Tuesday, January 28, 2014


So often we, as parents, struggle in our efforts to successfully lead our families.

Here are some of the reasons why:

With us…
  • We get the impression that other families are working way better than ours.
             Maybe they are, but maybe we are only seeing them outside their house. Families
             that are working well together look and act happy inside and outside their home. 
             The children from these families are respectful to one another and behave well with 
             and without their parents being around.

  • We may have chosen a marriage partner whose beliefs, expectations and methods of 
             parenting are radically different from ours.

             In this case, we need to take all the necessary steps to find common ground for the sake 
             of the whole family.

  • We made the mistake of throwing money at our kids instead of giving them the necessary 
            affection, time and love.

             Kids don’t value stuff as much as they value our time and attention.

  • We got caught up in the myth that if we work excessive hours we can give our kids 
             a better life.

             See comment above.

  • We tried to be a friend to our kids and not a parent.
             Kids don’t want you to be their friend. They want you to lead, to teach them how 
             to act and to be their role model.

  • We thought that if we said 'No' to our child they would not like us.
             Kids want boundaries. They may appear not to, but boundaries give them security 
             because they know you care.

  • We used our own parents’ model for parenting, not realizing there was any other way.
             If you thought your parents gave you the love guidance and discipline, and you are getting 
             excellent feedback from others, then that modeling is fine. However, if you are not getting 
             the desired results, you need to get help and training so that you can model and teach more 

  • We never made our core family values clear to our kids or maybe hadn't even clarified 
             them in our own minds.

             It is vital to harmonious, effective parenting to create a list of principles or values you want 
             your family to live by and be known for. Now teach these values.

  • We were never told that it was our job to shape our kids to become extraordinary adults. 
             We thought it was the school’s job!

             It is the parents’ job to train their children to become productive, respectful, responsible 
             and trustworthy adults, who will themselves become great parents.

  • We became a family that was inward looking and somewhat selfish rather than outward 
             looking and selfless.

             We believe that successful families are parent directed, family oriented and outwardly 
             focused. This means that we choose to make a positive difference to those in the community 
             around us.

  • We thought we were admitting failure if we asked for advice.
             Since kids don’t come with manuals, every new parent is facing their role for the first time, 
             with little or no training. It is, therefore, extremely wise for all parents to seek ongoing 
             information and training on how to best manage their families. If not, it is possible to fail.

  • We were slow in getting support for a disability or disorder our child was born with or 
             developed and they missed out on valuable years of expertise that could have changed
             the situation.

             There is a great deal of support and help offered to parents of disabled children. We can 
             only encourage these parents to get all the help they can get for the whole family’s sake.

  • We now see that our thoughts and goals were more on ourselves than on what was best 
             for our kids.

             Once this realization has occurred, it is important to seek help as soon as possible from 
             parenting agencies.

  • One (or more) of our children was born with a strong will or some disorder that shattered 
             our dreams of 'how it might have been'.

             Many families find they have children with either a strong will, ADHD, autism or some 
             other behavioral challenge. Fortunately, there is a great deal of help through schools, 
             community agencies, and programming to help these children lead and fit into normal life.

What others think...
  • There's almost no encouragement along the way or people to give us a 'Hurrah!' 
            when we do things right.
  • People can be so negative and snide, making us feel discouraged and think 
           we must be doing something wrong.
  • Our own parents don't always agree with how we are raising their grandkids!
  • There's so many 'parenting experts' out there. We thought they must know 
            what they are talking about, but their methods were counter-productive.
  • Unlike obtaining a driver's license, there's no training and no test to determine 
           whether we are fit to be a parent.

             It is very important to encourage parents when we see they are doing a great job with 
             their kids. We need to avoid criticism, but rather offer objective help or resources.

'Kids don't come with manuals'. Now isn't that strange? That's the name of a book I wrote and is available from our website. Why don't you buy it today? 'It's never too late!' We have a free e-booklet available with that title on the website, too. Buy a book, get an e-booklet free!

Written by Brian and Sally Burgess

Sunday, January 26, 2014


We all want to be rated the best grandparents in the world. Let's look at some 'how to' ideas.

How to win brownie points from the grandkids' point of view:

  1. Have a really big toy box at your house. 
  2. Have a secret stash of M&Ms to hand out for good behavior.
  3. Run almost as fast as them, but not quite.
  4. Have a special place for them to sit on the kitchen counter to watch you cook.
  5. Let them lick the bowl or the beaters when you're making a cake.
  6. Laugh at all the funny things they do (if appropriate).
  7. Take them out on adventures.
  8. Climb trees, ride a bike, make a hut, and go to their sports' games. 
  9. Give them plenty of affection.
10. Tell them the best stories.
11. Help them with their homework projects.
12. Love them all unconditionally and don't have favorites.
12. Do as many things as possible with your grandkids to create great positive memories.
13. Show them how to do things like tie knots, make a cart, sew a dress or knit.
14. Listen when they want someone to talk to about stuff and help them make wise

How to get a top score from parents:

1. Don't spoil the kids rotten and then hand them back...with a smile!
2. Make time to come to look after the grandkids when a parent needs to go somewhere, and
    be flexible enough for them to get home late because they bumped into a friend on the way
    home and stopped for coffee.
3. Have eyes in the back of your head when you are in charge of the grandkids.
4. Reinforce and follow the parents' rules for their children.
5. Don't say 'yes' to whatever the kids want and don't be afraid to say 'no' when necessary.
6. Know when to back away and let the parents, 'parent'.
7. Never criticize the parents in any way in front of the children.
8. Be a great support to parents by helping and encouraging them in their parenting skills.

None of the above requires any money except for the M&Ms stash.  Even the toy box can be
stocked from a thrift store.  Mine is!

Written by Sally Burgess

Monday, January 20, 2014


I think every parent secretly fears tragedy striking their family and, if that happened, how on earth they would cope?

My daughter drew my attention to this courageous story written by Stephanie Light and I felt sure all parents would benefit from her honesty, her reality and her journey towards acceptance.

There are a number of entries over several weeks, so if you have time, scroll down to the beginning and work your way up.  The entries are not long.  There is also a podcast and this is very well worth watching.

The blog site

The podcast

Posted with permission and my thanks,
Sally Burgess


Dopey, Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Bashful, Big Ears and Noddy.  These are all names of characters in the children's books I grew up with.  We didn't give it much thought then because we were not the ones being labeled.  Thank goodness we have entered an age of greater awareness of how names and labels seriously affect people's belief in themselves and their own abilities.  Take Dopey for example.  The name immediately suggests that the child is unintelligent and won't get anywhere in life. 

What about cruel words?  "You are useless!" "I can't trust you to do anything right!" "You are an idiot!" "You were born a hellion!" "You always mess things up!" "You haven't got any brains!" "Don't even try!" "Let's face it, you are just not good enough!" "Why can't you get great grades at school like your brother?" Words like these, even spoken in jest, can cause long-term negative repercussions.

These are negative comments said at the expense of others just to get a laugh.  Put downs (or 'burning' on someone) can be heard on TV sitcoms every day.  How sad that the media has become the model of what we say to others.

  • To boost ourselves in others' eyes.
  • To claim power over another person.
  • Force of habit.
  • Jealousy that another person is getting more attention than we are.
  • Anger and hurt. Remember that often hurt people, hurt people.
  • Because we feel bad about ourselves, we talk negatively about others.
  • We may live in a negative environment that creates a sense of unhappiness.
1. Change ourselves first.
    Listen to the words that are coming out of our mouths.
    What we say IS who we are.
    Do I feel good about myself?
    What negative words have crushed me?
    Do I have to feel like this forever?  NO!  Get help.  Start with small steps.  Talk to a trusted
    friend or professional counselor and ask for their guidance and support.  If necessary,
    attend anger management and/or effective conflict resolution classes to be able to more
    positively manage issues.

2. Repair damage.
    If we have spoken negative words over our children, siblings or friends, we should seek
    forgiveness from them and make a conscious effort to only speak kindly in the future.
    They will  hopefully forgive us, but forgetting is another thing.  It may take a long time
    for them to trust us again.  Those are just the consequences of not thinking before speaking.

3. Monitor the environment.
    How is the home temperature?  They say that around 70% of conversation and gestures in the
    home are negative.
    Start a new regimen.
    Encourage positive talk.
    Eating meals at the table offers the opportunity to take a positive interest in what the family
    is doing and to encourage and support each other.

4. Listen.
    We need to listen to one another and heed when they say they feel hurt by some comment
    we have made.  We don't always appreciate others' sensitivity, especially if they have suffered
    a situation we know nothing about.

5. Set strong family values.
    Values are expectations we set for our selves and family to live and be known by.  Respect
     for one another should be at the top of our list.  Others include honesty, commitment,
     responsibility, integrity, trustworthiness, obedience and forgiveness.

Everyone deserves to live up to their full potential.  When we find someone who is burdened down
by unkind words from the past, it is important to get them the right help so they can be free and be
enabled to live a carefree life.

Written by Sally Burgess

Monday, January 13, 2014


I walked past a family in the mall the other day and overheard the mother say to her child, "See that policeman over there?  If you don't stop this ridiculous behavior, I am going to get him to come over here and sort you out!"

It is very important that your kids feel safe at all times.  If they think those in authority are there to only issue punishment, our kids will not know where to turn for protection when you, the parent, are not there to provide it.

Our attitudes are most influenced by the attitudes of our parents.  Here are some common scenarios:

  • If we say, "Well, I didn't do any good at school, and I turned out all right," we may well be giving our child the impression that there is no need to work hard.  We could be robbing them of the satisfaction of pushing themselves to achieve their full potential.
  • If we say, "Just don't get caught," we are giving our kids the idea that breaking the law, cheating, or being dishonest in any way is OK, just as long as we can get away with it.  It is not wrong until we get caught.  When we get caught it is just bad luck.
  • If we say, "White lies are OK," we are saying everyone twists the truth sometimes.  Twisting the truth seems to be different than flat out lying, when this is not the case.  In fact, as long as we do not represent the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth we are being dishonest.
  • If we say, "It doesn't matter if we a) knock things off the clothing racks in a store, b) put frozen foods we don't want on another shelf on the way to the check out, or c) leave shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot BECAUSE it is the job of the employees to pick up after us," we are teaching our children that others are there for our convenience.  Quite frankly, we are being lazy and showing that we are very self-centered.
  • If we damage someone's property or belongings, like backing into someone's car, and we fail to leave our particulars for the owner to contact us, and we leave the scene, we are really showing our kids that we are irresponsible and that such behavior doesn't really matter.

Respecting ourselves, others and others' stuff is a very fine attribute.  When we are dishonest, others lose trust in us and that is very, very hard to recapture.

Written by Sally Burgess

Friday, January 10, 2014


When you are a newlywed and thinking about the prospect of having kids, you often hear others say:

  • "Are you guys going to have kids? They are such a blessing."
  • "I love being a Mom. You will, too."
  • "Babies are the best! They smell so good and they are just precious."
  • "There is no greater joy than having a family."
  • "Children are a gift from God."

While all of those statements are true, they don't point out the small print on the bottom of the contract:

  • Children are at risk of death at every turn, so don't EVER take your eyes off of them!
    • You will wake every 2 hours to feed or comfort your baby for the first 3-14 months.
    • You may get a projectile puker.
    • You will become one with poop and urine. It goes everywhere...eyes, hands, mouth, walls, sheets, etc...
    • Your body is not your own anymore and it will never look the same again.
    • Privacy is non-existent until the kids leave home.
    • Forget date nights unless you want to dig into your savings.
    • All those things you thought you could get done while your child sleeps? Yeah, right! You're gonna wanna a nap, too!
    • You will have to plan everything around nap-times and bed-time.
    • All those ideals you had to feed your child only healthy foods? Yeah, you are gonna end up feeding them whatever will keep them from starving to death! Don't think they won't try to starve rather than eat a carrot!!!  There are many more examples, but you get the idea.

    Why don't people tell you the truth about raising kids? Because, if we knew, the human race would probably become extinct within a few decades! The truth is that kids are hard work, whether you have 1 or 19 and counting.

    You will have to sacrifice a lot for your kids, including, time, hobbies, careers, living space, passions, dreams and more. There is fighting, tantrums, ear piercing screams, yelling, throwing things, whining and crying... and that's just me! The kids add to that and more.

    Before you go digging a grave for yourself in the back yard, let me encourage you that each phase of child rearing has plenty of great points, too. While no two families are alike and everyone struggles with different parenting issues, we can all agree that it is tough and that even the sanest of parents can be driven to the edge by child rearing. So, a little fore-warning wouldn't go amiss for newlyweds. I don't think you can ever be fully prepared to be a parent, but you can go into it with realistic expectations.

    With all that being said, I truly love my kids and they bring me plenty of joy on a regular basis. They have fantastic personalities. Every parent finds joy amidst the chaos. I guess that's why we keep procreating and populating this planet. At least I would like to think that.

    So what would I tell the next set of eager-to-be-parents?

    "I love being a Mom. You will, too."
    "Babies are the best! They smell so good and they are just precious."
    "There is no greater joy than having a family."
    "Children are a gift from God."

    Written by Kristee Mays

     Check out this video called, 'The Mom's song'.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014

    JAWS - tips to stop a biter

    Biting is always an exasperating situation, whether your child is the biter, or if another child is biting yours. I never forget coming home from work one day to find my little 3 year old boy sporting a big red circle of teeth marks on his cheek put there by the babysitter’s daughter.

    It is not always clear why kids bite, but in the case of a little 2 year old I know, it is because he can’t express himself in words and when his brother pushes him over, his only defense is to sink his teeth into the nearest offending flesh he can find. Now, if his brother didn’t react, he would think of doing something else, but biting always induces a great response! It does also draw attention so mother does something about the annoying brother. In his case he gets a time out every time he bites.

    Other reasons for biting might be because the child is teething, and biting on something is soothing (rather like puppies chewing everything in site when they are teething). Maybe they need your attention bad enough to cause someone to cry. The child may be jealous of an older or younger sibling taking your attention away from him.

    So what do you do with a child that bites?

    Preventative measures:
    Look for the possible causes:
    a) If you think he has sore gums then give him a teething ring or rub teething
        medication onto his gums.
    b) If he needs attention, don’t ignore the signs, even though you may be busy.
    c) If you think he is frustrated or jealous, try to remove the annoyance factors.
    d) If he is old enough, tell him to tell you what he wants instead of biting to get
        your attention.
    e) If you see him about to bite, quickly redirect his attention to something else.
    f) Change activities around so the child does not get bored or frustrated.
    g) When he acts as you ask, praise him for doing the right thing.
    h) When you are aware of your child's biting habit, then warn the daycare or
        play-date parents.

    Active measures:
    a) Tell your child very simply but firmly that he must not bite. Explain that biting
         hurts. If he wants your attention then he's to call you, not bite another child. Obviously,
         a very small child will not understand all those words. However, if you put on
         your stern face and voice and say, “Do not bite!” he will get the picture. Tell him that
         if he bites, he will get a time out or go home.”
    b) If he bites then do exactly what you said you would...serve the consequence.
    c) Do not bite a child to teach him a lesson. He will only get confused and wonder
        why you are biting him when you won’t let him bite others.
    d) When he gets old enough to express himself, encourage him to say what is wrong
         or what he wants so he doesn’t feel the need to bite others.

    The habit of biting is not prolonged. However, it is disturbing to any recipients! It is important to deal with it for all concerned!

    Written by Sally Burgess
    Supernanny Team: 
     Article on stopping a child from biting

    Thursday, January 2, 2014




    You know that glorious moment when you put your tongue out for that first lick of your favorite ice cream? You've waited in line patiently ... OK, kind of patiently, your mouth watering at the thought of the decadence you are about to splurge on! And then BAM!!! It's gone! Disappeared! Who would take your ice cream? That's just madness! Right????

    Well, that's how I felt for a good eight years, like someone just snatched away the one thing I had wanted my whole life.  Not just once, but 4 times! On top of that, I felt that the 'ice cream' I just purchased was shoved in my face, metaphorically speaking. At least that's how it seemed to me at the time. Let me explain.

    From 2003 to 2009, I experienced 4 miscarriages in a row. I was obviously devastated by each of them. After the second miscarriage my husband and I decided to try adoption.  It was something we had talked about even before trying to have children, since my husband is also adopted. We went through a local well-known adoption agency, attended all the classes required and paid the fees. I was finally feeling hope after such a daunting time. In the process of adoption classes I found out I was pregnant for the third time. I was excited and scared at the same time. I couldn't stand to lose yet another child or impede our adoption process due to pregnancy. Either way, it was hard to be excited. At eight weeks I had my first scan. I was terrified and numb. Much to my surprise, there was a beautiful baby with a heartbeat bouncing around inside me. I was overjoyed and finally allowed myself to be happy. In fact, I decided not to tell anyone about the pregnancy because I was afraid I would have to un-tell everyone a few weeks later (been there, done that ... sigh!) But seeing that little flicker on the screen made me forget all that. I thought, "Screw it, I'm telling everyone. This one's gonna make it!" Well, it didn't.

    Literally a week after that scan, my baby's heartbeat stopped. I was beyond crushed. I've never cried so much in all my life, and having been through miscarriages twice before, I knew what was coming and I wasn't looking forward to it. However, this time it was different. This time it was worse! A month after the terrible news, my miscarriage began. It was not like the others. This time I went through full labor and contractions. The pain was unbearable and after suffering through it for seven hours on my own (I didn't want to wake my hubby who had to work a 12 hour shift in the ER the next day), I finally woke him and told him I needed to go to the ER. Within minutes, (and after going through six more sets of contractions while going down the stairs, entering the car and racing to the ER) the pain was over. With Morphine pumping in I was able to relax enough to realize what just happened. With my Mom by my bedside and my own husband attending me as a patient, I gave birth to a perfectly formed sack, not much bigger than a large plum. Inside it was my precious baby. I wished I could have seen it, but it wasn't a see-through sack. My husband and I decided that we should send it off for genetic testing in case there was something causing my children to die prematurely. I went home that day and cried till I just couldn't cry any more. For those who have gone to a hospital only to leave without being a mommy, you know what it's like.

    The very next day I had another adoption class to go to, and ironically, it was about loss and the reason why so many parents turn to adoption. It was surreal. Now, some of you may be wondering why I would go to an adoption class the day after I had a miserable miscarriage ending in hospitalization. Well, the agency we were going through only did the classes twice a year. And if we didn't go we would have had to wait another year to start again. Not gonna happen!

    I came to find out, through the genetic testing results, that there was nothing wrong with me and that our dear baby was a little girl with Down Syndrome. I thought, "WOW! I had a little girl!!!" Oh, it was so nice to know the sex of our child. How I wished I could have held her and suddenly felt sad all over again.

    Within three months, I found out I was pregnant again. I know...what was I thinking? Let's just say it wasn't planned. I thought, "Oh, no! Here we go again!" After going through three miscarriages already, I lost all joy and decided I'd wait until nine weeks before I would have my first scan as all the others had died around eight weeks. I couldn't stand to see another heartbeat and get my hopes up again. Sure enough, at my nine week scan, there was a little baby with no heartbeat resting inside.

    Up until that point, I honestly hadn't been angry at God. I considered all of this loss to be part of life and that I was no exception, but I felt anger rising within me. We held off proceeding with the adoption process to give ourselves time to heal. It was all too much at the time. And then, like a cruel twist of fate, one awful thing after the other happened to us. I lost a record deal, a publishing deal, a computer hard-drive with every client's work on it, a car, and many more things. It was like we were being kicked while we were down. Instead of leaning more on God in such a time of devastation, I went completely the other direction. I mean, what was I going to ask Him? He'd already taken away everything I cared about. I felt like Job. But I failed miserably at the test of faith. On top of that, my husband took it really hard, too. We needed each other, but felt too devastated to be able to help each other. It was the loneliest time I've ever experienced. How was I going to get through this?

    Several months later, November 2009 to be exact, Mom sent me an email about an adoption agency that was local to our area and thought I might be interested in checking it out. I thought getting information on this agency was weird because we had been going through a different agency, and had stopped the process because we weren't mentally or spiritually up to following it through at the time. Out of pure curiosity, I checked out the link to Heaven Sent Children, Inc. It was a small website with not a lot of information on it at the time. They processed local and international adoptions and I thought, if anything, it was worth checking out.

    Now, I didn't mention this earlier, but my husband was born in South Korea and adopted by an American family. Strangely, that is the country we had really wanted to adopt from. However, we were told by our first agency that my husband, aged 43 at the time, was too old and that we might as well give up that dream. The cut-off age was 43. He was going to turn 44 before we could start the process. (For this reason we had reluctantly decided to try for a local adoption). I made an appointment with the new agency HSC and took my Mom with me for moral support. My husband knew nothing about our visit and was working that day anyway. It was really just an inquiry about the agency and what they could offer us. Well, I've never been so encouraged and relieved in a long time. After meeting with a case-worker named Stephanie, she stated, "Of course you can adopt from Korea", and, "No, it won't be a long process." My head started spinning. I think Stephanie must have thought my Mom and I were 'bonkers' [crazy], because we were so excited (Aside note: We ARE bonkers!). It was the best news ever! Now, how to break it to my hubby whom I didn't know was ready to even talk about it. But after briefly mentioning it in passing with a sense of guilt that I had gone without telling him, he actually showed some interest.

    Needless to say, we started the new adoption process. Every step of the way we encountered mountains of paperwork with appointments, home visits and parting with lots and lots of money. But, in September of 2010 we received the best news EVER!!! We had gotten a 'referral' and needed to come by the office to see if it was something we wanted to move forward with. What a referral means, for those who are not familiar with adoption, is that we were shown a photo and medical file of a sweet little baby boy and asked if we thought he was suitable for our family. In a matter of seconds, I said YES!!!! Stephanie said, "Before we can move forward, you have to take the medical file to a noted adoption-savvy physician and make sure you are comfortable with any medical conditions this baby may have." Of course we said, "Absolutely!" Here is the photo we were shown at this meeting so you can see why we instantly said, YES!!!

    I knew instantly, that he was our son. My heart just connected with him. Aside from the fact that he is absolutely adorable, there were some medical concerns and other unmentionable concerns about him that made me hesitate a little. But, I really felt that he was meant to be our son. So, after taking the file to the physician and getting the 'all clear', we accepted the referral and settled in for a long wait till we could go and get him. After months of waiting, we finally got word that we could go and get him in January, 2011. We were so excited! This was it! We were going to be a family! My ice cream had been given back to me. I could finally enjoy the moment.

    Well, little did I know, I was about to get two ice creams to make up for the four that were taken from me. A week after getting home from a nauseating trip to Korea to pick up our son, I found out I was pregnant again!!!! WHAT??? Was this some kind of cosmic joke God was pulling? We literally just got home with a baby that had been taken away from everything and everyone he knew and didn't understand English, to having to potentially go through another miscarriage all at the same time! I just wasn't ready for that. I was throwing up every day and I was too scared to go for a scan. So, I waited an ungodly amount of time to get a first scan. I didn't want to risk being disappointed again. But look what they found.

    Now, this particular photo is much further along than my first scan, but you get the idea. There it was. A perfect little baby...boy! Oh my goodness! I was going to have two babies in 8 months! WHAT??? It's like Irish twins. Boy, does God have a sense of humor! I shouldn't be surprised though. He did the same for Job and returned to him everything he lost and more. It was more than I could take in. Now, don't get things twisted. It wasn't all roses and chocolate with me and God. I didn't suddenly run back to His loving arms and say, "Thanks, Dad." There was such a divide between us, that it was going to take a long time for me to realize what He just did. During and after my pregnancies people would often say to me, "I guess it just wasn't meant to be," or, "Maybe there was something wrong with it and God spared you," and stuff like that.

    Let me just say, as a parent of multiple miscarriages, those comments are completely offensive and inappropriate and I'm not a super-sensitive person. Essentially, what those statements mean is, "God gave you the one thing that you always wanted, but then decided to take it away from you because He changed His mind," or, "The baby you were carrying was less worthy of love, affection and life because there was some abnormality assigned to it." My blood is boiling just thinking about it! Words meant for encouragement often end up offending the person, so, it is best to just be there for the person and help them through whatever they need support-wise. Just listen. Sit with them and eat a big tub of ice cream and hug and cry with them. That's what they need. I'm sorry, I went on an important tangent, now back to the story.

    Let's just cut to September, 2011. After months of throwing up, two hospitalizations for potential kidney stones, bronchitis, a placenta previa scare and the normal discomforts of pregnancy, it was time to welcome our new son into the world. He came quickly! Water broke at 12:45 a.m., epidural in at 1:30 a.m., started pushing at 10:00 a.m. and he was here at 10:22 a.m. after three pushes. He was 7lb 3oz, 21.5" long and showed off some fine lungs. It was after he was first laid on my chest that I realized we had given him the perfect name. After eight months of adding and crossing names off lists, we finally settled on Jagger a few weeks before he was born. Boy was he made for that name! With a mouth that took up a large portion of his lower face, he was destined for rock and roll comparisons. He was perfect. God had blessed me with two beautiful boys.

    Now reality set in. As I was being puked on 7 times a day, woken 6-8 times a night and dealing with a very jealous older brother, I found myself being caught up in anger again. I felt like I couldn't enjoy these little miracles because I was drowning and overwhelmed having two babies with very different, but real needs. One had colic and reflux and the other was feeling like the mother he just got to know was now being taken from him by a very needy baby brother. It was a very difficult year indeed. I just wanted to enjoy the moment and I couldn't.

    After everything started to settle down, I realized that I had two choices. I could either wallow in self pity and feel like the odds were always going to be stacked against me, or, I could choose to see the miracle God performed for me despite my attitude toward Him. I realized that our adopted son Niko was meant to be in our family and, had I not gone through the multiple miscarriages, we may never have adopted him. If I had had two biological kids, I would have likely decided I was done and never followed through with the adoption idea.

    I know that I will see my miscarried babies one day in Heaven and that gives me comfort. God then gave me a baby at the same time to show me that I just needed to trust Him first and then He would give me my ice cream (Niko) - with a cherry on top (Jagger). I'm so glad I made the latter choice because my kids are my world. It's a crazy and hectic world, but a great world and I am so grateful.

    If you have been through rough times and you walked away from God like I did, rather than toward Him, please be encouraged that God is still with you, despite what you think of Him. You may not see it now, but you will soon. Your time is just around the corner. Mine was eight years around the corner, but hang in there! Joy is coming. I promise!

    Written by Kristee Mays