aunt MaryAnn looked GORGEOUS! We are glad she’s now a part of our family!

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The reception was casual and country. It was perfect for the new couple.

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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unworthy

Last night I thought about how hard it is to show gentleness, kindness, and patience with those people “unworthy” of love. You know, the people who make life really difficult.

It’s tough to swallow that we actually think certain human beings are unworthy of love. Humans: those Christ died for! Me! You! We were still in our sin when Christ gave His perfect life as a ransom payment for people who did not want Him.

And, if I’m honest, I still struggle with that me-centered thinking. I often want to cry out, “Give me only easy things, God. Ok? Oh, and I still want to make a difference please. Thanks!” My own selfish intents are evident. I fight my flesh to yield to His ways, not mine.

As a foster parent, I am always thinking about the children and families we know and those we don’t know – yet. I often wonder who will be in our home next month or next year. How long will we be foster parents? Will we adopt again? I remembered 104,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted. Many of those “hard to place” children are teens or have disabilities. Children with cognitive delays. Children with physical needs that require lifelong treatments and care. Children who will wait for a permanent family due to neglect or abusive early in life.

I believe all life matters. I wonder if one of those waiting children is the “right” fit for our home.

Then I got an email this morning about a special needs toddler who needs a forever family. “Give me only easy things, God. Ok? Oh, and I still want to make a difference please. Thanks!”

Can we do this? Should we do this?

I ask questions. I wait. I pray. I am reminded that I was once unworthy but the Rescuer changed me. He made me ready to serve. And so I continue to wait and pray but I am now saying, “Use me, Lord.”

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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Plan B

“The best-laid [hair] plans . . . often go awry” or something like that.

We have a family wedding this weekend. We are excited! Dad, Mom, and Moriah all have roles in the bridal party. A few weeks ago, we decided that–to make life easier–we would get Moriah’s hair twisted professionally. Mommy was comfortable styling it; however, we wanted something that would look good all day without much fuss. The twists that Mom does usually last about 3 days. If we got synthetic hair added, the twists could last 3 weeks!

Sign us up.

To prepare her hair, we washed, conditioned, oiled, sealed, detangled, and banded (to stretch her hair) on Monday night before bed. It dried in the bands and she slept on them two nights.

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We took the bands out at the salon on Wednesday morning. Her hair was completely dry and still moisturized. It was perfect.

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Now, she just needed to sit still for a few hours while the stylist worked! Haha!

That didn’t turn out so well.

We ended up leaving the salon after an hour.

The stylist was patient but it takes a long time to do that style right. After an hour, she had only 8 twists completed. I knew Moriah would not last another 5 hours! Eek! And, ultimately, who wants to fight with a non-compliant toddler… over hair?! Not me. Thank you; we’ll try again later. On to Plan B (just give me time to think of a new plan).

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So we paid her half the rate she would have received and used the other half to buy new styling products for an at-home session.

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I still don’t know what we’re going to do for the wedding. Probably an afro with a big bow.

Regardless, the wedding isn’t about her. She’s just the flower girl. And, realistically, she is a two-year-old who will probably be just as grumpy walking down the aisle as she was in the salon today.

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I will be bribing her with Starbursts on that day, too. ;)

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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brown skin tone band-aids

Our toddler has an obsession with adhesive bandages. She will invent “boo-boos” to wear one. I regularly hear:

  Mom, I NEED a “ban bain”… please, Mommy. See my boo-boo?

She will point to a random part of her body (with no boo-boo evident). I’ll question her, “I think it just itches, Sis.” But she insists.

Basically, she just wants to put stickers all over herself.

The “ban bains” don’t stay on very long. She peals them off and reapplies them until the adhesive weakens or they get folded over. However, every once in a while, she has an actual boo-boo and our options are cartoons or peach colored.

When I saw that Tru-Colour Bandages would be launching this fall, I requested samples right away. And they sent me two colors (one dark and two medium brown shades). They are fabric and nice quality.

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(You can’t even see the darker one here! YAY!! Isn’t that the point?)

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This sassy thing can use both. Right now — at the end of summer — she needs the darker shade. But the skin under her arms is closer to the medium shade (which will likely be the color of her skin in the winter). IMG_0111a IMG_0123a .

Here we are both sporting the medium shade:IMG_0138a .

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I put on a Band-Aid brand fabric bandage to compare (it’s the lightest one below). Moriah did the same thing. I LOVE THE OPTIONS! IMG_0184a IMG_0199a

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I’m looking forward to being able to conceal her boo-boos better!

Seriously. These needed to be invented about 50 years ago.

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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Zoo Trip

We enjoyed a day at the zoo recently. Moriah was desperate to see an alligator (“al-der-day-der”) — she talked about it the whole way there! :-) Even after she saw the alligators in person, she did not want to leave. I tried to convince her that other animals would be more interesting to watch (more active), but she couldn’t be convinced.

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She tolerated seeing the other animals mostly. They were not the “main attraction” in her mind.

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She also got to ride the train and carousel while at the zoo. We spent time with friends, too.

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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Let Justice Roll Down

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When I hear accounts of racial profiling and discrimination across America, I pray hard about how to talk with my brown skinned toddler about injustice. I have the task of training her and imparting certain knowledge that I don’t have as a white woman — and, truly, may not even know I am lacking. (I have written previously about the considerations that we must make as a multiracial family.)

As tensions escalate, I sense that the more significant force behind this unrest is not on whom to place blame for particular incidents, but rather who has the power to change a culture of prejudice.

“How might a transracially adopted black child gain a healthy identity when the world that you’ve created in your home or community does not match this world we live in where . . . [many] don’t care if they grew up in a stable and loving adoptive family? Their skin is still black and according to some, that in and of itself is a crime,” wrote Angela Tucker, a transracial adoptee.

My heart is heavy. All life matters to the Creator.

I am grieved for the mothers of black sons, who — suddenly — upon entering adolescence are no longer cute little boys. They are now profiled as threats.

Thabiti Anyabwile, a father, wrote: “I don’t care about the color of the hands that pull the trigger. They could be pink, brown, sandy. What I care about is the value of my son’s life. What I care about is the dignity and life-destroying devaluing of his life because in this country he is ‘black.’ And the absurdity of it all is that he’s not ‘black’ in every country. Only his own. In Cayman, he was Titus. In Cayman, he was free to be Titus. In the States, he’s ‘a little black boy’ long before he’s ‘Titus.’ And that calculation, the ‘racial’ attribution that happens at the speed of sight, is deadly. It’s deadly.”

Racism and hatred are not new to humanity. Prejudice and arrogance can be inclinations of any culture, heritage, or skin tone.

These are hard, real-life issues of sin. With consequences.

Oh, I long for peace. For shalom – complete peace, wholeness, harmony.

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John M. Perkins writes in his classic book Let Justice Roll Down:

. . . But I think many of us want forgiveness without repentance. I sense this so much as I try to establish relationships with my white brethren in the South. I find that they want my relationship, but they want more to quickly forget the brutality and the injustice that their people put upon many of us . . ..

Ours is not a story of bitterness — it is a story of love and the triumphs of the God of love. But it is a story carved out of the realities of violence and poverty, ending not in some sugarcoated sense of brotherly love but the deep conviction that only the power of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross and the glory of His resurrection can heal the deep racial wounds in both block and white people in America.

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“Reconciliation,” Matthew Henry’s Commentary points out, “is our indispensable duty.”  This ministry, of course, is not possible for those who are not regenerated.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace — Sar Shalom (Isaiah 9:6). I am reminded that reconciliation may be needed in every single relationship at some point (often daily). Christians are compelled to seek reconciliation with one another.

Restoration.

Unity.

Shalom.

The only hope for mankind is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray for grace to train Moriah to love as she ought and to see what matters most.

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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almost three

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This is little girl will be 3 years old next month! She is growing and changing every day — we are thankful to know her and raise her.

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This week we had VBS at church. On the first night, Moriah talked all the way home about how great it was. I heard every detail — she even had to mention that she spilled her juice at snack time (and pushed her friend at some point)! Her favorite part was singing, dancing, and watching the puppets.

She decided Daddy is probably “too old” to like puppets. I asked her, “How old is Daddy?” She replied matter-of-factly, “3 ounces.”

Haha! That sure is a big number :)

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

 

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County Fair 2014

This week, we enjoyed a short trip to the County Fair. Moriah attended on Wednesday with Nana, and then returned on Thursday with Mom and Dad. We met up with our cousins in the evening.

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She rode the motorcycles 5 times! It was her favorite ride. (This was the first year she was tall enough to ride any rides — the minimum height is 36″. Thick-soled shoes and her high puff helped!) Haha!aug_fair04 aug_fair05 cut aug_fair06 aug_fair07 cut aug_fair08 aug_fair09

P.S. I look forward to the launch of Tru-Colour Bandanges so her tiny boo-boos are not so obvious! Those band-aids are covering small bug bites that she won’t stop scratching — they are not “wounds”. :-)

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

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pray not for lighter tasks but greater strength

Many nights before bedtime, Moriah will climb up onto her stool so Mommy can prep her hair for bed.

I spritz her head with water, apply a fresh layer of coconut oil, detangle with my fingers, and flat-twist sections that end in bantu knots. This process takes about 40-60 minutes. While I work, she watches a movie. (We have worked up to this point! It’s not easy convincing a two-year-old to sit still for anything, let alone to have her hair tugged.) In the morning, the twists are taken down and I can style her soft curls.

Often we skip this nighttime process because it seems time-consuming since I will re-do her hair in the morning. But if I skip it several nights in a row, her hair gets dry and more difficult to manage.

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Last week, as I prepared her hair for bed, I thought about other aspects of life that require deliberate labor only to be undone for another purpose. The temporary “end” isn’t the end at all. The labor was not in vain; moreover, it becomes a step in the process.

Foster care is actually a lot like that.

Last week — within a few days of one another — both of the babies we were caring for returned to family. Since then we have been thinking about them and praying for their families as they transition. This morning I received a text message from a baby’s family member (and new caregiver). She said, “This is the best no sleep ever!”

Yep, that about sums up the last 3 years of my life.

I regularly think my mind and body cannot withstand more sleepless nights with another newborn. After a few weeks of 6 hours of frequently interrupted sleep, I think neither clearly nor quickly. I no longer have energy to [insert any daily task]. AND YET, I somehow love my kids and play and cook and soothe and train and get to appointments on time anyway. That kind of strength does not come from me.

I was moved when I read a quote from W.R. McChesney:

“We pray not for lighter tasks but greater strength.”

I pray for greater strength to live in and navigate this broken world, especially when encountering hurting children who may not know a home with a safe bed nor a table with regular and nutritious meals.

I pray for greater strength as I strive to be a godly parent and caregiver. Parenthood–no matter the path to this position–is often filled with joy and also sorrow.

I pray for greater strength to affirm dignity in difficult people, who may be living with consequences of poor choices.

I pray for greater strength.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

     “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
         his righteousness endures forever.”

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! -The Bible, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (ESV)

Thanks be to God!

He supplies the strength for the tasks He has called us to.

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Joey and Elaine are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. They hope to complete their family by adopting again. Learn more about Joey, Elaine, and Moriah.

 

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