Oct 202011
 



A Guest Post from Tova






Dearest Monkees,

Do you remember when Glennon and Andrea started the auction for Joy (Rocky at that time)? And then a friend joined in with a book sale? And prior that a friend auctioned an Ipad for us? And after this auction we raised another $1,400 by selling paperbead necklaces that had been donated. And then, we received an adoption grant of $10,000.

Yup.

That all really, really happened.

You need to understand that adopting Joy was a complete and total leap in faith. I remember emailing with Glennon and mentioning to her that I felt like we had no business starting this adoption because I felt like we had none of the resources needed.

And we didn’t.

No savings, no investments, no loans available, no credit available. Heck, we STILL have our adoption loan from our first adoption. We managed to save and fundraise our way through our second adoption. It was such a gift.

I had no faith for a third adoption. I figured we had maxed out our resources. All of them.
We had those moments where adoption payments needed to be made and we literally didn’t have the money.

And it came. Every single time. Surprise gifts from friends. Organized fundraising. The grant. This is the first time we are drowning in debt after an adoption. We are flat ass broke and about a month behind, but I am fine with that because it feels so good compared to what we’ve experienced in the past.

If you think that I was the faithful, peaceful and trusting adoptive mama through this, you are wrong. I hedged all my bets. Did all the fundraising saying that if this didn’t work we would give the money to another family or return it to people.

The process of adopting Joy brought pain. Struggle. Fear. Questioning.

As you might remember, Joy has HIV. We were asked by our agency to consider adopting her. They did everything they could to make it possible for us.

We had relatives freak out. People said the dumbest, most thoughtless things. I wrestled a lot. With what we were doing. To our finances, our existing children, our community.

There were two things that kept me facing towards Joy.


1. The question was ‘is this harder for me, or is facing the possibility of my child not getting adequate medical care harder?’

2. Can I do this? Can I raise my daughter to be kind and gracious, but firm, in the face of some of the most stupid, stubborn ignorance that I’ve ever seen? In order to do that, I had to learn to be kind and gracious, but firm.

The first question required more wrestling than I care to admit. But it really was the easy one.

The second one? That required a lot of support. Some from my counselor who walked me through appropriate and allowable responses to different people’s comments. This was an amazing experience for me and impacted all aspects of my life. I had friends who let me bitch, whine, complain and rage. And I have this community that tells me over and over to ‘look for the good’, ‘try not to be a jerk’, that ‘We belong to each other’ and that being gracious is a huge gift. That looking beyond the stupidity and ignorance often leads to healing and redemption.


And it’s all true.At one point we had enough reasons to justify leaving our church. People suggested we do that. But I got stubborn. And maybe a tiny bit tired. We stayed put. We kept trying to talk and to listen. It’s not been perfect, but the overwhelming majority are supportive and wonderful. That would not have existed if I had left when it was just overwhelmingly horrible. That’s what this Monkee community has given me. Stories from all of you to lean on. To hold onto. Stories of staying still, stopping to listen, or just taking that one more uncomfortable step.

So, thank you.



Going to Africa to bring Joy home was excruciatingly difficult as I have a PTSD diagnosis that results from a home invasion/hostage situation I was in the last time I was in Africa.
Going to bring her home was the bravest thing I’ve ever done. I could have stayed at home, but I knew I would regret that more than pushing through the fear.
It was fantastic. Our trip was hard, but I was both strong and vulnerable. I was present for my new daughter. I found a lot of personal healing on my trip. There was a lot of weeping, but so, so much joy.And she is.

 



Since coming home I have watched my little peanut win hearts, break down big huge grown men, and crumble people’s fears and hardness. I literally watched one person who was dead set against her, start to cry when seeing her for the first time.

Our child is so special. This is brought home to us again and again. The nurse at her Children’s Home told us that they called her their miracle child because they almost lost her. Her pediatrician here, told us at her last visit, that she cannot explain why this child is alive or doesn’t have massive brain damage. That her medical records show three times when most other children would have died. That she does not understand how this is possible.

But she is. She is healthy, happy, thriving, getting chubby, and mentally, emotionally, and physically on target. Not one medical professional has been able to explain her. She is now labeled as technically HIV + but unable to transmit. How’s that for shifting people’s preconceptions?

This makes my heart so glad. I’ve learned so much on this journey, grown a tremendous amount, discovered strength I had no idea I had, learned that vulnerability is the baddest ass strength of all, and done so much healing.

Thanks Monkees, wish you could all come over for a cup of tea and meet her.













Note from G:

Hm. If Toves hadn’t made herself vulnerable here . . . we would’ve missed all of this Joy. Hm. Hmmmm.

God Bless You, Tova.




Oct 222011
 


“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32


After reading Tova’s incredible essay about her baby Joy, I started feeling a little sad. Because I thought that one day I’d be writing an essay like Tova’s about my family’s adoption. I had the essay all planned out. I even had our Christmas Card designed. It was going to be a family picture in front of our beautiful LOVE WINS sign and underneath our family of six it would say:

JOY TO THE WORLD! Love, The Melton Pot.

The Melton Pot. I mean, seriously. You KNOW how excited I was when that gem lit up my little brain.

But it was not to be. It is what it is, and it’s not what it’s not.

One night while I was pouting, Craig said, “Honey, you know, we’re still the Melton Pot.” And I rolled my eyes and said, “OH, C’MON. NO WE’RE NOT. We’re Asian and white. We might be like a Melton skillet of some sort but we needed Africa to be a Pot. We are So Not a Pot.

Kay, fine. Not a Pot, he said. Sorry, hon.

Anyway, skillets are fine, I guess. I’m just saying that adjusting to the recent changes in my life has been a little tougher than I thought it would be. There is something that I really, really wanted that I gave my all for and I ain’t gonna get it. Because of LYYYYME. Boo. I feel very five years old sometimes.

Like Tish. Tish is quite dramatic. And I am always telling her that sometimes she is so focused on what she doesn’t have that she misses all the wonderful things she does have.

Whenever I tell her this Craig raises his eyebrow at me. SO annoying.

But he’s right. I do that too. I feel sad that I didn’t get the new person I wanted to love, and so I overlook the hundreds of people God gave me to love. YOU PEOPLE.


It’s crazy, really. I have this sickness (it’s back, of course) that doesn’t allow me to get out much, but God gave me this computer, and this community, so that I can reach out and STILL offer myself to the world. No matter what, He always gives us a way to stay open. Stay open. This is what I’m learning, Stay Open By Any Means Necessary. Do not allow anything that life throws at you to close your heart. Heart wide open. Always. No matter what. If you can do that, good things will come.


Today I want to talk about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa . . . the December holidays.

I know, it’s not even Halloween, one holiday at a time, I know it.

But we do Christmas preparations a little differently at the Melton Skillet, and it works for us. It is the Melton rule that all Christmas business . . . gift buying, wrapping, etc . . . is done by Thanksgiving. Yep, we miss some sales. But we also spend the month of December in peace, together, making memories instead of trips to the mall. Our minds are not full of to do lists and so stress is low. And since we tell the kids that Santa stops taking gift requests at Thanksgiving, they don’t spend all of December talking about what “they want.”

Each of our kids gets three gifts and if there are ever any future complaints, we plan to ask them if they think they deserve more gifts than BABY JESUS GOT. ON BABY JESUS’ BIRTHDAY. After that, any further complaining will result in each child receiving actual frankincense and myrrh instead of Wii games and skateboards. Have fun with your spices, kiddos. That’s the plan.

Staying out of the stores in December is healthy for our family in many, many ways. This year we’re shutting down the computers in December, too. So we have lots of work to get done at Momastery before the shut down happens.


Back to Monkeedom.


I love you. I really do love you, Monkees. I don’t express how much because I’m afraid of coming across as a dramatic, crazy, cheesy computer lady. But I really do. This community has saved me and made a believer out of me. This community has made me feel safer and braver and cozier out in the big world. You have changed me, supported me. You are like a world –wide family to me, which is the truth, right? We are a world- wide family. That’s how we should all feel. Cozier in the world.


I was watching a news story about the economy recently and there were many families talking about how they were going to have a hard time buying gifts for their children this year. Some said that having their usual Christmas dinner was not an option, because they didn’t have the money for the turkey and the stuffing and the yummy desserts. Some said they were worried about paying the heat bill during the holidays. One man said he just wanted to buy his wife a little necklace, a little something to show her how much her work at home meant to him, but he couldn’t. There just wasn’t any extra. None.


All of this made me want to stick the fork I was holding directly into my eye.


Then I started thinking about how there are probably many Monkee families in these situations, and that made me want to put my fork down and start brainstorming. Because no way, Jose. Not on my watch. Not my Monkees. We might not be able to fix everything, but we can do some things. We can acknowledge each other’s needs, hear them, and then help each other in little ways, because we belong to each other.


You know, I’d rather my kids have three Christmas gifts and your kids have three Chistmas gifts, than my kids have six gifts and your kids have no gifts.

And that’s the bottom line here, for me. And I bet it is for you, too. I think I know you well enough to know that you agree.


I figure that everyone reading this has a need this holiday.

Some of us don’t have enough this year. These Monkees need a hand putting food on the table and buying gifts for their kids.

Some of us have a little extra this year. These Monkees need to reach out to other families and share, in order to wake themselves up and connect and really experience what the holidays mean.

And some of us have just enough. These Monkees need to sit back and witness some miracles, to keep believing in people and love.


We all have needs. When we don’t share our needs, out of pride or fear of rejection, we deprive other people of fulfilling their needs. Sometimes we need to receive and sometimes we need to give. Seasons change. So please decide which type of Monkee you are this year, and participate accordingly.


This is how I’m hoping this Love Extravaganza will work:

Craig and I would like to start the party off by offering checks for $75 to six Monkees who could use the money to make the holiday a little brighter for their families.

SO:

If your family could use this money, leave a comment about how you will use it and then email me at momastery(at)gmail(dot)com with your address. Our check will arrive at your home by Nov 1. The end. No strings. Just tell your story, anonymously or not, not so we can judge how worthy you are of the money, everyone is worthy, just so we can know each other and love and understand each other better.

Now.

Obviously, I am expecting more than six requests.

That’s where you come in.

If you are a Monkee who has some extra this year. . . read the comments. Find another Monkee who touches your heart and reply to her comment. Tell her you will help. Then you both email me and I’ll put you in touch.


**Also…if you are a Monkee who would like to donate money to this cause and let me distribute it….email me. I’ll take care of that, too.


At this point you might ask yourself….how is all of this really gonna work?


Well, how could I possibly know that?


I’m going to do this like I do everything else . . . I’m going to ANNOUNCE THAT IT IS HAPPENING and then wait for crazy things to start occurring and then I’m going to become completely overwhelmed with JOY AND PANIC and start crying and hide under my bed and then Craig will try to teach me to make a spread sheet and a Pay Pal account AGAIN and I will yell at him: WHY DO YOU KEEP TRYING TO CHANGE ME?? and he will say I am not trying to change you, I just think there are more efficient methods of record keeping than writing things on piles of used paper towels and scraps ripped off of Chase’s homework papers, to which I will reply: GOOD GOD, THIS IS NO TIME FOR A LESSON ON CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY. I AM JUST TRYING TO BREATHE, HERE. And then Craig will take the kids away, for their own well-being, and let me work for a couple days.


And it will all get done, in spite of me . . . the same way that this Holiday Love Project got done and this Holiday Love Project got done and this one and THAT ONE and everything else worth doing gets done. One deep breath and little miracle at a time.


And we will wrap all of this up by Thanksgiving, so that we can rest and celebrate, knowing that our sisters are cared for. And our sisters can rest and celebrate, knowing that their families are cared for.


That’s the plan. Help, please. All ideas welcome.


I LOVE YOU.

GDo



PS. Thank You, Bloggess, for inspiring this idea, and so many others.







Oct 222011
 


“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32


After reading Tova’s incredible essay about her baby Joy, I started feeling a little sad. Because I thought that one day I’d be writing an essay like Tova’s about my family’s adoption. I had the essay all planned out. I even had our Christmas Card designed. It was going to be a family picture in front of our beautiful LOVE WINS sign and underneath our family of six it would say:

JOY TO THE WORLD! Love, The Melton Pot.

The Melton Pot. I mean, seriously. You KNOW how excited I was when that gem lit up my little brain.

But it was not to be. It is what it is, and it’s not what it’s not.

One night while I was pouting, Craig said, “Honey, you know, we’re still the Melton Pot.” And I rolled my eyes and said, “OH, C’MON. NO WE’RE NOT. We’re Asian and white. We might be like a Melton skillet of some sort but we needed Africa to be a Pot. We are So Not a Pot.

Kay, fine. Not a Pot, he said. Sorry, hon.

Anyway, skillets are fine, I guess. I’m just saying that adjusting to the recent changes in my life has been a little tougher than I thought it would be.There is something that I really, really wanted that I gave my all for and I ain’t gonna get it. Because of LYYYYME. Boo. I feel very five years old sometimes.

Like Tish. Tish is quite dramatic. And I am always telling her that sometimes she is so focused on what she doesn’t have that she misses all the wonderful things she does have.

Whenever I tell her this Craig raises his eyebrow at me. SO annoying.

But he’s right. I do that too. I feel sad that I didn’t get the new person I wanted to love, and so I overlook the hundreds of people God gave me to love. YOU PEOPLE.


It’s crazy, really. I have this sickness (it’s back, of course) that doesn’t allow me to get out much, but God gave me this computer, and this community, so that Ican reach out and STILL offer myself to the world. No matter what, He always gives us a way to stay open. Stay open. This is what I’m learning, Stay Open By Any Means Necessary. Do not allow anything that life throws at you to close your heart. Heart wide open. Always. No matter what. If you can do that, good things will come.


Today I want to talk about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa . . . the December holidays.

I know, it’s not even Halloween, one holiday at a time, I know it.

But we do Christmas preparations a little differently at the Melton Skillet, and it works for us. It is the Melton rule that all Christmas business . . . gift buying, wrapping, etc. . . is done by Thanksgiving. Yep, we miss some sales. But we also spend the month of December in peace, together, making memories instead of trips to the mall. Our minds are not full of to do lists and so stress is low. And since we tell the kids that Santa stops taking gift requests at Thanksgiving, they don’t spend all of December talking about what “they want.”

Each of our kids gets three gifts and if there are ever any future complaints, we plan to ask them if they think they deserve more gifts than BABY JESUS GOT. ON BABY JESUS’ BIRTHDAY. After that, any further complaining will result in each child receiving actual frankincense and myrrh instead of Wii games and skateboards. Have fun with your spices, kiddos. That’s the plan.

Staying out of the stores in December is healthy for our family in many, many ways. This year we’re shutting down the computers in December, too. So we have lots of work to get done at Momastery before the shut down happens.


Back to Monkeedom.


I love you. I really do love you, Monkees. I don’t express how much because I’m afraid of coming across as a dramatic, crazy, cheesy computer lady. But I really do. This community has saved me and made a believer out of me.This community has made me feel safer and braver and cozier out in the big world. You have changed me, supported me. You are like a world –wide family to me, which is the truth, right? We are a world- wide family. That’s how we should all feel. Cozier in the world.


I was watching a news story about the economy recently and there were many families talking about how they were going to have a hard time buying gifts for their children this year. Some said that having their usual Christmas dinner was not an option, because they didn’t have the money for the turkey and the stuffing and the yummy desserts. Some said they were worried about paying the heat bill during the holidays. One man said he just wanted to buy his wife a little necklace, a little something to show her how much her work at home meant to him, but he couldn’t. There just wasn’t any extra. None.


All of this made me want to stick the fork I was holding directly into my eye.


Then I started thinking about how there are probably many Monkee families in these situations, and that made me want to put my fork down and start brainstorming. Because no way, Jose. Not on my watch. Not my Monkees. We might not be able to fix everything, but we can do some things. We can acknowledge each other’s needs, hear them, and then help each other in little ways, because we belong to each other.


You know, I’d rather my kids have three Christmas gifts and your kids have three Chistmas gifts, than my kids have six gifts and your kids have no gifts.

And that’s the bottom line here, for me. And I bet it is for you, too. I think I know you well enough to know that you agree.


I figure that everyone reading this has a need this holiday.

Some of us don’t have enough this year. These Monkees need a hand putting food on the table and buying gifts for their kids.

Some of us have a little extra this year. These Monkees need to reach out to other families and share, in order to wake themselves up and connect and really experience what the holidays mean.

And some of us have just enough. These Monkees need to sit back and witness some miracles, to keep believing in people and love.


We all have needs. When we don’t share our needs, out of pride or fear of rejection, we deprive other people of fulfilling their needs. Sometimes we need to receive and sometimes we need to give. Seasons change. So please decide which type of Monkee you are this year, and participate accordingly.


This is how I’m hoping this Love Extravaganza will work:

Craig and I would like to start the party off by offering checks for $75 to six Monkees who could use the money to make the holiday a little brighter for their families.

SO:

If your family could use this money, leave a comment about how you will use it and then email me at momastery(at)gmail(dot)com with your address. Our check will arrive at your home by Nov 1. The end. No strings. Just tell your story, anonymously or not, not so we can judge how worthy you are of the money, everyone is worthy, just so we can know each other and love and understand each other better.

Now.

Obviously, I am expecting more than six requests.

That’s where you come in.

If you are a Monkee who has some extra this year. . . read the comments. Find another Monkee who touches your heart and reply to her comment. Tell her you will help. Then you both email me and I’ll put you in touch.


**Also…if you are a Monkee who would like to donate money to this cause and let me distribute it….email me. I’ll take care of that, too.


At this point you might ask yourself….how is all of this really gonna work?


Well, how could I possibly know that?


I’m going to do this like I do everything else . . . I’m going to ANNOUNCE THAT IT IS HAPPENING and then wait for crazy things to start occurring and then I’m going to become completely overwhelmed with JOY AND PANIC and start crying and hide under my bed and then Craig will try to teach me to make a spread sheet and a Pay Pal account AGAIN and I will yell at him: WHY DO YOU KEEP TRYING TO CHANGE ME?? and he will say I am not trying to change you, I just think there are more efficient methods of record keeping than writing things on piles of used paper towels and scraps ripped off of Chase’s homework papers, to which I will reply: GOOD GOD, THIS IS NO TIME FOR A LESSON ON CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGY. I AM JUST TRYING TO BREATHE, HERE. And then Craig will take the kids away, for their own well-being, and let me work for a couple days.


And it will all get done, in spite of me . . . the same way that this Holiday Love Project got done and this Holiday Love Project got done and this one and THAT ONE and everything else worth doing gets done. One deep breath and little miracle at a time.


And we will wrap all of this up by Thanksgiving, so that we can rest and celebrate, knowing that our sisters are cared for. And our sisters can rest and celebrate, knowing that their families are cared for.


That’s the plan. Help, please. All ideas welcome.


I LOVE YOU.

GDo



PS. Thank You, Bloggess, for inspiring this idea, and so many others.