True Confessions….

In light of what’s happening in the world right now, here is a really dumb post to keep the mood breezy……

A few things you may not know about me:

Now that J.O. is working from home, I sometimes go to work even when I’m off and just read a book. Alone. In my office.

Sometimes I go for a “run” but really just go around the corner and sit on the trail behind our house and watch Netflix. I’ve never been more “healthy” than when I was trying to finish Grey’s Anatomy.

My son open hand slapped me this morning when my eyes were closed in bed because I wouldn’t look at him. So, I did what the therapist suggested and pivoted away from him. He then threw himself off the bed in anger so I told my 2 1/2 year old with global developmental delays, “That hurt no one but you bud. I’m headed to the shower.” He was fine FYI….me too for anyone concerned.

Our house has cameras in it for an old alarm system. The younger girls still think they work and I take risks on that one all the time. So far I am 10/10 on telling them to go ahead and confess because I saw it on camera. I’ve learned a lot of interesting things simply by bluffing. I’m getting very good. Sometimes they yell at me and ask me what they’re doing in front of the camera. I can usually guess or sneak around and peak.

If I’m in a bad mood, I grab my flower mask out of the car instead of my First Baptist one. That way I don’t have to worry if I’m not too friendly.

I realized several years ago spanking didn’t work for my kids. Plus, I only ever spanked out of anger. I also said dumb things like, “do you want a spanking?” My mom pointed out once that a child has never answered yes to that question. In the last 2 years my kids behavior has stayed the same. It’s no better or worse with lack of spanking. So has this worked? No clue. But we are all happier.

Having 5 kids gets me out of a lot. No one expects me to be really good at anything. It’s been awesome for someone who is happy being mediocre. When Henry is the only child at home, I will have to move.

I don’t have fear of missing out. I love chatting and keeping up with friends, but relaxing on the couch wins out every time.

Well, if you made it this far congrats. Hopefully I can create a more intelligent post soon.

Treating People like Humans

I’m obsessed with a new show on ABC called “For Life.” It follows a man wrongfully convicted of being a drug kingpin who receives life in prison on his first conviction. It’s based loosely on a true story and is easily one of my favorite dramas on tv.

My favorite part of the show is the female warden of the prison, because she is determined to completely change the way the prison is run. She allows longer visitations, more contact between inmates, and gives them a place to work out and play sports outside.

Basically, she treats them like humans.

I’ve only been inside a prison as a visitor twice and both times were within the last year. So, I will be the first to admit my experience is very limited. However, I noticed something the first time I visited. The mood in the visitation room was extremely subdued. The officer on duty was very stoic and had no visible personality. Now, I should be clear about something. The women in this facility are not on death row with shanks hidden in their pants pocket. Felons yes, but mostly due to a lifelong struggle with addiction.

Anyway, I was immediately told this guard wouldn’t let many things fly. The women were visibly nervous when I started letting Henry roam around the room. He started going towards the American flag and I could tell this was not okay. The guard was giving us the eye and Henry’s biological mom told me I should probably grab him. She told me she was nervous this guard would give her a strike and she was working so hard for no strikes. I just chalked it up to prison life and tried my best to keep Henry from running rampant. At one point, she asked the guard if we could take Henry in the play room and the answer was no. There seemed to be no apparent reason for this answer other than the fact that she could.

However, the next time I visited I noticed something different. There was a different guard on duty and the room was visibly more relaxed. Women were smiling and talking a bit louder and the guard even made an effort to engage in a bit of small talk. The play room was utilized and Henry was able to make his way over to the coveted flag. It was a better experience completely, but the reason didn’t hit me until one night when I was watching my beloved show.

The second guard treated these women like humans. She celebrated their families, smiled at their children, and allowed them to play together in the playroom. She still followed every single rule they had, but did it while remembering these were actual people. With real families. And real lives outside of these four walls.

We wonder why people are so often released from jail just to find themselves right back in. Have you ever been around a child who can do nothing right with their parents? Seriously. They wake up and screw up from the second their feet hit the floor. They are too loud, too rowdy, too rude, too messy, etc. etc. And after a while they just quit caring. They are going to stay in trouble no matter what so they might as well have fun while doing it.

Now, before you come at me with, “but kids are not hardened criminals” or “these people are terrible people.” Let me tell you something. I’ve heard about some kids doing some pretty sad things. Starting fires, offending against a younger child, and so forth. But make no mistake….if we tried to rehabilitate them by putting them in a metal cell in our closet, we would be the ones arrested. We don’t do that because it wouldn’t work. And because it’s extremely cruel. As parents, we may send our child somewhere for help, but it would look more like a therapeutic center and less like shackles and chains.

I’m not asking for a debate on whether adult criminals should be incarcerated. Of course someone who kills another person should be put away. Or someone who sex traffics young girls. And so on and so on. The day sin entered the world, there became a need for rules and regulations.

But I am saying this. As a society, we have to quit treating humans like caged animals and being shocked when they bite.

Entire Span of Life….

Years ago, I heard Christie Erwin give a speech on fostering and adopting and it completely changed my thinking. She began her talk by saying she realized she had to do more than just say she was pro-life. She had to put action to those words. I’ve been thinking lately about what that should really look like for those of us who are pro-life.

If you’re pro-life, you’re pro-family. Period. The 12 year old who is raped by a family member and has no one to turn to? She needs food stamps, free childcare to attend school, help finding a job, and housing as she ages. She doesn’t need judged if one kid early, leads to multiple kids later. It might mean multiple kids on food stamps or standing on the corner asking for money. But, she didn’t abort.

If you’re pro-life, you don’t rejoice when families fall apart. This is a controversial topic and one you may think hypocritical coming from me. However, although I cannot imagine life without 3 of my kids, I wish even more their family would’ve been restored. That hurts even typing it. It really does. Don’t get me wrong. As Christians we are called to stand in the gap when reunification doesn’t happen. But, it’s a family born out of loss. Period.

If you’re pro-life, your thinking changes from: I need to call DHS on that mom, to I need to help that mom. Again, don’t misunderstand me here. There is no tolerance on abuse, sexual misconduct, etc. But most kids enter foster care due to neglect. That typically means poverty. Lack of food. Lack of housing. Etc. Our mind usually goes to worst case scenario when we meet foster kids. Myself included. We picture kids locked in closets and starved to death or beaten. And make no mistake, that happens. But, we tend to only hear about those stories because they spread around Facebook like wildfire. Reading about a child locked in a closet is more interesting than reading about a mom struggling with alcohol and homelessness. Sad, but true.

When sin entered the world, there became a need for foster and adoptive parents and that need will not go away this side of Heaven. If you have always considered fostering or adopting you should do it. Especially if you are pro-life. However, just be prepared to do it with eyes wide open. Fostering may lead to adoption and that can be a great thing. We just tend to stop there. But pro-life means so much more than stopping at birth. It means helping the moms who chose life when the world told them not to. It means helping the children who are affected by addiction. It means helping a foster family BUT it may also mean helping a birth mom. It might mean buying her clothes, food, etc.

If being pro-life meant it ended at birth, we would call it pro-birth. Or pro-pregnancy. But, we are implying that we are pro birth-death. The entire span of life. So, maybe we should either change our thinking a bit or be honest with where we really stand.