Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Less

There are no words to really quantify what I'm experiencing at the moment. One of my closest friends, Marni, sent me a youtube link of a family who just recently adopted a baby girl from China. It's Marni's godmother's grand daughter (catch all of that?! :) and I watched the video three times and still can't stop crying. I'm sure I'll watch it countless more. I had to share it because it moved me in a way that I don't think any video on youtube has. I've always had a strong desire to adopt if that was something that God willed for my life and luckily I have married someone who is having those discussions with me. We know it'll take a lot for that to happen and that the process can take a long time and be very expensive but it's definitely something we aren't ruling out for the future if God desires to bless us in this way.

As many people know, my dad isn't my birth father and legally adopted me when I was four. I've known him since I was two and he's my daddy in every sense of the word. I learned from a young age that physically conceiving a child has NOTHING to do with being a parent. I think that's where a lot of my interest has come from about adoption because he chose to be my dad. He chose to love and care for me as his own and I used to ask him if he ever wished he had had his own kids and his response was always to the effect of..."I did, you are my daughter." I have never felt like anything other than his. I know my story is very different than typical adoption stories and I'm 1/2 adopted if you will :) but the point is that I feel like there's a reason my story has unfolded this way and there's a reason why I have such a strong desire to hopefully adopt someday, regardless of whether Ben and I are able to have biological children or not. Ben had never thought about adoption until he met me but after we started talking about it more he realized he was very open to the idea. Last year Ben and I volunteered with our church on a Sunday where the congreation went to places in Austin to serve, we didn't meet for regular church, we became the church in the city and it was incredible. We were with a couple of kids all day at a carnival and playing with them was so much fun but the pain I experienced when one little girl started calling me momma was so intense. I talked to her foster parent and she had been moved around so much and in out and of different foster families that she had begun getting confused with who her mother was so she'd call whatever woman was spending time with her "momma". My heart broke. She didn't know who to call "momma". I wanted to take her home right then and there. I know things aren't that simple but I just hate the thought of the countless children all over this country and world that are not loved. They are children of God and deserve to be loved, they deserve families who want to care for and raise them. Every child deserves to be loved simply for the fact that they are God's creation.

When I was living in Dallas, I went to Guatemala two times for summer mission trips and became very attached to a baby girl named Vivana. To this day, I still think about and pray for that sweet girl. She had a mom and they lived in a mud hut with hardly any food, clothing, etc. Her mother cared for her as best she could and I could sense how much she loved her baby girl but they had very little of the basic necessities to survive. I was in awe of the poverity that the children that came to our camp experienced in their lives, that they seemed so happy with SO little. I was so heartbroken by how excited they got when dinnertime came because I knew that meant that their tummies were empty countless more times than they were full. I kept thinking, "God if someday I can come back to this country and take one of these kids home to be my child..." I just kept wondering what that might be like but thinking what a long shot that it could ever happen in reality. The last night of the trip we all went to a celebratory dinner where we talked about the week, shared ways that we had seen God at work, etc. and I remember looking over at another table. There was a family who was celebrating what appeared to be an adoption and after I had been sitting for awhile just observing, I was moved to go talk to the mom. I will never forget that conversation. She was from the northeast, MA I think but anyway she had come to Guatemala for mission trips when she was a child and she told me that she began praying in middle school that if it was God's will for her life to adopt a child then He would make it possible. There she was many years later sitting with her husband, her biological daughter who was jumping up and down telling EVERYONE in the restaurant that this was her new baby sister, and her new daughter who they had just finalized the adoption that day. Her dream and prayers from when she was in middle school had been answered. She was going to take her baby girl home from Guatemala and the four of them were going to be a family.

So at this point, you are problem wondering why I'm rambling on about all of this. I'm asking for you to pray. I'm asking for you to pray for Ben and I and for God's will in our lives regarding children, both biological and adopted. I want His will for our marriage and family. It is no secret that the deepest desire of my heart is to be a mother, whether that's having biological children, adopting children, having both, etc. I don't know. I don't know what God's plans are but I do know I want Ben and I in the center of His will for our lives. So many times I go to my selfish desires and wondering when God will bless us with a child. The list of questions I ask (without trusting in faith) goes on and on... I am quickly reminded that it is not MY time but HIS time if and when HE chooses to bless us with children. I want to find a way to become more involved with adoption agencies, volunteering with foster children, etc. because I can sense God is calling me to serve in this area and it's definitely more than once a year at a church event. Please pray for discernment as I seek His direction in what that looks like and what He wants me to do. I'm so excited to see what God's plans are for the Brantmeier family! :)

In the meantime, please watch this video www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGB1bChnLfo
and thank you Marni for sharing it with me. It touched my soul.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Comes the Dawn

It's Mother's Day weekend and I'm enjoying looking at all of the pictures on Facebook of friends with their moms, grandmothers, etc. I'm sad that I'm not home in Arkansas with my mom but I'll be able to see her next weekend when I go home for Shelly's wedding. It's exciting to think I will be able to see her ALL of the time when I move! I can't even imagine what it will feel like to only be 2 1/2 hours away from my parents. I've not lived in AR since I left for college in 1998 and I'm looking forward to starting my life there with Ben and God willing, raising a family. There's really no way to express or quantify in words what my mom means to me so I'm not going to try. However, I'd like to share a poem that I read often and it really encourages me and reminds me of ALL of the women I'm blessed to have in my life. My mom is the strongest person I know and I'm so blessed that God chose me to be her daughter.


After a while you learn the subtle difference

Between holding a hand and chaining a soul

And you learn that love doesn't mean security,

And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts

And presents aren't promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats

With your head up and your eyes open

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child

And you learn to build all of your roads on today

Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans.

And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn

That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn you really can endure.

That you really are strong.

And you really do have worth.

And you learn and learn...

With every goodbye you learn.

-Author unknown

To my friends who lost their mothers long before they ever thought they would, I pray that wonderful memories with their moms bring comfort on a difficult holiday. I pray for my friends who have lost children. I pray for my friends who desperately desire to be moms but are struggling with infertility. My heart aches for the pain these beautiful women endure. I pray for my friends who are pregnant as they prepare to become mothers and for my friends who are moms and are experiencing the joys and trials of raising children.

I am so thankful for all of the women in my life. I praise God for blessing and enriching my life through these relationships! They show me examples of the kind of mother I pray and long to become someday. My sweet Memaw continually shows me the kind of woman I want to be and she has been in Heaven for several years. Her legacy of love and strength NEVER die. I still hear her saying, "Laura Elizabeth, you be a real sweet girl." Trust me, I feel bad and think of her when I know I'm not being kind or doing the right thing! I'm so thankful to my mom, my Memaw, my sister, friends, mentors, bosses, teammates, the list goes on and on...for loving and accepting me as I am and encouraging me to grow and become a better person.

From a card I love! (it has a bunch of ladies walking together)...

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." Jane Howard (1935-1996)

Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all of the "moms" I love!!!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Accept the challenge of something new...

Wow! I can't believe it but I've entered the world of blogging! I've enjoyed reading friends' blogs and keeping up with their lives, children, etc. and always thought I'd start a blog when I had kids someday. However, I realized that I can start writing now and share the journey that Ben and I are on. It's truly amazing all that God has and continues to do in our lives! We met in Dallas, a few months later he accepted a position in Austin, and we moved here. We were married in Heber Springs, AR in November of 2009. We have loved living in Austin and meeting so many incredible friends through church, work, etc.! After two years, God has called us closer to family and He opened the door for Ben's new job in Little Rock. We are so excited for this new adventure in Arkansas but it's sad to leave the city where we began our married life. We have friends spread out over many states so my hope is that this blog will be a place where we can share stories, experiences, and the ups and downs that life brings!

I named the blog "Oh, The Places We'll Go!" because I LOVE Dr. Seuss. How could I not being a teacher!?!? The book Oh, The Places You'll Go is one of my favorites. Along with Are you My Mother? which I gave to one of my dearest friends at her baby shower today. :) I can't find the underline link so that's why I bolded the titles (forgive me I'm new at this).

  • Some of my favorite quotes from Dr. Seuss include: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

  • "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

  • "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."

  • "We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."

  • "You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that...Life's a Great Balancing Act."

Please follow my blog out of pity or such, I'll try not to bore you...well at least not too much! Laura