Custom Made Kid™

All The Things You're Not Supposed To Talk About

All The Things You're Not Supposed To Talk About

It seems that in life there are several hot button subject matters that are deemed controversial to talk about and, as such, are to be avoided at all costs.

1. Politics - which I don't care to talk about. Not because I don't think it's important but because rarely does argumentative discussion result in one side changing their mind. It's more often polarizing.

2. Religion (Faith) - which I do care to talk about. I talk about the "faith" subject matter without the expectation that my views have to become anyone else's views. For me, it all boils down to the fact that I don't know how - when you reeeeally love something - you can keep totally silent about it. Most people can't help but talk about what they love. Simply, my Faith has helped me to make sense out of difficult circumstances and gives me hope for each new day.


3. Race - which can be difficult but is also necessary to talk about.

You see, if I pretend I don't see color at all, that's not true. I am aware of the color of another person's skin the same way I might note the color of someone's eyes or their hair or the color of their shirt. Right or wrong, if I say I am color "blind", then I feel like (in a way) I'm not seeing the person's history or culture or acknowledging their unique beauty. And I don't want to overlook "you" whoever "you" might be and whatever shade of color your skin might be.

My five year old daughter and I had a pretty intense discussion recently when she saw someone with a very obvious physical disability. Her first question to me was why that person was so, in her word, "different". The only answer I could come up with on short notice was that God is a creative God. He made people in all shapes and colors and sizes.

As she was considering my statement, I asked her a simple question: "What if you woke up one morning and everything was gray? The sky wasn't blue, the trees and the grass weren't green, the flowers weren't pink and yellow and red? It was all just...gray." Her response was perfect. Or at least what I'd hoped it would be:

"Dat" she says, with horror on her little face, "would be terrible!"

"That's right." I confirmed. "It would be. And so boring." Her little head nodded her agreement. And that was enough of an answer for her.

Not too long after this conversation, we ran into someone else who looked what the world would call "different" from us. And in a five year old version of a whisper (which basically means yelling), she said, "Dat person is different and dats ok! God made him wike dat!" Yep. Good news. The message had been received.

In the Custom Made Kid™ book, one of the pages says:

"It doesn't matter what we look like,
how we talk,
or the color of our skin.
What matters to our good, good God
is always found WITHIN."

The intended message: God looks at our hearts. He doesn't see what we see. Also, maybe more importantly, He's looking within at our *true* intentions. We may say one thing with our mouths but our words, behavior, and the way we treat others is a direct outpouring of the beliefs we hold close to our hearts.

"Create in me a pure heart, Oh God. Renew a *right* Spirit in me." <------- that scripture is beautiful. Bottom line, give me the ability to have a pure heart in the first place. Second, when I get off track help me fix it. And we will - all of us - get off track at times.

There are some unfortunate events happening in the US presently that prove people's hearts are off track. And as the founder of Custom Made Kid™, I have a little bit to say about those events:

Let it be known...I am ashamed of those who share my skin color and look down upon another for the color of theirs.

Let it be known...I am deeply offended by the behavior I'm seeing in Charlottesville - both for myself and for those these supremacists are looking down upon.

Let it be known...I think Tolerance is a dangerous word. There are boundaries and norms that society has to have in place to function in a healthy and "whole" manner. And sometimes that fine line gets really "gray" or fudged or is just plain dangerous. How on earth do I truly stand for what I believe in life and, at the same time, offend no one? That's almost a literal impossibility.

Let it be known...I acknowledge my boundaries and norms may not be the same as the boundaries and norms as others but opinions and actions rooted in superiority, bigotry, perversion and hate aren't acceptable.

Let it be known...I believe in the right to have an opinion and to take a stand for what you believe...but not at (NEVER at) the expense of another's value or safety or well-being.

"I am great. You are less."
"You are great. I am less."

Neither scenario works. In the words of Al Mohler, "The separation of human beings into ranks of superiority and inferiority differentiated by skin color is a *direct assault* upon the doctrine of Creation and an insult to the Imago Dei - the image of God - in which every human being is made."

Let it be known...I am sorry. I am sorry for those who I appear similar to who behave in a way that wounds another human being created in the image of God. I am sorry for past wrongs and, in advance, I'm sorry for future wrongs.

And finally, let it be known...I believe EACH and EVERY person in this world was created by God to have inherent value. I hope one day we can all learn to see each other the way He so clearly sees and, more importantly, loves us.

We are Custom Made.


I used to ask God frequently how anyone was going to take the ministry of Custom Made Kid™ and my passion for it seriously.

To those who had adopted, what did I know? If you know my story, I didn't go looking for a way, it came to me. Granted, years of writing a blog about faith and infertility was a channel God used to open the door to it. And granted, I'd already begun to attend classes at my local foster care agency.  But once the opportunity did present itself, it was a whirlwind. 15 days from the time I heard about my (now) daughter, I became a legal guardian. The process took much longer and had moments that were so scary it took my breath away and my hair literally fell out. But it worked. 

To some, one might argue "of course she loves adoption, it was easy for her." Not true. There's a lot that went on behind the scenes but, what is true is, at that time, I'd never had a failed adoption. I'd never loved and lost or spent my hard earned money and lost it all.  I'll be the first to acknowledge, it's not always quite that way.

To those who have the biological ability to get pregnant or those struggling with infertility (and who long for biology over adoption), how could I possibly get them to even consider adoption as more than someone else's path or simply a Plan B? Prior to actually walking the path myself, I'd been so limited in the way I'd previously viewed adoption. 😞 Somehow, I had it in my mind that to concede to that path - or even the idea of it - meant God was clearly telling me "no" to a dream I had of carrying a baby and having that experience. It meant I would never know what a mixture of myself and the one I loved might look like or how they would act. 

At the time, I saw it as falling short of a full experience so I did the proverbial close my eyes, plug my ears, and chant "la-la-la" when I'd feel the whisper of God in my spirit say, "I've got something great for you...". In my mind, it was EITHER / OR. Never AND. If I said yes to one call (adoption), I gave up a dream (biology). 

Man, though, was I wrong. I don't know about you, but I serve an AND GOD. An "all-this-shall-be-added-unto-you" God. Saying yes to adoption and giving a child a chance at love and life and to be celebrated did not mean my ovaries would spontaneously explode!

Side note: Why did it never occur to me that saying yes to adoption did not mean my biology was DOA? Why did it not occur to me that instead of the longing and tears and pain I could be experiencing the joy of pouring out my love on another person? I could be living the beauty of motherhood instead of watching it happen to others from the outside. Adoption did not mean "No." It simply meant this was Destination 1 on my journey. Destination 2 was TBD. 

When talking to biology-capable people, I confessed to my Father my fear that, while they were maybe polite enough to listen, they would constantly be writing my passion for adoption off. After all, it was all I knew. In their minds, I'd never experienced biology so how could I get it? I was only seeing the world from one side.

And then the foster world...again, what did I know? I hadn't ever opened my home and heart up to a child that I would likely lose. I didn't know the joy of giving a child "foundation" - both emotionally and spiritually. I didn't know the pain of sacrificing the ease of my circumstances or dealing with the brokenness of a child who has experienced neglect or abuse or limitations of some sort. I couldn't possibly understand that level of service to another. I didn't know the pain...the pain of losing a child. 

Well, I do now. I've fostered, sacrificed, fallen in love, been asked to adopt, and then ultimately, when they changed their minds (on more than one occasion), had to hand this child back into someone else's arms. I still think of that little boy daily. Pray for him daily. Wonder how he is doing and how well he is loved. Long for him. Daily. Even while parenting a five and a half year old and being 28 weeks pregnant, I miss him.

Finally, I feel an immense respect and tenderness to parents who have lost a child in general. Not just to a failed adoption or a completed foster situation but just the reality of a life cut too short. To those who have experienced such pain, I don't know how you do it.

I'm not afraid to be written off anymore. When I worried and prayed and asked God how to address these "deficiencies" in my ministry, I had no idea what I was asking. In order that I might better reach people for His Kingdom and, in His own perfect timing, He answered. I know what adoption is - the beautiful and the broken parts. I know what biology is like - the beautiful and the wearing parts. And I know what orphan care is - the worthy and the soul-crushing parts.

My journey isn't over and I will never arrive. I won't know what I don't know until I know it. But my heart is open. My spirit is willing. I have offered Him my blank check and it's been an amazing journey to watch Him "cash" it. I serve a God who can use my words and this mission I feel called to whether I'm fully ready or fully capable or not. He is an enabler and I am the enabled. He created our hearts, He can open whoever's heart He chooses to for this calling on their own lives. 

Through experiencing these lessons and enduring these particular moments of joy and moments of pain, there is now greater passion and deeper purpose.  I, undoubtedly, have a lot more to experience and, thus, learn. Each day, I'm developing a greater understanding of God and am better able to perform the duties of why I was put on this earth. I'm one little voice. 

And for now, that's enough.

Planting Seeds

{New Beginnings}

It's been a while since I've written anything that could remotely resemble what one might call a blog.  Years, actually. The crazy part is these blog posts practically used to write themselves.  Sounds silly, right?  Somehow, an out-of-left field thought would form based on something someone said, some experience I had or a random "trigger" would happen and, as simple as that, an idea would be born.  Thousands of words, ideas and images would literally bounce off the walls of my mind until they found each other and made sense.  Quite literally, it would feel as if my head wanted to burst wide open if these words didn't hit a page or a screen somewhere, as cheesy as that might sound.  I've never claimed to be cool, though.  :-)

I look back now at the seven or so years I posted almost daily and considered myself a "blogger" and its strange.  Those years have the same sensation of when you wake from a deep sleep and you know you had a dream but you can't really make any of it come clear.  I've read back over those blog entries in years since and re-lived some of those "post-worthy" moments intensely simply because I had them detailed in writing.  I'm so thankful I have them.  And I'm so thankful that, because of those words and the people who read them, and a decent-sized audience of readers who grew, God did an awesome and weird and amazing thing:  He brought me my daughter.  This "Custom Made Kid" who I can't stop talking about and who made all of the puzzle pieces of my life - both seen and unseen - fall into place.  

But back to being a "formerly known as..." blogger...

Like I said, I've read them again, here and there.  They were (maybe too) open and as raw as I knew how to be and often, to be honest, annoying.  It's weird to look at your "former" self and have to listen to her inside thoughts.  I eye-rolled many a time.  She was just a "young whippersnapper" compared to who I feel like I am now.  I kid you not, there moments I literally cringed at the amount of details I shared or my word choices and, for the love, how many of them.  The words, I mean.  Apparently there is no straight and to the point for me.  I think of myself as a painter of pictures, only with words.  And boy, I sure took my time painting some of those, didn't I?  (Can I get an amen, church?)  

At the end of the day, the truth is, the years that followed adopting LC have been busy (good gosh, soooo busy) and different and wonderful in many ways.  I have a little four (and a half she won't let you forget) year old blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty who literally lights up my world and / or burns it down.  You know, depending on the day. ;-)  But there is also reality that happened during those years...and my posts stopped when I started feeling too guarded to live and speak openly and for reasons as simple as it's not an image I feel is worth painting.     

For lack of a better example, it was like one of those pictures you take on vacation because you're awed by something or you find it interesting and then when you get back home and settle into reality and look at it, you realize it wasn't what you thought at all.  Either the perspective was off or the image was fuzzy or what looked so real to you then doesn't seem real at all.  So you take the best of the pictures you did take and remember the memories you made and the lessons you learned on that trip.  You post the "best of" on those proverbial social media outlets for the world to see - not because you're trying to be fake but because that's what is worth remembering.  Not the minutia.  Not the days it rained.  Not the fussing and fighting nor wrong turns you made or the traffic jams you had to sit in way too long.  I said it when I was writing "back then" and I'll say it again...if you want perfect, it doesn't live here.  

I am too weak and broken (aren't we all broken in some way as people) to live up to that expectation.  Trust me, no need to tell me I come up lacking when compared to the standards of perfection...I'm well aware.  I have been called fake and disappointing and attention-hungry.  And at some points in my life, I'm sure I've lived up to those descriptors.  Genuinely, I mean this.  I'm not being snarky or sarcastic or even trying to be funny.  I'm sure I've been one or all of those things at various times in my life.  But I've finally come to one conclusion: 

If I wait to get my life together first, my life and this ministry I feel called to would never happen.  

The truth and nothing but the truth is that there is purpose in my pain. When Life is good, it's good and that's just fine.  But when it's bad, I become less and I need HIM to be more.  And apparently, despite my best attempts, I can't get the balance right because over and over I find myself messing up.  Failing even or being on the receiving end of someone else's failures.  Life is messy.  And sometimes you're the one messing it up and sometimes someone's messes throw up all over you.  And repeat.

The good in that reality is that Our God is here and available and ready to make miracles out of our messes and mistakes, no matter how tragic we appear to those looking at our lives from the outside.  He crafted heaven and earth and rolled out the stars.  Am I really so silly that I think He is surprised by my life and whatever path it has been down and whatever course it has taken and will take?  

Bottom line, I have to stop being embarrassed of the details and imperfections and, even more importantly, I HAVE to stop being afraid if I'm ever going to be who God has called me to be.  It doesn't mean I won't ever screw up again because, let's face it, I will.  I'm human.  Aren't you?   

So when the devil tries to bury me, I find ways I can rejoice.  Because what my enemy didn't know (or seems to continually forget) is that God made me a tiny little seed.  Put me in the ground, heap dirt all over my head...and still Life will spring forth.   

...all my sin you raised, now my debt is paid.