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Maria is home from Camp

We just picked Maria up from camp.

Cause we have a kid who goes to things like camp…

She went to White Water camp with church, slept outside under the stars, rafted along the river, went to a concert outdoors, ordered her own food along the two day drive up the coast of California.  The hundreds of junior highers showered exactly zero times.  They jumped off huge rocks, ate dragon flies and read God’s word.

She lost her glasses but bought these $1 sun glasses.

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The kids were so happy to have her back home.

When Maria came home, we were so impressed with her, with her time at camp, with the choices she made within the 7 days away from us.  I want to share a couple of them so that people can know this is coming from a child who was adopted at an older age.  And also, camp, this is one of the things that lights a fire in my heart for adoption.  Camp transforms lives, it did for my friends and I, it’s a luxury, an adventure, a break from life to learn about God, find who you are in Him.  I wish all kids could experience this, kids with fear, anxiety, low self esteem, rejection, and turmoil.  I wish they could all go, get invested in, loved, find that they are brave and loved.

A girl can dream.

Andrew had given her $60 for all her meals and needs, “Budget,” he told her, “Think about how much you will need each day and divide it up and spend that much or less,” When she arrived home she handed him $6. “I gave some to my friend who had run out when they needed food,” she told us.

“I ate junk food in the car,” she smiled.

“Good,” we said, “That’s what camp is for.”  We smiled at each other, thinking about this girl experiencing all of this.

“One of my friends was drinking like 7 cokes at the concert one night and said, ‘Come on Maria, there are no parents, just drink them, it’s fun!’ and I told her, ‘No.’”

“You did?”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to even though she was.  So I told her no.”

Dang, I think this girl may have an easier teenage carrier than either of us.  Andrew and I were so proud of her that after dinner that night we had her sit down and told her that teenagers are famous for giving in to peer pressure, and that if she already has the ability to listen to her own heart and good sense, we were proud of her and knew she could avoid some sad things in life, and handed her the extra $6.  She was so excited, smiled ear to ear.

I have more things to blog about one day, about Poppy and life.  Trying to ease in maybe a little :)

 

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sabotaged

This is the exact sweet moment that sabotaged my afternoon of three simultaneous naps. I texted it to Andrew kindly saying to expect no good things like dinner or cleanliness of the house when he arrived at home. When I typed the word ‘sabotaged’ it changed it to ‘sanctified,’ while writing this and I quickly deleted it…but maybe that’s what’s happening as I try to let go. My home doesn’t define me, my me time isn’t my strength… even though I could have promised that was the case before. When this sweet girl wants nothing more than time with the mama she’s always wanted, that’s what I’m here for. Everything else is secondary, our messy home can shout love, and refuge, and that is better. Our piled dishes can point to bonding and real joy in small hearts because your mama is with YOU. Plus, Andrew picked up In N Out, making it the most winning of nights anyways. #CrumbsareCool

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Poppy’s Home

Poppy has been home for a little more than a week.  She fits right in, the transition has been…not really a transition, but like she was always meant to be.

All the kids know she is special, and treat her as so, with a little bit of awe, and a lot of tenderness, her goodness glowing out.

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She slept the entire 4 hours from Addis Ababa to Dubai.  Andrew and I were in the best of moods when we got to Dubai….one more leg of travel!!  But, we were soon cured of that ;)  And that’s all I’ll say, except for that we are called to have love and grace, and we probably won’t be headed to Dubai for any specific travel plans.

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Then she slept the entire 16 hour flight to LAX.  A young man sat next to us, and double took the baby, I am sure he thought he was in for it.  Half way through, he asked, “Is she always this quiet?!”

“Yeah,” we said.

“Wow, that’s amazing.”

I tried to sleep too.  She was like a cat, had to be at the highest point of my body no matter how I was laying.  I didn’t sleep as much as sans child, so I got some good movies in (Fury!?  So good!)

16 hours!!!  SLEEPING!!

When we got home, the kids tried to talk and engage her, and she was shy, hiding her face in my shoulder.  “Why she not talking?” Elijah asked a chill number of 100 times.

“She can’t talk yet honey, or even really walk yet, she’s just a baby.”

 

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We put her in bed, she refused the pack and play, and had to be near us.  So much for that super cute crib we got all decked out…  ;)

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Poppy Stats:  Kind and calm.  Loves to play with siblings and toys.  She likes play dough and LOVES music.  She takes a good nap in the afternoon the same time as the boys, and sleeps all night.  The boy’s behavior has risen many levels as they are wanting to be less wild animals, and more nurturing with her presence.  Any whining gets a point, two whining points get them a chore; less whining and cleaner home.

With out first adoption, life seemed to change a lot.  With this one, she folds right in, she is the little beat in everyone’s heart, and goes with the flow of daily life, bringing happiness in her wake.

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She has gained a lot of strength since being home, and our toppling baby has turned into a much stronger toddler who DELIGHTS in the action of our home.  Be careful not to bring her back inside, she’ll bring the back of her hand to her brow and cry ever so softly  (Outside is the coolest)

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Flying super baby!

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She loves friends, and doesn’t seem to have any sensory aversions….

THAT I just can’t still believe.  To this day, Elijah still struggles with sensory issues due to the severe neglect he received, it has been a lot of work on our part, good work, healthy, productive work, but still work.

Poppy has none of it.

She loves being in a family.  She wakes up smiling, and smiles the rest of the day.

“MamaDada!?” she says quickly all day long as she waddles through the house, like a song.  The other day she cleared the table for me after watching Maria the other day; one spoon, one fork, one plate, her smile about to burst off her face as I praised her.

She loves freedom, she loves love.  She loves food, family and friends.

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She loves exploring and piling things on the floor, I mean, who doesn’t when you’re two!?

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The kids have been in VBS all week this week and last, so we get to be besties all morning.  Sometimes we have to do our new-adoptive-mama work stuff like doctors appointments, calling Sunny Days developmental, the Ophthalmologist, the dentist, stool samples, all the glamorous stuff, but still, all the stuff that will help this girl get all she needs.  It’s a gift to my heart to be able to provide this for this amazing soul.

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Picking up the boys from VBS and Maria from KidShine

 

I will end with this final story:

We don’t buy ‘regular’ milk in our house, it upsets too many tummies.  But while we were gone, he had some of Gramma and Grandpa’s.  Last week Finley said, “Can I have some regular milk, mama?”

There was some left, “Sure honey.”  I poured some into a sippy cup and handed it to him, pure gold.  He was about to drink his once-in-a-lifetime-treat when little sister saw it, and gently reached her chubby arm up to him.  He pulled the the cup back protectively, shocked.

Poppy squinted her eyes, and lowered her head ever so slowly, a single tear down her cheek.

Finley looked at his cup, condensation on the outside, looked at baby sister, looked back at his cup filled with his special treat …

and while looking at her, handed it to Poppy.

She lit up and smiled at him.

I stood there with my mouth open.  She drank a drink or two, and gave it back to him.  I was so shocked and proud of him, his most special treat, he gave up for Poppy.

I took him to get a treat during naptime, a sticky, special mess.

Poppy is a good influence on my little boys.

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More to share later, but Poppy is a gift.  She has blessed each one of us in unique ways, I see the character in each of my children growing, just because she is being herself.

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