The 30 Second Version

 

30 second

This is written for all those who don’t know…but care.

I know you care because you asked. And I wanted to figure out how to give you the 30 second version while we were washing our hands in the bathroom at church, or in the checkout line at Target, or while we were pumping gas before you scurried off to work…but I couldn’t do it.

I also realized when I tried to formulate the words for the 30 second version, I was much better at writing than delivering a verbal summary of an 18-month epic adventure. So I don’t blame you for not knowing, I just appreciate you taking the time to come here and not expecting me to fumble through something I am clearly still fumbling through.

Cause I really am better. I am not in my shaking mad phase any more. I am not doubting God’s goodness as much. I am not choosing a bitter agnostic outlook on life.  I am ready to go to church and the grocery store and the gas station…so that’s an improvement. I am out of the sweatpants phase, certainly that points to growth?! But I am not quite in the place where I can fully give you the 30 second version without making you feel slightly uncomfortable.

So if you don’t know–and Lord knows I don’t expect folks to wait on baited breath for the latest installment of the crazy Cockerham adventures–please know I humbly understand. Let’s just think of this as grabbing a quick cup of coffee together. Remembering our other option was for me to look at the floor and then up at you awkwardly wishing you hadn’t asked where our adopted children are–or when we were going back to Africa to get our kiddos–or how’s life going now with 5 kids–or any other sincerely kind questions you simply didn’t know the answer to. It is less awkward and fumbly for us to catch up here. I will leave without a pit in my stomach and tears in my eyes…and you will have the scoop. We are all better in the end.

Not sure what you knew or where we left off so here goes:

October 2013 we went to Uganda to adopt 2 kiddos.

November 2013 we were granted legal guardianship of those 2 precious kiddos, but told we must stay in Uganda for 3 years…so I stayed with all 5 children and Chris went back to North Carolina.

March 2014 We were hopeful to appeal our court case–but also were growing fatigued from the wait so Chris decided to join our family adventures in Uganda taking a leave of absence.

May 2014 We realized it could be a long wait and possibly not receive an appeal, so Chris resigned his job at Hope Holly Springs and Chris accepted a position at Restoration Gateway to serve on their team.

Late June 2014 We moved to Restoration Gateway.

July 2014 It was discovered/confirmed that Jonathan and Caroline were NOT true double orphans and had living parents.

July 2014 Jonathan and Caroline were returned to their families.

July 2014-March 2014 The Cockerham Family stayed in Northern Uganda serving at Restoration Gateway.

Insert Jim Gaffigan’s high pitched squeaky disapproving voice:  Wow, sad story. But that wasn’t so bad? Hasn’t she been away from the kids for almost a year now? Does she think she can do better than their own flesh and blood? What’s her problem? Isn’t it great news for her kids to be reunited with their families? 

Yes, but what takes longer than 30 seconds is that there are little people I love in Uganda who are hurting. Reliable sources say at least one of the two is suffering even. I don’t know the full extent but I know life is far from happily ever after. This is not spoken by a bitter woman wishing for a diverse stair-step family photo, nor disappointed she won’t be able to color coordinate five kids’ outfits for church. I am not a western mom who believes she can provide more, etc. It is an unjust ending for a child whose physical, emotional, and mental needs are not being met. It is innately mommy to want your child to avoid pain. Therefore, it is a debilitating place to know your hands are tied and it is the “right thing to do;” because he should never have been trafficked by his family in the first place. But the sting still stings and the grief is still close and it is still too soon to deliver the 30 second version. And so for that reason…we are here grabbing coffee and I am grateful. Feel free to sit down to coffee again soon…we may talk about this or other messy life matters…but in my heart this is the safest place for me to share my story with you.

So…just…thanks.

Humbly,

Jenni

 

 

 

 

To The Ones Who Should Have Been

Hello Sweet Friends,

Last spring in Uganda, almost like two ships passing in the night, I met Courtney…and then she was gone. When we met I was distracted, single-momming it with 5 kiddos, strung out after 4 long months without Chris. This fresh face was one I was so thankful to meet. Her words have continued to ring true in my life and in the lives of those I love. The chord of pain hits us all in different ways…but the notes of truth reverberates within our soul and we all hum a similar melody.

I found the heart and soul of this blog so very compelling I just had to reblog it. Every time I would go to the computer to write anything this week about motherhood all I could do was hum the refrain of this blog. Why put different words to ones that ring so true? Courtney–grateful for you and your gutsy, honest writing.

I hope that you (the unseen or somehow forgotten) feel celebrated this week. You are seen. You are known. You are loved.

Stories We Tell

Mother’s Day is Sunday. And while I will be celebrating this holiday for the first time with a kiddo in my home, I can’t stop thinking about this time last year. I’ve had several people ask me what I’m doing for my first Mother’s Day. It’s a fine and valid question. Makes sense to ask it. I’ve been so caught off guard though at how much it all still stings a tiny bit. A whole year later. We still talk about him. We still wonder how he is and what he’s doing and if he’s okay. We still pray for him. His pictures are still all throughout our house. I remember so fully this week a year ago. How so physically sad I was. How mad I was that I wasn’t getting to celebrate a holiday that I was supposed to be celebrating. How unfair it all felt. How…

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I Need a Time Out

This weekend I made the intentional (and what many would say extremely selfish) decision to not go away with my family to one of the most magical places on earth. I intentionally decided to hang back, to be alone. Because I simply could not go.

Actually I could go…but I really didn’t want to.

(Insert Jim Gaffigan’s voice here) How can she do that?  How can she be so selfish to miss out on Family Camp at Windy Gap?  She will miss out on the horse rides, ropes course, music, skits and games. Won’t her husband the be Lone Ranger in the hoe down?  (Louder and more high pitched:) Doesn’t she know her kids NEED her? Doesn’t she know her children live for this weekend each year? Shouldn’t she choose another weekend to be so selfish?  Why? Why would you not go with your family to family camp this weekend? Why?

Because I need a time out.

Did you ever put your kid in time out because you needed one? Who knows what might have happened if you hadn’t put him in time out? A few minutes more without the time out and the neighbors would be bringing social services to your front door?

What appeared to be punishment for the child was actually for their protection.

(No? Just me then.)

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And Round and Round We Go

That is me…going round and round and round. Flying, suspended, arms and legs dangling, really not sure when or where she will land. Daring to ask God the difficult questions. There is no way to “church up” this blog.

Reader caution advised: If you are uncomfortable with questioning the Christian status quo or with God being placed in the line of fire…just. stop. reading.

Why all the rants lately? Take it down a notch. Boy, she’s really got a bee in her bonnet.

My italicized words in my blog are often delivered in my head in the voice of Jim Gaffigan.  Actually not Jim…but Jim’s high pitched disapproving voice of someone questioning the bizarre things he comments on like cake or hot pockets. Feel free to read from here forward in this way. My blog will be funnier and surprisingly, make more sense.    .

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Crisis of Faith…Are you there God? It’s Me Jenni.

I woke up at sunrise.  While it was still quiet, with coffee in hand,  I slipped out onto the deck of a friend’s beach home.  I have set aside this time each morning for the past 20 years.  It has become habit.  The sound of the raging waves was intoxicating.  Rhythmic.  The beach, the ocean IS my happy place.

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I sat and looked out over the the depths.  So vast.  All emcompassing.

I searched the waves (as I always do) looking for something.  I am always looking for dolphins.  They inhabit my happy place and bring more happy.

This morning I search, certain to see nothing, just as in my heart I feel nothing.

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Writing the Book I Needed 17 Years Ago

Shortly after my mom found a note on the table saying my dad was leaving after 20+ years of marriage,  I remember making my way to one of my favorite places on the planet.  A bookstore.   Books are my friends, my teachers.  I remember thinking that stormy night, “if only I can find some words of wisdom and comfort during this time; then I might be able to gain my footing.”

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